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ARs & High-Speed Kits: A Chat with Tacticool Girlfriend

Tacticool Girlfriend burst onto the gun scene, bringing a sleek style and an emphasis on safety and responsible gun ownership to YouTube audiences.

Tacticool GF
Tacticool Girlfriend

Blending high-speed kits and gear with practical tips and advice, she is empowering gun owners, new and seasoned, to take to the range and have some fun!

So, of course, we wanted to get to know her a little bit better.

Ferro Concepts Rig Front
Did someone say high-speed kit…we’re in!

We suggest grabbing your favorite beverage and following along as we talk AKs vs. ARs and what cool gear TGF hauls to the range.

Note: This article was edited for clarity and conciseness.

Q&A with Tacticool Girlfriend

PPT: Give us a brief summary of your experience with firearms. How long have you been shooting, and how did you get into guns?

TGF: My experience with firearms is a fairly strange, meandering amateur journey. I grew up in an anti-gun household and had no experience with them until I was an adult.

Tacticool GF
Tacticool Girflriend

One Christmas, my friends and girlfriend actually gifted me a 1928 Izhevsk M91/30 Mosin Nagant. The main impetus for this was to get me involved in historical reenacting, which some of those friends had been trying to drag me into for a while.

Needless to say, I caved and spent most of my time with that rifle, just shooting blanks and using it as a prop at historical displays. I always did enjoy shooting 7.62x54R when I got the chance, though – it was a hell of a first cartridge to learn on.

7.62x54R
7.62x54R

Fast forward a few years, I had lost most of my interest in that hobby and went on to acquire more modern firearms and improve my shooting skills. I’ve been hooked since.

PPT: Oh boy, reenacting and the joys of Soviet web gear! For as strange as the gun community can be, reenacting is some neutron-star dense levels of weirdness. What was your first firearms purchase moving on from the Mosin, and what’s your collection look like now?

Have you wound up with any guns, in particular, you enjoy taking out more than others, or does it all just blur together after a while?

TGF: The reenacting community is kind of a real special freak show, to be honest. I felt like I was in a circus when I was active in that hobby; it certainly was wild.

My first firearms purchase post-Mosin was actually a TT-33, again for reenacting purposes. After that, the first actual modern firearm would be my Arsenal SLR-104FR.

TT33
TT33 (Photo: Wiki Commons)

I like that gun alright, but after building my first AR-15 (14.5-inch build), I’ve been on that train for a very long time. And the AK just kind of sits in the closet perpetually these days, as sad as it is to admit.

Now that I’ve built an 11.5-inch AR pistol, that’s been really exciting for me, and I’ve been really fixed on shooting that lately.

Other than that, I did pick up a Ruger LCP II for conceal carry years ago, then moved up to the CZ P10C that I carry every day and love dearly as well.

CZ P10C and a box of 9mm
The CZ P10C OR.

PPT: Sad to hear about that Arsenal 74 gathering dust! Alas, the pitfalls of only being able to shoot one gun at a time. Is there anything in particular that made you swap from the AK over to an AR? How do you like the AR pistol compared to your 14.5-inch build?

TGF: With regards to the AK to AR transition, every single aspect of the AR just feels and performs better in my hands.

Ergonomics is probably the biggest takeaway by a long shot. They’re just set up so much better, in my opinion, combined with lighter construction, free-floating barrels, more rail space out of the box, everything just lines up to make a far more shooter-friendly platform.

Tacticool GF

I will say, though, the AK wins the aesthetic game every time, but that’s about where my attraction to the platform ends.

Now that I’ve been running my 11.5-inch build, I sometimes dread bringing out the 14.5-inch unless I’m specifically doing long-range shooting just because the ergonomics are so wildly different between the two — despite both using nearly identical hardware other than the barrel and handguard length.

Tacticool GF 14 inch AR
The 14.5-inch AR build.

PPT: What made you decide to enter the media realm in particular? Who would you say is your target audience or demographic?

TGF: I had been screaming at the top of my lungs for years that we need a more diverse representation of identities, beliefs, and understandings in firearms media, which from my point of view, has been overwhelmingly a monoculture.

Tacticool GF
Tacticool GF

Everyone around me always agreed, and I’d always hint that people should get involved. Everyone would agree again enthusiastically, but no one would step up. Finally, I got fed up and, a year ago, decided to take it on myself.

As a firearms enthusiast who doesn’t fit the mold, I hope to create a more appealing alternative for folks seeking firearms education who similarly don’t appear to be your average gun owner archetype you see so much of on YouTube.

Predictably, a lot of LGBTQ and people of color seem to have especially found this to be a breath of fresh air based on the feedback I’ve gotten.

PPT: Living through 2020 feels like it made a lot of other folks who probably aren’t the industry’s primary demographic realize the value in being able and ready to protect themselves. Do you think that being an up-and-coming channel during that time helped you gain a bit of a foothold?

How much of your audience is on the newer side of things experience-wise? Have any insight on how new viewers wind up finding your content?

TGF: 2020 was a wild ride, and I think the firearms industry is just in complete denial at this point for acting like nothing happened other than ammo prices skyrocketing.

