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Team TTI (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Ballistic Angels” or simply “Taran’s Angels”). Members featured: Michelle Jean, Corinne Mosher, Allie Barrett, Diana Hufstedler (yeah, I’m always in black), Sammi King, Jessica Hook, Janna Reeves & our fierce leader Taran Butler. All images: courtesy of 5.11 Media

This post originally appeared at sassbrassnbullets.com and is reprinted here with permission.

By Diana Hufstedler

Hi, my name is Diana Hufstedler. You may know me as the team TTI 3-Gunner who likes fashion or the potty-mouth blogger who tells it as it is. But in my 8 to 5 job I’m a marketer, and a good one (tell my boss).  Today I will reveal to you the secret recipe to a killer marketing campaign & will bring you behind the scenes of the 5.11 Media production that can easily be described as the photoshoot of the century! . . .

1. Start with 7 Kick-ass Female 3-Gun Competitors
Sure, you can hire models. But where is the fun in that? First of all, viewers are not stupid – they can spot a phony from a mile away. Second, it will build your credibility & prove your products really are designed for running & gunning, because that’s what we really do. Last, but not least, your pretty pictures will actually say something. Female shooters have long battled stereotypes: either we were perceived as manly tomboys or gun bunnies posing with firearms in their bikini (nothing against that, I love a hot gal with a smoking gun as much as the next guy). However, the fact is, many of us are serious shooters & competitors who leave most men in the dust. Funny thing is, until recently, the firearms industry not only fueled the misunderstandings, they ignored one of the fastest growing segments – women! Not anymore.

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The girls & I sharing an umbrella right before it was my turn with the cameraman… Janna Reeves, Jessica Hook, Michelle Jean, Diana Hufstedler

2. Hire a Killer Production Crew
Enter 5.11 Tactical & the 5.11 Media crew (with team members who produced some of the best gun shows on the Discovery Channel) for a production that will blow your mind! There is a reason the photos you took with your cell in the garage, *cough* office, looked like crap. Simple, really, if you want high quality anything – hire professionals! So, to the point: a couple of weeks ago Taran Butler, a multiple world champion & TV personality, who also owns Taran Tactical Innovations (a top-notch provider of gunsmithing services & shooting accessories and the first & ONLY company with a largely female-dominated shooting team, myself included) teamed up with the leader in tactical apparel & gear – 5.11 Tactical, for a photo/video shoot in the Hollywood Hills just outside LA that can make even the most battle-hardened dude blush & sweat with excitement. And (still pinching myself), I got to be a part of it!

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The dream team! Top row: Michelle , Corinne, Allie, Diana, Sammi, Jessica & Janna. Bottom row: Videographer (so sorry, I forgot your name), Kevin, Hawk Vacarro, Jesse Clements, Taran Butler (TTI owner), Eric Katzenberg, Kenji Sweeney, Mariva England, Matt Frederick, Lyndsey Grove, Nabil Khattar

3. Add Drama
No, not THAT kind of drama (if you want that – go back to the models). Striking sunsets, high contrast, rumbling skies, extreme angles, hero shots, badass guns, a shootout (or shot-out) car, the rugged desert & the juxtaposition of a traditionally very manly sport and the ultra-femininity of the women 3-Gunners. If you are not familiar with the athletic discipline of 3 Gun – let me enlighten you: it is a grueling, adrenaline-filled sport, which requires skill, speed, power & accuracy with all 3 firearms – pistol, rifle & shotgun. It takes the concept of “run & gun” to a whole new level and females have been fighting with blood, sweat & tears for their place. “Femme Fatale”, indeed (yep, that really is the working title of the campaign for 5.11’s new women’s line)!

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The ladies of team TTI. Sunset, end of day one. Can you guess who is who?

4. Slow Motion For Me
No self-respecting promo video is complete without slow motion. You wanna make even the most trivial of things (like arriving at the range or double-tapping 3 targets in a row) look super cool – slow-motion it. Bam, you just went from “I blinked & missed it” to “Reservoir Dogs & “The Matrix”! Plus, brass flying at the camera just brings the viewer in on the action like nothing else. Want to kick it up a notch? Add a smoke machine and you’ve officially entered into super badassery (admit you like my made-up-words).

