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Photo by Kevin Falerios.







ot all princesses need saving.” This statement, made by survivor and force-to-be-reckoned-with Kimberly Corban in our feature story, could not be more succinct. So many of us can save ourselves, and Kimberly’s riveting story assures us that we not only can save ourselves, but we should. Self-protection is one of the things Carrin and I feel most strongly about, and we strive to include this message in each issue of Sure Shots Magazine we put out. Empowering women has always been our passion. Another passion of mine is, of course, fashion, and this issue’s Style Me Tactical story may just be the best one yet. It even includes a pair of concealed-carry leggings by none other than our Issue 20 cover girl Amy Robbins’ company Alexo Athletica; go girl! Our cover was shot by a special-guest photographer whose work we’ve been obsessed with for years now—Kevin Falerios’ combination of fantasy and firearms always blows us away; it’s like nothing else in the industry. When he agreed to shoot for us, we were beyond thrilled, and requested that the model be the woman behind the man (because y’all know there always is one!): Kevin’s own business partner, wife, model and fellow gun girl Kim. The duo absolutely nailed the dynamic ice-storm shot of our dreams, complete with white fur and a badass rifle, and to the both of them, we are ever-grateful. This issue truly seems to have it all: hunting, shooting sports, fashion, self-protection, reviews, and even a follow-up to one of our most-popular stories: a behind-the-scenes view of the notorious Tent City we ran back in Issue 12. Carrin and I are so proud to be able to do what we do, and we can’t wait to share with y’all what we have in the works for 2018—trust us, it’s EPIC!

Niki Jones photo by Keith Trigaci. Masthead photo by Kevin Falerios.

Shoot straight, -Niki





Carrin Welch


Nicole Maddocks


Jenna Johnson


Kimberly Corban Brandon Dieterich Kevin Falerios Kim Falerios Julie Golob Kyleigh Hayworth Ana Isabel Tonya Kearney Sydney Martin Amanda Lynn Mayhew Steve Miles Kent Morrison Leia Mutchler Vanessa Mutchler Sarah Porter Becca Spinks Laina Stevens Keith Trigaci Emily Valentine Ursula Williams

Sure Shots Magazine is a free publication. For submission requirements, email All content ©2018 Sure Shots Magazine. No part of the magazine may be reprinted or duplicated without permission. Visit us online at For ad sales contact




Photo by Carrin Welch.


When I was little, like most kids, I played sports such as volleyball and softball. When I was 13, I ventured into a new sport called 3-Gun and it changed my life forever. Now, at age 16, I can see how much I’ve grown over the last three years. The world of competitive shooting, and the shooting industry as a whole, have taught me responsibility, leadership skills, and overall, to do what’s best for myself. The first thing I learned was responsibility. Obviously handling a weapon is a huge responsibility, but in this industry there’s more to it than just the guns. Once I started to get sponsors, I began to understand the responsibility of those relationships and commitments. I now have contracts with specific obligations, and it’s my job to juggle the details and tasks, all while promoting and being a good spokesperson for the company. While gun safety and shooting performance are big and obvious responsibilities, there is so much more going on behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t even realize. In the beginning I was inexperienced and depended on other people to show me what to do. As I’ve grown in the sport and started to excel, I’ve developed leadership skills. I understand it is my turn to return the favor and help the people who are just starting out. And while there are still

numerous shooters that I aspire to be like, I am aware that I am becoming someone other shooters can look up to. Overall, I make it my goal to be a positive ambassador for my sport and someone other people can turn to for help. In the summer of 2016 I shot with an amazing shooter, John McClain, and one of the best things he told me is “ just smile and nod.” Like every other industry, people in the shooting world have very strong opinions about the things they use and the way they do things. I believe that most people in this sport just want to see you succeed, therefore they want to share their experience and advice. Sometimes that comes in the form of telling you how to run a stage or what gear to use. This is where the smile and nod part comes into play; if you know what works for you, then do it. Don’t listen to other people and completely change your plan last minute, because 99% of the time it will do more harm than good. You know your shooting ability and how your gear performs, they don’t. I’m not saying never take any advice from other shooters, but at the end of the day, always make sure you do what’s best for you. It’s been a crazy three years and these are only a couple of the things I’ve learned along the way. With every passing day and every match I shoot, I continue to grow. I am so grateful for all the opportunities and everyone who has helped me not only become the shooter I am today but the person I am as well. Despite the blood, sweat, and tears I wouldn’t trade these experiences and lessons for the world.

Follow Kyleigh and her 3-Gun journey at SURESHOTSMAG.COM |  7

FOR THE LOVE OF HUNTING BY AMANDA LYNN MAYHEW day; the passion of the hunt and the experience is what made it memorable to both of us After the hunt, I created a notebook for Sydney that displays our photos on the cover and inside has room to journal all her journeys and adventures. We were able to get out in the field again about four weeks later and were successful with a goose this time, but again, it is so much more than just the hunt; it’s the conversation, the companionship and the mentoring— learning about the birds’ patterns, where they are going and coming from and how to call and when—that makes these days so special, Hunting with my children were some of the most memorable moments in my life, and the younger years are the most impressionable moments to a child. Teaching patience, safety and the morals and ethics of hunting is important and will become valuable to the younger generation as they grow. Our heritage is sacred, and social media does not teach our young the heart of the hunt, the adventures that can be experienced outdoors and how to create stories that can be handed down from generation to generation.

Photos courtesy of Amanda Lynn Mayhew.

Hunting, for me, is a way of life, but I never considered that my knowledge and experiences would ever inspire anyone, especially young minds. Sydney Martin is nine years old and we met at the 2017 Toronto Sportsmen Show where she boldly informed me that we would be going hunting together that season. Postshow, Sydney made sure to prepare herself for the 2017 waterfowl season by asking her parents to outfit her in camo and send a photo to me telling she was ready to hunt. I knew that I had made an impression on this young girl and had to follow through with her plans for me to take her hunting. In late summer of 2017, Sydney showed up to one of my range day events to surprise me with a handmade gift and a drawing that said she wanted to be just like me when she grew up—what flattering words, and I felt honored to be someone’s role model. In return we got our photo taken that and I had it printed out and framed for her, and sent it along with a gift of a duck call so she could practice her calling. We headed out on our hunt one day in late September and harvested one duck, but that wasn’t the heart of the

Amanda Lynn Mayhew is a hunter, angler, philanthropist, speaker, athlete and host of Just Hunt TV. Find out more about her at 8 |  SURE SHOTS MAG |  ISSUE 23

SYDNEY SAYS... On Hunting with Amanda: “Hunting with Amanda was really fun and she always makes me laugh and I learn new things about hunting. The first time I went hunting with Amanda it was really special because she picked me up from school with my mom in front of my friends and I was really excited to go waterfowl hunting. She also showed me how to clean a duck, and I thought that was cool. Amanda gave me a hunting journal and my very own duck call as well as a Girls with Guns hat. I hope I have lots of stories for my book.”

On the sport of hunting: “I like hunting because I like knowing where my meat comes from and how it gets to my plate. I like learning about animals and how they live in their environment. I like that I’m taught to respect the animals and that hunting helps with conservation of wildlife. I like being a hunter because it proves girls can hunt too. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, so far my favorite job is spotting and going to get the birds we shoot. I can’t wait til I’m old enough to get my hunting license.”



Photo courtesy of Dieterich Photography.



ARRIVE AT THE RANGE. GRAB YOUR LANE. SET YOUR TARGET AT 3-7 YARDS. AIM, FIRE, REPEAT. SOUND FAMILIAR? IF SO, YOU MAY BE A VICTIM OF THE DREADED COMFORT ZONE! DON’T GET STUCK IN A TRAINING RUT. BREAK OUT THE BIG GUNS, SO TO SPEAK, AND GET READY TO MAKE A MESSY TARGET! As an instructor, nothing frustrates me more than seeing shooters stuck in rut. Shooting at a stationary range tends to bring out the perfectionist in many people, which often manifests as an obsession to punch out the most precise hole in the center of the paper as possible. Not only does this get boring after a while, but it does very little to improve your skill over time. Shooting is a sport, and like any other sport, gaining skill requires more than just repeating the same move over and over. Imagine if a pro basketball player only practiced free throws, or a baseball player only practiced running to first base! Similarly, standing still and shooting a close-range paper target over and over will get the average shooter nowhere fast. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions to this common problem that aren’t only easy, but are fun, too! SURESHOTSMAG.COM |  11

and shooting it just one time to make it truly count, gives you a great idea of how well you shoot “cold.” It’s like a mini test every time you shoot.”


Photo courtesy of Julie Golob.

I like to think of shooting practice as if it were a workout. sure that the one you choose has range rules aligned with You need to be constantly and consistently progressing in your training goals. For example, some private clubs require order to make gains. There is nothing worse than wasting members to prove their proficiency and pass a background your precious time slogging away on your favorite cardio check prior to using the range unsupervised. These ranges machine only to see limited return on your efforts. Like hold an advantage over public ranges because you can be choosing a workout routine, choosing your mode of shooting assured that the people around you have had appropriate practice ultimately boils down to safety training as well. Other your specific goals. Is your goal common rules in tactical bays may to fine-tune fundamentals, build prohibit certain types of firearms or defensive skills, or prepare for a targets, such as steel, and some may competition match? Maybe you place restrictions on shooting distance prefer to be well-rounded and want and movement. Once you’ve found to work on all of these, or something your range, the sky is the limit as to different entirely. By defining your what kind of fun training plan you goals and then choosing a starting can come up with. Head outdoors point, you can easily switch up your and enjoy some relaxing time alone, routine and work towards higher or better yet, bring a training buddy proficiency in one, or all of these along! Having a friend with you for areas. When you are setting your your training session not only ups the goals, make sure they are specific, fun factor, but it ups the safety factor well-defined, and measurable. For as well, particularly when you are example, if you want to increase practicing movement and drawing your accuracy, you shouldn’t simply from a holster. With a partner, you define your goal as “be more can take turns acting as range officer accurate.” You will have more for each other to ensure maximum success if your goal is more safety during your training session. PRO TIPS specific and measurable, such At most outdoor ranges you as “get consistent hits on a 3x5” will need your own supplies. JULIE GOLOB, Multi-time Women’s World and index card at 7 yards.” Your At a minimum, plan to bring National Action Shooting Champion goals should also be realistic. cardboard targets or backing KEY ADVICE If you want to increase your (cut up boxes work great for this), “Preparation is key for a good range session. I defensive pistol skills and your a staple gun, and some 1x2” like to make sure I have all the guns, gear, targets, goal is to be as good as Keanu wooden posts, which are available range supplies, etc. ready to go before I hit the door. I also like to have an idea of what I want to Reeves in John Wick, you’ve at low cost from your local home accomplish for the range session. Sometimes my probably set your sights too high. improvement store. Most ranges goals are very specific and I want to work on a Once you’ve set your goals, it’s will supply target stands for you, skill. Other times, I have a general idea of what I time to build your new routine, but make sure you ask about this want to work on. Having a plan will save time and starting with the location. ahead of time. If you want to get keep you focused.” Indoor ranges are great places fancy, consider purchasing some FAVORITE DRILL to start out, however, they are high quality steel targets to plink The FAST Drill (performed as a warm-up): Set up also limited in the sense that during training. The downside an 8” paper plate (or other similar sized target) you usually cannot draw from to steel targets is that they are and a 3x5” index card to simulate head and chest and place them at 7 yards. Load your firearm a holster, move, or engage expensive and very heavy, so you with a magazine with 2 rounds and have another multiple targets. Ask around for may need a partner to help you magazine with 4 rounds ready as your reload. recommendations on an outdoor lug them out into the bay. If you At the buzzer, or your own self start, draw and range in your area that offers want to simulate the steel target engage the index card with 2 shots. Next, make a private “tactical bays,” which is a experience but don’t have the slide lock reload and engage the plate with four rounds. The goal is to shoot as quickly as possible term often used to describe a bay resources, you can make a “paper with all hits on the targets. where you can move around and plate rack”: Take some 8” paper “This is one designed by the late Todd Green. shoot unsupervised. Of course, plates and staple them to your Starting out with a drill like this for a training session every range has rules, so make cardboard targets. Set them up in

