Shoot em’ To The Ground!

From the Archives, 2019

Watching this video of a nut with a knife getting perforated reminded me of this article I did last year. With the recent increase in general anarchy and POS high on drugs like PCP, make sure you guys are running drills like this on a regular basis. Never assume “Two rounds and assess” will do the job! Shoot them to the Ground!


GBI releases body cam footage, other information about fatal OIS of man armed with butcher knife

Vids like this make me reassess my Combat Pistol Training.

A crazed nut with a butcher knife charges you.

You shoot him four to five times center of mass from a distance of less than 10 yards. He gets back up and charges you again.

I am not a Cop, but there were some questionable choices made here, the biggest one being why go to tazer after you have already shot him five times? You think Electricity trumps the Kinetic energy of a bullet? I mean it was already a lethal force incident, why go down a notch on the use of force scale when you and your partners life is on the line? He had a clear shot for like 30 seconds after he got up, empty the mag, reload and empty that mag if necessary!

At any rate, as an armed citizen it makes you consider the importance of “Shooting them to the Ground” every time, without fail.

Do you have a drill that practices this scenario? If not, rectify it now!

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!


Balancing Safety and Realism in Civilian Firearms Training

From the Archives, 2014


The following video was sent to be by a good friend who routinely trains with a former Spetsnaz member. At first glance, most people’s reactions are the same “This is CRAZY!!”but not until the end where Larry “arfcom” Vickers explains these are extremely advanced RUSSIAN FSB MILITARY Courses of Fire, meant for advanced SF MILITARY OPERATORS do things start to make some sense as to the reasoning why somebody would do a drill so risky and potentially lethal!

I had the opportunity to take a 2 day Advanced AK rifle class from a former FSB operator a few years back. I was aware of his background and “unorthodox” training methods well before I ever signed up for the class, and I was extremely excited to get to train with him. What I took away from the class was several things: (1) I need to shoot my rifle more (2) Unlike most firearms classes I had taken before, safety was not continually “harped” on; the training took priority, and because of that, I was able to assimilate much more information.

This is not to say the class was unsafe in any way, quite the contrary, it was very safe, it was just that notorious “Gun-Range Safety Nazi” mentality did not exist for this guy; he was not raised around it in Russia, it was not something that was “ingrained” into him; the only thing that mattered to this guy was the training and sharpening the edge.

What I experienced at that class was what civilian firearms training should and could be. I realized in an instant that the focus and mentality of most civilian training here in the states was skewed. Safety had become the overwhelming priority to the point that a weird “sub-culture” had emerged around it, and now, instead of talking about new and better ways to train and improve our readiness as armed civilians, people were devoting entire online forums to trainers who were “unsafe”.

Now let me be clear; In no way am I trying to advocate that  the “Shoot me at close range” drill in the video above is something civilians should ever attempt or try to implement in their training regimen; NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT! As stated in the video, that is a drill meant for Highly-Trained Military Operators, not civilians! What I am advocating is that we, as concerned, responsible, civilian operators, take a very hard look at how Civilian Firearms Personal Defense Training is done. Is the training really made a priority or is firearms safety too highly emphasized to the point of being “excessive/obsessive-compulsive” about every little thing, ie, “The Gun-Range Safety-Nazi-Syndrome??”

So, what happened to us? Why has this “syndrome” infected almost all gun ranges and firearms training courses in America? In a word: LIABILITY. In our overly “litigious” society, firearm trainers who operate independent facilities simply have to “CYA” in these areas; their very livelihoods and financial futures are at stake otherwise. Lawsuits, Lawyers and Umbrella Liability Insurance Policies are expensive; extended litigation in court for personal injuries or worse, a wrongful death/manslaughter suit, where a judge/jury could find the trainers actions either  “Reckless” or “Criminally Negligent” are basically a death sentence for the trainer and his company. In the age of social media it only takes a few hours for a person’s reputation to be destroyed, regardless if the “facts” of the case are pure conjecture or not.

Another reason I believe the “gun-safety nazi” craze is so prevalent is due in large part to the liberal agenda that ATTEMPTS to cast further dispersion on legal gun owners and people who train with weapons for self-defense.

Oh, I can hear it now: “OMG!! Now, he is blaming the Liberals, what next, the Illuminati!?” But seriously, ask yourself, haven’t you noticed an inordinate amount of news “reports” or “special documentaries” by shows like Dateline, 20/20, Frontline, etc. on either “gun safety”, “kids and guns”, “accidents with guns by kids”, etc.?

