The right to self-defense

January 30, 2018

God not only defends his people, but expects them to act in their own defense. They are to wisely plan their defense and put it into action, while still trusting God for its effectiveness. Current conditions in society justify having at least a few Safety Team members who are armed. But with the firepower comes responsibility. This means preparation, practice, and prudence.


Lessons Learned from the Vegas Sniper Attack – POLICE Magazine

December 30, 2017

Aggressive defense 

September 15, 2017

Bad guys get the advantage only if you let them. Want to win the fight? Then, you better bring an overly aggressive mindset.

Reprint. Take a read. Good info

June 26, 2017

Having trained a fair amount of law enforcement snipers and listened to them talk about the shortfalls in their training programs, I wanted to get the facts. Let’s face it: We all gripe, and sometimes we focus on the negatives instead of looking at things objectively.

By Caylen Wojcik

“So I conducted an informal survey, reaching out to 13 local and state agencies to get some visibility on how many training hours were dedicated to maintaining proficiency and readiness for snipers. The survey included part-time teams only, as this makes up the majority of departments and we didn’t want to skew the numbers.

Why? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted the hard numbers straight from the horse’s mouth. Second, I wanted to be able to identify a realistic amount of training hours from which I could derive a basic marksmanship training plan that law enforcement snipers could use to maintain the highest level of proficiency and readiness within the allotted time. With an average of 10 hours a month to train, we need to get rid of the fluff and cut to the chase.

What I’m about to outline is solely my opinion based on what I’ve come across in my time as a trainer and an operational sniper running a team and a platoon. If what you read is applicable to you or your requirements, great. If not, or if only some of it is applicable, then that’s great, too.

The focus is solely on marksmanship, as trying to cover all the skills in which a sniper needs to maintain proficiency could fill a book. Marksmanship is only 10 percent of a sniper’s mission, maybe less. But when the time comes to use those skills, they become 100 percent of your purpose, and failure is far from an option. The moment chooses you, and you’ve got to be ready for a wide variety of situations, so diversity in a training program is an absolute must. However, establishing both diversity and proficiency within a limited amount of time can be tricky at best. We must accept that being a sniper is a way of life. As such, you must source a large majority of your training time and knowledge on your own. It takes dedication, discipline and an innate desire to never settle for average. All of those things should be in our blood to begin with, so let’s get started.

From a marksmanship perspective, snipers require diversity. You never know what you’re going to be presented with on the crisis site, and your training needs to reflect that. You also need some sort of a metric for identifying strengths, weaknesses and progression of skills.

In order to do this, a member of the team should be keeping records of drills, individual scores, times (if applicable) and logging this data in an easy to interpret format. A lot of departments use scenario-based training, which takes a lot of time and effort to put together for the Disneyland-ride effect: Stand in line for an hour to get five minutes of fun. Purpose-built drills are far more beneficial to building the critical skills the sniper needs to be effective. Scenarios are a great tool but should be viewed as a culmination for team interoperability training and used sparingly. Below are some drills that compose a qualification course for law enforcement snipers in our training program at Magpul Core. I’m also going to cover the progression of skills and tasks in my team if I were constructing the training plan.

First, before implementing any new training plan, take an inventory of skills and abilities from both the new guys and the senior guys. Spend a couple of hours and do the following: Confirm your cold-shots. Check zeros with both open-air ammo and barrier ammo, if you have it. Confirm zeros with night optics if you have them. Check point-ofimpact shift through glass with both barrier ammo and open-air ammo. The bottom line: That stuff is mission critical, and it’s got to be 100 percent dialed. Next, take an inventory exam of basic sniper marksmanship.

That’s going to be the following drills:

This is a simple, no-stress command fire shot meant to test the shooter’s ability to apply the proper trigger control for a command-initiated assault. Prone, command fire. Pass/Fail.

These three drills test the shooter’s ability to rapidly construct an alternate position
and precisely engage a life-size hostage target. From each distance the shooter will sprint 50 yards to the barricade, build a supported position and fire one round in one minute. 100 yards: standing only. 150 yards: kneeling or standing. 200 yards: kneeling or sitting. Pass/Fail.

