The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Exigent Circumstances

A RECOIL Magazine Short Story

Photos by Iain Harrison and AZPhotoMan

She wasn’t the girl he needed to find. But, having found her, she was just the girl he needed. Mason nursed his pint glass while she studied the check.

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“Mister Becker”

“Mason, please.”

“Sure. I don’t know what your salary is like, but this is a lot of zeros for a small-town cop.”

“If you’re gonna use your free time to help us out, you deserve fair compensation.”

She placed the check down on the table, pinning it beneath the edge of her own pint glass.

“Hampton-Crane International Services …”

“Yes ma’am,” Mason said with a nod.

“Seen you guys on the news. Big-money security contracts all over the Mideast and Africa, that right?”

“Only the best neighborhoods for us.” Mason flashed a smirk.

“What the hell are you doing in my neighborhood?”

“We also do investigations. We’ve been hired to find a girl.”

“And you want me to help you?”

“You know the lay of the land here, the people. I don’t.”

“What happens when you find this girl?”

“We contact the family, give her a ride home, cash our paycheck.”

“Just like that, huh?”

“I hope.”

She lightly tapped the rim of her glass with one fingertip. Long seconds passed between them, with only the clinking of dishes and the bustle of waiters. Then the tapping stopped, and she leaned forward in her seat.

“Hiring me gives you no formal authority or jurisdiction. I’m off duty, and you’re a civilian. We can’t arrest or detain anyone unless I witness a crime in progress. Any use of force would fall under civil statues, which require legally justifiable exigent circumstances.”

“Understood,” Mason told her.

She plucked the check from under the pint glass and held it in front of her face. She made a show of folding it in half and pinching a slow, sharp crease into it — as if the gesture alone sealed their deal. As she tucked the folded slip into her pocket, Mason asked:

“Do you have a first name, or do I have to call you Officer Gavin the whole time?”

The corners of her mouth turned upward, and she said:

“You don’t have to call me Officer.”

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Mason tapped on the steering wheel, trying to keep up with the song on the radio — the one about piña coladas. Gavin was quiet in the passenger seat, part of her still regretting she took that check three days ago.

“Something on your mind?” he asked.

“You’ve got no rhythm.”

Mason laughed, and stopped drumming.

“Anything else?”

“Do you think maybe she just ran away?”

“The parents are convinced she was taken,” he said with a shrug.

“Maybe they’re the reason she ran.”

Mason squinted, nodding his head toward the windshield.

“That normal around here?”

He pointed, and Gavin followed his finger. The car in front of them was stopped. It was parked diagonally across the middle of the road, both front doors hanging open. Mason’s eyes flicked to the rearview mirror. An SUV was idling behind them, easing slowly closer. Boxing them in.


“Shit,” he muttered


“Get ready.”

Mason set the emergency brake and unbuckled his seatbelt. Gavin looked down to pop her own belt off just as Mason yelled.



[wherein our heroine realizes why yoga pants and most holsters don't mix.]


Mason’s first return shot was deafening inside the vehicle. Gavin looked up to see Mason twisted in his seat, covered in bits of glass from the driver-side window, Glock 19 jumping in his hands. She also saw two men set up in defilade across the road. Mason had hit one with his first volley. The other was trying to maneuver on them.


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“Go!” he yelled.

She threw open the passenger door and drew her own pistol, crouching behind the front wheel as she returned fire. Mason scrambled over the console and tumbled out the open passenger door. He barely reached the rear bumper when two more men bailed out of the truck behind them, scrambling to get their guns up.



“Reloading!” Gavin called.

Mason fired a pair into each man before the slide locked back. His empty mag clattered onto the pavement as he slapped a fresh one into place and told Gavin to move. She ran past him, pulling a SCAR off the pavement before setting up behind the front bumper of the SUV.

Mason tore open the back door of their own vehicle. On the floor behind Gavin’s seat was her department-issued VLTOR carbine and go bag. He slung the bag over one shoulder and racked the carbine’s charging handle.


“Reloading!” Gavin called again. She fumbled on the ground for a SCAR mag. In the pause, Mason could hear rounds pinging and punching into the cars. There was a pop and a hiss — at least one tire had burst and deflated. They had to move. Now.

Gavin loosed a frantic burst from the SCAR as Mason bolted to his feet in a dead run. He slapped Gavin on the shoulder as he passed, desperate to put space between himself and the disintegrating vehicles. Mason hunched by the rear bumper and laid down a long string of fire from his carbine.

Gavin looked around once more and, finding nowhere else to go, bounded to him. She took his sector of fire as he turned away to reload.

“Last mag,” he said, pulling it out of the go-bag. What happened next was a blur for her.

Mason’s weight against her back …

Blind and deaf from concussion …

The smell of copper and salt …

Seconds felt like days as the fog lifted. Another body lay crumpled by the blocking car, only spitting distance away. Mason had dumped the now-empty carbine, one hand clamped to the side of his neck. The other held his pistol tight to his chest.

“All of them,” he told her with a heaving breath.

Gavin laid down the SCAR and reached over him for the bag. She opened the main compartment, pulling out gauze and surgical tape. Fortunately for Mason, the bullet had sliced a thin, bloody trench along the side of his neck before veering off into oblivion.

“You lucky son of a bitch,” she said. “You almost took a bullet for me.”


Gavin packed the wound channel with gauze and laid several long strips of surgical tape over the top. By the time she put the tape back in the bag, they could hear an orchestra of blaring sirens in the distance.

Mason was silent, staring at the road ahead of them — a mosaic of bodies and brass casings.

“Lacey,” she said.


“My name’s Lacey … Lacey Gavin.”

