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The Xtreme Defender is based on the popular Xtreme Penetrator product line. The XD ammunition has an optimized nose flute, total weight, and velocity to achieve a penetration depth up to 18 inches* with a permanent wound cavity (PWC) that is just simply enormous; no other expanding hollowpoint comes close to achieving anywhere near this diameter and volume. Not only is the PWC over 100% larger than any other expanding bullet, expansion is achieved despite being shot through barriers. The solid copper body ensures that wallboard, sheet metal, and automotive glass will have no effect on the PWC.

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*Falling within FBI guidelines This round offers: A permanent Wound Cavity (PWC) that is 2 times greater than any expanding bullet reduced recoil. CNC machined from solid copper to overcome barriers to penetration Radial flutes that force the hydraulic energy inward to build pressure Minimal surface area to increase the force at the point of contact and sharp cutting edges that defeat barriers.

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GEN 2 FAT BASTARD MUZZLE BRAKE The Gen 2 Series of brakes started where the Gen 1 left off. We came up with a solution for the shooter that has been a game changer. The Gen 2 has a nut that is a separate piece. This allows our customers to install the brake themselves at home. Installations takes about 30 seconds and has no hideous crush washers or peel washers to deal with. Additionally competitive shooters can easily remove this brake for cleaning or simply to move if from barrel to barrel. Competitors can burn through 6 barrels or more in a season at times. This means less money spent on gear and with your smith. To the gunsmith it means no hassle indexing a brake. Simply thread to spec. and go.

The most popular brake in long range competition!

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SHOOTING JOURNAL Volume 8 // Issue 2 // November 2018

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018

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MEDIA INDEX PUBLISHING GROUP WASHINGTON OFFICE P.O. Box 24365 • Seattle, WA 98124-0365 14240 Interurban Ave. S. Ste. 190 • Tukwila, WA 98168 (206) 382-9220 • (800) 332-1736 • Fax (206) 382-9437 •




(BOBBY HILL @subduedmedia)


Lauren Young is no phony “gun bunny.” Rather, this former Army MP who served in Afghanistan enjoys long-range shooting and is an Instagram-era Second Amendment, concealed carry and female empowerment influencer. Frank Jardim catches up with Young in this issue’s cover story.



“Real life is loud. It’s adrenaline, sweat, blood ... split-second decision-making.” So says a rape survivor who decided to never again be a victim and enrolled in this unique Florida tactical training camp that teaches women how to fight back. Tara Dixon Engel has the story on this year’s students as well as camp instructors.






Hornady went high tech with its Extremely Low Drag line of bullets for competition and long-range shooters. Phil Massaro details the company’s thinking in the lab and the round’s performance in the field.


In just two-dozen notes, the bugle call known as “Taps” strikes a chord that resonates in all of our souls, and it should, given its deep, rich history and meaning to the country. Frank Jardim takes a look back at some of the Red, White and Blue and other banners that have flown on U.S. battlefields and beyond over the centuries since Betsy Ross got out her needle.


Sure, there are bigger concealed carry options out there, but not all of them can fit in the small places American Derringer’s “legendary” Model 1 can, or pack its punch. Jim Dickson shares the story of this tiny pistol that can fire .45 Colts as well as .410-gauge shotgun shells.


Deep pockets aren’t required for Uberti’s version of Colt’s Model 1849 Pocket Revolver – just an appreciation for old .31-caliber percussion pistols, and reviewer Mike Nesbitt has that in spades. He reports on a “dandy little gun” that he’s enjoyed shooting.

AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL is published monthly by Media Index Publishing Group, 14240 Interurban Ave South Suite 190, Tukwila, WA 98168. Display Advertising. Call Media Index Publishing Group for a current rate card. Discounts for frequency advertising. All submitted materials become the property of Media Index Publishing Group and will not be returned. Copyright © 2018 Media Index Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher. Printed in U.S.A.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018





From giant swans on the Great Salt Lake to emperor geese along the Bering Sea to color-phase brants, Scott Haugen has traveled the continent for big, unique waterfowl. He shares how and where to take advantage of the limited hunting opportunities for uncommon birds.

More Features 26 Holiday Gift Guide


Fancy Pants Holsters:­Meeting women’s concealed needs with pleasing, stylish, adjustable designs 81 Palmetto State Armory: In-demand AK556, AK-V out now 133 Nowlin Arms, Inc.: Producing high-quality 1911s, shooting competition champions



American Shooting Journal // November 2018

19 23

Competition Calendar Gun Show Calendar 17



November 2-3

November 11

November 3

November 16

November 10

November 24

New Mexico IDPA Blue Line Pro Am Rio Rancho, N.M. Oregon TCDPL IDPA Match Sherwood, Ore.

LRSA IDPA Club Match Valdosta, Ga.

Richmond IDPA Pistol Match Richmond, Calif. Local Classifier Match Chesapeake, Va. Action Steel Handgun Match Kempner, Texas

November 10

The Masters Championship 2018 Hoover, Ala.

November 2-4

November 9-11

November 6-11

November 15-18

Missouri State USPSA Multi-Gun Championship Newburg, Mo. Area 2 Desert Classic Mesa, Ariz.

Louisiana Gator Classic Princeton, La. Duel in the Desert XII Tucson, Ariz.

November 17-18

Glock West Coast Challenge III Asuza, Calif.

November 9-11

Glock Showdown in Savannah I Savannah, Ga.

November 3-4

November 17-18

November 8-10

November 24

AL/MS Thanksgiving Border War Meridian, Miss.

Area 59 Championship Rosenberg, Texas

November 8-11

November 3-4

South Florida Section Custom Gun Classic Punta Gorda, Fla.

North American International Livestock Expo Louisville, Ky.

Nebraska CMSA Kickoff to 2019 McCook, Neb. Pile O Bones Shootout Regina, Sask.

November 11

3rd Annual Salute To Veterans Shoot Molalla, Ore.

November 3-4

November 23-25

November 10

November 24

November 17-18

November 30-December 2

Dixie Double Anniston, Ala.

Hoosier Hills Columbus, Ind.

Team Shooting Stars November PTO Carrollton, Texas

Black Knight Open Airgun Grand Prix West Point, N.Y. Outdoor 3-Position/Prone Smallbore PTO Marble Falls, Texas Winter Airgun Championships Colorado Springs, Colo. 19

PRS RESOURCE GUIDE Bolt Gun Series December 1-2

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018



C&E Gun Shows

November 3-4 November 3-4 November 10-11 November 24-25

Harrisonburg, Va. Hickory, N.C. Concord, N.C. Winston-Salem, N.C.

Rockingham County Fairgrounds Hickory Metro Convention Center Cabarrus Arena & Events Center Winston-Salem Fairgrounds

Crossroads Of The West Gun Shows

November 3-4 November 3-4 November 10-11 November 17-18 November 24-25 November 24-25 Nov. 30-Dec. 2

Tucson, Ariz. Sandy, Utah Daly City, Calif. San Bernardino, Calif. Mesa, Ariz. Costa Mesa, Calif. Phoenix, Ariz.

Pima County Fairgrounds Mountain America Expo Center Cow Palace National Orange Show Grounds Centennial Hall OC Fair and Event Center AZ State Fairgrounds

Florida Gun Shows

November 3-4 November 10-11 November 10-11 November 17-18 November 24-25

Miami, Fla. Pensacola, Fla. Lakeland, Fla. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Orlando, Fla.

Dade County Fairgrounds Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds The RP Funding Center War Memorial Auditorium Central Florida Fairgrounds

R&K Gun Shows

November 3-4 Kingsport, Tenn. November 3-4 Columbus, Ga. November 3-4 Somerset, Ky. November 10-11 East Ridge, Tenn. November 10-11 Jackson, Tenn. November 10-11 Wichita, Kan. November 17-18 Memphis, Tenn. November 17-18 Cartersville, Ga. November 23-25 Richmond, Ky. November 24-25 Knoxville, Tenn. November 24-25 Lawrenceville, Ga. November 24-25 Springdale, Ark.

MeadowView Convention Center Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center – Ironworks The Center For Rural Development Camp Jordan Arena Jackson Fairgrounds Park Century II Expo Hall Agricenter International Clarence Brown Conference Center Madison County Fairgrounds Chilhowee Park Gwinnett County Fairgrounds Encore Event Center

Real Texas Gun Shows

November 17-18

Belton, Texas

Bell County Expo Center

Tanner Gun Shows

November 3-4 November 10-11

Denver, Colo. Loveland, Colo.

Denver Mart Larimer County Fairgrounds

Wes Knodel Gun Shows

November 3-4 November 3-4 November 10-11 November 17-18

Albany, Ore. Spokane, Wash. Centralia, Wash. Portland, Ore.

Linn County Fair & Expo Center Spokane County Fair & Expo Southwest Washington Fairgrounds Portland Expo Center

To have your event highlighted here, send an email to 23 25




Outers’ 51 Piece Gunsmithing Screwdriver Kit is great for gunsmithing, installing sights or scopes, or everyday use around the home. It includes a molded driver with magnetic tip, 15 flathead bits, 10 hex bits (inch), nine hex bits (metric), four Phillips bits, nine torx bits, two extra-long Phillips bits and one hex-to-square adapter. You get all of this for only $9.99.


OPS rounds were developed to meet the wide variety of duty, defensive, and training scenarios. The lead-free and California-compliant projectile tracks straight through soft barriers, including drywall, plywood, car doors and auto glass. Upon entering soft tissue, however, OPS’s projectile fragments to transfer all of its energy into the target and minimize the risk of collateral damage.


The DeSantis Osprey Holster is a trailingslot OWB/IWB holster built from premium tan saddle leather. The belt slots will fit belts up to 1½ inches wide. The IWB strap is “cantable” and easily removed without tools. The No. 159 is available for medium and large autoloaders. Patent pending.


The Answer Tunable Muzzle Brake is specifically designed for competitive shooters with one goal in mind – winning! With 12 months of research and development behind us, we are bringing the shooting community the most effective muzzle brake that AR-15platform shooters have ever seen. $169.


The Man At ARms Rifle comes in 5.56mm and .300 Blackout, has a 16-inch barrel, overall length of 32.5 inches, weighs 6 pounds, 10- or 30-round magazine capacity and BCMGunfighter Mod 0 Stock. MSRP: $1,355.00.



The President by Nighthawk Custom is the second pistol in our sharp shooting Boardroom Series. This 5-inch range-ready Government 1911 is a shorter version of our very successful Chairman model. Windows and heavy-angle lightning cuts in the slide serve both a practical and aesthetic purpose. They allow the slide to cycle more rapidly while shooting competitively. This pistol is also available in multiple finishes, different colored barrels and grips.


The AB Arms Urban Sniper Stock X is designed and engineered for military, law enforcement and private security. The AB Arms Urban Sniper Stock X is a stronger, more compact, lightweight ergonomic precision rifle buttstock that can be used on any weapons system that utilizes a carbine-length buffer tube.

The ATLAS R-One is the newest addition to the Aero Precision Handguard lineup. Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, the R-One line of handguards feature a full top Picatinny rail, an extremely thin profile, and our proprietary ATLAS attachment system. This durable and dependable mounting platform maintains the slim profile while providing the strength and stability customers have grown to love from Aero Precision handguards. The R-One handguards range from 5.12 to 9.07 ounces in weight.


The Marksman Performance Choice Trigger from Velocity Triggers is a drop-in trigger designed to give you more customization options and improve your finger’s position on the trigger. It’s compatible with any Mil-Spec AR-15 rifle, including the AR-10. The MPC trigger is designed for precision and made in America.


Back in the 1870s, the rolling block action was introduced to the world and then thrived because of its innovative design and ease of use. Today the gun community is still in awe over the simple mechanisms that make this firearm work so well. Now available from Tippmann Armory is the beautiful case hardened Rolling Block and Raw Deal knife and hatchet set. It’s the perfect combination for your next outing. 26



No two women are built the same, so our holsters are made to be not only comfortable, but versatile, stylish and adaptable to a variety of body shapes, firearms and lifestyles. All of our holsters are handmade in America, and we offer lots of custom options.

