When it comes to racking up win after win, it’s pretty clear that what a pro shooter team really needs to fill their trophy cases is plenty of high-caliber (if you’ll excuse the pun) young women behind the trigger. The latest proof of this concept is Dakota Overland, the 17-year-old shotgun wunderkind on Benelli’s pro shooter team. Young Dakota just won the 2020 U.S. Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Multigun Ladies National Championship using her trusty Benelli M2 shotgun, beating 17 other female competitors in 12 different stages to take top honors.
Like many young pro shooters, Dakota got started in the shooting sports as a tween, but her first entry into the world of guns wasn’t as a competitor; instead, she built her earliest shooting experience hunting pheasants, ducks, geese, grouse and turkeys with her family.
At the age of 12, she began shooting competitively after participating in a tactical shotgun match and finding herself hooked on the thrill of competing and winning. She represented America at the 2018 International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) in France, where she garnered a bronze medal. But she although she had the skill and the heart, the much-younger Dakota found that shotgun recoil was a barrier.
"I started shooting the Benelli M2 two years ago," said Overland. "I was a lot smaller then and the recoil of the M2 is much less than my previous shotguns. This allows me to get back on target quickly and make fast and accurate shots. You can't beat the performance, and it has allowed me to better my skills and allow for serious growth."
"Dakota is a great ambassador for the shooting community and the Benelli brand," said Benelli Vice President of Brand Marketing Timothy Joseph. "She has accomplished so much at an early age and is sure to continue to grow as a shooter and become one of the top competitors in the nation. We congratulate her and wish her the best for the remainder of the shooting season."
A round of applause for Dakota is in order—and we think there’s much more to come!