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Women’s 2018


New From


Kirsten Joy

6-round 870 DM



Q&A With Performance Shooting Star

Dianna Muller Pro Shooter’s DC Project


Brittany Boddington

Spring Snow Geese Alabama Squirrel Master Classic

She Hunts Skills Camp


Join The WAVE − Women Against Violence Everywhere

Concealed Carry For Ladies



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SHOOTING JOURNAL Volume 7 // Issue 7 // April 2018 PUBLISHER James R. Baker GENERAL MANAGER John Rusnak EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Andy Walgamott LEAD CONTRIBUTOR Frank Jardim CONTRIBUTORS Brittany Boddington, Larry Case, Tom Claycomb III, Scott Haugen, Nancy Keaton, Phil Massaro, Mike Nesbitt, Paul Pawela, Nick Perna SALES MANAGER Katie Higgins ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Rick D’Alessandro, Mamie Griffin, Mike Smith, Paul Yarnold PRODUCTION MANAGER Sonjia Kells DESIGNERS Kayla Mehring, Sam Rockwell, Jake Weipert PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Kelly Baker OFFICE MANAGER / COPY EDITOR Katie Sauro WEBMASTER / INBOUND MARKETING Jon Hines





Performance shooter Kirsten Joy Weiss wants to spread the joy of shooting to her massive fan base, as well as to the “anti-gunners” out there.





Website: Facebook: Twitter: @AmShootingJourn

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American Shooting Journal // April 2018 11


THE POWER OF POSITIVE PLINKING Kirsten Joy Weiss is having “a great time” sharing her performance shooting with the firearms community and helping assuage anti-gunners’ fears. Frank Jardim interviews this YouTube star known to rub elbows and fire grenade launchers with The Gunny!




DIANNA MULLER Nancy Keaton has the story of Dianna Muller, a pro shooter who’s become a Second Amendment educator and whose D.C. Project is connecting female gun owners with federal lawmakers. You go girl!

A BUILDING W.A.V.E. Linda Keesling, Tara Dixon Engel and Andy Tolbert – founders of Women Against Violence Everywhere -– talk about their courses that use realworld scenarios to teach women how to confidently, proficiently and safely defend themselves.


CONCEALED CARRY FOR WOMEN A look at the pluses and minuses of offbody and on-body techniques.

105 MAKING HUNTING HER-STORY Brittany Boddington and fellow hunter Shannon Lansdowne’s growing skills camp brings women who aspire to hunt independently together with experts. Brittany reports back from this winter’s great event!


GUN REVIEW: REMINGTON GETS DEFENSIVE WITH 870 DM The world’s best-selling shotgun now comes in models featuring a six-round detachable magazine. Our scattergunner Larry Case has the review!

115 ROADHUNTER: THE SNOWS OF SASKATCHEWAN Before departing for their overpopulated Arctic breeding grounds, giant snow goose flocks are huntable on this Canadian province’s staging grounds. Scott Haugen heads north to get in on some super spring gunning!

137 BULLET BULLETIN: SWIFT AND SURE It’s “tough to beat the terminal performance” of Swift A-Frame bullets, says veteran worldwide hunter Phil Massaro. He shares why he loves the round for nearly every big game species on the planet.


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 © 2017 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.


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Larry Case takes us to the Alabama hardwoods for a great event combining outdoor personalities, writers, local 4-H kids and Gamo’s latest high-powered air rifles.

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American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Competition Calendar Gun Show Calendar 15


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American Shooting Journal // April 2018



April 7

April 7

Sandy Ford Olympic Pistol Streator, Ill.

International Air Gun PTO Milford, Mass.

April 5-7

April 27-29

2018 Jamaica Invitational Pistol Tournament Kingston, Jamaica

JP Enterprises Area 5 PCC Championship Sellersburg, Ind.

April 12-15

April 27-29

2018 Glock Area 6 Championship Okeechobee, Fla.

LSI Texas State Open Championship 2018 Rosenberg, Texas

April 18-22 2018 USPSA MultiGun Nationals Boulder City, Nev.

April 7-8

April 21-22

GLOCK West Coast Challenge III – Spring Azusa, Calif.

Table Rock Challenge XI Morganton, N.C.

April 14-15

April 21-22

Gem State Classic IV Boise, Idaho

April 14-15 The Sooner Classic VI Pryor, Okla.

Western Wisconsin GLOCK Classic IV Holmen, Wis.

April 28-29 Lone Star Classic XXIV Carrollton, Texas

April 6-8

April 14-15

Texas State Shoot Vernon, Texas

Montana State Championship Billings, Mont.

April 7-8

April 15-16

Virginia State Championship Doswell, Va.

April 14-15 Iowa State Championship Iowa Falls, Iowa

South Central Regional Championship Tunica, Miss.

April 18-21 National Championship Tunica, Miss.

April 6-8

April 27-29

2018 Virginia Indoor Regional Chesapeake, Va.

Battle of Saratoga Greenfield Center, N.Y.

April 20-21

April 28

2018 Sand Gnat Challenge BUG match Fleming, Ga.

April 21 2018 Razorback Shootout Perryville, Ark.

2018 Safariland IDPA Arizona State Championship Tucson, Ariz.

April 28 Texas State Championship 2018 Wichita Falls, Texas 19

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C&E Gun Shows

April 7-8 April 7-8 April 14-15 April 28-29 April 28-29 April 28-29

Fayetteville, N.C. Wilmington, Ohio SpringďŹ eld, Ohio Columbus, Ohio Concord, N.C. Salem, Va.

Crown Expo Center Roberts Centre Clark County Fairgrounds Ohio Expo Center Cabarrus Arena & Events Center Salem Civic Center

Crossroads Of The West Gun Shows

April 7-8 April 7-8 April 14-15 April 14-15 April 21-22 April 28-29

Sandy, Utah San Bernardino, Calif. Las Vegas, Nev. Daly City, Calif. Phoenix, Ariz. Ventura, Calif.

Mountain America Expo Center National Orange Show Grounds The Pavilions at World Market Cow Palace Arizona State Fairgrounds Ventura County Fairgrounds

April 7-8 April 7-8 April 14-15 April 14-15 April 21-22 April 21-22 April 28-29 April 28-29

Jacksonville, Fla. Palmetto, Fla. Pensacola, Fla. Fort Myers, Fla. Panama City, Fla. Tampa, Fla. Tallahassee, Fla. Miami, Fla.

Jacksonville Fairgrounds Bradenton Area Convention Center Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds Lee Civic Center Bay County Fairgrounds Florida State Fairgrounds North Florida Fairgrounds Dade County Fairgrounds

April 14-15 April 14-15 April 28-29 April 28-29

Memphis, Tenn. Somerset, Ky. Knoxville, Tenn. Wichita, Kan.

Agricenter International The Center For Rural Development Knoxville Expo Center Century II Expo Hall

April 14-15 April 21-22 April 28-29

Tomball, Texas Belton, Texas Orange, Texas

Tomball VFW Bell County Expo Center Orange County Expo

Tanner Gun Shows

April 7-8 April 28-29

Pueblo, Colo. Denver, Colo.

Colorado State Fairgrounds Denver Mart

Wes Knodel Gun Shows

April 7-8 April 14-15

Spokane, Wash. Chehalis, Wash.

Spokane County Fair & Expo Southwest Washington Fairgrounds

Florida Gun Shows

R&K Gun Shows

Real Texas Gun Shows

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Kirsten Joy Weiss has been compared to famed Wild West trick shooter Annie Oakley, and while she acknowledges the honor, she refers to her modern, internet-friendly style as “performance shooting.” (KIRSTEN JOY WEISS/KIRSTENJOYWEISS.COM)


THE POWER OF POSITIVE PLINKING Kirsten Joy Weiss is having ‘a great time’ sharing her performance shooting with the firearms community and helping assuage anti-gunners’ fears.



bout four years ago, one of my editors sent me a link to a YouTube video where a beautiful, ponytailed young woman named Kirsten Joy Weiss shot balloons on the roadside with a .22 rifle while speeding past on the back of a motorcycle. “Wow,” I thought, “where did that girl learn to shoot?!?” I later learned that her air and smallbore rifle competitive shooting had earned her plenty of medals and brought her to world championships and the brink of the Olympics. Since that first video, and scores more exciting content that followed on YouTube, Weiss has made a reputation for herself as a performance shooter, compelling

advocate of shooting sports, and articulate spokeswoman for the Second Amendment by sharing “the fun, challenge and joy of shooting” with her audience. Her videos are still on YouTube ( KirstenJoyWeiss or Google “the Joy of Shooting”), but due to anti-gun censorship on that platform, she now saves most in-depth content and interactions with her online community for her own website, Hers is among the web’s most popular shooting channels and also the largest female gun channel in the world. Watching her videos and reading her blogs reveals the source of her popularity. Her shooting is both amazing and fun to watch. Her talent is unmarred by arrogance and she

humbly shares her misses along with her hits. She comes across as genuine, rather than a character, and that is the wellspring of her appeal. She is not a self-important and self-proclaimed celebrity using the internet to show off. With Weiss, it’s not “Look what I can do!” Rather, it’s “Look what you can do and how much fun we can have!” She’s a shooting buddy who’s a lot better than you but never rubs it in when you miss, willingly shares her knowledge to help you improve, knows the pros and cons of that new gun you were thinking about buying, and her enthusiasm for fun shooting makes her a pleasure to be with at the range. You want to try to shoot eggs at 300 yards offhand? She’s in. Want to see how many marshmallow 25

KIRSTEN JOY WEISSS KIRSTENJOY WEISS.CCOM GUNNYTIME Along with her own videos, Weiss has appeared on two-time American Shooting Journal cover stud R. Lee Ermey’s show GunnyTime four times, with plans for more appearances. On this occasion they fired a M32A1 grenade launcher. (GUNNYTIME)

Peeps it takes to stop a .22 bullet? She’s got them in her shooting bag. Want to shoot colored exploding targets? She knows a recipe you can make in the kitchen. Always wanted to test out a cool World War II Australian Owen submachinegun? She brought two with her, and the Gunny too! You want a range nickname you can be proud of? She’s got one for you, Sharp Shot.

American Shooting Journal How do you feel about being called a modern Annie Oakley? Kirsten Joy Weiss She’s a pretty sacred American icon. We have similarities, for certain. And I love that people call me that. It’s an honor! But she certainly had her unique things and I certainly have mine. I don’t seek to copy her, or anyone. One thing most trick shots have in common is they hate the term “trick shot.” But it’s got great SEO (search engine optimization) [laughs], and the mainstream public understands what it means. So I put a bit of my ego aside – bit the bullet, so to speak – in order to reach them. Outreach is my whole point. I have coined the term “performance shooting” for what I do. 26

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

ASJ Why did you become a performance shooter on the internet? KJW I wanted to reach people with more than just words. There’s a lot of negative energy around guns these days, and it wasn’t always like this. I grew up with guns being a fun and useful thing. Long story short, when I returned from abroad, I saw this negative fear battle going on. Will the criminal get a gun? Will I

have a gun if the criminal comes? Anti-gun and pro-gun often pivot on this fear point, yet it’s not what the majority of people who are gun owners truly experience at the range. So, I knew I needed to show that positive emotion. At the time, I couldn’t find one piece of truly positive content to share online – even jokes were caustic – so I created my own content.

KIRSTEN JOY WEISS KIRSTEN NJOY WEISS.COM While some wear metaphorical blinders when it comes to firearms, Weiss aims to “strengthen, maybe even inspire, our community and also to reach people outside our community who are on the fence about guns and the Second Amendment. And it absolutely works.” (GY6 PHOTOGRAPHY)

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Being on camera was not my first choice. You can see I’m still getting used to it [laughs]. But I realized it was the best way to show people; to engage them on the emotional level to share the truth of our experience. It was the best way to both encourage our community and reach out to people on the fence. This was a lot harder of a path for me, but good in the long run. Now after so many years of sharing this positive aspect of shooting, I see a better shift in our culture than before. But positivity and encouragement is still desperately needed. Basically, I started with trick shots for two reasons. First, I wanted to have fun with what I’m doing while still pushing myself and challenging myself. Even in my Olympic-style rifle competition days I chose to compete against myself. It’s a healthier mentality with no limits. Second, but really most importantly, trick shooting shows the positive reality of shooting in action. It reaches a broader, mainstream audience and that is a very big part of why I do it. I want to strengthen, maybe even inspire, our community and also to reach people outside our community who are on the fence about guns and the Second Amendment. And it absolutely works. I’ve even changed the minds of many complete anti-gunners over the years. Basically, it comes down to this: Most people who identify as anti-gun are stirred emotionally, not logically. It’s more phobic than intellectual. People are more ignorant than informed. I’m here to change that. I get messages frequently letting me know how my channel, work and attitude has influenced people for the better. And that’s extremely rewarding. But bottom line, my whole mission is to share the positive reality of shooting and the freedom it protects, and inspire others to do the same. ASJ What’s the big obstacle to winning over the non-shooter, or worse, the anti-gunner? 28

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

KIRSTEN JOY WEISS KIRSTENJOY WEISS.COM “I’ve been able to reach the mainstream with the positive reality of shooting,” says Weiss, here in a yoga pose and holding a Walther P38, “which in turn helps them open up to the idea of protecting our human rights and freedoms.” (KIRSTEN JOY WEISS/KIRSTENJOYWEISS.COM)