The dot drill is an excellent drill to identify a wide variety of marksmanship issues.
It’s mainly focused on the rapid acquisition of a sight picture and the balance of speed and precision. The top dot is shot from the prone, two rounds in 30 seconds. The next row of five dots is shot from the prone, strong side, one round per dot in 30 seconds. The second row of five dots is shot from the prone, support side, one round per dot in 40 seconds. The third row of dots is shot with the rifle staged on the deck and the shooter in the standing position. On command, the shooter will fire one round from the prone, per dot, per iteration in the following time limits: 20, 18, 15, 12 and 10 seconds. For the last row, the shooter will stand with the rifle at the low ready and on command move to the deck and fire one round from the prone, per dot, per iteration in the following time limits: 30, 25, 20, 18 and 15 seconds. Score it 4½ points per hit, 17 hits required for 80 percent.

The tripod break-out drill is used to test the shooter’s familiarity with their equipment and their ability to rapidly deploy said equipment to deliver a precise shot under a time constraint. This drill is shot from 80 yards using 3-inch colored shapes as the targets. The shooter will sprint 50 yards, build a standing or kneeling shooting position with either a tripod or a barricade and engage four shapes with one round each in 90 seconds. This is repeated four times for a total of 16 rounds fired. Score it 6¼ points per hit, 13 hits required for 80 percent.

The stress shoot is designed to test the shooter’s ability to manage breathing, trigger control and fundamentals while under physical stress. This drill is shot from the prone at 100 yards and 1¼-inch targets can be used. The rifle is staged at the firing point with a pile of 16 loose rounds of ammunition 25 yards behind it. On command, the shooter will move from the rifle to the ammunition, retrieve one round, move to the rifle and engage one target. This process will repeat until 16 rounds have been fired or the time limit of seven minutes runs out. Score it 6¼ points per hit, 13 hits required for 80 percent.

This is used for a variety of purposes. It builds confidence and will show the shooter how to build their own system for gear management when moving into a firing position so they can maximize their effectiveness on the crisis site. This drill uses steel targets ranging in distance from 150 to 500 yards, and uses sizes from 8 inches up-close to man-sized plates at the far distances. The shooter starts approximately 25 yards from the firing line with their equipment packed and callout ready. On command, the shooter will have 10 minutes to move to the position and locate and construct a range card for all targets. At the completion of time, the shooter must be ready to engage the first target. The first fourtargets must be shot from the standing, targets 5 through 8 can be shot from either kneeling or standing and targets 9 and 10 can be shot from standing, kneeling or sitting. For beginners, four rounds can be fired per target and hits are scored 10, 8, 6 and 4. Fourth round misses are zeros. A total of 80 points is a passing score.

These drills are a good baseline to start establishing proficiency within your team. There are 98 rounds fired if the shooter fires four rounds at each target on the unknown distance shoot, and 68 rounds fired if the unknown distance shoot is shot clean. All six of the drills can be shot in a few hours if the logistics are coordinated carefully. They cover a wide variety of skills that each sniper should be proficient in. Looking at each one objectively, you can quickly identify the skills required to accomplish each and how those skills can translate directly to real-world situations. These drills can also be modified to suit a particular
scenario. We can shrink the times to increase difficulty if plateaus occur.

As an example for advanced students, the tripod unknown distance shoot can be made more realistic by enclosing the shooter in an average-sized residential room and placing one or two obstacles in front of them, simulating windows. Or incorporate defeating a barrier into the barricade supported hostage shoots. Use your imagination to incorporate realism into the fundamentals.

Once the baseline scores are established, we can quickly identify strengths and weaknesses within the team. Each training session should begin with a core skill, such as a cold-shot stress shoot or a full-gear breakout to an unconventional position. Next, move into a fundamental warm-up drill. That could be a version of the 21-dot drill, but on a more generous timeline. Once that’s complete, move into an area of weakness that requires improvement from the majority of the team. Maybe that’s tripod breakout drills or building unconventional positions. Every training session should at least include the following:

Kick-off with a core skill, shot cold for score or pass/fail.
F undamental warm-up.
Skill-building drills that focus on improving weaknesses.
Some sort of stress event for recorded score.
If possible, end with another fundamental drill.
The team leader should be responsible for gathering scores and inputting them into some sort of database to track progress. It doesn’t do any good to not track progression, as that’s what allows us to ensure our training time is spent wisely. It also holds us accountable to focus on what we’re not good at, because let’s face it, no one likes to do what we suck at! We learn from our failures with far greater clarity than our successes.

