By Stanton Wormley Jr. and Tony Gimmellie
Recently, Special Weapons for Military & Police asked my shooting buddy, Tony Gimmellie and me to make a list of indispensable shooting accessories for extended-range marksmanship. Not guns, scopes or ammo, but smaller items that are just as critical for long-range tactical performance as a new bullet or gun design.
This proved to be an interesting challenge, as Tony and I have vastly different shooting backgrounds and perspectives on precision riflery. Nonetheless, we agreed upon a group of seven items we feel will be of interest to precision rifle shooters, both novice and expert. We know these products work, not only because we use them ourselves, but also because they are in service with military and LE shooters worldwide.
TAB Rifle Cover
Tony Gimmellie: Real-world tactical situations occur in all types of weather, so the first item on our favorite things list is the TAB Rifle Cover by TAB Gear. Made in the USA of 1000-denier Cordura nylon with 1-inch mil-spec webbing and heavy-duty D-rings, the cover simply slides onto the gun from the muzzle and is secured by four Fastex buckles. The TAB cover is made in four colors: black, tan, OD and MultiCam, and features closed-cell foam padding around the muzzle and scope, an optional extension for a suppressor, and an integral carry handle. When in use, the cover allows the bipod legs to be put in the extended or folded position, and the rifle to be carried using its attached sling. Made for virtually any sniper rifle, the TAB cover is a no-brainer for any tactical shooter who has to work out in the elements, which is to say every tactical shooter. Retail price is $85; add $30 for the suppressor option. Available exclusively from Rifles Only, 188 South FM 772, Dept GW/LE, Kingsville, TX 78363; 361-522-4165; www.riflesonly.com.
Stanton Wormley: The second item on our list is an oldie but a goodie, the Mildot Master from Mildot Enterprises. While military operators are familiar with the mildot system, many LE, security and civilian shooters view it as something incomprehensible and intimidating, rather like high-school calculus. That fear can be conquered with the Mildot Master (MM), a small plastic 3.25 x 6.5-inch slide-rule device that can be used with a mildot reticle to quickly calculate target distance, compensation for uphill and downhill shooting angles, holdover, minute of angle/inch/mil conversions and more. It’s light and thin enough to be easily carried in the field, and actually is faster than doing mil calculations with an electronic calculator. There is a metric slide available for the MM. It ranges in centimeters and meters. Order for $29.95 from Mildot Enterprises, PO Box 6585, Dept GW/LE, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; 865-483-6620; www.mildot.com.
SW: Determining precise long-range bullet trajectories depends upon knowing not only muzzle velocity and bullet ballistic coefficient, but also a wide range of atmospheric conditions. Kestrel Wind and Weather Meters are the acknowledged standard for portable environmental monitors, and come in a variety of rugged models differing in capabilities and price. The Kestrel 4000 offers the ability to measure wind speed, air temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, relative humidity, dewpoint temperature, wet bulb temperature, wind chill, heat stress index and more. Storage of 2000 data points also allows for the display of current, average, and maximum wind speed over a series of readings. Also featuring a filtered backlight that allows nighttime viewing without losing night vision. the Kestrel 4000 comes in black, orange or olive, and retails for $239 to $249. Order direct from parent company Nielsen-Kellerman, 2240 Greer Blvd, Dept GW/LE, Sylvan Lake, MI 48320; 800-891-8493; www.kestrelmeters.com.
Quick Cuff Sling
TG: The well-rounded sniper must know how to use a sling to improve aiming steadiness. Tactical Intervention Specialists has made that easier with the Quick Cuff Sling. Constructed of flexible and durable nylon webbing and heavy-duty steel and nylon hardware, the unique Quick Cuff design combines a conventional sling with a separate Velcro-adjustable cuff that is worn on the weak-side arm above the bicep. An oversize Fastex buckle allows the cuff to be rapidly clipped to the sling, permitting the shooter to quickly gain sling support in different positions. Color options include black, tan and OD green; cost is $65. Available from Tactical Intervention Specialists, 2431 Peralta Office K, Dept GW/LE, Oakland, CA 94607; 510-919-7286; www.tacticalintervention.com.
Original Bean Bag
SW: A steady gun position is always important, especially at long ranges. The Original Bean Bag from Red Tac Gear is a 4-inch wide by 6-inch long Cordura nylon cylinder filled with non-toxic poly beads that is designed to replace a heavy, bulky sandbag for gun support. Weighing only 1.5 pounds, the Bean Bag is available in nine camo patterns and solid colors, and features double-stitched seams and box-stitched ends. Two carry straps allow it to be easily clipped to a tactical belt. Also, unlike a hard rear sandbag, the Red Tac Original Bean Bag is squishy enough that a shooter can achieve a wide range of bag heights simply by squeezing. The Redman bag retails for $26.99 and is available from Triad Tactical, PO Box 171492, Dept GW/LE, Kansas City, KS 66117; 913-669-8553; www.triadtactical.com.
That’s our short list of favorite long-range accessories. There are many more useful items for tactical shooters than we’ve listed; we only picked seven because of space limitations. Some items not mentioned in this article will be described at greater length in future pieces, so don’t be disappointed if your favorite didn’t make the cut. And, of course, always remember that no accessory will automatically make a mediocre shooter into an expert. There is no substitute for hours of dedicated practice at the range.