These threads are part of the 14 days to be a better shooter series.
There have been many many requests for the .pdf version - but since I only have dial-up - it took a large portion of my 'on-line' time to e-mail it out - so I decided to post is all here.
Notice it takes 7 threads! Sorry - but I think you will agree it is worth it.
First off NONE of the information below comes from me. It was all taught to me or demonstrated to me throughout the years. I have been a serious student of this course of study for over 20 years. I do not claim to have any corner on the intellectual market with regards to firearms, techniques or tactics. What I have outlined below is what has and does work for ME. It may not work for you. I have given credit to those whom I know is the source of the information. You will notice that very little is credited to others simply because I do not know the original source. I received this information through many sources over many years in the form of hey I saw a guy do this or lets try it this way during a brainstorming session where ideas are built one small step at a time by many others. If anyone is aware of a source of any information contained herein, and I have not credited them, please contact me with that information and I will add it to the text.
Longarm types: Bolt Action and Self-loading
Enfield, Mauser, Springfield, Mosin, et al
1. With detachable magazine
AR, FN, HK, AK, et al
2. Without detachable magazine
Use only factory or Military Issue mags
Mag-puls both factory and poor mans mag pulls
Clips (En-bloc or stripper clips)
Use only factory or Military Issue clips
Tritium Iron Sights
advantage seeing sights at night
disadvantage can give away ones position, although in my opinion the benefit outweighs the liability
Red Dot (Specifically Aimpoint and EOTech all others are just toys)
advantage EXTREMELY fast to use
disadvantage uses batteries, however, this is not that big a liability compared to the benefit.
Tritium Scopes (Trijicon Reflex sights and Meprolight equivalent)
advantage No batteries
disadvantage dot (or chevron) becomes nearly invisible in bright daylight making these inferior to the red dot scopes mentioned above
Powered, i.e. 4x or variable
advantage can enable user to see items that would not normally be seen as this type of scope brings the item closer
disadvantage usually longer, heavier, and more fragile than the red dot types. Also the powered scopes are a disadvantage at close range (where MOST action takes place)
advantage very rugged, low power helps with close target acquisition
disadvantage heavy, costly
remove any and all sharp edges with a file, emery cloth, etc. (or knife if the item is plastic)
sling swivels taped or even removed
It has been said that a sling for a rifle is like a holster for a pistol. To me this defies logic. How many of us, when we have our pistol in our hand/s, have the holster still on the pistol?? None of us. If the phrase were a lanyard for a pistol is like a sling for a rifle it would then make logical sense. My personal preference is to not have a lanyard on my pistol, and so I also prefer to not have a sling on my rifle except when needed. The only time I need a sling is when I need both hands to do something else, like rappelling/fast roping, stream/river crossing, or patting down and cuffing a bad guy. So I do carry a sling, I just dont have it on the rifle until I need it. Also, wearing a sling in CQB can be a liability. If you wish to know more information about this, just ask.
However, a great many people and professional units use slings. Almost every shooting school in the US promotes the use of slings. Slings will stop ones rifle from hitting the dirt/floor if one happens to let go of it for some reason. Slings are kind of like dummy cording ones rifle to ones body. Slings can aid in achieving a more stable shooting platform, thus enhancing the accuracy of the total system (total system = man + rifle). Although current tactical slings are not made or meant to be an aid in shooting they are only meant to be an aid in retention of a dropped rifle.
Regarding slings, they are broken down into three major categories. Those categories are; parade, target and combat. The parade sling is attached to the bottom of the rifle, and is used to hold the rifle at sling arms. This is NOT a good way to carry combat rifle. It works great on the parade deck and also on hunting arms, but has no place in the tactical arena. The second type is the target sling. It too is attached to the rifle at the bottom, and the arm is then looped through it to make the sling tight. It is great for the rifle range, but not for the battlefield. Target shooting and combat have more differences than similarities. The fighting rifle needs to be held in such a manner that it is always ready. This means the firing hand needs to be around the pistol grip. So that brings us to the third type of sling - the combat sling. The combat sling is what will discuss somewhat in detail.