Luth-AR now has six complete upper barrel assembly configurations in 1:9-twist barrels in 16- and 18-inch 5.56mm and 1:9-twist bull barrels in 16-, 18-, 20- and 24-inch .223. They include an A3 flattop .223 upper, bolt carrier group, 15-inch palm handguard, low-profile gas block and tube. Starting at $399.95!

Iosso’s Bore Cleaning System removes all fouling. Clean your bore in 15 minutes or less with the Iosso Bore Cleaner, Premium No Scratch Brushes and Triple Action Oil to remove carbon burn, copper, lead, and plastic wad. Chemically safe, no odor (great for the allergy prone), non-corrosive. USDA Certified Biobased. Buy all three for under $20. Great stocking stuffer!


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

IVER JOHNSON ARMS Our 10mm 6-inch ported barrel deluxe 1911 features LPA “TRT” fully adjustable, white dot rear sight with a dovetail front sight. It also has front and rear angled serrations; extended slide stop and thumb safety for easy reach; three-hole trigger and skeleton hammer; beavertail grip safety with memory cut; lowered and flared ejection port; slightly beveled magwell to make magazine changes quicker and easier; and beautiful Dymondwood walnut grips with logo. MSRP: $940



From subsonic .223 to .50 BMG, we are your source for custom ammunition from American manufacturers. Stop by to take a look around and make your purchase with confidence.

We have new gauntlets for single-stack magazine pistols, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and Glock model 43. Our gauntlets are designed specifically to increase the grip circumference so that the pistol fits better in your hand, making it much easier to control. Our gauntlets make concealed carry more comfortable by eliminating the rough surface of the original grip while still giving you better control of your gun.


The SEAL 1 SKIT R/P Gun Cleaning Kit is for rifles and pistols from .22 to .45, as well as .410 and 28-gauge shotguns. NTOA member tested, recommended. R&S PRECISION


Talk about a perfect gift for AR owners! WMD Guns’ renowned NiB-X Bolt Carrier Group drops right into most any AR (and any stocking), and requires minimal cleaning or lubrication. It’s the gift that gives smooth, reliable, low-maintenance operation year-round! Available for .223, .308 and 9mm in multiple colors/finishes!

The Boyds At-One Adjustable Stock is a laminated stock that you can adjust quickly to adapt to any shooter. This new technology allows the change of the stock’s length of pull and cheek height with a simple push of a button. These stocks are available in a variety of colors for several different rifles.


QuickLOAD/QuickTarget Ballistic prediction software accurately predicts pressures, muzzle velocities and many other results using data for over 1,200 cartridges, 3,000 bullets and 275 powders. Accurately determine bullet path once it leaves the muzzle. Users can also enter wildcat cartridge and bullet information for those “what if” situations. ULTIMATE ARMS

The all-new Warmonger .50-caliber BMG is a 12- to 14-pound shoulder-fired sniper rifle that should retail around $3,800.00 to $6,400.00.

AMERICAN TRACK TRUCK Accessing camp, getting to that remote hunting spot, and all your winter adventures are much easier and warmer in a tracked vehicle. Dominator Tracks bolt on in minutes and turn your truck or SUV into a snowcat. Contact us for details.


Made to .308 bullet specs, the six-piece Bullet Puzzle stores away in an oversized revolver cylinder. Both are made from billet aluminum and protected by a hard anodized coating. It’s a great stocking stuffer for any gun lover on your list. ALTAMONT

Altamont has recently released some high-performance, hybrid panel grips for the Ruger Mark IV that allow target shooters increased customization and flexibility. Pictured are the Ruger Mark IV Falconia Grip with Grey/Black G10 Insert for $25.00. These join the extensive Altamont offering of handgun grips, rifle stocks, accessories, and metal engraving. All made in America.


Choose the 1911 pistol barrels preferred by champion shooters! We have a proven reputation with over eight world championships and 22 national titles! Visit us online for a complete list of barrels, parts and accessories to upgrade your 1911.

With the Dual Product 1oz System Kit, FrogLube is launching a new complete system that is the future of gun care! FrogLube’s two “flagship” products, nearly 10 years in the making, are now available at our most affordable price. The kit forms the backbone of our biobased system for complete gun care. Our top-of-the-line products are available now at a bargain price. MSRP: $21.99.

Reproduction Stag-like Grips: Over 2,200 of the finest quality reproduction grips and buttplates for sale. S10 Colt 1911 .45 Gov’t Model Auto and clones. Stag-like grips are made of the best quality urethane available. Will not shrink or chip. $50.00 plus $5.00 postage.




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The 557 Sporter has a short extractor and plunger-style ejector for smooth operation and enhanced ejection. The short extractor or “push feed” system also makes it easier to single load the rifle, which many shooters prefer for range work. The receiver is machined from steel billet and is equipped with a two-position safety. To top it off, it comes with a fully adjustable trigger that allows the owner to tune weight, creep and overtravel to their liking. Available in .30-06 .270 Win., and 6.5x55.


Our backpacks are made from the absolute best materials available focusing on quality, functionality and style that conveys the spirit of the Second Amendment. They feature a proprietary Protection Pocket, plus a concealed compartment. Our Freedom Pack has a designated compartment that fits our optional 2A ballistic shield. Please stop by SHOT Show Booth #10940 to see the new and innovative products American Rebel is releasing for 2019.


BA has developed a line of ultralight, carbon fiber handguards that is on the leading edge of AR-15 weapons technology. We build for the shooter who needs uncompromising performance – day in and day out. DILLON PRECISION


The Xtreme Defender has an optimized nose flute, total weight, and velocity to achieve a penetration depth up to 18 inches (falling within FBI guidelines) with a permanent wound cavity that is simply enormous. No other expanding hollow point comes close to achieving anywhere near this diameter and volume.

Dillon’s SL 900 Shotshell Loader features automatic indexing; automatic powder and priming systems; an adjustable, case-activated shot dispenser; and its loading dies are factory adjusted to load AA hulls. The SL 900 also comes with a risk-free 30-day trial period and Dillon Precision’s famous lifetime “No B.S.” warranty.


The Mountain Hunter Rifle package can be customized with an array of Cerakote coatings and spiral or straight engraving on the stainless-steel flute, and upgraded to a carbon fiber barrel. Every Mountain Hunter Rifle is broken-in, and proven at 1,000-plus yards. This rifle is ideal for the hunter looking for maximum precision at minimal weight.


The new Reactive Vitals Series of AR500 Steel Targets feature distinctive animal shapes (deer, coyote, more), each with a reactive flapper. Hit the vitals and the flapper flips up and closes, ready for the next shot! Targets are rated for pistol at 15 yards or rifle at 100 yards minimum. FIERCE FIREARMS

Fierce Firearms is proud to admit that the Fury model is a limited version of the top-selling Edge models. That was the genius intent from the very beginning. Same action + same stock + same barrel + limited options = Same long-range accuracy and performance at a lower, affordable price that most avid hunters can afford. Each Fury rifle is backed by a ½ MOA group guarantee at 100 yards.



Concealed carry made easy! Tired of having only one holster option to offer your customers? Just Holster It has a solution, from polymer to leather holsters and more, including a wide range of accessories. We work with you to give you solutions for both men and women. Come see us at SHOT Show in Booth 4064. 30


Custom muzzle brakes for personal firearms, muzzleloaders.

American Shooting Journal // November October 2018 2018

The Professional Speed Style Holster is lined with leather to protect the finish of the gun and create a smoother draw. It’s custom molded and tooled for better retention. The carry is tight against the body and helps conceal the firearm better. The PSS has sturdy construction and is low profile. The forward cant gives you the optimal draw angle. 100-year warranty covers manufacturer workmanship (not eaten by your dog).

Kangaroo Carry Holsters provide the highest quality concealed carry firearm holsters used by law enforcement, military and legally licensed civilians since 1996. All Kangaroo Carry Air Marshal 3, Standard 3, and Micro 2 holsters are available in seven sizes ranging from 31 to 60 inches with right- and left-hand models.


Lauren Young poses during a photoshoot with the 50,000th FN America ( SCAR ever produced – and yes, it was “every bit as awesome as the other 49,999 that came before it,” she confirms. (BOBBY HILL, @SUBDUEDMEDIA)


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

LAUREN YOUNG: Veteran, Patriot, Athlete, Gun Girl

No phony ‘gun bunny,’ this former Army MP who served in Afghanistan enjoys long-range shooting and is an Instagram-era Second Amendment, concealed carry and female empowerment influencer. STORY BY FRANK JARDIM


he increasing number of women taking up shooting for self-defense and recreational purposes is shifting the demographics of the shooting sports community in huge and very positive ways. Shooting was never purely a man’s pursuit, but social mores prevalent in my generation made women on the range a rarity. Back in the Reagan era, if you saw a female on the line, she was almost certainly there with her boyfriend or husband, “trying it out.” If memory serves, this frequently took the form of the gentleman providing ego-enhancing instruction in the manly art of shooting to the fairer sex

neophytes. Around that time I taught my mother, sister and at least one girlfriend how to safely handle firearms for their protection. I remember their looks of mild anxiety during their first shots but they all quickly gained proficiency and confidence and even started to enjoy it – and then never shot again. Their abandonment of shooting wasn’t because it wasn’t fun; it was because they felt out of place and uncomfortable in what they saw as a “boy’s club” hobby.  Somehow, thank goodness, this has finally changed. One of the agents of that change is Lauren Young and if you don’t already know who she is, you will.  Lauren is a bona fide defender of the

U.S. Constitution, a devoted advocate of physical fitness, a lover of the outdoors, a serious shooting hobbyist, a patriot, a U.S. Army veteran, a college graduate with a dual Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law and Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, with an unquenchable thirst for learning, and an Instagram sensation. To her credit, she made herself all of these things with the exception of the last one, and that is extremely important to understanding who she is not. Though she is strikingly beautiful, she is no narcissist and certainly no phony “gun bunny” like you sometimes see at shooting sports show venues. Significantly, Instagram thrust fame 33

on Lauren unexpectedly after she did a fun video game fantasy cos-play photo shoot as a bad-ass, gun-wielding, dirty, bloody-bandaged, post-apocalyptic woman warrior and the photographer tagged her in the photos he posted on his Instagram account. At that time, her Instagram account was private, visible only to family and close friends. Then it was deluged with thousands of “follower” requests almost overnight and she found herself at one of those crossroads life occasionally lays before us. She had no desire for fame – in fact had never even considered the possibility of it – and she was pretty busy. She was completing her last enlistment in the Army and the college campus was replacing Uncle Sam as the focus of her life. Eventually, she recognized that her newly acquired Instagram popularity had the potential to empower her to promote the things she believed in and possibly help her make a living post-Army. She decided to put herself up to public scrutiny in the digital world to see what would happen. People clearly liked what they saw because she garnered over 183,000 followers without even trying. She posts maybe every other day. About

A model, Young hikes in the mountains in North Carolina while carrying a Seekins Precision Havak ( bolt action. (BOBBY HILL, @SUBDUEDMEDIA)

Young works out in the gym as a student at University of Nevada in Reno, where she earned her BA. “My first job was working in a gym. It was the only place around that would give me a job at 15 years old,” she says. (@AYEALIX)


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

half her photos include firearms, far outstripping in numbers everything else (gym workouts, outdoor activities, patriotic/military themes and a very small smattering of obligatory selfies). There are lots of pretty women on Instagram, but good looks are clearly not the only source of her popularity. Unlike many female Instagram stars whose photos often border on soft porn, Lauren is modest in the way any father would hope his daughter would be. She has an obvious vanity about showing off her abs, a weakness she admits but endearingly qualifies with, “I’ve worked so hard to get that flat tummy.” She’s justifiably proud of her toned physique. Her weekly workout regimen is as much about the benefit it brings her mind as her body. She does this for herself, not for

the approval of others. She became an Instagram sensation by being in the right place at the right time and just being herself. Lauren’s looks got her noticed, but the fact is that the Second Amendment community wants and needs more genuine female advocates and her passion for shooting sports, along with her core values of love of country, the military, and reverence for the Constitution, made her a natural representative. She is what the social media world calls an “influencer.” If Instagram followers equated to votes, she is building the kind of numbers that could sway an election.   In person, I’ll tell you Lauren is gregarious, articulate, obviously educated, confident and so lithe you have to wonder if she has the

Young did her premobilization training (top row) in El Paso, Texas, in 2011 before going to Afghanistan. “We did a lot of training to protect convoy routes and when we got there, the Army had us guard terrorists in jail,” says Young. “That’s the Army.” During her deployment she also visited a market (bottom left), where “apparently I needed to remind the locals I was armed,” she jokes, and paused for a selfie with one of her closest friends, Kris, before night flight ops with their commander and Blackhawk pilot, Capt. Gonzales. (LAUREN YOUNG, ALL)

upper body strength to shoot a rifle offhand. She does because she works her guns with weight training at the gym. On the range she is no wallflower. She likes to shoot the Barrett .338 Lapua and the Magnum Research .50 Action Express Desert Eagle. After eight years in the Army as an MP, including a tour in Afghanistan, she’s not in the least bit 36

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

intimidated at being the only female there. Shooting is among her favorite hobbies and she’s devoted the time to study the aspects that intrigue her and develop her skills. She is the exact female equivalent of a “gun guy.” Lauren is representative of a growing demographic of “gun girls.” She agreed to share her experiences so we can see what the shooting world looks like

through the eyes of women shooters.