Pew Pew Tactical Shooting with MIRA Safety Gas Masks
2020, colorized.

I absolutely think the demographic shift has helped a lot, and the timing couldn’t have been better for me to embark on this project.

It wasn’t intentional; I had been planning to do this for a while, but it just sort of lined up that way.

I’m not entirely sure how people generally come across me, but a lot of it does seem to be organic, by word of mouth, especially among more minority-oriented gun owner online spaces and groups, it seems.

Tacticool GF
That lighting tho…

PPT: That’s excellent to hear regarding organic traffic! Is there anything specific you’re hoping to accomplish with your videos or goals for the channel overall?

TGF: Honestly, since the get-go, I’ve simply been trying to address what a lot of people harp on but don’t get across enough.

Responsible, practical firearm ownership and usage.

It’s probably beating a dead horse, but that horse isn’t dead enough based on what I’ve seen. I hate going to the range and witnessing just how careless people are in their handling of firearms – I shudder to think what their practices at home may be too.

Tacticool GF Cleaning Handgun
Showing off how to clean handguns.

I hope to instill a holistic, practical, safety-oriented ethos in those who may come across my channel. Especially with the explosion of new firearm owners we’ve seen in the last year, it has never been a more crucial time to introduce good habits so that bad habits don’t need to be unlearned.

Tacticool Girflfriend Firearm Safety
Firearm safety is priority number one.

Beyond that, I do want to cover some interesting topics and nerd out on gear here and there, but the channel will always first and foremost be dedicated to creating a healthier, supportive community.

PPT: Have you had any particular trouble with starting the channel during the current climate? A ton of creators in the gun sphere complain about shadow-bans, censorship, and being crushed by the almighty algorithm, but what’s your experience been like?

TGF: It’s been a wild ride. Last year my Facebook account was permanently shut down with no explanation given – that in turn brought down my Facebook page, which I had to rebuild from scratch. That kind of set the tone for where we’re at in handling this kind of content.

YouTube randomly unsubscribes my subscribers for no apparent reason. I don’t know how the mysterious algorithms work, but I have no doubt that they’re not really on my side of things.

I gave up entirely on trying to monetize through ads – YouTube doesn’t need my help with that anyway, and I don’t really feel the need to take that approach.

I simply rely on my Patreon supporters and let people watch my videos without annoying interruptions. It’s much better that way for all of us, I think.

Ultimately, I still have had plenty of organic traction despite all the odds, and for that, I’m very thankful.

PPT: The woes of the struggle against The Algorithm™ are not lost on us, unfortunately. What kind of additional content are you offering on Patreon? Are you producing TGF content in a full-time capacity, or is that the end goal?

TGF: Patreon, so far, has honestly been mostly focusing on just getting the funding I need to pay for ammo and camera equipment so far. I sadly haven’t been able to offer too many benefits.

Though, I have recorded some exclusive informational content for my Patreons. I’m certainly hoping to do more, get some more merch so I can give that away, etc.

Tacticool GF
Digital downloads without ads…sounds good to us.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do TGF as a full-time thing, although for all intents and purposes, it almost is a full-time job at this point. I still haven’t quit my day job, but honestly, I’d love to if it could get to that point.

PPT: As the name would imply, you’ve also got a good amount of high-speed kit featured in your videos as well. How’d you wind up involved in the nerdier gear side of shooting? What do you think the role of stuff like plate carriers, belt kits, etc., is for the average shooter?

TGF: As I mentioned earlier, I started taking a more contemporary approach to training with firearms after ditching my focus on historical pieces.

This comes with a lot of gear, and no doubt, it’s a huge money pit. But it’s a fun money pit, at least.

Tacticool GF Chest Rigs
Chest rigs are cool!

What makes a good shooter is always going to be solid fundamentals and regular training, no exceptions. No amount of gear will help you if you don’t have that.

But for folks looking to arm themselves for defensive purposes, if you can afford it, you owe it to yourself to not compromise on potentially life-saving devices.

Beyond that, I do like to constantly try new things and optimize my kit to help multiply my capabilities and enhance the entire shooting experience. I think plate carriers are absolutely unnecessary, but hey, you might want one anyway, and if you do, you absolutely need to train in it.

Tacticool Girlfriend Plate Carriers and Setups
Plate carriers and setups.

Besides, there’s a little peace of mind having some added protection on, even at the flat range, as accidents absolutely do happen there.

Other things like shooter’s belts are extremely practical and necessary if you’re looking into anything like competitive shooting.

Kore Essentials Belts
Belts are a must!

Having the ability to properly holster a handgun, quickly draw magazines, etc., are all going to be what I consider basic kit for regular range trips.

Don’t be afraid to be a nerd! Get out there and have fun doing as much or as little as you like.

PPT: Big agree here as well. What’s your setup look like right now? Any rig or piece of kit getting more love than another? Conversely, got any specific pieces of gear you’ve been disappointed in after using it for a while?

TGF: My setup right now is still the Ferro Concepts Slickster for my PC – though I am hoping to get my hands on a Crye SPC eventually. But I still love my Ferro to death and rock it as much as I can.