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I cannot even begin to explain how cool this slow-motion video of us arriving at the range at sunrise is! (our awesome cameraman Hawk let us preview footage briefly)

5. Make It Rain Brass
Duh, I should have started with this one! And rain brass it did; as a matter of fact I feel sorry for whoever had to pick it up after we were done. Let me tell ya, none of us had a clue we were about to change history for women shooters. We were just a bunch of friends who got together to do what we do best – shoot a lot & do it really, really fast! Photographers, cameramen, art directors & stylists followed. There was laughter, jokes, goofing off & even some friendly competition. Next thing you know – magic happened! There were hero shots, product close-ups (of course), real action video, a shoot-house with multiple high-tech cameras at weird angles and even a gag reel. The truth is, it was good because it was genuine, because we all love the smell of gun powder more than that of our morning coffee… The final result – dunno, what I’m sharing is all I’ve got but it MUST BE EPIC because 5.11 is keeping the final promo top-secret until spring! Ah, the anticipation…

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On the last day of our photo shoot we got to play around & do what we usually do: SHOOT FAST. I was pretty stoked with my 3.12 sec run on the plates (pictured here) until my teammate Allie smoked us all with under 3 sec. Fun times!

All in all, we worked hard ( I know, somebody had to do it, lol) – shot from sunrise to sunset for 3 days straight. We were cold, we were hot, we were tired & hyperactive all at once. We laughed, drank coffee, ate & even celebrated my birthday together! The experience changed my perception of the industry. They DO care about females; they are starting to make products that actually fit our bodies & lifestyles and they are noticing our presence on the competition circuit. It was refreshing to work with a company that wanted to feature real female shooters, not just models. And it was refreshing to get our voice heard. As far as the photo-shoot itself; it was a blast! Most of us don’t do this on a regular basis. We have jobs like everyone else, we take our kids to Girl & Boy Scouts, we do laundry & then we put on our competition rigs to lock & load with the guys. So being a part of such a monumental project that will assert women shooters’ badassery (there’s that word again) worldwide was a major treat. It was a memorable experience for all of us & we hope our message comes through in the campaign this Spring.

So when it comes out – like it, share it, show it to your friends & the women in your life & tell everyone I said: “Watch out boys, female shooters aren’t just a bunch of pretty faces. We are here to stay and the industry is taking notice!”

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It’s a wrap!

XOXO

 

You can follow Diana Hufstedler at Sass, Brass and Bullets and at her Facebook page

51 Responses to Behind the Scenes of the Femme Fatale Photoshoot of the Century

    • I know, right? A bunch of women having fun shooting guns, HOW DARE THEY??!!! What’s the percentage of female (competition) shooters? Probably not very high. And these gals are trying to get more women involved? I mean the nerve!!!

    • El Mac,

      You won the race to the first comment, but failed to add anything useful to the conversation.

      I’m pro gun, pro reality, and pro beautiful women. This combines all three. They’re legitimate 3 gun competitors who happen to be lovely ladies, and seem like they’d be a lot of fun to hang out with. Maybe you like to hang out with grumpy fat dudes at the range. Anyways, I think 5.11 did a great job with this campaign.

      • El Mac pretty much hates everything.

        The article was a little self congratulatory and the meta of an article that was essentially PR while giving tips on how to do good PR by a PR rep was a bit eye roll inducing, but I agree.

        In general, what is not to like about this article? This is the kind of coverage we need for TRTKABA.

      • Aside from being overly full of heself to the point of being sickeningly arrogant, it is as has been said, just an ad campaign. She even admits she isn’t “all that good” at shooting… Some saps will fall for anything, epecially if it has a halfway decent looking woman attached to it.

        But let’s face it, there have been women involved in shooting for a long time. Women that can actually shoot rather than just stand there in their garish gear and strike poses. So, whatever. Bring on a Kirsten Weiss or a Jesse Duff…chicks that can walk the talk. And there are others. But a bimbo with a blog and a lot of ‘tude? Keep it.

        • @TBear, thanks…. I have no doubt in real life, we could enjoy a beer and some laughs together….sometimes the internet is a sloppy way of communicating.

        • Probably. Like… I am seriously a single issue voter. I’ve found that if someone is pro second amendment I usually have enough common ground with them to get along just fine.

          That and I’m x military and everyone who has been in the military (at least in combat arms) learns people skills as a matter of self defense at the minimum. Otherwise, living in a bay full of 40 some odd pissed off, exhausted 18-24 year old guys during Basic, you’ll get your ass beat.