American Shooting Journal Who are your Instagram followers? Lauren Young My Instagram followers are about 80 percent male, between 25 and 44, from all over the country. Of course I’m appreciative of my male followers but I would love to attract more women to my page.

ASJ What does social media fame feel like? LY I didn’t feel anything about it at first. But as it started to grow, people wanted to know about me, my history, who I was and what I’d done. I began to enjoy that aspect. It is kind of flattering when you think about it. Praise is nice. Praise about things that are important to me is even nicer. I felt like I’d become an ambassador for the 2A community, and I had a responsibility to represent my people, and myself, for who we are. You know, I frequently get messages suggesting I show more skin. A bikini definitely adds to your fame and notoriety, and once or twice a few years ago I posted a photo of myself at the lake in suitable, two-piece swimming attire, but now I think twice before I post that stuff. If I am known, I want to be known for who

I am and what I represent, not how I look holding a gun, or holding a gun in my underwear. I’m happy with my body; I don’t feel the need to show it off to get followers and I certainly don’t need outside validation at this point in my life. In a sense, I am now a product, or more accurately, an intellectual property or brand, and posing in lingerie would water down and distract from my brand’s character. My brand is not about T&A. It’s about the message.  ASJ What does the Lauren Young brand represent exactly? LY First off, I didn’t invent it. I learned it. It is based in love of country, and respect for the constitutional protections that made our republic the most open, productive and free society on Earth. I swore an oath to protect the United States and our

Constitution when I was in uniform. I take that just as seriously today as I did when I enlisted. Sadly too many people are almost completely ignorant of the body of law that establishes our freedoms. I may be sounding a little like a lawyer now, but this is my thing. If you take the time to read the Constitution, you see how it is like an iron bridge supporting freedom above an abyss of tyranny. You can’t just start pulling away beams from that bridge and expect freedom to endure. Attacking any constitutional right attacks them all, which seems lost on certain people. It begs a question regarding the basic intelligence of some of them and the real agenda of the smartest among them.  You could say the other part of my brand is my role as the new “gun girl.” I define that as a serious woman shooting hobbyist. I don’t want to be perceived as the shooting community’s “it” girl. I really love the shooting sports and I enjoy them to the fullest extent I can. Part of the fun is the interaction with other gun people. Shooting is not a guy sport anymore. It’s actually anyonewho-can-hold-a-gun’s sport. No woman should feel out of place on the range or a gun shop anymore. We are holding ourselves back more than anything else. The range is just waiting for us to put on our ear and eye protection and take our place on the line. ASJ It seems young women hunters of late have been the targets of vicious trolling online. Death threats are common. Your thoughts? LY Don’t be bullied. No woman shooter or hunter has to apologize to her XX chromosome sisters for liking guns.

Young admits to pretending not to struggle holding up a “monster” Barrett .50 BMG earlier this year at SHOT Show. (BOBBY HILL, @ SUBDUEDMEDIA)


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

ASJ I keep hearing about more and more women taking up shooting, but I haven’t seen all that many shooting outside of hunting. Where are all the lady shooters? LY Women are used as a tool to drive interest, and profit, in the shooting sports world but they aren’t being fully engaged by the community at the grassroots level. They are often made

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Young takes aim with her Glock four years ago during range qualification for her concealed carry permit. “By this time I had transitioned into a full-fledged recreational shooter,” she says. “I don’t think my male instructors or classmates expected the woman in the class to be among the most competent in her pistolcraft.” (LAUREN YOUNG)


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to feel inferior in several ways and this is both insulting and annoying. I’ve been spoken down to, patronized, called “sweetheart,” and been the butt of some sexist backhanded jokes from guys I could outshoot hungover and left-handed. One gun shop employee was showing me a pistol once, and when he mentioned the trigger he pointed to it and said, “The trigger is this thing right here.” I got the feeling he used that joke a lot with female customers. Why on Earth would a gun guy want to insult an intelligent woman? All that will do is turn her off to shooting. Piss off an intelligent woman and you make a powerful enemy. She’ll tell every other woman she knows.  The 2A community needs as many allies as we can get. Guys would be well advised to treat the women that come in the gun store, or the ones you meet on the range, in the same friendly and respectful manner they would interact with a male shooter. If you don’t, you are cheating them out of the camaraderie that makes hobbies so

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018

much more fun and that’s mean. You’re also cheating the 2A community out of an ally and that’s stupid. ASJ You didn’t grow up shooting. Was it the Army that got you interested in firearms and shooting sports? LY You would think so, but that’s not the case. The military has a way of making stuff that should be fun the exact opposite of fun with all the rules and schedules that put you on the range in the rain and mud, burning heat and dust, or butt freezing cold and snow. They spoiled shooting for me and made it a chore. I didn’t try shooting recreationally until I’d already been in the Army maybe four years. Some friends invited me out to the desert and we had a blast longrange target shooting and picking off those pesky coyotes. It opened up a whole new world for me. ASJ What are your observations on the M9 pistol and M4 carbine as a rather small-statured person? I see your hands are pretty small.

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LY I’ve learned with the right platform it can become a part of you, regardless of size. In the Army when you don’t have a choice in the matter it can make things difficult, but you manage. ASJ Why did you join the Army? LY I got excellent grades in high school but college wasn’t an option for me because the money just wasn’t there for it. My mom was working her butt off to support me and my older brother and sister and we were still barely above the poverty line. This is going to sound cheesy, but when I was a 17-year-old senior I saw an Army recruiting commercial on TV and wondered how I didn’t think of it before because I love my country. In my young mind it became the only option. There was a recruiting station virtually across the street from my school. I signed up on my 18th birthday.  We had no military tradition in our family and they didn’t know what to think. I actually wanted to be a fireman, but that was an Air


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

Force MOS and I wasn’t going to join that because I didn’t want people to make fun of me for picking a cushy service. I wanted to show I was up for the challenge of the Army. They had military police. I had a few relatives who were cops and I liked the idea of serving the service and doing route security in the HMMWV with the machine gun on top when I got deployed. I was trained to be route security but ended up with the tedious job of prison guard for terrorist dirtbags when I got to Afghanistan. ASJ Were you ever under fire? LY Just harassing mortar fire, but that became so commonplace after awhile we got tired of running to our bunker and some of us would just pretend we didn’t hear the alarm and stay right where we were. The Taliban mortar men they had on us were lousy shots. We couldn’t figure why they would shoot at a prison full of their own guys, and then it dawned on us they just can’t hit what they aim at except by accident.

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“If I am not shooting or working out, you’ll usually find me reading, or occasionally releasing my inner nerd through a little video gaming like Star Craft, Metal Gear Solid, Far Cry, Wolfenstein, The Division, of course Ghost Recon, or my all-time favorite, Bioshock,” says Young. “If I am outside, you’ll likely find me with my Jeep or longboard.” (BOBBY HILL, @SUBDUEDMEDIA)

ASJ Why did you leave the Army after eight years? LY I was actually planning to go to law school on the Army dime and be a JAG officer and then I realized that meant another eight years of having my life guided by people who might be a lot less smart than me just because they outranked me. I was proud of my service, but it was time for me to make my own path. ASJ Where has that path taken you? LY Well, I finished college with a 3.6 GPA but I can’t say that I think being an attorney is going to give me the fulfillment I want. At least not at this time. I’ve done a lot of modeling work, which is funny to me. In high school I was awkward and skinny and I really thought I needed to get a personality and be interesting because if I had to rely on my looks I was really going to be screwed. The collective 2A community has embraced me and I find myself doing more and more work both to protect our rights and support the industry


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

as a spokesperson, writer and video producer. I’ve been doing a weekly video for Tactical Life Magazine online ( for a few months now called Free Gun Friday. I will only work with manufacturers I believe in and I’m especially interested in helping veteran-owned businesses. I help them with affiliate marketing, but not on my Instagram site. I don’t want to piss off my followers I also do social media consulting to help businesses understand social media and maximize its advertising potential. To maintain relevancy on social media, you need to shift fire as their algorithms change. My work there isn’t limited to the firearms industry. Just about all businesses can benefit from a good social media presence. ASJ Any new projects in the works? LY Of course, but none that I’m ready to talk about! [Laughs] ASJ Where are your shooting interests taking you these days? LY I like shooting pistol but I prefer

the discipline and mechanics of longrange rifle and want to get much better. Maybe someday shoot longrange professionally? Who knows! ASJ I know you are an advocate for concealed carry and a disciplined practitioner. What is your preferred pistol? LY The Glock 43. It’s a very compact, six-shot, single-stack magazine, 9mm that weighs only about 20 ounces loaded and it’s very thin, just a bit over an inch at the thickest point. It’s a good compromise between power, controllability, accuracy and concealability. Most men have an easier time concealing a pistol on their body than the average woman. Obviously, a lot of women’s fashion just doesn’t lend itself to holster carry on the waist. A thick holster makes it even harder to conceal. If I have a jacket, sweater or draping shirt to cover it, I prefer appendix carry to anything else for on-the-body concealment. Otherwise, I will have it in my purse with my

holster attached to the inside pocket so I can pull it out fast without pulling the holster out too. This way I always know exactly where in my purse the pistol will be. I can deal with rooting around in there for my ponytail scrunchie, but if I need to pull my gun, I need to do it fast. The holster also prevents stuff from getting caught up in the pistol. This is really important for revolvers that have more openings for things to get stuck in. It would be bad to draw your gun and find it gummed up with a melted Jolly Rancher. A delicious candy, but it has no place inside a firearm. ASJ The anti-gun lobby has tried to scare the uninformed public away from gun ownership by twisting survey research to “prove” that privately owned guns are more likely to end up being used to harm a family member than to protect. They do it by citing examples of suicides, accidents and the use of guns in domestic disputes, even though the latter is clearly a criminal misuse of a firearm. What do you

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018

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say to the non-gun-owning woman who is worried about her safety, but misinformed by this propaganda? LY The anti-gun groups want to conveniently overlook that most American households have one or more firearms in them and don’t have accidents, or the tragedy of a family member taking their own life, or domestic violence. They also don’t look at the real way firearms, and especially concealed carry firearms, protect us most of the time. Most of the time the weapon is never shot, much less drawn. My experience is that concealed carry is a deterrent to crime. ASJ You have a specific example. LY Recently I had an encounter that reminded me why I decided to get a license and carry a gun for protection. It happened in the parking lot of the local Goodwill store. I drove by myself and was in the process of dropping off a few armloads of donations when, during my several trips back and forth to my Jeep, I noticed a guy in a car eyeing me, and then in accented and

broken English he tried to talk to me. I could understand a few words, “baby” and “gorgeous.” I ignored him because he seemed like a creep and I didn’t want to encourage his unwelcome come on. Making verbal advances to a woman from a car window in a parking lot is not a classy move, even if you can speak the language. After I dropped the last load I began to walk back to my Jeep and I saw him again. He was doing circles in the parking lot! I got into my Jeep immediately and locked the doors and looked around for him. I didn’t see him again so I hoped maybe he got the point. I looked down at my phone for a few seconds to look for a song to play and when I looked up, I saw him in the mirror walking up to my Jeep. I put my hand on my pistol grip but didn’t draw while he came up and began banging aggressively on my window speaking incomprehensibly in bad English. I told him several times to go away but he kept on banging on my window. I thought it was about to break. At that point I held up my

pistol by my side so he could see I was armed and screamed “Get back!” and he ran off. That’s why I carry a pistol. That creep might have given up eventually, or maybe not. I was ready either way. The gun was there if things got bad. The reason they didn’t get bad wasn’t because I had the gun. It was because I kept my situational awareness. I saw that guy for the threat he might be and locked myself in the car. Your awareness is the main line of defense, especially if you are a woman. My CCW license and my pistol are not symbols of paranoia. My CCW license and my pistol represent opportunity to influence the outcome of a bad encounter and having a say in what happens to me. I’m not bloodthirsty. I don’t live in a state of paranoid anticipation to use it. I hope I never have to. I hope nothing happens to me where I am forced to use it ... but if I happen to be one of the unlucky ones … if I happen to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time … I assure you I won’t go silently. 

