Meeting MACV- SOG 1-0 Legends

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A couple of weeks ago. the giant Military collectible , “show of shows” was held in Ky, the state I live in. Among other distinguished guests of honor, including Medal Of Honor recipients, was Major John Plaster.   Major Plaster is the writer  of The Ultimate Sniper and several books on the history of MACV-SOG and his experiences while in SOG.   I bought the fist book he wrote on SOG in the mid 90s and had a copy of his excellent sniping manual before that.   It was a real pleasure and honor to meet the famous One-Zero. He not only autographed this picture, but also a copy of his Photo History of SOG.   To my surprise, he also got his fellow former SOG One-Zero, Larry White to autograph the book on the page Mr. White’s picture during the war, appears on.   To me, that was the sign of a great guy.   He was really awesome and asked me if I wanted a picture with him and Mr. White.

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The Major is on the left, and Mr. White on the right with the hideously deformed writer in the center trying not to look intimidated by the legends who were kind enough to be seen with such a oaf.

 

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While I wish we would have these legends with us for many many years, sad to say they are leaving us to recon the after life. If you have a chance to meet these heroes, you should take it.  We do not know how much longer we will have the honor of their being among us.

 

One note I would like to make is the  actions of some of the men who stood in front of me to meet these guys.  They demanded too much in my opinion.  The gentleman did not have to be there and the jack asses asked for book after book to be signed. Obviously to make there way on to Ebay within the hour I had no doubt. And they treated these men like it was a zoo. intruding upon them, especially the older WW2 veteran MOH winners.   I did not over stay my welcome nor push it. When I saw the older WW2 guys getting tired, I did not do more than shake hands and thank them.  I know we all get excited by meeting these legendary heroes, but when you do get there, remember to treat them with respect and courtesy and pay attention to body language and be sensitive to their needs.

 

Review: LWRC Compact Stock and LWRC Folding VFG

I like the stock, I don’t like the VFG.
Colt 6945 with LWRC

The LWRC Compact Stock runs about $60 dollars.
It is very much like a mini-SOPMOD stock. Don’t mistake this for LWRC’s Ultra Compact Stock, which requires a different receiver extension and buffer system.
LWRC Compact Stock
This stock is small(about the same size as a M4 stock), light, includes a QD socket, and best of all it is cheap. It will drop right onto a milspec diameter buffer tube.

The LWRC Folding Vertical Grip runs about $40.
LWRC VFGLWRC VFG Folded
I like the size and feel of it, I didn’t find it clunkly or awkward. It is slightly longer than a Tango Down “stubby” VFG.
LWRC Folding VFG vs Tango Down Stubby VFG

When I first saw this, I thought it would feel blocky, clunky, and would be awkward. When I actually used it, I found that I liked the feel of it. When folded up(in the configuration I had it in), it could be held like a Magpul AFG.

The problem with this VFG is that when locked open, it wobbles. I found a good bit of play in the folding VFG and I found that distracting when holding the rifle. While the VFG does “lock” open, requiring pulling down on a peg on the grip to close, it still had excessive play when open. If it locked up with out movement I think I would love this grip, but that wobble causes me to dislike using it. This VFG is held on with two torx screws, and much be slid on from the end of a rail.

I recommend the stock, I don’t recommend the VFG.

INSTRUCTORS – THEY AIN’T ALL THE SAME.

INSTRUCTORS

THEY AIN’T ALL THE SAME.

Article by Mark Hatfield.

Recently I was asked to ‘baby sit’ (my words) a fellow who was teaching a handgun class at a range where I serve as a Range Safety Officer. I was to give an impromptu safety talk and then observe the class for a while to determine if they could be left on their own or needed watching. They needed watching. Boy Oh Boy, Did they need watching.

Before they started I asked questions to get a feel for their experience and training. I was told that ‘most’ of the four students had trained under this instructor before. The instructor did have a large emblem on the back of his jacket showing his certification as an instructor, issued from a large well known organization, no less. This instructor informed me that these students were all at the ‘intermediate’ level, he then added that this was because they had all attended a concealed weapon class. The class, I believe, he had taught.