There are three basic types of slings that are acceptable for lethal force type situations:
1. The Patrol sling is the first type. It is a sling that is attached to the front and rear of the rifle, arranged so the rifle hangs with the sights up and the pistol grip and magazine down, and is long enough that the rifle hangs in a horizontal attitude at about waist high.
a. The strengths of this sling method is that the rifle is hanging in a horizontal attitude, so if one falls, the muzzle will not fill up with dirt/mud.
b. It also allows a hands free method of carry, but is very fast to grab and get into a firing position.
c. It does NOT allow fast and easy transition to the off-side shoulder. This is the major concern I have with this carry method.
2. The Three Point Sling is attached to the rifle in two places, but the way the sling routes makes it seem like it is attached in three places. This is the sling most often used for CQB.
a. The strength of this slinging method is that it allows for the weapon to drop such that the muzzle is straight down. This is so that when negotiating doors, hallways and other similar choke points the rifle does not hang up on the door jam or furniture, etc.
b. The downfall with this method, particularly when used in the field, is that the muzzle DOES go straight down. This fills the muzzle with dirt with potentially life threatening results if not cleared prior to firing. How many of us want to pull out a steel cleaning rod, screw the sections together, and punch the bore when we should be shooting instead?
c. This type of sling also does not lend itself well to firing from the off-side shoulder.
3. The third type of sling is the Single Point sling. It is attached to the rear end of the receiver where it meets the butt stock.
a. The advantage of this type of sling is that it is simpler than the Three Point sling, and has less webbing to snag on things.
b. It is more efficient than the Three Point slings to use.
c. It is easily and quickly installed and removed (I like this feature!)
d. The downfall with this sling is that is also points the barrel straight down (which is bad for the field). Although the muzzle does not drop quite as far down as with the typical Three Point Sling.
e. This type of sling also does not lend itself well to firing from the off-side shoulder, unless one wears the sling around the neck only. Worn in this fashion, both shoulders can be utilized with equal speed. (This is how I wear my single point sling.)
Which type of sling one chooses should be based upon an assessment of ones anticipated mission and needs. For strictly field use, the Patrol sling or the Single Point sling could be used, and IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) the Patrol Sling being in the number 1 spot. For CQB the Three Point and Single Point could be used, with the Single Point sling being in the number 1 spot (again IMHO).
For practice, use the least expensive type that will reliably function in your rifle.
For social use, there is a plethora of information on the web regarding what is best for each caliber. Below is just one or two of the most stellar in each caliber. The following comes from AR15.com ammunition section:
M193 mil spec 55 grain ammo
Hornady 75 grain OTM
Sierra 77 grain SMK
Winchester 123 gr JSP (X76239)
Russian 7N6 (Wolf 60 grain)
7.62mmx51mm NATO (.308 Win.)
Hornady 155 grain TAP ammo
Nosler 150 grain Ballistic Tip
West German DAG 1960s ammo
I am going to take an excerpt out of Jeff Coopers Book, as he states the safety rules very succinctly.
Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety
From Pages 8-10 of The Modern Technique of the Pistol, by Greg Morrison, Gunsite Press, Paulden, Arizona, ISBN 0-9621342-3-6, Library of Congress Number 91-72644, $40
RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
There are no exceptions. Do not pretend that this is true. Some people and organizations take this rule and weaken it; e.g. "Treat all guns as if they were loaded." Unfortunately, the "as if" compromises the directness of the statement by implying that they are unloaded, but we will treat them as though they are loaded. No good! Safety rules must be worded forcefully so that they are never treated lightly or reduced to partial compliance.
All guns are always loaded - period!
This must be your mind-set. If someone hands you a firearm and says, "Don't worry, it's not loaded," you do not dare believe him. You need not be impolite, but check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, only negligent acts. Check it. Do not let yourself fall prey to a situation where you might feel compelled to squeal, "I didn't know it was loaded!"
