View Full Version : Tactical use of the M1A - sources for training, books, videos, etc.?

October 8, 2001, 02:19 PM
There are many good sources for learning how to use the AR15 in a tactical environment, but is there anything similar for the M1A? I'm interested in learning for the M1A the same sort of stuff we apply to the AR, for example the best way to deploy the rifle from sling carries, tactical reloads, malfunction clearing, training drills, etc. The manual of arms and the ergonomics are different enough that not a lot of tactical carbine stuff can translate to the long, heavy M1A.

I'm really not talking about the M1A in a sniper rifle mode, and not traditional infantry training either, but more of a "Modern Technique of the M1A" which will allow the operator to get the most of this great rifle from close range out to 250 yards or so (past that I imagine the best technique involves getting a solid rest from behind cover). Has anyone developed a modern tactical system of techniques for the M1A? Any references to training, books, videos, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

October 9, 2001, 09:19 AM
Ok, while we are waiting for the torrent of replies, I'll try to start the ball rolling by giving an example of the kind of info I am looking for.

One of the great features of the AR is that a right handed shooter can perform all loading operations and most malfunction clearing techniques with the support hand, while the firing hand stays in firing position. This is difficult, if not impossible, with the M1A since the op rod handle is on the right side. Changing mags is difficult to do without using both hands, but I did learn one tip here on this forum which a member reported after taking a rifle course from Randy Cain:

Draw the mag with the left hand and bring it up between the trigger guard and the mag release latch, holding the fresh mag sideways (horizontal) so the the feed lips are to the right and the floorplate is to the left. Using the leading edge of the fresh mag, tap the mag release forward to unlatch it and push through to knock the empty mag forward and out of the mag well. The rotate the fresh mag to vertical and insert.

That works great, although if done too forcefully I imagine it could damage the mag body. But then, once the mag is inserted, what is the best way to manipulate the op rod handle--reach over with the left hand or switch your grip and use the firing hand to tug back on the op rod handle?

Usually by this time, my muzzle has drooped down toward the ground. You definitely get a work out with extended firing of the M1A! The Wilderness has started producing the Giles Sling for the M1A --would that help steady the rifle during loading and clearing manipulations?

And speaking of malfunction clearing, what are the most likely malfunctions and what are the best techniques for clearing them quickly? Can they be cleared with the support hand, or do you have to break the firing grip?

This is the stuff I'm looking for. If no one has published this stuff maybe we will have to develop it ourselves here on the forum.

October 9, 2001, 11:05 AM
The method that was suggested to me (and that I use when not
slinged in) is:

1) Retrieve the new magazine with the left hand, base of the
magazine at the base of the fingers, top extending back to the

2) Unlock the old magazine with the thumb on the magazine
release and the fingers wrapped around the front of the magazine. The two magazines should be side by side and
rotatated 90 degrees from each other.

3)Rotate wrist to bring new magazine up to the well and lock
the new magazine into place.

4)If the bolt is locked back, reach under the weapon with the
left hand and release the op rod with the meat of the thumb.

In the past three years, I've fired around 4k of mil-surplus from my
rack grade M1A. All the failures were ammunition related, and
with one exception were cleared by working the action. The one
exception was a strange failure with the bullet seating ahead of
the brass, which caused the brass not to chamber correctly,
which in turn caused a failure to go into battery.

M. Kruger

October 10, 2001, 10:02 AM
Thanks, Kruger!

I tried your tactical reload technique and it worked like a charm. It does require a fair amount of dexterity and fairly large hands, and under the stress of a fight it might be easy to drop one or both mags and then be unsure which one is fully loaded, lose them in the dark, etc. For those reasons a lot of tactical trainers advocate stowing the partially depleted mag before drawing the reload. Hopefully, however, a tactical reload would be performed during a lull in the action and from behind cover. The tactical reload technique Kruger described requires carrying the mags with the feed lips down, bullets facing forward.

While I was working with the rifle I tried a couple of techniques for quickly slinging the rifle over the head and support arm in order to transition to the sidearm or otherwise free the hands. The typical AR15 techniques don't work too well with the long, heavy M1A - too easy to knock yourself unconscious!

