Tactical Tailor

Gunfighter Moment – Frank Proctor

Carbine Collapsing Stock Position

I strongly encourage students to position their carbine collapsing stocks as far extended as possible. For me it’s all about leverage on the gun. It’s much easier to shoot and control the gun with the stock extended. I started shooting the M4 with the stock collapsed for CQB stuff and it worked OK for those distances. As I got into competitive shooting I reluctantly tried shooting with the stock extended, it felt awkward at first and not cool, then I started noticing the control benefits and it dawned on me that it was a rifle and the stock should be long just like on every rifle or shotgun I had shot since I was a kid.The thought process that I have heard supporting collapsing the stock include, making the gun shorter and more maneuverable and fitting the shooter when wearing body armor. Here are my thoughts on those. I think that if you look at professional shooters that are winning in competition and they are shooting the stock long, it is probably the BEST way to run the rifle. If you carry a gun for a living and it comes time to use it then you should have the rifle set up to work the BEST way possible. In the case of body armor not allowing the shooter to mount the stock to the shoulder I would modify the body armor. I did this on the Eagle body armor I was issued by using 550 cord to cinch the loose material around the profile of the plate.

I hope this helps.

– Frank Proctor


Frank Proctor has served over 18 years in the military, the last 11 of those in US Army Special Forces. During his multiple combat tours in Afghanistan & Iraq he had the privilege to serve with and learn from many seasoned veteran Special Forces Operators so their combined years of knowledge and experience has helped him to become a better operator & instructor. While serving as an instructor at the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course he was drawn to competitive shooting. He has since earned the USPSA Grand Master ranking in the Limited Division and Master ranking in the IDPA Stock Service Pistol division. He learned a great deal from shooting in competition and this has helped him to become to become a better tactical shooter. Frank is one of the few individuals able to bring the experiences of U.S. Army Special Forces, Competitive Shooting, and veteran Instructor to every class.

All this experience combines to make Frank Proctor a well-rounded shooter and instructor capable of helping you to achieve your goal of becoming a better shooter.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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27 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Frank Proctor

  1. Chris K. says:

    For those who think competitive shooting isn’t worthwhile for tactical skill building, see above.

  2. Chuck says:

    I removed the shoulder strap armor on my Crye chassis for exactly this reason. Amazing armor, but I personally had trouble getting the buttstock in close enough. Problem solved.

  3. It’s all about perspective – most competition shooters have never went into harms way or ever worn body armor ; they have one thing in mind – winning matches. That’s great but a healthy dose of reality check needs to be injected into anything a competition shooter tells or shows you

    Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch my competition resume includes numerous accomplishments including being a founding member of IDPA

    Everything needs to be put into perspective

    • Bman says:

      That’s a good reminder Larry. I think the saying what works best for the individual comes in here. Mr. Proctor didnt say that it doesn’t which shows he is open minded but a lot of people like me being in Law Enforcement are not allowed to modify agency purchased equipment but then most LEO functions are close quarters in nature and if your rifle.is in a packed trunk, you almost always need to have the stock collapsed. I do agree with Mr. Proctor in that it certainly feels easier to seat the rifle in my shoulder good and tight while the stock is not collapsed but I also like the method made famous by Travis Haley and Chris Costa when they were doing the Magpul training.

      • Tom says:

        What did costa and haley do different?

        • bman says:

          They were advocates of getting your nose as close to the charging handle as possible and holding to rifle in as close as you can get it. The rifle was even held fairly low and closer to your pecks than the “shoulder pocket”.

    • B says:

      So now we’re politely pissing on what other instructors say? Seems professional.

      His resume is certainly much more than just being a competitor.

  4. CVPD 167 says:

    I don’t see the parallel – the BEST way to win a competition is not the BEST way to win an armed confrontation. I have my shooters experiment with how much the extend the buttstock, but once you get into the situations where you must mount on armor (armor you can’t necessarily choose to modify per most agency policies), then you add in awkward positional shooting, you’ll quickly find the collapsed or shorter stock shines. If my guys can extend the stock and consistently mount the gun, strong or weak side, barricades / cover immaterial, absolutely I encourage that. If not, then we are going to sacrifice out split times to ensure we don’t foul the mount when we truly need it.

  5. Kaos1 says:

    Personally, I feel that competition type shooting is nothing more than training to train . Shits a lot different when you’re targets are shooting back. It’s not a very “controlled environment”. Shit just kinda happens the way it happens. You just have try you’re best to come out on top or you get dead.

