Book Reviews: September 1998

By Lee Arten


Gunsite has been one of the premier shooting schools since it was begun by Col. Jeff Cooper in the mid-1970s. Several years ago the school was sold to Richard Jee, and it has kept its good reputation.

Recently Gunsite released a series of firearms video tapes, and I received Tactical Carbine 1 for review from Paladin Press. The tape begins by stating that it is not intended to stand by itself, but to supplement ongoing training programs. It goes on to stress the four safety rules codified by Col. Cooper.

1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target.
4. Know your target and what is behind it.

The tape then shows Gunsite trainers Bill Jeans and Jack Furr discussing the tactical carbine, a short- barreled AR-15 or M-16 variant, with a tactical sling, light and sometimes, an optical sight. Ted Yost, the resident gunsmith at Gunsite, discusses slings, lights and aftermarket triggers which can clean up the usual less-than-perfect AR-type trigger.

Furr and Jeans then cover the “proper” way to load and unload the carbine, ballistics and zeroing, ready positions, tactical and speed reloading drills, firing positions, including squatting (rice paddy prone), urban or rollover prone, and the supine position. The supine position looked particularly interesting to me. It is suggested as the way to use very low cover, curbs, or short walls effectively. I also think it would make an interesting stage in a practical pistol or rifle match.

I was also interested in the method presented for making tactical reloads. I’ve never really been a proponent of reloading techniques that leave the competitive  shooter’s magazines in the dirt. Now, with the cost of four or five of some high-capacity magazines approaching the price I paid for the gun they fit, and actually exceeding the cost of some other guns, I find even less reason to drop them. I’d rather pocket them than simply hope they fall on something soft.

Malfunction drills, shooting multiple targets, and shooting on the move are covered in Tactical Carbine 1. Tactics, low light methods, and dry practice finish out the tape. The method shown for clearing a stovepipe, working the bolt, and moving the weapon sharply to the right to throw the offending round or case clear of the gun is much quicker and more positive than the way I’ve been clearing jams in my AR clone until now.

Tactical Carbine 1 is aimed to a degree at police, military and security personnel who are issued a “tactical carbine” as part of their job. The building clearing segments may have more relevance to them than anyone else. At the same time I thought it would have things to teach a practical rifle shooter, or a citizen who wanted to increase his effectiveness with a carbine kept for personal defense.

One of the things I liked best about the tape was the clear, concise description of tactical reloads and malfunction clearing. In the dry practice segment use of orange-colored dummy ammunition, and careful clearing of the weapon before practice was stressed. I was less impressed with the segment showing pictures of armed thugs, and IPSC targets on screen so that the viewer could mount his carbine and dry fire at them. I don’t like a lot of the programming on TV, but I am still not willing to chance destroying the set with a .223 round. I know that checking a firearm carefully and using snap caps, as shown in the tape, will make it safe to dry fire, but I still feel it is too close to a violation of Rule Two.

I also had some questions about one method of loading the carbine. I find it much simpler to close the bolt on my rifle with the thumb of my left hand, rather than slapping the bolt release with the palm, which was shown as an alternate method on the tape. Using the palm means taking the support hand off the weapon, something that doesn’t make sense to me.

Except for those complaints, I found Tactical Carbine 1 to illustrate a well-thought out method of using the carbine. It was well worth the time I spent watching it.

Tactical Carbine 1, Tactical Pistol 1, Tactical Shotgun 1, Tactical Edged Weapons 1, are available for $29.95 each plus shipping from Paladin Press, P.O. Box 1307, Dept. SAR, Boulder, CO 80306, or by calling 1-800-392-2400.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N12 (September 1998)
and was posted online on January 13, 2017


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