A Tac Girl! [continued from cover]
TAC Queen Mellissa Gilliland.
What really stood out to me about this calendar was the donation of monies going to Americansnipers.org. On top of that, the professionalism that Mike and Tony have is top-notch. They aren’t your sleazeball type of personalities that you might encounter with other girl-calendars. I also really liked that they know their firearms and they pay attention to small details like trigger discipline. So after meeting with them at SHOT 2011, they offered me the opportunity to be in their 2012 Calendar. Of course I accepted, just from the standalone donations that they did for Americansnipers.org, which is a nonprofit 501c(3) that helped my husband and his sniper team back in 2005. They had sent them mission-essential kits such as Kestrels, scopes, hand-held laser range finders and comfort items. All donations to Americansnipers.org go directly to supporting our snipers serving overseas. There is no overhead and the volunteers do not make any money. Which is why I am a firm believer in this organization. My husband and I both are active volunteers. I believe in giving back and the guys/gals serving overseas deserve this. Anything I can do to help this great organization, I'm there!
I started my Facebook page back in 2011 to help sell Tac Girl calendars and to promote my husband and the organization. He is 100% supportive of me, and if he had a problem with it, I wouldn't have done it. He has seen the amount of money that the Tac Girl calendar has raised for Americansnipers.org, plus I think it gives him a bit of bragging rights!
However, as you can imagine, I get some negative feedback for being in the calendar. I do get hate mail and nasty comments. My response a lot of times to this is:
1. You see more exposure of skin at your local pool or beach.
2. The fundraising portion of the calendar is the number one reason why I chose to model in it.
3. I'm not spread-eagle over the top of a car with my bare butt cheeks spread apart
4. I feel good about being a model in this calendar. It's classy, and some of the girls that model in it are actual shooters. I've been shooting all my life, and shooting competitively for over a year. In my 2014 Tac Girl calendar shoot, I'm actually modeling a rifle built by my rifle sponsor, Ashbury Precision Ordnance. From looking at my Tac Girl photos, one that doesn't know me would never guess that I am a serious sponsored precision rifle competition shooter. And, to be honest, I kind of like that, because it has shock factor and it goes back to the old saying, Never judge a book by its cover!
Sport Pistol by Alex Griffeth
I close my eyes, rocking slightly from my heels to the balls of my feet, which are exactly two and a half ammo boxes apart, and slightly splayed. I get settled, my weight evenly distributed. My left hand hangs relaxed, thumb hooked lightly over my belt buckle. I clench my right hand, tensing the muscles all the way up to my shoulder, feeling the textured wood of the pistol grip dig into my hand. Upon release, my hand now molds comfortably to the pistol, requiring little effort to hold.
Experimentally I raise the gun to shoulder height, arm out stretched, and open my eyes. I'm a little off target. I shift my left foot slightly, which turns my entire body to the right, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and repeat the process. This time, I'm settled onto the center of the target, my entire body naturally and comfortably on line.
Lowering the pistol to the bench before me, I close my eyes and start to focus. My earplugs drown out exterior noise, but the pounding of my heart is surprisingly loud in my ears. I inhale slowly, willing my heart rate to slow. Silently I count to two. I exhale, calm and controlled, and count again. Three. Four. Inhale again. Five. Six. My heart still beats quickly from anticipation but it's now in tempo with my steady breathing. When I get to ten, I open my eyes, and study my target. It's just a simple black circle about ten inches across, complex in its simplicity. Atop the target are two lights, one red, one green. The red light glows steadily. My mind is quiet, my breathing steady, as I wait.
The red light on top of the target switches to green. I raise the pistol, settling automatically into my shooting stance. The pistol is comfortable, a natural extension of my hand.
The front sight is crisp and clear in my vision, the rear sight blurry. I don't really look at the target; I know exactly where it's at. My finger tightens on the trigger, squeezing it back. With a crack, the pistol fires. The recoil travels up my arm, barely registered by my mind as I flow right back into my stance.
The light turns red.
I lower the pistol until it's pointing at the ground, but not quite touching the bench, keeping my firing arm straight the whole time. One, two. Three, four. Five - the light turns green, and my arm flies up again, the action smoothly crisp as I find the target center. I fire another shot. Everything occurs in an almost musical rhythm, my breathing underlying the thumping of my heart, the staccato sound of bullets flying down range, the lights changing to a 3/4 beat. My mind is blank, lost in the moment, drinking the thrill of shooting and savoring the tangy scent of cordite in the air. I'm outwardly calm, inwardly giddy, and there's no place on earth I'd rather be.
30 Cal Gal on the US Rifle Team
Words of Wisdom