37 episodes

The Everyday Marksman teaches regular people just like you how to live a more adventurous life through the study and practice of martial skills. We focus on marksmanship, survival, fitness, winning mindset, and equipment. Join us every other week as we talk to experts in the field and inspire success.

The Everyday Marksman Matt Robertson

    • Wilderness
    • 4.9, 12 Ratings

The Everyday Marksman teaches regular people just like you how to live a more adventurous life through the study and practice of martial skills. We focus on marksmanship, survival, fitness, winning mindset, and equipment. Join us every other week as we talk to experts in the field and inspire success.

    Answering the Question: Why Good Marksmanship is Important

    Answering the Question: Why Good Marksmanship is Important

    A good shot must necessarily be a good man since the essence of good marksmanship is self-control and self-control is the essential quality of a good man.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    I don't know why this question has been on my mind lately, but I've felt compelled to try and put words to my answer. Why is good marksmanship important? What do we get from learning and practicing it?

    I think there's an assumption within the gun world that everyone already knows that marksmanship is important. But I don't think most people actually care.

    In a way, it's a lot like cars. A lot of people are into cars, enjoy looking at cars, talking about them, and even driving them, but there's still a lot of people out there who are absolutely terrible drivers. Shooting is similar in a lot of ways. Owning firearms does not automatically confer some magical ability to be a good shot.

    Related Links

    * John Simpson's Interview

    * Russ Miller's Interview

    * Derrick Bartlett's Interview

    * Amanda Banta's Interview

    * Atomic Habits by James Clear

    The Three Benefits

    If I'm trying to narrow down the benefits of learning good marksmanship, it comes down to three major themes: confidence, capability, and character. Hmmm...I might have to start calling that the "Three C's."


    There's a lot of scared people out there. For whatever reason, a lot of people today don't like to think about what they would do in an emergency situation. Most people probably don't even think they are capable of handling themselves effectively.

    I argue that learning how to shoot well translates into confidence. I remember a time when I first taught my wife how to land hits at 300, 400, and even 500 yards consistently. For days afterward, she would look at something off in the distance and say, "I bet I could hit that."

    What strikes me about that statement is the shift towards betting on yourself to accomplish it. The more you learn and practice with firearms, the more confident you become that you'll be able to protect yourself.


    While the first C, confidence, is about improving your self-image the next one is about improving your actual capabilities. A lot of gun owners out there don't actually practice very much.

    The military doesn't teach rifle marksmanship. It teaches equipment familiarity. Despite what the officer corps thinks, learning to shoot a rifle is not like learning to drive a car. Instead, it is like learning to play the violin....The equipment familiarity learning curve comes up quick, but then the rifle marksmanship continuation of the curve rises very slowly....by shooting one careful shot at a time, carefully inspecting the result (and the cause).

    Daryl Davis

    I recall one particular range trip shortly after I built my first AR, the recce. I took a little flack from another shooter at the range because of my underpowered .223 rifle compared to his 300 Win Mag. But after a few rounds of shooting, I was clearly the better marksman and it was obvious why he thought he needed 300 Win Mag for deer.

    There's no getting around the fact that improving your marksmanship skills directly affects your capability to provide food, protect yourself, and survive. But it requires work.


    I opened the episode with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt.

    • 15 min
    From Here to the Edge of the World: Talking Radio Skills with NC Scout

    From Here to the Edge of the World: Talking Radio Skills with NC Scout

    Let's talk about some amateur radio skills. I've been singing the praises of getting licensed and learning the craft for a while. But I'll also admit that I'm practicing as much as I should be and my radio mostly sits on my desk looking me in the face.

    Today I'm talking to NC Scout, who you might know from his own blog over at Brushbeater as well as American Partisan.

    NC Scout is a former US Army Infantry scout who has a long history with reconnaissance and radio communications. He has experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and now teaches military skills (including radio communications) to folks looking to be more prepared for hard times.

