Team Three Tactical and Survival: home of the preppers |

Team Three Tactical and Survival: home of the preppers

Brent Cassel, owner of Team Three Tactical and Survival, poses with his 11-year-old daughter, Baylee.
John Hart/ | The Union

Team Three Tactical and Survival

540 East Main St., Grass Valley

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Hours: Mon. through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There are a lot more “preppers” in Nevada County than you may think, says Brent Cassel, or he wouldn’t be in business.

“A lot of them are very secretive — they don’t want people to know what they have,” he said. “They don’t want people knocking on their door when things go bad. They’re collecting things like ammo, firearms, medical supplies, fire starters, food and water purification equipment. People are worried about where the world is at.”

The Oxford Dictionary defines a prepper as “a person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.”

Cassel is the owner of Team 3 Tactical and Survival in Grass Valley, which sells guns, gun parts, exploding targets, survival gear, ammunition, military surplus items and offers gunsmithing, armorer services, firearm training and more — and needles to say, they are dedicated to serving local preppers.

With roughly 40 firearms in stock, Cassel says he regularly special orders many more for his customers from the likes of Cabela’s and Scheels, businesses he calls “the Walmarts of firearm stores.” Cassel said he saw a sharp rise in sales or a “gun rush” after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, when a 20-year-old gunman fatally shot 20 children and six adults.

“People thought the gun laws would change and become more restrictive,” he said. “Gun sales were big for six or seven months after that — it became hard to find parts, ammo and guns.”

According to Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, 962 Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permits have been issued in western Nevada County, and Cassel thinks a growing number of those issued permits are women.

Cassel is required to maintain paperwork on every gun bought or sold at Team 3, where they buy and sell new and used firearms. Guns are logged in and logged out with make, model and serial number. Twice a year, officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or “ATF,” show up unannounced to ensure things are up to snuff, said Cassel. Last time they showed up the day after Christmas.

A novelty item prominently displayed at Team 3 is the “Zombie X Chain Saw Bayonet ZXCS,” which can be mounted on a rifle. In addition to “killing zombies” or displaying it “over the fireplace at the cabin,” the product’s website suggests that drug enforcement agents can use it for marijuana eradication, “and be armed while cutting down the plants,” and marijuana growers can use it to harvest their crops, and also “be armed while cutting down their plants.” “Mount a ZXCS on your tricked out assault rifle,” the website proclaims, “and have a guaranteed crowd pleaser/attention getter.”

Cassel grew up shooting guns on his family’s Rough and Ready ranch. Whether it was hunting or target practice, he was fascinated by the inner workings of guns. He took them apart, and later began customizing them — something he now does for his customers.

For Cassel, sport shooting is family time. He’s been taking his 11-year-old daughter out shooting since she was 5.

“She has no access to guns without me, but she knows how to clean and maintain them and she knows how to build AR-15s,” he said. “I figure it’s better to familiarize herself with guns so she doesn’t have curiosity.”

Cassel said people come in thinking it’s a paintball store, and are surprised to discover he sells real firearms (“don’t call them weapons,” he says).

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “The paintball guys are my future customers. Once they turn 18 they’ll want real guns to play with.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at

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