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018


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CAMP It's 'pedal to the metal' at this unique advanced Florida tactical training course for women.



he ladies stream off the range grinning broadly, their hands dripping with “blood,” their bodies drenched in sweat and their shirts stained red. They have just completed one phase of the day’s rigorous exercises, but it is one of the most emotionally intense, and certainly the messiest. The entire day is a high-energy “pedal to the metal” experience, a chance for the women to test themselves in a gunfight or close-quarters encounter without actually facing danger, but still a chance to find their limits – and push beyond them. This is a truly unique personal defense experience. This is “Wo-Man Camp.” The event was held on September 15, taught by Assault Counter Tactics (ACT) and hosted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP). On this late summer morning, 16 experienced female shooters gathered on the range at the American Police Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida, for the third year in a row, eager to test the limits of their training and equipment. They knew they would not be disappointed. “We conduct our training at the NACOP facility because few other ranges allow the flexibility and tactical

Wo-Man Camp participant Rita Holbrook clears a National Association of Chiefs of Police-owned condo in an exercise that builds awareness and stress tolerance. 51

Attendee Kathy Varela (left) deals with a close encounter that includes blood packets, while Deb Sullivan (below) shows off the “bloody” hands that challenged her ability to hold onto the gun and rack the slide.

intensity that NACOP does,” says Assault Counter Tactics founder Paul Pawela. “We can never completely replicate a real-world tactical encounter, but we can come close and we can push people to extremes to see how they react. ACT is dedicated to helping people prepare for a defensive encounter with as much realism as is safe and possible.” Pawela himself knows something about realistic defensive encounters, having trained under self-defense guru Masaad Ayoob and many other icons of combat instruction. Pawela also serves as Director of Law Enforcement Training for NACOP and is retired from the 10th Special Forces Group, having served as a SOCOM handto-hand combat instructor. He is a graduate of three police academies and has worked for three different 52

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

police agencies, in addition to his status as lead firearms instructor for American Warrior and previously serving as adjunct instructor for the Lethal Force Institute, Defensive Training Inc., American Small Arms Academy, Red Man and ARMA. But despite the impressive credentials, it was Pawela’s fiancée, school teacher Linda Keesling, who breathed life into the Wo-Man Camp concept. “When Paul and I started conducting training, we found that

a lot of women wanted to be able to train without men beside them, to be able to ask questions and learn in a more female-centric environment, so we started a program called Ladies Camp. There was no range time; it was more force-on-force training, focusing on how to divert or escape an attack, because some women just can’t carry a gun – like me, because I am a teacher,” Keesling explains. At the same time, ACT was conducting Man Camp at the NACOP facility, offering the guys a day of intensive tactical training with handto-hand techniques, realistic range training and simunitions exercises. “One of our Ladies Camp participants came to me and said, ‘Hey, I just saw the video from Man Camp. I want to do what they’re doing!’” Keesling recalls. Pawela admits that he initially resisted the idea. The trainer is known for his gruff, unapologetically un-PC instruction (“I’m preparing people for a life-threatening encounter, not a kindergarten party,” he scoffs) and he simply wasn’t sure whether “the ladies really wanted Man Camp-style intensity. Plus, I didn’t know how I would translate that kind of tactical training into something they would be comfortable with.” He acknowledges now that he shouldn’t have worried. “They were more than ready to face the same kind of challenges that the men were handed in Man Camp,” he nods. Keesling adds that the original class didn’t care for the Ladies Camp moniker and suggested it be changed to Woman Camp – and not just Woman, but Whoa-Man! “So Wo-Man Camp was born, and the first year we had about 30 women take part. We offered sessions in ground fighting, knife handling, rifle, handgun and shotgun exercises. It was a huge success, so much so that we doubled participation in 2017 with 60 women taking part,” Keesling says. “That was actually a little too much. We had five teams of 12 who alternated activities every 90 minutes. The ladies were exhausted by day’s end, and so were our trainers.”

Instructor Paul Pawela assists Julie Phillips as she attempts to shoot the course while wearing “drunk goggles” that simulate the physical impact of blood loss.

THIS YEAR’S CLASS was limited to women with advanced shooting skills. The huge 2017 class had included a number of women who’d never shot before. “It was tough to push them as hard as the class demands if they’d never held and shot a firearm,” Keesling says. One of the unique aspects of the ACT classes at the Police Hall of Fame is that you never know who your co-instructors might be. Pawela has welcomed folks like Dave “Boon” Benton (Benghazi hero and co-author of 13 Hours), Gary O’Neal (Ranger Hall of Famer and author of American Warrior), Max Mullen (Ranger Hall of Famer, retired master sergeant and

Col. Danny McKnight, US Army (ret.), was a guest speaker, reflecting on the anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu and his memories of the incident that inspired the book and film Black Hawk Down.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

Deb Sullivan shoots from concealment as range officer RJ Rasor looks on.

actor) and E.J. Owens (founder of Legally Concealed and author of The Science of Gunfighting). This year was no exception, as the ladies were treated to a moving visit with Col. Danny McKnight, commander of the famed Black Hawk Down/Battle of Mogadishu mission, which marked its 25th anniversary on October 3. A unique tactical component was also added by the presence of blood packets on the range mannikins used in live fire exercises. “There is nothing clean or easy about defensive encounters,” Pawela explains. “If it is a close-quarters situation – and most are – then the assailant may be bleeding. You may be bleeding. You’ll definitely be sweating and just keeping hold of the gun can be a challenge.” The addition of “booze goggles” simulated the vision and perception issues of the “drunk feeling” that accompanies blood loss. Multiple range officers were on-hand to make sure the ladies stayed safe, but it was still a tactical experience that left them breathless, with hearts racing. Two other popular components included a room-clearing exercise with SIRT guns, where the ladies cleared a condo owned by NACOP while being evaluated by retired law enforcement. Another hit was time spent in the facility’s new use-of-force

simulator. The state-of-the-art sim was recently donated to NACOP by TI Training of Golden, Colorado, for just this type of scenario. “We’re so grateful to TI Training because we now have the chance to train LEOs and civilians alike on the seat-of-the-pants decisionmaking that happens with a tactical encounter,” Pawela says. FOR ERICA BROWN of Coconut Creek, Florida, these kinds of unique training experiences are exactly why she has attended Wo-Man Camp for the past three years. “While I love shooting at paper on the range – it’s fun and very stress-relieving – it does not compare to tactical training. Real life is not paper,” she says. “Real life is loud. It’s adrenaline, sweat, blood, and it is split-second decision-making. I believe it’s imperative that we train the way we fight and if we don’t train to make the split-second decisions under stress, with sweaty or bloody hands, or impaired vision, our odds of surviving the fight are significantly lowered.” The 47-year-old especially enjoys the “shoot/no-shoot” drills, where students must make the decision whether to pull the trigger under intense pressure. “Paul and the other trainers and RSOs stood behind me yelling ‘Shoot!’ on the no-shoots and to ‘Don’t shoot!’

Sullivan cautiously looks for bad guys as she practices her room-clearing skills under the watchful eyes of several retired law enforcement officers.

on the shoots. They’d scream and shout as bystanders might – ‘OMG, why did you shoot him!? He didn’t do anything!’ or ‘Watch out! He’s going to shoot you!’ ‘What are you doing!? Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him!’” she says, adding that she always runs this particular session multiple times, “because I really like it.” Brown is a huge advocate of the unusual training approach she experiences through ACT at the NACOP facility. “I believe Paul has a different perspective on training needs, and his curriculum reflects this ‘thinking outside the box’ training style,” she notes. “Real life is not going to fit in one box and it is never going to happen like we train for it to. The best way to counter that is to train in a variety of different ways.” For Brown, the training is more than theoretical. Having had an 56

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unsettling encounter with victimhood, she has pushed through her fears and memories by empowering herself and seeking defensive knowledge. “As a woman who has survived abuse, rape and an attempted murder, I live every day knowing that the man who assaulted and almost killed me – and later murdered another woman – will be released from prison in just a few years. Carrying around that fear and those memories was crippling. But now I refuse to be afraid of (his release) and I refuse to let that knowledge, or those memories, cripple me,” she says. Brown’s journey from victim to survivor included several formative moments, one of which occurred during the first Wo-Man Camp. “Paul felt it was critically important that we learn how it would feel and sound if we had to shoot an assailant. First, we ran the drill with SIRT guns, then the ACT trainers loaded a gun

with blanks – and I want to stress that this was a very controlled and very safe environment – and one of the ACT trainers, wearing a full-body, padded assailant suit, pinned us against the wall. We had to react quickly. We had to push him away from us, safely draw our gun, and shoot him,” Brown recalls. “The man who raped me also strangled me, nearly to the point of me passing out and dying. Since then, I’ve had a very difficult time with anyone or anything touching my neck. I was terrified to have someone, in an aggressive manner, grab my neck, even knowing that it was a safe environment and that I wasn’t gonna get hurt. I cried a little on the inside, then sucked it up and powered through. I did not freak out when he grabbed my neck, and I did not hesitate when I had to push him away and pull the trigger. I did it! I cannot express what that single experience

Prior to the sweat, blood and adrenaline of Wo-Man Camp, this year's class posed for a group photo. Seated at far left in the second row and wearing all black is Erica Brown, whose journey from victim to fighter is recounted in this article.

did for me. It took me a year to thank Paul and explain why that experience was so important.” For Pawela, Brown’s gratitude was an affirmation of everything WoMan Camp stands for and, in fact, everything ACT and NACOP seek to


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

achieve with their advanced tactical training. “I have a policy with Assault Counter Tactics that anyone who can document they were a victim of a violent crime has free training for life, because their stories and struggles

are why we exist,” Pawela says soberly. “This is like a ministry to me, as we work to prevent violent encounters in the future. Brave folks like Erica are the true heroes who have overcome their circumstances and have learned to stand proud and fight back.” Next year’s Wo-Man Camp is slated for August 24, despite the fact Pawela considered discontinuing it after this year. “He says that every year,” Keesling laughs. “The ladies won’t let him quit. And every year he hears more stories like Erica’s and it only renews his commitment to do everything he can to make people safe and give them the skills they need to survive a tactical encounter. It’s just who he is and what motivates him.”  Editor’s note: For more about Assault Counter Tactics tactical training, email or call (321) 821-8801. For more about the National Association of Chiefs of Police, call (321) 264-0911 ext. 133 or go to