    Related Links

    * NC Scout's blog  and classes at Brushbeater

    * American Partisan

    * Baofeng UV5R

    * The ARRL

    Episode Summary

    I'll get right to the point. If there's nothing else for you to take away from this interview, it's that there's a lot of capability out there in the world of radio, but doesn't mean anything to you if you don't have enough working knowledge to use it. The time to start learning how to effectively use radios is not after you're already in need of doing it. 

    Like many skills, including shooting, it's relatively easy to learn the basics and start transmitting. But getting really good takes time, practice, and study.

    So what does really good look like when it comes to radio?

    Let's illustrate two examples.

    The Novice Radio Operator

    This isn't explicitly laid out in the episode, but I think we talked around the idea a lot. The novice is a lot like Tactical Timmy. He wants to buy the gear and have the look without necessarily putting in the work.

    The novice buys the radio, buys a factory-made antenna, and hopefully gets his license to operate. From there, he jumps on the air and talks to local people in the area (if there are any). Novices are limited to roughly a geographic area the size of a country, presuming they have access to a repeater in the area to carry the signal further.

    Should the repeater go down due to power loss or hardware failure, the novice is pretty much stuck to a couple of miles within the line of sight.

    Should the novice want to try for more efficiency out of their radio, they don't have the skills or equipment to construct, test, and utilize a different kind of antenna. In fact, doing so may result in destroying their radio.

    The Seasoned Radio Operator

    In contrast to the novice, we have the guys who actually put in the work. This group can make their own antennas out of piano wire and electric fence insulators. That helps shape the signal in a way that gets further out and has better audio.

    The seasoned operator has experience with the high frequency (HF) radio bands, meaning they know how to bounce radio waves off of the Earth's atmosphere and talk across state lines or even to other countries. They know how to configure and maintain a repeater, but also don't need to rely on it.

    Should the internet go down, the seasoned operator knows how to send digital messages and email over radio waves.

    The seasoned operator is the kind of person who can keep your communications up and running even when everything else is failing. You want this guy on your team, if not becoming this guy yourself.

    Getting Started

    The first step in all of this is to get your radio and a license. I would say get the license first, but a href="https://www.everydaymarksman.

    • 55 min
    On the Modern Minuteman

    On the Modern Minuteman

    Today’s episode is a fairly short one. I want to touch on the idea of a modern Minuteman. It’s something that a lot of people romanticize, but we never really define. In this discussion, I want to talk a bit about what it means to me and what I think we need to do.

    This isn’t a discussion about the contents of a go bag or the kind of rifle to bring to the fight. No, it’s about the philosophy of being an engaged citizen ready to put aside individual goals for the sake of maintaining liberty.

    Let’s start with a long-ish quote from, of all people John F. Kennedy.

    In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men -- citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment's notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.

    John F. Kennedy, 1961

    The Minuteman

    A lot of folks often confuse the Militia and the Minuteman. Even JFK made that mistake in the quote. In truth they were related, but very different.

    Militia service in the 1700s was compulsory. Every able-bodied male was expected to participate in the common defense of their community and state, if needed. Of that group, a select group of volunteers were asked to become Minutemen. This group was selected from the Militia roles for their youth, strength, stamina, and motivation.

    They were also volunteers.

    I suppose you could liken them to a colonial-era QRF or special operations force. The history of the Minuteman goes back at least 100 years before the American Revolution, though. It wasn’t a new concept by any means.

    What I’m interested in is those additional qualities: strength, stamina, motivation.

    The Everyday Marksman is all about promoting a well-rounded citizenry through the study and practice of tactical skills. Buying the equipment is the easy part, it’s putting in the work that everyone struggles to do.

    Even more important is finding others in the community to do the same. As a culture, we’ve become complacent. We give up taking care of problems ourselves in favor of looking to some government authority, typically law enforcement, to settle the dispute for us. This is counter-productive, as the average citizen feels less and less responsibility for taking care of their country.

    The Community Problem

    I ran a poll within our community, The Marksman’s Quarter, about how many neighbors would members trust to have their back in hard times. The answer was a paltry 6%.

