Use of Force

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Anyone commenting, investigating, judging, or jurying a use-of-force incident that has never participated in a training event as depicted in these videos is uneducated on the matter. Kudos to these folks for trying it and then reporting what they learned.

Equal Rights History

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To CBS Sunday Morning and Ken Burns,
I am a long-time fan of CBS Sunday Morning and Ken Burns. Given his typical thoroughness with history, I was surprised at an oversight in his “Baseball is a Mirror of our Country” piece that aired on your show.

“The first real progress in civil rights since the Civil War took place… on a baseball diamond…” The oversight here is that marksmanship programs started just after the Civil War to better train up to the capabilities rifled small arms offered provided equal opportunities for competitors decades before this.

The U.S. Army began the Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) program in 1884, first creating Distinguished Rifleman and then Distinguished Pistol Shot gold badges to award competitors finishing in the top ten percent at EIC events. Buffalo Soldiers were equal participants and noteworthy competitors.

Buffalo Soldier marksmanship badges

The first shooter to become Double Distinguished, earning both badges, was Cpt. Horace Wayman Bivins, earning the distinction in 1903. A member of the 10th Cavalry Regiment and decorated for valor for his actions at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, accounts of his history “reads like fiction from the imagination of a pulp magazine writer” as one newspaper described him. The Army Reserve Postal Match has an event named in his honor.

CPT Horace Bivins

The EIC program was managed by the U.S. Army Department of Civilian Marksmanship and then the Civilian Marksmanship Program and has been an open competition for military and civilian shooters. It is the only sport mandated by federal law, per Public Law Title 36, U.S. Code § 40727.

This is history worthy of your attention. I’ve sent articles on the history of Captain Horace Wayman Bivins and the Army’s marksmanship Equal Opportunities.

https://armyreservemarksman.info/equal-opportunities/

https://armyreservemarksman.info/cpt-bivins/

https://www.archives.gov/publications/record/1998/03/buffalo-soldiers.html

https://www.dyingtotelltheirstories.com/home/2020/3/5/qtznpg8giquyff1bwnaldudl2lgl95

John M. Buol Jr.
SFC, USAR
USARCMP Public Affairs/Postal Match Program
https://www.usar.army.mil/ARM/

Why Dry Prevention is Essential for Gun Safes

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by Jay Chambers

As a gun owner, you already know that proper storage is key for both safety and longevity. Owning a gun safe not only prevents unwanted access to deadly firearms, but it can also keep your guns in tip top shape so that they last a very long time.

However, one of the most common questions about gun safes is regarding a dehumidifier, and whether you need one to keep moisture away from your most prized possessions.

Along with other proper cleaning and storage, in some cases, it may be necessary to use a dehumidifier in the room with your gun safe to keep moisture from cracking or rusting your guns.

Getting a Dehumidifier

If you live in a particularly moist region of the United States, it’s going to be highly critical that you place a dehumidifier in the same room as your gun safe. However, it’s important for most gun owners to do the same, no matter where you live.

The exposure to moisture may seem miniscule, but over time, water will slowly ruin your gun safe and everything in it, even if it doesn’t seem possible. Especially if your gun safe is in a dark, damp space, you’ll be giving mold and mildew a breeding ground for growth, which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to guns.

As your gun safe slowly gathers moisture, you may not notice it’s happening at all until it’s too late. It doesn’t matter how careful you are about tending to it or whether your gun safe is small, large, or moderately sized. And certainly, if you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on the perfect safe for your firearms, you want to prevent that eventual aging as much as you can.

Throwing on the extra cost of dry prevention is well worth the price, and there are a couple of options from which you can choose. There are desiccant dehumidifiers and electric dehumidifiers.

Understanding your options will help you get a better idea of which to choose.

Desiccant Dehumidifiers

These humidifiers don’t have any electrical components. They come in many different sizes and shapes, but they all have one thing in common. They have special packets or containers full of absorbent materials.

This absorbent material is designed to attract moisture, much like a sponge, and hold it, so it stays away from everything else in close proximity. The type of absorbent material used is typically silica gel.

If you don’t want to have to use electricity or drill a hole in your safe, this is a great option. They also don’t require any replacement parts and you can find the perfect size for your safe.

