Meet Christy Painchaud, E3 Firearms Instructor

Christy Painchaud is retired from military service. Her vast experience and training also includes being a special agent and a firearms instructor. As a mom, Christy helps bring a different perspective, from a woman and mom in the firearms world.

Christy’s first memories of shooting a gun was with her dad at her uncle’s property in Kentucky. She started out shooting soda cans on his 100 acre property. At this point in her life, as a child, she was too young to respect what she was doing with a firearm. She knew there were firearms in the house, but her dad never showed her where they were, she never touched them.

It wasn’t until Christy joined the military when she was twenty years old that she received an introduction to firearms, including safe handling and good training. This exposure changed her life forever.

Christy started out in the Air Force with basic training, though her career field was security forces, security police. In this time, she shot handguns, Berettas, rifles and grenade launchers. She also learned how to throw grenades and use machine guns, which was very intimidating for her, but at the same time empowering and fun. In her training, she learned how to handle firearms safely and confidently, along with all the rules of engagement.

Joining the military was overwhelming for her at first, like a fire hose to the mouth. Yet from then on, firearms have been a part of her life, and will forever be a part of her life.

One of her big “ah has” from going from being at home shooting to handling guns in the military was she learned to respect guns a lot more and people that carry them. Additionally, she learned how powerful guns can be and how important it can be to get proper firearms training. Not only to know what you’re doing, but to have the confidence, especially as a police officer in the military, had she ever have to defend herself or someone else’s life.

Christy had to be very proficient with her firearm. She had to know that she was going to be able to hit her intended target and stop the threat. She had to safely carry it every day.

In the military, Christy worked 12-hour shifts. She constantly had her gun on her. She found herself pulling a rifle in the desert where she was hot and can get lax really quickly. Sometime she found it difficult take care of the gun, especially when she was in the deployed environment where they get sandy. Yet she always remembered you have to take care of them. Another big takeaway was having respect for the firearm and learning to take care of it. Also when carrying the gun, how powerful it can be and how serious it is.

From Military to Federal Agent

When she was twenty, Christy went on active Air Force duty, her job was security police. She then completely separated from the Air Force for about a year. When she returned to the Air Force, Christy went into the Air Force reserve as a special agent under the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

In this position, Christy was in the military but we wore civilian clothes. She did major crime investigations, counter-intelligence, protective service operations and other special missions within the Air Force.

As a special agent, she carried a firearm as well. Christy did that for the latter part of her 17 year career, when she went on and off active duty at certain points. She spent a lot of time at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland doing a lot of protective service operations working with federal agencies.

Christy retired this past May, with just over 20 years of service. She decided to hang up the hat and retire because things had shifted in her life, and priorities changed with her little boys.

While spending a lot more time with her children, she still stayed heavily involved in the firearms training world which is a part of her life every day. She doesn’t do investigations anymore, but she still carries a firearm every day.

Want to hear more from Christy?  Listen to our full interview with Christy here.

How did reading about Christy’s beginnings and career with firearms make you feel? Are you a woman who carries? Have you been thinking about getting into the firearms world, but haven’t? What would your life be like now if you had taken a similar path like Christy’s? Do you respect Christy for her career choice? Share your thoughts below.