I’m still running the Tier 1 Centurion holster with the Safariland mid-ride paddle and elastic thigh band for my P10C.

Tacticool GF Holstered Gun
Tacticool Girlfriend’s Holstered CZ.

I’m still using my Ciguera belt with the G-Code Scorpion soft shell magazine pouches, which I love very much. But I just ordered a Wilder belt in order to try a different, more battle belt-oriented setup since I’d like something that can fit over my jackets rather than me awkwardly folding the jackets up into my PC so I can access my belt line.

Recently, I upgraded my ear pro from a Howard Leight Impact sport and somewhat janky comms setup to my Peltor Comtac V headset with a Disco32 PTT, which has been stellar.

Circle of Shooting Ear Protection
Circle of Shooting Ear Protection

Other than that, I only recently exchanged my Condor hydration pack for a Tasmanian Tiger Essential 15L pack just to get a little bit more cargo space.

Oh, I’m also getting into night vision, so I got a whole helmet and PVS-14 on the way, which will be exciting to play around with.

Night vision goggles
Night vision is just cool…no if, and, buts.

All that being said, I haven’t been severely disappointed with anything I’ve used thus far – it’s all worked quite well and met my needs more than adequately with regards to where I was with my budget at the time of purchase for each piece of gear.

I still stand by all of those products and recommend them to folks depending on their budget. It probably helps that I spent way too many months researching every single thing I buy, just to make sure it’s right for me and I don’t have buyer’s remorse.

Tacticool GF Shooting

I’m not the kind of person to make uninformed impulse purchases, but definitely advocate more for a buy once cry once approach.

PPT: Applauding your ability to control the impulse purchases/do adequate research before throwing down the cash on kit.

Rad to hear about the NODS as well! Speaking as someone who snagged a PVS-14 in the past year…don’t look through dual tubes. You’re going to want to immediately dive further down the money pit.

TGF: As for the dual tubes for NODs…no, I think I’d rather buy a nice car at that point. In this case, monocular ignorance is going to have to be my bliss, and I’m still quite thankful for the opportunity to use them.

Night Vision
We smile too when we don NVG

They’re nothing short of magical, and if you can afford it, I can’t recommend night vision enough.

I had severe buyer’s remorse until my PVS-14 arrived at my door, and after putting them on, it all clicked — I would buy them again if I had to.

PPT: I think that’s probably all we’ve got room for questions-wise, but thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us and let us pick your brain! Any parting thoughts, pluggables, etc.? Are there any creators, in particular, you’d like to give a shout-out/spotlight to?

TGF: I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me! As for last thoughts, all I have to say is please be safe out there and let’s work harder, smarter, and better to forge a growing, healthy shooting community for us all to enjoy.

I can’t wait to see where we all go from here.

Tacticool GF
Tacticool GF

Some of my favorite channels I’d like to highlight are InRange TV, Deviant Ollam, Autonomous Alternative, Kalashnikoffing (who is only on Instagram, but please, get on YouTube!), Locs N Load, and as always, love what you all do at Pew Pew Tactical too!

Also, as for my plugs, you can find me at the following:

Thanks to Tacticool Girlfriend! If there are any other gun influencers or pew people you want to see featured on Pew Pew Tactical, drop their names in the comments below. Also, check out our list of the Top 10 Best Gun Blogs you should check out.

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9 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    slUg1369

    Sweet article, I've been a TGF fan since she started her channel. Her content is always well stated, educational and fun. Plus, I love seeing the "alternative" gun owner community being represented more these days; TGF does a great job at that too.
    Much appreciated this article and getting a bit of background on TGF and how she got into the gun scene.
    chEErs,
    93

    July 17, 2021 6:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael

    I took a perusal through TGF's channel. Very educational, very well done. As a relatively new firearms owner I was quite impressed with the content. Thank you PPT for highlighting a different type of voice. And finding out there is a pro-2A left-ish gun community? Wow. Maybe we can all come together after all.

    July 16, 2021 5:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Eric

    Great piece and nice to see TGF highlighted as part of the firearms community…

    July 14, 2021 3:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Erich Tompkins

    Great article and TGF is a great new voice in the firearms community.

    July 14, 2021 3:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tyler

    Glad we have another firearms advocate. The mask is definitely overkill though. Peel that freedom muzzle off. You look ridiculous with it on. Particularly in a picture all by yourself.

    July 14, 2021 5:12 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      TGF

      TGF here. I have obscured my face since before the plague days as a means of obscuring identity, and thus, making this project about my content and not about building cult around my personal identity. I respect those who don't, but I simply ask that my choice to remain anonymous be respected just the same - the mask is just a really easy way to do that for me. If that decision offends anyone, they are free to mosey onto the plethora of other more exposed content creators, sans Administrative Results of course.

      July 14, 2021 2:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James

      Haha internet privacy go brrrrrrrr

      July 14, 2021 2:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ryan

    Thanks for this interview! Always happy to see more voices promoting responsible gun ownership.

    July 13, 2021 6:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Reed

    Thank you for having TGF on! Elevates my respect for Pew Pew; I find myself heeding the insights of you both when setting things up!

    July 13, 2021 2:54 am
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