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Soldier Systems Digest Finally Happened

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

On Friday, we launched our first issue. Have you subscribed

After Action Report – LROC 2016

Monday, April 4th, 2016

By Roy Lin

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The Long Range Operator Challenge (LROC) is a match held in the northeastern corner of Washington State that has the very specific mission of bridging the divide between the military and civilian long range shooting communities. In doing so, match organizers hope that active duty military teams and snipers can learn and benefit from the experience of retired military snipers and instructors as well as talented civilian long range marksmanship enthusiasts in open competition. The 2016 LROC marks the third year of this unique competition’s existence, and it has grown every year since inception.

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In order to accomplish its specific mission, the LROC has two distinct components: a pre-competition train up with retired operational military snipers and instructors working with active duty military personnel, followed by a competition open to all experienced long range riflemen. For 2016, the LROC had Army snipers from Alaska, Hawaii and Washington in attendance, as well as a strong civilian showing of long range enthusiasts, including the cast and crew of the long range marksmanship themed TV show “Long Range Reality”.

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Unlike previous years, the weather was a bit more forgiving, if just on the first day. Unseasonably warm and sunny weather cut down on the physical and mental strain during the first half of competition. Unfortunately, the unusual warmth resulted in large shifts in the snow pack which caused some problems with targets and equipment set up weeks before in depths of winter. Match organizers did their best to keep stages consistent for all competitors, and one stage was later cut from the match due to shifting conditions. The first day had the most movement and land navigation, with teams crossing varied terrain with mild elevation changes between stages. The trails cut through a few remaining snow fields, and a lot of mud. Unlike previous years, teams did not have to hike to the top of the mountain and face extreme elevation change, but the distances covered between the stages a bit greater than before. By the second day though, the challenging wet and cold weather of the pacific northwest returned for the mountainous stages which mostly had shooting from awkward and elevated positions, but distances between stages were a lot more forgiving.

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Aside from the physical challenge, stages were all timed, with target observation varying from range officers pointing targets out to the shooters, to only giving shooters azimuths. The challenge of spotting targets at unknown distances, ranging, and engaging them was definitely very real as there were some targets that many teams burned a lot of time trying to spot. Typical stages on day one would be 8-10 minutes long, with teams being given target azimuths from firing positions, required teams locate, range, and engage targets within that time frame using the equipment the carried. The mental pressure of a ticking clock, and the need to get both shooters to engage targets was sufficient enough to cause issues for nearly every team: hard to stay steady and search for a target when you know every second you spend not finding the target is a second spent not ranging or even engaging a target. Adding to the challenge, stages with awkward positions required to see and hit targets quickly exposed lack of the sufficient equipment for some teams: shooting sticks, packs, bipods, tripods, and teammate’s shoulders were all employed with regularity in the stages.

At the LROC, there were many experienced civilian and military long range shooters on had acting as range officers and support staff. One keen observation from a young army sniper turned Designated Marksman was that it was fairly easy to tell between the active duty Army teams which teams were comprised of Sniper School graduates and which weren’t. The primary distinguishing factor was not marksmanship or gear but rather, mindset and communication ability. Trained teams were more fluid in working together in achieving goals cohesively, as well as working together in all aspects of target engagement, from locating, ranging, to engaging. I will say that the Army teams comprised of shooter who had not yet gone to Sniper School were also, very effective in their efforts by my eye, though the difference in fluidity was great enough for ranger officers with operational sniper backgrounds to note them.

After two days of competition, the final results were as follow:

Army veterans Michael Furrer (father of Olympic Marksman Amanda Furrer) and Clint Sharp took 1st place, and graciously donated thousands of dollars worth in prize table winnings to one of the competing Army sniper teams. Carl Taylor and Brent Webley, a civilian team took second place and donated their winnings to another Army team, and third place match winners Ron Sinnema and Lucas Beitner also donated their prizes to yet another Army team. The highest ranking military team was that of Matt and John from the 3rd Battalion 21st Infantry out of Ft Wainwright Alaska, congratulations on your excellent work!

Analyzing final match scores, it is fairly clear that the civilian teams excelled in this match, with the top 10 (out of 25) scoring teams all being civilian teams. However, the military teams, who were trained up before the match in the latest TTPs in engaging moving targets from Joint Sniper Performance Improvement Methodology (JSniPIM) were able to more effectively engage moving targets on the stages using moving targets from InMotion Targets. The consistent speed of the InMotion targets during training and competition allowed for quick learning for all parties as the consistent speed removed one more calculation from engagement.

The main thing I took away from the LROC is that civilian hobbyists and professionals who take the pursuit of long range seriously practice their craft frequently, obsessively, and extract every single possible advantage they can in the pursuit of ballistic excellence. In effect, with a singular desire driven by pursuit of excellence, civilian marksmen are developing technologies in software and hardware which can be of use to military marksmen who operate in a much different realm. While the heat and pressure of competition can never compare to the demands of the battlefield, techniques developed in competition to cope with limited time and increased pressure can benefit military marksmen quite easily. Further more, the raw pursuit of external ballistics in load development, projectile development, and internal ballistics has a direct crossover to military applications.

