tactical Archives -
June 16th, 2020 by AmSJ Staff

Taitana overwatching shooter

Story and photographs by Tatiana Whitlock

When it comes to who is the better shooter and why, men or women, the iconic Irving Berlin duet from Annie Get Your Gun immediately springs to mind. “Anything you can do I can do better! I can do anything better than you” is sung while Annie Oakley and Frank Butler prepare for the climactic sharpshooting contest in the classic Broadway musical. For an object as functionally gender-neutral as a gun, why is it that each of the sexes assumes they are better adept at mastering it? Any quality instructor will tell you the real weapon is not the gun. The educated mind that controls the gun possesses the real power. Therefore, do men and women learn and process information differently especially with a gun in hand?

“men are quick to act and apply aggression in a dynamic self-defense scenario”

gathering at the bench

There is still much uncharted territory when it comes to the human mind. The scientific community offers studies of both children and adults that prove more similarities between the sexes than there are differences at the biological level. Painting with a wide brush can lead dangerously down a path that reinforces gender-specific stereotypes and hinders learning down range. That being said, touching on some of the salient points that make men and women unique is worth investigating.

From an instructor’s perspective, new male shooters tend to learn better when introduced to a concept or technique by presenting the mechanics of the skill first and then putting that activity into context. Women tend to learn the same skill best when introduced to the context of when and why that particular skill is important and then taught the mechanics of putting it to use. The result is the same: the student learns both the action and the application, though from opposite perspectives. Both are fully capable of executing the skill set with precise fine and gross motor skills, regardless of gender, and put it to use when and where appropriate in the real world.

Processing Information

Male and female brains have a number of well-documented structural differences that illustrate how men and women process information. One major difference is in the grey and white matter of the brain and how the sexes use it all to process information. The female brain utilizes more white matter (the connective network that links the information and action processing centers of the brain) by a multiple of 10, and that may be why women are considered better at making social connections, observational connections and are better at multi-tasking than men. By contrast, men utilize seven times more gray matter (the information and action centers that are localized in different regions of the brain), which is largely why men are attributed with being good at task-focused activities, having tunnel vision or a “one-track mind.”

“Women often need to be taught how to tap into that aggressive and competitive part of themselves”

Preparing to Fire downrange
New firearm students offer the best opportunity to see these differences in action, especially in a high-stress environment like their first force-on-force class. Students often break down into two categories that display these brain behaviors without prejudice. Women can be observed as seeing and processing a wide range of critical information, yet they often hesitate to take specific action, while in a first-time force-on-force scenario men can be observed to identify one specific problem and focus intently on it missing other threats entirely. This isn’t to say that both aren’t guilty of making the same beginner mistakes, nor does it mean that these mistakes can’t be corrected with proper instruction.

Going over the shoot results

Flipping the Chemical Switch

The male and female brain differ at a chemical level as well. Women produce more oxitocin and seratonin than men. These two chemicals are associated with an ability to be calmer and have more relationship and bonding behaviors. Men, on the other hand, produce more testosterone that is associated with varied levels of aggression and impulsiveness. Both men and women produce these neurochemicals, but to varying levels. The very nature of self- and home defense require a realistic preparation for an uncomfortable level of violence. Women are the largest growing demographic in the firearms community largely because of an interest in being able to protect themselves and the ones they love.

The fact that they are taking ownership and personal responsibility for their safety rather than deferring to their male counterparts for protection proves that they are capable of flipping the chemical switch to face violence head on. Not only are women making the retail investment of the gun and the gear, but they’re also investing in their continued education on how to use them in context with their lives.

“Mankind has proven time and again that such defining traits are not exclusive to either sex”

Joining a firing line with a dozen bearded, molle-covered, tactical hipsters is out of the question for most women new to shooting. Women generally prefer to begin their journey into the world of firearms by training with other women. This birds-of-a-feather model is successful in part because it appeals to a woman’s inclination towards social interaction and community.

Preparing to shoot AR

Men represent the predominant student population of run-and-gun, tactical-ninja, and gun-camp courses. These courses are generally physically intense, mentally taxing, and speak directly to understanding violence and how to counter it in kind. This isn’t to say that women don’t also enjoy the athleticism and aggressive nature of shoot house, force-on-force or vehicle close-quarter battle training, but it is typically not their initial launching point for learning. While men are quick to act and apply aggression in a dynamic self-defense scenario, they often need to be taught how to slow down and take in the details so they can take appropriate action. Women, by contrast, often need to be taught how to tap into that aggressive and competitive part of themselves to apply that same action.


Mankind has proven time and again that such defining traits are not exclusive to either sex. We didn’t attain apex-predator status without a brain that made us adaptable problem-solvers. For all of the differences that have been observed between the male and female brain there is no evidence that one is more optimized for firearms use than the other. Having an understanding of these types of gender-specific tendencies helps instructors build curriculums and better communicate with students. A desire to learn and a commitment to personal development down range is the only differentiating factor between the Annie Oakleys, Frank Butlers and everyone else in the shooting world. The gun allows us a unique opportunity to meet at the firing line, cast off societal stereotypes and engage in friendly competition to prove just how alike we really are. AmSJ

The Group

Women produce more oxitocin and seratonin – two chemicals associated with the ability to be calmer and have more bonding behaviors – than men, while men produce more testosterone – which is associated with varied levels of aggression and impulsiveness – than women. Women generally prefer social groups and training with other women. National women’s groups have sprung up over the past decade such as The Well Armed Woman and A Girl With A Gun. Whitlock, Jody Chase, Christi Hissong, Lisa Kendrick and Joy Corrant.

Posted in Women and guns Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

December 3rd, 2016 by AmSJ Staff

[su_heading size=”30″]The Operator Model tactical brass recovery system from TBR really works.[/su_heading]


The hinged anodized aluminum frame provides a rigid mounting point to attach the unit to the rifle and support the bag.

The hinged anodized aluminum frame provides a rigid mounting point to attach the unit to the rifle and support the bag.

[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]L[/su_dropcap]ew Grasser is a Marine Corps veteran who owns and operates Tactical Brass Recovery (TBR) in New Salisbury, Ind. He’s spent a lot of time watching spent cases eject from AR-platform rifles, AK-47s, SCARs and even TAVOR bullpups and tactical shotguns. He has tested scores of rifles and ammunition types and recorded the results, noting what is consistent, what is variable and what is bizarrely rare. He’s even made high-speed video recordings of ejecting cases so he can study their movements in slow motion.

Lew Grasser tested scores of rifles and ammunition types before he developed the Tactical Brass Catcher.

Lew Grasser tested scores of rifles and ammunition types before he developed the Tactical Brass Catcher.

He’s done all this research to design and build the brass catcher he wished he had during his active-duty days. The TBR Operator Model is the culmination of years of research and experimentation, and is far and away the best designed and most practical brass catcher I have ever seen.

The Operator Model retails for $220, which may seem like a lot of money. However, in testing I found its features were exceptional. For one thing, it actually catches the brass. I don’t mean some of the brass. I mean it catches all of the brass, and not just a magazine’s worth. The bag capacity is 150 5.56mm cases or 75 7.62x51mm cases. In addition, it not only catches the spent cases, but also holds them captive in the lower part of the bag, keeping them out of the action where they could cause a jam. The top of the catcher is designed with enough depth to prevent the newly ejected case from bouncing right back into the rifle’s action. It also has an inner fabric curtain that effectively prevents the brass in the bag from slipping out the way it came in, even if the rifle is tilted or manipulated on the run.

AS THE NAME SUGGESTS, military and law enforcement applications were foremost in Grasser’s mind during product development. The unit is light but exceptionally rugged. The hinged, ⅛-inch-thick anodized aluminum frame serves as the rigid mounting point to attach the unit to the rifle and support the bag. The bag itself is made of heavy canvas that won’t melt like nylon bags. It has a zipper in the bottom to empty it.

The unit mounts to the front handguard on the right Picatinny rail section via an American Defense-made quick-release throw-lever.

