Thursday, December 29, 2011

SDS Daily Briefing for Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back on Frequency

We spent the Christmas holiday in Tennessee with our respective families.  This year, we wanted to take our small dogs with us, so we drove the 900 miles.  The drive home yesterday lasted over 14 hours, including stops.  We're glad to be home.

Report From Sniper School

I've been meaning to summarize my experiences at Sniper School (okay, it's not really called that, but that's what the four of us who attended decided to call it), but the holidays got in the way.  So I'll try to cover the bases tonight.

The four of us took our AR-15s to a range about two hours east of Austin, where we met Kenan  Flasowski of FAST, Inc.  Kenan is a former Army sniper and a wealth of knowledge.

A little background is helpful here.  Shooting long distances, or even medium range distances, requires a strong understanding of ballistics.  Unlike tactical handgun shooting, where you are shooting at short ranges with small barreled guns, rifle shooting is far more complex.  Suffice it to say that if you are learning to shoot rifles at any distance, you first need some instruction in ballistics, proper breathing, and sight picture on your rifle.

We had hoped to get out to 400 meters, but the weather and our collective skill sets dictated a different strategy.  After we got our rifles zeroed in at 25 meters in the prone position, we practiced shooting from kneeling and sitting positions.  While that sounds easy, I can assure you that unless you're in your early twenties or are in phenomenal physical condition, contorting yourself into a stable shooting position is challenging. 

The rain, wind and temperatures limited our ability to do everything we had hope to accomplish, but Kenan didn't let that discourage him.  We set up one of those party tent things you see at tailgate parties - just a roof and open sides - large enough to accommodate all five of us and room for our gear.  Kenan put us on the clock and had us shoot steel targets at 100 yards, utilizing cover and from different positions.  The great thing about working with Kenan is that as a former sniper and plenty of trigger time in Iraq and Afghanistan, he knows what works and what doesn't, and coveys that information to you without the macho "I'm a bad ass" you get at many gun schools.

My personal take aways:

  • I don't shoot nearly enough.  And I certainly don't shoot nearly enough with my rifle.
  • Optics help.  Peering through that peep hole sight at 100 meters made for difficult shooting at times.  The guys with optics didn't have that problem.
  • ARs shoot high.  I need to learn that and compensate for it.
  • You MUST keep your AR in good working order.  By this I mean you must clean it regularly.  My rifle did well, but towards the end of the class, some of the other ARs were beginning to choke on all of residue left behind from the hundreds of rounds we fired.
On a side note, one of the guys had a "bump stock."  What is that, you ask?

For about $350, you can have one of these too.  And yes, I tried it out.  It rocked.
    An Uplifting Scary Video

    Here's a unique way at looking at the faltering economy.  The conclusions the presenter reaches tend to reach apocalyptic levels, but the time progression of the unemployment rates across a map of the U.S. is quite thought provoking.  I share this for what it's worth.

    2012 Analysis Newsletter Out Soon

    I'm preparing a special report on the upcoming year.  I will be happy to share it with you.  More details to follow this weekend.

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