Rifle Weight & Performance

A Heavy Rifle Gets Old Fast

Fatigue is a result of mental and physical exertion. It affects us in a variety of ways, but a lightweight rifle will lead to better shooting performance in the long run.

Performance On Demand No Matter How Fatigued

Any type of psychical activity or sport will be taxing on your body. As a culture, we reward those who are better equipped to perform. Being better equipped usually comes in the form of strength, fitness and power. If these traits are in abundance they usually result in a positive outcome. No matter how fit or strong, we are all subject to fatigue. The funny thing about fatigue is how difficult it is to combat. Once you enter that zone, very few remedies outside of rest will truly overcome the negative results. We cannot always stop what we are doing to grab a quick power nap, though naps are great when we can. What we have to do is learn coping strategies that help us perform to standard regardless of our mental or physical state.

When Cognitive Functions Goes

Porting a rifle for two days is fatiguing. There is no way to get around the fact carrying and shouldering a ten pound plus weight takes it’s toll when immersed in a class format. Most students want to do the very best they can in class, learn as much as they can. When fatigue sets in, it will require more effort to fight the negative effects. I find before the body goes, the mind and in this case the cognitive function starts waning. You can stay hydrated, eat well and even rest before the class all of which are proven strategies. They still cannot do much when you are in such a high deficit because you are physically exerting yourself.

Streamline Down To The Lightest Possible

Lifestyle choices and genetics play a big role in fatigue. When we are operating at peak conditions we are able to stave off the effects somewhat. So, what can you do to mitigate the effects when you’ve done all you can do or are limited in what you can do. The single greatest suggestion is to come to class with the lightest rifle possible. Streamline it down to what you absolutely need for the class. While it might seem like a good idea to “train like you fight”. If the weight of the extra gear causes you to fatigue sooner or quicker then it is less than ideal. Instead, consider the objective of the class. In this case, to improve your shooting performance with a rifle from zero to fifty yards in day time hours from a static position. If I were new to the art of rifle shooting, I’d get the lightest rifle that meets those objectives.

Lightweight rifle for better performanceLight Is Right

Nothing is free. There is always a cost associated with our choices. I talk about pro’s & con’s a lot in our classes. Yes, you may get some perceived advantage by selecting a certain piece of gear, but at what cost. If I had to detail the ideal rifle for a basic or intermediate class, I would start with a lightweight rifle below 8.5 pound for better shooting performance. Obviously, lighter would be better, but again nothing is free. The lighter rifle will produce more pronounced recoil impulse. You have to work harder for your shot to shot recovery time. Again, you will pay the man in some way. If you can keep your rifle to below 8.5 pounds and still have all the equipment you need for the class then you are stacking the deck in your favor. You may not appreciate your decision early in the morning on day one, but I promise you when it comes time to perform at the end of the class you will have the best chance for success.

It has always been my goal to use the lightest gear possible to complete the mission. Whether you like to admit it or not, it does make a difference.

2 thoughts on “Rifle Weight & Performance

  1. Oscar Lee James III says:

    Howdy, Jeff. I just watched you on Active Self Protection Extra with Neil. Your comments on the relationship of accuracy and precision, especially with a rifle, were insightful. I’m looking forward to seeing your presentation at TACCON 2021.
    The first rifle I carried for a significant length of time was the M16A1. Obviously, self-propelled artillerymen don’t carry their rifles as far as others do, but I did learn the benefits of putting it down whenever I could.
    Recently, I took over my father’s AR-180 (Sterling) and started getting back into rifles.

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