The Long Range Operator Challenge is a unique, focused competitive event put on by qualified staff and instructors in a fairly remote part of the United States of America. I would recommend it fully, to organizations, units, and individuals with the desire to test and expand their knowledge and capabilities in the pursuit of long range marksmanship.

Happy Easter

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

  

American Knife & Tool Institute Announces Additional Co-Sponsors For The Knife Owner’s Protection Act

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Eight Co-Sponsors Bring Bi-Partisan Momentum to Common Sense Knife Legislation

Cody, WY (March 8, 2016) – The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) today announced eight new co-sponsors to the Knife Owners Protection Act (KOPA): Senators Jon Tester, D-MT, Jerry Moran, R-KS, Tom Udall, D-NM, Steve Daines, R-MT, Maria Cantwell, D-WA, Mike Crapo, R-ID, Jeff Merkley, D-OR, and Jim Risch, R-ID. KOPA, a bill that will ensure federal protection for lawful knife owners from the current patchwork of state and local knife laws, has been an AKTI priority since its initial introduction in 2013. With the steadfast work of the bill’s sponsors, Senators Mike Enzi, R-WY, and Ron Wyden, D-OR, the bill is now well poised to pass the US Senate.

“Folks who work with their hands know that a knife is a useful tool if it’s used properly,” said Senator Tester, D-MT. “Law-abiding knife owners traveling from state to state deserve to have their rights protected, and that’s exactly what this bill does.”

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AKTI President CJ Buck presenting Common Sense Award to WY Senator Mike Enzi

Under current U.S. code, lawful gun owners are allowed to transport firearms legally in both the state of origin and the state of destination, provided they are properly stored and in accordance with all federal restrictions. However, no such protection exists for knife owners wishing to transport knives to and from states in which they are legal, but through jurisdictions with varying requirements. KOPA would allow legal interstate travel for knives, provided the knives are transported to and from states where the law allows possession of said knives, and they are transported in closed containers. The bill, S. 1315, which has passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Lee, R-UT, Joe Manchin, D-WV, John Thune, R-SD, and Martin Heinrich, D-NM.

“It is crucial that hunters and tradesman feel confident that they can travel to the best opportunities they can, and bring the tools with them that they need to optimize their work and activities.” Said CJ Buck, AKTI President.

For nearly 20 years, AKTI has served as the go-to resource for knife owners looking to ensure that they comply with all local, state, and federal laws related to knives. One of the biggest complaints and points of confusion AKTI hears about from lawful knife owners involves the interstate transport of knives. While citizens are making every effort to comply with patchwork state and local laws, it has become clear that there is the need for a federal protection for sportsmen, hunters, and other law-abiding knife owners that does not interfere with state and local restrictions on knife use.

Visit www.AKTI.org for specific details on the Knife Owner’s Protection Act.

The Internet Claims Another Victim – ‘Soldier of Fortune’ Magazine To Cease Hard Copy Publication, Go Digital Only

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

According to the Wall Street Journal, Soldier of Fortune magazine is ceasing publication of the hard copy edition and going digital-only beginning with the April 2016 issue which should hit newsstands soon.  Publisher Robert K Brown, LTC (USAR, Ret) is 83 now and putting together a monthly magazine is no joke.  While I don’t blame him, it’s sad to see it go.  I’m hoping they’ll improve their online presence.  I’d like to keep up but their site needs some work.

 

Quite frankly, I am bummed. I grew up with Soldier of Fortune; literally. Although I didn’t read the magazine from the very first issue, I started reading it in 1978, after it had been around for a few years.  I still read printed magazines, including SOF.  Perhaps I feel like I’m being forced to consider my own mortality.  When you’ve seen something since you were a kid, it’s kind of a shocker to see it go.  SOF has had its ups and downs over the years but it was a magazine written by some guys who had been-there-done-that and definitely influenced more than one generation over its 40 year run.  What are your memories?

In the future, Soldier of Fortune’s content will be found at www.sofmag.com.

We’ve Started A “Hater” Matrix

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

I know, it sounds funny, doesn’t it? But the recent level of buffoonery in our comments section seemed to warrant some sort of tracking system. Turns out, a few of you guys complain…a lot. In some cases, it’s like having lunch with a guy who thinks he’s funny but no one else laughs at his jokes. In others it’s like having a mean drunk show up at a party.

So, here’s the deal. If the majority of your comments are about how much everything sucks, you’re now caught up in the matrix. It’s actually entertaining and at some point we may share it to give everyone a look. There are some real winners out there.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, I’m a parent after all, but no, it’s not cool to be in the matrix. In fact, the matrix is a lot like a black list. Older guys will know what happens to people on the black list. It generally involves a black helicopter, in the middle of the night. Don’t be on that bird.

Attention SSD Readers

Friday, February 12th, 2016

We’ve got some great readers.  Thanks for supporting us these past eight years!

16,000 Articles

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

We posted our 16,000th article this week.  

Break’s over.  Back on your heads!