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018


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hen Rebekah Meyer got her concealed carry license back in 2009, she was eager to start carrying. But after trying several holster options, she was disappointed to find that not only were they uncomfortable but they did little to conceal her firearm. “They just weren’t designed for a woman’s body and clothing, at least not this woman’s!” says Meyer. “So I stopped even trying to carry for a while, while I put my sewing skills to good use. After some experimentation and a prototype or two, I finally came up with a design that was both comfortable and functional for my purposes. I had no idea of selling holsters until a few female friends saw mine and begged me to make them one. Pretty soon I realized that there were many women out there, willing and eager to carry their gun, but unable to find a suitable holster that would allow them to do so in comfort.” After a few modifications, the Fancy Pants Holster was launched in 2013, and the company has been steadily growing ever since. They now offer three separate holster designs, all handmade in the U.S., with a heavy

Fancy Pants Holsters offers three different designs specifically made for women’s bodies.

focus on durability, ease of use, quality and affordability. “As a busy mother and business owner, I needed a holster that would stay comfortable all day long, even in our hot Arizona summers, and not interfere with my normal daily activities,” explains Meyer. “The polyester fabric wicks moisture away from the body and stays fairly cool, while the waterproof layer between the back panels keeps the gun dry even if

you perspire heavily. The wide elastic is smooth to avoid irritation – we also offer latex-free options – and allows for a flexible fit if the wearer’s weight fluctuates. The holster can easily be shifted from side to side, which allows you to find the best concealment position for whatever you’re wearing, and it doesn’t need to be removed when you need to use the restroom. Of course, what makes our holsters comfortable for women also makes 63


“I needed something soft but sturdy, with very little stretch, that will wick moisture away from the body, and wash and wear well,” says owner Rebekah Meyer of her materials.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

them comfortable for men, and we’re happy to offer men’s holsters as well.” Meyer has partnered with Apex Mills, which also supplies fabric to the U.S. military, to find the ideal fabric for Fancy Pants holsters. “I needed something soft but sturdy, with very little stretch, that will wick moisture away from the body, and wash and wear well,” she says. “The polyester fabric is made right here in the USA and is perfect for this application.” Because the female body tends to be narrower in the shoulders and waist and wider in the hips than that of the male, “holsters made for men tend to stick out like a sore thumb on women,” says Meyer. Her designs are made with women’s bodies in mind. “Our waist holster has always been our most popular holster, since it works on nearly every body type and with nearly any pistol,” she says. “It has options for appendix as well as kidney carry, and can even be modified to be

used both ways. It’s thin enough not to be too warm, flexibly moves with the body as you go about your usual activities, yet is very sturdy, and can even be worn throughout pregnancy. While it’s most easily concealed under jeans, it can just as easily be worn under workout clothes, shorts, scrubs, skirts and even some dresses. It can be worn while out hiking or running, and even stays comfortable when riding horses or motorcycles. Most women forget they’re even wearing it, as it doesn’t have the same corset-like ‘cinching’ effect of the Bosom Buddy.” Meyer continues, “The Bosom Buddy holster is designed to take advantage of the female shape, and does a fantastic job of concealing the gun under the bust. It has a snug fit around the ribs that doesn’t budge with normal activity, and keeps the gun easily accessible. It’s my own favorite carry method, though a little more care needs to be given to choice of

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shirts, since nothing tight-fitting will allow for that type of concealment. It’s a great option for women who find it difficult to find clothes to conceal in a waistband holster, though gun size needs to be more of a consideration.” Fancy Pants Holsters works carefully with each customer to make sure the holster will suit their specific needs, as far as fit, fabric and configuration. They even began offering Kydex trigger guards for those women who like the added safety measure. “Our customers really appreciate our attention to detail and customer service,” says Meyer. “They also love how versatile and practical our holsters are – they’re completely machine washable and have quite a bit of wiggle room in case of weight loss or gain. They work both for plus-sized and petite women, and are equally popular with the novice and the quite experienced shooter. The holsters are easy to put on and draw from, and are easily incorporated into your daily routine.” The holsters also come in an array of fabric, lace and color options. “Women love expressing their style, and we go out of our way to make our holsters attractive to the eye as well as comfortable to wear,” she adds. “While concealed carry is never 100-percent comfortable at all times, our holsters are thoughtfully designed to make it as unobtrusive as possible, and our customers appreciate that they don’t need to change their wardrobe to conceal in them.” As the women’s concealed carry market continues to thrive, Fancy Pants Holsters is constantly working to come up with more features and options to improve on their designs so that more women can carry comfortably, says Meyer. “We want women to be consistent and confident carrying their firearm, and giving them a truly comfortable holster is the fastest way to make that happen!”  Editor’s note: For more information, visit 66

American Shooting Journal // November 2018



American Shooting Journal // November 2018

TAPS It’s just 24 notes, but the bugle call has a deep, rich history. STORY BY DANIELLE BRETEAU


he story and origin of the bugle call known as “Taps” can be found in many versions, including the legend of a son fighting on the opposing side of the Civil War from his father. This legend depicts a Northern boy who was killed fighting for the Confederates. His father, Robert Ellicombe, a captain in the Union Army, came upon his son’s body and found the notes to “Taps” in the pocket of the dead boy’s uniform. When Union General Daniel Sickles heard the story, he had the notes played at the boy’s funeral. While this very short version of the legend is deeply meaningful to anyone who reads it, historical documents show us another story. According to tactics manuals of the time, as well as letters on record, “Taps” was a modified version of a previously known Scottish “tattoo.” The term tattoo was originally a form of military music. The tattoo titled “Extinguish Lights,” meaning lights out at the end of the day, was played each night for the troops even before the Civil War and was borrowed

from the French. This is documented in Silas Casey’s (1801-82) tactics manual, among others of the time. The song was even referred to as the “go to sleep” song by the soldiers. To look back even further into history you will find that the word tattoo was most likely derived from an early 17th century Dutch phrase “doe den tap toe,” meaning, “turn off the tap.” This signal, sounded by drummers or trumpeters, instructed innkeepers near military garrisons to stop serving beer and for soldiers to return to their barracks. Union General Daniel Butterfield (Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac) is credited with writing “Taps” as we know it today, and according to a series of letters, “Taps” was a modified version of this previously known and used tattoo. One of the letters on record depicts how General Butterfield used his version in battle: “I had composed a call for my brigade, to precede any calls, indicating that such were calls, or orders, for my

Day is done, gone the sun, From the hills, from the lake, From the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fades the light; And afar Goeth day, and the stars Shineth bright, Fare thee well; day has gone, Night is on.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, May the soldier or sailor, God keep. On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.

Thanks and praise, For our days, ‘Neath the sun, neath the stars, ‘Neath the sky, As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Love, good night, Must thou go, When the day, and the night Need thee so? All is well. Speedeth all To their rest. 69

brigade alone. This was of very great use and effect on the march and in battle. It enabled me to cause my whole command, at times, in march, covering over a mile on the road, all to halt instantly, and lie down, and all arise and start at the same moment; to forward in line of battle, simultaneously, in action and charge etc. It saves fatigue. The men rather liked their call, and began to sing my name to it. It was three notes and a catch. I cannot write a note of music, but have gotten my wife to write it from my whistling it to her, and enclose it. The men would sing, ‘Dan,

Dan, Dan, Butterfield, Butterfield’ to the notes when a call came. Later, in battle, or in some trying circumstances or an advance of difficulties, they sometimes sang, ‘Damn, Damn, Damn, Butterfield, Butterfield.’” If you read further, General Butterfield mentions he solicited the help of someone who could actually write music, although he could also play the bugle, as that was an important duty of his position. Butterfield lengthened some notes and shortened others until he achieved the sound that he felt was appropriate. It is said that buglers from surrounding

camps, after hearing Butterfield’s bugle calls, would come and ask for the tune, which he freely shared.  Author’s note: There are many thoughts on the origin of “Taps.” I would like to personally thank Jari A. Villanueva, who is a bugler and bugle historian. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory and Kent State University, Villanueva was the curator for the Taps Bugle Exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery from 1999-2002. He has been a member of the United States Air Force Band since 1985 and is considered the country’s foremost authority on the bugle call of “Taps.”


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American Shooting Journal // November 2018

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Salute to Veterans

GARY REEDER CUSTOM GUNS Now is the time to salute all those who have given their lives for the sake of the country. You are not just soldiers, you are our heroes. Let us never forget the sacrifices you have made for us. From all of us at The Earphone Connection, have a very happy and proud Veteran’s Day. We are honored to work with you!

Thank you, veterans, for all you have done!

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We at Fancy Pants Holsters are a Marine Corps veteran family, and understand both the importance of the job, and the cost to the families of our fellow military service members. We are proud to make holsters that offer quality, comfort and versatility to both men and women, and we strive to serve our customers to the best of our ability. We are pleased to offer a discount to all military, law enforcement, fire department, and first responder members and their dependents. It’s only a small thank you to those who give so much of themselves and face danger, and uncertainty, every day with courage and conviction, as well as to their families. We hope that our customers gain a sense of confidence and security, facilitated by the option to carry a concealed firearm comfortably and unobtrusively. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. • 928-985-0102

Rio Grande Custom Grips is pleased to support our veterans and military personal. As a manufacturer of full-color imaged grips, we currently manufacture grips for the following gun models: the FS1911, Compact 1911, New Model Vaquero, Ruger Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk, Old Action Army, Old Model Vaquero, Sig P238, Sig P938, and Beretta M9, 92 and 96. We offer several veteran themed grips: The “Vietnam Vets,” the “POW-MIA” and the “American Spirit” grips are such examples and are shown in the display. We also have several camo designs to choose from. 71


A look back at the history of some of our Red, White and Blue banners. STORY BY FRANK JARDIM

don’t know if you can be a patriot and not get choked up a bit when you see Old Glory flying in the breeze. My thoughts go first to the sacrifices of our military forces, because without them, we could not protect and preserve our unique way of life from outside aggression. The design of our flag represents


our republic. The 13 stripes remind us of our nation’s birth, with the brave rebellion of the original 13 colonies from Great Britain. A star represents each state in the blue field of the union that collectively make up the United States of America. I ask you to ponder for a moment the significance of that. The collective talent and treasure of the 50 states,

working together in areas of common interest for their collective good, within the governing framework of our Constitution, allowed the United States of America to become the most productive and powerful nation on Earth by 1918. Here are a few our great nation’s most famous flags.


Before the familiar stars and stripes became official, our military forces went into battle under many unique flags. Perhaps the most famous of them is the one presented by Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden to the fledging U.S. Navy’s commander-in-chief in December of 1775. It was intended as a personal standard to be flown on the flagship. The coiled rattlesnake was by then a familiar element in the imagery of the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin suggested the rattlesnake had many qualities in common with the new republic. Among them were lidless eyes that were always vigilant, and a peaceful nature unless provoked. The Don’t Tread on Me slogan has resonated with Americans since the Revolution. It appears repeatedly in our political history, and most recently, it was used symbolically by members of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party. 73


The first official flag of the U.S. may or may not have been made by widowed Philadelphia upholster Betsy Ross. The legend emerged around 1876 during the nation’s centennial, and was based on family oral history rather than hard facts. Betsy Ross did make flags for the new nation, as did many other upholsterers, tailors and seamstresses. She is known to have changed the design of the stars from six points to the more practical, five-pointed stars which are much easier to sew. Whether she and Colonel George Washington ever knew each other, much less collaborated on the first flag’s design has never been documented. Sometimes, history doesn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, so to this day, many believe she designed and made the first American flag. One thing is certain, this flag is the one that represented the new nation starting in 1777, through the majority of the Revolutionary War, and afterward, until 1795, when Vermont and Kentucky joined the union, increasing the number of stars to 15. It should be noted that not all flags of this period had their stars in a circular field. It was but one of many styles.