        • The funniest comment ever in the history of TTAG is El Mac calling Diana “sickeningly arrogant.”

          Then again, when it comes to arrogance, he’s the expert.

        • Dear El Mac,
          I am not sure how I offended you or why you think I am arrogant but if we meet in real life I am sure you will find me a rather pleasant & a very humble lady. This article was written for entertainment purposes and a bit of humor & “‘tude” usually makes for a fun read. Sorry if you were not entertained but calling me a “bimbo” is very drastic & unfair. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about myself & hopefully change your perception. I am 31 years old, married, 1 child, I work as a business analyst, hold a Bachelor’s & a Master’s degree and have been shooting competitively for a couple of years now; this is my first year in 3 Gun and I have been working really hard to continuously improve. I am sure many people can relate! While I do not claim to be a Tier 1 (Jessie Duff) level competitor, I am a serious shooter who tries to do better each time. The “posing” was done to raise awareness & encourage more women to try shooting. Most men I shoot with have been very encouraging & supportive, they’ve given me tips, let me try equipment & helped me involve other women. Therefore I am really saddened you did not give me the benefit of a doubt & judged me by my appearance (yes, I am a very small person, I like fashion like many women & I wear red lipstick because that’s what my mother taught me). I sincerely hope we get a chance to meet in person so we can converse & I can show you I am not only a very normal competitor like everyone else (not a poser), I am also an educated professional woman who is very polite, kind & definitely not a bimbo.
          Happy new year & God bless.
          Diana

        • @ Mrs. Hufstedler,

          Thank you for your response. The bimbo comment came out of that one article and the ‘tude that upon the first reading of it, leaked out of every corner. The article gave me the exact impression that you probably were trying to get away from: that of a bikini clad chick with over the top gear and guns striking a pose. Clearly, any “gentleman’s club” (cough, cough) dancer can pull that off. Which led me to think, “big deal”…more T&A with guns. However, having read some of your other comments here (and there) as well as some of the other TTAGers, I’ve since reread your article with a slightly different perspective. Having done so, I retract the bimbo comment and offer you an apology.

          I welcome and appreciate any female coming into the shooting world and applying herself and working to increase her skill level. And I personally don’t care if she is hot or not. If I could wave a wand and give the skills it takes to be able to fight with a gun and arm those that need it most, I would give ’em both to all women. More often than not, they are the true victims of crime and physical assault. So I’ll leave it at that. If your work brings more women into that mindset, I welcome it.

          As long as you focus on the narrow path of skills, competitive spirit, good gear (even if its focused on gear from a woman’s perspective), and the joy of shooting well, I wish you and your blog and efforts great success. If you stray onto the well worn and wide path of T&A focus and innuendo, you will lose relevancy. However, you may gain viewers and clicks at least for a while…that is the way of the modern dumbed down society. So I guess its a fine line you walk and not necessarily an easy one. But I wish you well if your efforts go towards that narrow and higher path. And no, there is nothing wrong with red lipstick. Worn properly by the right lady, it is devastating! Clearly. And guys just instinctively get it. 🙂

          Thanks for engaging and allowing me to expound and explain a bit more. Again, I retract and apologize for the bimbo comment, You have acquitted yourself very well here. Stay narrow and you will be a mighty force to be reckoned with. Good luck and good shooting….

          Regards,
          “El Mac”

    • I think it’s better than “ugh, whatever” but Diana’s assertion that it can “…easily be described as the photoshoot of the century!” is… well, I guess it’s true since it was probably extremely easy for her to describe it that way, but I think she’d have a VERY hard time getting a soul to agree it was actually the photoshoot of the century or even in the running haha

    • @ El Mac,

      I cannot begin to express how much your apology means to me! Thank you for giving me a second look with fresh eyes. I also apologize for immediately viewing you as a “mean troll” 🙂 It is easy to jump to conclusions in the internet space.

      I really believe men & women have very similar goals in this sport – learn to protect ourselves, get better at competition, enjoy ourselves and try to involve new shooters. I am so happy that the TTAG community encourages female shooters – frankly, I have had nothing but positive experiences and I shoot mostly with men. As far as the images – I agree it is a fine line for us women, especially since we have an innate need to try to look pretty (it’s in our DNA) – hence my love of fashion. But I can attest that you will not see anything vulgar or inappropriate from me, I’m family & career oriented and “Likes” is not my goal in life. My goal is to get more women (and men) to try 3 Gun. It has enriched my life in so many ways and I have talked numerous friends into trying it.

