This is the first of what equates to a regular column here from me. I will be putting up articles every couple week on a variety of subjects but focusing on running a gun. I will do my best not to get too much into equipment as there are a thousand other people who can write a review on something. Thanks for your support!
As this is number one, let me bring you up to speed. My last 6 years in the Army was spent shooting, talking about shooting, typing about shooting, and teaching shooting. This resulted (thanks to many friends, enemies, and luck) in a paradigm shift in US Army doctrine and nearly 2000 students turned into better shooters. During that time, I learned much and improved my own personal shooting significantly. That in turn resulted in more learning and applying that back to my shooting. Something about it felt wrong though and I couldn’t place it until retirement gave me some separation from the Game. Shooting well is only one piece of the puzzle. We spend 70% of our time on equipment, 20% on shooting, 5% on fixing equipment and the last 5% is split between tactics and things that don’t apply to us. Granted, the internet is not a place to lay out tactics in depth because of context and lack of security but people apply this to their lives as well. If you don’t know why or what you are doing, then you are not choosing the right equipment. Richard Machowitz (RIP Mack NDCQ) said in Unleashing the Warrior Within, Mission dictates the target, target dictates the weapon, weapon dictates the movement. If you aren’t following this, then you are simply following market trends and being a good consumer.
My “mission” currently is the Precision Rifle Series Gas Gun. This series is two highest scoring matches over the year plus the finale score for final placement over the year. For this I need to be able to print as close to 1 MOA regardless of position as possible. I also need to have the ability to engage targets from 200-800 yards and get hits as fast as possible on 2-3 MOA targets. The scoring is time based and a miss can cost you 30 seconds or more. Most stages are 90 or 120 seconds in length. This means my movement needs to be efficient before the shot process even begins. The weapon I am using is a Knight’s Armament Company Light Precision Rifle (LPR). Some stages I will be using a bipod and many I will be using an Armageddon Gear Game Changer. The weight is very different in either configuration and this changes movement.
Amazingly, the rifle is the least of my concerns. It prints well enough that any miss is my fault. The NightForce optic is powerful enough and clear enough that it is not an issue. It is also reliable under all conditions. Expending any more energy on gun stuff is a waste of time for me. Where energy needs to be expended is moving into position and getting stable. If you are up to speed on my other works, you know the flow is stability, aim and control. Getting into position and stable enough to aim with the proper hold for a 200-800-yard 2-3 MOA target is vital for mission success.
That is where the gunslinging comes in. Notice I did not say gunfighting. Yes, much of what I am doing translates into gunfighting but if I am fighting with that rifle, things have taken a drastic turn and a miss has a much stiffer penalty. So, I use gunslinging for competition and gunfighting for well, you get it. For the 97% we are Gunslingers vs Gunfighters. Many of us might be former Gunfighters but if you are out of the Game you are out of the Game.
My intent for this series is to break down into the weeds of Gunslinging. I know at some point I will post something that is wrong or lacking clarity. Often, I will post something that is above the level of understanding as there are many concepts that experience matters. When that happens, I will do my best to clarify or follow up on our various networks. It will also build more articles based off comments. I make no claim to be the best writer, trainer, or Gunslinger and while it may read that way, I know my weaknesses better than most.