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.
Scenario X: Our Realistic End of the World Situation
I think it's time we had a thorough talk about Scenario-X. It's been popping up in a lot of the conversations and interviews I've been having lately, and therefore it's important to lay some further groundwork for my imaginary disaster scenario. This is also because several of the upcoming episodes I'm going to publish involve aspects of this situation.
If you aren't familiar at all, I first introduced Scenario-X when I started talking about load carriage. It is a fictional situation based on my own experiences growing up getting hit with hurricanes in South Florida, living through blizzards and wildfires out west, and observing many other natural and manmade disasters over the years.
Let's review some of the basics, and then get into the nuances I haven't really discussed before.
You live in a suburban neighborhood outside of a mid-sized city with a population in hundreds of thousands. Your town is much smaller, but attracts a lot of professionals who commute to the city due to good schools and more affordable housing. It's a distinctly middle class life with cul-de-sacs, green yards, and church on Sunday.
About two months ago, an unprecedented storm system ripped through the region. The first indicator was losing the electrical infrastructure. Later, you learned about some areas being flattened with windstorms, rendering entire communities uninhabitable.
Your local government is all but shut down, as it didn't have the budget and infrastructure to deal with such widespread damage. They managed a few electrical repairs with parts on hand, but they didn't have enough to bring everything back on consistently. State and federal resources have primarily gone to the nearby city, which started devolving into chaos within a week after the storm.
For you and your neighbors, the first few days were no big deal. You convinced your kids that it was like going on a camping trip at home. You had a stash of food, and a deep enough water supply to keep a relatively comfortable life going. The main issue was keeping everyone entertained.
As the first week rolled by without recovery, things grew more dire. Most of your neighbors ran out of food by the fourth day. You had more than a month of supplies, but you worried about helping anyone out for fear of word spreading that you were a "prepper" and could supply everyone.
The local grocery stores became a madhouse. Would-be shoppers scrambled to grab what food they could that wasn't yet spoiled from lack of power. Violence was common between desperate individuals.
After two weeks, things kept getting worse. The solar-powered shortwave radio you kept on hand is telling you that the urban areas are overwhelmed. Hospitals are beyond capacity, and people are starting to succumb to the second-order effects of power loss. There is no environmental controls in homes and no refrigeration. Medications are expiring, and there's no way to get a refill. The water is untreated, mixed with raw sewage.
After a month, many people began fleeing. Migrants from the urban and decimated areas have been passing through or setting up camps in nearby parks. You hear stories of lawlessness and desperation as the thin veil of civilization was stripped away.
Your neighborhood is a ghost town.
Wolves on the Horizon
Rumors are circulating about a groups of criminals taking advantage of minimal government authority. The stores have long since been looted, so these groups see suburban neighborhoods unaccustomed to "hard life" as ripe for the picking.
In the months since the disaster you've built up con...
Five Things I’m Focusing on in 2022- You Probably Should, Too
As a general rule, I don't do the whole resolution thing at the start of every year. That doesn't mean I don't believe in evaluating where I'm at and setting some goals for the year.
Since we're now into 2022, I thought it was a good time to lay down my "big picture" priorities for myself this year, my reasoning for them, and at least some measure of a plan for making them happen.
The plan part is important. To quote one of my prior commanders, "A goal without a plan is a hope, and hope isn't a valid course of action."
This particular episode is a little interesting because I'm recording separately as a podcast, but also doing a livestream on it as well. So you'll find both the audio above and the stream below. If you didn't get to participate in the stream, join up for the next one! I really like the participation and interaction we get out of these.
So here we go, the five main things I'm focusing on this year. To be honest, I had a bit of trouble trying to document these because there was of course lots of things I want to make happen this year professionally, personally, and with The Everyday Marksman. All of that doesn't fit into five things, though.
Here they are, in no particular order. I'll dig into each of these further.
* Handgun shooting
* Learning and skills acquisition
* Physical fitness, with an emphasis on mobility
* Building and enforcing good nutrition habits
* Finding balance of seriousness and fun
The Everyday Marksman is supposed to be about the complete set of skills a prepared and capable citizen would have. I've spent a lot of time and [digital] ink talking about rifle marksmanship, precision rifle skills, and more. But only a scant amount talking about handguns.