      Thanks again – your apology really made my day. I know I shouldn’t take it to heart when people misunderstand but it hurts because I have nothing but good intentions. Good luck to you & really hope we get to meet sometime – you sound like a very intelligent & interesting person (totally different from my first impression).

      Best,
      Diana

      • @DH, a good lesson/reminder for me not to be too quick to judge…that was sloppy on my part. And kudos to RF for giving your blog some space here. If you ever compete out in Colorado, I’d gladly buy you a cuppa Starbucks. Best to you and your fam.

        EM

  1. Oh yeah. This is state of gun culture 2015. Terrific. What is next? Soft core porn? Sex tapes? Classless.

    • Did you even look at the article and the pictures? It’s a bunch of female competitive shooters wearing competitive shooting gear, and competitively shooting.

      The pictures and culture depicted is identical to any picture of any male competitively shooting, except these are women. And somehow the only difference of it being a woman makes this degenerate and classless to you?

      You are literally a misogynist.

      for reference:
      http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/misogynist

      • Oh Jesus Christ, get over yourself. Literally.

        He either didn’t bother to read the article or is a troll.

        Muh-soggy-knees.

        • It is in our best interest to call out racists, misogynists, etc if we don’t want to be identified with like. Just because some feminists scream “misogyny” way too much doesn’t mean a spade’s not sometimes a spade. This seems to be a hot button for you perhaps some distrust and contempt for people who use that word? prejudice, a strong negative reaction…

        • I agree that it was a troll, but we have to police our own.

          Unfortunately, if someone other than the normal community drops by, we need to keep their perception in mind. Usually silence = assent.

      • @ Don… That was EXACTLY my reaction to the first two comments.
        I don’t see in any way whatsoever how this is pornographic, racy or even bad in any way.

        //Sarc// Women taking pride in being involved in a mostly male dominated sport…. OH THE HUMANITY!!!!
        //sarc off//

        @ Pikes and ElMac… Please explain how you see this as negative, I’m(genuinely) at a loss trying to understand your point of view. Did I miss something? Was there more to the story? Were there “wardrobe malfunctions” during the competition?

      • Don find a REAL word not a newage buzzterm owned by the libtard media and limpwristed metrosexuals. “misogynists”, get a clue.

        • I hope you are attempting to be “ironic”.

          misogyny

          From Ancient Greek μισογυνία (misogunía) and μισογύνης (misogúnēs, “woman hater”), from μισέω (miséō, “I hate”) + γυνή (gunḗ, “woman”).

          You can’t get much farther away from “new age” than “ancient greek”.

    • It is women like these that successfully encouraged my wife to enter competitive firearm events.
      They’re called role models, and we’ll need more of them to tap 50% of the potential US population of firearm enthusiasts.

    • I know three gals who were raped. Each one wishes she’d has a gun at the time for self-defense — just as a fourth gal I know actually did, and put the hurt on the rapist.

      Part of the reason they didn’t carry back then was the attitude that “nice girls don’t shoot”. What was lacking for them was anything like this that shows that gals, too, can be bad-ass.

      Obviously, Pike’s, you support keeping women defenseless and out of sight. So I’m going to put you in the category those gals introduced me to for evaluating politicians… see below.

      Gals posing as armed citizens is class. You are a classless troll — and pro-rape.

  2. To each their own guys. More competent, knowledgeable people with guns from outside the OFWG image cannot be a bad thing for the gun culture.

    • Well said.

      The ad-copy-type article is a little bit over-the-top, but as the author is a marketer (her words), I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t.

      Competent with firearms, smart/well-spoken, easy on the eyes; I’m not seeing any problems here at all.

  3. I am glad to see young people (men AND women) get involved with the shooting sports. I am also glad to see a marketing campaign aimed at women advertising gear meant for women. That is all good stuff. Photo shoot of the century? Me thinks you stretched the hyperbole a little too far there.

  4. This seems like an ad for 5.11, which is fine. These chicks gotta eat too.

    I like your products. I’d like them a little more if you guys gave discounts to TTAG’s readers.

    Just sayin’.