    That’s dismal. And the even more serious problem is that we inherently feel isolated in wanting to be ready to protect our homes and community from bad actors. People, as a whole, are shockingly easy to influence with “the crowd.” Most people will go along with what the crowd is doing even if they intellectually know it’s a bad idea. That’s how we end up with such widespread riots and poor behavior on social media.

    The same thing works in reverse. If enough people model positive behavior, then “people” feel pressure to fall in line and mirror it.

    It’s not going to be easy. In fact, overcoming the media bias and cultural negativity may be insurmountable. But it’s a worthy fight. Keeping our heads buried in the sand hoping that someone else will do it is exactly how our country got where it is right now.

    Wrapping Up

    I don’t have any fancy pictures for this one. I don’t have a list of things to teach you.

    • 14 min
    Ilya Koshkin, The Dark Lord of Optics, Schools Me on Riflescopes

    Ilya Koshkin, The Dark Lord of Optics, Schools Me on Riflescopes

    Today we're talking to ILya Koshkin, a prolific blogger and internet personality in the world of rifle optics. I've personally been following him for years and learning from his advice. We've recently struck up a bit of a friendship and I thought it was a great opportunity to bring him on to the show and have him share some of his wisdom.

    I don't know about you, but choosing optics for rifles is one of those things that kind of excites me but also causes a lot of dread. There are a lot of options out there from a variety of manufacturers, and they've all got a lot of slick marketing materials designed to confuse you even more.

    In this episode, ILya breaks down the most important elements to consider when shopping, some common misconceptions, and some of his own pet peeves.

    Related Links

    * Optics Thoughts (ILya's Blog)

    * ILya's YouTube Channel

    *  Instagram / Facebook

    * SWFA Optics

    * Interview with John Simpson (Episode 2)

    * Tangent Theta Optics

    Episode Summary

    We covered a lot of technical ground during this episode, so it's actually fairly difficult to narrow it down to the most important takeaways. But there were a few things that I think stood out as key messages to get across.

    Scope Tube Diameter

    There's a common perception out there that a larger diameter scope tube means that more light passes through the optic. I know I've heard it, and probably thought it, and you've likely seen it as well. Right out of the gate, ILya wants to crush that myth. 

    Tube diameter has no effect on how bright the optic appears to your eye. What it does do is offer more room for adjustment with windage and elevation. It also increases weight. 

    The biggest impact on the brightness and fidelity of a scope actually comes from the diameter of the objective lens. Everything else flows after that.

    Beware Marketing Hype 

    ILya pointed out that marketing departments love to talk about specifications like "95% light transmission." In reality, this means nothing. The most important part is actually how the image appears to the human eye, and those numbers have precious little to do with that. 

    Manufacturers also love to include a lot of whiz-bang features. ILya cautions, though, that it's pretty common for a lot of companies to put these features in there while still not having a solid grasp of the basic components. Depending on where the optic is made, there might be variations in the manufacturing components and methods from batch to batch. 

    If your budget is limited, it's best to focus on the basics. ILya specifically mentions SWFA as a company who does this well. They don't have illumination, zero stops, or other "fancy" components on their budget series optics. But their scopes do the basics really well.

    Diminishing Returns

    It's not a popular topic to discuss, but it's still true. There are price points with nearly everything firearms related where the return on investment starts becoming less an...

    • 59 min
    Adventure is Just Bad Planning

    Adventure is Just Bad Planning

    Today we’re touching on the topic of good planning practices. This has been on my mind a lot lately because my wife and I are discussing all of the future family adventures we’d like to do. I’ve mentioned to you before that I’ve always been, “The Adventurous Type,” and I attribute a lot of that to how I was raised and the way my parents challenged me to explore, discover, and critically think about “what if” scenarios.

    I opened with a quote from Roald Amundsen. He was a famed Norwegian explorer who was the first to reach the South Pole during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Expedition.

    Amundsen was a meticulous planner, and his expedition to the South Pole was relatively uneventful compared to other famed explorers who made similar attempts.