KJW I think it’s fear. Psychologists say that fear is often a motivation not to do something, but it rarely motivates people to do something. It’s an inaction emotion. How do we get new people to try shooting in greater masses? Or if they do, how do we keep them going? I see a lot of people, especially women, getting involved in self-defense shooting. This is great and I don’t discourage it one bit! However, it’s that fear motivation again. Women will often pick up a gun for conceal carry but never truly train with it. And can you blame them? If they constantly envision that target they’re training on is a potential rapist ... that’s not something you want to truly dwell on every Saturday night. ASJ It does sound pretty grim when you put it like that. KJW My sensei in Japan would tease me because he and I were the only ones usually smiling during training. In fact, they called him the smiling sensei. One day he told me that the most powerful way of learning is to have fun with something. Studies also say having fun with something ingrains it into the brain in a deeper sense. Fear does not do this in the same way. Plus, if you enjoy something, you also want to do it much more often, and no one can

deny the benefit of quality training. Shooting is an art, a martial art too. I enjoy the process and the deeper aspects of shooting. There’s always something to learn and always a way to challenge yourself, no matter what level you’re at in your journey. It’s also a sport where your best opponent is truly yourself. Competing with others only limits you. Because I enjoy it, I push my limits naturally. There doesn’t even have to be anyone around to see. I can have fun surrounded by people, or just on my own in the desert with nothing but prairie dogs and tumbleweed to witness the shots. The art of shooting is intrinsically rewarding. Do I have skills that could be extremely useful in dangerous or threatening scenarios? Absolutely, but that’s not what I’m thinking about when I’m plinking an egg offhand at 300 yards. I’m having, simply, a great time. ASJ Why do you think you have been successful with your particular personable style of outreach to nonshooters and anti-gunners? KJW I’m about positive action, sharing with others in fun, showing them guns are not scary but just tools – tools that can be used for good. I’m breaking stereotypes by being open to people’s understandable fears and 29


A favorite target this time of year for Weiss is Peeps, the Easter candy, three and a half of which can stop a .22-caliber bullet fired from a lever-action from a short distance, according to one of her videos that shares the “fun, challenge and joy of shooting.” (KIRSTEN JOY WEISS/KIRSTENJOYWEISS.COM)

gently showing them another picture, a true picture. That is all crucial. I am a very logical person. However, I also know that logic falls flat against the wall of emotion, especially in the aftermath of a horrible act of violence like what happened in Parkland, Florida (in February). We are dealing with a massive wall of emotion here. We need to meet emotional, scared people with kindness, good examples, generous sharing, and hopefully even their own first-hand experience. I’ve yet to have even one anti-gunner who tried shooting with me not like it. I hear similar stories from my fans. We’re feeding a positive movement and community. We’re strengthening our community, so we can have actual change in our society, not just bully people into winning arguments. I’ve been able to reach the mainstream with the positive reality of shooting, which in turn helps them open up to the idea of protecting our human rights and freedoms. ASJ You were on NBC’s Today Show in a segment about “The New Face 30

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

of Gun Ownership in America” but you turned down an opportunity for massive national exposure on the syndicated television show America’s Got Talent. What the heck? KJW Well, on The Today Show I got to be who I am, the PR person for guns and freedom [laughs]. On America’s Got Talent, they wanted me but not the scary guns, so that was the end of that. Sure, they had about 16 millionplus people who watched every episode at the time, but I’m not going

to sell out my principles. Character, not fame or money, is what makes a person worthwhile. ASJ What are your observations on the rising trend of gun ownership among women? KJW This is more a pet peeve, but people throw this word “empowerment” around with women all the time and often around guns. I loathe the word. It’s overused and empty, and implies a person is some

KIRSTEN JOY WEISS KIRSTENJOY WEISS.COM Gun-related content often comes under fire on social media, so Weiss has taken to new streams to get her message out. (KIRSTEN JOY WEISS/KIRSTENJOYWEISS.COM) 31


“Big things are coming,” says Weiss about her plans for the gun-fun community she’s gathered. She insists that members are more important than herself, a notable rarity in the me-first world of the internet. (KIRSTEN JOY WEISS/KIRSTENJOYWEISS.COM)

weak thing and an object empowers them. No. Women and people in general already have the ability to try things, go after things and learn things. An object cannot give you power. It’s your attitude, your tenacity, your efforts, your spirit. Having a gun never made anyone stronger or more capable. Taking the time to know how to use the gun you have, and having the attitude and strength to know that a gun is just a tool in your hands and you are what needs to be trained, is true power. ASJ You seem to have a sincere rapport with your fans, whom you affectionately call “Sharp Shots” in your videos and on your blog. KJW My community is unusually inclusive and positive for the internet. People comment on how it doesn’t even feel like the internet when they visit me online because the comments and people are so kind and hopeful. Sure, you get trolls and negative people – it’s the internet. But truly, it’s amazing. My community and people – calling them fans seems too shallow – are right alongside me. Actually, they’re 32

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

more important than me because I’m just one person. Maybe I’m a little Energizer battery in the whole system. But without the people following what I do, being inspired, sharing with others, this wouldn’t even be a quarter as powerful. And I have plans to energize them even more in the future as we continue to grow. Big things are coming. ASJ My kids wanted to see your many and varied marshmallow Peep experiments, but when I went to YouTube they were gone. What gives? Do you secretly hate kids? KJW No, no, just Peeps candy [laughs]. My content is familyfriendly by design and it’s great when kids and their parents watch the videos together. It’s really special to me. Those videos disappeared because I, and other pro-freedom creators, are dealing with various censorship issues across platforms. In fact, fairly recently, YouTube verified and publicly apologized for an “overzealous” mass effort from some of their fresh hires who unfairly marked videos, like my positive gun content, that otherwise

fully complied with the platform’s community guidelines. Why did they attack pro-gun content? Simply because they disagreed with it. These censorship efforts can demonetize videos, limit the videos’ audience, block videos, and outright delete entire channels. The funny thing is, YouTube is the least censorship-happy platform out of all of the major networks. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are fast becoming echo chambers for antifreedom thought. The times we live in are actually really interesting, and it’s important to be aware of how our access to information is being manipulated. I swim in these stormy waters by choice because that is the best way to reach people who otherwise will never hear the true message. If you allow the erosion of the First Amendment, it’s a heck of a lot harder to defend the rest of the Constitution. My work isn’t easy, but I’m proud to step up and do it. To get back to the missing Peeps videos, I deliberately put a majority of my videos on private to at least curtail the efforts of those anti-gun/ anti-freedom online censors while 33

we figure out what their next move is. I couldn’t bring myself to make the entire channel private. Other creators have. I feel it may be safer now, so I will make the Peep videos public, for your kiddos.

It’s a constant fight to try to undo their damage. I’ve always had to work triple-time to fuel this. Any income sources I gain, like YouTube revenue, consulting jobs, or sponsors like Grunt Style, goes right back into the mission. The key is to decentralize their power over us and give that power to the people. That’s what America was founded on after all, right? “We the People!” This is why I started to share my channel’s message without puppet strings of Google or Facebook, etc. As the name implies, the site allows patrons to offer their direct financial support. But it’s better than that. It is a community gathering together for greater communication and power. E pluribus unum in action. It’s incredibly exciting. Plus, if my patreon site ever goes down the rabbit hole, I can still contact my patrons/ members and we will simply create another way around this gosh awful censorship. Tenacity is in my nature.

ASJ With YouTube blocking and demonetizing your videos, how do you pay the bills? KJW Well, my parents raised me to be frugal and tenacious, which is good because it’s a complicated dance to keep the machine fueled. All the major social media platforms either attack gun-related content or permit it to be unfairly attacked. There are too many ways they censor to list here. Some more covert, like something called “shadow banning.” Others more overt, like alert messages blocking a post. I’ve often seen a kind, insult-free comment explaining about human rights hit with a big warning sign telling us the platform (Instagram especially) “restricts certain comments for the protection of the community.”

ASJ I have one more question for

you. Since we couldn’t watch the Peep videos, my kids and I watched the one where you shoot the miniwatermelon with a P38 pistol from a one-legged yoga pose. As soon as you brought out the melon, my four-year-old daughter said, “I love watermelons!” She was perplexed when you blew it apart. She turned to me and asked, “Why does the pretty lady hate watermelons?” KJW I love watermelons too. ASJ You have a funny way of showing it.  Editor’s note: You can visit with Kirsten Joy Weiss at her social media sites, facebook .com/kirstenjoyweiss and instagram .com/kirstenjoyweiss. When you like her posts and subscribe to her page, you are helping her spread the message of “the fun, challenge and joy of shooting” to the masses. For more direct shooter-toshooter interaction and sophisticated shooting content, visit her webpages at and KirstenJoyWeiss.


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American Shooting Journal // April 2018

DIANNA MULLER How a pro shooter became a Second Amendment educator.

Dianna Muller is a former police officer who became a full-time pro shooter. (DAVE WEAVER)



ro shooter Dianna Muller is a role model and mentor to female shooters everywhere, literally all over the world. Her latest endeavor concerning firearms, however, is to educate politicians about the Second Amendment, and to show them that women are also the face of the American gun-owner. Muller started shooting when she was young. “My father was a shooting enthusiast, with a basement full of guns and reloading stuff. He taught me from a young age and I honestly don’t remember when I started. I remember my first hunting trip was the fall of my 14th year. It was cold, and sitting still was not my idea of fun, which probably was why I was unsuccessful that year. We tried again on my 16th birthday, and I shot the first deer I saw.” But Muller and her dad didn’t necessarily “bond” with hunting, so her dad turned their attention to the shooting sports. About two hours away from their home was the PASA Park shooting range in Barry, Illinois. It was one of the premier facilities in the area and many big matches were held there, along with local events. “We cut our teeth, as they say, on those local matches and Dad even signed me up for a class with [top shooter and author] Michael Plaxco. That was the beginning of my fondness for USPSA,” explains Muller.

NOWADAYS, MULLER’S FAVORITE SHOOTING sport is 3-gun, mostly because she gets to shoot handgun, rifle and shotgun. “I don’t have to have a favorite gun,” she laughs. “When I got out on my own, I stuck with horses and barrel raced for years. When they built the U.S. Shooting Academy right beside the police academy in 2008, I started thinking that I should hit a local pistol match just to get some time behind my gun for the job’s [police officer] sake.” It didn’t take long for Muller to fall in love with the people, and she started spending more and more of her free time at the range instead of the arena. “I stumbled upon a 3-gun match in 2009 and fell even harder for 37

that game.” By 2011, Muller had sold her horses, her tack, her trailer, her truck, her land, and her beloved barn with living quarters. “Call it a midlife crisis, but I sold everything and moved to town. I was still a full-time police officer, but I turned my attention towards shooting. By the time I retired from the Tulsa Police Department in 2014, I was cramming a full-time shooting schedule into the last year of my first career,” smiles Muller. Muller began with pistol sports, saying it’s probably the most difficult to master. “So it may have been an easier transition versus being a rifle or shotgun person trying to jump into 3-gun,” she explains. The shotgun and rifle were platforms she had some experience with from work, so she was eager to play with them in competition. “The long guns kind of have short games and long games – bird shot for stuff that flies, and up close, steel, and slugs for distant steel, out to 120 yards. The rifle is used on paper up close and steel out to 100 to 500 yards. I’ve found out so many things about the rifle game since I started, like ammo really matters,” she laughs. Muller adds that rifles can be finicky in what they “eat,” so it’s important to figure out what a particular rifle likes. “Plus, rifle ammo can be more expensive or less expensive, so it’s important to know that 55-grain, which is cheaper, is what you use for ‘hoser,’ fast, close-up stuff, and then heavier grain bullets for long range/precision,” she advises. Muller is sponsored by Fiocchi ammunition, so that’s what she uses. “They have centerfire and shot shells, so it’s perfect for a 3-gunner. Plus they are a great company that employs great people and produces great ammo.” MULLER HAS WON MULTIPLE competitions over the years, such as the USPSA Multigun Nationals Ladies Open title in 2013 and 2016, and the NRA World Shooting Championship in 2015. She has also won a variety of High Lady titles from outlaw matches, and in 2015, she won silver at the IPSC World Shotgun Match and was on the gold medal Ladies Standard Team. 38

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Muller represents female shooters around the country and around the world. (DAVE WEAVER)

Her wins aren’t just by luck, but from a lot of practice and a lot of shooting. She explains, “We [Muller and her husband, pro shooter Ryan Muller] travel and compete all over the country, so local matches and practice are difficult. On average, we shoot two to three matches per month.” Muller says, “The best part about being a female in a male-dominated sport (is that it) makes it easier to stand out, which in turn makes it easier for me to give a better return to my sponsors. Sponsorship has become a huge deal in our sport and

it’s important that you can actually increase profits for a company.” Her advice for women just getting into shooting is to just go to a match and get to know the shooters. Offer to help reset the targets, help keep score, etc. “You can learn a lot of the safety aspects and etiquette without adding the pressure of performing with three different guns.” Another option, she says, is to start with a single discipline match. Muller has big plans for her future. “Conquer the world for the Second Amendment,” she laughs. “This year


is an exciting year. In addition to the regular 3-gun match schedule, I have been selected to return to compete on a world stage at the 2018 World Shotgun match to be held in France in June. Prior to that, I will be going to Italy to film an episode of Shooting Gallery.” When asked if there is anything she wishes she had done differently over the years, Muller’s answer is inspirational. “No, I believe I’ve had to take the path I’ve taken in order to be who I am, what I know, and what I bring to the table for the sport and my sponsors.” ONE OF THOSE PATHS that Muller has taken recently has also become her greatest passion since she started shooting. “I’ve become more aware of the bigger picture. Doing what I can to save the Second Amendment and introducing others to the gun culture has become increasingly important.” Muller started the “D.C. Project” in 2016, sponsored by A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League, after a 2015 visit to Washington, D.C. A friend who advocates for service families asked if


