Sunday, May 04, 2008

I got paid for this! The SOF 3 Gun Match

I spent yesterday both having a blast and learning quite a bit. I was working a table for ATS at the 2nd Annual Special Operations Three Gun Match at Fort Campbell, which was made up of members of 5th Group and 160th SOAR. Even the guys who weren't in jobs that required shooting as part of the description-some of whom were very new to the shooting sports-did very, very well. The guys that do shoot as part of their jobs...damn. I saw some guys just absolutely RUN stages of this match. A couple of our friends from Group just blew my mind with what they could do.

Even though a lot of these guys are in a combat arms MOS, it appeared that the shotgun was the great equalizer. I think most of that had to do with ammunition. Since I don't think any of these guys use shotguns for anything other than hunting (I saw some guys running upland bird guns that they borrowed for the match) or breaching, trying to run stages well with somebody else's gear proved to be difficult for almost everyone. Additionally, at least one stage was meant to make the shooter work for it, rather than being practical in terms of tactical use of the shotgun. That said, when somebody stepped up who had time with a gun, it showed. If this proves anything, its simply that a shotgun is a niche weapon for special situations. Characteristics such as the difficult-to-manage tube magazine showed why an M4 has become preferred for so many applications.

Speaking of the M4, the Viking Tactics barricade was used in this match. I tried 
finding a decent pic of it, but came up dry. Its about a 7' sheet of plywood, with a "stair step" pattern cut from the top to about the middle of the sheet, decending right to left. There are various shaped cutouts in the sheet, from long, narrow rectangles at angles, to squares and triangles. The match had these different cuts numbered, and had to be used in numerical order. This meant that the shooter had to go from standing or crouching a little, to prone, to kneeling, to rice paddy prone variations. It became apparent that most of the shooters hadn't encountered this particular barricade before, and had interesting approaches to solving the various positions required. There were three targets downrange at about 25 yards that had to be engaged with double taps. One of those cut outs required rotating the rifle about 90 degrees to get sights on target, so we saw a lot of shooters essentially rolling their rifles through a 180 to get their sights unblocked. One thing that was universal: those guys just kept working the problem until they solved it. I've seen shooters get rattled and mad at these kinds of issues, but these professionals just kept working until they were done. That was great to see.

It was a good day for the company, but it was mostly fun and instructive for me. 
I got to hang out with some guys I usually only see in the store, met some new friends, and saw some really inspired shooting. I'm tellin' ya, I'm glad these dudes are on our side. I wouldn't want to have to fight 'em.

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