Photo courtesy of Steve Miles.

a line to simulate a steel plate rack, or stagger them for more your indoor range time with a game? Grab a friend and head of a challenge. The only difference will be the absence of the out with some novelty targets. These big paper targets offer “plink” sound and all that extra weight. fun games such as poker and battleship, so you can test your If you feel ready to start practicing a variety of drills but accuracy while engaging in some friendly competition. While don’t know of any, there is an app for that. Actually, there are at the stationary range, don’t neglect the lesser known (but several! Check out the DR Performance Practice Deck app, equally important) fundamentals such as strong and weak which contains 52 different drills in hand shooting, shooting from low a simulated card deck so you never ready, double taps, and reloads. get bored. In addition to drills, there Of course, make sure you know all are a number of shot timer apps the specific range rules before you which simulate a competition timer begin your practice session. so that you can measure things like Solo practice and drills draw times and splits. If you love to can definitely improve your workout and are also a shooter, why fundamentals and help you reach not combine the two? Try running your goals efficiently, but mixing a few laps around the range and in some expert training once in then shoot some drills while you are a while is a surefire way to up winded. Or throw in some pushups your skill level. For the defensive and squats, because why not? As shooter, seeking out classes in long as you are able to train safely, gunfighting or force-on-force try to push yourself out of your training is a great way to gain new comfort zone as much as possible skills and meet new people. For during these private sessions in order those interested in competition, to maximize your gains. there is really no better practice If there are no appropriate than going to local competition outdoor ranges in your area or matches on the weekend. You PRO TIPS the weather is unfavorable for are sure to have fun and will outdoor shooting, don’t sweat STEVE MILES, Self-defense Expert and Founder probably make some new it. There are plenty of things of the ALIVE! Gunfighting® System friends in the process. Plenty you can do at an indoor range KEY ADVICE of professional competitors to improve your skills in the “The first thing I would suggest is shooting with also offer classes and seminars meantime. First and foremost, just one hand (it’s a handgun, not a ‘handsgun’!); to the public if you feel you’d there are lots of times when you may not have move those targets back! benefit from more one-ontwo hands available. One could be injured, one Shooting at a target that is too one instruction. If you are a could be holding onto a child, and if you’re close will not help you improve beginner and don’t know how moving, shooting with two hands may not be your fundamentals very much. desirable anyway.” to best start increasing your skill Instead of trying to punch out level, consider hiring a certified FAVORITE DRILLS a quarter size hole over the instructor for private lessons. One-handed Proficiency Drill: Shoot one-handed bullseye of your paper target with both sides and try to achieve a baseline of Whatever your specific goals at 3-5 yards, move your target proficiency, like all bullets in a 3x5” index card at are, make sure you are tracking out to a distance where you can 3 yards. Then, take it up to 5 yards. your progress and meeting achieve an 8-10” grouping, then The Clock Drill: Shoot one-handed with the body them as efficiently as possible. work to shrink the size of the facing the different o’clock headings. For example, And remember, life is too 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, until you get to about grouping at that distance. Once short to make pretty targets. 5 o’clock, then reverse directions and do the drill you’ve mastered shots at this again, starting with 11 o’clock, 10 o’clock, and so on. Once you start to truly push new distance, move the target Repeat the drill using your other hand. yourself, you’ll be surprised at out even further. Before too long “It’s important to be able to operate the pistol at how quickly you achieve your you’ll be impressing the other different body positions. What I see all the time in shooting goals. So get out there, range patrons by getting your hits ALIVE! classes when we shoot with movement is get out of your comfort zone, with your target all the way at the that people start having all kinds of malfunctions and get shooting! because they don’t provide enough grip support back of the lane! Prefer to mix up for the pistol.”