The unit mounts to the front handguard on the right Picatinny rail section via an American Defense-made quick-release throw-lever.

The bag comes in 16 colors, including most common modern camouflage schemes. Laser-cut ABS plastic parts support and reinforce the bag and mate it closely to the receiver. The fit is close, but it doesn’t come in contact with your rifle’s receiver very much, and the ABS plastic is much less likely to damage the finish where it does. The whole device is rigid, yet flexible. If you were to fall and mash this catcher between your rifle and a hard place, there’s enough give in the aluminum and plastic components that isn’t likely to damage, or even scratch, anything. The unit is assembled with 18-8 stainless-steel button head screws and nyloc locking nuts. It weighs only 12 ounces.

It mounts to the front handguard on the right Picatinny rail section via an American Defense-made quick-release throw-lever. It locks securely and won’t come loose unless you press the release bar in the lever and rotate it 180 degrees. You can take it on and off in less than a second. Once on, the catcher is held in place with a five-position, tensioned, ball-detent locking hinge of Grasser’s own design. This might seem like overkill, but it conveniently allows for a choice of positions to facilitate storage of the weapons equipped with the bag in vehicles, racks or cabinets.

The honeycomb pattern atop the unit provides strength and rigidity while allowing a clear view of the action and chamber at all times.

The honeycomb pattern atop the unit provides strength and rigidity while allowing a clear view of the action and chamber at all times.

TO USE THE BAG, you pivot it against the receiver and fold up the plastic top of the bag so the scissor arms on each side are fully extended. The tension on the elbow of the scissor arms comes from a nyloc nut. I expect that as the joint wears, it would be a simple thing to tighten it up with a partial twist of that nut. It is elegant in its simplicity. I was able to keep my ejection port cover closed with the Operator Model attached; but whether you can or can’t do the same will depend on your handguard.

Bag capacity is 150 5.56mm cases or 75 7.62x51mm cases.

Bag capacity is 150 5.56mm cases or 75 7.62x51mm cases.

The ABS plastic top of the brass catcher is cut with a honeycomb pattern to provide strength and rigidity while allowing the shooter (or range officer) a clear view of the action and chamber at all times while the catcher is in place. An important added benefit of this honeycombed lid is that gases from firing are continuously vented up and out of the bag. A solid bag or box would capture the gases and force them to vent back into the action and along the side of the receiver where they could get into the shooter’s face and optics.

The virtue of a product that actually delivers on its promises should appeal to you, whether you are a Special Response Team officer who doesn’t want his team members falling on his fired cases during a hot building entry, a competitive shooter, or a reloader who simply wants to recover all your brass.

For more information, you can visit the TBR website at TacticalBrassRecovery.com, e-mail contact_us@tacticalbrassrecovery.com or call (502) 716-8405. ASJ

Bag capacity is 150 5.56mm cases or 75 7.62x51mm cases.

Bag capacity is 150 5.56mm cases or 75 7.62x51mm cases.


Posted in Gear Tagged with: , , , ,

July 22nd, 2016 by AmSJ Staff


Recently, we had a conversation with Legendary Arms Works’ sales and marketing executive Walter Hasser, who filled us in on the Reinholds, Pa.-based (717335-8555; legendaryarmsworks.com) company’s back story and its exciting future plans.
American Shooting Journal How did cofounders Mark Bansner and David Dunn team up to get LAW started?

Walter Hasser David and Mark go back a few years, as Mark worked on a few of David’s guns when he was operating Bansner’s Ultimate Rifles. After David had been operating a firearms retail store and indoor range in Pennsylvania for a couple of years, he began noticing the trend of American-manufactured firearms decreasing in quality and sending products offshore to be produced. He wanted very badly to do something about it and believed, as we all believe today, that a firearm is something greater than the sum of its parts and deserving of the attention of craftsmen.

Furthermore, a larger portion of the American shooting population should have access to a higher level of quality versus just a handful who can afford a full custom rifle. David’s first step in realizing his dream was purchasing the M704 design and rights to manufacture from Ed Brown. His second was to form a partnership with the best custom gun builder and share his vision with the country.

