Peter Grant has a post about equipping and handling a rifle, and there’s not a single thing he says that I disagree with. An excerpt:
It’s easy to say, “I can get rounds on target out to 500 yards” – but that’s probably not true in all circumstances. On a square range, on a calm, sunny day, with no interference or distractions, and a well-braced position, and using good optics, perhaps you can. Now, take a wild, stormy, windy day, with you out of breath, panting and puffing, sweat running down your forehead and into your eyes (having just run a couple of blocks to get away from trouble, with “bad guys” in the offing who are after you, and your family bunched behind you with the kids screaming in fear because they don’t know what’s going on), and you with just “iron sights” or a red dot sight on your close-combat carbine, and no time to take up a settled, stable shooting position . . . now make that critical shot, at whatever range. Go ahead. It’s only your life at stake, and your families’ lives.
Absolutely true. We had guys in our unit who were absolute monsters on the range, but when faced with serious trouble, it all went to hell in a hurry. This is also why I know I was a far better handgun shooter back when I did timed IDPA drills every week, as opposed to the leisurely range sessions I do now. I went from “average” to “much-better-than-average”, and now I’ve slipped back to “marginally-better-than average” (to be extremely charitable). What I do know is that the habits I picked up from all those hours of IDPA drills are still there, and can be resurrected (even if a half-second or so slower) in a pinch.
Peter’s thoughts about maintaining your battle rifle are also why I prefer the AK-47 over the AR-15: throw an AK in the mud, drop it off the back of a truck, and it’ll still shoot. Good luck doing that with your AR-15, with all its electronic doodads and plastic furniture.
And if you don’t own a copy of Jeff Cooper’s Art of the Rifle, that should be your next book purchase.