A few years ago, I had the opportunity to film a group of friends who get together every year to attend the Michigan Subgun Shoot that takes place in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

They come from far and wide to compete against each other, compare gear, have a good time, and put serious lead downrange.

Johannah Zabal after a good run with her HK MP5. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

A memorable competitor from the event was Johannah Zabal. Fairly new to the sport, her interest was sparked while watching her boyfriend Sean Callahan compete. After sitting in a few times, she gave it a go, and absolutely fell in love with select-fire subgun shooting. Over the past three years, she's competed in half a dozen matches and improved drastically.

She’s quite lucky because she got to shoot Callahan's select-fire Heckler & Koch MP5. "I'm feeling more and more comfortable with the MP5," she told Guns.com.

Where Zabal and Callahan live in Washington D.C., it's hard to shoot select-fire at local ranges. You have to be vetted to shoot full-auto. As a result, Zabal wasn't able to practice dumping full mags. "A lot of times, it's at the competition that I'm learning on the fly," she said.

By visiting the range and shooting semi-auto, she was able to improve her accuracy. Also, being an athlete helped her tremendously as competition shooting requires good physical shape and discipline.

She now gives Callahan a run for his money in competitions. She's proud to join a small but inclusive subgun shooting community that hosts a dozen or so events each year. Subgun events, like many shooting sports, are also gaining tons of interest among female shooters.


Check out our video below, originally published in 2018, on women at subgun shoots. 


Below is another fun video we made at at the Knob Creek machine gun shoot in October 2017.