Photo appropriated from Kyle Defoor.
Kyle Defoor published a 10-part series on shooting in the cold. In particular, he concentrates on clothing system selection.
My experience operating in the cold started in the military both in training and real world. I’ve worked in -25 up to just below freezing for long stretches (days not hours) of time. When I came into the military there was not a lot of good gear to be had. This changed later with consulting from Mark Twight via Natick Labs. Today we have more quality choices from more manufacturers but there is also more confusion in some areas. Hopefully this series of articles will help out those who are looking to buy quality gear for training in the elements for extended duration.
While you’re reading remember that exposure time is a major factor. A lot of students I see miss this important fact when showing up to a class. This happens with our military contracts too. I’ve heard comments early on about how we (instructors) are overdressed or that they (student) “don’t get cold”, “I’m from the North”, “I’m used to it”, etc. Somewhere around the hour mark completely exposed with no break is where most people realize basing your needs for shooting and training in the cold on the jacket you go get the mail in or take the dog for a walk with was a huge mistake.
Lastly, physical conditioning plays a huge role in staying warm. This mostly concerns circulation and over very long stretches, metabolism. Bottom line is the better shape your in both cardio wise and strength wise the easier your body can adapt to an unusual environment. I’ll leave you with the words of the Norwegians who’ve been training and shooting in cold conditions a long time arguably as good as anyone- “there is no bad weather, only bad gear”.
This is part 1, but the others can be found at kyledefoor.tumblr.com.
High Speed Gear is pleased to announce that Kyle Defoor of Defoor Proformance Shooting and HSG have joined forces for his “Made in the USA Series”. Kyle is a premier firearms instructor, actively teaching firearms and tactics to military, law enforcement, and civilians. Given his vast knowledge gained as a decorated special operator with combat experience he brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the support gear he selects. We are humbled that Kyle choose our Battle Proven Tactical Nylon Gear as part of his series.
We received this unanticipated announcement from Crye Precision regarding our friend Kyle Defoor who is joining Team MultiCam. This is obviously a big deal for Kyle who has been working hard at his training business but it’s also major news from the MultiCam brand because it indicates an expansion into additional shooting sports sponsored athletes.
We cannot be more thrilled to announce that Kyle Defoor is officially on Team MultiCam. He has been a long time friend and it only made sense to cement the relationship. Kyle is one of the premiere firearms instructors for military, law enforcement, and civilians specializing in pistol, carbine, sniper and CQB. The bulk of his expertise was honed during his military service as a special operations member. Kyle exemplifies professionalism both as a shooter and as an instructor. Though the majority of his training instruction is done with the military, his open enrollment classes are focused on building a student’s base knowledge with a firearm and taking them to the next level. Kyle not only believes in improving a shooter’s accuracy, but also their mindset. Kyle is also a very accomplished climber, ultra runner and he’s passionate about motorcycles and the outdoors.
Congrats to all involved! Maybe now we can see you update that camo, Kyle!
It happened around 1994.
We were finally given approval to use a carbine for CQB (Close Quarters Battle) versus the H&K MP5 submachine gun that we had worked with exclusively up until that point. The MP5 had been the weapon of choice for CQB by the British SAS and both Army and Navy Special Operations Forces were heavily influenced by how the Brits had run their operations. But after studying the performance in the field, from special operations in Vietnam to the hostage rescue mission at Princess Gate, the decision makers in the US realized that a rifle caliber was needed, even at CQB distances inside rooms.
Put simply, a shoulder fired weapon shooting a pistol caliber round was not regarded very highly, and no one had the confidence to actually take it on a real mission. To this end, during Operation Just Cause (Panama) and Operation Gothic Serpent (Somalia), both The Unit and The Command deployed with highly modified CAR-15s. Experiences there cemented the utility and lethality of what would become the one of the most effective assault weapons of all time.
I remember being issued my M4, very clearly. Our “new” carbines weren’t really that new on the inside, but they featured a few game changing modifications that would improve the lethality of the weapon over the CAR-15s we had been using to that point.