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY
Conspicuously and continuously violated, especially with pistols, Rule II applies whether you are involved in range practice, daily carry, or examination. If the weapon is assembled and in someone's hands, it is capable of being discharged. A firearm holstered properly, lying on a table, or placed in a scabbard is of no danger to anyone. Only when handled is there a need for concern. This rule applies to fighting as well as to daily handling. If you are not willing to take a human life, do not cover a person with the muzzle. This rule also applies to your own person. Do not allow the muzzle to cover your extremities, e.g. using both hands to reholster the pistol. This practice is unsound, both procedurally and tactically. You may need a free hand for something important. Proper holster design should provide for one-handed holstering, so avoid holsters which collapse after withdrawing the pistol. (Note: It is dangerous to push the muzzle against the inside edge of the holster nearest the body to "open" it since this results in your pointing the pistol at your midsection.) Dry-practice in the home is a worthwhile habit and it will result in more deeply programmed reflexes. Most of the reflexes involved in the Modern Technique do not require that a shot be fired. Particular procedures for dry-firing in the home will be covered later. Let it suffice for now that you do not dry-fire using a "target" that you wish not to see destroyed. (Recall RULE I as well.)
RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
Rule III is violated most anytime the uneducated person handles a firearm. Whether on TV, in the theaters, or at the range, people seem fascinated with having their finger on the trigger. Never stand or walk around with your finger on the trigger. It is unprofessional, dangerous, and, perhaps most damaging to the psyche, it is klutzy looking. Never fire a shot unless the sights are superimposed on the target and you have made a conscious decision to fire. Firing an unaligned pistol in a fight gains nothing. If you believe that the defensive pistol is only an intimidation tool - not something to be used - carry blanks, or better yet, reevaluate having one around. If you are going to launch a projectile, it had best be directed purposely. Danger abounds if you allow your finger to dawdle inside the trigger guard. As soon as the sights leave the target, the trigger-finger leaves the trigger and straightens alongside the frame. Since the hand normally prefers to work as a unit - as in grasping - separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. The five-finger grasp is a deeply programmed reflex. Under sufficient stress, and with the finger already placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. Speed cannot be gained from such a premature placement of the trigger-finger. Bringing the sights to bear on the target, whether from the holster or the Guard Position, takes more time than that required for moving the trigger finger an inch or so to the trigger.
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.
Shooting Platforms (different positions)
There are a variety of ways to shoot a firearm. We will touch on a few of the more popular ones.
Standing is described above. Body square to target. This position offers the most mobility, which is the advantage. The disadvantage is if one slows down or even stops, this position offers the best target for ones enemy. So if one needs to stop, one NEEDS to do one of the following.
Squatting or Crouching is the next position. It is used when one has cover available that is too high to kneel behind. It is VERY fast to assume and get out of.
Kneeling is done with either one or both knees on the ground, depending upon the situation.
Rice Paddy Prone is an effective position, is quick to assume and get out of, as it is merely deeper squatting position.
Modified Prone is a fast to get into prone position that offers good firearm presentation almost all the time. It is also very fast to get out of. (This position is achieved by getting into a kneeling position, straightening the off side leg, then sitting back on the foot, and bending the upper body down nearly to the ground. With practice it can be assumed and then gotten out of VERY fast.)
This first pic is modified 'high' prone.
This second pic is modified 'low' prone.
With practice this position can be assumed from the standing position all in one motion. One merely drops right into the Modified Prone. This has obvious advantages in Close Quarters Fighting/Battle. If one were walking down a hallway and a bad guy jumps into the hallway from a room or from around a corner, one can fall right into a Modified Prone and deliver accurate shots while becoming a VERY small target. If the bad guy has a weapon raised to the firing position, by dropping down into a Modified Prone one is out-of-sight and the bad guy must re-acquire you, in which time, you have already delivered multiple rounds on target.