    And the thing with the collapsible stock. It’s not the stock that makes a weapon compact, it’s the length of the barrel. M-16 to M-4 to Mk-18. Same with the M-249 to the Mk-46. You still need to have length of pull, proper shoulder position , and a good cheek weld. Anything else is smg or pdw territory and those things are worthless on the battlefield . In my experience most engagements were at 150 meters and out. Which is fine with me , cause the farther away you are , the harder it is for them to hit you. And we had things called acog’s , M-145’s and leupold’s . And they didn’t . Lol

  6. Sgt E. says:

    I’ve always told the Marines I deployed with that if some technique works for you then use it regardless of if it’s popularity or if it seems goofy. You can find genuine experts that preach different grips, stances, etc but if it doesn’t work for that particular shooter it really doesn’t matter. The confirmation of something, for the individual shooter, should be actual results.

    Now this is by no means critical of Frank’s piece and I think it’s great for shooters to try different techniques to see if it works for them. When it comes down to it I want Marines that can effectively engage the enemy and if any techniques help that individual shooter increase effectiveness then I am all for it.

  7. Caleb says:

    a) So what is ‘as far extended as possible’? How does one gauge that? There are lots of versions of ‘extended’ with different lengths of pull corresponding. One could be as short as an A1 fixed stock or as long as a Magpul PRS with it telescoped out as far as possible.

    b) Why use a collapsible stock at all then (like the photo)? A fixed stock will be more stable.

    • john says:

      a) The longer the lever the more leverage you get, you use as much as possible. If all you got is an A1 go for it, if you can go longer go for it

      b) the purpose of the collapsible stock was for storage and transport, which is why the xm177 had a two position collapsible stock

  8. Nick D says:

    Just to put it into context….

    Frank Proctor is a multi tour combat vet who also happens to be a competition shooter.

  9. Sgt E. says:

    Caleb, now I obviously can’t speak for the author of this piece but this would be my answer to your two questions:
    A) As far extended as possible is as far as the particular buttstock you are using will extend.

    B)Why a collapsible stock over a fixed stock? Well a collapsible stock allows you more versatility by allowing the shooter to adjust the length of the overall rifle per his circumstances at the time. For example, it is advantageous to have a shorter rifle, overall, when working in smaller spaces for obvious reasons. I cannot speak to the competitions that the author has been in or his military experiences, but from mine I prefer the ability to collapse a buttstock when performing certain functions such as being mounted in a vehicle.

  10. S1 says:

    Competition is just that…competition. As a LEO, important decisions are made in the blink of an eye. Most of us don’t have time to grab a rifle or shotgun. We stumble into the hornet’s nest, and are forced to use the handgun.

    IF I have access to my rifle (which is in my patrol vehicle) and IF I have time to remove it from the rack and grab my other deployment gear, well sure, the rifle is great. Most law enforcement incidents are over in a matter of seconds. Other than the Hollywood bank robbery, our incidents don’t last long.

    Then there’s the decision making process. Do I shoot? Should I shoot? Will the taser probes hit from here? Will my body cam or car cam capture this shit? Lots of questions are presented.

    In competition, it’s much easier. You’re there to shoot. There will be targets to shoot. You guys would ask for your money back if you walked into a course of fire and did not put rounds down range. You wouldn’t compete if the host handed you a dummy taser and said, “Here this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It will save you from having to shoot people.” Now you have to decide, should I shoot them, or just piss them off for five seconds.

    • john says:

      If shooting a match is so easy why not go and compete? Is your training at work on the shooting line more complex than a USPSA stage? You can play pretend while shooting a match to make it seem worthwhile to you: you’re still being presented with a problem and finding the most efficient way of solving it. I go out and shoot matches occasionally from concealment or a duty rig, no big deal.

      If every officer I worked with at least shot at a C class level I’d be happy. Unfortunately most have trouble even qualing. And most don’t want to shoot a match because they’re afraid of losing.

      I found this video pretty much sums of my own views on competition and work.

      • JohnC says:

        I think the point, if inartfully made, was that the sporting disciplines might encourage habits undesirable for tactical situations. Take sport fighting: Whatever training benefits it may provide, one needs to remember that if it were real life, while you’re laying in the open guard, the ref standing behind you probably would have a brick.* Likewise, re shooting, there have been some cases in which the habit of “shoot twice, disengage and move” might have had some negative carryover for LEOs while on duty.

