twjan09.gifA drama played out in the skies over the Iraq-Iran border in recent weeks says a great deal about a word of profound importance to men and women in uniform everywhere: Readiness!

Aircraft in the area, in addition to communicating with air traffic controllers, are required to give Iranian Air Defense Radar a 10-minute “heads up” before transiting Iranian Airspace. The following radio conversation was overheard:

IRANIAN AIR DEFENSE RADAR: “Unknown aircraft. You are in Iranian Airspace. Identify yourself.”

AIRCRAFT: “This is a United States Navy aircraft. I am in Iraq.”

IRANIAN AIR DEFENSE RADAR: “You are in Iranian Airspace. If you do not depart, we will launch interceptor aircraft.”

AIRCRAFT: “This is a United States Navy FIGHTER aircraft. Send ’em up!”

The radio waves from Iran went silent.

Now there’s the kind of individual you want on your team, whatever the mission. This pilot knew exactly where he was, and he was ready to take on any threat. His confidence is inspiring.

Professionals in uniform everywhere, military and civilian, train and equip themselves to maintain the fine edge of readiness that erases any doubt about the outcome of their missions. A reflection of that kind of attitude can be seen in the pages ahead in this issue of Tactical Weapons. Looking at the new weapons systems and accessories—and the training being employed to go with them—many veterans will no doubt be thinking, “I wish we’d had that back when…”

The new battle rifle being produced by Lewis Machine & Tool is a real tribute to this steadfast company that has been quietly producing many weapon systems in use today. Their MRP (Monolithic Rail Platform) 6.8 Battle Rifle in both Carbine and Long Rifle style represents precision weapons at their best.

This issue takes a look at variations of a Firepower Machine, the 66-year-old MG42 Machine Gun. Today’s versions, including HK’s MG4, are rapid-fire battlefield game-changers.

Army troops engaging the enemy in urban battle zones are getting a big boost from a new shotgun, mounted directly on their M4 rifles. We examine the M26 Modular Shotgun System in “Dual-Gun Thunder.” You’ll also see the firepower of choice for S.W.A.T. officers in the high-crime regions around St. Louis. They carry the Rock River Arms Tactical CAR UTE2 carbine.

Our battlefield readiness features also include articles on training, including an insider look at the USMC’s Combat Hunter program, training with the same skills used by master hunters, except in this case the object is taking on terrorists in their own backyards, the guerilla camps and sheltered urban holes where they hide to mount attacks. We also have close-quarters combat training with “Assault Rifle Defense,” with veteran instructors on advanced patrol rifle techniques.

“Urban Shield” is the most ambitious big-city training program ever undertaken to prepare for any calamity that might strike, from terrorist attacks to earthquakes.

There are pistols galore in the pages ahead, with features on: “Frontline 1911s” on duty in the drug and immigration frontlines in Arizona’s remote Cochise County; “Combat Focus Shooting,” on attaining the ultimate gunfight disciplines that will keep you alive; and a strong debate by top instructors on that all-important subject of “Sighted Fire Vs. Point Shooting.”

Our spotlights on gear include the Army’s new Close Combat Optic from Aimpoint; Laser sights for the first-shot advantage and a look at the Army’s new Bushnell 1500 rangefinder.

And, like they’re always saying in those TV ads, “There’s even more!” Turn the pages and you’ll see. —TW Editorial Staff

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Tactical Weapons

A drama played out in the skies over the Iraq-Iran border in recent weeks…