I realize this subject is likely to only appeal to a few of our readers and that is a shame. But it’s a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Regardless, I know most of my fellow gun enthusiasts willfully ignore the subject: carrying your rifle.
Or as I almost titled this post, “Everything you need to know about guns after you figure out the manual of arms”. OK, what’s my point?
I feel that too much emphasis is being placed on the gear, name, model, iteration of a device and not enough sweat equity into actually using said device in the real world. If that phrase isn’t sexy enough, how about I up the derp-factor and say, “Deploy with your weapon”?
Some common examples: You have a bug-out bag but you’ve never even walked a mile carrying your rifle. Let alone this mythical bag. You have a Go-To-War rifle and the most it’s even been slung up is when you’re chatting with your buddies on a firing line. I could go on but I think the intellectually honest readers have already perceived my point.
So what’s the solution? First of all, I think it starts with a realistic mindset. And no, I’m not talking about what some guy on the Internet-Carbine-Forum says about his experiences during 9 deployments to Ali-Baba province in Dirt-billie-stan. While interesting, how does that play in Peoria?
Look at all these photos from the 2016 Ft. Benning, Georgia Sniper Challenge. Not one single image shows anyone actually firing a weapon. That is not by accident. Because these competitors spent way more time, effort and sweat-equity carrying their gear than actually pulling triggers.
Ideally I would like to see more shooters putting time and effort into carrying their gear in the environment they are likely to use it. For most of you, that is in the continental United States. And if you’re honest, this is more important than room clearing, flash-bangs and load bearing vests. It’s not sexy but just as important, and for most, more realistic.
If shooting on a rifle range, have everyone unload their rifles. Insert chamber flags or remove bolts as needed by the safety rules. And then have everyone walk all their gear down to the target stands and then back when finished admin’ing (or is it admiring?) the targets. A few iterations of this and you’ll quickly learn some valuable lessons about your gear!
If you have the opportunity, go hiking or scouting while slung up with a rifle.
Like to walk in an urban area? Wear a backpack that equals the weight of your zombie gear and get moving! If you really want to be pushy, break that AR apart and stuff it in the same backpack. Even if the rifle is inert, you will get a weird sense of satisfaction carrying the actual rifle weight! Pro-tip: This suggestion is municipality dependent. Don’t derp this up.
If you are a hunter checking your deer stands anticipating opening day; bring your rifle along. Even if it’s not THE rifle you plan to hunt with. And if you really want to get better, bring an unloaded rifle and practice “carrying” that rifle into a stand. The hard way. Why? What if you get to your spot on opening day, and some squirrel has made off with the homemade rifle-hoist string? You going to walk back out and possibly lose the morning hunt?, Or are you just going ahead and climb anyway? I know what the DNR and Hunter Safety courses tell you to do. But I know in the real world no hunter is blowing his morning over this. He’s just going to sling, or carry, his rifle up the ladder. Figuring out how best to do that isn’t: on the fly, by yourself, in the early morning darkness!
Any of you skiers? Good news. Cross Country Skiing and long guns go hand-in-hand. Even today one of the few Olympic sports that still features firearms is the biathlon. Next time you are in a ski area, explain to the owners / staff that you are interested in biathlon and would they mind if you cross-country skied with a long gun over your back? Too old for the Olympics? Tell them you have a hunting trip planned and need same. Pro-tip: This is a great time to notice your “tactical drag bag” has TWO shoulder straps.
How about cross-fitters? This is super easy. Try it with your rifle. I guarantee if you state to your local CF gym what your goals are, some of them will allow you to have a long gun while you train. And knowing how cross fitters are always looking for new gimmicks to keep things fresh, don’t be surprised if they make it a thing and invite others to do the same.
You have a treadmill at home? An expensive shrine to your previously failed attempt at a New Years Resolution? Instead of running on it, why don’t you sling up some of that expensive gear you used “that one time” at Tactical Response and start working up a sweat at home? Pro-tip: This is a great shakedown to discover “hot-spots” in your system. Pro-tip 2: Try it and soon enough you won’t need an explanation of the phrase, “hot spot”.
I could go on and on. But the more in depth I go, the less it connects with individual readers. You’re going to have to figure out what’s possible and what’s not in your universe. It’s your life, not mine. All I’m suggesting is you live slightly more in the real world and slightly less in Call Of Duty.
And in closing, don’t DERP this up.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”