This type of humidifier is more affordable than an electric dehumidifier, so it works well for those who don’t want to spend a ton of money, but as the absorbent material fills up, you’ll need to replace them completely.

Electric Dehumidifiers

Electric dehumidifiers are popular options. They are effective and long lasting, but they’re also more expensive. They work harder for longer, and are a better choice for people who live in humid climates and need more dry prevention measures.

These types of humidifiers use heat to remove moisture from the air. They have exposed heating elements that work to evaporate moisture, and can work in a larger area than a desiccant dehumidifier.

They can also prevent condensation because they create high temperatures and can attack excess moisture than smaller dehumidifiers might miss.

The one drawback to this type of dehumidifier is that if you want it to work from inside the safe itself, you’ll need to run the wire through a hole in the safe to a power source. That means drilling a hole in your safe.

If you can’t drill a hole or you don’t want to, you can get rechargeable battery operated varieties, or you can simply place the dehumidifier outside the safe, but in close proximity, so it will continue to work.

The Right Choice

Either option will work, but you have to decide which will work best for you. While they have the same end goal, they achieve it in different ways. However, the durability of your gun safe is of the utmost importance, so no matter which you choose, you need to choose one sooner rather than later.

If you can afford it and have a way to connect it, an electric dehumidifier will be much more effective. If you can’t spring for one right now, choose a desiccant dehumidifier for now and save up for something better.

There’s no reason to spend thousands of dollars on firearms and a gun safe to keep them, while continuing to neglect the problem that moisture causes over time.

Other Tips

Humidity is a problem for all gun owners, not just those who live in humid climates. However, there are a lot of factors to consider, like where the gun safe is stored, how humid it is, and how often you access it.

Fresh air can help prevent moisture, so if you open your gun safe more often, you may not need a large, expensive dehumidifier. You may be fine with something simple and inexpensive.

The same goes for people who live in particularly dry climates. While there are very few places that have 0% humidity, if you live in an area that doesn’t have much, you will also not have to purchase something big or expensive.

The Verdict

No matter where you live, moisture prevention is critical for keeping your guns safe and in good condition. Along with appropriate use and cleaning, storing them the right way will ensure that moisture doesn’t age them faster than it should.

I qualified EXPERT…. what does that mean?

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Learn what a military expert qualification does (and does not…) mean.

Other points:
Those “small” green “Ivan” E-type targets used by the Army are a meter tall and over 1.5 feet (19 inches) wide. A hit anywhere is full value. And the Army qualification course can be passed with a 43% miss rate. 23/40 (57% hits) is a passing score

Like the APFT, Alt C is no good at telling you how good you are but is remarkable in telling how bad you are.

USAR Marksmanship program did a breakdown showing these qualification targets next to competition targets:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwD7-Dzz3RQ

Squad Designated Marksman

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From Ash Hess:
The U.S. Army Squad Designated Marksman program is a source of much debate. Many are angry that this rifle fielded with a 1-6 optic. What those people fail to acknowledge is where the SDM really is in both doctrine and real world application.

The SDM is a Rifleman with an additional tasking of being the DM. He is employed by the Fire Team leader or Squad leader(ATP-3.21.8) This means he/she remains part of that fire team and must be capable of doing anything the Squad is tasked with doing, from trenches, enter and clear, to assault.

Thus, at the beginning of the SDMR, the optic choice was heavily debated. The result is an optic that allows the DM to engage targets from 0-600 meters with relative ease.

That’s part of the debate. Sniper trained SDMs are different from normal trained SDMs, and neither one want to meet the doctrinal concept.
The “program” should be a real course 2-3 weeks, immediately following OUSIT required for privates who are assigned to Light, Airborne or Stryker units.


Training the trainer does not work with SDM. You trained NCO’s, I trained NCO’s, MMTC is training NCOs and nothing has improved. By training the private, and all the privates that follow him, by the time that first private is a Squad leader, the entire squad would by SDM trained, improving the entire unit. As it is now, those NCO’s retain 60% of what they are taught, pass on 30% of that, and the private gets none of it. Then they task someone else with the role and handicap what they should be doing.