Princesses Not All

Need Saving

Browsing endless photos of Pinterest-perfect birthday cakes it suddenly hits me—my daughter is turning three years old. This little girl that I carried for nine months through a stressful pregnancy and brought in to the world on a cold January night is now somehow three. She has grown into a loving, animated, headstrong female that has “Daddy Mike” and her three older brothers wrapped around her tiny finger. She keeps us on our toes and melts us with her smile. Her life is happy, carefree, and full of love. Her sweet innocence is in sharp contrast to my memories —which creep up occasionally—and remind me life isn’t all princesses and fairytales. Someday, probably not long from now, Mike and I will have to sit her down in her pink room among Barbie dolls and dresses. We will begin a very difficult conversation that will continue and evolve throughout the rest of her life. The dragons she has pretended to slay in her imagination will suddenly have a real place in her world. And she needs to know her parents fight them every day.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Porter Photography.



I was 20 years old when I came face to face with pure, unbridled evil. In my college apartment bedroom during the early morning hours of May 12th, 2006 I awoke realizing I could no longer breathe. My face was covered—as I sat up, I was shoved back down into my pillow. A man’s low, taunting voice slithered inside my ears. “Shut up. Don’t make me mad.” The instantaneous horror that washed over every fiber of my being was only the beginning. I knew—I was going to die. In a way, I was right. Life as I knew it perished with me in my bed that morning. I was alone—overpowered—as a monster undressed me, defiled me, and raped me. For two hours, I watched as the sun rose outside of my window. A small opening in my blinds allowed me to see the backside of our parking garages, the spring grass, even the sidewalk. They were all right outside my window, just beyond my bedroom wall, yet worlds away from this terror. I prayed for someone—anyone to appear and miraculously save me from this nightmare. What happened to me that morning is not unusual in this day and age. The sheer number of sexual assaults is staggering and remains to be the most underreported violent crime. The shame, stigma, and social ostracizing of victims which systematically takes place is a disgraceful by-product. And it is almost always the victim’s burden to bear—not her abuser. In 80% of these crimes, the attacker is at least an acquaintance if not friend or intimate partner. Many do not report to law enforcement because they feel as though they are somehow at fault. They’re scared—they feel alone—they don’t feel supported. The girl who was awakened from her sleep by a monster that morning would not recognize the woman I have become today. But that is exactly the person that my daughter will now grow up knowing. You may not have had an experience like mine—or maybe you have. But everyone can relate to some kind of genuine struggle. It’s what we learn Who you emerge in the worst moments that mold as from this and shape us to becoming the woman we needed when we were storm will be far younger. more powerful, Even when we are broken and defeated and don’t know purposed, and near how we can possibly go on—we unrecognizable must never stop fighting. And you from who you were aren’t just fighting for who you are today, you’re fighting for the when you entered. woman you will become. Who you emerge as from this storm will be far more powerful, purposed, and near unrecognizable from who you were when you entered. That is the silver lining in all of these dark clouds. This internal battle doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.


Over the past 12 years I have transformed from a victim into a survivor. I’ve learned invaluable lessons along the way which have helped me recover and eventually, thrive. These are just a few:

You are brave. But don’t be scared to ask for help. As women, we are inherently brave. It is in our nature to protect ourselves and our families. We know we are looked at as prey from an early age, yet we grow strong and persevere. We are capable of doing anything, but don’t make the mistake of not recognizing when to ask for help. I was the last one to admit I needed support, but with the help of my family, friends, two outstanding prosecutors, victim’s advocates, and a community of fellow survivors, I was able to start my journey toward becoming a survivor. Call upon your support system when you need them. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a showing of strength.

Find your voice—then help others find their own. Leading up to the weeks before my attacker’s trial I struggled with why this had to happen to me. Why? I found resolve when I made the decision to release my name to the media and tell the world about how this crime impacts the victim—the actual person. I found my voice and a mission I was dedicated to passionately pursuing. I knew I needed to help others speak out as well. I became a victim’s advocate and dedicated my life to changing the culture, one word at a time. Every story matters.

No one chooses to be a victim. But you can transform yourself into a survivor. I recall memories as “before and after”. Who I was before the assault and who I became after. It was not easy, and there were dark moments when I felt like it may be my last. But I make the choice every day to combat victimhood and not let it define the rest of my life. You can take back your power; you can stand tall. I finally became the person I needed all those years ago— and if I can, so can you.

You don’t need some prince to slay your dragons. You need your own sword. You don’t need some prince to slay your dragons. You need your own sword.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, contact the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) online at or by calling the 24/7 crisis hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (4673). Kimberly Corban is a mother, motivational speaker and victim advocate. She and her fiancée Mike have four children live in northern Colorado. You can learn more about Kimberly and submit speaking requests through her website at Find her on Twitter and Instagram @kimberly_corban, or on Facebook and Youtube @KimberlyCorbanSurvivor


Photo courtesy of Ana Isabel Photography.

It took me a great deal of time to feel safe again after the assault, and rightfully so. There were plenty of things like therapy and giving speeches that helped with my recovery. But I didn’t have to imagine what bad things could happen—I already knew. Finally, I decided it was time to learn how to protect myself. I was intent on never being victimized again, and I needed the correct tools and training to accomplish that. As I took safety classes and applied for my concealed handgun permit, I realized I was taking back my power. It had been stripped away from me without consent, but no more. Gun owners already understand this, but that power does not come from the firearm itself—it comes from within. The fundamental knowledge that is derived by recognizing you now possess the ability to protect yourself and your family makes all the difference. You don’t need to sit and wait for someone to save you, you are completely capable of doing so if that dire circumstance should ever arise. As my little girl makes a wish and blows out three candles on her Queen Elsa cake, the protective fire inside me will reignite. There are so many things she will learn as she grows, and it is my job to show her just how powerful she can be.

