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A 10-minute cab ride from where your editors prepare TW, there is a street with a name most New Yorkers never realize is a tribute of remembrance. The street is York Avenue.

The Medal of Honor and other well-deserved accolades that made Sergeant Alvin York an American icon are sometimes focused on the closing phase of his heroic battlefield performance in WW I. The surrender of 132 German soldiers to (then-Corporal) York made the history books. But it should not be forgotten that the enemy put up their hands because York and his fellow infantrymen were killing them with the certainty of the Black Plague—with bolt-action rifles! While under the withering fire of 32 machine guns, York and the other survivors fought back with accurate rifle fire, killing 32 Germans and taking the will to fight out of the rest.

Machine guns versus rifles! The balance of firepower was out of whack, but only hits count. York and our other American riflemen came through. The lesson is clear: Courage counts! Marksmanship counts! The individual soldier counts! Sometimes, field commanders and individual soldiers do not use their available firepower effectively. Nevertheless, the fact remains: Bringing firepower to bear on the enemy is what winning battles is all about.

Withering, accurate fire that blasts the enemy into submission gets special emphasis in the pages of this issue of TW.

For starters, consider a machine gun that’s been on duty for more than nine decades and is still pounding away worldwide in an updated version—the renowned “Ma Deuce.” John Browning’s invention is historic, but far from history, as you’ll see when we look under the hood of the .50-caliber M2HB, the deadliest and most versatile version of a Browning ever fielded.

Continuing this issue’s .50-caliber firepower emphasis, we have a detailed roundup of “Frontline .50s”—the big-bore rifles that rock the world of special missions. And to see the advanced training and skills necessary to use the big .50s effectively, we take you deep inside today’s training programs with “Taming the Beast.”

In other test-fire wring-outs, we take a look at the FBI’s SRT sniper package to see how the feds are bringing pinpoint accuracy to bear on long-range targets. Then we shift to closer range with a feature on how a prominent sheriff’s department is converting to all-weather, extreme-duty shotguns with Mossberg’s 500-A, a Polyshok-fed, pump-action powerhouse. A roundup article on “Austrian Hardware” covers sub-MOA sniping rifles, bullpups, sidearms and optics from Steyr, Glock and others.

In a time when UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) like Predator have been capturing a lot of attention, UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) have not been for­­gotten. We have the latest crop of “Robotic Warfighters” and remote weapons systems going into harm’s way. Our insider-look at agency ops and training includes NASA and Kelly McCann’s Crucible combatives courses.

When WW II started, at age 54 Alvin York tried to reenlist in the Army. After he was turned down he went on tour, selling bonds. Old soldiers never quit.
America needs firepower that never quits and never quits coming. And the men and women who know how to use it—and never quit. Like Alvin York!

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