Brushbeater Talks Practical Rifle Accuracy

In the real world with real bad guys, practical accuracy is the only accuracy.

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img_0233There’s a lot of confusion even among longtime shooters between what a rifle is capable of doing off the bench on a nice controlled square range and what’s actually practical for a serviceable combat weapon. The two really aren’t the same. While tight groups are definitely a plus and a goal to be attained, having a precision weapon in the general purpose role is not always completely necessary to make one combat effective. There’s a happy medium to be found, and getting there is not always hard or expensive. Above all else, it’s the fundamentals of the shooter that make a weapon deadly, no matter what.

One of the really neat things about the past couple decades, firearms-wise, is the real renaissance we’ve seen in weapons development and maximization of potential. Most visibly is this phenomena with the proliferation of the AR-15 platform, but really among all classes of weapons. One can pick up even a lower-tier carbine and have a decent action capable of making solid hits at further distances than many shoot on average. That is, if the shooter is capable. Some of this has to do with the plethora of modern ammo choices out there, some with the advent and precision of CNC machines, and some with the proliferation of free-floated handguards. While the Colt M4A1 series has a mil-spec tolerance of 4 MOA, or a ~4 inch group at 100 meters, and usually easily exceeding this your common off the shelf AR-15 can expect much better than that on average. It begins, however, with the skill of the man behind the trigger.

The same can be said for the huge boom in the Long Range hobby. Lots of people are getting into it and it can be a lot of fun putting steel on target from 500m or more. The ability to squeeze every last fraction of capability is definitely nice. And usually the underlying question, whether plinking, running 3 gun or Long Range type stuff, is ultimately protection of hearth and home. But the question that comes to my mind is do you really need all of that to make an effective rifleman? The answer is largely determined by the rifleman’s purpose. For a combat weapon, even a designated marksman’s role, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a .5 MOA rifle or even one that really impresses at the range. Gasping for air, I know. Practical accuracy is a different animal from mechanical accuracy. But let’s look at some reasons why.

1. What is the median distance you plan to engage?

For my operating environment, I live in mostly dense forest with rolling hills. The long distance stretches are either pastures, power lines, or highways. From a light fighter’s standpoint, these three amount to the cardinal rule of never walking in the open or crossing a linear danger area with no overwatch. Overwatch, by the way, is not some fancy buzzword to sell you junk but actually is someone on your team hidden watching for muzzle flashes in case you get shot…while you’re crossing in the open or across linear danger areas. They watch over you. That said, my average engagement distance here is under 100m. Are you accurate enough to be lethal within 100m? How about 200m? How about 300m? Do you really need to shoot further than that? Maybe, maybe not. What are the intermediate barriers, i.e. potential cover (rocks, deadfall, etc) between you and where an adversary may fire from? Are you capable of shooting over those same open areas that they may cross?

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Average backwoods of NC.

A good way to put this into context is to think of the average shot a deer hunter will make in a given area. Around here, between thick Carolina conifer and hardwood stands, shotguns do just fine for 99% of putting meat in the freezer. Rifles are nice for shooting across cutovers or fire breaks- those open areas requiring a little more range I just warned you about. And how accurate is that Remington 770 or 742 with meat ammo versus a heavyweight barreled Remington 700 5R and precision handloads? Mechanically it wouldn’t make much difference in the woods over relatively short distances. But the weight sure as heck will, regardless of whether you’re a twenty something stud out shootin’ n’ lootin’ or a mid 50s patriarch looking to protect his home. Doesn’t mean that any of these are my personal choice for anything other than hunting game, but the concept is basically the same. Which bring my next point.

2. What is your Weight Threshold?

I knew a guy a while back who had a uber-high end semi-auto AR-10, decked out to the nines, with every cool guy thing you can imagine and a giant NightForce 56mm celestial telescope on top. Beautiful rifle, crisp glass. Weighed 18lbs empty and carried like a 4×4 in the hands. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if you want a high end benchrest-type gun. But that’s a ridiculous and unnecessary amount of weight for a general purpose weapon. For him, making tiny groups at a given distance was a lot of fun. But when it came time to carry it, you’d see him ditch that for his handy WASR-10 that weighs half as much loaded and accomplishes the same task within 100m.

