Being - Tactically and Practically - Prepared
By Ted Demosthenes, Suarez International Instructor
You’ve just finished lunch on Day One of your class with Suarez International. With your busy work-week behind you, the trip down to Phoenix went well, including the airport check-in adventure of dealing with the ticket agent, airline paper-work, other passenger’s raised eyebrows, the TSA’s inconsistent packed-weapon practices, and the ever-enjoyable trip through the “security” check point. The weather’s mild, the range is great, and the class members are friendly and experienced.
The morning has been spent doing admin, safety briefings and class conduct, a thorough review of principle skills, and a gear check to see what everyone was carrying and if it appears adequate for the course (remember the gear list in the course description?). The instructors are evaluating each shooter’s level of preparation for the course and, after some warm-up with dry practice, the class proceeds to initial live fire from contact ready.
You’ve come to class with your new 9mm pistol, an appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster, mag pouch, 4 mags, and the leather belt you used for carryin’ strong-side outside the waistband (OWB). You work through the dry practice module without a concealment garment practicing the slow, smooth pace demonstrated by the instructor. Your instructors are now evaluating everyone’s draw stroke and return to holster. You notice that your holster’s retention is a bit snug, but you are able to work it smoothly enough. You make ready and the class proceeds to the next exercise, live fire from the holster.
Wisely, you continue the slow, smooth draw speed for the first string of fire. As you keep shooting, your speed builds, but you also notice how much effort is required to get a full firing grip and to initiate the draw stroke. On the fifth draw, you obtain a good grip and make a noticeably smoother draw only to discover that your sights look different on target, your finger isn’t on the trigger and, $#!*!, your gun is still fully in the holster. Bummer, Dude or Dudette!
You bring the gun/holster combo to the compressed ready while everyone finishes shooting. When the exercise is complete, the instructor, who has noticed your new “technique”, steps over and has you carefully remove the gun from the holster without covering any body parts, chamber check, unload, chamber check, and step off the line.
While the class is taking a water and ammo break, you and the instructor take a closer look at your holster. You find that the holster retention adjustment, even at its loosest, still grips more strongly than needed, the belt hook is apparently not wide or deep enough to hook adequately under your belt, and the belt is not stiff enough to reliably resist the upward movement of the holster during the draw.
Fortunately, you brought your spare 9mm in your old OWB primary side holster and one of your classmates loaned you a stiffer gun belt for the rest of the day. You were able to get back in the fight without missing much or holding up the class. A quick trip to the nearby gun shop got you a new belt for day two.
So, to quote Roger “Badger” Phillips, the lesson learned and best practice is to “Try Dry Before You Fly”. Before traveling to a training course with new and/or different gear or, far more importantly, before stepping out the door carrying, devote deliberate attention and focused dry practice (and live fire) with the guns, ammo, and gear you’ve chosen. Your success in training, and in defending your life, will depend on your diligence and judgment.
The story above is based on actual events. During our Suarez International Instructor gathering at the end of 2012, we discussed the past year’s challenges of preparing for, and conducting, our catalogue of courses. One of our concerns was shooters coming to class with guns and gear that had not been adequately evaluated and sorted out prior to class. Issues with guns and gear have interrupted both the classes and the individual shooter’s progress in class. Many of these issues could have been avoided by preparation prior to leaving home for the course.
I strongly recommend you direct your questions about guns and gear for training to Suarez International at 928-776-4492 before you travel to your next course. You are also encouraged to share and discuss with the tribe at Warrior Talk your best practices for training and for being fully prepared to use your choice of tools. For fight-focused training and daily reality, you’ll find you couldn’t be in better company.
Warrior, Pirate, Priest, or Pragmatist, most everyone on Warrior Talk is a “Good Scout”, in that we are always working to “Be Prepared”. What I challenge us all to do on this forum is to share our best practices and perceptions for preparing... and living…strategically and tactically “Offsides”!
As soon as the first TSD MAG-15s came in we shipped them out to our friends in the US Military community for testing. Here is a write up that was sent to us, and posted at warriortalk.com, on their torture testing of the best magazine for the M4 system. Here is his commentary. By the way…notice the TSD Combat Systems RMR Glock 19 in the pics?