Among them one had a medium frame revolver, another a small Glock, another a small oddball copy of the Colt ‘1911’, I don’t recall what semi-auto the other fellow had. Two of the semi-auto shooters didn’t remember how to load their guns, even how to insert the magazine. I observed that the ‘1911’ shooter fired right handed but always used his left hand to put the safety on or off. Later I showed him how to operate the safety using the thumb of his right hand and the alternate method if he was shooting with his left hand. I cautioned one shooter to not put his thumb behind the slide of his semi-auto. I had to remind one or two to put on their eye protection. There was one or two other things I advised. The instructor had never said anything nor did he assist the students with any of these problems. Nor did he assist or correct any other problems.

They were firing at ledger size sheets of paper, that is 11 by 17 inches and doing so from seven yards. The warm-up was to take their time and fire six shots. One guy hit with only five shots, another with only four, the Glock shooter missed with all six. Throughout my observation I kept reminding myself ‘He calls these INTERMEDIATE level students’.

The first four or five drills the shooters were to start from a ‘low ready’ position and fire six shots, returning to the low ready after each shot. Glock shooter never did, every drill he would raise his gun and fire all six. The instructor never said anything. He never knew about it.

I held back from much I could have said or done. I did not want to undermine the instructor or seem like I was ‘taking over’ the class however it was almost difficult not to. I did jump in when the instructor stood in of his students (who were all on the firing line) and as he spoke of something, two of them drew their guns from the holsters and pointed them down range though somewhat to the side. The instructor had not thought of that as a problem until I interrupted and pointed it out. He didn’t even seem to notice.

While the instructor took a potty break I inquired how much they were paying him. One hundred dollars each for a partial day.

Part of the problem was very clear. He, the instructor, never watched his students. Yup, He would tell them to do something then never watch them as they attempted to do it.

His written material, some memorized, some read aloud from his notes, was ok, not bad, certainly not wrong but was often incomplete in areas. The drills he had them do were so-so at best but did not seem to be leading to any particular goal. His great error was that he never paid attention to what the students were doing. He could not assist his students, correct their problems, improve their technique, or anything because he never saw them in action. Whenever they shot he would stand in the middle of the line and shoot along with them at the same time. They could have been shooting at each other and as long as they missed he might never have never know it.

After about an hour and a half I was notified that I would be needed elsewhere, could these guys be left alone? I said ‘no’, but that it might be easily correctable (I hoped). At the next reasonable opportunity I announced that I had to leave and asked to speak with the instructor on the side. I had seen that the guys all did reholster safely, that was good. I explained that there was a serious problem which he had not realized. He apologized for letting the students draw their guns while he was in front of them, I explained that there was much more than that. I mentioned that the guys could be (without being aware of it) pointing guns at their own feet, at their hands, at each other and he would never know because he NEVER watched them. I tried to really drive this home. I suggested that he use this method:

Explain what he wants them to do.
Demonstrate.
Then WATCH them.
Give them corrections as they may need.

I could have said a lot more, that he was wasting their time and money as well as reinforcing bad habits, letting them think that what they did was OK, but I didn’t.

I didn’t think this ‘instructor’ was an idiot. However that day, he was not an instructor, he really was not instructing. He thought he was. I thought he could become an OK instructor but the large well known organization which gave him his teaching credentials clearly never taught him how to teach.

A few months earlier I was a volunteer at an orientation to firearms for women only. All the ‘coaches’ were certified Range Safety Officers. The shooting portion was done with one-on coaching. During this, a handgun was pointed at my student and I, twice. My student saw this also. The person who pointed it at us was one of the coaches.

I spent seven years in the Navy and Marine Corps, during that time I did work for some senior people who were ‘problems’. I felt fortunate that for my first several assignments I had leaders who were quite good both in their field and at leadership, that experience allowed me to better exist when under those who were not. Those ‘intermediate’ students I observed did not know enough to know what they were getting and what they were not. I felt sorry for them.

BTW That instructor shot only very slightly better than the best of his students. AND Talking with these students before the class started, some of them actually thought that they were at an intermediate level of skill.