Part and parcel to LAW rifles is the company’s unique controlled round-feed system.

Part and parcel to LAW rifles is the company’s unique controlled round-feed system.

ASJ How much did Mark’s passion for hunting inspire him to have his own firearms company?

WH Mark is an extremely passionate hunter and the type of guy you want in your camp. His ideals and character set him apart, both afield and in the shop. He likes getting his hands dirty, solving problems, working with people, growing and affecting those around him. And he holds a deep respect for the sport and the industry as a whole. Mark understands the emotional and spiritual experience of hunting big game. As an artisan he holds a heightened sense of how that experience is amplified when undertaken with a fine instrument. I believe he takes great pride in contributing to that experience for our customers.

ASJ In terms of hunting rifles, can you describe some features of your guns and how they can be effective?Legendary Arms 3

WH Our M704 Action design is completely unique. A true controlled round-feed system that also has the luxury of single feeding without first depressing a round on the magazine follower is a great advantage in many scenarios. The fixed ejector blade is ruggedly simple and eliminates the common user error of “short stroking” during the cycle of operation, as the spent case will not eject until the bolt is fully cycled. The action is the perfect foundation for the perfect hunting rifle – not to mention the precision CNC machining quality and one-piece bolt.

ASJ What is your favorite LAW model and why?

WH “The Professional” is our flagship rifle and best seller, and it’s easy to see why once you have it in your hands. The balance is perfect and craftsmanship is unlike any other product in its price bracket. You have the luxury of a fully custom mountain rifle in a package for one-third of the price.

ASJ How has LAW evolved over the years and what plans do you have for the future?

WH A very significant development you’ll see from us this year is stepping into the realm of tactical and longrange precision rifles. To date our product line has been based around hunting rifles, but we are not just a hunting rifle company. We are a manufacturing company – a small, veteran-owned business with a large veteran workforce committed to bringing great rifles and great customer service to a bigger portion of the market than before. We have some very talented folks on our product development team, with backgrounds in law enforcement and the military, along with competitive shooting. This year we’ll be bringing a chassis system to market that I think you’ll love!

Legendary Arms Works is proud of their line of hunting rifles, and the company will soon move into the tactical and long-range fields too.

Legendary Arms Works is proud of their line of hunting rifles, and the company will soon move into the tactical and long-range fields too.

ASJ Is there anything else you want to say about the LAW brand?

WH We’re very grateful for our customers and the opportunity to manufacture and sell these products into this market and this industry that we all care so deeply for. ASJ 

Editor’s note: For more on Legendary Arms Works, like them at facebook.com/ LegendaryArmsWorks.

Posted in Industry Tagged with: , , , , , ,

July 19th, 2016 by AmSJ Staff

CMP Logo 2016 Tight 300Custom Metal Products today announced the newest release of their growing product line, the Quick Ship Tactical Hostage Target.

The Tactical Hostage Target is based on the current Tactical Torso with the addition of a reactive “bad guy” head. The add-on reactive target assembly can be added to existing Tactical Torso units or ordered as a complete unit as the Tactical Hostage Target.TacticalComboHostage500

This Tactical target uses an IPDA 2/3 torso and multi-use stand. The base can be used with customer supplied 2×4 lumber. It comes complete with the upper mounting bracket and hardware for attaching the torso target. A reactive “bad guy” target is mounted behind the IDPA Torso. Shoot the head and it flips from side to side!

The base can also be used with 1×2 lumber for mounting cardboard or paper targets. The legs on the base are adjustable for uneven ground and can be disassembled without tools for easy transport.

The torso target and reactive head are made from 3/8-inch AR500 steel for extreme long life and excellent impact resistance.

The complete unit ships in a USPS flat rate package so you get it all for one price including shipping.

TacticalComboHostageCapPricing and Availability

The Precision Varmint Shooting Bench is available now at www.custommetalprod.com. The price is $264 for the complete unit.