        Nevertheless, the benefits of competitive shooting pretty clearly outweigh the potential drawbacks (heck, the Soviets (used?) to fill the ranks of Spetz with sport shooters). At the very least, you’ll learn how your body works and get to try things you otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to try. That sort of informal “play” is, at the very least, no less valuable for skill-acquisition as the typical officer’s “everything’s-well-lit-and-every-target’s-hot” range time (which itself isn’t a model of verisimilitude).

        *Note: There are two types of people in the world: those that take your word for it that the pill bug approach has severe drawbacks, and those learn that lesson only after a kick to the rectum.

        • JohnC says:

          In other words, not all training has to be ‘simulation’ to provide useful

  11. Chris K. says:

    Geez, have an open mind out there. What do we call elite soldiers these days? Warrior Athletes; is this because we’ve learned nothing from competitive sports? Wake up – competition shooting is a training aid, and it’s obviously not a meant to teach tactics (in most cases). It is the same as PT – you probably will never have to do a burpee in combat but you do it in training to enhance your Physical Fitness. You compete in shooting sports like ISPC and IDPA to build your weapons handling and push your limits in an environment where you can do this. You also get to shoot under pressure in different situations that you may have never faced before. And just like PT, competitive shooting will improve your overall effectiveness as warrior.

    • bret says:

      Guys who are dogging competitions and saying they don’t relate and build skills for real life operations or police work have never been in a competition. Just bc the targets aren’t shooting back doesn’t mean that you can’t learn anything. It puts stress on the shooter (unless you don’t give a shit about losing, and in that case just turn in your badge bc your a loser). It can be just as effective as using force on force Sims training. Don’t just talk about how badass you are bc your on SWAT, keep an open mind and push yourself to try new things.

  12. Jon Meyer says:

    The given situation at hand is the determining factor in which stock position you will be running. Same as any other set up as far as gear and so on. In a vehicle or in cqb, a collapsed stock is ideal. In an open field, the woods etc. an extended stock is more ideal. It also depends on an individuals body size as far as height, reach, chest size; even an individuals load out changes everything-whether they are running an armor carrier or a plate carrier. Shit even the type of sling they use and how they have it mounted.

    All variables removed you will have more stability and be able to drive a carbine better with a longer lop. But you remove all gear and equipment from the scenario but you can’t remove an individuals body dimensions; in the end it all depends on who.

  13. Justin says:

    There’s an important distinction that a lot of the “tactical” crowd fail to understand. No competition shooter, who knows what they are talking about will ever tell you that shooting USPSA/IPSC/IDPA is a replacement for scenario, or tactics based training. Because it’s not, and never will be. They are shooting games. With that said, they are shooting games that push the absolute limits of raw shooting ability and mechanical function of guns. USPSA isn’t just raced out 1911’s and 2011’s. Dave Sevigny and Bob Vogel have won multiple world and national championships with Glocks. If that’s not an “everyman” type gun, I don’t know what is.

    On the flip side, shooting just tactical classes is going to teach you how to run a gun in defensive scenarios. It’s not (for the most part) going to teach you how to run that same gun, in that same scenario to the max. The experienced competition shooter, by in large can execute the fundamentals of shooting at a much higher level of proficiency.

    Bottom line, to be a well rounded shooter, whether civilian, military or LE you need both. And you need to understand the differences, to be able to appropriately blend the two. Tactics based shooting is just that..tactics. Competition shooting (IDPA, USPSA) can be viewed as purely forging high levels of proficiency in the fundamentals under some form of stress, and building and maintaining subconscious shooting ability.

    That’s what makes Frank special. He’s a Special Forces combat vet, who has also achieved the highest rank possible in a highly competitive division in USPSA. He has the recent experience and credentials to back up what he says works and doesn’t work in a combat or defensive environment.

  14. SO1 says:

    Maybe if we all get real frustrated on the internet, the objective solution will magically present itself.

    Shoot it however YOU get rounds on target most efficiently and reliably. End of story. Mr. Proctor presented one opinion, unfortunately not presented as an opinion but rather an assertion. Many others present others. Give them all genuine chances, choose to ingrain into your training whatever works FOR YOU.

    End of story.

  15. theblackknight says:

    Everybody knows that gun games will get you killed.

    Look at the Romans, they took a bunch of soldier skills, made them into a game ,called to the Olympics, and where are they? All fucking dead. If you want to survive, only train with real vets from SOF would have shot people for real and where trained to do so by USPSA Multi gun champions like Barnhart and Leatham.

    oh wait. . . . .