From Dan Shea:
The Dragunov. It was the doctrinal difference from US to Soviet thinking. The US, well, we want to hit a fly’s eye at 1000 meters with highly trained snipers we’ve invested heavily in. The Soviet theory was to take marginally trained people with reasonable skills and have them hit chest size at 600 meters. And as a bonus, a Dragunov in the hands of someone with natural skill honed in a better training environment, can shoot really, really well. Nothing like one of the Knight rifles of course…. but a Dragunov has a place well above an AK on a battlefield.

That bit, “…. theory was to take marginally trained people with reasonable skills and have them hit chest size at 600 meters” is telling.

This was the intent of U.S. Army doctrine. The old (around 2003) SDM qual as originally directed by the now-redacted FM 3-22.9 was supposed to be shot with a rack-grade M16A2 and M855 by personnel given a bit of additional training (which a fully-trained Rifleman arguably should already know…)

Table 2 of that SDM course allowed optics only if the Soldier’s unit had them available. If not, Table 2 was supposed to be shot with a base BZO (no wind 300 meter zero) and use hold overs and hold offs as needed.

Then everyone wanted to church it up and re-envision SDM into “sniper lite”… The quality of training behind it is has been all over the map. As Ash Hess wisely points out, to be fully useful this needs a formal course (possibly an Additional Skill Identifier) taught by vetted instructors rather than the Army norm of “telephone game“*** training, euphemistically known as “train the trainer”, which is too common with all small arms skill. The myth that “any NCO with the FM” (TC now, but most NCOs are still unaware of this, hence the problem) can teach small arms skill is one of the most detrimental training lies infesting the U.S. Army.

*** “The game has no winner: the entertainment comes from comparing the original and final messages. Intermediate messages may also be compared; some messages will become unrecognizable after only a few steps.” It would be funny if it weren’t such a tragic waste of taxpayer money and Soldier ability.

More:
https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2020/06/12/raiders-field-new-squad-designated-marksman-rifle/

Cozad AR Buffers

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Cozad AR Buffers – First Impression And Review

Mark Westrom: Rapid Semiautomatic Fire

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“I could never get a kick from full-auto.”

– J. C. Tate, CDR USN (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Mark A. Westrom was one of my previous commanders as well as the former owner of ArmaLite and Eagle Arms. Before retiring from the Army, he published an informative paper:
Rapid Semiautomatic Fire and the Assault Rifle
Firing Rate Versus Accuracy
United States Army Reserve Command Small Arms Training Team

In his paper, LTC Westrom detailed a series of tests conducted with competitive shooters and military personnel shooting scored and timed courses at various rates of fire. With him in attendance, we ran a similar test based on his findings at the All Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning one year.

The basis of testing was to have shooters to fire on scored targets at varying rates. Given there was no fixed round count, every shot fired added to the score, but only if it hit.

The results were unsurprising to anyone in the know: Rapid semiautomatic fire at the maximum pace a shooter can get something resembling aligned sights on target ends up with the highest score. This is much faster than Rapid Fire in High Power and is fast enough to result in occasional misses, but is controlled. Obviously, the pace varies based on shooter skill and target size/distance. Taking the speed above the shooter’s limit sees the score decline and increasing the rate of fire further reduces the score even more. All shooters maxed their score with semiautomatic fire; nobody improved their result with full auto.

Lt. Col. Westrom concluded his paper with this:

IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Today, the U.S. Military is generally conducting small arms training with much the same emphasis on single round accuracy that it did eighty years ago. Preliminary data suggests that a substantial increase in lethality can be obtained by increasing the firing rate of the line. The principles now taught are generally sound, and little additional training is needed to squeeze an important increase in effectiveness from our soldiers. Rapid semiautomatic fire is a simple extension of existing training, and its benefits are easily achieved by emphasis during training.

To make the best of Rapid Semiautomatic Fire we must:

  1. Test the benefits of rapid semiautomatic fire.
  2. Experiment. Additional firing data needs to be gathered to learn the effect of training, position, tactical situation, and weapon design. Fortunately, the experiments aren’t lengthy or difficult to conduct. The apparent flattening of the firing rate curve suggests that a rule of thumb rate of fire such as “50 shots per minute in the final assault” is adequate guidance. Lengthy testing to pin down exact numbers under a variety of scenarios might be interesting, but will probably not prove useful.
  3. Train soldiers to use rapid semiautomatic fire, and to shoot until the target is down.

