Know Your Weapons: The SMLE


“Time obliterates naive fictions of opinion and confirms decisions of nature” -Cicero

Ambrose Burnside, designer of the short-lived Burnside Carbine, and Civil War General (of dubious fame), went on the become Governor of the State of Rhode Island, Senator from the State of Rhode Island, famous advocate for veterans, and the first president of the NRA!

The NRA was started as a way to improve civilian marksmanship, after it demonstrated itself to be so poor among Union Troops during the American Civil War.

Forty years later in a curious replay, British General Baden-Powell would found the Boy Scouts in the UK for largely the same reason.

During the Anglo-Boer War at the end of the 1900s, youth from industrialized England, subsequently recruited into British Infantry to fight Boer farmers in South Africa, were discovered to have no field-craft skills, no knowledge of weapons, and again displayed poor marksmanship.

By contrast, Boer farmers of the late 1800s were genuine “frontiersmen” and, like Confederate farm boys during the American Civil War, their marksmanship, horsemanship, and field-craft skills were superb, as the naive British unhappily discovered!

Lee-Metford Mk11 Rifles British soldiers were issued at the time had detachable magazines, but they could not be recharged via stripper clips (in nor out of the rifle) as could Mauser rifles used by the Boers.

The Lee-Metford Rifle gets its name from the combination of James Paris Lee’s rear-locking bolt system, and William Metford’s innovative seven-groove rifled barrel (later reduced to five grooves). The Lee-Metford replaced the single-shot Martini-Henry rifle in 1888. The Martini had a bad habit of overheating and subsequently seizing, as it unhappily demonstrated during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

Sights on the Lee-Metford had no windage adjustment!

There was a short Lee-Metford for the cavalry, and a long version for the infantry (too long and unwieldy as it turns out).

This was all corrected (after the fact) with the Lee-Enfield SMLE, for “Short, (detachable) Magazine, Lee-Enfield, officially adopted in 1895, but not in general issue until the Second Anglo-Boer War was over. Production did not ramp-up until 1904.

Enfield was UK’s “National Armory.” It, like America’s Springfield Armory, existed as a national repository of know-how necessary to design and build military arms for national defense. Enfield Armory was permanently closed by naive politicians (none of whom ever wore their country’s uniform) in 1988.

America’s Springfield Armory was likewise closed in 1968 by an equally naive Robert McNamara, then Secretary of Defense.

The British had an on-again/off-again love-affair with the “magazine cut-off.” It came and went multiple times between 1900 and WWII!

The Lee-Enfield SMLE was to serve British armed forces, largely unchanged, from the 1895 to the 1950s. Its history mirrored that of the German K98 Mauser rifle!

Many Lee-Enfields issued to British troops were actually manufactured in America during WWI. In fact, the 1917 “American Enfield” would subsequently form the base for Winchester’s popular Model 70 sporting rifle.

A small number of British Lee-Enfields were converted from 303 British to 7.62×51 NATO shortly before the Brits finally abandoned bolt-guns altogether and adopted the Belgian FAL in 1954 (which the Brits called the “SLR,” for “Self-Loading Rifle”). Very few of these “caliber-converted” Lee-Enfields ever saw issuance, but some were subsequently fitted with optics and served (marginally) as sniper rifles for several decades afterward.

During the early, desperate period of WWII, Enfield barrels went from five grooves to two, in order to speed-up production, since grooves had to be cut one at a time. During WWI, Americans did the same thing with the 1903 Springfield Rifle.

Likewise, kiln-dried Birch and Beech were substituted for scarce French Walnut. To address the same issue, Germans went to laminated stocks.

Seventeen-million Enfield SMLEs would be ultimately manufactured, from 1895 (actually 1904) through the 1950s.

In some former British colonies, the stoic SMLE is still in-service today!

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Boer Guerillas

Training Should Always Reveal Flaws


More on Rifles


When we train, regardless if it is with tools (firearms, knives, sticks) or not, our training should reveal our flaws; either in actual technique, our mentality or our gear.

Revealing flaws in our gear and how we “load out” with our rigs to fight is something I can tell you from experience can not only make your life easier but also be LIFE SAVING.

In training with your rifle load out, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my rig allow me to move quickly?

  • Does my rig allow me to reload quickly?

  • Is my rig relatively “quiet” or do I sound like a coke can filled with rocks when I move?

  • Is my rig “flexible” in all fighting Positions? (ie sitting, prone, one knee)

  • Does my rig hinder my ability to take cover?

  • Can I access my trauma/med kit quickly and easily?

The part about “Military Costume Play” is so true.

So often guys buy gear and dress themselves up and their firearms not from a practical fighting perspective, but because they are trying to look like the latest tacti-cool douchebag on the cover of Soldier of Fortune.

Remove your head from your ass and get PRACTI-COOL, NOT TACTI-COOL in your Training!

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!


Never Have a Favorite Weapon!

From the Archives, 2016

This short story reinforces the USMC Training mantra: “One Mind, Any Weapon”

Don’t get hung up on the Tool.



“Favorite” Weapons!

“Warriors should not have ‘favorite’ weapons.”

Miyamoto Musashi, from his “Book of Five Rings,” written in 1645AD, near the end of his life

One of our students recalls a valuable drill, and now knows why we include it:

“Earlier this year, I was by myself in our remote mountain home.

Shortly after midnight, I was awakened by our driveway alarm and dogs barking. Getting up to investigate, I saw headlights on our steep mountain approach, heading in my direction. I observed for a few minutes as at least one car pulled below my drive and backed up. Very suspicious, as I was not expecting anyone!

I own two pistols, and on this particular day both were in the shop having sights installed. As a novice shooter, I only feel truly comfortable shooting my own guns.

But, my “favorite” guns weren’t available!

My brain immediately flashed back to my training with Vicki and the ‘Battlefield Pick-up Drill,’ where we all handled and shot every gun present. This has to be the most valuable training exercise of my entire shooting life, although I didn’t know it at the time!

Thanks to that training, I knew it was possible that I could pick up whatever pistol was available, and run it correctly and effectively. Thus mentally equipped with this ‘battlefield mentality,’ I retrieved my husband’s 1911 (which I had never shot), and then called 911.

While I’ve never shot my husband’s 1911 pistol, I was not afraid of it. I have shot other 1911 pistols, and I know how to run them, even though they’ll probably never by my favorite.

I stood guard, observing headlights crisscrossing below my property, until police arrived. I was informed the next day that several people in the cars in question had been arrested as burglary suspects.

No harm done, but as it turns out, this incident was a wonderful training exercise and wake-up call, and I discovered the true value of that ‘Battlefield Pick-up Drill,’ which, at time Vicki put us through it, I thought was superfluous!

I have my ‘regular’ pistols back now, and all is well, but I know I will never again think in terms of self-imposed ‘limitations.’

I’ll find a way to win, not look for an excuse to lose!”


Musashi in his day was a seasoned and exceptional fighter, the “John Boyd” of his time. He lived in a dangerous place during a particularly dangerous era, where the naive and unprepared seldom died of old age!

We are fortunate that he wrote down valuable and hard-learned advice shortly before he died (natural causes) at the age of sixty-one.

He knew, as we do, that a “favorite weapon” is little more than an excuse to lose. Thus, with the convenient absence of the “favorite weapon,” the fight is decided before it ever starts!

In his most famous duel, Musashi (age thirty at the time) was challenged by an extremely famous swordsman, known and feared throughout the region. The confrontation was pre-arranged and took place on a beach. The challenger, waiting in full battle regalia, was astonished and disgusted when Musashi arrived, late, and barely dressed, as if he had just woken up. Musashi neglected to even bring his sword!

Enraged and insulted, the challenger move forward quickly to make short work of this impudent “Master.” His overconfidence was his undoing!

Musashi, using an oar from the boat in which he had just arrived, killed his hapless opponent in less than a minute, then immediately departed in the same boat!

As it turns out, the challenger was completely outclassed, not even in the same league! He paid dearly for his miscalculation!

Musashi was always “ready.” He never waited for perfect conditions. He never hesitated!

In his honor, we put students through the “Battlefield Pick-up Drill” today, with today’s weapons, so our students absorb this ancient wisdom well!

During our lifelong journey as Operators and students of the Art, we can’t help but develop preferences. We all like some guns better than others, sometimes for good reasons, but sometimes for no particular reason at all, at least none we can persuasively articulate.