About Custom Metal Products

Custom Metal Products is a full line manufacturer of AR500 hardened steel shooting targets for competition, recreational, law enforcement and military use. Our products include IDPA/IPSC, Dueling Trees, Gongs, Swingers, Hostage, Sniper, and Cowboy Action Targets. See all of our product details, including videos on our online store at www.CustomMetalProd.com.


HR Eddens, President
Custom Metal Products, LLC
636-329- 0142

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with: , , , , ,

November 12th, 2015 by AmSJ Staff

[su_heading size=”22″ margin=”0″]An Interview With Jeremiah Savoy Of SAVOY Leather[/su_heading]

The American Shooting Journal spends a lot of time with different products and one of the things we do is look to our readers for the latest greatest guns and gear out there. One of the names that kept coming up over and over … and over and … you get the idea, is Savoy Leather holsters. What surprised us the most was that people from all facets of the shooting industry favor these holsters: tactical gurus, CCW carriers, cowboys, hunters and some who fit all of these categories. It is not often we find a product that seems to be equally coveted across such different groups. Savoy Leather falls into that category and we needed to know who these people were and how they did it. I reached out to Jeremiah Savoy who was nice enough to share a few of their eastern Oklahoman secrets. You’ll need to fill out some documentation before we disclose this classified information, but go ahead, it’s worth it. We will wait.

American Shooting Journal Who founded and owns Savoy Leather?

Jeremiah Savoy My wife Jerri and me. I am the president and she is the vice president.


ASJ So it’s a family business. Can you tell us a little bit more about your backgrounds, where you came from and how you became interested in firearms?

JS I was raised in south Louisiana and spent most of my life there. In 2013, my wife and I moved to Oklahoma where we thought we would have a better opportunity to grow our business. We chose Weleetka, where Jerri had previously enjoyed living.


ASJ This is my favorite question to ask: What was the spark that eventually started Savoy Leather? Many people have a great ideas, but those who take the steps to make them happen, well, these people are driven. Why were you and Jerri so passionate about doing this?

JS I felt I needed to focus a bit more. I was filling my time with random activities and wanted a new hobby. For my birthday one year, Jerri gave me a set of leather tools and some blank leather. I started making all kinds of things. The more I created, the better I became – people started requesting things. At first, I would just purchase more tools and give everything away. At that time things were financially tough. One day Jerri nudged me and said I would have to either slow my hobby down or start selling my creations. And so began our leather business.

Jeremiah Savoy designs and creates each holster by hand and says that he is happy to work one on one with customers if they have their own design in mind.

ASJ Sometimes we do not realize the number of folks it takes to put out great products, and for so many nationwide. Who makes up the team at Savoy Leather, and why have you chosen them?

JS Well, Jerri and I work at the shop every day, and there are currently nine other full-time employees with us. They are all local folks from the Weleetka area. We are trying to help this little town come back to life and employing them is the first step. We are trying to create an atmosphere where people love to work and enjoy creating heirloom-quality products. Our motto is “Let our family create an heirloom-quality product for yours.”


ASJ In all of the designs you have, Savoy Leather offers a lot of patriotic styles. Were you in the military?

JS Neither of us have been in the military, but we support our troops and enjoy making patriotic themes.


ASJ Looking at your leather goods you have a couple things going on: 1) I’m pretty sure I would be able to tell a Savoy Leather holster from someone else’s holster because yours has a very specific look and feel; and 2) There is a lot of diversity in the designs. Who makes your designs and can people submit their own?

JS I am the artist behind most of the designs, but we welcome original ideas from customers. Sometime people may not realize that their creation simply can’t be made in leather, or, more to the point, it will not look good, so we work with them to create the design they love and one that works.

Savoy Leather uses 100 percent American-made materials and all of the holsters are created in Weleetka, Okla., east of Oklahoma City.

ASJ What has been your favorite piece to create and why?

JS My favorite piece was one I created for the Lone Survivor Foundation, founded by Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell. It was a fun challenge to create that piece, and best of all, it was for a great cause. It is always an honor when we are asked to create an item for a foundation that we believe in.


