The Unthinkable

The Unthinkable.

Last week I was at Gunsight in Arizona taking a .223 Carbine class.

As with most of the courses at Gunsite a “simulator” is somehow built into the curriculum.

The simulators at Gunsite are a little bit different then the simulators we use here at Artemis.

At Gunsite they call their shoot houses simulators.

They are multi-room problems that have Shoot-no-Shoot targets stationed at various points in the house.

I’ve done this drill a number of times at Gunsite and other shoot houses across the country, but for me it has always been with a handgun.

This was an AR-15 class.

After hitting targets at 200 and 300 yards we were taken one by one to the “simulator”.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter continue reading here:)

On my way I began thinking of the unreasonableness of this whole part of my training week.I am not a law enforcement officer. My thoughts: I have absolutely no reason to ever go into a building where I know bad guys are present ESPECIALLY with an AR-15 and four 30 round magazines.Oh well… it might not be realistic… but it should be fun.

Then my instructor Tom gave me the pre-scenario briefing.

As he began to talk I was still thinking how incredibly unrealistic this whole thing was.

“Ok Steven… here is the deal. You have rented a rural home near a lake in northern Arizona. Unlike in California you are free to carry your AR-15 (with no bullet button, and as many 30 round magazines as you like). You have been sent by your wife and daughter to the nearest Walmart for more groceries. That trip has taken you three hours and you are now returning. As you approach your rental house you notice ten motorcycles outside. Nervous you call 911. The operator tells you that the police are: 45 minutes away. You hear a scream from your wife inside. You grab your AR and decide to make entry.”


I had become so accustomed to the “scenarios” I work through while at home in the relative density of suburbia it never occurred to me that this could happen.

I had two weapons at my disposal at the time of my training: My AR-15 with multiple thirty round magazines and my 1911 pistol with three eight round magazines.

Given the circumstances of the scenario that had been outlined to me, of course I would gravitate first to my rifle. Thankfully the state of Arizona sees fit not to try and mess around with law abiding citizens rights to arm themselves.

Because of that I had my AR at my disposal. It would not have been the case had I been in California.

From the number of motorcycles I also knew there were going to be a minimum of ten assailants in the home. Armed only with my handgun I would have been at a severe disadvantage.

The value of this exercise had less to do with my marksmanship and tactics training. (Those came into play obviously)… for me the real take away was the value of my battle rifle… and the limitations of my own imagination.

The ability to place multiple rounds on a threat in close quarters with very little recoil gave me a significant advantage.

But the necessity of having access to this rifle also came into play.

Up to this point I had never been a huge fan of the AR platform.

I am a hunter and when I think of rifles I think of wooden bolt action rifles.

The thought of hunting with a semi-automatic is somewhat distasteful. AR’s were utility rifles… and frankly as far as I was concerned not particularly useful for hitting targets at distance.

That changed when I hit five for five on an eight inch steel target at 300 yards.

Yeah… they are accurate.

But as a defense weapon they are awesome.

Small enough to make your way through narrow passages carrying at indoor ready, and with such a light recoil you are able to get back on target for quick secondary and tertiary shots.

I really can’t conceive of a situation where I would grab my hunting rifle for self protection. My AR on the other hand has earned a primary place in my self defense tool box.


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