What Is Wrong With This Picture?

SPR stands for “Special Purpose Rifle;” that is, a rifle designed for one special purpose.  This is just the opposite of a multi-purpose rifle, which would be designed for many different purposes. 

The GPS Defense Sniper School describes their course as follows:

Designed for using the popular accurized & scoped .223 rifles from long-range engagements at 900 yards to fighting through our shoot house engaging 5 yard threats.

This course is not a fancy name for a standard carbine course and these are not standard carbines.  Our students consistently shoot these rifles accurately well past 900 yards.

Then they can easily transition to up-close targets, engaging multiple targets from 5 yards or clearing corners and doorways with the same rifle!

Does this sound like a special-purpose rifle to you?  Or is it a multi-purpose rifle?

Frankly, an accurized AR-15 is not worth a damn for either 900-yard shots or for clearing corners and doorways.  It is too weak and inaccurate for 900 yards and it is too long and heavy for use inside a building. 

This is not to say that an accurized AR-15 is a bad weapon. At 100 to 200 yards you can shoot the shit out of people who have to work the bolts of conventional sniper rifles. In fact, for my customers who are operating at the squad level (as opposed to the lone-wolf types) I would recommend that one member of the squad be equipped with an accurized AR-15 zeroed for 100 yards. Then, if their sniper mission goes horribly wrong and they have large numbers of enemy closing in on them, their AR guy can lay some accurate and rapid fire on the enemy while his comrades withdraw a couple of hundred yards. Then they can cover his withdrawal and in this way conduct an organized retreat, as opposed to just running like rabbits.

But an accurized AR-15 is too long and heavy for clearing corners and doorways.  A CAR-15 (M4) would work, but it is three times as expensive as a Mini-14, which also works just fine.  In fact, without vast amounts of training, the Mini-14 is better than the CAR-15 because, while it allows rapid fire, it prohibits burning up an entire magazine in one burst, which people tend to do in panicky situations like home invasions.  All that is really needed for home defense is a semi-auto that is short, light and well-balanced, which the Mini-14 is, provided that you do not add any after-market goo-gads that you found being hawked at a gun show.  You certainly do NOT want to put a scope on the weapon.

An accurized AR-15 is pathetic at 900 yards, as the following charts demonstrate.  Only a fool would attempt to fire their AR this far.  600-yard shots are accomplished in bullseye competitions, but only with bullets that are too long to feed and must be inserted by hand.  900-yard shots cannot be accomplished with any technique. Note

This chart demonstrates that the .223 has only 18% as much residual energy at 900 yards as the .30-06; little more than the .32 Auto, a pistol that fits in one’s shirt pocket.  This weakness is confirmed by Charlie Cutshaw (2009, p. 53), who writes:

As long as the velocity is 2,400 fps or above, when the bullet strikes flesh, the spin degrades almost instantly and the bullet tries to turn 180° to go base forward, literally exploding at the cannelure due to centrifugal forces, and it typically causes a fist-sized permanent wound cavity…  Once the 2400 fps threshold is crossed, the 5.56mm bullet no longer has the potential for “explosive” results and the wounds are more akin to those of a .22WMR.  With the M16 having a full 20-inch length barrel, this threshold is crossed at about 200 meters [219 yards], give or take a few meters.

Gabriel Suarez has even more pessimistic data on the lethality of the 5.56 NATO and cites the U.S. Army Wound Ballistics Lab as his source.

Clearly, I am right in advising people to zero their AR-15 for 100 yards. The GPS Defense Sniper School is peddling snake oil if they are trying to convince prospective students that thousands of dollars in tuition will teach them to use this weapon beyond 300 yards, much less at 900 yards. And, when I pointed out this basic fact, instead of just admitting that they were wrong, they doubled down by boasting of 1200-yard shots (!) while loudly denouncing my “charts” – printouts from Federal Ammunition’s ballistics software – in favor of their “experience.”

Of course, William Grave’s fantastic experiences were only verified by his paid employees. (He means experience in teaching classes, not experience in actually shooting people.) In spite of owning property only five miles from the Ben Avery rifle range, Mr. Graves has never been kind enough to grace any actual 1000-yard Palma Rifle competitors with the experience of witnessing one of his fantastic displays of marksmanship, nor of the crashing blows that his teeny-weenie bullets supposedly deliver at that range.

This chart demonstrates that the .223 has almost twice as much wind drift as the .30-06 at 900 yards.  Since only a master-level shooter can make a 900-yard shot with a .30-06, it is clear that nobody can make such a shot with a .223.  And, when I say "nobody," that includes Mr. Graves.  Click here to read what the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association knows about Mr. Graves' competition experience at their monthly 1000-yard F-class matches.

Charts are courtesy of Federal’s free downloadable ballistics software.

Incidentally, on the subject of stupid pictures, these two take the cake:

Gillie suits??? In the twenty-first century??? These bozos have obviously not read this page of my website. Gillie suits need to be consigned to the 1960's along with bell-bottom pants and tye-dye shirts. You cannot hide from the enemy. As soon as you fire, they will know where you are.

Here is another dumb one:

This has got to be the most retarded sniping photograph ever published!
Click here to learn how following the GPS Sniper School's lame advise will get you killed.


Cutshaw, Charlie. 2009. "Desert Warfare Manstoppers." Special Weapons for Military and Police. December 2009: 52-54