THE SHOOTING CHANNEL: CARBINES FOR MARCH 2014 One of the most familiar and menacing sounds in the world is the racking of a pump action shotgun. Yet we see shotguns less and less as part of the frontline officer’s equipment and definitely less within the SWAT / SERT world. Shotguns have given way to a rifle / carbine platform. Whether it is a Colt, Sig Sauer, Bushmaster, DPMS, LWRC or any other brand name the carbine platform has become more and more common place for not only the frontline patrol officer, but carbines have also become much more common place as a home defense weapon or just as a secondary platform for the avid shooter. The incident that became a turning point for law enforcement and forced this move over to carbines was the Hollywood Bank Robbery Shooting in the late 1990’s. Police Departments realized that being out gunned on the street was NOT an option. Unfortunately, just like everything else in police world the move have been very, very slow. The incident that sparked the carbine explosion for the civilian market was September 11, 2001. The thought of armed terrorist on American soil looking to hurt Americans was a new concept and Americans did what we do best…protect our way of life. Last November here is New Jersey we had a mall shooting incident and one thing that was very apparent with the Mall Shooting was that a lot of police departments have made the move to carbines instead of shotguns. For the frontline officer this is a good thing! You can now take that longer shot and you are able to bring more firepower to the bad guy. For civilian use the carbine has shown to be an easy platform to shoot from and we are better able to protect our homes from bad guys or zombies. Carbines offer less recoil than shotguns and if trained properly a greater distance of a shot. Ok, so now that rifles are on the street how do we train with them. First thing is first, for the law enforcement community if you have rifles in your department make sure they are on the street! Rifles do you NO good in the armory, under lock and key. I have spoken with several bosses / Chiefs and when they tell me that rifles in the armory I tell them, “It is time to RETIRE!” For civilian use I would highly recommend taking a course with the carbine. It is not a difficult platform to master, but it is different than a handgun. Things like magazine changes and movement are a little different. Carbines need to be cleaned on a regular basis whether they are used or not. A dirty carbine will jam and not cycle properly pretty consistently. Another thing that I would caution against is too many accessories. Carbines are made to be accessorized. Their rails can hold lights, laser, scopes, magnifiers, push pads, extra safeties, trigger resets, bolt assists, extra sights and more. I have witness in a bunch of courses the guy that has all the gadgets is the one who is fixing the most stuff. There is a simple rule to remember, Murphy shows up in every critical situation. The more stuff that is on the gun the more stuff can go wrong. Rifle Training is like any other type of training that we do…the more we train the better we get and more proficient we become. Telling someone to hit a target 100 yards away at first can seem like a daunting task, but as you train more with a carbine platform the more you realize that the advantages of having this weapon in your arsenal. Just remember the carbine is the same weapon that our military oversea uses to shoot threats at 500+ yards away. Some advantages of the carbine platform are not being out gunned by the bad guy, being able to make that longer shot with more precision, being able to defeat the bad guy’s body armor, it is a lot lighter than a shotgun platform and it gives you the ability to present more rounds on a threat or threats. Just remember all the advantages of a carbine platform are taken away when they are locked away inside a police station or armory. Get them on the street not only for your officer’s safety but for your safety against vicarious liability.