The Great Equalizer

by
posted on July 30, 2014
gsagi2015_fs.jpg

Fourteen-year-old Lee Wills is currently in sixth place in 3-Gun Nation’s Junior Division, but he has no plans to shoot the remaining two qualifiers, even though a move up to fifth place would qualify him for a shoot-off that could punch his ticket onto the Pro Tour. He would like to, but he has his 14th surgery scheduled—an altogether-too-familiar routine that began when he was four months old.

Wills was born with spare digits and fused fingers and thumbs. I’d give you all the details, but here’s a great 4-minute video with the information and the youngster shooting from one of the best reporters in the industry.

He was behind the trigger of .22 LRs at the age of four, according to his mother, Karla Wills. By nine, he was shooting USPSA, a discipline in which he still competes. He got into IDPA from 11 to 12 years old and has now taken up 3-gun. He prefers people use the term “adaptive shooter” to describe the challenges he has overcome and, considering his marksmanship skills, the label fits. He doesn’t give up.

It’s not without hurdles to overcome, though, even after 13 surgeries. “My left hand in 3-gun is my biggest challenge,” Lee said. “It is harder for me to speed load a shotgun like others can. I have my thumb, which I can’t move at all, and the way my hand is causes me problems, so I have to work at it more.”

When Lee saw his older brother become a two-time ICORE junior champion, he caught the bug. His mother and father, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, encouraged his efforts, and there have been some unexpected side benefits. “…[T]he shooting sports have been therapeutic for Lee,” Karla said. “Before, if Lee’s hands were mentioned he would cringe and shove them in his pockets. Now it’s not a big deal.”

Col. Bachelor, head of Orthopedics at Fort Belvoir, Va., has taken a sincere interest in Lee and will perform the upcoming surgery. “He is going to fix the part of my hand between my thumb and forefinger so I can load much easier,” Lee said, calling the doctor’s efforts nothing short of magic.

I don’t know about you, but I think Lee’s performance on the firing line is mystical in its own right. And, when he’s back next year, he’ll be making a serious run for the 3-Gun Nation Junior title and a spot on the Pro Tour.

undefinedundefined

Latest

Noveske Rifleworks
Noveske Rifleworks

Noveske Rifleworks: Extreme-Duty ARs & More

From his garage beginnings to becoming a U.S. military supplier, the late John Noveske established a foundation for his namesake company to grow on, leading the prominent maker of semi-automatic carbines and aftermarket parts into the future.

Operation Market Garden: 101st Airborne

Watch this segment of American Rifleman Television to learn more about the 101st Airborne Division troops who partook in Operation Market Garden and the firearms they used.

Preview: XS Sights DXW2 Revolver Night Sights

Target-acquisition times with your favorite Ruger or Smith & Wesson revolver can be decreased by upgrading to a set of DXW2 night sights from XS Sights.

New For 2022: Ruger Custom Shop Precision Rifle

Ruger has announced a new addition to its Custom Shop line for 2022 with the release of a new version of the Ruger Precision Rifle chambered in 6.5 mm Creedmoor.

Remington Hosts Inaugural Shoot To Cure Fundraiser

The Remington Gun Club hosted the inaugural Shoot to Cure charitable fundraiser, a sporting clays event in support of the Arkansas Children's Foundation, on Friday, September 23, in Lonoke, Ark.

Review: Winchester SX4 Left Hand Waterfowl Hunter

Winchester Repeating Arms added the Super X semi-automatic shotgun to its catalog back in 1974—a design that is now in its fourth generation—but it wasn’t until 2022 that the company produced a version that ejected to the left for use by the approximately 10 percent of the shooting public that is left-handed.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.