I’m slowly working my way through Pete Lessler’s Guide to Rifle Marksmanship. I happened to read a passage last night early in the book that resonated a bit (I hope he doesn’t mind if I quote it). In this section, he is talking about the mindset of a rifle shooter, and how they should actually enjoy their rifle.
“Take pleasure in its form and function, its heft and balance, its precision engineering and manufacture, and its example of artistic craftsmanship. It should make you smile when you handle it. Those of you who are professional soldiers, serious martial artists, or have a serious interest in weaponry of any kind (even your bolt-action hunting rifle is directly descended from the Mauser 98 military rifle) will know what I mean when I say that handling a good rifle should bring a warm glow of pleasure. And if you are in the military or security or law enforcement, it should also give you a surge of self-confidence.”
On one hand, I know this passage and mindset may appear “creepy” to the uninitiated. I’ve perused more than a few gun control articles lately, and particularly the comments following them, and this is actually a mindset that the “antis” talk about when they accuse shooting enthusiasts of fetishizing weaponry.
On the other hand, however, the passage is true. There is something deeply satisfying about hefting a rifle, practicing with it, and appreciating it. Since finishing the DMTR, I find myself using it as my go-to when I want to squeeze in some quick practice. While the scoped receiver of Ascalon is lighter, and the scope makes it easier to see and use, I find something very appealing, almost zen like, about practicing with the DMTR. The extra heft of the 20″ barrel, the feel of the hand guard, and the sling squeezing my arm. It is confidence inspiring, really. It connects me to a long heritage of riflemen practicing similar skills. As a friend of mine put it after seeing pictures of the DMTR, “The A2 is the last of the rifleman’s rifle. It’s a great rifle but the Best Rifleman in the infantry is quickly becoming equivalent to the Best Swordsman in the Cavalry.”
Despite the nostalgia, I still plan on finishing the DMTR with a free floated handguard and a TA-11 some day. Nostalgia only gets so far before it gives way to practicality, and the DMTR may become my favorite configuration- which means I would like to give it more capability.