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Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

Lots of hot topic debate issues out there in the gun world. Many revisited and many will be for years to come.

Ones of my faves is whether a rifle zeroed to me is zeroed to you. Some of the gray area in this debate lies in lack of understanding. Understanding on what zeroed is and how it’s done.

If I am shooting BRM next to a shooter who is consistently knocking out the X ring at say 100 yards – consistently doing so – it would stand to reason that not only is his rifle zeroed to that distance but he probably knows what he is doing and he is doing it consistently. His trigger control is excellent, his cheek to stock weld is true to ensure he is looking directly through the center of his aperture to mitigate any parallax. He finalizes trigger squeeze on his respiratory pause.

Now, if I am replicating what he is doing with my own rifle, the same should stand true for me. We are both zeroed, we can both shoot.

I’ve been through this dozens and dozens of times; I can switch up with him and yield the same results. There are caveats to this however. For instance, if this shooter next to me is shooting irons only, I would need to know what his hold is.

So, my answer is “Yes. A zeroed rifle is a zeroed rifle.”

I’ve got lots of empirical data to back up my finding. If you do not, don’t chime in with mindless thoughts. The rest of us however, dive in.

Patrick McNamara
SGM, US Army (Ret)

Pat McNamara

Patrick McNamara spent twenty-two years in the United States Army in a myriad of special operations units. When he worked in the premier Special Missions Unit, he became an impeccable marksman, shooting with accurate, lethal results and tactical effectiveness. McNamara has trained tactical applications of shooting to people of all levels of marksmanship, from varsity level soldiers, and police officers who work the streets to civilians with little to no time behind the trigger.

His military experience quickly taught him that there is more to tactical marksmanship than merely squeezing the trigger. Utilizing his years of experience, McNamara developed a training methodology that is safe, effective and combat relevant and encourages a continuous thought process. This methodology teaches how to maintain safety at all times and choose targets that force accountability, as well as provides courses covering several categories, including individual, collective, on line and standards.

While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army.He retired from the Army’s premier hostage rescue unit as a Sergeant Major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting). He also served as the Principle of TMACS Inc.

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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15 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

  1. Joe says:

    Finally! 100% agree. No one argues that iron sighted handguns need to be zeroed from one shooter to the next (unless they are of the, “My X-Brand blaster shoots low, and left” persuasion) If the sights are aligned and a hold has been found for elevation the round will go where intended if the fundamentals are applied.

  2. Joe says:

    Absolutely true. There’s also more than one story of people picking up precision rifles and using them to great effect even though they were not their personal rifles. Why? The shooter had marked the dope on the rifle in one form or another, enabling anyone else to pick it up and use it to good effect. The issue of “zeroed for me but not for you” comes up when people “zero” weapons in a fashion intended to obscure flaws in their shooting.

  3. paul says:

    Try teaching this in the regular Army…I remember watching a senior NCO making everyone put THEIR OWN rifles back to mechanical zero before hitting the zero range! End of a long story, 4 of us qualified 30+ out of 40 on the same zeroed rifle. A zeroed rifle is a zeroed rifle.

  4. Easy E says:

    Makes sense. He basically says that if you’re both utilizing the same proper techniques that you’ll have the same results from the same weapon.

  5. Paladin-Jobs says:

    I have to agree. I spent two years doing maritime security. We would be issued different weapons on almost every transit. The rifles were zeroed but not to individuals. On a testfire I would be hitting the target within five to ten rounds. Not bad considering I was on the bridge of a moving ship shooting at a target bobbing about in the ocean. Of course shooting into the ocean its pretty easy to figure out where your rounds are going and to then aim off. As marksman I consider myself above average but nothing special.

  6. Ghosteryx77 says:

    I fear for the life of the man who disagrees with you…

  7. Romeo says:

    Isn’t there a problem, say, with scoped bolt guns and the stocks being adjusted for certain user. I mean the length of stock and the cheek-rest height. Sure, it does not affect the accuracy, but what about the point of impact? (same clicks, same distance)

  8. elliot says:

    It’s great hearing someone with some credibility say this. I’ve wasted too much breath explaining this to people…

  9. Airborne_fister says:

    Ok not a Bravo4 qualified guy. But was attached to a sniper team over seas. Why did the sniper team leader need to know my hold off? Am I missing something here? I would like to know since I’m currently building an AR-10. But with my AR-15. My wife can grab it. Drive tacks at 100 yards. Granted it has an eo tech with a 3X magnification from aim point. Wanted the twist so I can put my NVG’s on it.

  10. Justin says:

    I tend to agree, but there is one standout I have seen.

    I have a 1/2 MOA rifle with a Leupold Mark 4 on it. Reconfirming zero at 100 yds one day I put three rounds touching inside of a one inch square. A recon buddy of mine picked the rifle up and put three rounds touching in a once in square… one inch to the right of mine. He was going for the same square I was shooting, but for some reason his was an inch to the right.

    Perhaps he was consistently pulling the shots. Whatever the reason, we were both consistent just not hitting the same spot.

  11. Vince says:

    Mostly spot on, however, there are small differences in everyone’s eyes that can effect the way we perceive the reticle through a scoped rifle. This is more evident with higher powered optics and their paralax as well as smaller reticled red dots which can bloom or appear irregular. Most shooters wouldnt be effected based on their employment methods but for the more accuracy inclined trigger pullers, this may be an issue. As always, the most important idea in my opinion is consistency. Do what you always do if it works for you and if it doesn’t, fix yourself!

  12. Go says:

    Pat your the shit thanks for clearing this up. When you coming back to So. Fla. / Ft. Lauderdale ?