The point is that what feels heavy but tolerable in your hands at the gunstore becomes a boat anchor after carrying it over distances with supporting equipment. Common knowledge usually dictates weight equates superior accuracy, but too much becomes self-defeating. That lightweight AR-15 with a pencil barrel can get heavy too. After a four day cave clearing mission in Afghanistan my M4 felt like a cinderblock. And aside from a PEQ-15, it wasn’t too far removed from the AR-type carbine pictured above. Granted, I was carrying a lot of other equipment including a SMAW-D and several days worth of 5590 batteries (which is like toting around bricks), but the point is that a carbine I intend to fight with needs to remain lightweight to keep me unencumbered. There’s a reason the broad shouldered bubbas get picked to hump the M-240B; it’s big and heavy, and the small guys can’t handle and effectively employ it over long distances. Even the meat eaters get tired though, and shaving a few ounces here and there makes a world of difference when you’re gassed.

3. Remaining Combat Effective- Remember BRAS

The reality of fighting in armed groups is that it is nothing like sitting at a range plinking targets. That’s nice for basic rifle marksmanship, and it’s really important to work on fundamentals. It’s purpose is to confirm zero & dope (Data Of Previous Engagement- a record of ballistic data for that weapon and specific ammo load) and make sure you can hit a target at a given specific distance, hence why most square ranges are referred to as Known-Distance or KD ranges. Square range time is critical, and should be at least a monthly training event for you and your group. But understand it is not the end-all-be-all; its just a foundation for Basic Rifle Marksmanship consisting of BRAS- Breathe, Relax, Aim, Squeeze. For creating and maintaining proficiency this is the proper cadence for trigger control. It’s easy to get right when relaxed and very easy to get wrong any other time. Only training on a 100m square range is a dangerously false sense of security. Only shooting from a bench and calling it good is preparing you for nothing except shooting off a bench. Getting out and humping that safe queen through the woods for a bit is critically more important than making tiny groups from the bench or even shooting fast at stationary targets in the 3-gun stall. You learn the ins and outs of that weapon on a patrol and get to make it better.

You may very well learn that what you can do with a 12lb rifle you can also do with an 8lb rifle, and that 4lb weight saving could make a big difference. If I’m running a .5MOA rifle but it’s a beast to carry with that 20in bull barrel, I may end up being so exhausted after a movement or a quick react to contact that I can’t hit anything with it because I can’t settle down behind the gun. Under duress this will happen to you. If you’re out of shape this will be you. And at that point the rifle’s accuracy is irrelevant. Shooting a half inch at 100m now becomes not even being able to acquire a target in that 14x zoom lens, because you’re spent and can’t think through your situation. Believe me, it will happen to you.

4. “If you can’t do it with irons, don’t bother with optics”

I was talking recently with an old-hand Sniper Instructor who told me this. It may come as a shock to some of you but I agree wholeheartedly for making new riflemen. The optics themselves make life easy, especially today in the world of precision machining and glass manufacturing that makes even lesser-expensive options fairly high quality. And it can produce marksmen in a shorter amount of time because the process of sight-aquire-fire now becomes streamlined. But- and this is a big objection- without the fundamentals of proper marksmanship, an optic of any type does you little good and in some cases might make you worse. If I’m running way more glass than necessary, such as putting a 16×50 on an M4 because it helps me shoot tiny groups off a bench or in the prone, I’m not effective anywhere but in that one scenario. I may very well lose my target if something throws me off kilter as usually happens in a dynamic environment and I may also have trouble getting on target with any amount of speed. If I back the zoom off but have a second focal plane scope, now my reticle is worthless for any sort of bullet drop or ranging measurements.

His logic is that if I can do it with iron sights, then I have zero problem with optics. The fundamentals are there, along with my confidence. The foundation is laid. Optics of any type are a tool to enhance one’s capability, not a shortcut in training. If Joe knows he can ring steel with irons on his weapon at an average engagement distance, then an optic of any type enhances his capability. He now has confidence in himself and his weapon. And confidence is the difference maker above any piece of kit. So with that said, anyone getting started in rifle marksmanship should begin with iron sights and graduate to implementing optics down the road. Simplicity equals success. Keep in mind this is for basic training purposes; a standard for those new or inexperienced. Additionally, for those simply thinking optics always equate accuracy, buying airsoft-grade trash or even decent glass but a skimpy or improper mounting solution is a recipe for problems in the long run. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. If you genuinely don’t know, swallow that pride and get some instruction- I promise, it will be worth it.

Mechanical vs. Practical

M4A1-accuracy-vs-M16A2.jpgMechanical accuracy definitely plays a large role in practical accuracy, but if your fundamentals are trash nothing is going to make you a good shooter. While you’ve read up until now that pinpoint accuracy is not a central requirement in a primary fighting carbine or rifle, good mechanical accuracy is definitely a desirable asset. If my weapon shoots 2 MOA, or a 2 inch group at 100 yards, that means on an average man-sized target at any given distance I have some margin of error to still make solid hits, all things being equal. Anything up to 4 MOA for a general purpose carbine then becomes perfectly acceptable. Even out to 600m this gives us, in theory at least, 24 inches of spread but still perfectly capable of a solid hit if you do your part. But you have to know how to do your part, and that only comes from solid training. But will you need to shoot that far? Probably not in most cases- and only your own situation can determine this. Most often our expectations should be half that distance at the most, but if everyone in your group can make those kinds of shots, then they’ll have no problems engaging closer than that.

