Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Review: Green Eyes and Black Rifles

I kind of promised this review back in January.  I wanted to read it a second time, and try a bunch of it before sitting down in front of the computer to write the review, so it's taken me a while.

The book is written by Kyle Lamb, who wrote based on experiences in combat in sandy places in the middle east, as well as from carbine classes and competition.  To quote Lamb's introduction, "[t]his book, however, is not for the competetion minded; this book is for the shooter who hopes to use ballistic tools to eliminate a threat if the need arises."  Although Viking Tactics is more that just Lamb, you might know him as "the Viking Tactics guy."

The book centers around the AR-15 platform ("America's Black Rifle"), although a lot of the information can be applied to some other carbines and battle rifles.  There really isn't anything specifically AK-47 related. 

The book covers weapon selection, including barrel specifications, buttstocks, handguards, triggers, tactical slings, and sights, optics and mounts.  I like what Pat Rogers has to say about modern weapon selection and maintenance more than Lamb, but that's not to say that Lamb is wrong.  You can read what Rogers has to say in his Keep It Running article hosted by, and he was the expert in the What Parts Break In A Carbine Course thread in the forums of the same website.

I would say that Lamb's area of expertise in the book is more his coverage of shooting positions, particularly the more unorthodox offhand positions, shooting drills, and other tactical type topics.

Some of the topics covered are:
  • Loading, reloading, unloading
  • Speed and tactical reloads
  • Malfunction clearance
  • Proper use of tactical slings (sounds more obvious than it really is)
  • Fundamentals of marksmanship (sight alignment, trigger control, etc.)
  • Selecting the proper zero for your intended use, and ballistics (ballistic charts included)
  • Shooting positions, including head and arm positioning
  • Recoil control
  • Dealing with being right-hand-dominant and left-eye-dominant, or vice versa
  • Transitioning from left to right hand, and carbine to pistol
  • Shooting on the move, including safe and efficient ways to turn with the carbine
  • Night and low-light shooting, including the use of weapon lights and lasers
  • Use of rimfire and 9mm uppers, paintguns, airsoft, and dummy guns for training

I think pretty highly of the book, as a tactical tool.  I've had it in my range bag, so that I can use it as a reference when I'm out shooting.  I also got myself a Viking Tactics 2-Point sling because it seemed to be well thought out (It is.  It works well.).

Although it looks weird, and sounds even more bizarre, I like the "brokeback prone" position shown and explained in the book.  "If it sounds stupid, but it works, then it isn't stupid."  I can use it to make some fairly well-supported shots around right-hand corners, and still be able to duck back behind cover pretty quickly, in addition to using it for shooting under things or though low ports.

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