    But just because you have carefully laid plans doesn’t mean everything will always go smoothly. In fact, another antarctic explorer named Ernest Shackleton was another excellent planner, but his expedition never made it to the launching point.

    Instead, his ship became stuck in the Antarctic ice for 10 months before it was finally crushed and sank. Shackleton’s exceptional planning and leadership skills enabled him to keep his entire crew alive and surviving on the ice for another seven months while they dragged three lifeboats to the water.

    Roald Amundsen

    Then there was a harrowing journey to get the damaged lifeboats to a small island for shelter. The men survived there for many more months while Shackleton and a handful of men took the last functioning lifeboat on an 800-mile open water crossing to a small whaling station to get help.

    Everyone survived the two-year failed expedition.

    Planning Framework

    So what’s the point of telling you these tales of famous explorers. I want to illustrate that proper planning is important for both success and those times when things go bad and you have to survive. It’s important for all of us to take time and think about those “what ifs.”

    Amundsen and Shackleton had years of experience, and prior failures, to work from when planning their expeditions. You and I have the benefit of learning from others and the collected knowledge of history. All we have to do is think about it.

    So, with that, I want to introduce you to the PACE model. PACE, which stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, & Emergency is a Special Forces framework for planning. It’s typically applied to communications, but I’ve found that it works just as well for thought exercises with “what if” scenarios.

    The way to think about this is as follows:

    Primary is the most desirable course of action and the one you would plan to do under most circumstances

    Alternate is the “next best thing” whereby you get to the same result without much additional effort

    Contingency is the plan that will still get the job done, but probably at increased cost, time, and effort

    Emergency is the path of last resort, taking the most amount of time, effort, and cost

    I’m not saying that you need to sit down and think of every possible thing that could happen and then plan for it. That’s not realistic, and there is a better way to consider those kinds of risks. But what I am saying is that you could use the PACE framework to consider activities in your day to day life and what you would do during a “what if.”

    The example I use in the episode is getting home from my office. Under normal circumstances, if everything is going smoothly, then my primary and alternate routes work great. But what if there was another kind of emergency and those roads were blocked? What if vehicle travel was cut off completely and I had to go on foot?

    You get the idea.

    Make Planning a Habit

    In the end,

    • 12 min
    Talking about the M16A5 with Lothaen of TNR

    Talking about the M16A5 with Lothaen of TNR

    I don't know if you know this, but the M16A5 is one of my favorite rifle configurations. Though it was never an official designation for any American rifle, it exists as a concept in the shooting world that is ripe for the picking.

    Now, I've already written a much longer article about this very topic: A Builder's Guide to the M16A5 Concept Rifle. You'll find all of the related links and other stuff as part of that article. 

    The short version is that the M16A5 combines a free-floated 20" barrel and a collapsible stock. The Canadians have something very similar known as the C7A2. You can read all about that in the linked article.

    This episode is a little different, however. You see, my friend Brian (otherwise known as Lothaen) runs another blog over at The New Rifleman. He also happens to be all about the M16A5 configuration, so we decided to talk about our experiences and record that conversation for your enjoyment.

    During this episode, you'll hear us describe our respective rifles, how we use them, lessons we've learned, and a few other tidbits here and there. 

    There are no key takeaways, detailed notes, or anything like that for this son. It's a totally different format, and I'm quite curious to know what you think about it. So let us know down in the comments whether you enjoy this kind of informal conversation about a specific topic. 

    A Bit About The New Rifleman

    Brian and I both started our respective blogs at about the same time back in 2014. While my early efforts focused a lot more on my own journey to learn new stuff and gain proficiency as a marksman and develop a solid understanding of gun culture, Brian went right for learning to master the art of the rifle.

    As both of our sites have "grown up," we've continued to bounce ideas off of one another. You should expect to see some more collaborations between the two of us in the future!

    • 45 min

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Wonderful Podcast

I love listening to this podcast! Matt does a great job of bringing in a variety of guests and you can tell he’s knowledgeable and passionate about each episode. Definitely worth binging a few episodes during a drive or at the gym.

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