New Rifle, Old Friends

TrainingIt was a nice fall day and although I had taken some time off from work, I rolled out of the vacation sack early to put on some OD BDU’s and boots to join the SWAT guys for a range qualification day.  I got a kitchen pass from the Missus!  Man, reliving old times.

When I came off the road and into detectives, I gave up my AR-15 to an ex-SWAT guy working Midnight Shift.  I figured he needed it more than I did.  I still have my Remington 870 with rifled sights, SpeedFeed stock, and Surefire foregrip light in the trunk of my unmarked.  While the shotgun is nice, it’s no carbine.

My bureau has an AR assigned to two detectives, but my LT said he wanted me to take it since I am tactically trained and they are not.  Okay, Boss, whatever you say!  In my office, I examined the gun, a Rock River Arms LAR-15 with aftermarket light kit.  Hmmm.  Only one 30 round mag in the bag–with 15 live rounds in it.  There was exactly nothing else accompanying the gun in the nylon case.  A shaky start.

The AR was not all that clean and looked a little scraped up.  The three point sling was set up wrong.  Even the light’s pressure switch was just dangling loose on a strip of gummy electrical tape.  I frowned through a function check.  This Stoner was not the surgical instrument it should be.

I arrived at the range and was greeted like an old warrior by the assembled shooters.  I had been on the Team since the 1980’s and the newer guys called me OG.  Others had worked for me while I had been Team Leader for over a decade.  It made me smile to see them now in charge.  Changing of the guard.

I had cleaned up the AR and properly reinstalled the sling.  I brought my own spare mags for the AR.  I loaded them and waited patiently for the qual to start.  I chose a lane on the far left end of the range.  The line went hot and we square off against the blue B-21 targets.  Pew, pew, pew.

It had been more than a year since I broke sear on an AR-15.  I swear it was an ethereal experience.  From the familiar sight picture to the metallic ting of the shots, I was in a fantastical zone and internally content.  I really felt like Luke Skywalker when he first held that Lightsaber.

Word of caution: I had never fired this particular AR before.  The initial course of fire started at the 50 yard line and moved progressively inward.  I had no clue where my shots were hitting at first, though I was consistently holding at high center chest.  I did not have any joy until we came down to the seven and I could see the holes.

Ooooo, I was well clean in the 5 zone, all rounds qualifying.  The windage was perfect; elevation about 5″ low.  No problem.  In the latter stages of the qual, I was nailing headshots in controlled pairs.  If you know where to aim, you can put the “lead” where it needs to go.

I can tell you that I miss being SWAT.  The guys still consider me a shooter, but they are the ones doing the heavy lifting now.  I really enjoyed making hits with the carbine.  Every trigger pull was tactical bliss.  I feel good that I again have a rifle to take on stakeouts, warrants, and situations.

Everything about shooting with the guys felt right to me…but I know my place.  I left before lunch time.  The TL’s and ATL’s need to be the undisputed officers-in-charge.  I was just glad to have been welcome for my very short stay.


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