Photo courtesy of Ursula Williams.

Several inmates assigned to work furlough or work release went to the mall and had these T-shirts made.


When the lights go out in


When I was approached about writing a follow-up to my Sure Shots Mag issue 12 article on working at Tent City, the famous Arizona jail where inmates live in tents, I was reluctant. I had been assigned to Tent City for almost three years until the newly elected sheriff closed it in May of 2017. Tents, what we called it for short, was one of the best assignments that I had ever worked. Therefore, the closure was still affecting me, as it was the other 60 officers who worked there, too. When I told a fellow former Tents officer about the article and my feelings about it, she said, “It’ll be a great opportunity to hear us out.” I reached out to some of my former co-workers to hear their side of the story; a side that no one ever hears, because we are the forgotten officers of law enforcement. This article is for them. “I want to be a detention officer when I grow up,” said beyond 20 years of service until they’re ready to retire. no one ever. It’s a position that the general public really However, being assigned to Tent City was different. doesn’t know much, if anything, about. Most people who Tents didn’t feel like any of the enclosed facilities that I had have become detention officers either knew someone that worked in before; there were different sights, sounds, and was an officer or decided to use the position as a stepping smells. There were no concrete walls to stare at while the stone before testing for patrol positions. In November 2004, clock ticked away the hours. Footsteps on small gravel-like I received a phone call from a girl with whom I played rocks replaced squeaky boots on polished concrete. The high school basketball. “Hey, do you want to make $15 an standard jail funk didn’t linger in the air. In fact, the smells hour?” the familiar voice inquired. “$15 an hour?! Can I varied every night. The yard officers used to play a game keep my clothes on?” I replied. At the time, I was working they dubbed “What’s That Smell?” since we were located two part-time jobs for $9 an hour while going to college near a bakery, a landfill, and some crops in addition to full time. She replied, “You’ll be a cop for the jails.” I said, port-a-potties on the yard. “Sounds like an adventure,” and I Not only were the facility’s physical agreed to take the job. layout and environment different, but OFFICERS OFTEN After attending the police academy, so was the overall culture. “It was I was assigned to Madison Street the one place that I felt that we made FEEL LIKE THEY ARE Jail’s Psychiatric Unit. Yup, the a difference,” a former Tent City “DOING TIME” JUST Psych Unit. I was a naive 21-yearofficer told me. The inmates housed old and had no idea of what was in Tent City were sentenced to one LIKE THE INMATES. in store for me. Although I worked year or less, some inmates were multiple locations over the years, the sentenced to Work Furlough or Work sights, sounds, and smells of jail are the same, regardless Release. The rest made up the inmate labor workforce, a of the facility. Whether it’s hearing the screams of an program designed to instill a good work ethic in selected inmate having a psychotic episode, recognizing the sound inmates while keeping inmate housing costs down. These a body makes when it collides with a concrete floor during inmates were assigned to Food Factory (making and and a multiple-inmate fight, or looking at the seafoam-green packaging the food), housekeeping, commissary, laundry, vomit of an inmate withdrawing from heroin, these MASH (Maricopa County no-kill Animal Shelter) Unit, common experiences will wear an officer down in this job. and Chain Gang. They were also afforded other programs No—it’s not a job; it’s a calling. to keep them on track like NA, AA, and GED. The inmates Being held within four concrete walls and thick plexiglass that were housed there actually had something to lose; windows, pinned in with the pungent aroma of body odor, therefore, the typical revolving door of the same inmates foot funk, and dirty mop water for twenty years (or more) stopped there. You may see two or three repeat offenders, will eventually drain a person’s soul. Even when it is a but it was nothing like the feeling of seeing the same inmate “calling,” officers often feel like they are “doing time” just in the same cell every day for years. like the inmates. “I’m doing 20 flat” and “20 and out” are That isn’t to say Tent City was filled with unicorns and familiar sayings for officers, while “20 to life” or “Lifers” rainbows; we had our share of inmate challenges, just like are common terms for officers who are likely to work the more hardened facilities; we just had more tools to SURESHOTSMAG.COM |  19



Tough Tents was a 36-hour program, similar to Scared Straight, where at-risk teens could experience what it is like to stay overnight in jail. The program included eating inmate food, a midnight raid from the Special Response team, and tours of the jail and programs. In the photo, the writer (left) was a chaperone for a teen whose counselor determined would benefit more from the program if her parents weren’t present.

Photos courtesy of Ursula Williams.

handle those problems swiftly. The weather was a unique control tool at Tents:; Mother Nature was quite the officer. Inmates loved to smoke cigarettes, marijuana, Spice/K2, and we often found dried out “dips,” or chewing tobacco, inside the tents during the wintertime. We were often alerted by the sound of the ceiling-mounted fan going off at an odd time of day, or the burning smell of various contraband. Since the tent flaps weren’t see-through, we instructed the inmates to roll up the flaps. We’d have the inmates exit the tent with their stripes and thermals only. Then, we’d proceed with our inmate and tent search, even in the middle of winter. During the winter, the inmates were allowed to have up to 10 blankets, so during a search we’d have to separate every blanket like layers of lasagna. This added to the time it took to properly search a bunk. An inmate once told me that the pages of The Book of Mormon were the best for smoking because they paper is so thin. After that, I’d always look for religious books that had been altered or have missing pages. When we’d complete our search and removed all of the contraband, we allowed the inmates to go back into the tent, leaving the flaps up until they could be trusted or give us what we are looking for, for example the source of a fire or contraband. In my 12 years of service, I have seen the least amount of officers quit from Tents. Officers were assigned there for various reasons— some were there to gain more experience, some wanted a break from working the more hardened facilities, or even the fact that there were no stairs at Tents if an officer had knee problems. Everyone had a different reason to be there. While other facilities average

about two resignations per month, Tents received very few resignations while I was there. Besides some disagreements between the command staff and the officers, there was really nothing to complain about. The overall morale may have been low, but it didn’t feel like it. The “graveyard shift” contained some of the smartest yet goofiest officers I ever worked with. Tent City utilized three mobile towers called SkyWatch towers in secured areas that overlooked the yard. Every portable tower included the basic comfort and security items an officer needed, which included heat and air conditioning, tinted sliding glass windows, and a “comfortable” seat (although it may have a broken arm or headrest). When staffing allowed one of us to man it, we would consider that particular officer lucky. There’s always a benefit to having “eyes in the sky” during disturbances on the yard. However, during my time there, it was rarely manned, which is why the tower was mostly used for its heat and AC. Usually unbeknownst to our command staff, there’d be four officers trying to stay warm by squeezing into a small space that was designed for one average-sized man. When Tent City closed, it left a small void in each of us officers. The experiences that we had together can never be replaced. We felt like Tents was ours; we owned that yard. No one asked us how we felt about Tents. No one thought about how the closure would affect us. We did not have a say in the matter. Yet, prior to the closure, we were tasked to conduct a survey amongst the inmates asking if they preferred being housed in Tent City or a traditional facility. About 85% of those surveyed preferred doing their time at Tents. Some officers actually hoped that was enough to keep Tents open, but it wasn’t. Once the inmates were reassigned, it was time for the staff to move on. The new sheriff gave every Tents officer the opportunity to submit their choice of three assignments for consideration. For me, I knew I took an oath to serve in any place and at any time. Out of the three that I submitted, I got my third choice, graveyard shift in the Psychiatric Unit. Onward to new-ish adventures. Ursula Williams has been in law enforcement for over ten years. She is also a certified firearms instructor, holds several armorer certificates, and is a competitive shooter in pistol, 3-Gun, and precision rifle. Outside of the shooting sports, she enjoys to traveling, skydiving, reading, and whiskey.

There was a huge population of rats and mice on the yard. The one that visited most was called Mario.

The famous “Vacancy” sign lit up for the holidays



Photo by Tonya Kearney.


Firearms jewelry has been a hot trend for awhile now, and fashion jewelry featuring guns are ubiquitous online and in retail stores, but where does a gun girl go when she wants a version in precious metals? Pack’n Heat, known for their super-blinged-out crystal ear protection, now offers the Diamond Gun Necklace. Available in 14-karat yellow, rose or white gold, the necklace features 40 round, brilliant-cut, pave-set diamonds (and an appraisal is included with the purchase). Feeling low-profile? The necklace is reversible, and the shiny side is equally gorgeous. You won’t even be sad when it’s time to take it off; it comes with a lighted jewelry box, so it gets its moment on your dresser, too. —Niki Jones The Pack’n Heat Diamond Gun Necklace retails for $1,500 and is available at SURESHOTSMAG.COM |  23







As women, sometimes we face unique challenges when deciding how best to protect ourselves. Whether it’s concealing a firearm or finding the right less-lethal option, we want functional carry options that also allow us to stay comfortable and fashionable. Austin Sure Shots Women’s Pistol League is a diverse group of women from every walk of life with a focus on shooting safely, training regularly, and having fun. This series explores how and what the ladies of Austin Sure Shots carry daily for self-protection. Laina works in the human-resources department of a government agency that prohibits concealed carry at work, but that doesn’t prevent her from carrying other tools to stay safe, like a flashlight. When she is not at work she has a very active life, so she has a few go-to carry options for her Ruger LC380; like her Kydex IWB holster by On Your 6 Designs, the Original Flashbang holster, or her American Bling concealed cary leather handbag. But I think it’s obvious which one of these tools sees the most action—that’s her Camillus Les Stroud S.K. Desert folding knife.

Leia is a mother of two young children, wife, and works as a bookkeeper. Whether or not she carries her firearm depends on the situation; with two small kids she finds she needs options. The Smith & Wesson BodyGuard .380 is her primary gun for carry, but not her only go-to firearm. She either carries in a holster in her purse (Sticky Holster seen below) in or in a holster on her person. Some of the other tools in her every-day arsenal include a StreamLight ProTac 1L-1AA, 5.11 XBT A2 flashlight, Kershaw knife 1446, tactical pen, Mace pepper spray and a Sharpie. Clearly, she’s very prepared.

Vanessa is the business-development director for a company that deals with precious metals. Like the other ladies featured, she has different carry options for all the different activities she enjoys. Her go-to firearm is her Stoeger Cougar 8000 F 9mm, which she openly carries in her workplace, as they fully support and encourage their directors and leaders to do (within the laws of their respective states). She does not yet have her License To Carry, so she relies on other selfdefense tools like her Guard Dog pepper spray and Sheffield folding knife. She also considers her car keys a protection tool and says, “I always have them defensively positioned in my hand before leaving my car or heading to my car.” We love that!



