U.S. troops stay sharp with room-clearing drills.

Tactical Weapons is your source for fresh insider information on tools of the tactical arena: the tools of the men and women in our military forces, of the blue-uniformed defenders who keep our streets safe, and yes, even of the citizen who defends his or her family against violent predators. The ultimate weapons, of course, are the heroes who serve abroad and on our own mean streets, or the brave family member—but the implements they use are what we are all about.

Our writers come from the arena, and they know what is important. They give candid and trustworthy critiques from an experienced, user perspective. In this issue we present an abundance of varied, leading-edge weapons. Some are specialized, like Rocky Mountain Arms’ super-short stakeout scatterguns that fit in a lunch pail. Some are full-size shotguns, like the excellent Benelli M3T now fighting terror with elite units in Europe and combating crime with our own police agencies.

Another deadly tactical arm in a compact envelope is the new Springfield M1A SOCOM II, providing 7.62x51mm firepower in a 27-inch bullpup that can mount every appropriate accessory. And don’t miss the Desert Tactical Arms SRS Covert, a sub-MOA 7.62x51mm bolt-action sniper rifle in a meager 28 inches, providing compact maneuverability or concealment in vehicles and aircraft plus a reduced visual signature afield. Col. Townsend Whelen once noted, “Only accurate rifles are interesting,” and in this issue we face off big .50s from Barrett and Bushmaster with the help of USAF snipers to judge which weapons are best for which missions, when you need long range with real punch and reliability.

Reliability is a cornerstone for tactical weapons, and the long-serving M60 machine gun has been redesigned by U.S. Ordnance Company as the MK43, incorporating some two-dozen worthwhile upgrades that now make it as good as any and lighter than any in its hard-hitting 7.62x51mm caliber. See why it is favored by some American Spec Ops in Southwest Asia, and in 10 foreign militaries.

A creature of its time, the British Sten was the classic in beer-can ordnance, and remarkably, it still serves in backwaters all over. Not the best in terms of accuracy or reliability, its saving graces were its simplicity and price, and millions were made. We take this old veteran to the firing line for a fun blast from the past.

Since the real weapon is the operator, and the gun his tool, we visit two elite units: the Australian Defence Force Small Arms Training Section, to check out their exemplary training and their F88 Austeyr rifles and M89 belt-feds; then the Atlantic County, New Jersey, S.W.A.T. to examine their experiences, training and the S&W M&P15 rifles, HK UMP .40 sub­machine guns and Sig P229R pistols
they bring to bear.

Because the best tactical tools can be of scant use without the best techniques, we take you to class to learn leading-edge raid skills at our long-gun CQC clinic. Learn the best skills and gear to master, right here.

Experience also is a great teacher: Those experiences can be your own or those of others whose heroism offers lessons to learn. Insofar as will, bravery, and selflessness can be acquired traits, we offer the not-to-miss story of the only Medal of Honor awarded to a living Marine since Vietnam, a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8 in Afghanistan.

New gear? We go to the National Tactical Officers confab in Richmond, Virginia, and recon weapons, tools, textiles, accessories and git-’er-done equipment that help S.W.A.T. operators say, “all clear.” When it comes to protection, Tactical Weapons has you covered.

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