Marksmanship is just one area in which a sniper must remain proficient; there’s also fieldcraft, camouflage, movement and, for some snipers, maintaining a dual-role as an entry team member. With such a short period of time to train, snipers must focus on being disciplined with time, resources and money allotted in order to maintain a high level of readiness. Establish a routine, track progress and focus on building core skills that apply directly to what your team will need the next time you get called out. You will have no idea what tool you’re going to need until the last minute, or maybe even the last second. You don’t choose the moment; it chooses you.

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Tactical shooting thoughts

May 29, 2017

Tactical Carbine Techniques
Richard Nance talks with Special Missions Unit Member, Craig Palmer about using a carbine rifle in tactical situations.
To be a successful shooter, you must have a few things going for you: a good sight picture, a smooth trigger pull and follow-through as the shot is fired. With the general-purpose rifle, or AR as some call it, there are a few other things that can help increase your effectiveness at tactical shooting

Today, I still often see people placing their support hand on the front of the magazine well in tactical shooting. This isn’t a huge problem — unless you’re worried about accuracy, speed and retention of the carbine. As a tactical shooting instructor, I would stack these three as prerequisites for employment of this system.

Many people engaged in tactical shooting feel that reaching farther out on the carbine’s handguard is a nontactical technique. They feel that a more compressed body position is better when pulling the trigger. I could not disagree more with this statement.

As a tactical shooter and a tactical shooting trainer, I motivate our students to be as accurate as possible while pushing their speed to the ragged edge. With the hand holding the front of the magazine well, you’re giving up the leverage you need to move the muzzle quickly from target to target as well as hold it steady when you arrive at the aforementioned target in tactical shooting.

Grabbing the magazine well of the rifle doesn’t help your tactical shooting stance in any way. It will slow you down and is a good way to cause a malfunction if you cover the dustcover.

Couple this with the fact that you will more than likely be operating at night, so a light or laser will also be used while tactical shooting. If you look at your carbine, attaching the pressure pad or light mount to the forearm just makes practical sense. Let’s go a step further.

In carbine competition shooting, the best of the best in tactical shooting will shoot with the support hand pushed significantly out on the forend of the rifle. I believe that the use of this grip in competition is part of the reason tactical shooters have been slow to adopt the technique as well.

Slide your hand forward until it feels comfortable. This will help you drive the carbine and control recoil. Lamb prefers a short vertical grip to pull back against.

Many of those in tactical shooting feel threatened by civilian competition shooters and their abilities, so it makes sense to simply say, “That is a competition thing; I am a tactical shooter.” This is a cop-out. If competition shooters can shoot faster than tactical shooters in a tactical shooting situation with increased accuracy, why wouldn’t we adopt their technique as quickly as possible?

Only you can answer that question. I am a tactical shooter who loves competition, so I want every possible advantage I can obtain from the tactical shooting and competition arenas as long as it fits sensibly into my world.

If you allow your firing hand to slide down, you lose power.

Extended free-floated rail systems have allowed us to easily move our support hand as far out as we deem necessary to drive the rifle quickly in tactical shooting. I also use a short vertical grip to allow the rifle to be pulled stiffly back into my shoulder, which helps with recoil management as well. You cannot totally eliminate recoil with the AR, but you can adapt to it quickly.

As with the pistol, I try to keep my shooting hand somewhat more relaxed than my support hand. Since the strong hand is manipulating the trigger, I need finer control and less tension to help with this process. At the same time, I do try to get a high grip on the pistol grip to help with control. Any space left between your firing hand and the bottom of the lower receiver will work against you when shooting quickly.

Get a good grip. This will help with recoil, accuracy and speed.

Shortening your buttstock is not the answer for allowing the support arm to reach forward. A collapsed buttstock takes away the needed power from your shooting and fighting stance. Some schools teach a completely different stance for tactical shooting than we would generally fight from.

I am of the belief that a fight is a fight, so get into a good fighting stance. This may mean using a rifle or pistol, or, if you live in a state that does not allow law-abiding citizens to own guns, you better get good with your fists. All of these stances should be very similar.

Your shooting stance should be a fighting stance. Keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet.

If you are planning to fight with your fists, put them up in a position where you feel most powerful. Now adjust your buttstock so your fists can stay in the same position with the carbine. An easy way to quickly determine the correct length of pull is to place the buttstock in the crook of your shooting elbow and grab the pistol grip. If your wrist has to be bent or distorted to grab the pistol grip, your stock is too short.