FIT FOR A QUEEN Ringing in the new year seems to always bring with it a new set of resolutions and goals. One of the more popular resolutions revolves around fitness. Oftentimes we find ourselves constantly on-the-go, which means going from the yoga studio straight to other appointments. Thankfully, due to the rise of “athleisure,” we are able to break a sweat and meet friends for coffee, all in style. And even better, we can do all of this without leaving our every day carry tools at home. There are new options on the market such as sports bras and leggings that allow you to stash everything from your favorite lipstick to your concealed carry gun. No matter what you choose to carry, there is a spot for it and there’s no time like the present to start crushing your 2018 fitness goals in style while also being self-reliant. —Emily Valentine

1. Zella wrap sweatshirt, $99, 2. Athleta Techno run cap, $32, 3. T  he North Face Stow-N-Go bra, $45, 4. Hydro Flask hot/cold water bottle, $32.95, 5. B  enchmade Adamas fixed-blade knife, $195, 6. Quay Australia ‘The Playa’ aviator sunglasses, $60, 7. Heckler & Koch VP9 SK, $719-$819, 8. MZ Wallace Matt bag, $125, 9. Alexo Athletica concealed-carry leggings, $99, 10. Fitbit Charge 2, $129.95, 11. Surefire E1D LED Defender, $240, 12. Lab Flyknit sneakers, $150,

Check out the Style Me Tactical blog: | Follow Style Me Tactical on Instagram: @ stylemetactical


Compiled and laid out by Style Me Tactical. *Some items may no longer be available. Photos courtesy of their respective companies.

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SPAGHETTI WITH VENISON, FRESH TOMATOES, THYME AND GINGER serves four Ingredients 1/2 lb finely-chopped venison meat 10 ripe tomatoes greens of a spring onion thyme to taste ginger to taste salt and pepper to taste extra virgin olive oil to taste Directions 1. O  ver a high flame, brown the venison meat with olive oil, add the julienned spring onion greens, salt and pepper. 2. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. 3. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water, drain and sauté with the venison, season with thyme to taste. 4. Place on a dish, then add grated ginger and the diced tomatoes.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Roberto Dormicchi /Franchi Food Academy. Franchi Food Academy’s mission is to raise awareness of the perception of hunting and promoting food and wine tourism by exploring new hunting styles.


5.11 DEFENDER-FLEX PANTS knife, and even two hidden pockets for extra mags. 5.11 took a risk when choosing the colors to offer: a vibrant deep red (Code Red), a unique light teal (Thyme), a light tan (Sand), and a dark gray (Volcano). The risk paid off; the colors are just different to set you apart on the range or in the field. Fit-wise, the Defender-Flex pants run true-to-size; I wear a 26 or 27 in jeans, and the size 4 is roomy and comfortable. Like many other of their other styles, 5.11 offers these in a long option, and they definitely don’t skimp on length. The rise on this style is more on the lower side than mid- or high-rise. At $69.95, the DefenderFlex pants are a gun girl’s—or, truthfully, any girl’s—dream.

The Defender-Flex pants are available at —Niki Jones

Photo by Kent Morrison.

Obsessed. That’s the word I’d use to describe 5.11 Tactical’s Defender-Flex pants. While they’re “crafted for the tactically-minded woman,” I’d agree and add that they’re the company’s most stylish design. No detail has been forgotten on these slim-cut stretch pants. The fabric, a stretch twill blend, has just enough flexibility for comfort but is thick and sturdy enough to hold both their shape and your gun belt, plus any other tools you’d like to stash in the many pockets. Where my previouslyreviewed 5.11 Wyldcat pants were equal parts tactical and street, the Defender-Flex’s moto-inspired design feels more like your favorite pair of skinny jeans, but don’t let that fool you—they’ve got 2” belt loops to accommodate a gun belt, a front pocket deep enough to securely hold a


INOV-8 X-TALON 212 TRAIL RUNNERS single type of workout shoe this lesser known brand isn’t capable of producing. Their slogan “Get a Grip” alludes to their specialty in trail running and terrain specific shoes. After doing some research, I decided to buy a pair of the X-Talon 212s. Since it seems like every match I attend is overwhelmingly dominated by a sea of Salomon-clad feet, I figured something different would be a breath of fresh air. The X-Talon 212s are marketed as an all-terrain shoe, great for rocky roads and muddy trails alike. The cleat-like nubs on the X-Talon 212s are nearly identical to that of the Salomon Speedcross 3s, a testament to their excellent design, and the bright, vibrant colors are sure to stand out even when covered in mud. The shoes also feature a wrapping around the upper part of the shoe to protect against stones and debris, as well as a DWR coating to repel water. The “precision fit” feature of the shoe gives the foot a snug and secure hug and ensures minimal slipping of the foot within the shoe. After reading several reviews, I decided to buy half a size up from my normal shoe. The Inov-8 website

Photo courtesy of Inov-8.

Parting with my Salomon Speedcross 3s was quite a traumatic ordeal for me. Never before had I owned a pair of shoes that fit so comfortably; they were so supportive and sock-like that they were like a second skin. I wore them to countless shooting competitions, on all types of technical trails, and even on my very first obstacle course biathlon. In them, I could stop on a dime from a full sprint on all types of terrain. I could climb the muddiest hills without worrying about slipping. I could even wear them grocery shopping. To my great sadness, after nearly two years of wear, the cleat-like plastic nubs on the soles of the shoes had begun to resemble worn tread on an old tire, and the once vibrant colors had faded into a muted, dirty mosaic. After a near-miss in which I slipped and almost fell while shooting a stage, I was forced to face reality – it was time for a new pair of shoes. I searched and searched for another pair of Speedcross 3s, but found them out of stock all over the internet. Then someone told me about Inov-8. Inov-8 offers a wide variety of specialized workout shoes. From weightlifting to obstacle course runs, there isn’t a


Photo courtesy of Becca Spinks.

also has a warning to those with wide feet, as the precision feet has too narrow of a toe box for some. Although I have an average foot, when I tried them on out of the box I decided going a half size of was still a wise decision. I put on the shoes, tightened the laces, and bolted out the door to the backyard like a dog chasing a squirrel, making sharp turns and sudden stops on the soft grass to test the fit. My foot felt snug and secure, and the shoes were just as comfortable and sock-like as the Salomon’s I missed so dearly. A few days later I ventured out to a nearby trail to try them out on real terrain. I decided to choose a more technical trail to really put them to the test. This November in Texas was one of the driest on record, so I was dealing with lots of loose dirt and gravel. Since the shoe is built specifically with mud runs in mind, I worried they wouldn’t perform quite as well on rocky terrain. About two steps into my run I realized how wrong I was. The rubber studs seemed to lend me an almost spring-like gait, and the precision fit hugged my foot snugly enough to prevent an ankle roll while traversing rocky paths. The soles seemed a bit thinner than the Salomons, meaning that I could feel the rocks a bit more than I’m used to, however they were thick enough that it was not a bother. Having a slightly thinner sole also makes for a lighter shoe, which is a huge bonus for me when I run. As I began to pick up speed, I honestly started to feel like I was wearing 4x4s on my feet! The nubs made the shoe phenomenally grippy. My trail has one particularly steep descent, which usually requires me to hold on to the surrounding trees as I make my way down. While I still held onto the trees for dear life, I could definitely sense the nubs clawing into the dirt as I made my way down which granted me an improved sense of safety. In short, the performance of the X-Talon 212s on the trails greatly exceeded my expectations. I have no doubt that in a muddy or wet situation I would be equally pleased. The next weekend I was stoked to wear my new Inov-8 shoes to a shooting match. It was a cold morning and I had to wear thicker socks, but the shoes still fit great after a bit of adjusting. Once again I was glad I had bought a half size up. Despite the slim and light design of the shoe my feet stayed surprisingly warm. As I shot the stages my grip on the ground was terrific and my turns and stops were just as quick as ever. One thing I found myself appreciating more and more as the day went on was the lighter design. The X-Talon 212s weigh about 7.4 oz, coming in over an ounce and a half lighter than the Salomons. This lightness means quicker movement and less fatigue after many hours on your feet. The cleat-like nubs were high enough to elevate me over the layer of rocks and brass that littered the ground, and made me feel confident that I wouldn’t slide excessively when moving in and out of shooting positions. At the end of the day, I didn’t have any “hot spots” where the shoes had rubbed my ankles or feet. It was as if they were broken in the second I put them on. As much as I still miss my first pair of Salomon Speedcross 3s, I’m very happy I decided to try something new. Even if shooting matches isn’t your thing, the robust Inov-8 line promises something for every active woman, from trail runners and obstacle course racers to weightlifters and crossfitters. So the next time your feet are aching from putting too many miles on your old, worn out shoes, give Inov-8 a chance. You won’t be disappointed.



The Inov-8 X-Talon 212s retail for $115 and is available at —Becca Spinks SURESHOTSMAG.COM |  33


PELTOR SPORT TACTICAL 500 HEARING PROTECTORS sitting still in a quiet area, you can’t tell the power is on. I never thought I needed Bluetooth capability, until I received a phone call while on the range, and it really is a major convenience to not have to take your ear pro off for anything. Who know, maybe someday I’ll be someone who listens to music while practicing shooting. Game-changing for me is the option to recharge the set and be done with AA batteries altogether. This is a huge plus for me, as my batteries always seem to die at the most inopportune times. While the battery compartment on these is easily accessible, for about $30 you can purchase a 3M ALPHA1100 Rechargeable Li-Ion battery, make the swap, and then recharge easily with the included USB cable and any standard USB port. The only thing I think Peltor, which is a division of 3M, can improve on, is the bulk of the earpieces. I get it—there’s got to be somewhere to store all that great technology—but if they were a bit slimmer and more low-profile, they’d be perfect.

The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Hearing Protectors retail for $140.87 and are available on—Niki Jones

Photos by Niki Jones.

If you spend a good deal of time on the range, comfortable and effective hearing protection is a priority. I’ve been through so many brands and models of earmuffs before finding ones that give me exactly what I need and more: The Peltor Sport Tactical 500s. Peltor’s 500 model is the top of the line, and in my opinion, you get what you pay for. They feel sturdy and solid, and have a bit of weight to them when you hold them (which you don’t feel once they’re on). Fit-wise, for my average-sized head and small ears, they were perfect. The ear cups get a good weld and are comfortable even after a full day of nonstop wear. Of all the electronic ear protection I’ve tried over the years, the sound quality on these are by far the best. With a NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 26 decibels, they effectively cancel out the sound of shots while amplifying everything else, and feature a volume-control button that is adjustable and easily accessible. The sound isn’t distorted, and there is’t any white noise in the background, which is a huge plus for me; I usually find other ear protection’s distortion to regular sounds distracting; with these, if you’re




Sure Shots Magazine  

Sure Shots Mag Issue 23

Sure Shots Magazine  

Sure Shots Mag Issue 23