Monday, May 30, 2011

Shooting 'Molly-dooker'!

In the tactical shooting world there are seldom times that a right handed shooter needs to be a 'molly-dooker' (Australian slang) or left handed. So why are more and more shooting instructors, me included, teaching this low percentage skill to our modern war fighters? Surely it makes more sense to train someone to a better standard on their natural side rather than spend time trying to teach them to become a left hander, right!?

Well, it's partly true. It definitely makes a lot of sense to train someone to a higher standard on the natural side before training them to become a steely eyed freedom fighter on their non-master or support side.

So when would I ever need to switch the gun to my non-master side? And even if I did, why would I need to do it so fast?

These are the typical questions that I get asked when training students on this advanced technique. The answer though really lies with the task that needs to be performed by the individual or the unit. For example, an assault team that is dynamically entering a structure using the principle of speed to their advantage in order to maximize surprise, left handed techniques will seldom if ever apply. This is due to the short duration of the mission and use of overwhelming force ratios. This type of approach is frequently used also during hostage rescue or recovery type operations.

But, with the emergence of new enemy tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) designed to combat our modern warfare doctrine, we the good guys need to adapt and develop new TTPs or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to counter our enemies. This struggle or tug-of-war as it were, has been going on for centuries.

How this relates to being a 'molly-dooker' is this. Being able to safely handle and operate the weapon on both sides of the body confidently, provides the shooter with added security when performing CQB/MOUT (Close Quarters Battle/Military Operations in Urban Terrain). Being able to switch the weapon from natural to support shoulder, mount the weapon and accurately engage a target quickly and decisively is a real advantage to the shooter. Shooting from the support shoulder and from support side cover will provide the shooter with more security as he will be less exposed to the threat. These types of scenarios typically present themselves during urban warfare or MOUT operations. Support side shooting techniques can provide the commander with added force protection and flexibility, allowing him to clear enemy held strongholds more methodically while ensuring that the security and protection of his men is still maintained. This is particularly useful when conducting night operations using NVG's and Lasers.

There is another reason for shooting left handed, and that is to maintain combat effectiveness while injured. In line with the principles of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), if injured during combat operations, an individual should apply self aid and attempt to regain the initiative and continue the fight if possible. In situations like this, the shooter may need to employ the primary weapon from the support side should he sustain injuries precluding him from using his natural side.

Some of our advanced weapons manipulations training will involve the students handling and operating the weapon with the support hand and shooting from the support shoulder. This training includes support hand manipulations where the student will need to rectify malfunctions and reload the weapon using only the support hand.

We always stress the necessity for speed and accuracy of movement during the drills. This is to breed the instinctive nature of weapon handling and shows us that the student has in fact learnt the drill, committed the sequence to the subconscious and is able to perform the drill on demand under stress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flashlight position & mounting options for your M4

I get asked a lot about where to mount your flashlight to your rifle. I also get asked about mounting options. So I thought that I would drag out some of my SF lights with different mounting options and show you how I mount mine. I am currently running a Centurion Arms full Mil-Spec Cabine. It has a 16" cold hammer forged barrel, covered by a DD M4A1 rail.

I always say that there is never a perfect set up. You will always have to compromise on something. You will always have to give up something to get something. So if you are struggling with the perfect set, just realize that everything is normal. Always remember that if it's tactical, it's not comfortable!


Figure 1 shows my laser (LD D-BAL A2) positioned on the 12 o'clock rail and close to the front sight post so the illuminator beam is not interrupted by the sight housing. My flashlight, in this case a 'V' series SF scout light, positioned on the 3 o'clock rail and forward to minimize shadow created by the light hitting the weapon.

I activate the flashlight by pressing the tape switch velcroed to the rail between the 3/6 rail with my support fingers. My laser switch is mounted in the opposite rail, 12/9 and is activated by my support thumb.

I find this to be the best mounting solution for both laser and flashlight as it is very intuitive and allows the user to shoot day and night while activating both laser and light with the same grip. The grip forms an integral part of the recoil management system and should not be compromised to access controls.