Back to the task at hand. What is the correct distance to slide your hand forward on the forend of the carbine? This is a question that only you can answer. I like to reach out pretty far, but then again, I have long arms. When I reach, I do not twist my elbow up and over so that I become contorted, as this adds stress to the support arm and does not allow for speed when driving the gun. It is also slower to conduct manipulations with a contorted arm and elbow. I do clamp the forend with my support-hand thumb riding down the side of the rail, and sometimes I place it over the top of the rail if the circumference of the tube is small enough.

Don’t over-contort with your support arm; added tension will slow you down. Get comfortable, and drive the gun.

Ideally, you must also be able to access your light and laser switches if you are operating in the tactical shooting world, so be aware of how you will make this happen. I have tried many different setups, and I always seem to come back to an upper-left or lower-right mount.

If I have a 12 o’clock laser in place, I use the white light mounted on the lower right, which allows the thumb to reach past the vertical grip and activate the push button on the rear of the light. When shooting with the support hand, I can still reach the light by loosening my grip and reaching forward with my thumb. If I’m not using a laser, I can use the same light positioning or place the light on the top left edge of the rail, allowing the right and left thumbs to reach the light’s tailcap if things get dark and scary.

If you are using a laser, the forward hand can access the pressure pad. Simply swing the thumb under and around the vertical grip to access the rear pad on the flashlight.

The last technique is the positioning of the shooting-side elbow. In the past, we would see a lot of shooters with the shooting elbow held relatively high, and this continues to transcend from rifles to ARs even though it is not necessary for a great tactical shooting position.

Lowering the shooting elbow will help you maintain cover as well as allow for smooth movement in and around obstacles. If you need to throw an atomic elbow during a close-quarters confrontation, having the elbow already low will allow you to step into it and throw a very vicious blow.

When you get into your aggressive shooting stance, ensure that you get your elbow down. You don’t want to provide a target for the bad guy.

Head out to the range, and see what works for you. Try sliding your support hand forward, and practice pushing the carbine quickly from one target to the next. You will soon see how much quicker you move and better you will be able to control your carbine once you arrive on the next target in a tactical shooting situation.

Deadliest Snipers and their tools of choice.

March 20, 2017

These Are the 10 Deadliest Snipers in History


Extreme marksmanship has been a part of war ever since firearms became the tools of choice. There are just some people who can do things with a rifle that others cannot.

The following list contains what we believe to be the 10 deadliest snipers of all time. The list may not be ordered based on the number of confirmed kills or the longest shots made, but by taking into account an entire career.

10. Senior Sergeant Roza Shanina, Soviet Red Army

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Shanina was one of the more well known female snipers in history. She joined the Soviet Army after her brother was killed in 1941. As a marksman she amassed 59 confirmed kills in her very short career. She rose to command the 1st Sniper Platoon (184th Rifle Division). She was awarded the Orders of Glory and Medal of Courage. She was killed while shielding a commanding officer during an artillery attack at the young age of 20.

9. Sergeant Fyodor Okhlopkov, Soviet Red Army


Okhlopkov is credited as being one of the most effective Soviet snipers during World War II. He is credited with 429 kills. His service earned him the Hero of the Soviet Union in 1965 as well as an Order of Lenin. Okhlopkov was initially passed over for these awards due to his ethnicity.

8. Billy Dixon, American Civilian

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Billy Dixon is one of only eight American civilians to receive the Medal of Honor. Dixon helped found the Adobe Walls settlement in Texas during his time as a buffalo hunter. When the settlement was attacked by hundreds of Native Americans, Dixon ended the battle by using a borrowed .50-90 Sharps rifle to shoot and kill the chief of the attackers nearly a mile away. Dixon took three rounds to make the shot and later acknowledged it was a “scratch shot”. However, that didn’t stop the rest of the country from naming it “The Shot of the Century”.

Following his time as a hunter, Dixon became a civilian Army Scout. During this time, Dixon and four Army Cavalrymen were surrounded during the Battle of Buffalo Wallow. Dixon’s sustained, accurate rifle fire held the enemy off for three days until weather forced them to end their attack. For his actions during this battle he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Dixon’s total kill count during the battles is unknown.

7. Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Soviet Red Army

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Major Pavlichenko is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history with 309 confirmed kills. Pavlichenko was a 24 year old university student when Germany invaded Russia in World War II. She was one of the first sets of citizens to volunteer for service and specifically requested infantry service. She refused an offer to become a nurse. Due to her accuracy with a rifle she became one of the first 2,000 female snipers in the Soviet Union. She was one of only 500 to survive the war.