Ok guys I want to share some of the torture testing of the TSD-MAG15 magazines that we conducted yesterday. Basically what we did was treat one of the new mags very vary badly and then tested its function.
I started out by simply test firing the magazines during some of our standard M-4 courses of fire (approximately 600 rounds spread across four different magazines). They all functioned reliably in slow, rapid, and full-auto fire. The magazines were always loaded to the full capacity of 30 rounds and were compatible with standard stripper clip speed-loaders.
I also tested the MAG-15′s compatibility with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and it fit and functioned 100% during a 4 mag test.
Additionally, one of my M203 (grenade launcher) guys said that he really liked the aggressive texture of the magazine while using it as the grip to shoot the launcher.
I selected one magazine to be the “Tortured Soul” and marked it with black paper masking tape (selected because it wouldn’t add to the strength of the mag)
We were going to be conducting some helo infil / exfil and fast rope training later in the day so I took the opportunity to have one of my guys “Air Mail” the tortured MAG15 from 70 feet onto concrete. Results of the test were great, the magazine remained intact and only one round popped free…..For a 70 foot drop from a Blackhawk that is pretty good.
Next we tied the loaded torture test mag to the back of a HMMWV with some paracord and took it for “Toad’s Wild Ride” ;1 mile on a gravel road at approximately 20 MPH.It got kind of beat up but the rounds remained intact and no structural damage was noted.
We figured since we had a 12,000 pound “Up-Armored” HMMWV we may as well run the tortured mag over….No cracks or feed lip deformation was noted.
Since we all know that DEET is not known for being healthy for plastics (or people either) but we often bathe in the stuff when we are operating in some unpleasant places. We thought it prudent to see if it would cause any damage.So I soaked the internals of the magazine with the old school 100% DEET “Bug Juice”……yeah like the kind our dads used in Vietnam. Then let it sit and stew for a few hours.
Time for test fire…….I fired the tortured mag with ZERO malfunctions with a few bursts of full-auto….
Here is the tortured TSD-MAG15 after the tests.
by Suarez International Ambassador Jon Payne
My name is Jon Payne, I'm an Ambassador of the Suarez Group. I have 25 years of experience as an armed professional that spans across the Globe. I've protected Generals in the Middle East and priority assets in what we referred to as the Northern Tier. I've patrolled small towns and large counties as well as searched for fugitives in the swamps and bayous of SE TX. I've made much of my living while using the AR platform.
In the past, many drum magazines were not only over priced, but they were excessively heavy and fragile. These older drum magazines were viewed more of a toy than serious gear. Now we have the X15, this over built piece of hard ware doesn't change the game; this drum mag changes the rules.
The X15 is 50 rounds of 5.56mm while not only being shorter than a STANAG is still at least four inches shorter than a Surefire Quad stack! When working from vehicles or any tight place for that matter, size matters. Anyone who argues to the contrary is either a liar, or has never done vehicle borne operations. The X15 also allows you to carry more ammo in two mags than you could packing three STANAGs.
I routinely carry three spare STANAGs in my TIB that I store in my Sheriff's Office Unit. Now that I'm using the X15, I may cut that back by one and add some additional blow out gear in its place. With the X15 in place it's much easier exiting and entering the vehicle. On the same line of reasoning, it would perform just as well as a bedside tool to repel the hordes from the borders. I have no reason to believe 50 rounds of Hornady TAP or Speer Gold Dot won't handle any problem I could encounter this side of reality.
by Chris Upchurch, Director of Marketing
The HK G3 has a long history of being adapted to the sniper role. HK has produced many sniper versions, ranging from stock battle rifles with a special trigger group (the G3SG/1) to purpose built sniper rifles bearing only a passing resemblance to the G3 (the PSG1). At the most basic level, the Bundeswehr simply equipped issue G3 rifles with a 4 power Hensoldt scope and deployed them as designated marksmen rifles (the G3A3ZF).