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Muller’s become a leader in Second Amendment rights, organizing women to speak to their legislators to make sure their voices are heard, and their faces are seen as those of American gunowners. (HEATHER MILLER)

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she wanted to meet with legislators. After she did, she felt inspired to do more, and came up with this idea. It is comprised of 50 women, one from each state, meeting in Washington, D.C., to shake hands with their legislators as firearms advocates and Second Amendment supporters. This marks the third year Muller will be taking the group to Washington, D.C. She originally started with the idea that the team would include more high-profile shooters, who would be easy for legislative staffers to vet on social media. But now there are women from all across the board. The women who are involved in this project represent all aspects of why the Second Amendment is important, for hunting, sport and self-defense. “We all understand the uniqueness of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. We have a naturalized immigrant from Venezuela who has seen her home country lose their gun rights. We have women who have been victims of horrible attacks and


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

were denied the opportunity to protect themselves because of ‘gun-free zones.’ We have military and law enforcement officers. We have hunters, we have grandmothers (73 years old is our oldest). We have daughters (13 years old is youngest). We have Democrats, we have Republicans. We are from every background and every color. It’s really a cool project,” Muller beams with pride. Women are grouped into teams to go to legislative offices together. “For instance, we put heavy antiSecond Amendment states together, along with a woman with a strong, compelling story of an incident that happened to them, to get the attention of the legislators.” Muller puts proSecond Amendment states together by region. She feels they are more about maintaining the relationships and not feeling like they are forgotten about. For all members of Congress and the Senate, Muller wants them to know, “You might be hearing the squeaky wheel from the anti side, but we want to make sure you hear us being squeaky, too.”

Of particular importance this year is for the legislators to hear from the teenagers. Fourteen-year-old Dakota Overland, 18-year-old Anniston Baluyot, and 16-year-old Beth Walker are competitive shooters who can speak about teens handling guns safely. “Everyone who owns guns wants to keep kids safe. To say that we don’t just because we own guns is intellectually dishonest,” says Muller. MEETINGS WITH LAWMAKERS ARE planned about two to three weeks ahead of time. They can’t be made too early because it’s too hard for legislators to know where they’ll be. The team coordinates and communicates through a private Facebook page with files and a calendar for dates of meetings to be plugged in. The format of the program has not really changed much since the first year, except for Range Day, where the team takes legislators or staff to the range to introduce and educate them about firearms. Last year they held Range Day at the beginning of the trip, but it was not as successful since they hadn’t met


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the staff and made connections and relationships yet. Plus it was on a work day, which made it hard for staff to take off work to go. This year, Range Day will be held on the weekend following the visits to the offices, after everyone has met face-to-face. Muller hopes that the concept of the “D.C. Project” inspires others to get involved. “This isn’t about growing an organization, it’s just an effort,” she explains. “I hope it spreads but it’s not something where I can absorb more people. It’s hard to herd 50 people, and still try to make sure it’s effective. I hand-pick the women, and coordinate everything, so it’s very labor-intensive for me. So I don’t necessarily need more people to join, but I want them to do this kind of thing in their own state.” Muller says women can easily do a version of the “D.C. Project” on their own. Constituents can call or contact legislators through the internet, as they all have webpages with emails or a “contact me” tab. Women can choose whether they want to talk to the representatives in D.C. or in

Muller created the D.C. Project, along with A Girl and a Gun Women’s Shooting League. Women from all over the country will be heading to Washington, D.C., in June for their third trip to meet legislators from their states, showing that many women are gun owners as well. (D.C. PROJECT)

their state office. “They make it really easy to contact them, so I would encourage everybody to go and visit their representatives. Talk to them, tell them why you have guns and what you use them for, maybe offer to take them out shooting, show them what

it’s all about.” Most importantly, says Muller, “It boils down to engaging with the legislators and their staff. We need to create relationships. It’s important to show them who we are as women, as Second Amendment supporters.” 

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Women Against Violence Everywhere courses use real-world scenarios to teach women how to confidently, proficiently and safely defend themselves. STORY AND PHOTOS BY PAUL PAWELA


tatistics concerning violence against women are mindboggling, but unfortunately, the conversation itself is rarely discussed as the very subject for women hits too close to home and many would rather avoid the topic altogether. Yet sadly, there are compelling arguments in favor of having the discussion. Consider these facts, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Statistics: In 64 percent of female homicide cases in 2015, women were killed by someone they knew; 14 times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than by a stranger. Strangers committed about one third (31 percent) of all rape/sexual assaults. One in five women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. One in three women has been the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Women Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE) teaches women personal safety techniques, including using physical force, a firearm, or pepper spray to fend off an attacker.

One in seven women has been stalked by someone they know. On the subject of rape, there is no one better to describe the ordeal than a rape victim herself. To quote from the booklet Take the Law into Your Own Hands Legally by Joy Satterwhite Eyman, Ph.D. (condensed version): “Rape is a word we all hope will never be used in connection with one of our loved ones, whether it be our daughters, wives, sisters, mothers, grandmothers or friends. While everyone may understand the definition of the word rape, few understand the trauma that goes with it. The feeling of terror when attacked suddenly and violently, as a larger more physical human being starts strangling and suffocating the very lifeforce out of you. Feeling like you’re dying with each milli-second before total blackness. Seeing your life pass before your very eyes. Rape does not describe the uncontrolled fear you have when a gun is pressed to your head or a knife to your throat as you hear the attacker say ‘don’t move or I will blow your head off or slit your throat.’ “Rape doesn’t describe the screams in your head saying, ‘please God don’t let me die a violent death.’ It doesn’t describe 49

WAVE uses real-world scenarios to teach women how to confidently, proficiently and safely use firearms.

the many natural chemicals that will be released simultaneously making your body a raging ocean of emotion and turmoil. “Rape does not describe the physical assault of being choked, punched, battered, and ravaged in your private parts which might lead to sterility, venereal diseases, an unwanted pregnancy that leads to abortion or a death sentence with AIDS. “Rape does not describe the loss of that once free spirit, who was easy-going, and happy … now that is gone forever.” As difficult as that is to imagine, this horrible crime happens far too frequently. It is not a news flash that violent crime happens every single day, especially toward women. Crime can hit anyone at anytime and anywhere, and one of the best ways to protect oneself against violence is with a firearm. This explains why women today are the largest demographic applying for both pistol training and concealed carry license. In fact, women’s gun ownership has grown by 77 percent since 2005. WITH MANY WOMEN LIVING alone or as a single parent, they have identified a need for firearms training. In the case of an emergency, like home invasion, carjacking or burglary, as well as the aforementioned stalking, kidnapping, rape or murder scenarios, it just makes 50

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

sense for women to learn to help themselves. Thus it is only logical to have a collective, competent group of real firearms and personal defense female trainers who have knowledge, training and real world experience on the subject matter that all women can relate to. Enter the women of WAVE, an acronym that stands for Women Against Violence Everywhere. This is their story! Linda Keesling is a special education teacher with 31 years of experience in the trenches dealing with emotionally and behaviorally challenged students (like the recent Parkland, Florida, shooter whose behavioral issues left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School). Keesling knows from vast personal experience that people can explode in violent behavior, too often resulting in calls to the

The participants in the first WAVE class.

police to defuse the situation. To emphasize the seriousness of the situation, as a teacher, Keesling has been spat on, kicked, punched and injured on the job over 25 times, with five of those incidents requiring medical attention. She currently has 15 former students who are now in jail for murder, and countless others in jail on charges ranging from violent behavior to drugs. Keesling had another experience dealing with violence, as she repelled a home invader with a firearm. Now she has become a self-defense trainer and is a motivational speaker on selfdefense and firearms. Andy Tolbert has an extensive background in the industry. Her family owned a gun store growing up and she spent almost every weekend on the range shooting her .22-caliber rifle and pistol. Tolbert has had firsthand experience with violence, as her family gun store was robbed and the employees were tied up in the back. Her home was burgled three different times, as various people knew about the family’s gun collection. As a real estate agent, her own personal safety became in jeopardy when she was showing a house she thought was unoccupied but in fact had a squatter in it. With women in real estate at risk of being attacked, raped and murdered in empty homes when showing them, Tolbert has now become a national trainer in the real estate community teaching firearms and safety awareness with her company, 51

Safer Agent. And Tara Dixon Engel is a firearms and personal defense trainer, and the author of The Handgun Guide for Women and various articles for Combat Handguns, Gun World and Guns & Ammo magazines. She served as the first-ever female gun salesperson at Olde English Outfitters, a gun shop near Dayton, Ohio, that’s been in business for 44 years. Engel comes from a family background that knows a thing or two about liberty and freedom – she is a descendent of William Wallace of Braveheart fame, she is married to a retired deputy sheriff, and is the mother of an Army officer. She too is familiar with violence and its effect on women. With no disrespect toward other women’s shooting groups or organizations that train women in the use of firearms, these women simply felt that the judicious use of a firearm during a violent

Linda Keesling is a special education teacher with vast experience dealing with violent behavior. She is now a selfdefense trainer and is a motivational speaker on self-defense and firearms. (LINDA KEESLING)


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Andy Tolbert grew up around firearms in her family’s gun shop and now works in real estate. With higher odds that female agents may be attacked, raped or murdered when showing homes, Tolbert now teaches firearms and safety awareness with her company, Safer Agent. (ANDY TOLBERT)

encounter needed further emphasis and explanation, thus the genesis of WAVE. American Shooting Journal had a chance to interview these remarkable women about firearms, selfdefense and related topics.

American Shooting Journal First question: Where did your passion for firearms come from? Linda Keesling All my life I was afraid of guns. I really knew nothing about them and did not think I would ever want to know more about them until a friend of mine invited me to go shooting. Soon after that, I met my boyfriend who is a firearms trainer, and, well, the rest is history. Andy Tolbert Growing up with a family of shooters did it for me. Tara Dixon Engel I think my passion comes from my passion for freedom. I have no idea where that comes from; I just know that I’ve always had an abiding love for liberty and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. ASJ Why did you ladies choose to be involved in the shooting industry? LK Really, to face my own preconceived fears of firearms and to learn to control that fear. AT I don’t think you really choose it, as it really chooses you! TDE I like the attitude (of the industry). Once again, I am passionate about individuality, courage and selfreliance and all the components that are classic American. ASJ If you could

have just one gun to shoot, what kind of gun would it be? LK Glock 43 for carry and Glock 17 for competition. AT Glock 43 is what I carry daily. TDE Bite your tongue – just one gun, seriously? Gen 5 Glock 19 or the new Sig P365. ASJ How do you think women should be embraced/treated in the shooting world? LK The truth of the matter is about emphasizing real women – all women, not just women who have model figures and model looks. The very industry women look to for information and safety-related items sells itself short by using pin-up models to sell products that include gun magazines. That is the only way equality is going to truly come about! AT Definitely as equal; we should be respected for our abilities and motivation to train. Assuming that a woman wants a pink gun 53

because it is cute is seriously underestimating the seriousness of women’s training issues. TDE To be treated as an equal, not as superior. There is no need for discrimination in this industry, since a healthy percentage of sales now target women. ASJ What advice do you have for young women who are interested in the firearms industry? LK Take that first step and go to the range. Then take a class in firearms training and finally practice, practice and practice some more. AT Find the very best mentors and trainers you can and remember your reputation is everything. TDE Check your feminism at the door. Check your drama at the door. Listen and learn from both women and men, and become proficient technically and tactically. This is not about making a statement; this is about recognizing that lives are at stake.


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

ASJ What is the overall goal of WAVE? LK, AT, TDE (collectively) To train women in safety awareness, preventing violence and gaining confidence and proficiency in the use of firearms to keep women (and those they love) safe.  Editor’s note: For more information about WAVE, contact Linda Keesling at lskeesling@yahoo. com. Author Paul Pawela is a nationally recognized selfdefense trainer of 35 years, the director of law enforcement training for the National Association of Chiefs of Police, and CEO of Assault Counter Tactics, a civilian-based selfdefense training company.

Tara Dixon Engel is a firearms and personal defense trainer, and an author. She too has a family background in firearms and a passion for teaching women how to protect themselves. (TARA DIXON ENGEL) 55



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American Shooting Journal // April 2018


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Concealed Carry For Women A look at the pluses and minuses of off-body and on-body techniques.

A woman’s purse is not just for makeup and wadded up tissues anymore!



ike most men in law enforcement, I have little or no fashion sense. My closet contains clothes in “earth tones” (brown, green, black and tan), along with the occasional blue (jeans) and white (T-shirts). I dress as if I’m preparing for some sort of tactical event, where the ability to camouflage myself is the key to survival. You’ll find no chartreuse, periwinkle or mauve in my wardrobe! My wife, on the other hand, has a mix of different types of clothing. As a fellow law enforcement officer, she also has some drabcolored stuff, but for her, that’s for wearing while on the job or on the range. The rest of her gear is what I categorize as “girlie stuff ” – dresses, blouses, skirts, etc. True, not what you want to be wearing during an end-of-days scenario, but it all looks a heck of a lot better during date night.

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CARRYING CONCEALED MEANS THAT my wife, like most women, has to decide how to “tactically accessorize” before going to work, shopping or just out on the town. In other words, she has to pick a carry option for her firearm that works with what she is wearing. Both of us are very strong believers in carrying concealed all the time. We do it to protect our children, each other, the public and ourselves. Tactical accessorizing is pretty easy for me. I pick a weapon I like to pack and I choose my carry options, generally carrying it either OWB (on the waistband) or IWB (inside the waistband). At 5-foot10 and 190 pounds, I can generally 59

conceal a small-, medium- or largeframe handgun with relative ease, especially given that I generally purchase clothes with concealed carry in mind. I have plenty of “cover coats” and “cover shirts” designed to wear as overgarments to cover up my weapon. This usually consists of a shirt or jacket one size larger than I would normally wear. For women, it’s not so simple. The average American female is 5-foot-4, while the average male comes in at 5-foot-9. Men are obviously bigger and heavier, so, in simple terms, more body mass equals more space to conceal a handgun. A 115-pound female isn’t going to be able to conceal an M1911A1 on her person, regardless of whether it is carried inside or outside the waistband. However, she can generally hide a small- or medium-frame gun with little or no difficulty. From a fashion standpoint, most women aren’t going to want to wear extra-large clothing to cover up their piece. Women do have a distinct advantage, though, in terms of additional options for concealed carry. They can opt for off-body carry. This involves the use of purses, handbags and other accessories to carry a handgun. Now I don’t want to exclude my brothers who have embraced their more feminine side and opted to carry a “murse” (man purse). They are popular in Europe, so maybe there is something to it. I use a tactical murse to carry at the gym, so I’m not totally opposed to the idea, especially if it goes with your man bun hair-do … Generally, though, women are the ones who carry purses on a regular basis. OFF-BODY CARRY HAS both advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few: Advantages of off-body carry Ability to carry a larger weapon: If a suppressor-equipped HK USP .45 SOCOM is your preferred carry weapon, you can carry it in a purse. For more practical applications, though, large-frame handguns 60

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Bandoleer-style bags offer maximum firearm retention. Notice the woman is using proper technique, using her nondominant hand to hold the bag in place while retrieving the weapon with her dominant hand.

such as a SIG P226 or .45-caliber Glock 21 can also easily be carried in this manner. This means more firepower. Also, it allows female law enforcement officers to have the ability to carry the same weapon on and off duty. Carrying extra magazines: This is crucial and often overlooked when doing concealed carry. You can run through a single magazine pretty quickly during a gun fight, and then an empty gun is just an expensive club (especially that .45 USP). Carrying other weapons systems: This includes OC (pepper) spray, a Taser or stun gun, impact weapon, etc. Also, it’s nice to have items like handcuffs and tourniquets available.

Author Nick Perna’s wife sports a CrossBreed brand holster. The light, button-down shirt conceals it well and makes for an easy draw.


Like the ubiquitous hammer in search of a nail, a firearm is not the solution to every tactical scenario, so it’s good to have options. Disadvantages of off-body carry Weapon retention: Naturally, it’s easier to retain a handgun during a violent physical encounter if it is strapped directly to your body. Most holsters, whether they’re made of leather, kydex or nylon (or some other material), are generally fairly robust and can withstand someone trying to pull on them. As long as they are matched up with an equally strong belt, they should hold up. Also, a purse or handbag can be taken away more easily, especially if it’s worn casually over one shoulder. Handbags get stolen all the time while their owners are wearing them. Lack of proper handgun holders: Most purses don’t come with a built-in holster with a retention system. Generally, these types

of holsters need to be purchased from vendors that manufacture purses specifically for concealed carry. Off-body carry options Purses/handbags: There are a variety of purses and handbags on the market that contain an integral holster. Cameleon handbags has some nice ones, as does the NRA Store. A word to the wise for any men reading this: Don’t purchase one of these for your special lady without consulting her first. If you are fashion-challenged like I am, you will buy her a bag that she won’t use because it doesn’t go with anything she owns. True

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American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Ankle-draw firing position used when accessing a handgun from an ankle rig. Tactically, it can put the user at an advantage by getting her out of the line of the aggressor’s fire.

story, happened to me. I bought my wife a gun purse that she has never used. That’s what they invented gift cards for. Tactical handbags: Think murses for women. Not too fashionable, but definitely practical. 5.11 makes some good ones. Backpacks are good as well. Techniques for off-body carry Like any carry option, you need to train with it. I recommend carrying the purse bandoleer-style, that is, slung over the neck with the bag on the weak side. This allows good retention if someone tries to take it from you. Dry-fire practice followed by live-fire range training is a must. The shooter needs to clutch the bag with the nondominant hand. Then, open the bag and retrieve the handgun with the dominant hand. A variation on that is to use the nondominant hand to open the bag. Either way works, and with a little practice it can be drawn as fast as from a holster on the hip or waistband. As with any concealed carry technique, there is an inherent risk of striking yourself during a negligent or accidental discharge.




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conditioned to go towards your waistband to retrieve your firearm. One thing that needs to be avoided at all costs is carrying a handgun (either in or out of holster) in the main compartment of the purse with no form of retention anchoring the gun to the purse itself. In other words, tossing a loaded gun in a purse without attaching it to the bag somehow. From a safety standpoint, this is inherently dangerous. From a tactical standpoint, it eliminates any advantages that off-body carry offers. From a “don’t get your stuff stolen” standpoint, an unsecured gun flopping around in a purse is an enticing item to a would-be thief. Similarly, if you off-body carry, it is essential you keep the purse on your person at all times when out in public.

Whatever method you choose, have a plan for deploying your weapon in every type of environment you operate and live in. Be prepared when you are driving, going to the gym, at the office, and so on.

So, again, get in plenty of dry-fire practice first. Also, if you routinely carry a handgun on your hip, you


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

ON-BODY CARRY SIMILARLY has pluses and minuses to consider. need to retrain your brain to draw from the purse. Through years of muscle memory, you may be

Advantages of on-body carry Ease of draw and re-holster:

Since this is the technique that most men and women use, we train on it most frequently, thus making us better at it. Weapons retention: It’s easier to retain a weapon that is attached to you in some way. As with drawing and reholstering, most people practice some form of weapons retention technique while the weapon is in the holster. Generally, all it takes to retain the gun during a struggle is to put one hand on top of the handgun, covering the back of the handgun and the holster’s retention device. Can be drawn with one hand: Off-body carry always involves both hands, one to draw the weapon and the other to hold the purse. On-body carry may require both hands if an overgarment needs to be pushed out of the way to draw the weapon, but generally the nonfiring hand isn’t being used. That frees that hand up to do things like delivering a strike while trying to create distance.


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Disadvantages of on-body carry Printing: In concealed carry terms, printing is when you can see the outline of all or part of the firearm under clothing. The only way to avoid it is to wear loose-fitting clothes. Most women aren’t going to want to cover up an attractive outfit with a sweatshirt just to hide a firearm. Clothing options: If a woman is attending a Kenny Chesney concert and wants to wear her favorite “skinny” jeans and a tight top, it’s going to be pretty hard to conceal a handgun on her person. On-body carry options Outside the waistband (OWB): Arguably the most common method for both men and women. Before the advent of IWB, this was the only show in town. Probably the quickest to draw from but harder to conceal. Women may tend to avoid this one since it definitely requires a larger overgarment to cover it

up. Also, OWB doesn’t work as well with a woman’s hipline. Since women tend to be curvier this can cause the holster to extend further than intended, causing excessive printing. Inside the waistband (IWB): This is the way to go for women. This style of carry conforms better to a woman’s contours. It allows for maximum concealability while still allowing for quick draws. Whether it be in front (appendix carry) or towards the side or closer to the back, this is the optimal on-body carry solution. Many companies make good quality leather or cloth holsters, such as CrossBreed. The Kydex ones are great too. Shoulder holster: I’m not a particular fan of this form of carry, but in very limited circumstances it has a very useful application. When my wife was pregnant with our first child she was working light duty at her police department. In the latter months of the pregnancy, a belt-mounted



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American Shooting Journal // April 2018

because that is one of the last places a person generally looks when trying to tell if a woman is armed, especially

if they aren’t familiar with alternative carry techniques. Using an ankle rig requires some extra training to successfully draw it in an emergency situation. It basically requires the user to get on a knee to access it when drawing from a standing position. This actually provides a unique advantage when dealing with an armed suspect because it briefly takes the user out of the suspect’s line of sight and fire. Obviously, this needs to be done quickly and without errors, thus the need for practice. Unfortunately, they don’t work with a lot of women’s clothes. It is an obvious no-go in a skirt and wouldn’t work in tapered pants. It also isn’t as fast as a belt-mounted rig. Belly bands: The belly band is as good, if not better, than IWB holsters in terms of concealment. They leave little or no print. They are made of elastic Velcro or cloth and generally have room for a medium-frame handgun and an extra magazine. However, it can be difficult to quickly draw a handgun from a belly band.

Depending on what clothing is worn, you may have to untuck your shirt to get to it. Most use a Velcro retention band to hold the gun in place, which requires two hands to access it. Yoga pants holster: A couple of companies manufacture yoga pants with built-in holsters. They provide great concealability, but limited retention. Most have a strip of cloth with Velcro on it as the retention device. Bra holster: I would put this in the gimmick category, like those bayonets you can buy for Glocks. The holster attaches to the front of the bra and can carry a small frame handgun like a Ruger LCP. They aren’t very concealable and have limited tactical applications. I bought my wife one for Christmas as a joke. She laughed, and never took it out of its package. SO THERE YOU HAVE it. I encourage women to try all of the aforementioned techniques and pieces of equipment (except for

the bra holster). Find which one, or ones, work for you. No single carry technique is going to work all of the time. Sometimes off-body is the best bet; other times on-body is the way to go. Whichever ones you choose to use, make sure you spend lots of time both at home and on the range, practicing deploying your preferred weapon system from them.  Editor’s note: Nick Perna is a sergeant with the Redwood City Police Department in northern California. He has spent much of his career as a gang and narcotics investigator. He served as a member of a multijurisdictional SWAT team as an entry team member, sniper and team leader. He previously served as a paratrooper in the US Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. He is a regular contributor to multiple print and online periodicals dealing with tactics, gang and drug investigations and veterans’ issues.


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The At One adjustable rifle stock combines modularity and classic looks into one striking aftermarket stock. The At One is a laminated wood stock, weighing in at less than 2 pounds, 13 ounces, with an adjustable length of pull as well as an adjustable cheek piece, making it extremely versatile. Multiple people can now quickly adjust and shoot the same rifle comfortably. The At One is available in several colors, and is made for a multitude of different rifles. From hunting to bench shooting, the Boyd’s At One rifle stock will perform exceedingly well and look good doing it!


American Shooting Journal // April 2018



HOLSTER OPTIONS BOLSTERED Tap Rack is adding knife sheaths to lineup of Kydex-based handgun-, magazine-holding products. PHOTOS BY TAP RACK HOLSTERS


here are countless types of holsters and other carry products on the market, but what if you can’t find one to suit your needs? Well, you make your own, of course. That is exactly what Robert Simpson and Everett Balber did, and the two are now partners at Tap Rack Holsters. “We have a lot of experience with firearms, being in the military and law enforcement, and found that what was offered on the market was not solving our holster needs,” Simpson and Balber said. “Upon creating our own holsters to pacify our needs we were being asked to do the same for others, and Tap Rack Holsters was born. We hired craftsmen, engineers and designers and got a lot of help from the industry, friends and family.” Now operating out of a full-scale manufacturing shop in Fresno, California, Tap Rack specializes in individually handcrafted products made of the most durable materials. “All of our holsters are made using at least .080 Kydex, and in some products up to .125 Kydex is used,” the pair explained. “Kydex was first

produced in 1965 and is basically made of acrylic and Tap Rack Holsters is adding PVC. The to their lineup of handgunholding products (pictured properties this page) with knife sheaths. found in this thermoplastic are rigidity and strength, giving it superior impact resistance, low flammability numbers, and resistance to a great number of corrosive chemicals and cleaning products. It has a hardness of 94 on the Rockwell hardness scale. We do not use any other materials, as they may be good for other applications, but not holsters.” Though the quality of the materials are of the utmost importance to Simpson and Balber, of equal significance is the fact that each holster is handmade. When asked why this was such an important aspect for Tap Rack, the answer from Simpson and Balber was simple: “Quality control. With so many firearms and attachments, coupled with how many ways a person wants to carry a holster, the number of different holsters is a big number. Injection molding cannot easily solve all of these requests. “If it is a large production run or a one-off holster, we have found that nothing can replace the handmade holster, as it is given great attention to detail. In our shop a holster can touch many different hands as it is being manufactured and tested before shipping.” Tap Rack builds holsters for all

kinds of firearms, but their most popular products are the Glock series, and especially the Inside the Waistband line for everyday carry. “We think it has to do with the ease of manufacturing, coupled with the fact that Glock has had a large presence in areas such as law enforcement, competition and concealed carry markets,” said Simpson and Balber. And, according to the pair, Tap Rack is looking to expand their reach this year by adding knife sheaths to the repertoire. “We have always built sheaths, but they were mostly for individual customers and this area of tool was never really promoted. We are doing work for some knife makers, both big and small, who are letting us R&D for them, which has given us some contracts to build on.” Whether you’re looking for a holster or custom knife sheath, you will always find high quality products and great customer service at Tap Rack. Added Simpson and Balber, “Our products are guaranteed for life, so we proudly stand behind every holster we build, as we believe they are the best.”  Editor’s note: Visit for more information. 75

76 6

American Shooting Journal // / April 2018


Sightmark’s Laser Boresight helps owners of rifles in .25-06, .270 and .30-06 get on paper with a laser-equipped cartridge that goes in the chamber and emits a red beam down and out the barrel at a target.


