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October 8th, 2021

The Three Amigos Are Now Two — Remembering Kelly McMillan

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win
The Three Amigos in New Mexico (L to R): Kelly McMillan, Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers.

Three years ago nearly to the day, Kelly McMillan, Derek Rogers, and Paul Phillips enjoyed the fellowship and satisfaction of a successful New Mexico Antelope hunt. But sadly, Kelly passed away on June 1, 2021 from rapid, unexpected medical issues. Yesterday, October 7th, 2021, Paul Phillips posted: “Three years ago today. This hunt with Kelly McMillan and Derek Rodgers was a great memory. I miss Kelly.” Yes Paul, scores of us who counted Kelly as a friend and colleague miss him, and think of him often.

In memoriam Kelly McMillan

This isn’t your typical hunting story, because these weren’t your typical hunters. Derek Rodgers is the reigning F-TR World Champion, and past King of 2 Miles. Paul Phillips is the 2019 King of 2 Miles and a member of the Silver Medal-winning F-TR Team McMillan at the 2018 Nationals. The third hunter, Kelly McMillan, needs no introduction. The past owner of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Kelly was a leading figure in the gun industry for decades. He also supported many top rifle shooting teams. This story helps us remember Kelly and all he did for the shooting sports.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

In October 2018, these three friends got together for a very successful hunt in New Mexico, Derek’s home turf. All three bagged an impressive Antelope, with Paul Phillips dropping the biggest buck of all. Derek made the longest shot, hitting his buck at an impressive 510 yards, verified by laser rangefinder.

Paul Phillips posted: “Our New Mexico Antelope hunt with Kelly McMillan and Derek Rodgers was a success. To hunt with these two icons was definitely on my bucket list. I shot my buck at 389 yards in an 18-mph wind through a barbed wire fence.” It was a big trophy buck, measuring 84 3/8 inches.

Derek nailed his Antelope at 510 yards with a .308 Win fitted with a suppressor. As dusk approached, despite blustery wind and rain, Kelly dropped the third Antelope with a great 230-yard shot from a broken tree crotch. Paul noted: “All three bucks had their own challenges and funny story. All three hunts required team work with stalking, communication.” The three hunting buddies all had top-quality rifles built with McMillan stocks of course.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

For long-range hunting you need to have your drops absolutely “spot-on”. Paul posted: “When you do a 30-45 minute stalk… you need to have all your ballistics perfect or they get away. We were glad that we had a practice day before the hunt to confirm our zeros and verify our ballistics.”

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Kelly noted: “Paul Phillips scored this nice 80″+ buck in New Mexico. It was Paul’s first antelope.” The .338 LM rifle featured a Stiller TAC338 action, Bartlein 20″ barrel, McMillan A5 Stock, and Nightforce ATACR scope. In the Facebook video, Paul talks about making the shot, directly into the wind.

Both of Kelly’s Amigos — his hunting partners — were profoundly saddened by his passing. They miss him, as do all of us who knew Kelly.

Derek Rodgers wrote of his friend and hunting partner: “It is difficult to tell you how deeply saddened I feel about the loss of Kelly. What started as a shooting relationship quickly became a close friendship so many years ago. It was a privilege to know Kelly on a personal level and I will never forget his generous, caring nature and the never-ending kindness he had for others. He will forever be missed.”

Paul Phillips posted: “I have no words to express how saddened I am … we lost an icon in the shooting industry. Kelly McMillan was not only a great friend but the most generous and giving man I knew in the industry. There is not enough space to write about everything he did for competitive shooters, military snipers, hunters, and shooting enthusiasts. You were one-of-a-kind Kelly and I will forever remember your friendship and how big an advocate you were for shooting sports. R.I.P. my friend.”

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October 8th, 2021

Five Tips for Training at Indoor Ranges — Shoot Better, Safer

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report
Photo courtesy Silver Eagle Group Shooting Range, Northern Virginia.

Over 8 million Americans purchased their first firearm, typically handguns, since the start of 2020. These first-time gun owners definitely need training. In addition, all CCW permit holders should definitely practice regularly. For many, pistol practice is an indoor experience. Indoor ranges are most convenient for those who live near urban centers, where the biggest threats to public safety currently exist. This article covers indoor firearms training and the proper procedures you should follow at indoor ranges.

This Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules and Etiquette


1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

2. Follow ALL Range Officer Instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing with a Range Officer may just get you thrown out.

3. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. NEVER handle or touch another shooter’s firearm without their permission!

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all range rules and requirements/expectations. For example, what is the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass?

5. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). Range Officers do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation — they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly.

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report

Double-Up on Hearing Protection When Shooting Indoors

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

When shooting indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with quality plugs underneath. We recommend the NRR 33 Howard Leight Max-1 Plugs. These tapered plugs are comfortable, easy to insert, and have a flared end for better sound seal.

On top of those plugs, run high-quality muffs. For indoor ranges where sound levels can be extremely high, we recommend Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and the effective noise reduction can be improved by 4 decibels or more by running plugs as well.* These muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other audio device. These muffs are a good value, an Amazon’s Choice for $57.47.

* Four decibels may not sound like much, but remember the decibel measurement system is logarithmic, so four decibels is VERY significant. We have discussed the merits of “doubling up” hearing protection with Ph.D. sound engineers. They told us that a combination of muffs and plugs could reduce effective noise levels by up to five decibels compared to plugs alone. In addition, good muffs will block bone conduction sound energy better than plugs alone.

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October 8th, 2021

Tactical Weekend at GUNTRY Center in Maryland October 8-10

tactical industry weekend Guntry club maryland

GUNTRY of Maryland is hosting the first Tactical Industry Weekend on October 8-10, 2021. Presented by Six Eight Training Group and RYKER USA, this mini-Expo is a weekend-long event for industry professionals, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. The main focus is on defensive firearms — pistols, semi-auto rifles, and shotguns. There will be plenty of the latest Black Rifles and accessories on display. This is an opportunity to check out/demo new gear at a state-of-the-art shooting center with vast indoor range offerings along with sophisticated computer-controlled simulator rooms. Participating vendors will have products for demo and purchase.

Vendors at the event will include: MantisX, RYKER USA, Roger That, Six Eight Training Group. Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, UNIT Solutions, Wilder Tactical, U.S. Law Shield, and Vertx.

tactical industry weekend Guntry club maryland

About GUNTRY of Maryland
GUNTRY of Maryland is in a league of its own. The 64,000 square-foot facility is the premier shooting and training facility on the East Coast. It features 34 indoor live-fire shooting ranges, a fully immersive state-of-the-art simulator, on-site gunsmithing services, and a full-service café. The facility has garnered more than 100 five-star reviews>

tactical industry weekend Guntry club maryland

“Building an expo where consumers can meet face-to-face with industry professionals, manufacturers, retailers, and media to try their hands at new gear and learn about personal defense is how we convey our commitment to the right to bear arms,” said Ron Holmes, USMC MSgt (Ret.), Director of Training and Product Development for RYKER USA. “We are especially thankful to have U.S. LawShield as an important partner in promoting awareness of self-defense as we educate law-abiding gun owners.”

According to P.J. Hermosa, CEO of U.S. LawShield, “We expect the first annual Tactical Industry Weekend at the renowned GUNTRY Range of Maryland to be a stellar success.”

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