Practical accuracy comes from the individual rifleman; riflemen are only produced and maintained through quality training. The tactics of the Team of Riflemen are the real difference maker. You should be seeking out training outside the square range on a regular basis. My friend JC Dodge has an upcoming class which will go beyond the typical comfort zone of most, pushing both the student and his equipment. In addition, I’m available for those seeking private instruction on both making the shot and proper field techniques, along with other small units skills such as off-grid communications, Recon & Surveillance, and Combat Casualty Care. We’re not the only ones who can teach this stuff; there’s many others. But I highly implore the reader to get that training along with all the other skills to give you the tactical edge in setting up a secure retreat, even if you think you’re the ‘expert’. And with that, I’ll leave you with a quote from the late, great Peter Kokalis:

To train others in the art of war, you must both know war from the trenches and undergo constant training from others, both to keep the sharp edge and be exposed to the ever-evolving tactical concepts of combat at the down and dirty level. Several have asked why an “expert” (God how I loathe that word) like me would need to participate in training at a firearms school. The answer is simple: for the same reason tennis and golf pros constantly train under other tennis and golf pros. You cannot observe yourself while shooting, but the professional firearms instructors under whom I train can constantly detect slight nuances of incorrect movement that need to be reprogrammed.

-From Weapon Tests and Evaluations, The Best of Soldier of Fortune

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Good advice from a good guy who knows his stuff.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

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Jedburger III Cav/Mech

Here’s one for the Moolisha Kernals, Moolisha Generals, and the IIITurd. Wonder how long it will be before this is an offered class at the “Jedburger Inn”.

H/T Wisco Dave

For reference, the IIITurd (wasn’t he gonna go Cav in the Army before they caught him lying and banned him from entry?) was already fantasizing along those lines years ago, but he called it “IIIMechanized” LOL. Most all of the web sites shown below (there were many more) are gone now, and even the “Onetimepads.codes” site that listed all the other sites is open for sale now. Guess they got expensive, huh?

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III Mech Kerodin's One time pad site2-1

Of course for nostalgia purposes,  I’d love to have the ASV I actually used and roamed Iraq in ….Just sayin.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Gettysburg Remembrance Day Parade, 2017. The Show Must Go On

Gettysburg Parade 2017-05

So most of you have read about a number of the threats that have been directed at a number of Civil War reenactments or other events involving memorials or parades, and yesterday’s Remembrance Day Parade in Gettysburg was no exception. A credible threat was received a little while ago, and the Law Enforcement agencies responsible for Gettysburg made sure they were prepared for any possibility.

Various Federal agencies (it is a National Park), the Pennsylvania State Police, the Gettysburg PD, and the Adams County Sheriff’s Department were all in attendance, and the show of protective force on display was enough to make any person in attendance feel as safe as is possible in that type of atmosphere.

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Ironically, local moolisha types are claiming they “kept all of us safe” after they “coordinated” with the local Law Enforcement and deployed for their “Op”. Funny thing is, I was there, and there were no militia to be seen (I didn’t see any “militia” and family that was on the sidelines said they didn’t see any of them either, and they walked the whole route). Well, that is except for the Civil Air Patrol Cadets that I saw while in one of the shops. Wanna hear something ironic, the moolisha is sayin’ they didn’t deploy with uniforms on this “Op”. LOL.

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The only ones who “Stepped out and put it on the line” at the parade were LEO’s and those who marched. You guys didn’t do jack.

OK, so let’s review,

You’ve got a ton of uniformed and plain clothes LEO’s in a relatively small area. The LE contingent includes a number of PSP Troopers on horseback, about three to four times that number of Officers on foot (a number of them were actually checking the trash looking for IED’s and other threats). I saw a number of K-9 Officers patrolling with their dogs, and last but not least, there were a number of snipers in several elevated and tactically sound positions.

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Now you have a guy claiming he is coordinating the use of his untrained and unidentified (no uniforms, remember) group with the local law enforcement to respond to a credible threat of attack. I don’t buy it, and I’m gonna call “Bullshit”. What self respecting Law Enforcement Commander would allow any of those moolisha morons to be involved in anything to do with the safety and protection of this event? The answer is “None of them”.