Currently on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., this is the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. It inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that has since become our national anthem. This massive 30-inch by 42-inch garrison flag was made at the request of the fort commander, Major George Armistead, in preparation for the impending British attack on the city. Fort McHenry guarded the entrance to the harbor and stood in the way of the British. Major Armistead’s intent was that the British fleet should see the huge flag from a great distance as a matter of American national pride rather than tactical advantage. On September 12, 1814, the British launched an attack with 5,000 troops supported by cannon fire from a fleet of 19 warships. By the evening of September 13, intent on forcing their way into Baltimore’s inner harbor, the British began a 25-hour bombardment of the fort, but could not neutralize it nor compel the surrender of the defenders. Unable to seize the harbor, the British broke off their attack and withdrew. The proportions of this flag seem a little peculiar, because, in addition to its 15 stars, it has 15 stripes. The extra stars and stripes represented Kentucky and Vermont’s entrance into the young republic.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018


During the Battle of Little Big Horn in the southeastern Montana Territory, on June 25, 1876, a 263-man force from the 7th Cavalry Regiment, led by Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer, attacked a group of Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. When Custer learned the Indians had discovered his force, he feared they would disperse and escape, so he ordered an immediate attack. He grossly underestimated the size of the Indian force, which outnumbered him four to one. The Indians had many repeating rifles, while the cavalrymen had only the standard single-shot 1873 Springfield Carbine. The result was an epic defeat, resulting in the death of Custer and his entire force. Tattered, bloody and bullet riddled, this flag was discovered under the body of a fallen cavalryman by a burial detail three days after the battle. The flag is swallow tailed to reduce wind drag and make it easier for a mounted man to carry. It measures a compact 27½ inches by 33 inches. It sold at Sotheby’s auction in 2010 for $2.2 million to a private collector. 75


The second flag raised on the top of Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima by five U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy corpsman on February 23, 1945, became the most famous American flag of World War II, when photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the image with his Speed Graphic camera. Before the 35-day battle to capture the island was over, half of the men in his image were dead. The total American casualties were 6,821 dead and 19,217 wounded. Of the 22,060 Japanese defenders, 18,844 were killed. Only 219 were captured during the battle. An astonishing 3,000 of the enemy retreated into the island’s elaborate cave system to commit suicide or hide in fear from the U.S. forces, who they were led to believe were a barbaric enemy. The last holdouts didn’t surrender until 1949, four years after the war ended. This flag is on display at the USMC Museum in Virginia.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

Custom Guns

“Master Hunter” GARY REEDER CUSTOM GUNS is proud to announce a brand new .50-caliber leveraction rifle, our new MASTER HUNTER. This beauty is built on the customer’s base gun, which is a Marlin 1895. The new MASTER HUNTER is chambered in the 500 S&W and is full custom from the ground up. The new rifle has a 20-inch heavy barrel and has beefed up internals. The gun comes with an XS rear sight and our custom front. It is available with a red, gold or white bead up front. The action is smoothed up to super slick and the loop is widened for use with gloved hands. The gun is finished in a satin vapor honed Black Chromex finish on the barrel and loop with high polished frame sides with dangerous game scenes engraved. The stock and forend are finished in a soft satin walnut and we fit it with a Decelerator pad for a more comfortable shooting. In the past it has been hard to get a .50caliber lever-action without mortgaging the farm, but our new MASTER HUNTER changes all that. The gun can be customized with a longer or shorter barrel and different game scenes or none if you prefer. Plus your name or initials can be added to the gun at no extra charge. As usual 1/3 down and we begin work on your new MASTER HUNTER. $1995 on your Marlin 1895 - 6 to 8 month delivery

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FROM GARAGE TO ‘BELLE OF THE BALL’ Palmetto State Armory has come a long way since its 2008 web-sales origin, and now offers in-demand AK556, AK-V. PHOTOS BY PALMETTO STATE ARMORY


almetto State Armory started in 2008 as a magazine and ammunition website based out of founder Jamin McCallum’s garage in South Carolina. Designed to serve the everyday gun enthusiast, Palmetto State Armory’s dedication to offering quality products at exceptional prices backed with a lifetime warranty soon resulted in exponential growth. “Palmetto State Armory now boasts a website that welcomes hundreds of thousands of unique visitors every day, retail locations that each generate tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue, as well as indoor and outdoor shooting ranges that are used as both educational resources for new shooters and fundraising platforms for local and national charities,” says the company’s Kris Vermillion. Through its website and five brickand-mortar stores, Palmetto State Armory now offers everything from tactical clothing and gear to ammo, targets and, of course, firearms. Although their widely popular AR-15

The new AK-V, a 9mm AK based on the Vityaz design and built to run with CZ Scorpion magazines. 81


CEO of Palmetto State Armory Chad Wylie shoots the new AK556.

Freedom Rifle is still sought after due to its Mil-Spec design and lifetime warranty, Palmetto State Armory has some new rifles that are in high demand right now. “We are selling a lot of our 6.5 Creedmoor rifles after proving it could carry you out to a mile, but we are also seeing a high demand for our AK-V and our AK556, both of which are based on classic AK designs (Vityaz and AK-47, respectively) and shoot something other than the traditional AK round,” says Vermillion. The folks at Palmetto State Armory are particularly excited about the AK-V – a 9mm AK based on the Vityaz design and built to run with CZ Scorpion magazines – due out before Christmas. “We featured the AK-V at a writers’ summit in Wyoming, which we hosted at High Bar Homestead, and it really was the belle of the ball,” says Vermillion. “The shooting experience was the same for just about everyone 82

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

there: shoot it, smile a little smile and say, ‘I’m gonna need one of these.’ That was a great feeling and it really helped us get exactly what we wanted in real-time, real-world feedback prior to production. The AK-V will really turn some heads in the gun world.” Although McCallum and the Palmetto State Armory team pride themselves on the quality and customer service they bring to the table, there is one more asset they are equally passionate about: their veteranowned status. As an Iraq War veteran, McCallum’s “service in the military provides the unique perspective of knowing the cost of freedom firsthand,” says Vermillion. “We take nothing for granted when it comes to the firearms industry or the God-given rights that allow such an industry to exist. The last 10 years have taught us that everything can change at a moment’s notice. We defend the Second Amendment

as vigorously as any media outlet defends the First. But we have the added responsibility of knowing that the Second Amendment is the one by which all others are protected. Literally. That’s why we constantly remind ourselves of our goal: Put as much freedom out there as possible. Our goal is not to sell a million rifles just to make a bunch of money. We want to sell a million rifles so that we can be the deterrent to anti-gun laws. We believe we can do that by manufacturing so many rifles, uppers and lowers that laws designed to impede the Second Amendment become nearly unenforceable. “When our business is negatively impacted by anti-Second Amendment laws, so also is the liberty of every single American. We take that responsibility very seriously.”  Editor’s note: For more information, visit


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Hornady’s ELD Match, loaded in the 6.5 Creedmoor, has made many shooters smile.


Hornady went high tech with its Extremely Low Drag Match line for competition, long-range shooters. STORY AND PHOTOS BY PHIL MASSARO


atch bullets have long been the best friend of the target shooter, but that relationship has been taken even further in the last decade with the rising popularity of long-range shooting. Where once the simple consistency of a match bullet was enough to give the characteristics

a competition shooter desired, taking things well out past 1,000 yards has changed the requirements. Whereas many shooters had no idea what ballistic coefficient was, or couldn’t explain the difference between a tangent or secant ogive, modern longrange shooters are better educated than ever.

Yes, many of our most popular match bullets are still in use – with good effect, I might add – but Hornady used modern science to bring some new technology to the table. Using Doppler radar, Hornady discovered that the conventional polymer tips they were using to increase and maintain ballistic coefficient actually began to melt 89

bullet bulletin from the friction of moving through the atmosphere. The deterioration of that tip resulted in a bullet that lost its advantageous shape downrange, and Hornady aimed to fix the issue. They modified the polymer used on their meplat and redesigned the bullet, resulting in the ELD (Extremely Low Drag) Match bullet. The Heat Shield tip maintains a consistent meplat – much more so than the traditional boattail hollowpoint designs – allowing the bullet to maintain its shape at ranges well past conventional hunting distances. While a hunting bullet – which was Hornady’s original design concept – will rely on the polymer tip to initiate expansion, the Heat Shield tip worked so well they decided to retain it for the match bullet. Doppler radar testing showed the advantage of the new tip design at distances out past 400 yards. Using Hornady’s AMP bullet jackets – noted for their consistency and concentricity – and a secant ogive to deliver some of the best ballistic coefficient values available, the ELD Match has a well-earned reputation for accuracy. That excellent jacket surrounds a lead core, which is swaged for uniformity and precision. The ELD Match is generally offered in heavy-forcaliber configurations, as the lighter bullets lack the ability to retain their

Seat the ELD Match over a suitable charge of H4831SC in the 6.5-284 Norma, and you’ve got the recipe for success.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

Hand-loaded 6.5-284 Norma cartridges, loaded with ELD Match for use at the SAAM shooting school at the FTW Ranch.

bullet bulletin The results of author Phil Massaro’s hand-loaded 6.5-284 Norma with ELD Match bullets.

velocity at longer ranges; the heavier bullets will show their advantages out past conventional hunting ranges by resisting wind deflection and maintaining their velocity longer.

HORNADY OFFERS THE ELD Match in both factory-loaded and component form, allowing all sorts of shooters to take full advantage of the design. I have used it in both forms, and can happily report that it is one of the most accurate bullets I’ve ever had the pleasure of sending downrange. Of all of the rifles in my collection, my Savage Model 116, chambered in 6.5-284 Norma, when topped with the 140-grain Hornady ELD Match, is the most accurate combination I own. When seated atop a relatively mild load of Hodgdon’s H4831SC, the rifle will hold one-third MOA accuracy out to 450 yards, which is just about the furthest distance I’ve had the opportunity to put it on paper. The factory-loaded 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition – also centered around the 140-grain ELD Match – has shown exactly how accurate the bullet is; at the famous FTW Ranch in Barksdale, Texas, where the SAAM Shooting School instructs shooters in long-range techniques, the instructors all swear by the Creedmoor with ELD Match ammo. I’ve personally used the bullet to ring 1,500-yard steel, and have seen the instructors take it out to 2,000 yards. That is quite a testimonial in and of itself; these guys get to test all sorts of calibers and varying ammunition, and have found the Hornady factory load for the 6.5 Creedmoor the best for their long-range work. The 6.5mm cartridges are a striking example of the benefits of a high BC match bullet – the new 6.5 PRC drives the 147-grain ELD Match to over 2,900 fps – but they are not the only bore diameter to enjoy the benefits of the Hornady design. Hornady offers component bullets in .224-inch, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, .308-inch and .338-inch, and in cartridges from .223 Remington and .224 Valkyrie to the aforementioned 92

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

bullet bulletin 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Remington, 6.5 PRC and .308 Winchester, to the .300 Winchester Magnum and new .300 Norma Magnum up to the .338 Lapua Magnum, giving a good selection of long-range cartridges for shooters of every power level. Is it the best match bullet on the market? I have a hard time with labeling any bullet or cartridge as the “best,” as there are just too many subjective parameters to quantify such a thing. I will say that there are many high-quality designs on the market for the precision shooter to choose from, and the Hornady ELD Match ranks among the best. If you haven’t run them through your rifle yet, I highly recommend you do so; I doubt you’ll be disappointed.  Massaro prepares to send another 140-grain ELD Match downrange at the SAAM Shooting School.

Close-up of the ELD’s Heat Shield Tip.




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American Shooting Journal // November 2018


ULTIMATE HUNTS FOR RARE BIRDS From giant swans on the Great Salt Lake to emperor geese along the Bering Sea to colorphase brants, here’s where to go for big, unique waterfowl. STORY AND PHOTOS BY SCOTT HAUGEN


ovember marks the start of some of the best waterfowl hunting in North America. While ducks are the primary target for hunters around the continent, there are prized birds every serious waterfowl hunter would love to pursue. Here’s a look at some of those birds and how to go about making your dream of hunting them a reality.


