The Forgotten Art of the Rifle

It is interesting to see a change in ideas and philosophies within the industry. I can remember when the mention of a shot with a rifle outside of 50 yards was considered radical and to avoided at all costs.

Training, equipment and mission

I have never agreed with that assertion for too many reasons to list, but the one as it applies to this piece has to do with understanding the rifle. I have talked about this before, but it does the body good to reflect on it again and that a rifle is used for several purposes. Aside from it’s increased lethally, accuracy and capacity there is one that we often forget and that is range. Before you start coming up with all sorts of excuses, remember what separates us from the bad guys a lot of times is our training. Granted, we are seeing more highly trained enemy combatants these days, but it is our training and equipment married up with our mission that really separates us.

reach out and touch someone

The harsh reality is to truly appreciate the rifle means you have to put the hard work to be good with it and to take advantage of all the capability it brings to the fight. One could argue whether you are a civilian or law enforcement you will never have a need to engage a target at medium to extended ranges. That might be true, but that still doesn’t cut you any slack in my book. The benefits to shooting at distance are hard to quantify, but in a nut shell from an operational point of view you are engaging your opponent outside their skill threshold generally. That means you are able to put them in a defensive posture quickly if not permanently. It is not always possible, but at every opportunity you should seek to exploit distance, your maxim should be “maximize your distance.”

Software issue

The next important issue to remember is that engaging targets at distance require great skill, even more when you consider using a general purpose rifle not necessarily designed for accuracy. You can certainly optimize the rifle through the use of match grade ammunition, specialized optics and even visible/IR lasers, but they will only get you so far. Behind the trigger is still the shooter, the shooter that needs the skill to exploit those technological advantages not use them as a crutch. That is the biggest mistake I see in the current trend, forgoing skill for equipment. You can bet your bottom dollar it will not be a hardware issue, in my experience the issue is software related.

Accurate or fast

You have got to love hind sight, it is so crystal clear and you generally smack the side of your head and comment “duh.” The same can be said with rifle at distance and I mean truly being combat effective. We spend so much time working at the close range game that we forget the work that we need to put at distance. My belief is that speed is never lacking in gunfight. The desire to go fast is definitely helped when people start shooting at you, but that doesn’t mean your precision will be there. My belief is to work on your precision as your default setting regardless of range. By emphasizing the importance of technique to achieve precision produces a much better product, a product that can adapt on the battlefield. From close range to mid range and even further.

It’s great to see the evolution of our riflemen, but honestly we are paying for our sins. I can remember back in the day the commentary amongst my peers and the importance of skill regardless of range. It seems that was forgotten somewhat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *