Letter Re: Snap Shooting Skills

The recent SurvivalBlog article on snap shooting was great. I think that there is one useful thing to mention and that is how body armor vests (particularly thicker ones with rifle plates) change the way you shoot. The first and most obvious change to the proper way to shoot both rifles and pistols is to always face the target with your body armor! This means facing your chest directly towards the enemy, it really changes the way snap shooting works. Bringing rifles on target while keeping your chest straight toward the target is something that needs to be practiced for awhile. Doing the same with pistols is easier but still must be practiced. When wearing body armor also change the way you shoot from the prone to reflect the protection of the vest. Instead of the traditional strong side knee bent lying mostly on your weak side the way to do it is flat on your chest straight to the target so the vest protects you as much as possible.

The second way that body armor changes the way you shoot is ergonomics. Vests add thickness to all sides of your upper body. If your long gun has a stock that is exactly the right length for you [when wearing street clothes] then it will be roughly two inches too long. This is where M4 or HK91 adjustable stocks are real nice. Web gear is also going to fit smaller. These little things get to be a significant problem after a while. Try to get some hours at the range practicing snap shooting. Practice shooting with your entire kit (weapon, web gear, body armor, [and helmet]) now, so that if you need to change something you can do it before you really need the stuff–[in times when] going online and ordering a larger vest or shorter stock will probably be impossible.

Body armor is a big purchase (about the price of a decent battle rifle especially if you get [SAPI] rifle plates). After stocking a good pantry full of food and a basic firearms battery for each adult (with plenty of ammo and accessories); I can not think of another more useful item to have. – Ryan

JWR Replies: I agree with you wholeheartedly that body armor should be a high priority purchase. It is one that is often overlooked by my consulting clients. As your budget allows, each adult family member at your retreat should buy a Level IIIA concealment vest and a Kevlar helmet. If you have a big budget, then also buy an Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) vest (or equivalent).

If I had to choose between buying a second gun and buying body armor, I would definitely choose the body armor! Consider it part of your life insurance–the type that insures that you don’t die–as opposed to traditional life insurance that pays after you die. (Well, technically, it would be “assurance”, rather than “insurance”, but you get my point.) Do some comparison shopping, for price, quality, and proper fitting. (The latter is crucial.) One vendor that I recommend offers all three is BulletProofME.com. (I was recommending them long before they ever became a SurvivalBlog advertiser.)