Combat Shooters, born from the infantry, fired in the crucible of deployment.

Established in February 2014, Combat Shooters is a veteran owned and operated company out of Tennessee. Mike and Nelia, the sole owners, operators and employees, met almost 6 years ago when they were both stationed in Germany. Mike is a 12-year veteran of the United States Army and has four combat tours in Iraq. Nelia is a 16-year veteran of the United States Army and has two combat tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. Both grew up with firearms in their lives and continue to perfect their shooting skills through the Army, competition, and range time.

I like to get to know the companies I write about, but more importantly, the people behind the company.

My interview with Mike did not disappoint. Mike was born and raised in Oklahoma. At 18 he was a welder in the Oil Fields. Probably like most 18 year olds, he had no plans and didn’t care. It was hard work but he loved it; it was how he was raised. Then, the events of Sep 11, 2001 occurred.

Mike said it was at that moment he knew what he wanted to do with rest of his life. However, with a daughter on the way, his path getting there was complicated. So Mike made a deal with himself and his family. He would wait until after her first birthday.

The time came, December 2002, and off Mike went to join the Marines. Wait? Did I read that wrong? Above it said a 12-year veteran of the United States Army. Apparently the Marines told Mike it would take a year before he could leave.

He had no intention of waiting that long.

The Army recruiter said "No problem, we’ll have you out of here in April, son."

Before too long, Mike was boots on the ground in Iraq doing a 15-month tour. Little did Mike know another soldier, Nelia, was also in Iraq 9 months into her 16-month deployment.

The two never met in Iraq.

Then Germany. Mike had been in Germany about 9 months training like a dog when another 15-month deployment to Iraq happened. The first night back after his second tour he decided he was going to rid Germany of all its beer. Best efforts were given and Mike got a little lost on his walk home. He stumbled into the wrong stairwell and knocked on the wrong door. Nelia answered. The two have been inseparable ever since.

After a severe back injury during Special Forces Assessment and Selection Mike was forced to do some serious soul searching. Mike said all he knew was war, fighting and guns. He was burnt out so his war days were over. He was injured so he couldn’t fight anymore. All that was left was guns.

As he recovered and waited for Nelia to return from Afghanistan Mike decided to learn how to be a gunsmith. Mike wanted to open up a gun shop. After his certification and the realization that there was a gun shop on every corner; Mike decided he would build guns for those gun shops. Mike took his life savings and so began Combat Shooters.

I asked Mike where the name Combat Shooters came from and what is Combat Shooters. "To be honest," Mike said, "I could have been more creative. Combat Shooters was really me and three or four other guys who shot IDPA matches."

Personally, I think the name fits just fine.

"Combat Shooters is me, 100%," Mike said. "My flavor so to speak comes through everything I do with this business. I literally live this business. I was asked a long time ago what makes me different, why should someone buy my rifles. For the longest time, I could never answer that question because the rifles are literally the same parts as the next company. But I learned my niche was customer service, and that’s what sets me apart. The curse of the Army has made me look at time differently than 99% of the population. When I send an email, generally it takes two or three days to get a response or to hear back about something. Not with me. Everything happens right now. Every question is an important question, every order is just as important as a $30,000 order. That customer who buys a $5 patch is as important as the customer who buys a $2,000 rifle."

This speaks volumes about a company. When the dedication is to the customer more than the almighty dollar, everyone wins.

What’s around the corner for Combat Shooters? Mike stated billet and possibly a replacement for the original C1. He also hinted that a .308 rifle might hit around Shot Show.

Mike to the end was very humble.

He said, "I feel like that rookie on the field with all those superstars."

Consider this your notice – Combat Shooters is here to stay and play. The rookie is good.

Check out Combat Shooters on the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Combat Shooters current lineup

CS-15 Patrol
  • Basic Mil-Spec, Ready to go.

CS-15 MOE
  • Good to go with Magpul on board.

CS-15 SPR
  • The CS-15 SPR was designed with the Navy’s MK 12 Special Purpose Rifle in mind. Combat Shooters picked up where the Navy left off by adding a few more perks. The SPR delivers unparalleled accuracy with this 416-R Stainless, heavy fluted barrel. The SPR is ideal for 3-Gun shooters who utilize optical sights as it employs a low-profile gas block, and GPX 14 inch rail. We also utilize the HIPERTOUCH 24E as our OEM fire control group. It is the elite version of high precision fire-control drop-ins for installation in CS-15 rifles. The HIPERTOUCH 24E uses an adjustable trigger weight of 2 to 4 pounds.

CS-15 Vulcan
  • The CS-15 Vulcan delivers unparalleled accuracy with this 416-R Stainless, flame fluted barrel. The Vulcan is ideal for those who utilize optical sights as it employs a low-profile gas block, and GPX 12 inch rail. The longer rail affords more "real estate" to mount your accessories. We also utilize the HIPERTOUCH 24E as our OEM fire control group. It is the elite version of high precision fire-control drop-ins for installation in CS-15 rifles. The HIPERTOUCH 24E uses an adjustable trigger weight of 2 to 4 pounds.

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