This legacy as a precision platform was part of why I picked up a PTR91GI in the first place. When I attended the Guerrilla Sniper class last month, I did most of my shooting with my PTR91GI and it proved itself very amenable to the Guerrilla Sniper role.
I made a few modifications to adapt the PTR to the GS role. Most importantly, I sent it to Investment Grade Firearms to have them weld on a picatinny rail to the top of the receiver. This gives much more flexibility in mounting optics (particularly those with modern QD mounts) than the old style HK claw mounts. I replaced the slim tropical forend with the wide HK forend (this one actually came off a G3SG/1) which can accept the HK bipod. The bipod is actually a really well designed piece of kit, though I would recommend avoiding the American made knockoffs that are floating around out there. Finally, I replaced the HK rear stock with the Magpul PRS stock. The Magpul stock is quite heavy, but it provides a lot of adjustability, including an adjustable cheekpiece, which is very important for what we’re doing.
The last piece of the puzzle was an optic. This is one area where the HK system is a bit limited. The position of the charging handle limits how long of an optic you can put on there. I would have liked to put my Leupold Mark 4 3.5–10 on there, but it’s just a bit too long. A slightly shorter, lower power variable like the Leupold Mark 4 2.5–8, or the Mark 8 1–8 would be an excellent choice. However, I was reluctant to spend that much on an optic until I proved the PTRs utility in the GS role. In the interim, I ended up borrowing Gabe’s TA33 ACOG with a .308 reticle. This is really more suited to be a Universal Rifle optic than a Guerrilla Sniper optic, but part of the definition of a Universal Rifle is that it can be pressed into the GS role if need be.
The rifle shot quite well at the Guerrilla Sniper class. Our Guerrilla Sniper standard is head shots at 200 yards and body shots at 600. The headshot portion of the standard was fairly easy, definitely well within the rifle’s capabilities. Hitting torsos at 600 was more challenging, but this was more of a factor of the optic than the rifle itself. 600 yards is really pushing it with a three power optic. I didn’t even try shooting the rifle beyond 600, given that the BDC reticle only goes out to 600 yards. However, once I figured out the proper hold at 600, I could hit the target with almost monotonous regularity.
Based on this performance I think the rifle could definitely be pushed out further with a different optic. I’ve got a Browe with a .308 reticle which is probably going to spend a lot of time on top of this rifle. I’m also looking for a variable optic that goes up to seven or eight power. With both of these on QD mounts, and the ability to easily swap between the PRS stock and a conventional stock, I’ll be able to switch the rifle back and forth between a Universal Rifle and a Guerrilla Sniper rifle in a couple of minutes.
If you’re looking for a good semi-auto Guerrilla Sniper rifle, it’s hard to go wrong with the PTR.
by Suarez International Ambassador John Chambers
In the course of my military career, I was “blessed” with the opportunity to train with, and serve with, many of our international allies. Since I was part of a Long Range Surveillance Detachment, the units we trained and worked with tended to be very interesting, and very well equipped with a variety of weapons. Whether they were German Paras, British Ghurkas, or Japanese Intelligence troops, these soldiers were highly trained and I took every opportunity to become familiar with their weapons, and to learn from their experiences with those weapons.
Because of this, I have had the opportunity to work with the three main battle rifles found on battlefields around the world: The FAL, the M14, and the HK G3. While all are very fine weapons, the G3 offers some major advantages for both the Guerrilla Sniper and the Insurgent Rifleman and unlike the other rifles; an excellently built and priced example of the G3 is available now in the form of the PTR91.
Accuracy: The G3 is very accurate for a battle rifle. Most FALs are typically a 3 MOA rifle with NATO ball, and the M14 is about the same. My G3 (PTR 91) will shoot 1.5 MOA with NATO spec ball ammo and match ammo will cut that almost in half. The lack of moving parts that affect the barrel harmonics is a serious advantage for those who prefer an accurate semi auto for sniping or DMR work.
