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Pro Staff

Jim Gilliland

is a Current 17+ year active duty Army veteran Senior Non Commissioned Officer who joined the Army in 1996 – He served in the 3d Bn of the 75th Ranger Regt as an Indirect fire Infantryman (Mortar Gunner), Forward Observer, Sniper, Spotter, RTO, Team Leader, and a Squad Leader. He later deployed twice to Afghanistan with C company 3/75 as a Squad Leader where he participated in the highly televised night combat Airborne Assault in the Helmand providence on 19 Oct 2001. Jim went on to instruct at the NCO academy for 18 months before being assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. There Jim selected and trained a Sniper Section from scratch in 2004 and deployed for one year as a Sniper Section Leader. Jim’s sniper section was recognized as the best Sniper Section in Iraq in 2005 by the Joint Chief Counter IED Task Force. Jim is credited with the longest Confirmed Kill in Operation Iraqi Freedom with a 7.62 Rifle.

Jim was then assigned as a Ranger Instructor at Mountain Phase of the Army’s Ranger school for three years as both tactics and mountaineering instructor. Following that, Jim returned to the 3d ID and completed his second tour in Iraq as a Platoon Sergeant leading a quick Reaction Force and counter IED/Post blast section Leader finishing his time in the 3d ID as a First Sergeant. Jim recently served in the Soldier Requirement Division, Small Arms Branch as the Senior Enlisted Adviser and Branch NCOIC. In this role Jim was directly involved in the selection, refinement and development of all future Army small arms. Currently, MSG Gilliland is working in a Battalion Operations Office which overseas most of the small arms training ranges, schools, and cadre on Fort Benning GA. Of those ranges and schools include the Heavy Weapons Leader Course, Land Navigation Courses, United States Army Sniper School, The Basic Rifle Marksmanship section, United States Army Combatives Course, the Situational Awareness Course, and the Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle course as well as 70+% of the actual firing ranges on the installation.

From 2007-2010 Jim was an adjunct instructor for Blackwater USA, Xe, and US Training Centers where he taught Small Arms weapons and tactics courses including Carbine, Pistol, Un-mounted Maneuvers, CQB, and Sniper Courses. Jim was the sole Sniper/Long Gun instructor at the 2013 Indiana Swat Officers Association (ISOA) convention and was invited back for the 2014 event.

Jim is featured in John Plaster’s video "Ultimate Sniper 3" and has his own training video with Panteao Production’s "Make Ready" series. Jim currently hosts his own segments on the television show "Trigger Time" on the Pursuit channel. Jim is featured in three History Channel programs in the "Sniper" series with full interviews and technical information. Jim had been featured in multiple print media including numerous tactical and hunting magazine titles from Harris publications, Soldier of Fortune, and Playboy magazine.

Jim is currently the Special Projects Manager for A-TACS Camo where he conducts interactions domestically and internationally to build brand support and recognition with marketing campaigns, personal appearances, and product placement. Jim and his Wife Melissa are the founders of Shadow 6 Consulting, a firearms and tactics training, development, and industry consulting firm. S6C focuses on networking, personal training and appearances as well as sight/personal security consulting, situational-awareness training, short-term survival and field craft. Jim and Melissa Gilliland are known for their Family Values, selfless service, humble demeanor, friendly business style, and American patriotism.






Melissa Gilliland

is an outdoor loving practical shooting competitor and business professional.  Hunting and recreational shooting was part of her family upbringing that has grown into an undeniable passion for tactical rifle competition where she competes with her shooting partner and husband Master Sergeant James Gilliland a former Ranger Instructor and record holding Army Sniper.

Melissa’s talents also include the firearms media as a writer and television personality.  She is a contributing writer for Personal and Family Defense Centers of America, Breachbangclear.com and SureShots magazine.  She is a also co-host of Season 3 and 4 of “Trigger Time TV” which airs primetime on Friday evenings on the Pursuit Network.

As a tireless charitable fundraiser, and devoted Army wife, Melissa proudly supports Americansnipers.org professionally modeling in the Tactical Girls calendar for the past three years.  In addition to working full time, her entrepreneurial business interests include co-ownership of Shadow 6 Consulting.  A company that she and her Husband own and operate conducting marksmanship training with handguns, carbines and precision rifles.  Melissa is a proud NRA Certified Firearms Instructor and ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment.

As a competitive  shooter in tactical long range matches, she is sponsored by Ashbury Precision Ordnance Mfg, Steiner Optics, Vertx Tactical Clothing and FrogLube.  For more information please visit Melissa Gillilands Facebook Page






Ray Sanchez

is a veteran competition shooter with numerous trophies in Field-Based Tactical Rifle matches like the Steel Safari.