I found the best technique was to slide the left hand back to grasp the front of the magazine where it enters the well. Lift the buttstock up off the shoulder and turn the rifle sideways to a horizontal position, muzzle left. With the right hand, grab the sling about four inches from the rear sling swivel. Lift the rear of the rifle over the head and let it drop over the left shoulder, while letting go with the left hand and pushing the left arm through the opening formed by the sling. The rifle ends up slung over the head and left arm, muzzle down, and you can can keep your eyes on the threat the entire time. If you have Jim Crews' manual for the AR15 entitled "Some of the Answer- Urban Carbine," this technique is illustrated with the AR15.

To recover the rifle, grab the forearm with the left hand, thrust the muzzle toward the target while rotating the rifle to the left so that the muzzle describes a counterclockwise circle. Duck your head to the left and allow the sling to slip over your head. Take a firing grip with the right hand. It is difficult but not impossible to keep your eyes on the threat while recovering with this technique.

My apologies to the lefties out there for not addressing left handed techniques. This is a work in progress and I would appreciate any and all input, especially from shooters with actual expertise, like Kruger.

October 10, 2001, 05:04 PM
There's not much out there in book form, but you should purchase the Urban Rifle video from Thunder Ranch. Clint Smith demonstrates several malfunction drills with an M1A. Their phone number is 830.640.3138. The video costs around $30

October 11, 2001, 02:54 PM

Thanks! I'll check out the Thunder Ranch video.

John Frazer
April 30, 2002, 03:27 PM
John Farnam's book, "The Farnam Method of Defensive Rifle and Shotgun Shooting," contains a number of illustrations on manipulating the M1/M14/M1A/Mini-14 family of rifles.

April 30, 2002, 03:46 PM
I just did a quick web search (at work) and could not find it, but there is a guy who advertises in Shotgun News, pretty sure it is Uncle Fred's, who has a lot on the M-14/M1A rifle. He seems to consider it the best battle/SHTF rifle and posts quite a bit about shooting it properly. I'll check for it when I get home and post more if no one else beats me to it.

May 2, 2002, 12:57 PM
Thanks for dredging up this thread and suggesting the Farnham book and Uncle Fred.

"Molson Labe".....LMAO!!

May 3, 2002, 09:57 PM
M1/M14/M1A/Mini-14 family of rifles

How dare you!!! :eek: :eek: :eek: :D

May 5, 2002, 07:22 PM
I thought AEM did a pretty good job of answering his own question.

I do have a problem personally though with the constant hammering of the M1A/M-14 as being big and bulky, heavy and 'not suitable for use as a tactical rifle', what ever one of those is. My M1A is not cumbersome at all, indeed, I find it quite handy.

May 7, 2002, 01:49 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Mannlicher! But surely there are folks with more experience with the M1A than me; I'd like to tap into some real expertise. As popular as the M1A is, I was surprised to find that nothing much has been published on combat applications, unlike the tons of material available for the AR15.
Skunkabilly's reaction to "the M1/M1A/Mini-14 family" no doubt stems from the fact that the Mini 14 action is actually more like the M1 carbine than the M14. However, the important controls (mag latch, mag release, safety, op rod) are all scaled down versions of the M1A controls, so a manual of arms for the Mini 14 might be useful for the M1A as well.

December 14, 2010, 03:25 PM
I know its an old thread, but with the resurgence of the M14 in use overseas, I figured it was worth revisiting. Has there been any new training materials for the M14/ M1A that have come into common use in recent years, either in .mil or LEO firearms training circles? I've seen quite a few requests on LE firearms trainers sites for training outlines/ info on the M1As, and there must be something other than SDM that they are putting the growing numbers of M14 shooters through when they are deploying.

December 14, 2010, 04:16 PM
I know this is an old tread but I'll respond anyway.

That your "tactical" instructions for the AR, cross out AR and replace it with M14/M1A, and you're good to go.

December 14, 2010, 06:36 PM
In some ways yes, in some ways no. I would think that some things translate over fairly well, but you'll have to tailor the class to the weapon...you can't just cut and paste wholesale.

December 14, 2010, 07:48 PM
i have a scout model (18" barrel) and i dont fid her to be cumbersome at all. I think the 18" or even the 16" socom would be easy to maipulate in a CQB situation. with out getting into the whole calibur debate (7.62 vs 5.56) if ur unsure of the handeling, there are pistol grip stocks out there for the m14/m1a that would bring the manual of arms closer to the ar15.