Although a strange title for a survival post, I'll be talking about a tactical shoot I took part in at a gun club recently. All but 2 of the 10 participants meet the criteria of the American Mall Ninja.
Well what's a Mall Ninja? Well let's just say generally their weapons look more like erector sets than firearms. Lasers, holographic sights, front grips and door breech muzzle accessories. In their opinion, Iron sights aren't good enough for 100 yards, they have 9x40mm scopes on their brand-new AR-15's with folding bipods.
I was using my WWII soviet bolt-action Mosin Nagant rifle. There was no way I could compete time-wise, and using iron sights I'd have trouble with the head shots at 100 yards ( the Mosin's shoot about 5-7" high at 100 yards) The "a" shot in the head was the size of a playing card. Surprisingly, they didn't give me crap about my rifle. I figure this is because they thought there was no way that I'd be a factor. I knew going in I wouldn't be able to keep up in time, as I had to reload 3 times in the course, and I don't have stripper clips for the rifle yet. They assumed I wouldn't be able to keep up accuracy wise either, as I was using iron sights.
Needless to say they were wrong on both accounts. The time it took for these guys to switch targets and re-aquire them with a scope, where I had open sights and just needed to put the back sight then bring the blade up where I wanted it made all the difference in the world. Until I had a jam, I was neck and neck time-wise with a gas-powered battle carbine, with a bolt-action rifle! I had to go to my car and laugh my ass off!
So what makes a Mall Ninja?
1) Inferior weapon selection
2) Unfamiliarity with combat situations
3) Reliance on technology - to a fault
4) Poor marksmanship
5) Rigid thought processes
Let me go a bit into what I mean by these. Most Mall Ninjas use battle carbines, not rifles. The AR-15 and clones make excellent varmit and target rifles. They make poor killers, but excellent wounders. In other words, they lack stopping power. I'll do a post on why I hate the .223 cartridge another time.
These Mall ninjas fancy themselves "operators" or equivalent in marksmanship to our special forces. Any idiot can slap a scope on a weapon and call "head shots" at 100 yards. Care to do that with iron sights? The time it takes to acquire a target, line up the optics, get a clear picture in the scope, line up the crosshairs and fire is about 3x what it takes for iron sights. The holographic sights are great for this at close range, but 100yards was pushing it for the guys that had them that day. Every one had trouble shooting freehand, without anything supporting the weapon. About 1/3 of the shots on the course were to be taken without any support, no bipods, no rests. I had no trouble, but most of the other shooters did. Like a Mutant Zombie is going to let you get set up, put your bipod down and allow you to get prone without chewing on what little brains you have?
I cringe at most of the firearms a Mall Ninja uses. They have flashlights, laser sights, scopes, add on bipods, magazine holders, bayonet lugs... I mean what's the freaking point? I mean it's one thing if your kicking in doors in Iraq, but here in America, pre-SHTF? And what's the point of having a flashlight on a rifle in the first place? use a shotgun or pistol fer crying out loud. If I need to drive in a nail, I don't reach for a screwdriver!
Technology is handy, but it is no replacement for skill. Useless technology on a firearm is more of a hindrance than a benefit. Picanny rails are nice, but I don't feel a burning need to fill them with gadgets. There is NO EXCUSE for not being able to hit a military silhouette at 100 yards while standing, with factory iron sights. Once you get to that level of skill, then work on 200 yards, then 300... When the barrels of the Mall Ninjas were swaying 3-4" while they were trying to shoot at a 25 yard target, I had to look away for fear of pissing myself with a bout of laughter.
While there, I was talking with one fellow, and he stated that he's hoping for TEOTW so he could "rack up some kills" on looters. I laughed out loud. He gave me a dirty look, and said "What?" I stated that his AR15 would be more lethal if it used as a club. He started spouting off about velocities, and accuracy and blah blah blah. I took him downrange, and showed him the proof in the pudding. One of the targets was behind a wall, and I hit the 2x4 with one of my rounds. A Mall Ninja had also hit the 2x4 with a .223 in another location. The .223 had a tiny entrance and exit hole, less than a quarter of an inch. My round had a quarter inch hole in the front, and a 2" hole in the back! And it turns out that my round was traveling about the same speed... He didn't have much to say after that.
All in all it was a great learning lesson. I recommend everyone take their rifles down to a tactical shoot and give it a shot. Even if there is no way to win, you can learn how do deal with the adrenaline rush, and using your weapon in an effective manner. Formal training at Thunder Ranch or Front Sight would be ideal, but the enterance fee was $5, and well worth the money. Plus, it was a fun time. And you never know if you'll bump into a wise-ass with an old bolt-action rifle.