I know I am not the only one who has noticed this trend, right? The goal of course for all of this is to try to convince mainstream America that Guns are just”unsafe” and only “certain people” (ie Law Enforcement) need to have access to them. To further this point consider President Obama’s current nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, a rabid anti-gun activist and promoter of the “Orwellian” ideal of combining “healthcare and gun control”. Consider for a moment how that dovetails in nicely with “obamacare” and you get the picture. This is the  man the government wants to put in charge of the entire nation’s “Health and Safety?”. Laughable.


Former Season 3 Top-Shot Champion, Dustin Ellerman , who owns and operates Camp His Way, which offer Marksmanship Classes for both adults and youth (see the Review of the Youth Marksmanship Class HERE) had this to say about the over-emphasis on Firearms Safety:

“Sometimes we get so carried away because of liability and the anti-gun homophobic crowd we can go overboard on safety.  This of course is magnified online and self-appointed “safety-nazis” who will flame a shooter if they see them shooting without ear protection even if it’s a suppressed firearm!”


Paul Howe, former Army Delta Force Operator and owner/operator of CSAT, gave us his take from a trainers perspective:

“Many instructors end up screaming at students for safety violations that students are unaware of.  This is counter productive to training.  Remember, students are new to your system and way of doing things.  Some are new students that do not know, some are older students that learned a certain way of doing things and have “training scars” to undo.  Instructors should build a stair-stepped training sequence that builds and ingrains a safe way of doing things.  In short, you have to show the students what you want them to do and how you want them to do it and then they need to practice it to ingrain it so they create a good habit during your training program.  Good instructors take the time to ensure this training sequence is in place.
So after experiencing that rifle class, I knew that in addition to doing away with the “safety nazi’s”, the civilian self-defense firearm training paradigm needed to be overhauled if the CO wanted to train realistically and have a real shot at being adequately prepared.

After some reflection, I came up with this:

1. Abandon the Square-Range. Literally if possible, Mentally if NOT possible

We live in a 360 degree world, where threats can come from any direction. In drills, a Square -Range cannot address that. Of course for some, this may be impossible due to not having access to a place to drill live-fire 360 degrees. That is why I added the caveat of abandoning the square range MENTALLY and then implementing live-fire later. Since repetition creates habits (good or bad), most of these drills can be done with dry fire, your goal being to flush those bad habits that the square range has bred.  I will be doing a series of installments on how you can do that incrementally in your training.

2.  Abandon the “Competition” Mentality

This goes along with flushing all the bad habits associated with the square range. Combat Shooting and Competition Shooting are not the same animal.  IDPA and IPSC used timed drills to induce stress to simulate the stress of combat shooting. What was born out of this, was a generation of shooters who placed more emphasis on marksmanship (“tight groups” and “shooting the x ring out”) rather than Combat Accuracy, that is to say, shooting to live and going home rather than points on a scoreboard to boost our ego’s. Bottom line: any hit on the attacker’s boiler-room (chest) or Hard Drive (head) is good for you, bad for them!

Two other “ill” side-effects of the “Competition Mentality” are first, allowing the course of fire to dictate the speed in which you move, regardless of the specific tactical situation and second, always firing a specific number of rounds instead of what the bad guy (or situation) dictates you fire to neutralize them.

Here is what Paul Howe said in his article “Avoiding Fantasy Gunfight Training”

“Who dictates the speed of a fight? The bad guy and how fast he falls does. It might be a fast or slow process (the bad guy dying), but one should get in the habit of solving one problem at a time before moving on to multiple threats. You can shoot two rounds on paper or ping a piece of steel and move on to the next target, but in reality, two rounds punching paper or the sound of steel being struck may not solve your problem.”


3.  Coordinate Timed Drills with Cognitive Stress Drills to Induce Stress and reinforce Discretionary Shooting

We saw an example of this in the second drill in the FSB Vid above. When me make the shooter engage the cognitive part of his brain while addressing threats we make him reinforce Discretionary Shooting. The civilian has to remember that in our overly eager “lawsuit happy” litigious society, that for every bullet he fires in self-defense, there will be a lawyer and a lawsuit attached to each one! So, as the LE/Military Operator has to make sure he can control the trajectory of each round he fires to avoid collateral damage, so must the civilian operator be certain that every round he fires is as responsible as possible.

