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Tactical Topics: Rifle Fundamentals and Adaptability

In this day and age, there are a myriad of excellent and “tacticool” cosmetics and enhancingtools one can employ on their rifle platform, and there are...

here as many formulas of performance and tactical shooting taught by instructors the world over. However, there should be a constant reminder and understanding that these aspects are merely meant to enhance your core abilities when using a rifle—Optics can be damaged or fail, a dynamic style may not be best suited for the environment you are operating or find yourself stuck in, and there is a lot ofunnecessary “flashy” kit out there that can straight-up inhibit your performance and survivability in the field or when the shit hits the fan. Today we are going to focus on some core fundamentals and concepts of adaptability. When it comes to rifle usage—and more importantly failures or problems with function, always remember the tried and true acronym S.P.O.R.T.S. - Slap, Pull, Observe, Release, Tap, and Shoot. This has been implemented and used conventionally for over 40 years:

  • - SLAP upward on the magazine to ensure it is properly seated.

  • - PULL the charging handle all the way rearward.

  • - OBSERVE the ejection of the case/ cartridge, look into the chamber and check for obstructions.

  • - RELEASE the charging handle and feed a new round into the chamber, don’t “ride” the charging handle—let it function as designed.

  • - TAP the forward assist (if applicable, some platforms don’t have this feature, so in that case push the charging handle forward).

  • - SHOOT, if the rifle still doesn’t fire, inspect it to determine the stoppage/ malfunction and further take remedial action to get it back in the fight. When you are shooting, remember to space your shots with your breathing pattern. At each peak/ rise of breath, squeeze the trigger, with each trough/ bottom of your exhale, squeeze the trigger. Do this in a controlled manner, after some time or in necessity to increase volume of fire for suppression or immediate threat elimination you can time additional shots at the middle point of taking your breath and your exhale, doubling the volume of fire accurately. This is generally done in Semiautomatic fire control setting, but can also be done with Burst or Rapid/ Automatic fire control settings—if in Automatic setting, try to control the volume of fire to bursts (inhale and briefly hold your breath for the burst, then exhale) unless out of necessityyou need to “mag-dump” and pull a shitload of rounds on target or suppression. These arefundamentals too often forgotten by all degrees of experience shooters and professionals, adrenaline is a great aid in combat but you cannot let it rule your performance or clarity of thought. Stay in control of yourself and your rifle. This brings me to the other primary topic in this blog—your rifle setup. As mentioned before, there are many great add-on components out there for your rifle, but if you can’t proficiently shoot with your iron sights, there’s no point in using some fancy optic. In MANY cases inforeign countries and outside the wire as a privateer be it a Defense Contractor, Volunteer,


Freelancer (Merc), Executive Protection Specialist or otherwise, you likely won’t even have the luxury of using an add-on optic, especially if you are procuring the rifle locally in the region you are working/ operating. You NEED to be able to know how to shoot with basic sights, and in that with various platforms—an M16/ AR15 iron sight is nothing like an AK-47’s, or a G3’s, and so on and so forth. You should always familiarize yourself and train on multiple platforms to understand the dynamic and functional differences of all of these common weapon systems employed around the world. You never know when that fancy holographic optic is going to have the battery die, or if your ACOG gets damaged from shrapnel or cracks the lens after dropping, and you have to revert to the basics—the fundamentals and adaptability therein WILL save your ass when shit gets hot. And with that, train and access different platforms/ types of rifles as often as possible. Also, get some dummy rounds to dry-fire practice and drill clearing rooms—especially with the current ammo prices as they are, it is a practical way to keep up to snuff on your basics withoutbreaking the bank or depleting your resources too much if your employer isn’t footing the bill. Remember, you are your first and last line of defense-- keep a clear head, stay alert, stay alive, stay lethal. About the author: Derek (aka “The Metalhead Mercenary”) is a US Army Infantry Veteran and seasoned Private Security Contractor and Executive Protection Specialist with a combined 21 years of experience. He still currently works in the industry. Gutter Fighting Secrets, 2021.

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