Figure 2 shows (4) different mounting options for your flashlight. The 'V' series light uses the proprietary SF QD rail grabber. I have rotated mine around so that it does not irritate my support hand. I always use an IR cover (figure-3)or black cover on all of my light to prevent white light ADs or to ensure that there is no reflection from sunlight creating shine and reflecting back towards the enemy. Another reason I keep a cover over the lens is so that is does not get blacked out by the muzzle blast.


The next light is a SF mini scout light and the body has been replaced by an S&S Precision IMF Hinged mount. This is an early model and the new ones are made from one piece of aluminum. This mount allows the light to be mounted to the rail so that the light sits between rail segments and keeping it as close as possible to the gun.

The third light is a SF scout light with another S&S Precision low pro mount designed specifically for the HK 416. This version like the previous is designed to have the light as tightly as possible to the weapon, keeping it very slick and tight!

The last light is again a SF scout with the standard thumb screw SF mount that comes with the unit.

My preference is still a tap switch over most others and to me honest my favorite switch of all time is the rubber SF on/off switch from the Classic series that I had on my MP5. Sometimes you need constant on!


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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Redback One Training Trip

A recent whirl wind trip across the U.S took Redback One to El Paso, TX for the 2011 SOG Border Security Conference. We invited SORD USA to join us at the booth to display the latest range of tactical nylon products that included the RB1 Elite Series product range. On the second day we were able to demonstrate our training methodology through a series of live fire drills at McGregor Range Complex. We gave demonstrations of our square range techniques of andvanced weapons manipulation then two live fire demonstrations of Combat Clearance and Hostage Rescue in the Shoothouse. Everyone was suitably impressed with the demonstrations.

From there, it was off to California for the 2-Day Advanced Tactical Carbine course, held at the Eagles Nest range in Angeles, CA. Despite the high winds during the first day, the students had a great time learning advanced weapons manipulations and tactical movement techniques that concluded in a run and gun stress course that incorporated plenty of running, assembling weapons, medium range targets at 150m standing, 225m targets kneeling and 300m targets prone, followed by two surprise targets in the low ground at 100m and 175m. Both of these targets had to be engaged with rifle then with pistol during a change over drill.

From there is was a reload on the run to a support shoulder clearance and engage a close range target from the support shoulder, a quick switch back to strong side and sprint down range to engage an IDPA target with a 6 round cadence drill. High port turn and go, back up range 55m to a prone support side shot onto another IPDA target to finish.

Everyone did a great job completing the course of fire with some really great times that had me putting in the big ones to ensure that I stayed head of the course.

At the completion of the course several of the students went out for an end of course dinner at which we all heard the news of the demise of UBL. There was plenty of celebratory drinks all round!

The next day was a slight change of gears and a change of curriculum for the 2-Day Tactical Carbine Course for Brea SWAT at the Prado Shooting Center in Chino, CA. We had several departments attend this course due to the multi-jurisdictional team. We also had some patrol officers on the course too. The interesting point on this course was that all students arrived with the HK G36 carbine or rifle. There were a couple of shooters that were using M4's also. So I strapped a G36R to my back to ensure that I was able to demonstrate all drills with both M4 and G36.

Everyone learnt plenty of new tricks and tweaked pre-existing skills with the advanced weapons concepts that we put out on our training courses.

We finished up around 1830. I quickly grabbed a shower and change of clothes then off to LAX for the red-eye to Washington DC to prepare for a high level security presentation for an elite group of influential women operating business' in the DC area. This was a change of gears, swapping guns, armor and multicam for a pin strip business suit and tie.

The presentation was a great success for our company's latest addition RB1 Consulting. This side of the business offers security services covering a wide spectrum from Mission Analysis, Risk Assessment, Advisory Services, Provisional services including boots-on-the-ground and full spectrum equipment procurement.

We are very pleased to include former Tier 1 U.S Army Special Operations personnel to the RB1 cadre staff to assist with both the operational and training sides of Redback One. More on this later.