One of the best Cognitive Targets is the multi-colored/shaped and numbered paper targets from LE Targets. We saw something very similar in the video, where a certain number/color/shape had to be shot while at the same time  negotiating various “stressors” (people yelling/pushing him). To be realistic as possible, the CO should use both Environmental and Physiological stressors.  Environmental Stressors would include things such as random gunfire, people yelling and screaming, car horns, etc. Physiological Stressors would include your own body’s reaction to stress, such as: increased heart-rate, sweaty palms, sweat in your eyes, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skill, slowing down of time, etc. Prior intense exercise combined with timed evolutions and a continuous flow of movement will produce some of these effects.

 4. Movement = Life

Gunfights do not happen in a vacuum; they are dynamic and fluid and a majority of the time, over in under a minute. Despite what you see from Hollywood, when bullets start flying, people start moving, very quickly and to cover if possible. If our training is to be realistic, we must place a higher priority on displacement (ie Getting off the X) and moving toward cover than being able to shoot precisely 100% of the time. I remember a certain instructor once asking me if it was more important to “shoot the enemy” or “not get shot”; being young and full of piss and vinegar, I answered it was more important to be able to kill the enemy, thinking the alternative answer would make me sound like a coward. I was wrong. “If you get shot, your combat efficiency goes to ZERO, you are of no use.” To fully understand this concept, consider the OODA loop; when we move, even if it just a simple lateral sidestep, we reset our opponents OODA loop, he now has to REACT to you versus ACT on you, which puts you seconds ahead of the eight ball in the fight, and seconds count!

5. Fitness and the “Combative Continuum”

The age-old false belief that having a gun solves all your problems needs to be dismissed. It has encouraged laziness and lethargy in the area of CO fitness for some time. Being that most civilian shootings are well under 10 feet, having a set of combative strikes in your toolbox to gain both distance and time from your attacker is mandatory. You also have to understand that not all encounters will call for lethal force. The student must have the mentality of “One Mind, Any Weapon” and believe that no matter what they have in their hand; stick, knife, gun or even bare-fisted, they can still fight and inflict damage (even lethal), if need be. By the same token, if the CO is out of breath 15 seconds into the fight, or has zero upper body strength, everything we just talked about is a moot point. Now before you get discouraged because of age or disability, I am not talking about a “Rambo” Fitness routine, just a basic set of cardio and resistance/strength training that is tailored around handling the effects of stress during a fight. Combative sparring combined with Force-on-Force drills with training weapons is a great way to begin.

6.  The “Sight Continuum” Concept

Simply put, the Sight Continuum poses the question to the student: “When do you have to use your sights?” The KISS answer: “When you need too.” Understanding that the need for accuracy varies in combat shooting, unlike Competition shooting, where a majority of people have learned basic marksmanship (ie, The Modern Technique). Understanding that in Combat Shooting, Distance and Need for Precision are going to be the two biggest factors in having to use your sights. If a bad guy is 6 feet from you and closing with quickly, the need for sighted fire is a moot point, (unless of course he has a hostage and you can only take a head shot, in which case, a fast precision shot comes into play) otherwise, a “metal-on-meat” sight picture (the frame of the gun super-imposed on the attackers center of mass) would allow a much faster response.  The bottom line is that both sighted fire and point shooting have a role in the CO’s training, it is just a matter of understanding that no two combat situations are going to be alike (ie the continuum concept) and we must have both methods in our arsenal to call on equally to be adequately prepared.

This lapel-cam video of a December 13th shooting involving the Albuquerque Police Department involving an attempted officer assault by a hammer wielding maniac shows the speed, distance and sight picture of your average handgun engagement. Note the sight picture that the officer has when he begins firing, around 1:00; although the gun sights are visible, it appears the officer is using more of a “metal-on-meat” sight picture (the super-imposed image of the handgun frame on the attackers center of mass). Could this be because of the effects of stress the officer’s focus was not on the “front sight” but the guy charging his partner with a hammer? The distance (under 6 ft) did not demand a lot of accuracy, but the speed and veracity of the bad guys attack did demand getting rounds on target ASAP; thus the merit’s of point shooting in the CO’s toolbox.

In order to stay prepared, the CO’s  training HAS to reflect STREET reality, not Hollywood Fantasy!

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

The Reality of Extreme Close Contact Shooting

From the Archives, 2016


When you are talking about Close Quarters Shooting, there are always varying degrees of “close.”

We have all heard the terms “Reach out and touch someone close”, “Bad Breath Distance close” (Listerine Close) but this video shows a whole different kind of close: EXTREME CLOSE CONTACT CLOSE, which is basically around a foot (12 inches) or less.