A faint smile played across Mason’s face. They leaned slowly into each other, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for the sirens.

Cast & Credits

kiriah opichka

Behind the name, KMSFX is a self-taught, special effects artist named Kiriah Opichka born in San Diego, California. It was five and a half years ago when she moved to Tucson and pursued her interest in Special Effects Makeup. Her talents have grown since her first time doing makeup for the Tucson-based Halloween attraction: Tucson Screamers Slaughterhouse. At the age of 16 years old, she began teaching herself the fundamentals of makeup effects. Now 18, she has moved on to work in feature length films, music videos, student films, and photo shoots. Kiriah is an asset to multiple Tucson movie groups, including Tucson Zombies. Instagram has become her platform for communication and posting updates on her journey in makeup. Her talents don’t stop at makeup effects. She is also an aspiring actress in local Tucson films and works hard behind the camera, playing a part in multiple production roles. This is her first magazine appearance, and if you’d like to see more of her work, follow her over on Instagram at KMSFX or contact her at [email protected].


Ryan Lovato was a former military and law enforcement officer with years of operational experience. After leaving the military and law enforcement, Ryan started Disruptive Tactical and Adaptive Firearms Institute. These companies specialize in manufacturing quality tactical products and providing real world firearms training to local state, federal agencies and civilians.


Xavier Messina is a professional firearms instructor and former competitive shooter with seven years of experience, doing high-risk security on the Arizona/Mexico Border. He is now partnered with Adaptive Firearms Institute, training responsible armed citizens, along with local state and federal agencies. In addition to his work with Adaptive Firearms Institute, he works with Desert Tactical Solutions as a promotions manager, Bates Knives research and development, SafeHouse evasive driving as a training track safety officer and with BKC Firearms as a research and development consultant.

freddy osuna

Tactical/combat tracking subject matter expert, Mr. Freddy Osuna is a trusted authority on the subject of visual tracking and is the published author of “Index Tracking – Essential Guide to Trailing Man and Beast,” 2012. He is also a contributing writer to Breach Bang Clear, RECOIL Magazine, and various other military and law enforcement related publications. His knowledge is based on a foundation of real-world deployments and formal combat tracking instructor experience with U.S. and allied militaries, federal, state, and municipal law enforcement entities. Osuna’s innovative approach to teaching visual tracking and sensory awareness is turning heads amongst the nation’s top hard skills trainers. Osuna harnesses his Native American and Marine Corps culture to deliver holistic, powerful, and scientific based lessons steeped in North American tracker lineage.

Osuna has most recently performed as a forensic impressions expert/instructor for the U.S. Army Weapons Intelligence Course Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, as the 2nd MARDIV School of Infantry East/Combat Hunter Course, Combat Tracking SME 2013-2014 lead instructor for the U.S. Army Combat Tracker Course at Ft. Huachuca, AZ 2008-2010. His school Greenside Training founded in 2011 provides visual tracking and sensory awareness development training for small units and individuals alike. His unique course offerings include Green Laser Index Night Tracking (GLINT), Index Tracking, Grayside Hunter, and the Battlefield Tactical Acuity Course (BTAC). Fusing ancient Native American field craft with 21st century technology; Greensider Freddy Osuna is making tracks into the future while preserving the old.


Chad McBroom has been a student of the martial arts since 1986.  He has spent a lifetime studying various combative systems with instructors from all over the country and holds Black Belt and/or instructor rankings in thirteen different systems.   Using this knowledge, combined with his 20+ years as a law enforcement officer (18 as a tactical officer), Chad built Comprehensive Fighting Systems from the ground up as a practical, accessible program for those who require a holistic skillset for life or death situations.

CFS is what Chad refers to as “an amalgamation of core principles, concepts, mechanics, and strategies of the combative arts and sciences.” The CFS curriculum is composed of four areas of training: empty-hand tactics, edged weapons, impact weapons, and firearms tactics. Self-preservation is the primary focus of training.

Chad is a prolific writer who has written and contributed to several books on the combative arts. He also writes for several Internet publications, including ITS Tactical, Black Sheep Warrior, and Chad is also a knifemaker who uses his extensive knowledge of edged weapons tactics to design extremely versatile bladed weapons.


Though relatively new to firearms, Gunfoxx is a quick study and has taken to shooting with a passion. She is currently documenting her journey as a new shooter on social media through Instagram (@gunfoxx) and Facebook ( Gunfoxx has already done several projects with RECOIL and is supported by a number of brands including Sionics Weapon Systems. In addition to her growing skill behind the trigger, she’s also self-taught under the hood. The current Foxx-mobile is a red 2012 Mustang GT and yes, she performs all the maintenance and upgrades herself. In the real world, Gunfoxx is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Arizona while working full-time in the Aerospace/Defense industry. Her aspirations include developing her social-media brand into a full-fledged firearms consulting firm and pursuing her love of both writing and illustrating.


Tom Marshall recently came on board as the Senior Editor of the RECOIL Network. Prior to that, he had been working as a freelance writer in the firearms industry since 2012. He’s written for numerous industry publications including Guns & Ammo, SWAT, Firepower, Black Sheep Warrior, Breach-Bang-Clear, and, of course, RECOIL. A former Army officer, Tom served in a Reconnaissance and Surveillance unit in a variety of billets including Assistant Operations Officer, Recce Platoon Leader, and Company Executive Officer. Upon separation from active duty, he spent nearly two years as the Security Manager at a federally contracted corrections facility before returning overseas as an Independent Contractor for the US Government. In addition to his background as a shooter, Tom is a lifelong fiction writer and is thrilled to have his first published piece of fiction in the pages of RECOIL.

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