Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Get all the “flair” off your gun… (Gratuitous “Office Space” reference)

If you’ve ever carried a load and walked the mountains, jungles, arctic or deserts…which covers being “anywhere”, you learned an axiom known by every SOF operator: after the first hour, every ounce feels like a pound. I see quite a few rifles with a lot of extra accessories that are completely unnecessary. While they fill a minor role, that role does not justify the added bulk, weight or adverse effects. I won’t name the ones I see as most offending but they should be self-evident after further evaluation based on the criteria below.

When evaluating and mounting accessories to a weapon system by function and location take into account the following so the rifle is in every regard as efficient and effective as possible:

Every accessory must:

1) Demonstrably enhance the effectiveness of the weapon

2) Not impede the use of bolt release, magazine release, safety or trigger or any other critical accessory like a flashlight

3) Have no negative effect on reliability

4) Be durable in the extreme

5) Not be prone to accidental activation/deactivation/release or entanglement with anything it will commonly come in contact with

6) Be accessible and operable while firing right or left handed (as ambidextrous as possible or necessary based on your skills and shooting style)

Every accessory must be simple to mount and remove and should be rigged so that the operator can easily strip the weapon for maintenance and return accessories to their original location. Side note: Paint markers are a tremendous help for marking location of accessories and screw tension.

When all else fails, get all the “flair” off your gun and start from scratch. Make sure every accessory on your rifle does something that truly needs doing…otherwise leave it in your extra parts bin.

-Mike Pannone

Mike Pannone

Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

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.

Tags: , ,

15 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

  1. Jbgleason says:

    I would actually be interested in Mikes thoughts on flair versus valid accessories. Seems to me it would be very much mission driven and could vary day to day. That being he reason I am big on QD RTZ mounting systems.

  2. Palehorse1 says:

    …But I just got this ambidextrous french press attachment in the mail.

  3. Sean L says:

    Sling, Optic, White Light. Everything else is mission-driven (IR Laser/Illuminator, Offset optics/bipod on a scoped setup) or fluff (AFG, vanity rail covers, anything with a jargon-based “adaptive, disruptive, time-is-life, dynamic, theoretical” nomenclature).

  4. Bman says:

    I think somebody has a case of the Mondays on a Saturday… ha ha jk. Great article. I agree with you Sean, you have the required things there but I do find that the foregrip is tied in with the way I shoot and use my light so its not as “mission driven” as all that other high speed stuff. With that being said, I dont just follow the debate for the need for a light just because “you need to identify who your dealing with” as much as I know that I suck shooting with all of the one handed light techniques out there so that’s why they are important. Have a great Labor day everyone.

  5. Chris Nealis says:

    You have your work rifle, and you have your play rifle. My work rifle is a Colt M4 with a Surefire Scout light, PEQ15, and Eotech. My at home rifle is a Noveske/Geissele Frankenstein build with an $80 optic and nothing else. Not even “back up iron sights”. Why? Because if my battery runs out ill put my rifle down, reach into my bag, take a sip of my soda, and put another battery in. Nothing against anyone else or their thoughts it’s just my feelings and way of doing things.
    By the way, when did iron sights become “back up iron sights”? I’ve got another DD/Umbrella build that I’m just going to run iron sights on and everything is labeled “back up iron sights”. Sorry, rant over.

  6. Jason says:

    @Sean, I would just add to that

    -White light

    Me personally, I use a single XTM rail cover as a marker for hand placement, not dozens of panels to cover up all the other rails

  7. Sgt E. says:

    @ Chris
    I’m guessing that iron sights became “back up iron sights” when they were designed to be used secondary to an optic. It’s just seen as a backup style of aiming due to the widespread acceptance of EOtechs, ACOGs, etc.

    Not that I think there is anything wrong in using iron sights as your primary means of aiming with your weapon, just I’d rather have an EOtech or ACOG with the option to flip up some sights if something goes wrong in backup.

    • Chuck says:

      If you plan to run irons only, the sights should be selected accordingly. Flip up sights are designed as a back up to optics and are correspondingly less durable. For an irons only rifle, going with a fixed front sight and something like the DD or Troy fixed rear sights seems to be the way to go. Or you could rock the carry handle, but that just seems like unnecessary extra weight.

  8. Well said Mike – spot on

  9. Reverend says:

    Other than co-witnessing a set of irons to the optics, and mounting a flashlight, do you really need anything else?

    Your “Work” rifle, and your “Play” rifle idea is a great idea, Chris!