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Playing Games

Prior to meeting GB my social media pages looked very boring think “typical suburban mom-ish” if you will. As I started working with GB, first behind the scenes only and then braving my first appearances on the channel I began following more and more firearms related sights. Some what looking for “where do I fit into all this” but mostly just curiosity about how vast the industry is despite being such a small community. During this time Kit Badger put out a video about his experience competing in the Tactical Games. It was at that moment that a very strong desire to participate in said games began to stir within me. So, for the last 2 years this desire has been sitting within, waiting to be put into action.

I can’t put this off any longer, lord knows I’m not getting any younger, So .. With the unwavering support of GB, I have committed to competing in the Tactical Games in 2022!

Despite being a fairly active person, 2020 definitely took a toll on my physical strength and to be honest my mental health. At one point I decided to just get comfortable “getting older” which goes against everything that I’ve ever desired for myself. So, I started my physical conditioning two weeks ago at GunnerCrossFit and am feeling stronger than I have in a long time. The owners (a former Marine and a former Navy Corpsman) and all the coaches there have been fantastic in understanding my end goals and teaching me the fundamentals of functional fitness. They truly push and inspire one to do their best and remind me that I have set goals and they’re there to help me achieve them.

This weekend I set off to attend my first tactical competition training course with VerTac Firearms Training. In anticipation for this training, I have found that my Army mentality has taken front seat in “preparing” by taking constant account of my “packing list” which has meant countless hours of perusing gear set ups and purchasing needed items.

Current packing list:

Pants - 5.11 Ascent pant

Knee Pads - 5.11 Exo.k1

Elbow pads - 5.11 Exo.e1

Weight plates - Rouge Echo Weight Vest Plates

Eye Protection - Oakley Flak 2.0

Ear Protection - N-ear

Fuel - 1st Phorm

My first consideration was what firearms do I want to use? Ideally ones that are light and that I know I can be proficient with. Well, the lightest (and prettiest) is of course my fancy build so why not give it a whirl? She’s light (6.7lbs), she’s got all the right parts, there’s minimal recoil, and honestly quite sexy in her sleek skeletonized form. I know there is bound to be inevitable controversy with just how skeletonized it is but I’m going to give it a go and see just how long she’ll make it, of course there is a back up choice.

Muzzle Device: Originally built with an Ultradyne Apollo Max that keeps the rifle incredibly flat, but also makes it incredibly loud. The Tactical Games don’t permit muzzle brakes so we’ll be swapping it out for a quieter, and much lighter, titanium bird cage from V Seven Weapons.

Sights: The C4 sights from Ultradyne are intuitive, incredibly accurate, and help keep weight down. Though they fold, these were designed as primary sights.

Barrel: Aero Precision 16” Mid-length chambered in .223 Wylde. Nothing too crazy, just a good reliable barrel with the improved chambering of .223 Wylde to squeeze a little more accuracy.

Gas Block: Patriot Ordnance Factory Dictator Adjustable Gas Block: This is the real secret of how soft this rifle recoils. With several, clickable positions to choose from this gas block can tune some rifles down to the difference of running 5.56 only, or also running .223. It was fun adjusting the rifle down to the bare minimum, then clicking one more spot open to ensure reliability.

Handguard: GunTec USA Lightweight 13”. A fancy build doesn’t have to have all expensive parts. This lightweight handguard does what handguards do without breaking the bank. Use our code “GBGuns” and knock another 5% off the listed price at Optics Planet.

Foregrip: Vendetta Precision VP-23 Tenaci: Another surprisingly affordable part. This foregrip helps me keep my positioning constant.

Receivers: F-1 Firearms UDR – 15 3G Style 1: These were the start of our fancy builds when Graham found an incredible deal for sets in raw aluminum at less than half the normal price. Not particularly lighter than a normal receiver set, but good looking and something different.

Pivot and Takedown Pins: Lantac Ultimate Takedown Pin Set – Titanium: These pins are so light they almost feel as if they’re not metal. In interesting installation “solution” makes them a bit different, but also eliminated launching detents across the room.

Charging Handle: Unfortunately DoubleStar no longer makes this version of their charging handle, but billet strength and a enlarged latch for quick operation. Doulestar’s current offerings can be found here

Trigger: Rise Armament RA-240: Short pull and reset, crisp break, but not dangerously light. A reasonably priced performance trigger exclusive to Optics Planet. With code “GBGuns” available for about $100.

Bolt Carrier Group: PVD-coated from White Label Armory: This color combination is no longer listed on their site, but was the original inspiration for the build’s colors as it has a deep blue with purple under tones.

Grip: Ronin Factory: Yet another item no longer in production, but comfortable, lightweight, and matches the general aesthetic of the build.

Buffer Tube: Primary Weapons Systems Enhanced Gen 2 Buffer Tube and Ratchet Lock End Plate: Enhanced carrier support, smoother cycling, and probably the easiest castle nut system to use. We’ve used these on several rifles.

Stock: Mission First Tactical Battlelink Minimalist Stock: Simple, lightweight, comfortable, and most importantly has a nice angle at the toe to roll up into the shoulder.

My handgun choice is the Canik Mete SFT but only because the Mete SFX is too long for me to achieve a good draw from hip with my current holster set up. My back up handgun will be the Canik TP9 Elite Combat Executive, I’ve used this in previous training with Center-T and did quite well although I think now that I have a bit more experience and training that the instructor would not need to spend as much time shooting my gun to decide if it or I was the problem for not shooting accurately.

I am nervous (I don’t like to fail and I despise letting others down) but also proud of this decision and excited to bring you all along on the adventurous journey I’m certain it will be. I would love to hear all your suggestions on gear, recommendations on training, and words of encouragement to stay focused.

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Aug 20, 2021

Watch that "old" stuff. Too much of that going around. This is a great read and I am enthusiastically waiting for the next edition of your quest especially the link between you and your gear. Keep it coming!


Well, I'm approaching 70 years young. To many things I regret not doing.

However, I compartmentalized and disgarded that baggage a long time ago!

So, just jump in with both feet and each time you compete it will get easier! You may not attain Grand Master Shooting Status at your first time out. I do know a couple folks younger than me that are close to Master Class Shooters in just a few years!

Best to ya',,,,!


Graham Baates
Graham Baates
Aug 20, 2021

Stephanie thank you so much. N-ear is what I use normally, Graham did also for quite a while until an unfortunate misplacement of his 😔 I'm very nervous as I've never competed before, Graham will not be competing as I need to do this for my own personal strength and confidence. I plan on keeping a digital diary of progress through different trainings to include daily routines. If you feel it's been a while since you've been updated Bug Me! Yes we have two gorgeous kitties that are very much involved in everything we do. Tactikitty has made several vocal appearances on GBGuns, that of course is her on camera name to preserve her identity 😉 ~Teya~



You must feel terrific. I'm so happy for you! The tactical competition training, and the physical training, sound like a lot of fun. Hard work for sure, yes?!

I'll have to look up the tactical games, never heard of them before. Will Graham compete as well? I admire your strength and determination. Will you keep us posted on your training please?

I really like when you list gear you use. The Mechanix gloves look terrific, do they run big? The other items are miles over my head, lol. The hearing protection--is that what you regularly use? I've always wondered what you two use in the videos...want to find another option.

Question: In your Steel to Reel--think that's th…

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