This video comes from the place where we get 95% of all Real-world shooting videos these days: BRAZIL.

The background of this is pretty much the same setup as 99.9% of all shooting videos we see from Brazil: A Bandit comes into a place of business (most likely a check cashing shop) only to run into an armed off-duty cop. Good guy shoots bad guy, Good Guys Go Home, Bad Guy goes to the Graveyard.

Here we see a customer talking to a clerk behind what is most likely bulletproof glass. The off-duty cop enters around :18, and stands to the left of the customer as you are watching it. I know it is hard to tell, but the COP IS FACING THE CAMERA WITH HIS BACK TO THE DOOR THE WHOLE TIME (this is important).

The bandit enters at around :33.

Now pay attention because things happen really fast from this point.

As soon as the bandit enters the customer on the right turns halfway to face him while the cop just TURNS HIS HEAD. This is important to remember, so make a note, we will come back to it.

You can also tell from the cop’s body language, with his left hand slightly raised at about waist level,(:35) that he is FEIGNING SUBMISSION.

The bandit then makes the last mistake of his life; he turns his attention away from the cop and toward the other customer at :36, this is pivotal because we see the cop drop the backpack he had slung with his RIGHT hand (His GUN Hand) and the cop begins to make his drawstroke at :37.  You can also notice the clerk behind the glass is seeing all of this go down and as soon as she sees the cops gun clear leather at :38 she immediately gets low and begins egressing the hell out of there because she knows what is going to happen next!

As the bandit focuses his full attention on the other customer at :38  the cop see his chance and commits to draw his weapon. As the bandit is quartered away from to the cop, the cop pivots to his left to face the bandit, and in one smooth motion (:39) extends his arms to the target and makes a shot to the bandit’s head at around maybe 12 inches while the other customer is no more than a couple of feet away.

After the bandit goes down at :41 we see the cop immediately go over and kick the weapon away from the downed perp and also he appears to go outside the store to quickly check for other bad guys, because as we all know, turds usually come in pairs (or threes).

What Did We Learn?

In reality, when you break this video down, it is really one of the best examples of a EXTREME CLOSE QUARTERS shooting I have seen in a while. Now of course this is Brazil, the friggin’ Wild West, so most likely there is already another video hitting Live Leak as we speak better than this one, who knows.

The reason I say this is one of the best examples is because the off-duty cop really exhibits tremendous patience, poise, control and awareness during this whole ass-puckering ordeal. But if truth be known, no telling how many times this cop has been in situations IDENTICAL to this one and no telling how many POS, just like this one, he has planted in the ground.

Right off the bat, as the threat enters, the cop does not turn his ENTIRE BODY to face the threat, he just turns his HEAD…why? The video’s definition is poor, but the cop was definitely carrying strong side, and I believe concealed, since off-duty cops in Brazil rarely carry openly and advertise they are armed, as that is a sure fire way to get killed just for your gun. In either case the cop did not want to turn around and take the chance of having his gun spotted or worse yet, getting patted down by the perp and disarmed.

Second, the cop stays poised and FEIGNS SUBMISSION, raising his left hand to about waist level while keeping his right hand around the backpack strap. This is really important guys. We never want to move our hands too far away from our centerline if we can. We want to be able to get to that gun in  a quick, smooth  motion and the best way to ensure that is not to move your hand too far from your waist, so that when you do go to draw, the motion is not telegraphed and the gun is out before he knows what hit him. This is why LEO’s are taught to always get suspects to get those hands UP and VISIBLE because the HANDS ARE WHAT CAN KILL YOU.

As soon as the cop feigns submission, the perp immediately moves his attention over to the other guy and that is when the window of opportunity opens for the cop and the perp fate get’s sealed. I think it is important to note here that since these situations are so fast and dynamic when they happen, you have to realize NOW in your training that you are going to have maybe a split-second to both recognize your opportunity and at the same time, MAKE A DECISION TO ACTThis is why FORCE ON FORCE is so good for drilling on these kinds of encounters, as you can experiment to see just how fast that proverbial Window can OPEN and SHUT on you.

Before we get to the actual kill shot itself, I want to talk about two things I found very interesting.