The reason for that is pretty simple: I'm way less proficient with handguns.
I get reminded of this every time I go to the range to accuracy test a pistol, and have trouble with producing good groups even off of a rest. It could be the gun, for sure, but I know I am just way less stable with my sight picture than I should be.
It's also not just about pistol accuracy, but the whole set of skills that go into being a Modern Day Gunslinger.
While it's been some time since I last got to shoot at the range with someone, I can't help but remember just how much better someone like my friend Justin Fields of Swift Silent Deadly was than me the last time we went.
Aside from the idea that handguns are just something that I don't think I'm sufficiently skilled at, I also think there's a serious practical reason. I've been saying it here and elsewhere, but something feels wrong, like the fabric that holds things together is getting ever more frayed. We have some pretty blatant violence going on around the country and there isn't a whole lot being done about it.
When you think about it, you're far more likely to have a handgun nearby than a rifle in an emergency. Handguns are simply more discrete, and a concealed gun is not going to draw attention the way a rifle and load carrying equipment will.
At this stage of [potential] low intensity conflict, the handgun is the best way to go for personal defense right now.
Learning and Skills Acquisition
This is a broad topic, with a lot of components. This year I'm putting more emphasis on learning new things across the board.
At one level, I'm committing to reading at least one book per month.
How to Prepare for the Tactical Games with Mike and Pascale Green
I am not exactly sure when I first heard about the Tactical Games. Part of me thinks it was a random social media post by some dude that I follow. At first it sounded interesting, but way outside of what I was focused on. Over time, though, the noise has grown, with more and more people talking about it. I decided it was time to start asking questions.
Luckily, one of the people I've seen posting a lot of images and thoughts was Mike Green, who I've interviewed once before. I sent him a message with a few questions, and we decided to sit down and talk it through.
For this interview, Mike also brought in his wife, Pascale. Together they operate Green Ops, which provides tactical training here in the Northern Virginia area as well as San Antonio, Texas. Mike helps RSO many of the events, and Pascale competes in the women's division, where she recently won the intermediate competition and is looking to move up to Elite.
With my own workouts, I've likely been putting too much emphasis on the strength-building part at the expense of the rest. With an opportunity to compete in a brutality match in the spring of 2022, it might be time to adjust my plans.
The Tactical Games got their start as an approximation of training events regularly occurring in military units. Like other shooting events like the Brutality series, tactical biathlon, and more, the emphasis is on combining physical fitness with shooting.
Many competitors who find themselves at the games came from different worlds. Some might have been into Crossfit and wanted to add a bit of shooting to their life. Others might have a USPSA or multigun background, and decided to challenge their physical ability.
The best competitors are good at both. But fear not, as there are many divisions to allow for physical capability, with the heaviest weights and longest distances being reserved for the "elite" division.
I'll probably not start there.
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We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including the origin of the games and common things to look out for while training. One of the big learning points that stood out to Allison and I was checking your Gear. Mike mentioned doing "pre-combat inspections," similar to those he did while on active duty.
In short, you need to put on your equipment and move around. Work out in it to see if anything rubs, jump up and down to check nothing falls out maybe even go upside down. Mike emphasized that at some point, you'll find yourself upside down.
View this p...
When to Use a BDC or MRAD Reticle?
This is the edited down audio podcast version of my recent stream with Jeff Gurwitch and Ilya Koshkin about reticles.In that edition of Marksman Live, the conversation covered a huge swathe of topics, and had a lengthy Q&A session at the end. In all, it was nearly two hours.
This edited down version covers the highlights of the conversation and gets you the goods in a bit over 20 minutes. Keep it in your pocket for future reference!
Keep in mind that the stream also included a lot of visual elements, including pictures of reticles, example optics, and questions popping up on the screen that we were responding to. I took most of that out from the edited version so that it wasn't confusing, but if something caught your attention you can go back and check the stream recording itself.
Don't forget to check out the respective channels for Ilya and Jeff.
When it comes down to it, there isn't really a "right" answer to this question. Jeff rightly brings up that a BDC dominates when speed is of the essence, a sentiment I've heard many times from combat veterans.
On the other hand, Ilya explains that the deviation between a BDC and MRAD reticle, especially within 500 yards, is too small to worry about. So an MRAD-based reticle gives you more flexibility for precision without making it much more difficult to shoot.