Sightmark’s cartridge-based Laser Boresight for deer rifles ‘will save you a lot of ammo and speed up’ getting on target, says hunter, shooter. STORY AND PHOTOS BY TOM CLAYCOMB III


met Kevin Reese, the senior media relations specialist with Sellmark, years ago at a Professional Outdoor Media Association convention and we have been friends since. Last year he told me that I needed to test out their Sightmark Laser Boresight, so I asked him more about it. He told me it looks like an empty brass. You chamber it and a laser beam shoots out and places the beam where the bullet would strike. You

then adjust the sight or crosshairs onto the beam, and voilà, you’re boresighted. I told him that as soon as I grabbed a new rifle I’d get back with him and test it out. A few short months later I was lined up to go hog hunting with Slow Glow out of Texas. I wanted to test out a Mossberg 6.5 Creedmoor but they were unavailable, so I went with the trusty old .30-06 in the Patriot Revere model. I’ve been wanting to get another .30-06 for a good while anyway. The first step was to mount a scope. I plan on doing a lot of

hunting with this rifle, so I got a Riton USA Mod 5 Gen2 4-16x50 scope and mounted it. Now to test the Sightmark Laser Boresight. In the old days, when you mounted a scope you had to sight in your rifle by starting at 25 yards while shooting at a big target to make sure you were even on the paper (which means hitting the target so you know where you’re at). After the first shot you have to measure how far off you are and turn your crosshairs to get it true. Remember, on most scopes one click will move the crosshair a quarter 77

PRODUCT FEATURE inch at 100 yards. At 25 yards you would theoretically need to turn the scope four clicks to move it an inch at 100 yards. If you have a buddy with you, a better way to adjust your scope is to shoot once and then hold the crosshairs on the bullseye. Have your partner turn the crosshairs until they line up with the bullet hole. That method can be suspect, though, because if you move the rifle during the process it’s all null and void. The Sightmark Laser Boresight will save you a lot of ammo and speed up your sighting in in the process. In a nutshell, here’s the scoop on how Sightmark advertises the laser sight. As with all lasers, avoid looking directly into the laser, shining it into someone else’s eyes or shining onto a reflective surface. To turn on the laser simply install the two batteries and tighten the cap on the primer end of the bullet. Once the cap is tightened, the laser will come on. Install the boresight in the chamber of your rifle. Close the bolt slowly until it is snug. It is not necessary for the bolt to be completely closed for it to function, just snug. Pick a target 25 yards away that clearly shows the laser. I’ve found

Author Tom Claycomb used the barrel sight to dial in a Riton USA Mod 5 Gen2 4-16x50 scope mounted on a Mossberg Patriot Revere in .30-06 for a Texas hog hunt.

that the laser shows up great on a black target, even in the middle of the day. I couldn’t see it on the normal vanilla-colored target, though. Adjust the crosshairs to line up with the laser dot. This process is easier and faster if you have someone to turn the adjustments while you are looking through the scope. When finished, remove the boresight from the chamber. Remove

the batteries and store them and the boresight in the protective carrying pouch. Sightmark advertises that if your rifle is boresighted in at 25 yards, it should be within 4 inches of the mark at 100 yards. After boresighting the rifle, I shot a Hornady Superformance 165-grain SST and it hit 5/16 inch low and 3/16 inch to the right of the bullseye. I’m sold. This will save me a lot of ammo in the future when sighting in rifles.  After boresighting his rifle, Claycomb hit just 5/16 inch low and 3/16 inch to the right of center, which he says is “a lot closer than anything else has been that I’ve had boresighted.”

The Sightmark boresight comes with a pouch to safely store and carry it in when not in use.


American Shooting Journal // April 2018 79




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American Shooting Journal // April 2018




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American Shooting Journal // April 2018




An embarrassing series of misfires during a shoot has a veteran black powder rifleman learning old tricks.

A fouling plug in author Mike Nesbitt’s .50-caliber Kunz-style rifle kept him from shooting his best during a couple outings.



ast year a whole lot of old friends were at the annual doin’s of the Washington State Historical Gunmakers and Steve Skillman, the camp cook, threw on a good feed at lunchtime. This ol’ hungry hoss made sure he wasn’t late. But the real reason I was there was to take part in the Gunmakers’ shoot, which is always held as part of the organization’s summer meeting. There are some special rules for that match. The gunmakers must do their shooting with a gun that they’ve made. This adds to the match and helps to make it interesting. Also, each shooter is supposed to “put up” a blanket prize; again, something they’ve made. Previously I’d put one of my trade pouches on the blanket, but this go-around I didn’t have any prize prepared. I just wanted to shoot for fun. I was using my .50-caliber copy of a Jacob Kunz flintlock rifle, the longbarreled half-stock that I had made back in 2012. That’s a fine rifle, if you’ll allow me to say so, and I’ve decided to let it show what it can do more often. IT SEEMED LIKE I was ready to do some shooting, but my rifle wasn’t. After ramming the ball down on the powder for my first shot, a flash-hole pick was

used to be sure the flash-hole was clear. It was clear alright, but so was the breech-end of the barrel; I couldn’t feel any powder inside. At the firing line, the pan was filled with 4F and then the rifle was tilted so that much of the priming would flow through the flash-hole and into the breech end of the barrel. The flash-hole pick was used to push a little more of the priming powder through the hole, enough that I certainly expected to get ignition to the main powder charge. That made me ready and I aimed carefully to make my shot, but the only reward was a flash in the pan. That was embarrassing! Trying to save face, I reprimed the pan. This time I used the flash-hole pick to force more priming into the barrel. In fact, I pushed priming through the flash-hole until I couldn’t get any more in there. That was most certain to achieve ignition, so I aimed and squeezed the set trigger. This time there was more than a simple flash in the pan, but not much. The powder that had been forced through the flash-hole ignited very well but not the main charge. And the pressure from the priming powder forced through the flash-hole escaped over the priming pan with a definite “fizzle” sound. That was even more embarrassing! Enough was enough. I stepped away from the shooting station to let

another shooter try his luck, and went over to another target. At that point I reprimed the rifle, much like how it had been done for my second try. For this “shot,” I aimed at one of the bullseyes on the target and again squeezed the set trigger. This time the rifle fired but ignition was so very slow, so late, that the gun really wasn’t aimed at that bullseye anymore. Actually, I had hoped for a complete miss to claim a fouling shot. But no, it hit the paper, so it had to be counted as a zero because it hit outside of the scoring rings. My troubles continued. Although all shots after that did fire, they didn’t fire completely on cue. I finished the five shots needed on the paper target (with only two scoring hits), and with each shot the ignition improved. SOME CORRECTIVE ACTION WAS taken that same afternoon with a rather complete barrel flushing. The rifle’s lock was removed and the flash-hole was plugged with a quill. Then, while standing the rifle in a sturdy position, the entire barrel was filled with warm water and left for more than two hours. I had to guess there was a fouling ring in the barrel, just ahead of the flash-hole, which would need some time to absorb some of the moisture to soften it. After those couple of hours had passed, the rifle got more attention. 83


The muzzle was pointed to the ground and the quill was removed. Water ran freely from the muzzle and that was followed by the blackest mud you’ve ever seen. What really surprised me was how much of the black mud was there. I proceeded to wipe the bore with wet patches, which came out filthy at first, then got cleaner and cleaner as the wiping progressed. When the bore was finally clean, which really didn’t take a lot of time, the barrel was wiped with lube both inside and out. Then the rifle, with the lock also cleaned, was reassembled and made ready for use. JUST A COUPLE DAYS later, Bob DeLisle and I did some practice shooting on the trail-walk. My rifle fired like there had never been any problem. In fact, we had agreed when we started down the trail that we’d shoot at just the animalshaped targets. We did that and the only target I missed was a “rabbit,” one of the closer targets. Our shooting on the trail-walk 84

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Following a trail-walk shoot with Nesbitt (top), Mike Moran flushes his gun’s barrel immediately afterwards, a lesson the author had to learn the hard way.

was a lot of fun and, as you might guess, my rifle performed very nicely with excellent ignition and it never failed to fire. Flushing the barrel out made such a big difference that

I told myself that I should do so with certain regularity. However, even after giving myself such an assignment, I didn’t flush the barrel out after that day of shooting.

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That might show that I hadn’t learned my lesson … Then came our Fall Harvest Rendezvous, in which ol’ Mike Moran and I agreed to shoot the rifle trail. We quickly grabbed our rifles and gear, plus the club’s scorecards, and headed for the tiebreaker shooting station where we’d take our first shots. That was also where we loaded our rifles, with me using 55 grains of the old Curtis’s and Harvey’s FFF powder under the patched .490-inch-diameter ball in my .50. Once again, after loading the powder and ball, I checked the flashhole with a pick. To my surprise and disappointment, I could not feel powder inside the barrel when probing with the pick. The problem with the fouling “plug” had returned, so very quickly too. There was nothing for me to do at that moment except to over-prime, as I had done before, and hope that the fouling plug would be blown clear. Apparently the fouling that blocked the powder from falling all the way to the breech plug was not really severe or complete because my rifle fired on cue. That gave me a very good hit on the tiebreaker. The rifle actually fired very well, good enough to let me finish with only three misses out of the 20 shots. That helped my aggregate score, and I took third place in the senior aggregate. We weren’t shooting like champions but we were doing alright; more importantly, we were having fun. BACK AT THE TENTS, after getting a hot bite to eat, Mike sat down and began cleaning his rifle. We hadn’t discussed this at all, so the procedure he used is simply the standard way he cleans his guns, in the field or in camp. He removed the lock from his flintlock Leman and began to flush the barrel. My own rifle got a good flushing too and now it’s ready to be shot again, perhaps in a match that Mike will be putting on soon. Flushing the barrel out after shooting is now a habit of mine and I am curious to understand why I shot for so many years before adopting this practice.  87




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Arkansas company offers new training sensor and app to track muzzle movement during shooting, specializes in variety of high-quality all-in-one firearms cleaning products.

DAC Technologies’ Winchester cleaning kit.



AC Technologies, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, specializes in firearm safety and gun cleaning products to fit any shooter’s needs. The company offers a wide array of products, from gun maintenance tools to gun locks to range bags, but some of their most popular include their line of GunMaster cleaning kits. “GunMaster is our proprietary brand but we also make cleaning kits under the Winchester brand as a licensee,” explains Mat Rogers with DAC Technologies. “No matter which brand we are talking about, there is a kit to fit any shooter’s needs. We have universal kits that will clean just about any gun out there, which are great for people that own multiple guns, on down to caliber/gauge-specific kits for those that only need to clean one

The GunMaster AR223/5.56 cleaning kit.

gun. Most of our kits consist of brass cleaning rods but we also have pullthrough cable systems for people that prefer that style of cleaning kit.” Adds Rogers, “The universal kits are popular because they are such a tremendous value. You get a ton of accessories and can clean all of your firearms at a very affordable price ... Our claim to fame is making high-quality products at very affordable prices.” DAC Technologies is constantly looking to add to their product line, and one new product that is becoming quite popular is the Targetize Firearms Training Sensor. “It is a motion sensor that attaches to the rail of your pistol and tracks your muzzle movement as you are shooting,” explained Rogers. “It gives you instant feedback after each trigger pull via Bluetooth to a free app on your phone or tablet. The feedback consists of showing the shooter how their muzzle moved

A look at the Targetize Firearms Training Sensor app, which helps shooters see how their muzzle moves between discharges.

during the shot and how to correct it. “This highly accurate device was created by ex-military and special forces weapons instructors. It’s like having an instructor on your phone. You can practice your shooting technique almost anywhere since the device works with dry fire, in addition to live fire and CO2 guns. It’s perfect for anyone looking to improve their shooting skills. And it’s affordable! The MSRP is $149.99 and the app is free to download for iOS or Android platforms.” Gun owners looking to clean, maintain and keep their gun safe – and now practice their shooting technique! – can find it all at DAC Technologies. As Rogers says, “We are a small company that takes huge pride in our products and customer service, and it shows.”  Editor’s note: Visit for more information about the products DAC Technologies offers. 91

GUN CLEANING FROG LUBE FrogLube is a two-product system consisting of bio-based cleaners (degreasing solvent) and lubricants used together to provide complete gun care. FrogLube’s development began in 2009 with the search for a “biobased” lubricant as a replacement to compete against traditional petroleum-based lubricants. The initial bio-based formulation performed as a “cleaner, lubricant, preservative” (CLP). These first formulas were derived from existing products found in commercial use in a small manufacturing plant in Huntington Beach, California. The company, Elasco Guards, was owned by David Lasky, brother of Capt. Larry Lasky, US Navy SEAL (retired). Capt. Lasky, along with a group of active and former SEALs, took the formula to the live fire range and applied the formulas to their tactical weapons. Capt. Lasky documented a series of empirical stress tests to evaluate the bio-based lube for performance in modern firearms. The SEALs’ ability to run guns hard and test a great variety of functional and performance measures, such as time between cleaning, time between failures, accuracy and performance in environmental extremes, proved there was great potential for a bio-based lube and led to further design and formula adjustments which continue today.

