We recently sat down with Christopher Woomer of VEIL Solutions to discuss the history of the company, his advice to those wanting to compete with their ARs and what he looks for in ARs built for competition and defense.
Q: Chris, can we start with your background, and how that led to the creation of VEIL Solutions?
Christopher Woomer – VEIL Solutions – I grew up in Georgia, and can recall first shooting with pellet guns, and then moving on to a Ruger 10/22 when I was 11 years old, which I got for Christmas. I also dabbled in shooting skeet and trap with my buddies when I was growing up. I took a break from shooting as I played football in middle school, high school, and college. During that time, while I played football out of state in West Virginia, I was not able to shoot or hunt.
About the time I got out of football, Chris Costa and Travis Haley had done the Magpul Dynamics videos, and I found myself shooting a lot more. I started buying guns and quickly realized that I needed holsters. I played with Kydex a little bit already, as I did make knives as a hobby while I was in college. Making knives led me to learn how to sheath them with Kydex, so I was already reasonably familiar with the material.
I began making my own holsters and also dove into shooting competitions pretty heavily. It was IDPA at the time. Before I knew it, I was making gear for almost everyone at the matches. Not only was I making competition stuff, but I was also making concealed carry holsters, as well. I fell down a rabbit hole and got very busy. The business just of blew up from there. I started branching out into 3-Gun, more IDPA, and then into training and teaching.
Q: How did you first get into training?
Christopher Woomer – VEIL Solutions – I had carried a gun every day since I was 21. I had a strong belief in self-protection. Combining that with my competitive drive to perform well, I was placed in positions where people would just naturally ask me for assistance on how they could shoot better. It started off as it does for many people, I think…just the desire to share information and experiences learned through competition and training.
When I started really getting heavily into competition, I had also begun working as armed security in Atlanta. That ended up leading me away from the competition shooting. It really drove my interest into the combative stuff, including ju-jitsu.
This all lead to more concealed carry courses and helping others develop as shooters. For example, I’ve been working with the Sherriff’s Department in my area and their S.W.A.T. team for the last four years, as they are now running red dots on their handguns. I’ve helped them with that. I’ve been shooting red dots on my handguns since early 2011. With this experience, it helped me to get in the door. Since then, I’ve been able to help a few agencies. I’ve had a few combatives contracts from the military and the government, as well. To clarify, this was all me working under someone else, not me teaching directly as Veil Solutions. Still, it allowed me to do some cool stuff, show people the importance of a proper mindset and what you can do with a concealed carry handgun.
Q: What is it about VEIL Solutions holsters that make yours stand apart?
Christopher Woomer – VElL Solutions – The goal with what I do with VEIL Solutions has always been quality. I looked at holsters sitting at gun shops, and often, they would make me cringe. I could see that many were being made by someone who was only trying to make money. Other times, I’d just see something missing, and I knew that I could do it better. I also felt I had experience with different kinds of holsters and had an understanding that different things were needed for different roles. For competition, you’d want something with a super-fast draw, but that would not be the case if you had a need for a holster when you might be in a tussle with someone. Your gear needs to be tailored for the environment and the purpose it is intended to be used for.
I will say I also learned a lot just in competition, watching guys have mags flying out, gear jumping out of holsters…even watching guys get DQ’d because their pistol fell out of its holster. I don’t care how fast your sub-second draw is if you can’t run around, be active, and move around confidently.
I think an ideal holster has an adequate level of retention while being as comfortable as possible. It also has to be safe. Having something fall out is unacceptable and most certainly cannot happen while you are going about your daily life.
Q: Let’s talk about your experiences with the AR platform, as I know that’s another passion of yours.
Christopher Woomer – VEIL Solutions – The first experience I had with an AR-15 was when I was 15. I was saving up to buy a car, and I told my dad that I wanted to buy an AR, and he about shit a brick when I told him. I ended up getting the car. (laughs).
Fast forward to when I got out of college, I saved up, and my first AR was built off of a Noveske lower receiver that I put together. On top, I put on a BCM 14.5″ upper with an Aimpoint T1. I still have that gun to this day, but it’s probably time that I hang it up, as it has at least 30,000 rounds through it at this point.
As time went on, I found myself just getting more and more into the platform. I looked at the AR like it was a modern-day sword. It’s the single greatest tool that works from zero feet to 600 yards, and it’s just such a great firearm that can do so many things. From hunting, shooting pigs, to being in the hands of every major fighting force in this country, it’s a trusted platform, yet is still improving today. I’d sell everything I own before I got rid of my last AR. I can’t see myself ever not having one.
They are also just so fun to shoot. I really learned that to be the case when I started shooting 3-Gun. As much I loved shooting pistols, it was the AR that I really looked forward to shooting the most, and I know that I’m not alone in that opinion.
As teaching picked up, I don’t shoot 3-Gun as much as I used to, although it’s something I still love. I shot for LANTAC a few years back, I shot for ADM, and I currently shoot for Sons of Liberty Gun Works. All of those guys make great stuff, but lately, I’m just really into Sons of Liberty and what they’ve got going on. It’s a company with guys who are true Americans who have a great philosophy on the AR. Their idea of what the AR should be has forever altered what I look for in a rifle.
Q: Any advice you can give for folks wanting to compete with their AR?
Christopher Woomer – VEIL Solutions – I want to stress that it’s easy to be nervous being the new guy, but 3-Gun guys are really some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Perhaps even just go and watch a match. After you can get past your nerves, for me, the next big thing is simply to be mindful of safety. If you can just be safe, everything else can be learned. I just see people getting caught up in trying to do too many things at once.
As far as preparation, just stick with the basics at first. You don’t need to run 3-Gun stages with your AR to get ready for your first match. Any basic manipulation and handling drills you can do will help you build the confidence you need to succeed. The better you can be at the individual basics, the better it will all mesh together for you during competition. If you’re still having trouble hitting the target, or you’re thinking about bringing the gun up and thinking about squeezing the trigger, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.
At the match, you’ll find that most have moved beyond that and are more focused on their stage plan, what position they need to get in, and the next target. World champions are not sitting there thinking about sight alignment and properly pressing the trigger.
Also, remember, when you show up to your first competition, you’re probably not going to get better at the match itself. Instead, just focus on being safe and moving throughout the stage. The shooting is what it is at that point. Focus more on the safety and the challenge of what the stage is presenting you. In the meantime, train as much as you can and dry fire as much as possible. Those are free reps. Any time you can touch the gun, you’ll be building confidence and getting more comfortable.
Q: Any advice on an AR setup for competition and defense?
Christopher Woomer – VEIL Solutions – The most important thing to consider is what do you intend to do with the rifle? Purpose and budget matters. For competition, I think starting off, you need to look into a variable powered optic. With that, you can go shoot a major match anywhere in the country and generally have what you need to be competitive, as long as the skillset is there.
As far as the guns, 16″ seems to be the norm. Many guys like to run lightweight bolt carrier groups and things like that, but I tend to stay away from that stuff. I think you first need to get to a certain place, skillwise before you can really take advantage of that kind of stuff. I will also say I see a lot of those things break…more than I care to mention.
You cannot win a match if you cannot finish the match. So, for guys just starting off, I’d say that you should run what works. Run what is reliable. Play the game and get better. From there, you can start to figure out what you like, don’t like, and need to change on the rifle.
On a defensive carbine, I’ve gone back to running a red dot on most things, including my Sons of Liberty 13.7″ that I have sitting beside me. I have another, exact gun that I run a 1-6x optic on, making the gun more capable in certain ways. Still, I think you need to remember that you have to give up something to gain something. For example, If I’m running a scope, I find that it does make shooting in odd positions more difficult.
The gun I am running now features an EOTECH on a riser. I know that many people are against the riser setups, and I understand why. Still, for me, it’s just a more mechanically sound shooting position. It allows me to do more…but I would stress that it did take me some time and training to get used to.
I also run an offset red dot. People ask me why I run two red dots, and it’s something that came from competition shooting. I can shoot around barricades and shoot from odd positions a lot easier. I’m also just a stickler for running a backup sighting system. I’ve seen so many guys have optics break in the middle of matches that it’s something that I really believe in.
I like to run a suppressor on anything that’s a working gun. Currently, I am running a Yankee Hill Machine Turbo K, and I’ve been super pleased with it. It’s quick-detach, lightweight, and I keep it on the gun at all times. Because by gun is a 13.7″, with the suppressor on, it’s really not that much longer than it would typically be.
The other thing I like that Sons of Liberty is doing is using the VLTOR A5 buffer system. I feel like it slows down the impulse. It’s nothing too drastic, but it makes the recoil feel more like a push than a snap. It’s a nice impulse I’ve grown to like, and from what I’ve learned, it has other benefits as well.
The bottom line is shooting an AR is a joy for me. Adding a few things like a good optic that I’m comfortable with, combined with a suppressor and the A5 buffer system, takes my favorite platform and elevates it to another level. If I were putting together an AR today, you can bet that it will feature all of the above.
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