Utah is a hotbed for waterfowlers, especially duck hunters. Puddle ducks abound around the Great Salt Lake, with early and midseason action being as good as you can find. Sought-after diving ducks are also plentiful, but if you want to experience the true gem of hunting this area, think big. The largest member of the waterfowl family that hunters can pursue is the tundra swan, and around the Great Salt Lake, these big, white birds are numerous. About 30,000 swans typically reach Utah by midNovember, but some years numbers eclipse 60,000. With so many swans, hunting was implemented in order to avoid their exceeding the carrying capacity, something that brings with it

It usually takes a couple years to draw a tundra swan tag in Utah, but it’s well worth the wait.

a realm of detrimental ramifications. A census in the late 1990s found there to be over 100,000 tundra swans, compared to about 35,000 in the 1940s. Utah was the first state to hunt swans, starting back in 1962. In order to hunt tundra swans in Utah you must first take an online course, then pass a brief test. Then you’re eligible to apply for a permit,

which is awarded in a drawing that’s held in early August. You can start applying for the permit in early July at “Some hunters draw with no points, but most of the hunters we take have at least two points,” notes Chad Yamane, of Fried Feathers Outfitters (, 801-603-6483), a man who is noted for being the best 97

ROAD HUNTER of the best when it comes to calling swans into decoys – and he does it with his mouth. “It’s pretty amazing to watch a bird with a 6-foot wingspan lock up, drop those giant feet and drop into the decoys,” smiles Yamane’s partner, Rob Friedel. Last fall I had the opportunity to join Friedel and Yamane on a swan hunt. I didn’t have a tag, but they had two hunters, and I wanted to see what this hunt was all about. The day began with an early morning duck hunt on the Great Salt Lake, where we secured limits of puddle ducks, all shot over decoys. We then loaded up the boats and drove to another spot, where we had lunch. Here, Camp Chef’s Brooks Hansen whipped up one of the best shore lunches you could ask for. We enjoyed

duck fajitas prepared on Camp Chef’s new Flat Top Grill, and they were incredible. Then it was on to a different part of the marsh, one where two boatloads of giant swan decoys were strategically placed. It didn’t take long for the two hunters to fill their one-bird-apiece limit, and the vision of these massive birds dropping into the decoys is an image I’ll never forget. Every flock that saw the decoys committed. The hunters were patient, wanting to pick out mature birds. What amazed me, in addition to Yamane’s ability to talk these birds down by using only his voice, was how fast these bombers lost elevation. Oftentimes they wouldn’t circle, like a flock of geese. Rather, they’d fold up their wings, crane their necks,

Husband and wife Kyle and Gina Smith with their prized emperor geese taken in Cold Bay, Alaska, last season. This year the hunting is open to nonresidents for the first time in decades.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

and dive-bomb into the decoys with amazing speed, dropping their landing gear at the last moment. It was one of the most incredible waterfowl hunting experiences I’ve witnessed, and I can’t wait to one day draw this tag. Fried Feathers only charges $225 for a fully guided swan hunt, which makes the decision of who to hunt with easy, as they know their stuff and have all the specialized gear to make your hunt a success.


I was an observer on another hunt last November. This one was in Alaska for prized emperor geese. It was the first time in 30 years that these striking geese could be sport hunted, and was only open to Alaskan residents. This year 25 nonresidents were awarded

ROAD HUNTER Author Scott Haugen and John Corbett of Pacific Outfitters, with a good morning bag of Aleutian cacklers. There is a fall and spring season for these geese in Eureka, California.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

emperor goose permits, but I wasn’t one of them. “The management plan was set so that once the three-year average of emperor geese was estimated to be 80,000 birds, then there would be a fall season,” shares Jeff Wasley, owner and operator of Four Flyways Outfitters (, 608-3854580). I’ve hunted king and common eider with Wasley, and multiple sea duck and goose species. He’s as good as they come, period, and his passion for waterfowling is contagious. Emperor geese live in some of the most remote, dangerous places in Alaska. It’s not like you’re going to draw a tag and set out on your own for these birds – you need a guide. “People, even residents, don’t realize how costly it is to hunt remote parts of Alaska,” clarifies Wasley. “Even for residents who have a tag, they have to fly to a remote place


Haugen with a limit of black brant, of the coveted gray belly variety, taken while hunting Humboldt Bay with Pacific Outfitters last fall.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

where emperor geese are, need access to a boat and decoys, then they have to find a place to stay, get food, and be ready to face terrible weather for extended periods. It’s far from easy when going about it on your own.” The husband-and-wife team of Kyle and Gina Smith sought out Wasley to help them fill their emperor tags last season, and it wasn’t by chance. “We’d hunted with Jeff before, on Saint Paul Island for king eiders, and knew we’d hunt with him again one day,” notes Kyle Smith. It took four days for the weather to be favorable to where we could get out and hunt emperors. Placing a halfdozen decoys on the point of a rocky beach, we hunkered in the grass and waited. No calls were necessary, as emperors travel the shoreline, looking for food. It didn’t take long, and the Smiths had their prized emperors, both taken in Cold Bay.

ROAD HUNTER Alaska’s Izembek Lagoon is considered the best place in the world to hunt Pacific black brant, and the author, pictured here, would agree.

We spent the rest of the time hunting common eiders and other sea ducks in Cold Bay, and hopped over to nearby Izembek Lagoon for what’s ranked as the world’s best black brant hunting. Shooting from a layout boat in shallow water was one of the highlights of my 40-plus-year waterfowling career.


As black brant migrate down the Pacific Coast, one of their stopping points is Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California. It’s here where I hunted brant last December with John Corbett, ace guide for Pacific Outfitters (, 844-926-6566). I’d hunted with Corbett before, for Aleutian cacklers. That was an incredible hunt, where seeing thousands of birds and securing a 10-goose limit makes it one of the highest volume goose hunts in the country. They are also fantastic table fare, as are brant. Black brant congregate in Humboldt Bay to feed on eel grass, the primary food source of these little geese. It’s here where Corbett


American Shooting Journal // November 2018





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has been hunting for over 40 years, and has guided many hunters from around the country to their first brant. The first flock that came into our decoys ended my hunt. They circled three times, and on the last pass, two birds fell from the sky. The shots came against a rising sun, and I had no idea if I was shooting at mature or juvenile brant. When I approached the downed brant, my breath was taken away. One of the birds was lying on its back, belly up. As light gray as a slab of slate taken from the earth, the lower breast was separated from the upper chest by a distinct dark line. It was a black brant, but a subspecies serious waterfowlers refer to as a gray-bellied brant. Gray-bellied brant look like Atlantic brant, but are born in Canada’s high Arctic. In fall they migrate down the Pacific Coast, with most of the 8,000bird population wintering in southern British Columbia and Washington’s Skagit County. I instantly knew what I had, and that it was a bird of a lifetime. When I picked up the second, it too was a gray belly. I should have gone and bought a lottery ticket. Before heading to shore, Corbett and I checked the crab pots, and secured two limits of delectable eating shellfish. Corbett invited me to stay and join him on a hunt for Aleutian geese the following day. I graciously declined, as I had to get home. When he sent me a photo of two hunters with limits of the unique cackler subspecies, I kicked myself for not staying. There are many great waterfowl hunting opportunities out there. With a bit of planning, you can experience how special they truly are.  Editor’s note: For 150-plus great recipes and signed copies of the Haugens’ popular Cooking Game Birds book, send a check for $20.00 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489 or order online at Follow Scott on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

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mall hideout guns tend to be small caliber and that means ineffectual stoppers. The current crop of ultralight polymerframed .32s and .380s with doubleaction-only trigger mechanisms are also very hard to hit anything with. There is a more effective alternative available, though. American Derringer beefed up the traditional Remington Double Derringer to .45 Colt caliber and it also will chamber 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells. The .45 Colt is a one-shot stopper with a hit to the vitals, and you have two shots. It is a close-range weapon, but then most gunfights are also close range and an attacker coming at you will shorten the range for you. At these ranges, stopping power is everything and that mandates a .45. This one is small enough to slip unnoticed into a pocket and yet has a big enough grip that with a tight hold on it you won’t be bothered by the recoil. It is the perfect close-range backup weapon to a .45 automatic or .45 revolver.

John Price (pictured) and American Derringer build all their guns in-house to the highest standards. 111

The versatility of being able to also use the 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells means that you can also fire flechettes. Sabot Designs LLC loads seven of these little arrows in a .410 shotgun shell and they are very effective, as well as have very little recoil. These are loaded in a patented sabot that protects the bore, unlike some sellers that simply load them in a shell where the bare steel flechette can contact and ruin the gun barrel, which they will do in short order. It is vital to have a .45 for manstopping. Some people put their faith in smaller calibers with expanding bullets, but even the best hollowpoints do not always expand. I have dug too many unexpanded hollowpoints out of my sand and dirt backstop to ever depend on expansion. Anything that will expand does it to the fullest there and results are usually perfect expansion. Usually. But not always.

The company’s “legendary” Model 1 chambers .45 Colt and 2½-inch .410 shotgun shells.

How effective is it? Let’s look at three examples. In Wyoming a hunter left his rifle in camp as he went a short ways into the woods to relieve himself. A moose stepped out of the brush right in front of him and he shot it dead with his .45 Double Derringer. A grizzly was nearby and tried to claim the carcass by attacking him, but once again the little pistol came to the rescue, killing the bear at a distance of a few feet. A soldier was shipping out to Iraq and was allowed to take one of his own guns. His wife insisted he take the .45 Double Derringer because he could always have it on his person. In Iraq he was hit by an IED that overturned his Humvee. An Iraqi came up to shoot him through the window and finish him off, but the G.I. pulled the little .45 Double Derringer from his front shirt pocket and killed the Iraqi with it. He dropped the gun as he scrambled 112

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

to get out of the burning vehicle and it was burned with the Humvee. He recovered the Derringer from the ruins of the burned-out vehicle and sent it back to American Derringer where they fixed it for him free. A woman stateside was attacked in her home by an intruder. She killed him with her .45 Double Derringer. THE COMMON DENOMINATOR in all three cases was that the gun was compact enough to be there and powerful enough to get the job done. Sure, a M1911A1 is the better gunfighting pistol, but it may not be there in all the places a backup gun can be. Despite the ease of carrying and concealing a full-size fighting pistol, there is no denying that the Double Derringer is lighter, smaller and easier to carry and conceal. These are the virtues that balance out its shortrange two-shot limitations and make it desirable.

AMERICAN DERRINGER WAS founded in 1980 by Robert Saunders and the .45/.410 Derringer dates from then. Saunders started gunmaking as a kid. His grandfather had bought World War II surplus gun parts in 55-gallon drums after the war and Saunders found these and began putting guns together from them. In 1986, Elizabeth Saunders (formerly Elizabeth Bowen) was hired for marketing and she and Bob Saunders were married in 1988. The business grew and had 18 workers but Bob was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1991 and died in 1993. Determined not to let her husband’s dream die, Elizabeth took on running the company. The next year, 1994, Bill Clinton was president and he caused a gunbuying panic across the country resulting in distributors becoming overstocked. Distributors demanded such low prices that American Derringer wasn’t making any money, so the decision was made to focus on quality instead of quantity and cut the distributors out. In 2003, Elizabeth Saunders got her degree in mechanical engineering and met John Price in

Price, who served in the Army and Navy during and after the Vietnam War era, cuts, grinds and polishes components at the company’s Waco, Texas, shop.

one of her classes. John went on to work for her. She found out that she had an employee theft problem and ultimately laid off everyone except John, reaching a small but sustainable size like many of the British gunmakers in the Best Quality gun trade. John liked gunmaking better than anything since his military service. He was drafted during the Vietnam War and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for artillery training in 105mm and 155mm howitzers. From there he went to Germany on a Nike Hercules site and when he came back to the U.S., he was sent to Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. Loving the Army, he reenlisted in 1973 and was sent to Fort Bliss at El Paso, Texas, where he was in a Hawk missile battalion. From there, he was sent to another Hawk missile battalion in Korea, then back to Fort Bliss. John got out of the Army in 114

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

1978, but missed the service, so he decided to try the Navy, joining in December of 1980. Despite his training in artillery and missiles, the Navy did not send him to sea but him to the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, where they made him a dental assistant, of all things! When his hitch was up, he left the Navy and the military’s loss was the American gun owner’s gain. John went on to get his mechanical engineering degree, where he met Elizabeth Saunders and went to work at American Derringer. Together they make all the guns in-house by hand to the highest standards. SURE, THERE ARE cheaper guns, but you get what you pay for. A backup hideout gun is normally only used when your life is on the line, and it seems foolish not to carry the very best for that. If you want to stake your life on a cheap gun, that’s your

business, but I don’t. I want the best and that means the handmade American Derringer. I have used one for years with complete satisfaction. Since this gun is meant to be carried, it has a neat little safety that blocks the hammer but comes off automatically when the hammer is cocked to fire. I like that. You must pull the hammer back to the safety position when loading, for if the hammer is down, one of the firing pins is sticking out and can fire the cartridge when the barrels are swung shut. If you want to carry it in a holster you must have a safety strap, as the gun is too butt-heavy to stay in a holster safely without one. This is a very compact gun that will hide in the palm of your hand. It only weighs 15 ounces and is 4¾ inches long. The hand-filling grips are 1 3/8 inches wide and the gun is 3 3/8 inches high. Barrel length is 3 inches. Despite




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American Shooting Journal // November 2018

this, it is not unpleasant to fire. Just have a tight grip on it. The gun is stainless steel except for the carbon steel springs. This not only prevents rust, but it makes it exceptionally easy to clean after firing, and I have fired this gun a lot. This gun should be used as a hideout gun and a backup pistol, as it is not a long-range weapon like the M1911A1, Luger, or Colt SAA. Used within its limitations, it is priceless. 