  1. So many times you read and hear about Shooting Instructors talk about the fact in cases of “Bad Breath Distance” shootings you never want to EXTEND THE GUN TOWARD THE PERP for the obvious reason of them A. BEST case fouling your shot or B. WORST  grabbing the gun barrel and/or gun and  “DING, DING” the wrestling match for your life begins. What they generally train you to do is to customize your extension (if you can have an extension at all) based on the situation. But this scenario is unique and brings up an interesting training point; because even though the cop and perp are within very close proximity of one another, their POSITION and ANGLE to one another (the cop QUARTERED to the perp) combined with the perp’s ATTENTION focused away from the Cop produced all the right ingredients for the cop to make a FULL EXTENSION FOR THE SHOT.Something to remind us all that sometimes not even the most dogmatic of instruction is ever full-proof. Every incident is going to be unique, dynamic and Blazing fast and require you to make snap decisions with imperfect information, so be sure and train that way.

  2. The fact that an innocent bystander was a mere 2 feet away when the cop made the shot is ass puckering crazy but very representative of a real-world shooting. Bad guys don’t give a flying hoot about anything but THEM. and they could care less if they put innocent people in harm’s way as long as they get the loot. What is again UNIQUE about this shooting is the ANGLE of the Cop and the Perp. The cop knew he had a clean background when he started to draw because the bystander was standing right beside him and the perp was standing off to his left, quartered away at a 45 degree angle. When the cop takes the shot the bystander gets a nice muzzle blast to the face and a good ole’ “Ear Ringing” but where I come from I will take that over being 6 feet under any day of the week! The lesson to take away from this: BE PREPARED TO SHOOT AROUND and NEAR INNOCENT BYSTANDERS, JUST NOT AT THEM.As long as the angle of the shot is good, they can live with the rest, I assure you.

The shot itself is self-explanatory. I mean how much better can I describe a man shooting another man in the head at under a foot when you have seen the video? I think the most important thing to pick up on is what the cop does after the perp is down. Immediately he moves to make SURE the perp is down, then he goes to disarm him and then he goes to check to see if he brought friends to this party, as turds rarely come in singles.

Again, looking at standard defensive firearm training AFTER a shooting, most instructors will have you do the 360 scan drill, but here we are inside a very small building, so it all goes back to that ADAPT TO THE SITUATION” Thing. Why do I need to 360 scan when I know there is an office to my back (with one very scared and half-deaf secretary in it) a wall to my right (with a half-deaf innocent bystander with shitty drawers), a  wall to my left and a door in front of me. If there is the possibility of any more threats, they are going to be outside that door that perp just walked through 10 seconds ago. And that is exactly what we see the cop do. He opens the door and sweeps outside for any accomplices. If you have watched enough Brazil Shooting Vids, you know that in most situations like this, there is always a “getaway” driver waiting, typically on a small street bike, as that is the modus operandi for most of these bandits as they can quickly rob a store, jump on the bike and disappear into the urban sprawl.

At the end of the say when you break this video down there is a lot to take away. Studying Real-World shootings like this is one of the most relevant tools the Civilian Operator has in staying ready for the mean streets. By taking what you see and integrating the lessons learned into both your firearm drills AND your Force-on-Force training, you can better prepare yourself for that day you hope never comes.

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

The Combat Realities of Trigger Reset

From the Archives, 2016


Trigger reset is one of those skills, that if you were like me, when you learned it, it pretty much changed your level of accuracy instantly, especially with a pistol. I remember one of my trainers summarizing it for me:

“Unlike a rifle, where the barrel is 16 to 20 inches or greater, most pistol barrels are only 4 to 5 inches..that means the bullet has not got very far to travel before it exits, that means that any movement you make in working the trigger, exponentially effect the bullets path that much more.”

It made perfect sense. Pretty soon I was shooting the lights out.

But where the trouble came into paradise is when I learned the EXTREME differences between Competition Marksmanship and Combat Accuracy.

Most of the skills we are taught when we first start learning to shoot revolve around the square range and static targets. There is typically no stressors and no movement involved. Our success (and our ego) depends on the black X Ring and how well we shoot it out, right? Compare this to actual Combat shooting in a life or death struggle; whole new ball of wax. Now, all that really matters is that we stop the person trying to kill us right? Is he really going to grade us on our groupings or on our shot placement? Will he have his handy pair of calipers to measure your spread?

Now, I know most of you have heard this passionate spill before from me, so let me put it another way so I don’t sound redundant and boring.

The “Degree” of accuracy required is different in Competition and Combat shooting. In Competition Shooting, Accuracy is expected 100% of the time, no matter the situation. You are expected to punch a round through a paper target, preferably in the black, every time. In Combat Shooting, accuracy has looser tolerances and is both subjective and situational.

