Meet Carol (CJ) Polacek

Carol (CJ)  Polacek

My firearms experience started back in the early 1980s when I first got my carry permit in Pennsylvania. My dad and I used to shoot when I was a kid, so I was comfortable around firearms. I carried daily at that time because of the area of Pittsburgh and the off hours I used to work.  When moving to NY, I obtained my permit here as well since carrying had been such a part of my life.  I then put the firearm under lock and key for nearly 28 years while I had and raised my family and now that they are grown and gone, I have again taken up my interest in firearms with a new level of interest to expand my skill set. 

I am a former martial artist, holding rank of 2nd degree Black Belt in Okinawan Goju Ryu so self defense is not new to me.  I taught both children and adult classes for many years so both training, learning and teaching are in my blood.

When making the decision to get back into firearms, I decided that proper training was essential in order to handle my firearm safely.  What I didnt expect was how intimidating the male dominated industry was.  I took a few beginner classes in the Syracuse Area and then was introduced to Rochester Personal Defense and that is when my learning, training, and skill level began to really improve.  Like others,, I got hooked by the learning and training I was participating in through the defensive shooting and concealed carry classes I took. 

With Daves help and guidance, over the next year I was certified as an NRA and USCCA Instructor. I took every opportunity I could to attend events Like Ladies Rule the Range and GSSF matches and found the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.  I havent looked back since. 

I wanted to take my training to the next level and incorporate teaching others, especially women, safe firearm handling.  I have taught in many different areas throughout my career, so this felt like a natural step for me.  In addition to helping with safety orientation of new members through Syracuse Pistol Club, I also serve as a co-leader for The Well Armed Woman CNY Syracuse Chapter.


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