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Chris Upchurch
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Recently, had a bit of debate on our WarriorTalk forum about the usefulness of mildot scopes. Mildot scopes are important enough I thought they deserved a full article, rather than just a forum post. The ‘mil’ in mildot is short for ‘milliradian’. It’s an angular measurement, like a degree but much smaller. A milldot scope has a reticle that’s graduated in mils, using dots along the crosshairs as markers (hence mil-dot). While mildot scopes are the most common type of scope with this sort of graduated reticle, the advantages we’re talking about can be applied to any graduated reticle scope. For instance, there are scopes out there with reticles graduated in minutes of angle (MOA). While they use a different angular measurement, they can be used the same way a mildot scope can. The reticle also does not necessarily have to use dots. Many newer mil (and MOA) scopes use hash marks on the crosshairs rather than dots, which are clearer and more readable than the traditional dots. Regardless, I’m going to refer to these as mildot scopes for the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2013 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
As soon as the first TSD MAG-15s came in we shipped them out to our friends in the US Military community for testing. Here is a write up that was sent to us, and posted at, on their torture testing of the best magazine for the M4 system. Here is his commentary. By the way…notice the TSD Combat Systems RMR Glock 19 in the pics? Ok guys I want to share some of the torture testing of the TSD-MAG15 magazines that we conducted yesterday. Basically what we did was treat one of the new mags very vary badly and then tested its function. I started out by simply test firing the magazines during some of our standard M-4 courses of fire (approximately 600 rounds spread across four different magazines). They all functioned reliably in slow, rapid, and full-auto fire. The magazines were always loaded to the full capacity of 30 rounds and were compatible with standard stripper clip speed-loaders. I also tested the MAG-15′s compatibility with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and it fit and functioned 100% during a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2013 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
I recently attended the Guerrilla Sniper class that Gabe Suarez taught in Kingman, Arizona. This is not a new class for me, I’ve attended the with Eric Pfleger in Ohio, and with Scott Vandiver in Georgia, along with Gabe’s Guerrilla Sniper II class last fall here in Kingman. However, it's always one of may favorites. Gear My main rifle for this class was my PTR–91GI. Last fall I sent this rifle over to Investment Grade Firearms to have them install a picatinny rail on top of the receiver for mounting optics (they also added a paddle mag release). Gabe was kind enough to loan me a TA33 ACOG with a .308 reticle. While this is a very high quality piece of glass, a fixed three power optic with a BDC isn’t necessarily the optimum optic for the GS role. It’s more of a Universal Rifle or DMR optic. That said, I figured it would be a good choice for testing out the rifle at distance. I added the wide HK forend and an HK bipod to help stabilize the rifle.... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2013 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend John Chambers’ M4 Sniper Week - Designated Marksman School in Coleman, Texas. This is a five day class combining his DMR and Advanced DMR classes. John is a graduate of the Army's squad designated marksman training program and served as a designated marksman. Most of his service was in a Long Range Surveillance Unit, which has a lot of applicability for the sort of guerrilla small unit tactics that Suarez International teaches. He is exceedingly well qualified to teach a course like this. Gear This was not an easy class to fly out to. Sniper classes are fairly gear intensive, and combined with the class being five days long, it requires a lot of stuff. John was willing to receive a box of gear I mailed there for me, so I could limit myself to one checked bag, plus a carry-on. Even so, I had to be selective about what I brought. My rifle for this class was a FS2000. The bullpup layout makes the rifle very compact, but it still has... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2013 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
by Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Director of Marketing The Electromagnetic Spectrum Radio waves, microwaves, light, x-rays, and gamma rays are all basically the same thing: electromagnetic radiation. The difference between the electromagnetic radiation we use for transmitting music through the air, cooking food, lighting up a room, or looking at a broken bone is the frequency of the radiation. Our eyes pick up only a very small slice of this spectrum, what we call visible light. Within this small slice, we perceive different frequencies as different colors. The portion of the spectrum we can see makes up the colors of the rainbow, from purple on one end to red on the other. Human beings make pretty good use of the portion of the spectrum we can see, but there are situations where other parts of the spectrum would be useful if we want to track aircraft, sense heat, see broken bones, or shoot somebody in the dark. When it comes to night vision, there are really three parts of the EM spectrum that interest us: visible light, near infrared, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2013 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
by Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Director of Marketing I have to admit, it took a while for me to really warm up to the FS2000. When one came in for Gabe back in August, my first thought was ‘wow, what a space-gun looking thing’. I handled it a bit and it seemed very odd and unfamiliar. It just has such a different layout and different controls that it was way outside my previous experience. As much as we make of the difference between, say, an AK and and AR, they both use basically the same layout. By comparison a bullpup, particularly one like the FS2000, is pretty out there. A few weeks after my initial encounter with the FS2000 we were out shooting some video on the SIG 556 rifles. Gabe also brought along his FS2000 and I had a chance to shoot it. It still seemed a bit strange, but I have to say it shot nicely and handled well. Gabe was pretty enthusiastic about the rifle. This really made me take another look at the concept. Towards the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2012 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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Posted Oct 29, 2012 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
By Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Staff Instructor Last weekend I took the Terrorist/Active Shooter Interdiction class from Jack Rumbaugh. This class is a bit different from the standard S.I. fare: rather than focusing on fighting with a particular weapons system, it examines a particular sort of situation in depth: someone with a gun whose goal is to kill as many people as possible. This is a class I've been wanting to take for quite a while. This was the first time it's been taught by anyone other than Gabe. For the live fire portion of the class, I brought a pair of Glock 17s: one with an RMR and one with iron sights. The RMRed gun got the lion's share of the use, since these sorts of situations are an area where it's advantages really shine. I carried them in a pair of Dale Fricke holsters, one on each hip. Along with a large quantity of G17 mags I also brought one with an Arredondo magazine extension, which increases mag capacity by about five rounds. I got this recently and... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2012 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
It's better to do things than to buy stuff. I figured this out about five years ago and it's tremendously enriched my life ever since. I still buy stuff, but I generally try to only buy stuff that will enable me to do something that I'm really interested in.
Toggle Commented May 4, 2012 on Buying Happiness at Coding Horror
All this commentary on the weakness of MD-5 and SHA-1 and no mention of NIST's competition for a new cryptographic has algorithm?
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2012 on Speed Hashing at Coding Horror
By Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Staff Instructor Earlier this month I had the opportunity to assist with the Force on Force class that Randy Harris taught here in Columbia, SC. Force on Force was one of the very first S.I. classes I took back in 2007. While the fundamentals are still the same, the class has evolved quite a bit since then. The other host for the class was fellow S.I instructor Alex Nieuwland. We were also joined by S.I. Staff Instructor J.D. Lester. Both of them took the course as students. There were nine other students, including some repeat customers from Alex and my previous courses in Columbia. Most were from South Carolina or neighboring states, but a few came from as far afield as Pennsylvania and Missouri. I brought my usual FoF gear. I ran a pair of KWA airsoft Glock 17s in Archangel holsters. Not only does a class like this give a good chance to practice dual carry, I also find that it takes two airsoft guns to keep one running. They may look like Glocks,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Over Memorial Day weekend I attended Randy Harris' AR15/M4 Rifle Gunfighting class. This will be is a bit different from my usual after action reviews. I was not actually a student in this class. Instead, Randy was nice enough to let me sit in as an 'Assistant Instructor', which essentially meant that I watched Randy teach the class, helped run the firing line, demoed stuff, and offered the occasional comment from the peanut gallery. Why spend a weekend over in Chattanooga doing this? Well, back in February I taught a Fighting Rifle Skills class and one of the students brought an AR. I'm mainly an AK guy, but I'd prepared for this eventuality: I watched the AR-15 Rifle Gunfighting DVD, read up on SI doctrine for running the AR, etc. I think I did a pretty good job telling the student how to run his rifle, but I could have done better, particularly when it came to demonstrating some of the AR specific manipulations. The best way I can describe it is that I knew this stuff in my head,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Chris Upchurch – Suarez International Staff Instructor Suarez International’s CQB: Fighting in Structures class is a bit different from most classes we teach. It involves no live fire and, at most venues, no force on force either. While there are some physical aspects to it, this is much more of a mental skill. As Gabe puts it, CQB is more like chess than MMA. Because CQB is a non-shooting class, we don’t have any prerequisites for it. There’s no safety reason to require any previous experience or advanced gunhandling skills. That said, to get the most out of it, you need to develop certain shooting skills to go with your CQB skillset. The shooting skills that go into CQB draw on a variety of SI classes. Perhaps foremost are our point shooting classes. During CQB you’ll make heavy use of the retention continuum and non-standard shooting positions. Full extension with a hard focus on the sights is going to be the exception rather than the rule. Point Shooting Gunfight Skills, Point Shooting Progressions, and Advanced Point Shooting Progressions teach the... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Chris Upchurch – Suarez International Staff Instructor In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how many people are under the false impression that CQB is just for SWAT team members and the military. In reality, these skills are vital to anyone who owns a firearm for self-defense, particularly for the bedrock purpose of home defense. Unfortunately, many firearms instructors seem to be under this same false impression. Often their CQB classes are limited to law enforcement and military only. Even when they’re open to the common citizen, the techniques and tactics they teach are often predicated on military or SWAT tactics. Learning how to clear a room as part of a team of five guys wearing body armor and armed with automatic weapons and flashbangs doesn’t have a whole lot of practical application when something goes bump in your living room in the middle of the night. More realistically, citizens are not going to have the full panoply of tactical gear, just a pistol, or if you’re at home perhaps a rifle or shotgun. We’re probably going to... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Chris Upchurch – Suarez International Staff Instructor To some, Close Quarters Battle (CQB) seems like a very high speed-low drag skillset. Something more suited to SWAT teams and the military than the common citizen interested in self-defense. This could not be further from the truth. One of the biggest reasons people buy firearms is for home defense. Knowing how to fight in this environment and to use your home’s ‘terrain’ to your advantage is vital. Consider the following scenarios: You are awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of breaking glass, followed by the alarm going off. You grab a long gun, take a covered position with the muzzle pointing at the door, and call 911. The intruder will either leave, be apprehended by the police, or walk right into your ambush. This sort of thing is what many firearms trainers advise, and it really is the best case scenario when it comes to home defense. Unfortunately it’s not always possible. If we change just one small detail, the whole scenario changes dramatically. . . . You... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
by Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Staff Instructor This weekend I attended a Shotgun Gunfighting class taught by my fellow SI instructor Alex Nieuwland. I’ve taught classes with Alex many times, but this was my first opportunity to be his student, rather than a co-instructor. Being able to take each other's classes gratis is one of the benefits of sharing instructional duties for South Carolina. I've had a little bit of formal shotgun instruction, but not much. I’m really more of a rifle guy than a shotgun guy. If I need to grab a long gun to fight for my life, it’s going to be my AK, not my 870. This was a good opportunity to brush up on a weapons system that I don’t really get much practice with. I ran the class with my Remington 870 Express HD. This is an 870 Express with an extended magazine tube and synthetic stock. Not really high speed low drag, but a fairly standard home defense shotgun. I’ve customized it a little bit by adding a pair of sling mounts between the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
by Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Staff Instructor Mark Twain once said, “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” In training students to defend themselves with a firearm, one of the instructor’s jobs is to disabuse students of certain, widely held but mistaken notions. The idea that shooting someone with a handgun will send them flying across the room, for instance, or that warning shots or shooting to wound are a good idea. One of the most common is encapsulated in the old saying, “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight,” often delivered with an air of smug superiority on the part of the gunman. Implied by this is the idea that the gun is in all ways a superior weapon to the knife, and that a skilled gunman has little to fear from a knife wielding assailant. The problem is it just ain’t so. The best known effort to get gunmen to take knife armed assailants more seriously is the Tueller Drill. Dennis Tueller was a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
by Chris Upchurch, Suarez International Staff Instructor Suarez International classes are one of the best investments you can make when it comes to self defense. We've got a really great curriculum and our instructors are top notch. As with many things in life, however, how much you get out of it depends on how much you put into it. A bit of preparation beforehand and some regular follow-up afterwards can dramatically increase the amount you learn and how much your skills increase. Based on my experience in quite a few SI classes, both before and after I became an instructor, here are some things that I think you can do to help you get as much out of the class as possible. Before Class The starting point for getting the most out of an SI class is to choose an appropriate class to begin with. If you don’t have the fundamental skills to do well in more advanced classes, you’re not going to get as much out of them. Suarez International classifies its classes into three levels: basic, intermediate, and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG