Letter Re: Comparing the Big Three Battle Rifle Chamberings in the United States

Regarding the comments from PPPP and Hugh D.: I couldn’t agree with them more! Both were exactly spot on! The person shooting is 99% of the equation. Training (and lots of it) is the most important aspect, and in the long run, will probably wind up being more expensive than the firearm itself (instruction, gas to the range, ammo consumption and cleaning supplies are just to name a few).

I strongly urge your readers to partake in any excellent training afforded by professional institutes such as Front Sight, OnPoint Tactical, Suarez International, et al. If these locations are too distant, I hope they can find an experienced friend or relative to help them develop good habits in shooting.

Sometimes people get too caught up in statistical analysis and numerical comparisons. I did not write that piece to attempt to illustrate one as better than another. I enjoy shooting all of the calibers mentioned (and many more), and easily see the benefits of each. I am sort of remiss that I did not point out the different circumstances in which I find each major rifle caliber best. But I’ll leave that up to the shooter to determine for his or her own purposes.

While my article had many statistics, I must reiterate that none of it means a darned thing without a competent shooter. Handgun/Rifle ballistics and their effective ranges are nice to know for new shooters, at a glance, to better illustrate the limitations of any firearm (mostly with effective range, bullet drop and penetration). But the only way to see those numbers (all taken with a grain of salt) in action, is to go out and shoot. We can be Keyboard Commandos on the internet all day long, but in the end, talk means nothing without practical experience. While the numbers in my comparison look “definitive,” they are merely a composite; hashed together to simply compare and convey energy/speed of bullets beyond the muzzle.

The real test is: does the shooter know how to best utilize what firearm he or she has to its greatest potential? Some can adapt available firearms to certain situations better than others. Eyesight, body size and ergonomic preferences factor in, but in the end, it boils down to experience. There are a few natural prodigies out there when it comes to shooting; but for most of us, all that bullet velocity or energy doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t hit your target consistently…and the best way to do that is to shoot (and shoot, and shoot, and shoot…rinse and repeat as necessary).

Shoot enough, and you’ll develop that skill as almost a second nature. But don’t kid yourself, it takes years of routine trigger-time. It doesn’t come overnight. I’m still working at it. Even when one gets fairly good, it still has to be maintained just like any other skill.

Whether it be 9mm or .45, 5.56 or 7.62×39 or 7.62 NATO or .30 Carbine…get out and shoot, and shoot often! And be safe out there people! Always wear hearing/eye protection, and follow the Four Basic Rules of Firearms Safety.

Personally, I feel all shooters ought to be able to consistently hit a man-sized target at 50 yards with a handgun, and at 300 yards (preferably 500) with a rifle (as often advocated by both William Buppert and the late Jeff Cooper).

Yes, ammo is expensive. It’s the most expensive it has ever been, but, it’s also the cheapest it’s ever going to get. See you all at the range! – Kyrottimus