One of the things most of the guys did, was to take a hacksaw and cut the removable carry handles down to create a bomb-proof fixed rear iron sight. This made room for the literally brand new “red dot” mounts that attached directly to the 1913 Rails on the upper receiver. One of the less than stellar side effects of having a fixed carry handle carbine was that any optics had to be mounted on top of the carrying handle giving the shooter a chin weld versus a solid cheek weld. Mounting optics this way also rendered the iron sights useless as they were obscured by the optic mounts. (I still laugh that companies are still making the same rear iron sight today that we “invented” by chopping the carry handle.)
The plastic hand guards were replaced with a 7 Inch 1913 Picatinny Rail System built by the Knights Armament Company. The 1913 rails allowed us to attach a light and a PEQ-2 laser without hose clamps, safety wire and duct tape. The rail system also allowed us to attach a Knights Armament vertical fore grip to the carbine which lined up with the MP5Ks we had trained with for so many years prior. What we also figured out was that the use of a vertical for grip on a 7 inch rail made it way easier for the shooter to manipulate their light and PEQ-2 laser.
It wouldn’t be until years later, with the HK 416’s 9 inch rail, that guys were able to start going without a vertical fore grip because the extra 2 inches of handguard created enough space for laser and light to be activated without any unnatural contortions of the arms and hand.
Finally, Knights also made the flash hider that would accept their first ever successful quick detach suppressor. While these suppressors added several inches to our 14.5″ M4s, we ran them 100% of the time, because of the advantage they gave us in terms of muting the sound and flash signature.
Still, it would be another year before we took delivery of the first Surefire 6P in an ARMS mount and an Aimpoint Comp M2 paired with either an ARMS or Wilcox mount, depending in where you worked. It was at this point, that we finally had one gun to do-it-all.
Not long after, we were deployed to Sarajevo, snagging war criminals and taking them to The Hague for trial. With a few dozen missions under our belts, we started eyeballing a shorter version of the gun, specifically driven by our constant use of suppressors that made the M4s unwieldy for use in the low visibility and CQB missions we were tasked with.
When we got back, we started working with Crane and the Shorty M4, as it was called by the guys in The Command, was born.
10.3″ Barrel with 1:7 Twist
Carbine Length System
Knights Armament RIS (7″)
Standard Front Sight Tower
Cut Down Rear Carrying Handle
Knights Armament Vertical Fore Grip
Aimpoint Comp M2
Wilcox Aimpoint mount
Surefire 6p with Wilcox mount
Boonie Packer 2 Point Adjustable Sling (who else remembers that!!!!)
This is the gun that both Tier 1 units originally took to war before the 416. It was the first real rifle caliber gun that we had been issued that worked well for a commando mission. Compact, light, easy to load in vehicles, easy to jump and overall a better CQB weapon which was our primary tasking.
This set up has killed a metric ton of bad dudes.
In my opinion, this is the gun that won the war. This is what we had when we figured out how to do assaults, ambushes, reconnaissance and just about everything else we had to do in Afghanistan.
Over gassed? Check. Needs more lube than a typical M4? Check. Sucks for getting dirty when shooting with a suppressor? Double check. But nothing is perfect.
The IR filters for our flash lights required duct tape to stay in place on our 6P lights and the QD suppressors required duct tape to stay attached to the barrel. On the old Aimpoints, we had to even duct tape the on/off knobs to prevent them from falling off. We ran out of barrel caps and had to duct tape the barrels to keep dirt out during helo operations. The list goes on, but I’ll put it up against any modern weapon as long as it’s in the right hands. The carbine worked wet, it worked in the sand, it worked in the dirt, it worked at altitude and it shot out the 200 yards no problem.
This was not an Army Soldier’s carbine. It was not a Marine’s rifle. It was an Assaulters weapon, period.
Tactical Trainer Kyle Defoor is very passionate about supporting businesses that manufacture here in the US. It’s not just enough for him to use those products but he wants to let others know that they are out there as well.
To this end, he’s begun a series of articles on his blog about these companies. The first article features Danner boots. It’s worth checking out and he’s worked out a discount code as well.