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Thread: Being shot at

  1. #1

    Being shot at

    This thread is mostly being entered as a place to talk to Javier about what it's like being somewhere where the "targets" are likely to be shooting back at you. Maybe Javier and his friends over in Afghanistan can say something about what it's like to be doing what weapons were originally designed to do.

    Going to the range nowadays, wearing all the protective gear, and shooting holes in paper is one thing. There's no sense of urgency, or danger, or of being hurt (as long as you pay attention). I'm guessing it's very different for Javier.

    When you get to find this thread, maybe you can (if you're allowed to??) say something about what it's like to be over there. Does everyone always walk around armed? Have you yourself ever felt threatened? When you see local people over there, does your mind always see them initially as a potential threat?


    I've never been any kind of situation like that. I've read Jim Corbett's stories of hunting man-eating tigers in India (while those same tigers were stalking him!!!), but he made it sound so calm, as he thought out what to do next. ......but I know if it was me walking through those forests, armed or not, I'd be terrified.

    I've got to admit - I have zero knowledge of what it's like over there. I've seen plenty of Hollywood versions, but the make it all seem like games. Then I've read books written by soldiers, and some of the potential fear comes through, but they mostly say that when it's their time to go, they'll go, but they won't dwell on it before hand.


    Part two of this thread - if you do go around armed, (and if you can say), what kinds of weapons do you have on you?

  2. #2
    Mike,

    I dont leave the "wire" so I dont get shot at directly. At most we get indirect fire via mortars or rockets. I walk around armed with a Beretta M9 pistol. My guys walk around with M16s.

    Inside the base we do have Afghan nationals, Afghan army and also third country nationals (India, Pakistan, etc...). Not meaning to offend but I see them ALL as threats. i dont care how much they smile at me and say hi.
    SGrid Vintage of 2003

  3. #3
    I imagine that a group of any nationality will feel that way about a people from a different nationality. "They" are a threat to "us", and "we" are a threat to "them". Even within the "we", some of us can be threats to others, but fortunately that is very rare.

    The closest I've come to getting an idea of what it might be like, is from reading books written by ex soldiers. One was "Ranger Born"; the other I can't recall right now, but it was about being a GI during WWII.

    Just curious - have you ever had to draw your Beretta other than during target practice? Also curious, if a soldier wanted to wear a 1911, is that allowed or forbidden or ??

  4. #4
    Twice I have drawn my pistol and once I put my rifle sights on someone.

    A soldier can only use whichever sidearm is issued by his unit. No personal weapons allowed.
    SGrid Vintage of 2003

  5. #5
    The times you drew your pistol - was it to "control" a situation, or did you think you might actually need to use it? I know that in wartime, a soldier who wants to remain alive can't hesitate too much, but nowadays I'm guessing that people need to be more sure that it's absolutely necessary to draw/use a gun.

    I'd ask you more about what it's like, but maybe that's not the right kind of question to ask.

    Hey, when you're back over there, plz. send more photos (I'll post them for you if you can't), and invite the other guys to join in here too.

  6. #6
    Brett06
    Guest
    my dad was in afghan for a little while. Not to sure of the exact location though. He has never been fired upon directly (while serving in the military) but did wake up to gunshots only to find out the next day it was 2 bases firing at each other.... great right? one base saw a light and didnt know what it was.... so lets just shoot it! lol and it shot back. Some people are just plain dumb. Dont they teach you this in basic? Comon sense people!

  7. #7
    Arkady001
    Guest
    I've been shot at a number of times in Iraq and Afghanistan...
    Bottom line?

    It's really unpleasant.

    Being in a full-blown fire-fight is also different from being just 'shot-at' - when you can return fire your mind sort of goes into auto-pilot mode fulelled by the adrenaline rush of actually getting to shoot back (for once).
    While I was working with the USMC in Nowzad we were contacted by two guys with AKs and actually saw the firing-point (very rare...lol): I and one marine were able to return fire (my one and only 'possible' kill in 23 years of service and that while serving as a Combat Photographer and not in my former life as an infantryman...lol) - I distinctly remember being able to apply the marksmanship principles as if we were on a firing range and put rounds down (at about 450m) until one of them bugged-out leaving the other one injured behind (who later died of his wound - whether my shots or the marine's shot killed him is unknown). There was no immediate sense of danger even, just a realisation that "oh, we're being fired at" then looking around and realising that only the two of use were in any position to return fire so we'd better do something about it...
    The marine even asked me as I was unslinging my rifle (cameras usually take priority for photographers) "do we shoot at those guys?" and I replied in my best nonchalant Brit accent "well...they're shooting at us so it'd be rude not to"...(SO embarrasing now when I think about it)...