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Colt's line of percussion pistols from pre-Civil War days lives again in part with Uberti's 1849 Pocket Revolver, seen here with a small powder flask and which lists starting at $349.

DEEP POCKETS NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS REPLICA REVOLVER Uberti's version of Colt's percussion .31-caliber Model 1849 a 'dandy little gun.' STORY AND PHOTOS BY MIKE NESBITT


ooking back along the line of the original Colts, the Model 1849 Pocket Revolvers have quite a history. Sam Colt had produced some very historic revolvers beginning in 1836. The Colt Patterson revolver was a fiveshot with the folding trigger and a pair of those are said to have been carried by Kit Carson, probably after 1840. Next came the

Colt Walker revolver, which was quite an improvement but that big .44 is huge. The Walker was followed by the Colt Dragoon series, also .44s but with a shorter cylinder and barrel than the Walker model. What this led to was a need to introduce a small revolver for personal defense. That is when the .31 Baby Dragoon came in, designed in late 1847. The .31-caliber Baby Dragoon had the square-backed trigger guard that was like the trigger guard on

the Colt Walker and the first issue of the Dragoon, giving it a “look� that makes it stand out among other Colt pocket models. One little item that was missing was the loading lever under the barrel and the Baby Dragoon had to be taken apart to be loaded. Another pocket revolver should be mentioned as we briefly review the old Colts, and that is a version of the Baby Dragoon that was ordered with a rounded trigger guard by the Wells Fargo company. We refer to that today 121


Author Mike Nesbitt kneels to take some steady shots.

as the Wells Fargo Model, although it is rather doubtful that Colt ever gave it such a name. But in 1849 those pocket revolvers were updated and improved by adding the loading lever. That loading lever is, basically, the only difference between the Wells Fargo Models and the 1849 guns. There were, however, some other options and the original 1849 revolvers were made with barrels from 3 to 6 inches in length. To say the Pocket Revolver was a success would be putting it mildly. They represented the first firm footing for Colt, and prior to their introduction, the company had trouble staying in business. Over 300,000 of these guns were made before production ended, along with the end of the percussion era, in 1873. One example of the acceptance of the Pocket Revolvers is found with the 122

American Shooting Journal // November 2018

Baltimore Police Department, which was the first in the country to issue guns to their officers. The guns they issued were Colt Model 1849s. TODAY’S COPY OF the 1849 Pocket Revolver, made by Uberti (uberti-usa .com), is really a dandy little gun. To give you a good overall description of this revolver, let me begin by saying it weighs just 1½ pounds, or 24 ounces. With the 4-inch barrel, this gun has an overall length of about 9¾ inches. It isn’t a large revolver at all. Like other Colt-style percussion revolvers, this 1849 copy has the rear sight as a shallow notch in the top of the hammer. There is another notch at the bottom of the striking face of the hammer and that notch engages a small pin in between the cylinder’s chambers, or nipples, that will keep the cylinder from rotating when the hammer is

lowered over that pin. Those pins make it possible to carry the gun fully loaded and capped with the hammer lowered between chambers or caps. Other Coltstyle revolvers that I’m familiar with have those “safety pins” between each of the chambers and, at first, I thought they were simply missing from this 1849 Model. However, there is one “safety pin” between two of the chambers on this gun’s cylinder. Before the revolver should be fired there is a short ritual to be taken. That simply involves taking the barrel off so the cylinder can be removed from the base pin. With the cylinder removed you can see rather large threads around the base pin. Those threads are to be filled with grease, which will enable the revolver to keep working when the shooting is going on. Without that grease, the cylinder will quickly become very hard to turn because of

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BLACK POWDER fouling. On this gun, those threads were immediately covered with October Country’s Bumblin’ Bear Grease. Then, with the gun put back together, the first steps in loading can be done. What I mean by “the first steps” really means putting a cap on each of the nipples and “snapping” them while the barrel is close to a leaf or blade of grass. Snapping the caps will clear any oils out of the nipples and having the barrel close to the leaf or grass simply lets you see if the nipple is clear or not. If the leaf doesn’t move, do it again.

Five shots clustered into a small group at the top of the black.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

FOR MY FIRST shots, each chamber was loaded with 9 grains, using 3F powder. Ramming the balls into the chambers with the rather tiny loading lever was easier than I expected. After all of the balls were seated over the powder in the chambers, I used Bumblin’ Bear Grease to cover the bullets. That is done mainly to prevent “chain fires,” when more than just one chamber gets detonated. Also, 125


As a size comparison, a 1849 lays beside an 1851 Navy Model.


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

never shoot a percussion revolver with loaded chambers but no percussion caps on the nipples. The percussion caps “seal” those loaded chambers from the back. A chain fire with a revolver usually doesn’t do any damage but it can be exciting. I took a kneeling position about 10 yards from the target. The first shot, while I was holding at about the bottom

BLACK POWDER of the X ring, hit the black high at just about 12 o’clock. My second shot doubled the first shot. The third shot just opened the existing double bullet hole a little more. Then the fourth shot went into the same tight group. Finally, the last shot went just a fraction of an inch higher and that was the only shot on the target to break into the white.  The balls I was using were 0 buckshot from Ballistic Products ( An 8-pound jar holds 1,120, more than enough to keep me shooting for a long time. Their 0 buckshot balls are .320 inch in diameter and they look like they are perfectly round. In addition to that, the buckshot balls do not have sprues, so no “indexing” of the ball is necessary when loading. Using the buckshot is much easier than using cast bullets because no thought about the “direction” of the ball is needed; just set it on the mouth of the chamber and ram it down to the powder.

As seen at

Ballistic Products also makes a 0000-size buckshot and that is a .380inch ball, just about right for those .36 Navy revolvers. Another target was shot at, and this time the distance was a full 50 feet. The load was about the same, although this time the sights were held at 6 o’clock on the bottom of the black. That was done to see if a higher score could be had by bringing the group closer to the center of the target. With these five shots, the group stayed at the top of the black and the only real difference was that the group wasn’t quite as tight as the first. Now for some notes about ballistics. Over the 9 grains of powder went the 0 buckshot balls from Ballistic Products. That’s the load I was able to test fire over my chronograph in order to see what it was really doing. Five shots were fired over the chronograph and those were recorded going as slow as 472 feet per second and as fast as 530 &

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American Shooting Journal // November 2018

fps. Those averaged a whopping 496 fps but for the sake of easy math, let’s just call it 500 fps. Those .320-inch round balls weigh in at just 50 grains. So, the 50-grain bullet moving at 500 feet per second carries an energy of just under 28 foot-pounds. That’s just over a third of what a .22 Short carries with its 29-grain bullet moving at about twice the speed. This should tell you if you’re looking for power, you might look someplace else. JUST IN CASE YOU can’t already tell, I really like this little gun. It’s a fun gun. Some of that fun might be seen in a soda-pop can hanging on a string with several .31-caliber bullet holes through it. And as a fun gun, it is quite practical. The most expensive part of shooting this revolver, shot for shot, is the price of the percussion caps. That makes this little five-shot rather practical and inexpensive to shoot, and this one will probably be shot quite a bit. 



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Made in USA

GRIPS GALLERY EZR SPORT We have new gauntlets for the singlestack magazine pistols, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and the Glock model 43. Our gauntlets are designed specifically to increase the grip circumference so that the pistol fits better in your hand, making it much easier to control.

TRACTIONGRIPS Tractiongrips has added a premium coyote brown rubber material to their custom-made grips lineup. They look great on 19X and FDE pistols.

NC ORDNANCE Reproduction Stag-like Grips: Over 2,200 of the finest quality reproduction grips and buttplates for sale. S10 Colt 1911 .45 Gov’t Model Auto and Clones. Staglike grips are made of the best quality urethane available. Will not shrink or chip. $50.00 plus $5.00 postage. 131


MASTERS OF THE MATCH Oklahoma’s Nowlin Arms, Inc. continues to produce high-quality 1911s, shooting competition champions.



rmed with a passion to design and build the best 1911 Auto parts around, John Nowlin, Sr., founded Nowlin Arms, Inc. in 1982. The familyowned and -operated business owes its early success to this passion, and to an active involvement in competitive shooting. Utilizing the company’s own custom pistols during competitions, the Nowlin family garnered attention

The Nowlin Match Master is available in blue or stainless (shown) finish, and in calibers .45 ACP, 9mm, .38 Super and .40 S&W. Team Nowlin remains active on the handgun competition circuit.

from other top shooters, who then clamored for Nowlin products of their own. In fact, their line of 1911 Auto parts, gunsmithing tools and fixtures created more shooting champions than any custom shop in the 1990s.

Today, Nowlin, Sr.’s oldest daughter, Angela Reagan, runs the company. She carries on her father’s legacy by continuing to produce high-quality products – and shooting champions. When asked what sets Nowlin 133

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT and other parts in the MEU-SOC 1911s in service with elite units.

The Nowlin Match Master in the blue finish.

Arms products apart from the competition, Reagan says, “The quality and reliability of our products. Our barrels have set world records and established a worldwide reputation as the best. We have a proven record of manufacturing parts that stand out as superb, as recognized by many experts in the industry.” Indeed, the FBI has specified Nowlin barrels for their SWAT team 1911s, and the U.S. Marine Corps used their barrels


American Shooting Journal // November 2018

ANOTHER FACTOR THAT SETS the company apart is their ECM (electro cathode machined) rifling process, pioneered by Nowlin, Sr. With this method, a cationic mandrel tool, with twist and groove depth preground into the tool, is inserted into the barrel, which has been gun drilled and honed to a mirror finish of 8 RMS. The cationic ECM tool permits metal in the barrel to be removed electronically to the exact shape, with exacting tolerance, providing a precise barrel groove, land and bore geometry that is burr and stress free. The ultrasmooth finish produced by ECM gives less resistance on the bullet and a tighter seal between bullet and the barrel bore. This results in greater velocity and higher accuracy. It’s no wonder Nowlin products are used by competitive shooters:

“Because they win!” says Reagan. “They are accurate and reliable and have passed the test of time.” Constantly innovating, Nowlin Arms has a number of new products on the market, including the Match Master Pistol, which is now back in production, and the Titan. Of the Titan, Reagan says, “Frames and slides are the foundation to a superb pistol. We have designed these components to our specifications. Critical areas such as the hammer and sear pin holes have been drilled to exacting points to ensure proper alignment of hammer and sear engagement of all action parts. A crisp, clean trigger pull is a guarantee. Our unique ECM rifled barrel is the final and best added feature, which enables the Titan to achieve accuracy that will be unparalleled in other factory guns.”  Editor’s note: For more information, visit

AmSJ Nov 2018  
AmSJ Nov 2018