Toni McBride, shoots the lights out in her career as a police officer and in competition.
Name: Toni McBride
Hometown: Ventura County, Southern California
YouTube: Toni McBride
Hook & Barrel: Tell me about growing up in SoCal.
Toni McBride: My dad is a police officer—this year he has 32 years on the job, so I grew up in a police world. It was everything that I knew. My dad’s partner and his family would come over to our house, and it really felt like one big family. I loved seeing how close they were. But growing up, I didn’t see many female officers, so I didn’t think I could be a police officer, even though that’s what I really wanted to do. As I got older, I started to see more female officers. I was like, ‘wait is this really a thing?’
When did you decide to pursue law enforcement as your career?
TM: When I was a senior, my sister decided to go into nursing, and my dad asked me, “So kid, what are you going to do with your life?” I told him I really wanted to be a police officer, and he was super supportive. I think secretly he was hoping I’d say I wanted to be a police officer, but he was never going to push me or force me into it. At the age of 18, I became the first and youngest female to complete the agency’s Level 2 Reserve Academy. I loved the reserves! I was the class leader and top shot. I was able to get a real feel for the job.
So when did you go full time as a police officer?
TM: At 20 and a half, I was able to join the academy. Again I was the youngest in my academy class. I was class leader again and was awarded top shot again as well. After six months there, I served my one-year probationary period at Rampart Division.
What do you love about law enforcement?
TM: I know that there are people out there who need help, and I feel like I was placed on this earth to help and protect people as much as I can. There are so many people in terrible, broken situations, and I want to be part of putting them back together.
When and how did you get involved with Taran Tactical?
TM: I was working one day, and my partner for the day and I went to an agency gun expo. Someone pointed Taran out to me and said I should get a picture with him, so I approached him, and we took a photo. He asked me to come out to his range and shoot, but I didn’t want to bug him, but my friend convinced me to get his number. I ended up going to the range to shoot. Taran thought I was good and asked me to be part of his team and agreed to train me. I’ve been with him ever since. I’m one of his competitive shooters and also one of his firearms instructors. I help teach classes, and I work with celebrities who are training for roles.
What’s the best part of working with Taran?
TM: I actually also do social media for them, and I started really getting some traction on social media. It was really cool that I was able to reach women and girls and teach them to not be afraid of guns and that they can protect themselves. I’ve also been able to show women who are interested in law enforcement that they can do it.
Any awesome celebrity encounters through Taran Tactical?
TM: I’ve helped Keanu Reeves, Joe Rogan, Bret Michaels from Poison, Jon Bernthal, Joel Kinnaman, and Diplo.
How has your competition shooting been going?
TM: It’s so fun! In my first competition I actually got first place. I always think I have room to improve, and I’m so appreciative of these amazing female shooters.
Did you ever shoot growing up?
TM: My dad took me once when I was about 13. I learned everything I know about guns from the academy.
What is your favorite gun that you own and what is your favorite gun to shoot?
TM: One of my favorites is my Glock 34 Taran Tactical Combat Master with the EOTECH EFLX Red Dot Sight. Probably one of the cooler guns that I own is my 2011 Combat Master from Taran Tactical—the John Wick 3 version.
What’s your five-year plan?
TM: I’m really hoping that in law enforcement, I can make canine officer or detective. I hope to have a family of my own. I hope that I am able to reach more people—inspiring more young women and girls to get involved in the firearms industry or to be police officers. It’s an amazing career, and I want to be able to model the career and answer women’s questions.
What are your interests outside of your job and shooting?
TM: I’m a devoted Christian—I listen to Christian music and watch sermons on YouTube. I have my sweet baby Danny-Boy; he’s an Australian shepherd. He pretty much goes everywhere with me. We go on hikes, and I go to the gym—I’m big into health.
I’m also very passionate about helping my fellow officers. I’m a peer support member for my department—being a law enforcement officer we deal with so many crazy things, and we don’t always have an outlet for that. So I went through a five-day training to become a peer support member, and I found out that there is a canine support unit for my agency. I just want other officers to know that they can reach out to someone, they’re not in this alone, and we’re a family.