The Designated Marksman and the Prepared Civilian Part II

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Last month, we took a look at the DMR concept from an equipment standpoint. Some key points from the last discussion:

  • Glass turns your rifle *as is* from a 0-300 yard gun to a 0-600+ yard gun.
  • Free Floating enhances POI consistency
  • Any rifle with a decent chrome lined barrel can be a DMR
  • Quality ammo makes substantial improvements in any rifle
  • The DMR concept is not tied down to a specific style of rifle
Your DMR doesn't have to be a Mk12. Almost any rifle can be applied to the designated marksman concept provided the shooter has the training to make use of it.
Your DMR doesn’t have to be a Mk12. Almost any rifle can be applied to the designated marksman concept provided the shooter has the training to make use of it.

So it’s not about building a Mk 12 clone, it’s about acknowledging that the rifle you have right now is capable of doing *great* things with the right upgrades and training on your part. So what use is a DMR style rifle in the hands of a civilian?

Versatility

Equipping your rifle with glass, a free float rail, and quality ammo expand your rifles effective range to the edge of the AR15s ballistic capability. As a civilian, learning to use your rifle to the edge of its performance envelope is a good thing, but will their ever be a time when you can use 600 yard capability? We know disasters happen. Hurricane Katrina, the battle for Blair Mountain, the Tulsa Race riots, the Zimmerman / Martin riots, Furgeson, and the L.A. riots are just a few examples of extreme SHTF situations since 1900.

One million rounds expended in fighting? Yup, on Blair mountain. So it is not unprecedented to think that SHTF could go sideways very quickly. In fierce fighting, who wouldn’t want a rifle that is good both up close and out far? Let’s discuss some advantages a DMR style rifle can have to its user:

  • Positive target ID: identifying persons from a distance to judge their intent
  • Overwatch: capability of observing and covering a large area with accurate fire
  • Small target capability: That rabbit looks delicous, if we can hit it
  • Better low light capability: quality optics enhance your low light shooting
  • Quality ammo: accuracy increased with more effective terminal ballistics
  • Can harvest medium sized game from a further distance with above ammo

Glass isn’t the be all, end all since it cant quite compete with a red dot for the majority of close range scenarios, but as Jerry Mikulek can show us, a good 1x variable won’t slow us down that much either. Having an individual skilled in fundamental marksmanship and giving them a rifle which lets them apply their knowledge is a powerful thing. From hunting to defense, a DMR style build with a dedicated and practiced shooter expands the AR15 from a 0-300 to a 0-600+ yard rifle.

While the majority of us will never need to take a 200-300-400-500-600 yard shot, its a skill I want to cultivate and pass down to my kids. History shows us the last 100 years have been interesting, and things can only get more interesting from here. Can a boxer with longer arms reach his shorter armed opponent first? That’s exactly why I want to understand and apply the full potential of my rifle. – The New Rifleman

Battlefield Luck Charm For Two Generations

 

Guest post by Jack Broz

 

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In 1969 I was a Navy Corpsman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines in Vietnam.  The week of March 25th 1969, Alpha was ordered to assist Delta 1/4 which had captured LZ Argonne near the border with Laos.  Delta was being sniped at by an NVA .51 caliber machine gun and 82mm mortars.

The morning of March 25th Alpha began moving down into a valley towards a high point where it was thought the NVA weapons were located.    Within a very short period of time Alpha ran into what might have been an NVA base camp and a furious firefight broke out.

At some point during the firefight I picked up a discarded NVA battle dressing. I put it in my pocket.  After things settled down I put the NVA battle dressing on my helmet under the elastic band.  I told my Marines that I had 50 battle dressings to use on them if needed, but if I get hit use this on me.

The battle dressing appeared to have Chinese writing on it. I carried it on my helmet for the rest of my tour. It became my good luck piece and I came home without a scratch. Not really, but none from enemy action.

Thirty-five or so years later I have two step-sons who became Marines.  The younger of the two received orders for Afghanistan, while home on leave I took the Chinese battle dressing out of our display case, wrote on it where it came from and handed it to him for “luck”.

He returned and gave it back, only to receive orders to Iraq a few months later.  Once again the battle dressing went to war. Again he came back and returned it.

Sometime later his older brother received orders to Iraq and the battle dressing made it’s fourth deployment and again was returned.

Both boys are now no longer active duty Marines and the battle dressing is now back in the display case in our house

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