The following was a comment left by a retired Sergeant Major commenting on the Small Kill Team (SKT) article by our own Johnny Paratrooper. His sentiment should echo much of what I’ve advocated over the years and taught in my courses (and specifically the Scout Course), going directly against the grain of the bulk of the ‘tacticool-aid’ drinkers out there. Our mission is not to be the ‘cool guys’, its to prepare you for the combat that’s coming. -NCS

Great article, and great discussion.

When I’m asked “what calibers should I get,” I reply “who has the most ammo in the US?” Answer: US Military (particularly the Army). And the calibers they use? 5.56mm NATO, 9x19mm, 7.62×51 NATO, 300WM (for sniping), .50BMG. I have read that they have some 6.5 Creedmore, but don’t know that this one is Military Ubiquitous yet. Most of this will be acquired by Battlefield Pickup.
I emphasize the use of Ballistic Advantage, which means effectively engaging them at ranges they likely won’t even try, or would only be spraying & praying when returning fire. This requires rifles, ammunition, and training capable of accurately reaching out to at least 600 meters (AR15/5.56), 800-1000 meters (7.62) and possibly 1500 meters with 300-magnum or .50/.338, etc.
For 5.56, you get this level of accuracy with match-grade ammo (at least 69 grain), a 20-inch barrel, bipod, and at least a 10X scope. An alternative for the “Bolt Gunners” would be to carry the heavy, long-range, low-rate-of-fire rifle in a bag, and a 16″ barrel AR (or even an AR pistol) for immediate self-defense.

Tactically, we don’t want to mix it up at short-ranges with any superior OPFOR, so it makes sense to me to hit them while you enjoy ballistic advantage, then withdraw as they move into effective range of you. This is where, also, that second SKT can have a disruptive effect on the OPFOR: Set up Engagement Areas (EA) which the other SKT covers by fire in order to disrupt the other guy’s advance against you. While SKT2 is engaging, you withdraw/displace to another pre-planned position which would allow your SKT to cover the displacement of SKT2.
Remember, in these cases, WE are doing “guerilla stuff” against a superior enemy. We also can NEVER afford casualties – replacements will be too hard to find!

Which brings us to Our Mobility. I remember the US Army “Light Fighters” mantra: “Too Light to Fight; Too Heavy to Run!”
We won’t have the logistics tail necessary for resupply, and we must ALWAYS assume that we’ll be short on AMMO, and we must carry what we have, so parsimonious precision semi-auto fire MUST be the order of the day! We might carry 300 rounds of 5.56mm or 7.62mm, but can we move with that weight in order to escape encirclement? Consider mountain-bikes or (while fuel is available) quiet dirt-bikes/ATVs where possible to get in and out of target areas.

Regarding slick rifles: Easier to carry, but not good for ballistic advantage. AT LEAST mount a variable-power magnifying optic which allows you to identify and engage targets beyond 300-400 meters. This means that, rather than toting a plethora of binoculars and spotting scopes, every rifleman can scan on low-power, switching to higher-power to more closely scrutinize possible targets, spot splashes for the big rifles; then more accurately engage bad-guys as they approach the 300-meter “let’s get out of here!” line. (Note: Laser rangefinders are NOT a luxury!)

I saw no mention of night combat in the comments above. If you have Night Vision Devices, you must be able to aim your weapon with them, which implies using weapon-mounted IR lasers in conjunction with head-mounted NVDs, or weapon mounted NVDs that work with day-sights – ie clamp-on night scopes in front of day-optics. (Yes, I know: EXPENSIVE!) Red-dot/holographic sights? Not good beyond 200 meters, so keep them as short-range backups to your magnifying optics.

Finally, periodically I get the argument “we never get shots beyond 100-200 meters around here.” Yes, many times all you have is closer-in engagement possibilities, but EVERYWHERE (except in the depths of thick forest) there are opportunities for longer-range engagements – one must only look for them. If our, and jihadi, snipers could get 1200 meter shots inside Baghdad and Ramadi, it can be done in American cities, towns, and rural areas.

Here’s hoping that my rant engenders more discussion, and more relevant ideas: No one of us is smarter than all of us!

SGM S.

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