  5. @Pikes Pete & @El Mac,
    These chicks are for real – look them up! I don’t see anything pornographic about this – I find your comments rather sexist. So, any time a woman is seen with a gun, it’s sex-related? Double standard, anyone?
    We need more role models like this – women who really like shooting – to rally each other up! I don’t know about you guys but I sure would love to see more women at the range. If you don’t – keep blasting them & why would they show up if all they hear from men is putting them down? I say, good for them. I like them!
    James

  6. And this POTG, is what companies, and shooters in general, should be doing. Welcoming, encouraging, and highlighting the very wide spectrum of shooting and shooting sports enthusiasts in this country. Heck, I might even spend money on their products to encourage this type of behavior.

  7. @JWTaylor
    I agree. Kudos to 5.11 Tactical for taking that leap – somebody had to do it! Heck, I might go buy something for my wife just to support them!

    • LOL

      I’d buy it!

      While we’re at it, collect a dozen of the worst “Women of WalMart”, give them some guns, and make a calendar for Pikes & El Mac.

  8. Hi everyone,

    This is Diana – the author of this article. First of all – thank you for your kind words & support! We (female shooters) work really hard to continuously improve our shooting abilities (just like everyone else) and be accepted on the competition circuit. The industry is taking note and we are VERY excited about that. We truly love shooting & genuinely want to involve more people in competition (male & female).

    As to some of the negative comments:
    1. I am sorry to hear the sexual references – it is sad but we are used to it & often just brush it off. The “femme fatale” title was selected to represent strength, class & mystery; not seduction.
    2. I wrote the article as a marketing “how-to” in order to make it more entertaining and, well, I am a marketer… I am sorry if it came across as ad copy – it is NOT. You have to understand – women in general are fairly loyal shoppers and shop where they are treated well; that’s all. Maybe I overstated with “photoshoot of the century”, but this is a personal experience, and for me – it was! I’ll tone my excitement down next time. 😉
    3. Last, but not least – one reader kindly pointed out that I said “I kinda suck” in my About Me page: I sure did, that was from when I first started to shoot/blog. I don’t think I suck anymore (go figure, I sometimes win) but I am certainly not Jessie Duff either (such an inspiration & a lovely lady). I am trying to learn, shoot more, train to get better and have experienced tremendous progress over the last year. Most people have been very encouraging, Jesse included. And so are 99% of the readers here – thank you, it means a lot to us women & motivates us to work even harder!

    Please, understand that we are just like you – we want to shoot, we want products that work for us, and we want to be accepted. That’s all.

    Thanks again for the support – I hope I get to meet some of you at the range. Happy New Year & thanks for reading!
    Diana

  9. I tip my hat to these gals and they are welcome at my 3 gun match any time. Taran is signed up for the next one and I hope he brings them with him. Still 6 slots left open…

  10. Shooting is truly the great equalizer.

    How many other sports do you see where men and women participate at the same time at the same event? Not many.

    Most are divided between the sexes like professional sports you see on TV with most geared towards men playing.

    3-Gun is true equality/humanism where all that matters is how skilled you are with your gun(s).

    • I couldn’t agree more! What a privilege it is to be able to enjoy this sport together (I shoot with a lot of men, my husband included, although he hasn’t picked up on 3 Gun just yet). And the best part – instead of being super competitive with each other – we actually share tips, advise & have a real sense of camaraderie – male and female together.
      Thank you for pointing this out & hope to see you at the range!
      Diana

  11. I like the website too, and all the pictures. It helps me show my young daughter that girls can have fun shooting, AND still be girly with bright guns, flair, and cool outfits. Very cool, and my daughter actually spent 5 minutes or so looking at Diana’s pictures and asking questions about their gear. She got a kick out of your slogan as well …only prettier. Thanks, it’s the most interest she’s shown for,some time.

    • Neil,
      I am so happy to hear that! Frankly, that’s the whole reason I’ve decided to open up & share my experiences with other men & women. I would encourage your daughter to contact me (or other female shooters). We are a very nice community and we help each other all the time. I have received so much support & advise from other shooters and that’s what got me into the sport to begin with. I would be happy to help with anything I can (including taking her to the range if you’re in the Mid-West) or simply offer my friendship.
      Thank you for your kind words – it means a lot!
      Best,
      Diana

  12. The comments on an article like this are an interesting study in notions, pre-conceived and otherwise.

    Personally, I just really like that sunset photo. Silhouettes are so beautiful and intriguing, and the shapes in this one hit on multiple cylinders / several levels / areas of interest.

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