A Confident Rifle

A Confident Rifle

Change undermines confidence. With every change we make to our gear, we must then ask ourselves if the change was for the best… or if it is just another wrinkle in the brow. Every new rail, every new optic must be attached, torqued, and evaluated for its quality. New things that screw in place can come loose, your zero could change, your optic could fail. A man sleeps soundly at night when he (or she) has a confident companion at the bed side… one who doesn’t change and one who has yet to falter.

With all the new tools and gizmos we will receive this holiday season and those “must haves” that debut in the future, it is important to keep at least one rifle untouched by the urge to upgrade, to tweak, and to tinker. A rifle who’s zero is true and whose setup is solid need not be overhauled every time a new rail or new product comes out. A constant state of change to a rifle does neither the rifle nor the rifleman favor. The rifle that we value and grab in confidence should receive upgrades and changes only when necessary and even then those upgrades should not change the rifle as to shake your confidence in her.

Rifle Ready marks

Apone: “Nobody Touch Nothin.”

With every barrel swap, every rail change, and every optic we introduce, we have just added variables which may rust, which may slip, or that may fail. That new barrel’s chamber may be a bit too tight, the fancy new rail may have hardware that can rust or shear, and that new and untested optic may fracture at the first drop.

Instead keep one rifle ready and in a state of confidence. Tinker with the others. Upgrade others with the latest gizmo. Perhaps once thoroughly vetted, the new gizmo can make its way to your ready rifle.  Train with your ready rifle like your life depended on it. Ensure it eats the dust, spits through the mud, and keeps throwing brass like a sewing machine. Resist the urge to change it until absolutely necessary. A M16A2 is old, outdated, but if it is in a state of readiness… it is far more valuable than a rifle who has yet to travel with you through the dust, who has yet to eat thousands of rounds, and who’s optic still hasn’t yet fought against the slings and arrows of malfunctions or the slow grind of mother nature.


So hold steady. That heavy old girl who needs updating can hold off a bit longer so long as she sings. In the darkness the glass will shatter and footsteps rush in. In ten or twelve seconds it will all be over. You won’t remember the weight. You wont remember the gritty trigger. You wont wax poetic over the new gear you can’t afford and don’t have. You will only remember that you grabbed that rifle because you were confident in her… and that she breathed fire like the devil.

Title photo courtesy of RustedAce
Written by lothaen


  1. Jeff · December 2, 2016

    You secure that shit, Hudson.

    Great stuff as always!

  2. Geno Brandenburg · December 3, 2016

    That was awsome! Excellent advise to. Keep up the good work.

  3. JTF · December 3, 2016

    I agree 100%.

  4. Sidney Whitt · December 3, 2016

    I have a mint, NM M-14 for an angel and I will never change anything about her. She has shown me that she can spit fire! Great post and I will follow you more in the future.

  5. Cap'n Mike · December 3, 2016

    Good advice

    All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal’s a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I *love* the Corps!

  6. MD · December 7, 2016

    Great article.

  7. acegeneral · September 19, 2017

    And this is why as a 23 year old guy I still have the Polish AKMS I bought when I graduated high school in completely stock configuration stock folded, sling slienced around the front sight bloc ready to go with a steel magazine of 8m3 military issue hollowpoints.

    It may not be the fastest or the most sexy but I know that rifle works, I know my zero, I have practiced with it, hell I even took it out to 3 gun. And even being lax with cleaning it, even with the cheapest ammo I could find dusted with rust of mixed calibers out the bottom of my trunk and with a dirty gun, it ran and I never had a stoppage after 2000 rounds.

    While I have friends building various ARs and have them more often then not disassembled in bags or being troubleshot or are switching out optics, or have them sitting in the safe because they cannot afford to shoot it more then once a year, while my AK is always ready to go.

    This is also in a similar way how I have my friends who just need a basic home defense gun get a simple pump action and run 100 rounds through it then clean it and load it with 00 buckshot. Again it may not be fancy, your not going to fight off ISIS, but its going to work no matter the ammo, its not going to be mucked with like a AR, and 12 gauge puts a heck of a hurting on a home invader

    And hopefully after reading this blog I can build myself a AR rifle and get into that game

  8. acegeneral · September 19, 2017

    Agreed, its good to have a squared away rifle

    I’m 23, and when I graduated high school I got a quality Polish Underfolder AK. I know its not slick and high speed, but I know that gun is GTG and I didnt have the skills to use a more refined gun. And let me tell you in 2000 rounds, through a few 3 gun matches, and even with slightly rusty mixed wolf, tula, and brown bear ammo that sat in my trunk that gun just runs and I never had a stoppage.

    I have friends now from high school my age with what they call the best “wonder rifle” weather a .300 blackout pistol, a Bullpup SKS, or a 6.8spc rifle more often then not their guns are down, parts are being swapped out, its sitting dissembled in a bag, or sittingi n the safe because they can’t afford to shoot it, while my Polish AK is sitting, oiled, zeroed, ready to go next to a steel magazine of 8m3 military issue ammo.

    Hopefully after following the example of this blog I can have a lightweight 20 inch AR rifle of a similar ilk of reliability and readiness but with the greater capacity of a modern rifle

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