The point of this post isn’t to point out that there are a bunch of wannabe LEO’s posing as moolisha trying to make themselves look like they are the “protectors”, when they are nothing but attention whores. The point of this post is to show that it is important for people to stand up to the assholes making the threats. The point of this post is showing that there are some law enforcement agencies that are stepping up and doing the right thing to protect the people of their area.

As one of the marchers, I was grateful that the people who lined the march (more than normal) route were very vocal and very supportive. The support that was shown was even more than the years past that I’ve attended and It was a thumb in the eye to anyone who wants to intimidate Americans who value their history, and want to honor those who have come before us.

Ironically, in this situation, many of the marchers were better armed (and I’m not talkin’ about muskets with bayonets) and ready for a response to anyone trying to hurt us than any group of wannabe’s who say they inserted themselves into a serious situation. All the moolisha group did was prove they just want to get into a fight (like all the other times they’ve been present at protests and rallies), and not actually protect anyone.

Anyone who was there that had an ounce of common sense and a “clue” about the tactical deployment of troops would understand that using your guys in that over saturated and uniformed LEO environment would be tantamount to employing the polish firing squad technique. But of course we’re not talkin’ about guys with common sense and an understanding of the tactical, operational, and strategic deployment of troops, so it’s a moot point.

In summation, all I can say is this. Thank you to those that stood on the sidelines and gave encouragement to those of us who marched. Thank you to the Fed LEO’s, PSP, GPD, and the ACSD for your support and cover in a less than optimal situation. Thanks most of all to those that stepped up and marched, even with an unknown threat hanging over your heads. To the moolisha who only came to play “Protector” here’s a thought. Next time, why don’t you come to support what we were marching for, not just come to try and get your name in the paper.

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UPDATE:

Here’s the moolisha prepping for their “Op” at their “Morning Briefing” (the other pics don’t show them doing squat). How many professional cameras do you see filming their activities? Can you hear it…..? “Hey, look at me.”. Looks like it’s more about getting attention and less about protecting the public, doesn’t it? Wonder where the LEO’s they coordinated with are, shouldn’t they be there to know what to do?

 

From what I’ve seen on social media, they are bitchin’ about standin’ out in the rain all day, and then people askin’ “Why?”. EVERYONE stood out in the rain, everyone was soaked. Out of the march participants, the supporters, the LEO’s, and the “moolisha”, the “moolisha” was the only ones that had no reason to be there (unless it was for the attention), so that just makes them stupid, not noble. The term “Quiet Professional” can never be applied to them, since a quiet professional would show up, do his thing, and as long as the situation didn’t go “South”, leave without credit or attention being given or expected. That’s a “Clue” for anyone that might be planning to do this in the future. 

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

Brushbeater’s “First Call”

Brushbeater hits the nail on the head once again. Anyone who has served knows what “First Call” is, and what it means. You better get you’re ass up double quick and in a hurry because you don’t want to be the guy that the “Platoon Daddy” says, “WAITIN’ ON YOU!” to. It’s gonna be a long day.

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Reveille in America

reveilleFirst Call, Americans. Out of your bunks. For a good portion of you out there, a year ago you went to sleep. That attitude driven by a very real fear of government out of control over eight years produced diamonds. For many, it meant getting serious about preparing yourselves, family and neighborhoods for uncertain times. And then, you went to sleep. Your guy got in, and he’d make it all right. Everything would be fixed, time to rejoice and rest on those laurels. He’ll undo all the wrongs and the lever pullers of power would truly yield to vox populi. And then, you went to sleep.

While you were sleeping a lot went on. The Left in America, pushed into a corner, has armed up. Keep telling yourself you’re better…after all, it’s entertaining to watch a kid posture in front of a camera with a half-cocked Nagant. Keep in mind, that same kid has all the fire you had 2008-2016, except that he’s half your age and has none of the aversion to violence that you do. That’s right. He has no social capital; no mortgage, no three kids and an SUV. All he has is a lifetime of debt and little hope for any future. Socialist revolution seems good, because after all, the same institution which holds the keys to history groomed him.

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Symbology tells a story. Tell yourself again they’re not serious.

Those with no hope often make great suicidal fighters for a cause. AntiFa and all the little fingers of the Communist Party is not quite there yet…give it time. And while you might look at the traveling street show as a joke, understand that the losers posing on front of the cameras are only one arm of a much, much larger body. The media and entertainment arm is busy grooming the minority blocks based upon the ‘social research’ of academia, upping the ante nearly daily and reinforcing the notions that their way is the only way. There have been no ramifications, so why would they stop?