ASJ What have you tried to make that you have not perfected?

JS I am passionate about everything that I do. I’ve attempted to work with wood several times, but I am just never satisfied with the outcome.


ASJ Where is the furthest you have shipped a product?

JS There are a couple guys in Guam who started out as customers, and ended up as friends. That has, thus far, been the furthest we’ve ever shipped anything. I always laugh when I talk to them on the phone. With the time difference of almost a full day, I feel like I’m getting a call from the future.

Savoy Leather

While most of their customers hail from all corners of the US, shipments have been made as far away as Guam.

ASJ The gun industry is very broad. There are tactical shooters, competitive shooters, hunters, law enforcement or work-related shooters, collectors, historians – it goes on. What group do you feel is your largest demographic within this industry?

JS We have tailored our work, a bit, to each group. A lot of these shooters have several guns and most carry on a daily basis, so even if someone is more inclined towards one group or another, people seem to have guns that they are proud of and like to show off. You don’t want to pull your awesome gun out of a funky holster. It should compliment the gun and show a glimpse of the owner’s personality.

Savoy Leather

Jeremiah and Jerri Savoy started Savoy leather as a hobby that has grown into an 11-person, holster-making company.

ASJ Looking ahead, what are your goals?

JS Our one-year goal is to get the word out about our products. We would like to see them in more gun stores, and we are currently putting together a wholesale plan for dealers. Above all, we want to make sure we continue the same level of quality. All of our holsters are made with 100 percent American materials right here in Oklahoma. As our products hopefully become more popular, we would like to have a production rate that can employ as many as 50 people. We have a love for this area, and we want more Americans working.

ASJ Do you have any charities that you support that you would like to share with our readers?

JS Other than the occasional holster donated to auctions for charities, we do support our friends at Trinity Outdoor Disabled Adventures. This is an awesome group who take the disabled on fishing, hunting and camping trips, just to name a few. They have dedicated their time, effort and hearts to sharing the joy of the outdoors with people who may not have the ability to do so by themselves.


ASJ What is a personal motto or thoughts you and Jerri try to live by?

JS Our personal motto is “Put the Lord first and he’ll take care of the rest.”


ASJ Thank you, Jeremiah, and give our love to Jerri.

JS Thank you for the opportunity. ASJ

Posted in Industry Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

April 28th, 2015 by AmSJ Staff

By Danielle Breteau

After ten years of working overseas in high threat areas and wearing absolutely-not-designed-for-comfort-much-less-womens pants and clothing, I finally found a company that simply makes great stuff. They not only make great gear bags and packs but their clothing rocks.

VERTX PatchI was first turned on to VertX when a team mate who was working on my detail jumped into the suburban in tactical pants that had an emblem which looked like an X but really cooler.

This started the conversion…

“What type of pants are those?” and “where did you get them,” and “what did you pay for them?…where do I get them…can I have those…?” The following 10 minutes resulted in this guy practically getting raped, tugged and pulled at to see the material, the strength, the seam, the articulation and most importantly to the tactical world, the pockets.

ROUND 1 This session passed muster for me. I had to have a pair.

ROUND 2 I received my first pair of pants and even though they were a men’s model (I don’t think they were making women’s way back then), they were great albeit a little necessary hemming (I’m kind of short) which was easily accomplished with $1 US dollar and local national.  Womens Pants

I might be a girl but I’m really rough on clothing. Actually Im pretty rough on everything  but I trained, worked, scraped, scrapped and did all sorts of things with this one pair of durable pants and was so comfortable that I vowed to never wear anything else…much to the dismay of my husband so I had to put an addendum onto that statement which was…only while in high threat areas or training, shooting, camping or being outside or near water or breathing. Actually, we agreed that the only caveat was when we go out to a nice dinner, I have to take them off. Damn!

NOTE: American Shooting Journal is offering our readers an exclusive 20% discount on all VertX gear if you use this code—>   VTXASJ20




Posted in Editor's Blog Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

February 18th, 2015 by AmSJ Staff

Posted in Media Releases Tagged with: , , , , , ,