Current qualification courses provide the shooter one round with which to engage each target. This isn’t tactically realistic. The current courses punish a shooter using rapid semiautomatic fire for even nearby targets.

In combat, the soldier is presented with a significant logistics issue: how to consume his basic load of ammunition with greatest efficiency. When presented with a distant target, he may need to fire several rounds to get a hit. If he does so, however, he may run low on ammunition. When presented with a threatening, nearby target later, he may be out of ammunition. He certainly must not decline to fire a second shot at that nearby opponent if the first shot is a miss.

This is just what the current qualification courses train the soldier to do. Current training teaches the wrong lessons. Each target is addressed by one cartridge. The correction to this is simple. Issue sufficient ammunition to allow for misses. Reward the shooter based on targets ultimately hit. Reward him further with a few points based on ammunition remaining. The highest scores obviously continue to go to the best shots, who both hit many targets and return with ammunition, but all are trained to engage.

  1. Aim every shot.

The current edition of FM 23-67 [since replaced by TC 3-22.240, TC 3-22.249, and TC 3-22.50, and TC 3-22.19 – Ed.] providing doctrine for the [then-current] M60 Machinegun, shows a machinegunner boldly firing the weapon from the hip. An M60 is too heavy to fire readily from the shoulder, so aiming every shot with this manner may be difficult. Nonetheless, advancing with a weapon firing from the hip must be regarded as an act of desperation or idiocy. The very fact that such an unsound technique is posted to the cover of a major document is a poor indicator of fire discipline.

The correction for this omission rests properly with the NCO Corps. Every NCO must assure as a matter of faith that every shot must be aimed in both training and combat. Even machineguns must be sighted. There can be no exceptions for blanks.

  1. Avoid burst or automatic fire.

As previously noted, there is ample evidence proving that automatic fire is almost useless beyond 25 yards. It is essentially useful for room to room fighting or trench clearing. Three shot burst if largely useless for both close combat and longer range fighting. It is truly the worst of both worlds. Both automatic fire with the M16A1 and burst fire with the M16A2 should be strenuously discouraged by the same NCOs who reinforce the act of aiming every shot. This is especially important during training with blanks, because soldiers enjoy automatic fire as a matter of play.

In summary, aiming assures maximum efficiency with each shot. Rapid semiautomatic fire assures maximum efficiency with each moment of contact. Combined, they offer a substantial increase in combat effectiveness with little change in resources or doctrine.

Full-automatic: Why does it render gun owners stupid?

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“Let’s waste thousands of dollars on BATFE-restricted gear and ammo, and then destroy it for no reason. Everyone will love it!”

“This is a highly restricted, very expensive, difficult-to-obtain firearm. Let’s wreck it!”
“I don’t know what I’m doing, but the other idiots will love it!”

What I don’t understand is why someone would go through the hassle and expense to obtain Class 3 equipment while having no interest in learning gunnery or anything related to effective full auto use. It usually ends up being a big jerk-off giggle fest. Knob Creek is a stunning and sad example. Military training on this is rarely better, even though the principles are there to be learned by anyone literate enough to read them.

Myths about what is and isn’t suppressive fire are common.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/suppressive-fire-myth-fact/



Handheld full auto always sucks. I should put “almost” in there as absolute statements are always wrong (as the self-conflicting adage goes) because outliers and exceptions do exist. However, these are unicorns in this case. With the very rare exception of a very few highly-trained full-auto shooters, semi-auto fire is much more effective with handheld firearms. Basically, only people that compete in and win NFA submachine gun matches. Nobody in the military or police is this good and those that claim otherwise are breathing Dunning-Kruger graphs.

Side note: The first NFA match I attended was with a friend from my local USPSA club using his M1A1 Thompson. After looking at the courses, I asked if I could just shoot everything with the “Tommy gun” on the single (semi-auto) setting. “No,” I was told, “That would be cheating.”

Every class, match, or range event that tested this proved this true.

Handheld full auto fire is almost always less effective than aimed semi-automatic fire.