Modularity: Stocks, forearms, trigger packs, pistol grips are easily interchanged. As the mission or your desire dictates you can have a folding stock, a set trigger, a stock that is adjustable for length of pull, railed forearm, etc. MILSPEC optical sights that are both QD and RTZ can be added very easily. If MILSPEC is not your preference, there are a wide variety of excellent scope mounts that can be added that will let the end user take advantage of the large array of optics that take advantage of MILSTD 1913 interface. Variants with the rail installed from the factory are now available and if you have a rifle without the rail, the rail is easily added by a skilled gunsmith. The FAL, and especially, the M14 are more difficult to set up for optics than the G3, and the G3 is the only battle rifle that has quick detachable optics that are truly rugged and reliable.
A G3 can be configured as a battle rifle, DMR, or have a grenade launcher attached as the mission requires and all of these modifications can be made by the end user, while they are sitting on their haunches with the parts are spread out on a poncho in front of them.
Compactness: Compared to other battle rifles the G3 is very compact. The overall length is just over 40 inches, which is the same length as an M16! By comparison, the FAL is 43 inches long and the overall length of the M14 is almost 45 inches! And even though it is just a matter of a few ounces, the G3 is the lightest of the three rifles.
Rugged Sights: The front sight is very well protected; the rear sight is mounted very low and has a minimum number of moving parts. Once zeroed, it stays zeroed and there are not any “tempting nobs” to be spun in boredom and curiosity. The sight picture provided by the issue sights is very precise for long range shooting and in a CQB setting, there is nothing better than the “ring of death” that is the HK pattern front sight housing. Just put the target in the ring and work the trigger. It is the simplest version of “meat and metal” aiming that one will encounter.
Excellent magazines: LIGHT, rugged, and inexpensive! A lifetime supply of new HK magazines can be purchased for the price of a basic load of brand new FAL or M14 magazines. The magazines will be lighter too, which means you can carry more ammo for the same weight penalty.
Simple design: The roller delayed blowback action is simple and the design eliminates many parts and manufacturing steps as compared to other designs. This leads to increased reliability under harsh conditions as compared to The FAL or M14. The G3 is used by both regular and irregular forces in the harshest environments on the planet. Whether it is arctic warfare conditions (Norway, Denmark, Sweden), the sand and rock of the Middle East/SW Asia (Pakistan, Iran, Turkey), the jungles of Central and South America (El Salvador, Paraguay, Chile, etc.), or the harshest environments of Africa (Angola to Zaire!) a G3 will keep running after other rifles have failed. The ONLY rifle that matches or exceeds the reliability of the G3 is the AK, and it is nowhere near the precision, do it all, weapon that is the G3.
The roller delayed design can also compensate for minor variations in the dimensions of the cartridge, and as the weapon system wears the rollers are able to be replaced at the end user level, unlike the bolts of other weapon systems that must be fitted or checked by a gunsmith or armorer.
Systems Approach: One of the hallmarks of the HK weapon system is that the weapon designers took a true systems approach to how the weapons operated and how they were designed to be operated. Quite simply, if you can run a G3, you can run a HK33 (5.56mm) or the MP5 SMG. The same goes for basic disassembly of the weapons. The bolt handles, safeties, triggers, and sights are IDENTICAL.
The importance of this advantage cannot be emphasized enough. It cuts the training time for users dramatically. Case in point: the first time I was trained on the MP5, I already had experience running the G3 and the HK33 in their civilian versions. I picked up the MP5 and I immediately knew how to run the SMG, as everything was identical.
Some might not believe that this has any application in the civilian world, but consider the following. It is possible to purchase high quality civilian variations of each of these weapons. It is entirely possible for one build a complete long gun solution: a battle rifle (PTR91), a SBR assault rifle (Vector V93K) and a SBR SMG/carbine (Vector V94) that all operate identically. All your muscle memory and training will transfer between the weapons!
Final Thoughts: The advantages of the G3 system are numerous and in the form of the PTR91 it is the best rifle deal on the planet. There is no other rifle that gives the skilled user the combination of features for the money that this rifle does. Something to consider: before the PTR rifles were available, people willingly paid $2500 to $3000 for a used HK91 in good condition because IT WAS WORTH IT. Now, you can purchase two rifles that are the same quality, with a lifetime supply of magazines, for the same price. Is that an advantage? You be the judge.