No matter!

We must love, and be familiar with, all of them and never look upon the invariable absence of “perfect conditions” as some kind of limitation upon our ability to gain victory.


“The road of life is paved with flattened squirrels, who couldn’t make a decision!”


Let’s Pretend



“There are always those who mistake their own dilapidated condition for the decadence of a civilization.”

-Romain Gary


Let’s pretend!

From a friend in MA:

“Our local newspaper in Worcester, MA (Boston) has announced that it will no longer report violent crime in the area, because such straightforward reporting, ‘makes certain populations look bad.’

Inherently dishonest media people like these must think that when they don’t report what is really happening, we can all pretend it’s not really happening!

Similarly, a local city manager has ordered his police department not to release crime reports to the public, because ‘it will upset them’

Many in my neighborhood are professing Democrat/leftists. Yet, they’re all buying guns (including ‘weapons of war’) and ammunition, the very same guns that Marxist politicians they voted for want to forcibly take away from them.

When confronted with their blatant hypocrisy, they mimic Hollywood’s arrogant Communists with a flippant ‘laws are for little people’

Of course, none of these smug liberals think they need training, since they egotistically consider themselves intellectually superior to ‘little people.’

The result is a spate of UDs, also mostly unreported.”

When Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, Rhodesia was English-speaking, with a mixed black/African and European/white population. Violent crime was extremely low. Rule of law was universal and respected. Utilities were functional. Infrastructure was modern and well-maintained. Rhodesia experienced vigorous economic growth, prosperity for all citizens, exporting food worldwide.

Then came the Communists!

They inflamed tribal divisions. Communist forces, backed by the USA, UK, PRC, and the USSR, overwhelmed all opposition.

After the Communist victory, the Mugabe government committed countless atrocities against his citizens, including former supporters, white farmers, and black tribesman alike. Not surprisingly, he confiscated nearly all privately-owned firearms.

Since then, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), formerly the ‘breadbasket of Africa,’ is an economic basket-case, a classic case-study in hyper-inflation. Starvation and squalor are rampant!

Previously a popular destination for African immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity, now nearly everyone, of all races, with the means to leave Zimbabwe, is doing so!

Venezuela, Cuba represent other examples of ‘what Communism can do for you’

Yet, some naive demographics in America just can’t become Communists fast enough!

They are well-advise to look over the cliff, before they jump!


“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi, nor the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, the distinction between true and false, no longer exists.”

-Hannah Arendt


Speaking of “multi-culturalism” and off-the-rails self-destructive immigration policies.

Coming soon to a City or Town near you, Guaranteed.


Via: John Farnam at DTI

No protection!

Last Friday, in Wuerzburg, Germany, a man of Somali origin nonchalantly walked into a department store and asked to look at knives.

He then casually selected one and immediately stabbed three women, while AA shouting. All three died at the scene!

Several others were subsequently attacked, mostly women.

Patrons surrounded the attacker and held him at bay until police arrived.

Upon arrival, police shot the suspect (non-fatally) and then made the arrest.

The single Somali suspect had been allowed into Germany in 2015 on “temporary asylum.”

Since his arrival, he had been completely non-productive, non-employed, and lived on handouts in various shelters. He had several contacts with police, had even undergone “psychiatric evaluations,” but in every case had been cut-loose almost immediately.

Local authorities now say they are “looking at the possibility of the man having been radicalized as an Islamic extremist.”


Ya think?

Of course, all victims of this vicious murderer were unarmed (by government edict) and unable to protect themselves.

These incidents in the UK and Western Europe are so common now that they’re seldom even reported in the Western Press. Yet, I’m sure some Germans still naively believe their government “protects” them from murderous ideologues like this one.

The truth is that government officials there, as well as here, are interested mostly in protecting themselves.

They are provided (at our expense) with heavily-armed bodyguards for that very purpose.

Yet, these same officials piously tell the rest of us (who can’t afford bodyguards) that we should never dream of protecting ourselves in any effective way, because that would be “taking the law into our own hands.”

In other words, their lives are important. Ours are expendable.

It’s the same all over!

“‘Safety’ is a fence, and fences are for sheep.” (Karen Marie Moning)

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!