Let me give you an example: Some meth head has a taken a kid hostage, the perp standing still at 12 yards with a knife to the child’s throat, threatening to kill him. The only available and relatively safe shot the perp is giving you is the right side of his face, maybe 3 inches total from his nose to the edge of his cheekbone. Here, the SITUATION and in part, the DISTANCE, has determined that you MUST BE ACCURATE so that you kill the perp and protect the kid.

To contrast, if the same perp was just 12 feet away from you, armed with a handgun, but with no hostage, Now your level of accuracy is lowered, because you have a much bigger target in front of you (his center of mass) at a much closer range. Make sense? (FYI: In the first example, I realize the example is a bit far fetched for any CO. The reality, regardless of the weapon involved, is quite simple: for long distance shots that require a great degree of accuracy, ALWAYS get closer if you can! This is why they train hostage rescue teams to always try and close distance with the perp and get a shot angle on them that reduces the chance of an errant round hitting a hostage or bystander.)

OK, so going back to trigger reset. Since it is a skill that most of us practice on the square range, how applicable is it in an ass puckering, “kill or be killed” situation? I mean are you really going to remember a fine motor skill that involves you letting up the slack just enough to hear or feel the reset, all the while rounds are whizzing around you as you are moving to cover and your adrenaline is jacked thru the roof? Yeah, probably not. But that is OK, because you understand that TRIGGER RESET is a skill you can call upon (with Pistol or Rifle) when you need a greater degree of accuracy above and beyond standard combat shooting. Because, ultimately, when you look at the scenarios involved in most civilian self-defense shootings, in most cases, combat accuracy is going to be sufficient to end the threat.

So in closing, when the CO has Trigger Rest tucked away into his training memory bank, he has a very applicable and legitimate resource to draw upon when he needs it. The trick,  is to train and drill in such a way that will force the CO to draw upon that skill frequently (and randomly), as the situation dictates.

Always remember that the thing that sets amateurs and professionals apart is the ability to seamlessly flow between skill sets.

Stay Focused, Armed and Dangerous!

What Is It For?

 Another sage quip from John Farnam regarding keeping your fighting gun simple. This is a prime example of Competition “race” gun mentality bleeding over into the Practical Carry arena.


“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

Coco Chanel


“Forward” slide serrations (forward of the ejection port) on pistols are not a new idea.

The Colt M1900 pistol (that would eventually evolve into the 1911 pistol we know today) had them, and it was a bad idea, as it encouraged the shooter to get fingers in front of the muzzle.

At the time, autoloading pistols, particularly pistols designed for the military, were just coming into being, and designers of the era had only a blurred idea how they would be carried, handled, and used in during actual fighting.

A decade later, when the Colt M1900 evolved, by steps, into the Colt M1911, serrations were wisely moved to the rear of the slide, at the insistence of the War Department!

They’ve been there ever since!

Today, forward slide serrations are still a bad idea, for the same reason they’ve always been a bad idea, and only recently have they foolishly made a small-scale comeback, at least among some custom gunsmiths.

They are still extremely (and wisely) rare on OEM pistols!

Forward slide serrations are an example of a “feature” that some shooters in certain quaint competitions may think they want, but for Operators and War-Fighters they are useless and thus ignored when present, dangerous when the shooter mistakenly tries to get his support-side hand far enough forward to actually put them to use.

“Peep,” or “aperture,” rear sights on military rifles, until recently, were mostly confined to America.

Europeans and Soviets preferred “notch” or “V” rear sights.

Typically, iron rifle sights, both front and rear, were made large during wartime, so they could be used to get on-target quickly.

As soon as the war is over, sights become small again, so that high scores can be achieved, once more, during quaint peacetime academic exercises in theoretical accuracy!

This is one reason why the 1917 “American Enfield” rifle was preferred by WWI War-Fighters over the 1903 Springfield.

Both were perfectly functional, but the 1903’s small sights were slower on-target than were the larger (but less precise) sights on the 1917.

Even in our modern age, with universal adoption of optics on military rifles, War-Fighters and Operators want tidy, unlittered reticles with big dots and thick cross-hairs for quick target acquisition, while target competitors (and maybe snipers) want small dots, thin cross-hairs, and all kinds of esoteric ranging information cluttering the reticle and competing for the shooter’s attention.

When a student asks what kind of gun they should get, and what kind of sights it should have, I reply, before asking anything else:

“What is it for?”

“Beware of an old man in a profession where men usually die young!”