Acutal machine guns are a different matter but they are only effective when employed using gunnery concepts, tripods and T&Es, and a knowledgable crew. For all the bluster of full-auto fire, I still know of only one free, public video discussing this. Let me know if you can find another.


If you can find a better video giving a more thorough discussion of gunnery with machine guns, please share it!

What do you think? Why does full-auto fire render so many gun owners into idiots? Why aren’t people interested in fully-automatic firearms interested in learning how to employ them effectively?

Graubünden Jäger: Swiss Hunter-Shooters

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This video is a fine example of how much more serious and skilled hunters in Europe are compared to Americans.

Let’s just pause to consider this: In Switzerland, animal rights activists are mad at hunters because their marksmanship tests aren’t rigorous enough and they want them to do more practice on the range! Marion Theus, president of the Swiss Wildlife Conservation Association, says the already-mandatory hunter marksmanship tests are too easy to pass, should be more frequent, and should use ammunition reminiscent of the recoil/muzzle energy actually used in hunting. Georg Brosi, Hunt Inspector for the canton of Graubünden, agrees. Let’s also consider that Swiss hunter-shooters consider it common to practice on electronic targets. How many hunter sight-ins in the States have you seen using something similar?

I’d like to share their opinion about current U.S. military range qualifications with current leadership!

Coaching Tips

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Dr. Jordan Feigenbaum is a strength coach. Here are his basic guidelines for working with trainees.

TL;DR: Good coaching is the opposite of how drill sergeants “teach” recruits.

Basic Coaching Review Principles

1. Remember you are coaching a human being, not a machine.

This is a person who has previous experiences, successes, fears, struggles, and ideas.  You probably do not know all of these, so take a moment to ask a few questions, to look at the demeanor of the lifter, to see how they are talking about themselves and their lifts. You can in fact do this online and with a video.

This practice tells you a lot about how you can proceed.  I can yell forcefully (or write very direct cues without always noting all of the positives as well) at some people and that’s effective.  For others, they would shrink and immediately become less confident or their overall anxiety about mistakes or problems can increase.  For some, they are assured with some affirmation of a positive before they can really hear a correction or problem.

A lifter might have some long-held habits and ideas about a lift and I won’t get very far if I immediately contradict those unless we have a chance to communicate about this first. For example-a guy who has been benching for YEARS usually thinks he’s an awesome bencher.  He and the bros have been maxing out forever.  I can usually find things to improve, but if I make him immediately feel like I think he’s “not a good bencher” or if change something that he has been doing for years without explanation as to why the change might be helpful, chances are he’s not going to hear or accept what I have to say.

Someone else might have long-standing knee trouble and hold quite dearly some ideas/narratives or fears about a squat.  I want to know a bit about this before I yell cues about going deeper or cueing the knees at all.

2. Be patient, step back, and be quieter than you might want to be.

Coaching is not about filling someone’s brain with feedback, words, and corrections.  It’s not even about praising them as much as possible. It’s about providing fitting feedback at the fitting time and in a fitting manner.  You’re not a better coach because you have something to say right away or can fill the time with words.  Remember this is not about the coach and all you can write or say to fill the rest times, it’s about the lifter and what you can do to help them.

3. Aim to take in the whole picture: their entire movement, confidence, control, speed, balance, and all that.

Do not fall back on those “handy cues” that are easy to hyperfocus on and miss the more important things.  You’re a better coach when you can step back, see the overall movement, consider THIS lifter, and offer coaching cues to improve the most impactful problems first.  Think about things like this lifter’s confidence with this lift, with this weight.  Look at overall balance, control of the bar, range of motion, and bar speed.  These are the places to start, not necessarily their fingers, an exact toe angle, and even their head position.

4. Be careful with your words.

You might not share a coaching language yet, and you certainly can’t assume that you’re going to have one way to coach everyone. Simply offering short cues without any shared understanding is ineffective and incredibly frustrating to a lifter.  Imagine trying to execute a lift and someone is now using phrases that mean very little to you, yet they expect you to do something with that information WHILE you are moving.  Ack!  Also, this is why short cues posted to videos on Facebook generally drive me crazy.  No one needs a series of one-liners, they need a cue AND an explanation on what that means, unless you know that lifter and share this language already.

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