Two Letters Re: Recommendations on a Reliable AK and a Competent AK Trainer

I just finished a two day AK Rifle Gunfighting class with Suarez International, using my AK that I got from Mark Graham at Arizona Response Systems. I fired over 700 rounds in a two day period, and had no hiccups or issues. Mark is a first class gunsmith, and was great to work with. For a quality AK build at a very reasonable price, call Mark. For the best training on how to fight with the AK rifle, not just shoot it, call Gabe Suarez at Suarez International. Regards, – SJC

JWR Replies: Gabe Suarez has a fine reputation as a trainer. His classes are reportedly quite intense. I have been a fan of Mark Graham’s gunsmithing work since the early 1990s. He did fantastic rebuilds on two pre-ban SAR-48 FAL clone rifles for me, converting their receivers to accept inch magazines and folding charging handles. (He did the “builds”using British L1A1 parts kits that I had supplied.). Mark is also known for his Glock grip reductions and his custom gun refinishing, using a system called MetaCol. It is a very durable and corrosion-resistant finish. OBTW, another gunsmith that I recommend for both FAL and AK work is Rich Saunders at CGW.


After watching the humorous ‘safety’ video posted on Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest, I was reminded of my most recent training with Gabe Suarez, Team Tactics. We were shooting rifles in groups and I noticed that unlike shooting handguns, tunnel vision with a rifle, especially a scoped one, is a real issue. Shooting handguns still gives you peripheral vision so if someone on your team starts walking into your line of fire, you can see it more easily. With a rifle, looking thru the scope, you lose all your peripheral vision. There are two fixes for this:
1) Keep your shooters in a line. [(“Team on line.”)]
2) Remind your leader that his or her job is [being] more of a manager than a shooter.

When I was in a leadership role [(“fire team leader” or “squad leader”)], the only time I actually fired my rifle was when a certain percentage of my shooters all had to reload or had gun malfunctions at the same time. When the cadence of cover fire dropped I began to shoot and I stopped as soon as I could, so I could [resume the role needed to] be the peripheral vision for my team. Don’t be shy if you have to grab someone and fling them to the side if they are about to walk into friendly fire. Adrenaline and tunnel vision are a deadly combo. – SF in Hawaii