    Getting hit by IDF (artillery or rocket-attack) just sucks out loud as all you can do is lie flat and hope you don't get clobbered by a direct-hit - even a 107mm rocket will only kill you if you're standing-up close to the point of impact as the frags blow up and out in an inverted cone. I know guys who were only a meter from the impact point and were totally unscathed, whereas another guy was killed by one frag hitting him in the small of the back (severed spinal column) while sitting in a porta-john 25m from the strike.

    During my last Afghan tour in 2009-2010, we were 'contacted' by small-arms fire or IED (land-mine or booby-trap device) on virtually every patrol outside the wire but had almost no IDF which was the main threat in iraq during my last Tour there in 2007. IED strikes are over before you know it (unless it's a come-on as part of a larger ambush) so it's always a delayed reaction - if everyone's OK you laugh a lot, if you have casualties then it's not so much fun. One guy was killed about 10m from me by an IED which took off both his legs and his left arm and he bled out in about ten seconds - without regaining conciousness thankfully - not for his sake, but for ours - it sounds harsh, but the screaming stays with you for ever.
    Bullets also make different noises the closer they get - the characteristic 'whip-crack' of the supersonic rounds breaking the sound barrier will be well-known to anyone familar with working old-style manual range 'butts'...
    On almost my last patrol in February 2010, I was pinned down along with a Sunday Times reported for ten minutes by someone with an RPK trying to kill the pair of us - we were slightly exposed in a field while the rest of the patrol was in partial cover about five metres to our left when we were opened up on by this guy at about 600m. The bullets actually displaced the air beside my face as they went past and the knowledge that he was trying to kill me rather than just shooting at 'the patrol' was singularly uncomfortable. Those rounds made a high-pitched singing 'zi-iiip' as they went past.
    We ran when he stopped to reload and dived into a shit-filled drainage ditch...

    The one thing that really sticks out (and I have video footage to prove it) is that you never know when it'll happen - it's never like the movies and you're always in the middle of talking about something completely unrelated when a contact occurs.


    What I carried (not shown: Sig-Sauer P226 9mm):


    What I looked like while carrying it (this was taken by a USMC photographer) about 15 minutes after the incident in Nowzad mentioned above):

    Photo: USMC
    Last edited by Arkady001; 09-05-2011 at 06:11 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Arkady001 View Post
    .......and I replied in my best nonchalant Brit accent "well...they're shooting at us so it'd be rude not to"...

    Wow....... I don't have words to even begin to express everything I'm thinking. Please do write more, a LOT more! That one sentence you quoted - I've never been in a similar situation, and hope I never will, but I think were it me, I'd be petrified! Were you always like this, or is it that you had been doing this for so long, that even being shot at became a "normal" part of your routine. How did you feel the very first time you were on the wrong end of the gunfire? As to what you said, I bet it was a big relief to the guy next to you - how could anyone panic after hearing a line like that! It's classic!!!

    I'm also scared to ask you how much all that gear weighed. I'm guessing it took you a while to get used to lugging that much gear around, while needing to be able to use it quickly when/if necessary.



    I'll re-read your post later. I thoroughly enjoy target shooting, but my targets don't shoot at me.

    When you have time, maybe you can post many more of your photographs (assuming you're able to do that - is there still all that "censorship" business going on?

  9. #9
    showtime
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by eltorito View Post
    Twice I have drawn my pistol and once I put my rifle sights on someone.

    A soldier can only use whichever sidearm is issued by his unit. No personal weapons allowed.
    i had heard about people carrying 1911's etc as the 9mm rounds wont put down a fanatical insurgent on a charge. they need the extra stopping power from the .45ACP

  10. #10
    Arkady001
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by showtime View Post
    i had heard about people carrying 1911's etc as the 9mm rounds wont put down a fanatical insurgent on a charge. they need the extra stopping power from the .45ACP
    Yes: exactly right - USMC were issuing reconditioned 1911A1's when I was last in Afghan - the conditions that were originally the reason for adopting the .45 ACP round (Phillipine insurrection) are still extant - a lot of the 'Terrys' are found to be doped-up when they're autopsied...9-milly just doesn't cut it under those conditions...

    One of the Marines had purchased a S&W 1911PD which I fell completely in love with...

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