The rifle, a tool that undoubtedly deserves an honorable mention as one of the top tools that have helped men explore, secure, and settle land as well as protect and provide for their families and communities. Other tools that come to mind also include a good knife, axes, fire and the wheel. One might say it is a fundamental tool for any self sufficient person.
I won’t be discussing what I think is an ideal rifle, that’s up to you to decide. What is ideal for one persons situation very well isn’t in another’s. Instead, I’ll be discussing the necessity of mastering the skillset itself. A master of the rifle should be effective with any rifle, and savant-like with his personal weapons. At that point, maybe you’ll be able to decide what an ideal rifle is to you.
Expertise in any skill only comes with study, practice, analysis, and more practice. Some skills really are life long endeavors in learning. But very few skills stand the test of time as worth the effort.
I would personally rate my skill with an AR15 style of weapon as one of my strongest skill sets. I’ve been in possession of at least one for majority of the last 19 years. That’s not to say I’m the fastest in a 3-gun competition or a top ranked high power shooter. Competition isn’t really a focus of mine. I’m just very confident with one, having proven to myself numerous times what I am, and am not, capable of with one.
And that confidence, is what you should be after as well, whether it’s with your inherited .30-.30 or your latest precision bolt gun. So many people I shoot with are as nervous or unfamiliar with their weapons as a couple might be on their first date. Me and the AR are like the elderly couple celebrating their 50th anniversary. You might say, we are “familiar”, and yes, I have showered with one.
I think a lot of their discomfort comes from a lack of confidence, that itself stems from a lack of experience. Sometimes this is because they are just that, inexperienced. Other times I think it’s because they like collecting guns and looking at gun porn more than actually shooting. Or, if they do shoot regularly, it’s more play time than study time, with nothing really learned. Either way, they aren’t taking it seriously.
As a Marine, I actually get offended when I witness poor weapons handling. Not poor shooting, but just the way someone handles the weapon itself. And not just because it’s a safety concern, but it’s just something you don’t do, it shows disrespect to the idea of being a rifleman, and by doing it you are not taking something serious that is a way of life to me. Imagine the outrage when you walk around in a mosque without taking off your shoes, while shaking everyone’s hand with your left hand and eating a 100% pork corn dog with your right. So yeah, I notice it.
My first platoon leader was a Mustang Captain. Mustangs are former enlisted men who then go to OCS and become officers. This man was also a former Scout Sniper, and I’m pretty sure he had an alter for praying to his rifle hidden in the woods. He gave us a speech once before a rifle range, about how our rifles are like the equivalent to the Samurai’s sword. It was very motivating for a young boot like myself, and I shot very well. As in, better than anyone in the platoon, which is a pretty good way to introduce yourself to your new platoon, which I had “dropped” to that day.
So in conclusion, while a rifle is a tool, it is a very important tool, deserving of your respect and dedication. The more you put into learning it, the more you’ll get out of it. It will put food on your table, promote peace and civility, and if used effectively, put fear in your enemies hearts.