6. Staff Sergeant Adelbert Waldron, United States Army

Waldron served in the Vietnam War and racked up 109 confirmed kills, the most of any marksman during the conflict. According to Sniper: Master of Terrain, Technology, And Timing, He Is A Hunter Of Human, Adrian Gilbert:


One afternoon he was riding along the Mekong River on a Tango boat when an enemy sniper on shore pecked away at the boat. While everyone else on board strained to find the antagonist, who was firing from the shoreline over 900 meters away, Sergeant Waldron took up his sniper rifle and picked off the Vietcong out of the top of a coconut tree with one shot (this from a moving platform). Such was the capability of our best sniper.

5. Master Corporal Rob Furlong, Canadian Forces

Furlong, for a time, held the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in military history at 2,657 yd. According to Wikipedia:

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In March 2002, Furlong participated in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan’s Shah-i-Kot Valley. His sniper team included MCpl. Graham Ragsdale (Team Commander), MCpl. Tim McMeekin, MCpl. Arron Perry, and Cpl. Dennis Eason. A group of three Al-Qaeda fighters were moving into a mountainside position when Furlong took aim with his Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW), a .50-caliber McMillan Brothers Tac-50 rifle, loaded with Hornady A-MAX 750 gr very-low-drag bullets. He began firing at a fighter carrying an RPK machine gun. Furlong’s first shot missed and his second shot hit the knapsack on the target’s back. The third struck the target’s torso, killing him. The distance was measured as 2,430 m (2,657 yd). With a muzzle speed of 823 m/s (2,700 ft/s), each shot reached the target almost four seconds after Furlong fired. This became the longest sniper kill in history at the time, surpassing the previous record set by his teammate, Master-Corporal Arron Perry, by 120 m (130 yd).

4. Captain Vasily Zaytsev, Soviet Red Army

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Zaytsev took part in one of the most iconic sniper battles of all time – The Battle of Stalingrad. During that battle, Zaytsev racked up 225 of his 400+ confirmed kills. This includes the killing of 11 enemy snipers which earned him lasting acclaim. Many of Zaytsev’s kills are credited at distances of greater than 1,000 meters. He often used a standard Mosin-Nagant rifle during battle. For his service, Zaytsev was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union award as well as the Four Orders of Lenin award.

3. Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, United States Navy SEAL

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No list of the deadliest snipers in history would be complete without Chris Kyle. Kyle is credited with being the deadliest sniper in United States history with 160 confirmed kills and numerous other unconfirmed kills. He received two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Kyle wrote a bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, which was later turned into one of the top grossing films of all time. Kyle, along with his friend Chad Littlefield were shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh at a shooting range in 2013.

2. Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock, United States Marines

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Carlos Hathcock is regarded as one of the most prolific US snipers in history. While his kill count isn’t as high as Kyle’s and his shot distance may not be the longest ever recorded, Hathcock is considered the best sniper in US history, even by Kyle, who once said “I had more kills, but that doesn’t mean I’m better than (Hathcock) is. I was just put into a position where I had more opportunities. I definitely cheated. I used a ballistic computer that tells me everything to do. So, I was just a monkey on a gun.”

Hathcock once rigged an optic to an M2 machine gun and used it to record a confirmed kill at 2,500 yd, which is still the 5th longest confirmed sniper kill in history. Hathcock amassed 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War.

1. Second Lieutenant Simo Häyhä, Finnish Army

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Simo Häyhä is the single most successful sniper in military history. Nicknamed the “White Death” for his totally white camouflage and eerie white mask he wore in combat, the Finnish marksman amassed at least 505 confirmed sniper kills during the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union. He recorded an additional 200 kills with a submachine gun. More amazingly, Häyhä recorded all of his sniper kills without using an optic. His Mosin–Nagant rifle was equipped only with iron sights. Häyhä died of old age in 2002, living to the age of 96

Fun fact

March 16, 2017

The number of civilian-owned firearms in the US grew 66% between 1991 and 2011, leading the firearm murder rate to decline 52%. #guns #2a


March 16, 2017

You can pass all the gun laws you want, but criminals are going to ignore it because they are criminals. – Marco Rubio

According to the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, US civilians use guns to defend themselves and others at least 989,883 times per year.

March 16, 2017

Did you know?

March 16, 2017

People with concealed carry permits are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public.