A country music concert was mowed down and we have no plausible story. None whatsoever. Two churches have been shot up. The first one was a blip on the ticker for a day, because it fit no useful narrative. The second is being diverted as a ‘mental health incident’, grossly overlooking the reality that the guy was a militant and virulent atheist, with a Facebook page that listed him as more than a passive supporter of several Lefty causes. Of course, you’ve heard nothing of ‘Together We Rise’, a Socialist group he was a member of, amid the standard talking points. In each case, as a man who judges terrorism by the target, I’d say the story is that one group, Conservative, White Christians, is wanted dead. Before the last shooter became a non-person and online presence scrubbed, his social media indicated that he was at least a passive supporter of Bernie Sanders and CNN. sutherland-springs-t.jpgAnd sure, his ex-inlaws may have went to the Church once or twice, but that’s hardly an explanation for the calculation and callousness exhibited aside from being an easy target. It took two armed observers to stop him. Where are the demands for real answers? Where are the boycotts, the rallies, the riots? Why is the CNN sign not being torn down in Atlanta? Why is there not a demand for Senator Sanders to relinquish his seat for his rhetoric and link to the shooter? What are the ramifications for a Left that cannot accept anything short of revolution? What has been gained by ‘compromise’? The list of ‘celebrities’ who spared no opportunity to mock not only Christianity but the victims themselves based solely upon ethnicity, long being the rally cry of the Left itself; what of them? They are a reflection of a social faction which explicitly wants us dead.

They are not going to stop. They have no incentive to do so. The power structure which exists should be vibrantly apparent to you now, as it understands the challenge to which it faces.

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William Ayers told you what they planned to do. Did you not listen?

depugh.jpgIt will not go quietly; when such a challenge is issued, an exertion of force must be applied to re-assume control. And the Republicans would abdicate any and all power to restore the hands which feed them. How quickly are they folding on nearly every issue? They serve not your interest or mine- no purpose but a foil for the advancement of the Communists. And where does that leave you, American?

Rekindle that fire you had a year ago. Your five minute breather is over. Pick up your rucks and start walking again. You don’t have enough food or ammo for what’s coming. Prep harder, train harder. Go back to your Churches. And while your at it, seek out training from experienced folks even if you think you know it all- because I promise you, that outside viewpoint or different opinion may make a big difference. You can’t learn it by only reading a blog; you have to go and do. Your enemy is training, and they want you dead. Reveille is sounding, American.  Do you hear it?

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Well said.

JCD,

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

We Are Expanding The Training Available From MDT.

 

For the last seven years, MDT has concentrated on teaching Wilderness Survival and Rural Buddy Team and Small Unit Tactics. I have been teaching the majority of the classes at Echo Valley Training Center  near Winchester VA. for the last six years. I am pleased to finally be able to announce that the live fire shoot house is complete, and while we’re at it, we can talk about the 650 meter range they built at EVTC this past year, and the long range marksmanship course we will be offering.

EVTC now has a live fire shoot house, so I will finally be able to conduct live fire room clearing training at that facility. Although the primary direction this class will go in is to help the individual or Buddy Team learn how to properly clear a building, we will probably have small teams/groups who also want to learn this important skill in a realistic, but safe environment. I think it is important to “Do it for real” with close quarters training, just like we do with the SUT training. Most facilities don’t have the ability to do live fire in a shoot house. We do.

EVTC now also has a 650 meter linear range to teach a long range marksmanship course (I’ve had a number of inquiries over the last 7 years). The intent behind this class is to teach the long range (anything beyond 300 meters is long range) marksman how to accurately engage a target with a high probability of a first round hit. Teaching how to select proper equipment, learning how to use that equipment, and understanding it’s general and specific internal and external performance and the affect different environments has on that performance will be part of the course.

The fieldcraft that goes hand in hand with realistic, long range shooting (for instance, position selection and development), will also be a part of the course that is being developed, but this course is primarily about teaching long distance shooting and how to get the most out of what you are using.

This is not a “How to be a sniper” course. It will be geared towards the Survivalist who wants to learn how to connect at long range on a small target first time, every time. Whether it is a deer needed for the freezer, or an “IDENTIFIED” bad guy who is taking pot shots at your group is not the important focus of this class. One of the things that will be discussed is “how far is too far?” for the cartridge you are using. For instance, I personally will not shoot a deer past 650 meters with my .308Win because of all the variables that can affect that bullet’s flight and can cause a miss, or worse yet, a wounded animal.

Both of these classes will start to be offered in 2018, and you will know they are available when they appear on the Mason Dixon Tactical website.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE