Double mag clamp-equipped M4A1 being utilized at Mid-South Institute of Self Defense circa 2005, during pre-deployment training in preparation for author’s third Iraq tour.


During the first ten years of my military career—starting just in time for the first Gulf War in 1991—if you wanted to increase ammunition capacity or enhance your M16A2’s magazines in any way, you basically only had the same options as the very first soldiers who used the M16 back in the late 1960s and…

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Dual-optic carbines give user best of both capabilities: red dot for CQB and LPVO for long-range threats. Transition between them is extremely fast, thanks to modern 45-degree offset mounts.

RIFLE SET-UP: Mission vs. Situation

When conducting direct-action missions to take down buildings or compounds, the norm is to expect a close-quarters combat (CQB) fight. This makes the typical choice a shorty carbine with some sort of red dot optic. The reasoning is a short weapon length is best for use in confined spaces and a red dot or holographic…

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U.S. Army’s base element for CQB relies on a four-man team. During the height of fighting in Iraq in the mid-2000s, SF found the four-man stack lacking when faced with real close-quarters combat. Photo: courtesy DOD


Stacking up—entering a room to conduct close-quarters battle (CQB)—is one of the most dangerous tasks a Soldier or law enforcement officer may have to face. Some of the hardest CQB fighting U.S. forces faced was during the U.S occupation of Iraq in the mid-2000s, from the 1st and 2nd Battles of Fallujah to taking on…

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Game Changer can be employed on flat surface like a classic shooting bag because of its very generous V-cut for rifle to rest in.

A COMPLETE GAME CHANGER: Best Shooting Accessory You’ve Never Heard Of

I competed in my first Precision Rifle Series (PRS) match this year. What separates PRS matches from other long-range shooting competitions is you can rarely expect to shoot prone off a flat surface. Instead one can expect to have to shoot off, shall I say, “very interesting” props: everything from sloped roofs, tipped-over 55-gallon drums,…

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… barreled rifle made out to match current-issue MK18.

CLONING DONE RIGHT: Building America’s Rifle

A lot of open-source information is available from the military on the M4 and its variants—the M4A1, MK18, and MK12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR)—including pages upon pages of online photos and videos of troops downrange using various rifle and carbine set-ups. But some of the most detailed information on military rifles can actually be found…

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A great method for building situational awareness is to shoot courses of fire that not only force the shooter to look around to see all threats, but also force him to move to different points to engage them all.

COOL ON THE RANGE, DEAD ON THE STREET A Hard Look at Shooting Techniques

Photos by Gracey Gurwitch After reading this, many in the tactical community may label me a heretic! That’s because I’m about to argue against two very popular tactical shooting techniques endorsed by many who are considered experts in tactical shooting. The reason I don’t like these two techniques is based on my experience of six…

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Author using general-issue M4 equipped with then-current SOPMOD Block II items in 2015. Except for a heavier barrel, the carbine itself has remained almost unchanged since its first issue in the late 1990s.

OVERDUE UPGRADES Improving the M4 Carbine

There is no doubt the M4/M4A1 is the finest carbine in the world. From the streets of Baghdad to the mountains of Afghanistan, the M4 series carbine has proven to be fully capable of providing the lethal fire needed by our nation’s warfighters. But does that mean it has no room for improvement? The M4A1…

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War Belts: Rigging Up for Battle

Carrying spare ammunition for both primary and secondary weapons, medical items, night-vision equipment, communications gear, breaching charges, and maybe a couple of grenades or flash bangs can add up to quite a combat load. And let’s face it, there is only so much space on plate carriers, body armor, or chest racks to mount and store these items.

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AR Magazines: Separating the Good From the Bad

No matter how much money you spend on an AR, if you want it to run reliably, you must use quality magazines. This sounds like common sense, but many times I have found shooters using old, worn-out or low-quality magazines. It’s frustrating to watch a shooter fight through clearing a double feed only to re-insert the same magazine, potentially setting himself up for another double feed. (Not the ideal technique in the middle of a gunfight.)

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