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American Shooting Journal // May 2017


LET’S GIVE ’EM A HAND Tinkerer’s workstations help hold handguns, ARs to make disassembly and cleaning a snap. PHOTOS BY PRESENT ARMS


any small firearms businesses are formed when a simple hobby becomes something bigger. But for Mark Jenkinson, who founded Present Arms, his was not a hobby so much as an inherent desire to “tinker.” Jenkinson is a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and holds a degree in marine engineering, Merchant Marine. “Commonly referred to as ‘Snipes’ in the Navy, we work below the decks in the engine rooms of ships,” explains Jenkinson. “A common trait among us is that of being a ‘tinkerer,’ a jack-of-alltrades, a master of none. Being a lifelong gun enthusiast with the attributes of a tinkerer, I’ve always enjoyed taking guns apart and seeing how they work as much as shooting them.” He continues, “A number of years ago I wanted out of the fast pace of corporate America. I left a small

company, cashing in an equity position with the intentions of slowing down, retiring. The truth be told, I was driving my wife crazy and needed something to do. I then found myself taking armorer courses for fun and could clearly see the instructors could do their Present Arms’ 1911 Armorer trade with their Plate. eyes shut, but the students struggled, myself included. “I went to my workshop and pulled off the shelf a platform with post I made 35 years ago. I would use it to mount my 1911 when I cleaned it; it gave me a ‘third hand.’ I thought this is what’s needed and if I made it better, I

could possibly sell them.” Jenkinson took the gun mount to friend Fred Holmes, who owns Semco Machine in Wrentham, Massachusetts. “Fred looked it over and between us we made it better,” says Jenkinson. “And from that simple platform, we developed

The Gunner’s Mount Kit is the Massachusetts company’s flagship product.

Large and Small Sentinel Plates help AR and handgun owners who need a third hand while cleaning and maintaining their gun. 95


Present Arms’ new ARHook, here by itself and in use, will be available starting this month.

the product line we carry today. We have been in business since 2012, but it’s only been in the past three years that we’ve had the variety of products we now offer.” The original focus of Present Arms was to make products to support armorers, giving them that third hand. They offer mission-specific platforms for ARs, Sigs, Glocks, HK, M&P, Berettas, and the 1911. “Our most popular mission-specific workstations are for the 1911 and the AR-15,” says Jenkinson. “Both of these firearms offer the shooter a vast number of options in customizing the gun. We’re offering a platform that helps them make those changes quickly and without damaging the gun.” With the AR’s steadily growing popularity, Present Arms is seeing an uptick in sales of their Gunner’s Mount, a system specific to Mil-Spec AR-15s. “We’re seeing an increasing volume of business to law enforcement, as well as civilian shooters,” says Jenkinson. “Civilians who build custom AR rifles are taking advantage of the third hand the Gunner’s Mount offers. For the 96

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

police department armorer with the responsibility of ensuring department firearms are in operational readiness at all times and who knows the leading cause of firearm failure is improper maintenance, the Gunner’s Mount Kit is a cost-effective platform to build, service and maintain department ARs. We’re offering the third hand with a quick return on the investment.” In addition to civilian armorers and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Present Arms’ customers also include United States military units such as Special Forces, as well as the federal Departments of Energy, Homeland Security and Veteran Affairs, plus the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Internal Revenue Service. But Jenkinson hasn’t forgotten about the millions of gun owners who aren’t necessarily tinkerers but who still need to clean and maintain their guns. “We’ve come out with a new line of platforms we’re calling our Sentinel line,” he says. “The Sentinel plates use our patented system of interchangeable

magazine post. A large Sentinel Plate is for the AR and will also hold pistols; the smaller size is for pistols only. Buy one plate and the specific posts for the handguns you have and you’ve got a user-friendly system giving that third hand, making quick work of cleaning or servicing your guns.” Jenkinson adds, “We also have a new product to be released in April, an ARHook. It’s an AR cleaning rod guide and strut, all in one. You hook the upper receiver by way of the rear lug, and pin to the lower with the takedown pin. Quick, simple, safe.” Present Arms’ third hand has gotten tremendous feedback and Jenkinson is grateful. “When you’ve been given a salute by the real gun guys for coming up with innovative products that reduce the time to build a gun, and they say, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ you know you’ve done something right.”  Editor’s note: For more about Present Arms’ firearms workstations, visit 97

9 98

American Americ rican Shooting Journall // A April p l 2018 pri

gun review

REMINGTON PLAYS DEFENSE WITH 870 DM Best-selling shotgun now comes in models featuring a six-round detachable magazine. STORY BY LARRY CASE


believe new concepts in firearms are a good thing. Grouchy old gun writers (like me) will often scoff at new ideas, but sometimes you just need some fresh notions. Putting a box magazine on a shotgun is really not a new idea, but many out there have not heard much about this until lately. For a lot of shotgunners the idea has just been too awkward to talk about, kind of like the time Aunt Agnes had too much Christmas cheer and passed out on the couch. IN 1950, REMINGTON GAVE us the bestselling shotgun of all time, the Model 870. The Remington 870 replaced the Model 31 shotgun, which was a popular and well-crafted pump-action shotgun. The 31 was known for a smooth-asglass action and around 200,000 were probably sold. That was considered a lot in the late 1940s, but the 870 blew those figures out of the water. After appearing in 1950 (some claim 1951, but we don’t have room to argue that here), the Remington 870 The DM’s box magazine holds six rounds, and the author reports he experienced no failures to feed while trying out shotshells from four different manufacturers. (LARRY CASE)

Author Larry Case has handled a few shotguns in his time, including Remington’s venerable 870, and after test firing the company’s new 870 DM model featuring a detachable magazine, he says he can see its value in the home defense as well as military and law enforcement arenas. (LARRY CASE) After field-testing Remington’s 870, author Larry Case (LARRY CASE)

really caught on with the public, and by 1966 the first million had been sold. The shotgun became a standard for American hunters and shooters, and in 2009 Remington celebrated selling 10 million Model 870s. (Word has it that this number is now over 11 million.)

The 870 has been made in so many different configurations, I doubt we could count them all. What they all have in common is what made the 870 so popular in the first place. Rock-solid construction with a receiver made from one piece of steel and twin action bars (those are the two metal bars that connect the forearm with the internal action of the shotgun) make the 870 one rugged piece of machinery. They’re in closets and gun cabinets all over America and we now have at least three generations of hunters and shotgun shooters who were brought up on an 870. Fans are fiercely loyal to this gun and many probably think there is no reason to ever change the basic design of this shotgun. Or is there? 99

gun review Among Remington’s five DM models are the Tactical with pistol grip (top), Predator (middle) and MagPul. (REMINGTON)

IT’S NO SECRET WE live in a different world than we did in 1950, and for many years there has been much talk about home defense and the defensive or fighting shotgun. Many in the gun world (like me) will tell you that the shotgun is the premier weapon for home defense, delivering the most amount of lead to those who would do us harm. For years it has been discussed that the shotgun’s major drawback in this area is magazine capacity (how many shells the shotgun holds) and reloading time. Fully reloading a pump or semiauto shotgun can be time-consuming and difficult in stressful situations. Remington recently announced something most of us thought would never happen. They changed the basic design of the Model 870 and put a detachable box magazine on the most beloved shotgun since the Winchester Model 12. I didn’t hear about the sky falling anywhere and I don’t think the Earth tilted on its axis. The new version is called the 870 100

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

DM (detachable magazine). That’s right, a detachable magazine on a shotgun, just like on your AR-style rifle. Remington saw this as an opportunity to step out of the box and address the long-held concerns about reloading time and mag capacity. The six-round box magazine loads easily into the magazine well on the shotgun; one rack of the slide and the shotgun is loaded and ready to go. I shot this new version of the

A close-up of the mag well on the 870 DM. (REMINGTON)

venerable 870 quite a bit and went through many magazine changes with several different kinds of ammo, including Remington, Aguila, Federal and Winchester. Now I may eat these words later, but to date I have not had one malfunction with this shotgun. In truth I thought there might be some little glitch with this new system, but Remington evidently did their homework on this gun and sent the first ones out ready to rock and roll. Remington engineers knew they had to deal with the gremlin of the pounding recoil in a 12-gauge shotgun (think 3-inch magnum loads), while keeping the magazine inserted in the gun for feeding and extracting concerns, and all the while having the magazine well with tolerances to easily insert and dump the magazine. An internal spring in the magazine well to hold the magazine in the proper position was the answer, and it works well. The furniture on this gun is by MagPul and features their SGA stock, which is ergonomic, meaning it feels good in your hand, is “grippy” and easy to hold on to, and the shape tends to get you down on the gun and into the sights quickly. The SGA stock is adjustable for length of pull, which can be important for a defensive shotgun. There will be five models of the 870 DM available: a Base Model, the MagPul model, a Kryptek Camo hunting model, a Base Hardwood model, and a Tactical Model with pistol grip. The sights on this first model 101

gun review The Remington 870 DM may be too outside the box for some shotgunners, but represents a new iteration of an old classic. (LARRY CASE)

are XS Sights Ghost Ring rear sight with a Standard Dot Tritium front. The rear sight is mounted on an XS Sights Shotrail Picatinny-style rail. Target acquisition with this sight is very fast. I’VE SAID BEFORE THAT a prophet is never appreciated in his own time and sometimes new and innovative ideas are not received all that well. I know some in the gun world will not take the new 870 DM in with open arms, but I think many will. I can see a lot of applications for this shotgun in the military and law enforcement arena. Likewise, I think this new shotgun will be the talk of the town for home defense. I have already been on the horn with my bear defense buds in Alaska and they are very eager to get their hands on an 870 DM. OK, now that wasn’t so bad, was it? We talked about it and now you feel better; maybe a box-fed magazine 870 is a good idea, after all. Talk it over with your buddies at the gun club, and be a little nicer to Aunt Agnes this year.  102

American Shooting Journal // April 2018 103


American Shooting Journal // April 2018


Hunters Brittany Boddington (pictured) and Shannon Lansdowne want to help fellow women interested in the sport feel like they too can follow their passion, which was why they began the She Hunts Skills Camp. (SHE HUNTS SKILLS CAMP)

MAKING HUNTING HER-STORY Growing skills camp brings women who aspire to hunt independently together with experts. STORY BY BRITTANY BODDINGTON


hat started off as an idea has turned into something magical. My friend and fellow hunter Shannon Lansdowne and I knew that women needed more formal instruction in the field of hunting and a safe space to learn, which is why we developed the She Hunts Skills Camp. What we didn’t count on was the impact the camp would have on those who attended. It is my passion to help get people into the outdoors and into hunting and women are the fastest growing

demographic in the hunting industry. A GREAT RESOURCE FOR WOMEN There are several programs for women but none quite like ours. We combine learning from industry professionals with quality products like Leupold Optics, Krieghoff Shotguns, MG Arms rifles and many more, with a fun, lowpressure atmosphere. The ladies who attend get a ton of goodies to take home with them to help get them on their feet for their next hunt. Shannon and I learned that our niche is with women who want to learn to be independent hunters. They might have started hunting with a father,

brother, husband or boyfriend and have since either lost those mentors or simply grown past what they can now offer as teachers. They want to learn more to feel confident and pass their skills on to friends and family. There is a lot of growing and a fair bit of healing that goes on at the camp as these women learn to harness the skills they need to pursue their passions. It is incredible and empowering to watch as sparks ignite for some ladies who came to us unsure if they would ever hunt but leave as self-declared hunters. A GREAT WINTER TURNOUT Our just-concluded February camp 105

HUNTing was a huge success. We had 15 incredible women join us, with each and every one taking home a massive swag bag filled with goodies that we hand selected for them. While hunting is a wonderful sport, the gear can get expensive when you are just getting started, so we try to put together a starter kit for the ladies with items like a nice Alps Outdoors backpack, a gun cleaning kit from Otis and a set of gear from Sitka. Participants also go home with knives, scent elimination products from Dead Down Wind, slings and accessories from Limbsaver, Yeti cups and Mtn Ops supplements and lots more. HAVE NO FEAR The simple truth is that we have learned that women tend to learn more when the classes are kept to all ladies because they don’t hesitate to ask questions. Don’t get me wrong here: I’ve done mixed gender classes and learned a ton, but sometimes it is nice to be in a room full of ladies who are also eager to learn. The She Hunts alumni group has turned into a bit of a sisterhood. They all encourage one another and share stories and photos long past the end of the camp. I remember my southern California days in Girl Scouts and the strong bonds that were forged in the sleepover camps we did every summer. I think that the success of She Hunts may have something to do with the feeling of unity that the ladies get from their time at the ranch together. They say hunters and guides arrive as strangers and leave as lifelong friends by the end of a good hunt. I think the camp does the same, except that we multiply the relationships exponentially since we have a large group of women and so many incredible sponsors who come to teach. A LEARNING EXPERIENCE A week after our first camp one of our ladies posted on her Facebook that for the first time in her life she went to the gun safe on her own, picked up her rifle 106

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Krieghoff professional shooter and national champion Katie Fox is just one of several experts who assist during seminars. (SHE HUNTS SKILLS CAMP) 107

HUNTing and went to the range by herself. The reason? She was finally comfortable enough to do so because she had been too timid to handle the gun without her husband before that. After the camp she said that she enjoyed shooting for the first time in her life. This kind of success story warms my heart. There is zero pressure to hunt or kill anything while attending the camp. We simply provide the skills interested hunters need to handle their firearms safely and give them the basics in stalking, field dressing, archery, long range shooting, wild game cooking, etc. The opportunity to hunt is there if the ladies decide to add that onto their stay with us, but the core of the camp is to develop skills and build confidence for women in the outdoors. It’s my mission in life to spread the love of hunting and to help give ladies the safe space to learn everything they need to know to pass hunting along to


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Everyone who attends gets a goodie bag full of hunting and shooting sports swag. (SHE HUNTS SKILLS CAMP)

Brittany’s dad Craig Boddington, himself a distinguished hunter and author, was also on hand to lend his expertise for a dangerous game seminar. (SHE HUNTS SKILLS CAMP) 109


Boddington and Lansdowne (center-right, holding child) wanted to spread their love of hunting with other women interested in the sport. As this group photo shows, there are plenty of aspiring sportswomen eager to get involved. (SHE HUNTS SKILLS CAMP)

the next generation. We hope you or a loved one will consider joining us for our next She Hunts Skills Camp. For more information, email Editor’s note: Los Angeles native Brittany Boddington is a



Phoenix-based hunter, journalist and adventurer. For more, go to and facebook. com/brittanyboddington.

