I saw some criticism being directed at ready position with an upward angle the other day. I love listening to the criticism, in some cases it’s very telling of the critic.

Here we go again

The muzzle of the weapon oriented up is not new, I see a lot of folks trying to make it out like it is, but far from it. Muzzle up has been around for a very long time, in fact the High Ready has been the default ready position for NSW since the early 1990’s. Here is a great article I wrote with some details and rather than repeat what I have already said, I’m just going to repost the article link here.

Safety first

From our point of view, there are two positions that utilize an upward angle of the muzzle; the high ready and the high port. What’s the difference between the two; one is for fighting and one is for moving. Since the bulk of the recent criticism was directed at the High Port, I will direct my comments on that subject. Long ago we figured out that when fighting in close proximity with our teammates it was very difficult to avoid covering each other with our muzzles when things were moving at real speeds. The amount of effort was insane just to make sure you didn’t sweep or “muzzle” someone. I can remember this subject being rammed down my throat early while in SEAL Tactical Training during our Land Warfare phase. We did so much fire and maneuver in both open and closed terrain it was pretty obvious why we needed to use the High Port.

Run Forestt, Run

“I’m up, he see’s me, I’m down” was a mantra we used while executing individual movement tactics and if you needed to cover ground you were usually sprinting. I challenge folks to sprint 25 yards with their muzzle at the low ready then sprint 25 yards with their muzzle at the High Ready, you tell me which is faster. Why is it faster, it’s pretty simple actually. First, you should only have one hand on the gun, your strong hand. Second, you run most effectively by pumping your arms, the high port allows you to most closely mimic this movement. The funny thing, in an effort to sprint in the low ready, the muzzle actually starts to go all over the place and it generally ends up rising up beyond safe limits, that or the shooter really isn’t sprinting.

Hanging round the Cook Offs

The real eye opener for me was working in close proximity to “hot” weapons, I’m not talking about loaded weapons, I’m talking about weapons that are literally hot from firing, going through magazine after magazine during contact drills. Those barrels get hot pretty damn quick and the funny thing was we recognized how dangerous that situation was from a training perspective, not from being burned by the barrels. That happened to those who were careless, but really from the guns “cooking off”. Cooking off is term used to describe what happens when the chamber gets so hot from preceding rounds that it literally ignites the powder of the round in the chamber. It can potentially ignites the next round loaded as well, but not often. This can all happen with the weapon on safe and the finger straight as an arrow. As an Instructor I can remember watching the face of a BUD’s student turn ghost white when it happened right in front of me while we were debriefing. The rifle was at the high port, it cooks off, the guy literally looks at the gun like it is a little alien baby. That was our time as a cadre to remind them to maintain muzzle discipline or high port until the guns cool down a little.

Nice ready position bro

So, moving can equal safety in combat, but moving safely is the first priority. There is a lot of criticism dumped on this and the High Ready and my first comment is usually something along the lines of, “have you used it operationally?” I am surprised by the amount of folks who haven’t, then I ask have you had a need to move aggressively potentially under fire or in close proximity to your teammates. Hmm, still not buying it then go to a class where the instructor has used it operationally and can teach you the merits first hand. Get the opportunity to practice, then apply it in practical sessions. The problem children we have to deal with are the ones who have a hard time admitting they are wrong and will continue to push bad techniques despite superior ones being available.

First off, these are not the end of all be all, they are just part of your inventory. I don’t get wrapped around the axle on this subject these days. I have been doing this way too long for that, but before you jump on the hate bandwagon ask yourself if you really understand the purpose and utility behind this muzzle up ready positions.

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