Ray is not only a talented shooter, but also a firearms-industry entrepreneur. As co-owner of Thunder Beast Arms and Competition Dynamics he stays in touch with the best riflemen in the world and the skills, techniques, and equipment they use.

Ray is also an avid 3-gun shooter and an important part of the EXOS Defense product test team.






Mike Cassidy

served as a member of 1st Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment where he started out as a rifleman and worked his way through the ranks holding every position in a rifle squad to include M203 gunner, M249 gunner, team leader and rifle squad leader. During this time he was able to complete many schools to include, U.S. Army Ranger School, Explosive Entry for Rangers, Master Breacher, Jump Master School, Team Leader Course, U.S. Army Sniper School, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, numerous civilian marksmanship courses both short range and long range, as well as 8 combat deployments.

The experience that changed Mike’s career path was his completion of U.S. Army Sniper School. Upon graduation, his mind was changed and he found a new passion for the art of precision shooting. As a sniper, Mike held the position of Shooter, Spotter/Team Leader, and Sniper Section Leader. Mike is a graduate of the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC), multiple advanced long-range courses, high-angle and helo-platform shooting courses. Mike and his partner took 3rd in the 2006 International Sniper Competition.

Shortly after leaving the Army, Mike was selected to fill a position as the Sniper/Precision effects Combat Developer, Small Arms Branch at Ft. Benning Ga. In a short period of four years, Mike has already made a huge impact on the United States Army, JOINT service warfighter, and Sniper battle-space capabilities. More Sniper-related projects/programs have been, and continue to be initiated, acquisition processed, and fielded in four years than in the past decade.

In 2012 Mike joined the 3 Gun Nation Semi-Pro division where he placed fourth in the 2013 Pro Qualification match, earning a slot to compete as a Pro 3-Gun shooter. He has consistently moved higher in the rankings in the 2013 season, finishing up his last 4 major matches in the top 10 while competing against the very best 3-Gun shooters in the country.






Shane Coppinger

is a partner at Thunder Beast Arms Corporation (TBAC). He leads research and development on new suppressor design and manufacturing. TBAC produces sound suppressors for rifles and pistols with a strong focus on accuracy and the needs of precision shooters.

Shane is a retired US Navy veteran. He served tours as a military small arms and marksmanship instructor providing instruction to members of all branches of the US military. He has also taught courses for foreign militaries and law enforcement from Central and South America. He is focused on combining his experience with formal marksmanship and practical techniques from field competition. Coppinger started shooting competitively in 1992, primarily in High power and Bullseye with some IPSC and IDPA on the side. He has earned Distinguished Marksman, Distinguished Pistol, and President's Hundred. He is a multiple-time "grand aggregate" winner of All Navy Rifle and Pistol Championships and has top finishes at Inter-service and National matches. Since 2005 he has turned his focus to practical long-range rifle and regularly achieves top finishes.

Shane’s unique combination of technical expertise in design, manufacturing, and the shooting sports makes him a valuable member of the EXOS Defense Pro Staff with input on product design, testing, validation.






Zak Smith

is a competition shooter who has pushed the state of the art in practical long-range rifle shooting. He started competing in 3-Gun in 2003 and long-range in 2004 and quickly distinguished himself with top finishes at major matches. Using his scientific and engineering background, he has pushed the envelope in practical shooting, especially long-range practical shooting. Much of this information has been published in articles in print and online media. He was the first author to regularly use the term "Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting" to describe the spectrum of solving field problems with a rifle. He is currently a partner and responsible for business development for Thunder Beast Arms Corporation.

Smith has competed in USPSA/IPSC, 3Gun, and long range rifle matches since 2003, with top-10 finishes at the CMMG Midwest 3Gun Championship, Tiger Valley 3Gun, MGM Ironman 3Gun, Snipers Paradise Sniper Challenge, TACPRO Sniper Tournament, International Tactical Rifleman Championships, Practical Rifle Team Challenge, Weld County 3Gun, Camp Guernsey ARNG Base Multi-Gun, NRAWC Sporting Rifle Match, and Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Nationals. Other major matches shot include Superstition Mountain Mystery 3Gun, DPMS Tri-Gun Challenge.

Match/division wins include 2007 Camp Guernsey Multi-Gun Invitational (overall), 2007 Steel Safari (standard), 2006 Steel Safari (overall), 2005 Cavalry Arms Tiger Valley 3Gun (Trooper Class), 2009-August Sporting Rifle Match (overall), and local Rocky-Mountain region 3-Gun.