By Lew Johnson, Suarez International Specialist Instructor
What is a rifle? Regardless of the name you apply or associate with it, battle rifle, rifle, or long gun, it is one of the premier tools that require skill sets. We must become familiar, comfortable and proficient with these skill sets in our duty to protect those that do not have the ability to protect themselves.
Having been in the “Business”, military, security, protection and law enforcement for over 35 years. I have had the honor to be a student, operator, instructor and mentor. And still to this day, mostly student.
What does the rifle do for us? It enables the operator extreme versatility. Anything we can mount on our shoulder is going to be an easier platform to get fast, accurate shots on target. We have the ability to engage our threat(s) faster, more accurately and inflict more damage. Whether we need to engage a threat at 100 meters/yards or closer, the rifle gives us the ability to take the surgical/precision shot from distance, medium range to contact with less reloading time.
Take a look at the power of the rifle bullet vs. a handgun bullet. When we really want to talk about power it comes down to speed. 2300+FPS vs. what ever your favorite flavor of handgun caliber. The slower the round the more it will PUSH. The faster the round, the more POWER produced. Speed correlates to POWER. I know, sounds like a Home Improvement episode. But when we dissect our options to validate our choices, what system allows us a broad-spectrum solution? A RIFLE! With the vast variety of ammunition available for use, an operator can tailor fit his battle load to run the gamut from zombies to glass penetration to a precision hostage saving shot. Without a doubt, a rifle is a must.
Please, do not misinterpret. I fully advocate the Trifold of operating systems, handgun, rifle and hand-to-hand combative techniques. For those of us trained in the techniques and tactics of Close Quarters Battle, these elements are fundamental. No, I have not forgotten about the concept of tactics, they are an integral part of a sound foundation for any system. This is not a piece on tactics, just advocacy of incorporating a rifle into a defensive/offensive course of action.
Not to long ago, there was a situation that developed so rapidly, those without their rifles were at a deficit. Good fire support at a distance greater than 30 yards with a handgun, in a civilian populated area, not a good situation for law enforcement. Such a situation is not ideal for anyone of us safe guarding our homes and/ or others. Every cartridge we carry has our name on it, not that it is MEANT for us but that we are responsible for the terminal ballistic point of that bullet. We need to be using the correct tool for the job and if possible incorporate a “multi-use tool” whenever possible. In my opinion a rifle is a “multi-use tool”. With proper and consistent training it will serve us well.
We cannot bring back the dead, but we can protect the living.
Editorial Comments - It is my honor and pleasure to introduce our newest Specialist Instructor, Lew Johnson. Lew is a former Special Forces soldier with over 20 years of service in the U.S. Army. He served as a military small arms and infantry tactics instructor, Special Forces Engineer Sergeant, Weapons Sergeant, Operations Sergeant, and Intelligence Sergeant. He has made numerous overseas deployments, including as part of a Special Forces Anti-Terrorist/Counter-Terrorist unit. As a Sheriff's Deputy he was a Patrol Rifle Instructor, building clearing tactics instructor, and active shooter interdiction instructor. Lew served on the SWAT team, as a SWAT sniper, and sniper team leader. He joined Suarez International as a specialist instructor in 2012 and will be teaching various courses based on his background and experiences in special operations.