I think there's an argument to be made for BDC reticles being suited for inexperienced shooters who just need a "hold here and pull the trigger" marking.
In the end, my main takeaway is that in this class of optic, a prism or LPVO, the reticle choice between BDC or MRAD is secondary to other functions of the scope like optical performance, durability, and illumination.
Fun is Allowed, So Stop Being so Serious
Today's episode is a short discussion on something I hope becomes a recurring theme on the site. I had been mulling this topic over in my head a for a while, and when I fell behind on editing my latest interview with Mike Green, I decided to go ahead and explore this idea that fun is allowed.
When I think back to all of my early experiences with shooting and firearms, the emotion that keeps coming up is, "This is fun!" The act of shooting and hitting targets is fun in of itself, and I'm sure you'll agree with that.
Many of my earliest purchases weren't just because they were practical, but because I also thought they looked cool. While working on my first AR-15, which was amongst the early days of the zombie craze, I went so far as to ask a custom engraver about having new safety markings put on the lower that I thought would be more fun.
And then it changed.
This is just a quick aside to invite you to subscribe and come check out the new YouTube channel. I'm using it as another venue to have informal and fun conversations with a live component so you can participate. Tonight, November 10th, I'll be going live with Ilya Koshkin and Jeff Gurwitch to talk about optics selection, but there will be plenty more streams in the future. Come check it out!
Right about the time I started finishing that rifle, I became more involved in "the culture." You know the one. It's where everything became about taking training courses, being uber tactical, and maybe competing in competition- as long as you didn't develop "gamer" habits that would get you killed in the streets.
It felt like everything became focused on somber real-world use cases for firearms. Discussions revolved around SHTF situations, home defense, neighborhood defense, and the like.
In short, a lot of the "fun" got taken away because it seemed that being serious about shooting meant you had to be a very serious person.
This is the attitude I had for years, even though I continued to get immense joy from shooting itself. I remember proudly declaring while at the MVT HEAT 1 course, that "This is f!$%&g fun!" and trying to think of ways to encourage others to do it.
Returning to Fun Roots
I specifically remember the person who re-introduced the idea of "Fun is Allowed" back to me. He doesn't have any idea who I am, though I'd love to get him to come talk on the podcast, but credit goes to Roy over at Weapon Outfitters.
Roy is well known in enthusiast circles for both his gun lifestyle photography and his commitment to carrying high quality gear. I remember him saying the phrase "fun is allowed" on Twitter while he was talking about anime cat ear covers that he sells for ear pro and helmets.
The phrase always kind of stuck.
And that gets me to today. I realized while working on a trailer for the new YouTube channel that I was falling into old habits of trying to be overly serious and dramatic, because guns. In reality, what I would much rather do is set a tone that shooting itself is a serious activity, for many reasons, but the culture around shooting should absolutely be fun and inviting.
What I really want to avoid is setting a tone that is unwelcomin...
Marksman Live: Offset Red Dots with LPVO Optics?
In this special episode of The Everyday Marksman, i'm reposting the first half of a livestream I did with Ilya Koshkin on his YouTube channel last week. I stopped just short of the second half, where we started answering the questions from the audience. You'll just have to check out the stream itself (posted below) to see how that went.
The topic of the day was a follow up from my recent talk with Jeff Gurwitch. In that episode, Jeff stated his belief that an LPVO with offset red dot sight is the new standard for general purpose rifles. Needless to say, there were quite a few opinions on that matter.
My friend Jacob, the Pro-Gun Millennial, wrote up a whole post challenging the concept. So Ilya decided to host a round table of sorts to opine on the topic.
There's going to be a part two of this talk, as I bring Ilya over to my own live stream session. The topic will be about BDC vs precision MRAD reticles. Look out for more details about the stream soon.
On that note, let me know if you like this kind of informal roundtable format. Since I'm going to be doing a stream of my own, I figured readers and listeners like you should get the kind of show you enjoy watching or listening to.
What does that mean for the podcast? Well, nothing at all. I have plans for the podcast as well, and the two formats will probably share a lot of content with one another. I have a bit of a romanticism with the podcast format in that I like it to be a bit more polished and produced, while the live format is less structured and more "fun."
But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Let me know down in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe to Ilya's channel while you're at it!
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.