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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.

How to move the Overton Window

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“I would have gotten the results I wanted if ‘those people’ had just done what I wanted” doesn’t mean that those people messed up — it means that you messed up.

The only way to achieve excellence is to hold yourself to uncompromising standards, with no excuses.

Figure out what you need to do to actually deliver results. Then do it.

https://opensourcedefense.substack.com/p/osd-65-diving-headfirst-through-the

Instruction is not Training

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“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities – that’s training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.”

Thomas More

Too many in the firearms community define “training” as attending a class to receive instruction. While taking a class is a good idea, this tends to be self serving for people selling instruction classes (“you need training and that’s what I sell!”). Worse, receiving more instruction, even if you call it training, does not help.

If you’ve taken a good class, you already know about 70-80% of what every other good class offers. Once they’ve received good instruction (although, many gun owners, military, and law enforcement personnel have not…) shooters are better served working on skill on their own. If they can’t/won’t do that, taking another class or watching/reading another bit of instruction provides no help.

 I have friends and family asking me to put together workout routines for them. It usually goes something like this:

“Hey Chris, I’d like to have a good workout routine and was hoping you could design a two-a-day, six-day-a-week hardcore program.”

Are you working out at all now?

“No, I’ve been pretty busy.”

OK, I’ll make you a deal. If you can workout 30-minutes a day, 3-days a week for one month, I’ll design you a custom program. To this day I have not designed a single workout program for any of those people.


Gun Fighting is a Skill That Requires More Training, Not More Information
https://www.itstactical.com/intellicom/mindset/gun-fighting-is-a-skill-that-requires-more-training-not-more-information/

Competition vs. Tactical Shooting

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If you Google competition vs tactical shooting, the top result lists 5 differences between the two.  Let’s just say that there’s a reason I’m not linking to it.  I’m hoping no one ever reads that kind of crap.

Listen, I’m not here to rag on another brother in blue, but it’s patently clear from reading the article that he doesn’t have a clue, and probably has never participated in a shooting competition.  The article does do a great job of summing up the nonsense that some “tactical trainers” claim are the downfalls of competition.

COMPETITION VS TACTICAL SHOOTING: ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS
https://sofrep.com/gear/competition-vs-tactical-shooting-asking-the-wrong-questions/

Matt Little (Greybeard Actual) on Performance-Based Shooting

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Matt Little (Greybeard Actual) is a former member of 20th Special Forces Group, retired Chicago Police Department SWAT leader, and high-level competition shooter.

OSD: Read this now!

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Great series of essays worth your immediate attention.

https://opensourcedefense.org/blog/

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