To get out of the 'Modified Prone' simply pull the 'off-side leg' up to get the foot under you, and then lean the upper body over the off-side leg and stand up.
Shooting On The Move
One of the most important aspects of shooting on the move is to be fluid in ones movement. ANY jerky movement will cause shots to be missed. Missed shots are bad. THEY WILL HAPPEN, but they are bad, and are to be avoided if possible. Fluid movement helps to minimize jerky movements. Moving SLOWLY makes fluid movement. Moving quickly makes jerky movements. The more one practices SLOWLY the more quickly one can move smoothly. The more one practices quickly, the more jerky ones movements become. Repeat this mantra SLOW IS SMOOTH, SMOOTH IS FAST.
While moving, some find it helpful to visualize the way an M1 Abrams tank operates. While moving cross-country, the bogie wheels, suspension and track are taking up most of the shock of movement. The barrel is steady and on target, even though the rest of the tank is not.
This is the same type of movement we want to mimic with our body. The feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower and upper torso, shoulder and elbows will try and take up all the shock of movement. The eyes and the sights should be steady and on target, even though the rest of the body is not.
The first step is to take a Styrofoam cup filled to the top with hot water, hold it with both hands in your firing stance and walk around pretending the cup of water is a firearm. You will find that if you keep your legs bent at all times while walking and the individual foot movement is heel to toe, that you will likely keep more water in the cup. Try different speeds. You will notice the slower the movement, the more water stays in the cup. The faster the movement the less water stays in the cup. However, one will find a speed that allows for quite quick movement, but also is steady enough to retain most of the water in the cup. This is your combat speed. (Note that ones combat speed is highly dependant upon the terrain too. Uncluttered floors and flat ground will allow faster/more even movement than cluttered floors/uneven ground.) Remember RELAX. If you are all tense you will spill more water. The more water that stays in the cup, the more hits you will get while on the move.
If ones upper body is closer to a 45 degree angle from the target (because of length of pull issues or other reasons) then one may have to do the following: Move one foot forward about 18 and then the trailing foot moves up until it touches the heel of the forward foot. This method of movement is slower, however it does offer an advantage to those that shoot with a more steeply bladed stance. It also can be useful in very cluttered areas or very uneven terrain as it lessens the chance of tripping.
Do this drill moving forward, backward, sideways, laterally, obliquely (at angles), up, down, at night, etc, etc, etc.
Now transition to dry fire practice with the long arm. Practice movement (with a TRIPLE VERIFIED UNLOADED RIFLE) and watch the sights. Start with forward movement,walking slowly. Aim at a paper plate taped to a wall and dry fire at the paper plate. Pick up the pace and see how you do. Perform the same movements as were done with the cup of water (forward, backward, sideways, laterally, obliquely (at angles), at night, etc, etc, etc.). Then move on to live fire practice.
Tactics are how each of the above are employed to give the firer (you) the best chance of winning a deadly force encounter.
Regarding offensive operations, a good quote to memorize regarding tactics is this:
Fire without movement is indecisive. Exposed movement without fire is disastrous. There must be effective fire combined with skilful movement.
George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle
Fire without movement is indecisive. If one stays put in a combat situation, PARTICULARILY if one does not enjoy artillery or close air support on-call, one will die, no matter how much fire one is pouring out. The outcomes of battles are decided by which unit outmaneuvers, or outflanks the other. If fire superiority is essential for movement, movement is essential for winning the conflict.
Exposed movement without fire is disastrous. Movement MUST be done while the non-moving unit applies covering fire. (The non-moving unit may be as small in numbers as your buddy to a complete company of men.)
There must be effective fire combined with skilful movement. Effective fire is that fire which is accurate and heavy (volume) enough, such that the enemy keeps their heads down for a sufficient duration of time in order that the moving unit can outflank the enemy unit. (Again, these units of which we speak can be as small as two guys or as large as infantry companies.)
Now, how do the above axioms relate to the lawful use of firearms by citizens? Good question. Here is the short answer.
Maneuvers that are possible and dispositions that are essential are indelibly written on the ground. Badly off, indeed, is the leader who is unable to read this writing. His lot must inevitably be one of blunder, defeat, and disaster.
George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle
The long answer goes something like this:
Cover do not crowd cover. Which is to say stay back away from cover a distance. At least an arms length. If one crowds cover, one loses situational awareness. Example: When most people use cars for cover, the get right up and touch the car, sometimes sitting there with their backs against the car. They cannot see hardly ANYTHING that is going on. It is better to stay back away from the car at least an arms length, with the engine block and tire in front of you. Then one can look over the hood, and yet can also be aware if the bad guys are trying to come around the side of the car in a flanking maneuver. (The infamous Miami shoot-out between the FBI and two perps is a graphic example of the good guys crowding cover, and the bad guy flanking them and killing them.)
Same with walls and corners. Do NOT slide down the wall with your back or shoulder. Stay back away from walls and corners. Same with trees and rocks. Maintain some distance to allow situational awareness of the surrounding areas. Remember, while you are behind cover trying to figure out where to move to next, the bad guys are doing the same!! And they may move before you do, so be aware of that and dont let them flank you! And they will flank you if you cannot see them. So DONT CROWD COVER.
The next little axiom of tactics is to practice using both hands/shoulders. This is true of handguns, submachine guns, rifles/carbines and shotguns. Be an ambidextrous shooter. That way one can utilize left side cover just as well as right side cover. The shooter that can only shoot right handed is handicapped indeed if he comes up on left side cover (or left side corner).
Be aware of things vertical. In other words, one must force oneself to look not only straight ahead, left, right and behind, but one must also look UP. This is especially true of an urban environment.
Once one is fired upon the first course of action is to return fire. While one is returning fire one should be running for cover. It does not have to be accurate only close, with the rate of fire sufficient for the enemy to be concerned. This will buy you and your mates precious seconds to get to cover. DO NOT GO TO GROUND IN A KILL ZONE. Movement will save your life.
While moving and shooting, it is imperative that communication is utilized between team members, and between teams. Each team member must know what is going on at all times. This way the goals and sub-goals of the teams will be met, even when casualties are mounting. If ones team members do not know what is going on, when casualties mount, movement stops. When movement stops, death follows. So, COMMUNICATE.
By reading the above, it should be clear where the phrase shoot, move, communicate came from. And that is really what it all boils down to. If one is not moving, one should be shooting. And, one should be communicating during both activities. Communicating does NOT necessarily mean talking. It can be listening, passing hand and arm signals, or signaling using some other device (a smoke grenade used as a signaling device is communication.)
The ONLY way for any of the above to be ingrained into ones actions is to do them in the field. One cannot read the above and have it sink in. One must DO all of the above, in as many varied situations as one can. And one must do it with a team-mate (hopefully that has some experience) in order to point out when one is crowding cover, or should be moving instead of staying, or do you get the picture?
Force on force training is an EXCELLENT way to do the above. The hit from a paintball gun gives the user IMMEDIATE feedback that one screwed up. Just be mindful of the limitations of paintball guns, and the paintballs themselves (i.e. most things in life and nature are cover to paintballs but only concealment to live rounds. So when using paintballs, be aware that bushes that stop paintballs probably will NOT stop live rounds. Same with couches, walls, doors, etc. in an urban set-up. These will stop paintballs but not live rounds.) So paintballing should be used in the proper context and not abused to the point where it is counter productive.
An effective way of using paintball/air-soft for training is to build a floor plan layout with cardboard or butcher paper. Make all of the mock couches/chairs/TV/refrigerators/walls/doors etc. out of cardboard or butcher paper (using a 2x4 frame). Paintball and air-soft can penetrate these, and then everyone will KNOW that these items are CONCEALMENT only!
The bottom line to all of this is to PRACTICE.
And remember only PERFECT practice makes perfect performance.
Now you are ready to move on the 14 days to be a better shooter thread!