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Large decoy spreads are needed to pull in big flocks of snow geese fueling up in Saskatchewan grainfields.

Before departing for their overpopulated Arctic breeding grounds, giant goose flocks are huntable on Canadian province’s staging grounds. STORY AND PHOTOS BY SCOTT HAUGEN


et ready, we’ll take ’em this time around,” I instructed over the incessant calls of the thousands of snow geese that circled overhead. “Nope, let’s wait on these, here comes another flock.” The cloud of snow geese grew, as distant flocks continued coming our direction. Over 5,000 birds circled our spread of decoys, and they just kept coming. “Do you want to shoot?” I shouted to my four buddies in the blind beside me. I held my two dogs, as they were ready to bust loose, for never had they experienced so many geese circling overhead for so long without a shot being fired. My question fell on deaf ears; not

one of my buddies even held their shotguns. Instead, they just watched, soaking in the moment. This was the exact reason why we had come to Saskatchewan, to experience the largest gathering of snow geese in North America. It was day four of our five-day hunt, and we’d already shot plenty of birds. We were far from reaching our daily limits, but the awesome sight and sound of so many geese working the decoys trumped our shooting them. The interesting thing was that not one word was said. Everyone felt the same way at the exact moment. We wanted to enjoy the action, not taint it with gunshot. Soon the number of geese working the decoys doubled. The sound was deafening, and the sight of snows and blues tumbling in on cupped

wings, pink feet down, filled the sky. It continued for minutes, until some snows flew right over the top of our box blind and grew nervous. As the birds started to leave, I snapped my buddies out of their daze. “Grab your guns and let’s take this small flock coming from the right.” They did, and soon the dogs were on their way. “That right there was worth the whole trip,” shared a solemn Rick Nation, one of my hunting buddies. “I don’t care if I shoot another goose the rest of the trip, that was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” exclaimed Dave Cellers, one of my dad’s boyhood friends, now in his late 70s. Dave, as with my dad, Jerry Haugen, who was also in the blind, has spent a lifetime hunting waterfowl. It was a strong statement, 115

ROAD HUNTER Echo and Kona, author Scott Haugen’s pudelpointers, chalked up a lot of retrieves on this hunt, and slept soundly each night.

and Dad wasted no time agreeing. Though in his 80s, Tom, our other hunter, was new to waterfowl hunting and reveled in the moment. My pudelpointers Echo and Kona marked most of the birds that fell from the flock, and soon I had five geese at my feet. They were a mix of snows and blues, as beautiful in the hand as they were in the sky. “We have two more birds out there, but they sailed quite a ways,” Dad pointed out. I stepped from the blind, got the dogs lined out with hand signals, and soon they were going full-throttle across the vast wheat stubble. Both dogs disappeared over a rolling hill, 150 yards out. Minutes later, they were heading back to the blind, each carrying a goose. It was a fitting end to the perfect encounter. WE WERE HUNTING IN central Saskatchewan with Sykes Mitchell, owner of Duck Creek Outfitters 116

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Snow goose hunting in Saskatchewan is something every waterfowl hunter should experience at least once in their lifetime. 117

ROAD HUNTER Scott Haugen (right) and his father, Jerry Haugen, with a good morning’s take of snow, blue and Ross’ geese. It was a dream hunt come true for the duo.

(, 541-7714976). I met Sykes 15 years prior at a sport show we were both attending. We’d talked then about getting together for a goose hunt, but not until now did plans come together. Mitchell and his crew have a large operation, and they’re always on the move looking for where geese are working. “This time of year you have so many new geese showing up each day, what fields they work can change from day to day,” Mitchell noted. “This is the last staging area where these geese gather and feed in farmland before taking off to nest in the north country. It’s nothing to find 100,000 birds using a single field.” We witnessed several flocks of over 50,000 birds working fields, and some of more than 100,000. Seeing that many birds gather in one place is something every waterfowler should experience. “One of the challenges we’re facing this spring is there’s so much standing grain,” Mitchell pointed out. 118

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

“Last fall, winter hit early, and fast. So fast, a lot of farmers couldn’t harvest their crops. As a result, there was a lot of grain that got covered in snow and went unharvested. Now that it’s thawed and all the birds are coming back, there’s an unusual amount of feed and it’s really keeping the birds spread out.” We had nothing to compare it to, as this was the first time for all the hunters in our group to goose hunt in Saskatchewan. I’d been there before on deer and bear hunts, and saw lots of geese, which only increased my desire to one day experience it. “You guys should be limiting out every other day,” noted Mitchell. And talking with the other hunters in camp who’d been hunting with Mitchell for years, they agreed. At the time of our hunt, a year ago this month, you were allowed 20 snow geese a day. We never limited, but we had a 60-bird day, and a 40-bird day. For us, that was outstanding. But that’s exactly what

Mitchell was referring to. “Those should have easily been 100-bird days for you guys,” he said. “See how after a while of shooting the birds just quit coming in? That’s because there’s so much standing food, they’d just go to the next field. Usually food’s available in small areas, and once the decoys are in place and birds start coming in, they come in all day long.” That didn’t happen for us, but that’s hunting. ONE MORNING WE WERE greeted with dense fog, one of my favorite goose hunting scenarios. By daylight over 500 decoys were in place and we were huddled in well-covered popup blinds. The action started right at shooting light, with small flocks of geese committing to the decoys. They were flying low, and once they caught sight of the decoys, every flock dumped in. Snows, blues, and Ross’ geese were all taken that morning. Dad, situated on the far left of the blind arrangement, dropped a triple I’ll never forget, and Echo, my 3-year-old female, wasted no time getting them. Dad also dropped a single goose that passed on his side. The bird crumpled and fell in some tall reeds. Kona, my 10-month-old male, got on that one. When he delivered the Ross to hand, its upper beak was laden with warts, an indication of its age. On one of its legs was a band. It was worn so thin it barely hung on, another indicator this was an old bird. The numbers on the band had to be read with a magnifying glass back at the lodge. We were able to get the numbers and immediately registered it. Within minutes we received a reply. The email confirmed that the Ross goose Dad had taken was banded as an adult bird 21 years prior. That would put the bird in its mid-20s, at least. We took several mature Ross geese on the hunt, my most memorable being a single that flew over the decoys but wouldn’t

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commit. I got lucky and dropped the bird with one shot, and Kona made a picture-perfect retrieve. It was the oldest Ross of the trip for me – as well as the best Ross of my life – and wanting to remember that moment forever, I had the striking bird mounted. Next to the mount hangs a picture of Kona, bird in mouth, his eyes shining with pride. I’d never shot a blue goose before this hunt, either. By week’s end, I had several tallied up, just as Mitchell had promised. But the most striking blue was one that decoyed, and one Echo retrieved. That bird also made it into the office, as did Echo’s picture with the gorgeous bird. Every hunter in our group came home with museum-quality birds to mount. More than anything, these birds represent vivid memories of the hunt, and when combined with pictures, allow each of us to relive those special moments in our own way. During a mid-day lull, I loaded the dogs in my truck and headed across the land snapping photos of waterfowl. I took over 1,200 photos of multiple species of waterfowl in a few short hours. Courting ruddy ducks in their red plumage and powder-blue bills were a thrill to watch. Redheads and canvasbacks were abundant, and brilliantly plumed shovelers and blue-winged teal were everywhere. It was one of the most memorable parts of the trip for me. If you’re looking to extend your waterfowl season, as well as experience snow goose hunting like never before, hit the road and head north. You’ll come away with memories to last a lifetime, the incessant ringing of geese calling in your sleep, and some of the finest-eating meat the sky has to offer.  Editor’s note: Scott Haugen is a full time author and host of The Hunt, on Netflix. Learn more at scotthaugen .com and follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 121


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American Shooting Journal // April 2018


Members of Team Bone Collector, including Michael Waddell (standing right center, holding air rifle) and author Larry Case (far right), pose in the Alabama woods for a photograph during late February’s fourth annual Squirrel Master Classic.

THE SQUIRREL MASTER IS A CLASSIC Event brings outdoor personalities, writers, 4-H kids together for a fun time hunting bushytails with high-powered air rifles. STORY AND PHOTOS BY LARRY CASE


hat’s Rivermutt, he is treed!” The words came from our dog handler, Ronnie O’Neal, and we all took off through the Alabama creek bottom like a herd of turkeys. Rivermutt is Ronnie’s ace squirrel dog and his frantic barking was

telling us to get there quick! We were at the Squirrel Master Classic near Montgomery, hunting bushytails with dogs and Gamo air rifles and we were having a big time. THE SQUIRREL MASTER CLASSIC is the brainchild of Jackie Bushman, founder of the Buckmasters deer hunting association, magazines and

outdoor television programs. In 1986, 29-year-old Bushman acted on an idea he’d been developing since he was a teenager. The Montgomery native had grown up exploring the great outdoors and hunting with his grandfather, and he wanted to take the camaraderie of the hunting camp to a national level. He envisioned a deer hunting association that would encourage a feeling of community, sportsmanship and wildlife conservation while promoting a positive image of deer hunters everywhere. 123


Competitors got a glimpse at Gamo’s new Swarm Magnum, a 10-shot .22-caliber air gun capable of winging pellets at 1,300 feet per second. (GAMO)

Mo the squirrel dog at work.

All the squirrel hunters got to use a Gamo Swarm Maxxim, a breakbarrel air rifle.


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

In 2014, Bushman had another brainstorm that led to the inception of the Squirrel Master Classic. The decline in hunter numbers over the past several decades is no secret. Bushman felt, like many of us, that one way to generate more interest from young hunters was to bring back an emphasis on small game hunting. Time was when most of us started hunting with squirrels, rabbits and other small game. As deer and turkey populations increased, many young hunters skipped the small game stage and started on deer and turkeys. That may not be a bad thing, but learning on small game is where a hunter often learns the basics like gun safety, woodsmanship, tracking and finding the food sources of game, as well as dressing and preparing your harvest for the table. Being taught all of this on rabbits, squirrels

and game birds is a good way to start. Bushman’s idea was this: have a squirrel hunt in a fun, competitive atmosphere. Teams are made up of outdoor television personalities, outdoor writers and editors, a dog handler with a squirrel dog to find the squirrels for you and, most importantly, a young person who is a 4-H shooter. As I have talked about here before, 4-H has a very extensive shooting program. Young people can learn and compete in several different shooting sports categories, such as air rifle and pistol, .22 rifle and pistol, shotgun, recurve and compound archery, muzzleloader and hunting skills. Four-H shooters in the Montgomery area get the additional benefit of participating in the Squirrel Master Classic. Gamo Air Rifles ( sponsored the event and supplied

The 10X Quick Shot magazine for the Swarm Maxxim allows shooters to fire 10 pellets without having to reload, a plus when you need to make follow-up shots at targets. 125

AIR GUNS all the hunters with a Gamo Swarm Maxxim pellet rifle. It’s the world’s only 10-shot break-barrel air rifle and the 10X Quick Shot magazine allows the shooter to load 10 pellets in the magazine, insert it into the rifle and quickly fire 10 times before you have to reload. Believe me, we needed those fast second and third shots on this hunt, as these squirrels had their running shoes on. Once they started running in the treetops, sometimes with spectacular leaps from tree to tree, you had to be quick or you’d come up empty-handed. The Gamo folks also gave us a peek at the new Swarm Magnum, a 10-shot .22-caliber air gun with much greater velocity than previously available. The Gamo Swarm Magnum is capable of a 1,300-foot-per-second pellet speed due to the new IGT Mach 1 technology. In short, Gamo put a large inert gas cylinder on this air gun to deliver speed and power


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Four-H shooters Shelby Moore (right) and Aliyah Frick sight in a pair of Swarm Maxxims. 127

AIR GUNS unheard of in a manually operated air rifle. The Squirrel Master Classic is held at the Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge, a hunter’s haven in the famous Black Belt region of Alabama. I’m pretty sure if you look up Southern hospitality in Webster’s, you will see a picture of the Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge. This lodge has a rich 35-year history for hosting deer and turkey hunters and now squirrel chasers. The walls of the lodge are adorned with rows of pictures of hunters, outdoor personalities, writers, sports figures and entertainers who have stayed there. By the way, the ladies in the kitchen at Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge make the best barbecue this side of Memphis.

Jackie Bushman, host of the Squirrel Master Classic, speaks at the weigh-in ceremony. His Buckmasters team won with 42 bushytails, plus three points from the 4-H shooting event.


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

AS FOR THE COMPETITION itself, six teams of squirrel chasers run the Alabama hardwoods in two shifts, morning




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American Shooting Journal // April 2018

Michael Waddell on the tree with T.C. the squirrel dog.

and afternoon, with a shooting competition in the middle. The 4-H shooting match was won by Shelby Moore of Waverly, Alabama. The 4-H shooter on my team was Ethan Linna from Prattville, Alabama, and he added points to our score in the shooting match. After stuffing ourselves at lunch, we all hit the woods again. The competition was fierce between team leaders like Bone Collector team captains Michael Waddell, Nick Mundt and Travis â&#x20AC;&#x153;T-Boneâ&#x20AC;? Turner and leaders of other teams like Jackie Bushman for Buckmasters and Ralph and Vickie Cianciarulo with Archerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Choice hunting show. All afternoon we raced through the woods following Rivermuttâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s barking when he would tree a squirrel. (He was replaced by T.C. in the afternoon to give him a break.) If the squirrel was spotted, a hail of pellet rifle fire would ensue. Usually the squirrel would light out for parts unknown and a wild chase through the jungle would begin. Sometimes we collected the squirrel, but often he would make it to a den tree and americ ame ricans anshoo hootin tingjo gjourn urr a urn al. al l co ccom om o m 13 11311


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we would start all over. After sundown we all met back at the Southern Sportsman for the solemn weigh-in ceremony. As the entire crowd watched, Bushman counted and weighed each team’s bag of squirrels for the day and added any bonus points they may have gained from the shooting competition. I am sad to report that your humble outdoor correspondent was not on the winning team (as I was last year). The Buckmasters team led by Bushman carried the day with the most points. Though we lost the competition, like Rivermutt and the other squirrel dogs, we were tired but happy. A day spent in the woodlands chasing squirrels with friends and feisty hunting dogs, mentoring young hunters in a great tradition and just enjoying the outdoors – does it get any better than that? Maybe, but I haven’t found it yet. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise (and if they will have me), I will be back next year for another crack at the coveted Squirrel Master Trophy. Don’t get too comfortable with that trophy, Mr. Bushman, the Bone Collector boys and I are gunning for you with a Gamo air rifle.  Editor’s note: Read more of Larry Case’s outdoor articles at 133

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American Shooting Journal // April 2018


The Swift A-Frame bullet, shown here for the classic .404 Jeffery.


‘Tough to beat the terminal performance’ of A-Frame bullets for nearly all hunts, says veteran worldwide hunter. STORY AND PHOTOS BY PHIL MASSARO


he bull was lying down, facing away from us, at the rear of a herd that was widely spread and milling lazily. The wait seemed like an eternity, as this was the culmination of years of saving, planning and dreaming; I was half the world away from home, in the wilds of the Zambian bush, with my wife in tow. The trackers had worked their magic, following the herd of Cape buffalo for over 4 kilometers, stopping their slow pace only to

make that famous pointing and crouching motion when they finally spot the game. The sticks were spread, and my young professional hunter and I had discussed the particular bull with the ashen-gray hide. “We need to see the front of his horns, to make sure he’s got a hard boss,” Nicky Wightman instructed, “but be ready when he stands.” He finally did stand, and looked in our direction as the herd began to move again, showing us his bosses were fully hardened. The rifle I was carrying – a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express, chambered in .416

Remington Magnum – was loaded with 400-grain Swift A-Frame softpoints, and when he turned broadside, I sent one of them through his shoulder joint and into the heart and lungs. The bull ran off at the shot, trying desperately to follow the herd, but piled up in less than 50 yards. The death bellow was a most welcome sound, and when we got within 20 yards of the downed bull, one more Swift paid the insurance. It was my first buffalo bull, but certainly not my first experience with the Swift A-Frame, nor would it be my last. It has accompanied me across Africa and North America, and together we’ve 137

bullet bulletin Author Phil Massaro with a Zambian Cape buffalo bull, cleanly taken with a .416 Remington Magnum and a 400-grain Swift A-Frame.

taken about a dozen species. The internal design is more than sound. It uses a thick copper wall between two lead cores, with the front core chemically bonded to the thick jacket, to control expansion and guarantee deep penetration on the biggest animals we have to hunt – with the exception of the African elephant, which requires solid, non-expanding bullets. I’ve personally used an A-Frame on the aforementioned Cape buffalo, American bison, eland and many other tough animals. The ranges have been from 15 yards out to 400 yards, and the calibers varying from 6.5mm up to that .416; the bullet has never let me down. A-Frames are a flat-based semispitzer design, with a crimping groove in calibers above .308, and they are renowned for their weight retention. 138

American Shooting Journal // April 2018

A .416-caliber, 400-grain Swift A-Frame recovered from a Cape buffalo bull.

I’ve recovered a handful of bullets, in different calibers, that retained more than 95 percent of their original weight, with expansion of over twice the

original caliber. Both those shots on that buffalo bull in Zambia resulted in the bullets resting on the offside shoulder, just under the skin, giving an indication


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of the penetrative qualities of this bullet. And while the ballistic coefficient of the A-Frame design is less than that of the sleek, match-grade bullets, I’ve


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

found them to be very accurate, often giving subminute-of-angle accuracy, even in those big safari guns. Both my .375 H&H and .416 Remington, as well

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bullet bulletin Springfield, .280 Remington and .300 Winchester Magnum to good effect as well, extending the versatility of those calibers. Load a 175-grain 7mm or a 200-grain .30-caliber A-Frame in your deer rifle and you’ve got a great choice for bears, elk, moose and the toughest African plains game animals, including the huge eland. It is a favorite among many PHs who are serious about Cape buffalo, and that testimonial is worth its weight in gold. They are available in rifle calibers from .257 up to the huge .500s, including some round-nose designs for the lever-action rifles. I handloaded the 400-grain A-Frame in my dad’s Browning .45-70 Government, and he cleanly took a big-bodied South Dakota bison with it. Swift also offers the A-Frame for handgun hunters, with a hollow-point meplat specially designed for optimum performance in revolvers. This bullet will easily stand up to the high velocity of the .454












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American Shooting Journal // April 2018

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A recovered 200-grain, .30-caliber A-Frame, used to take an ostrich in South Africa, shown next to an unfired bullet. Note the expansion at the nose and the rivet just below the partition.

Casull, .460 S&W and .500 S&W. The recovered Swift A-Frame has an easily identifiable look to it: the front of the bullet will be a classic mushroom, and just behind the copper partition, the rear shank of the bullet will appear to rivet. That rear section will stay intact from initial impact to the end of the bullet’s flight, and that’s one of the secrets of the A-Frame’s deep penetration, and what makes it so reliable. Federal has long included the Swift A-Frame in its lineup of factory ammunition, and Swift has come out with their own line of ammunition, giving those who do not handload a couple of options to use this great bullet. For the handloaders, they are and have been readily available as a component bullet; no matter which means you choose, you’ll want to try this bullet in your rifle. For 99 percent of worldwide hunting scenarios, it’s going to be really difficult to beat the terminal performance of the Swift A-Frame.  Editor’s note: Visit for more information.

Swift A-Frame pistol bullets, shown in profile, in section, and as upset. 145


American Shooting Journal // April 2018


PRINT COMPANY MAKES SHOOTING FUN AGAIN With a great variety of colorful, high-contrast targets on offer and same-day shipping, GunFun aims for range, plinking markets. Bennett Perritt, owner of GunFun Targets.



hen Bennett Perritt’s son turned 9 years old, he bought him a pellet gun for his birthday. It was an exciting time for father and son, as they could share a fun hobby and spend quality time together. But after shooting the same old dark targets over and over, Perritt found that not only was his son no longer as entertained but that Perritt himself couldn’t see the shots very well either. “We own a printing business, so my

A look inside the 12,000-square-foot GunFun facility.

thinking was to make some targets that were more entertaining for my son and something I could see,” said Perritt. “In the printing business, we make our money in the fall and winter – summers are really slow. We got the idea to make targets in the summer and sell them in the winter – catch the man-hours not used in the summer and sell them later in the winter. We had no idea what to make; we discovered some images were more desirable to shoot, but we had no idea why.” “After about a year and a half, I went to Atlanta and started coldcalling indoor ranges,” he continued. “We found delivery for targets was three to six weeks, some people made their money by jacking up the freight, and the targets were all dark paper and dark ink.” Perritt’s plan was to do exactly the opposite, and thus GunFun Shooting Targets was born. “We came out with a very bright white paper and vivid inks. The idea was to make your shots visible. We used a lot of color, which is more appealing. Kind of like going from black-and-white TV to color TV. We started shipping orders same-day. We went with delivered prices – no games with freight. We tried direct mail, sending samples in a box and phone calls to ranges, but this did not work. Face-to-face selling made our product sell.” He added, “Today, we have a presence in over 400 ranges across the USA. That $75 pellet gun has led me to spending about $1.75 million in buildings, presses and inventory.” Indeed, GunFun has a 147

TARGETS GunFun’s Heidelberg Press is capable of running 11,000 targets per hour.


“I wish I could spend more range time wondering if I hit my target.”~ No one ever Steel targets aren’t for only the most dedicated shooters anymore. Atlas Target Works offers AR500 steel targets that are tailored to weekend plinkers, competition shooters, and even avid hunters. Gone are the days of only being able to hang squares or circles from chain because that’s all you had to chose from. Atlas Target Works offers a wide range of reactive targets for competition or training as well as a series of targets that every hunter will drool over. Ranging from Prairie Dogs and Coyotes all the way up to a full-size bull elk that looks equal parts work of art and fully capable AR500 steel target with reactive vitals. No matter what type of shooting you enjoy, Atlas Target Works has targets that will fit your needs and your budget. 605-868-8087 •

12,000-square-foot facility and a 28by-40 Heidelberg Press that is capable of running 11,000 targets per hour. Each target is printed on very bright white paper with fluorescent ink. “We print all of our targets in high resolution so they have a sharp, crisp look,” said Perritt. “Some people think this is unnecessary – the target is just going to get shot up. We agree – it’s just we want the customer to buy our target to shoot up.” Most targets are 23 inches wide by 35 inches high, but there are a variety of sizes, and most importantly, a variety of target images. “Making targets is like being in the cable TV business – we offer lots of different targets like cable TV offers lots of channels. There is something for everyone,” said Perritt. “We offer silhouettes, games, sighting, zombies, creatures, qualification, animals and hostage.” Right now, GunFun is working on a lucky horseshoe target, a futuristic titanium man and a “sci-fi dude.” Whatever you like to shoot, GunFun has you covered with over 200 different targets in stock and ready to ship same-day.  Editor’s note: Visit to see all the different targets GunFun offers.




Safety Harbor introduces Kompact Entry Stock for CZ Scorpion EVO carbine, prototype for MP5k. PHOTOS BY SAFETY HARBOR FIREARMS


t the 2018 SHOT Show in January, Safety Harbor Firearms introduced a Kompact Entry Stock (KES) designed to fit the CZ Scorpion EVO. This adds the sought-after KES capability to the popular carbine. The Kompact Entry Stock features all-metal construction for durability and is Mil-Spec type 3 hard-coat black anodized 6061 aluminum. The guide rods and button are steel and black nitrided. The KES adds only 3.5 inches to the overall length of the receiver when closed and opens to 13 inches when fully deployed. The KES offers a QD mount capability on both sides and a new rod to button design that allows for faster and more accurate deployment on

multiple position models. All Kompact Entry Stocks are available with either a butt stock or a Gear Head Works Tailhook adapter. This allows the use of the popular Tailhook Brace with the KES.

KES for the CZ Scorpion EVO is priced at $249, but check the company’s website (below) for special offers. Other KES models are also available, including for AR-15s and the MPX. In addition, Safety Harbor also unveiled the prototype for the KES for MP5k at SHOT Show. Stay tuned for updates on this new offering. Safety Harbor Firearms is a family-owned and -operated gun manufacturer based in central Florida. They manufacture the SHTF 50 Conversion System .50-caliber uppers for the AR-15/M16 lower. They also manufacture the KEG (Kompact Entry Gun) Series of tactical shotguns, as well as a series of single-shot and magazine-fed .50-caliber rifles and .50-caliber uppers. All manufacturing is done in the USA.  Editor’s note: For more info, visit


American Shooting Journal // April 2018 151


American Shooting Journal // April 2018

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