About Joe

Joe currently serves active duty with 10 years in Naval Special Warfare with deployments to Iraq, Afghan and Pacific Theaters. His qualifications include Sniper, Breacher, Post Certified Pistol instructor, MACTAC Instructor, Naval Range Officer, and Master Training Specialist. Joe has two years as a SEAL instructor teaching marksmanship and tactics. He actively works with southern California local SWAT units as a consultant and also shoots competitive tactical long range competitions when he has time off of work. In addition, Joe is deeply involved with the tactical long range industry actively consulting with many industry leaders.

Handl Defense SCAR25 Billet Lower

I have been around every evolution of the SCAR®/CAR/MK17 (or whichever nomenclature you chose to use) since the beginning of the program. I have participated in numerous SOCOM tests, taught a block of training where we had over 70+ of them, as well as carried and employed the weapon system overseas giving me a decent amount of familiarity with the weapon. Designed to replace the EBR M1A and MK11/SR-25 weapon systems FN was chosen by NSW and SOCOM as the new 7.62 battle rifle. After over eight years of development, and numerous changes by FN driven by AAR’s from operators overseas, I believe the weapon itself is not where it needs to be… it has promise but isn’t quite there yet. One of my biggest complaints with the system is the lower. In my opinion, although while being lightweight because of the polymer material used, it isn’t durable enough for heavy use. Another one of the largest complaint from the civilian side was the accessibility and price of magazines from FN as the military contracts were soaking up the vast majority being produced. Continue reading

Rustick Knives

Happy to be back from overseas, I figured I really needed to catch up on some stuff I’ve been playing with. During deployment, my platoon decided to do a unit knife. Platoon knives have been something I have done in the past and have seen other units do that usually seem to go over well if there are no issues with the purchase. A little apprehensive on where to go, I was recommended Jack Stottlemire of Rustick Knives from a friend and decided to give him a call. Besides being a ex-marine (a gentle jab at Jack), Jack was awesome to do business with. Now for anyone looking to do a unit order, sometimes its just easier to make a executive decision. Just a gentle recommendation because getting twenty operators to make a decision on something is next to impossible. So after my best efforts of getting a agreement, and failing, I made a executive decision and placed an order.


Jack retired as a Sergeant Major in Special Operations after twenty six years in the US Army and Marine Corps. He is the man behind the knives and uses all his military experience in designing and producing his blades.


We decided (or I decided) on a smaller fixed blade with a small of the back kydex sheath. Counter to popular belief the vast majority of operators do not carry large bowie style cleavers hung upside down on their shoulder strap like something Arnold would do in the movie Commando. For me personally I find a small folder and a good multi-tool ideal for 99 percent of what I do at work. For those in the know, a small fixed blade comes in handy for jobs one might not think of using a knife for – like sifting through dirt or other substances looking for contraband, popping open locked cabinets, opening up loop holes from a hide site, or any other number of unforeseen tasks one might encounter. I find a 4” blade to be ideal with a fairly thick blade giving me a nice tough tip to use. That was exactly what we ended up with from Rustick. The G10 texture of the handle is perfect for work with gloves, he also offers more extreme handle textures I look forward to trying on future purchases. The knife is hefty and made for work with a subdued cerakote job on the blade to limit rust and shine. The feedback across the board form all my guys has been awesome with everyone in agreement we made the right choice for our order.

I urge any blade fans or someone just looking for a 100 percent US made hard use knife to go check out Rustick Knives. Jack is a one man shop with no website, so you have to look him up on Facebook. It is worth the effort and you don’t need an account to access his page and look at his work.




My GAP built Surgeon actioned 6 Creedmore with Vortex Razor 5-20 scope

The amazing thing about the firearms industry currently is the vast array of options a person has to modify his/her weapon to their tastes or preferences. This variety is not limited to the adult Lego® of the firearms world, the AR15. There is now also a great market of accessories and options for precision bolt action rifles that’s growing rapidly. The biggest mistake I see many new shooters make with their first bolt action rifle purchase is making the assumption that all rifle stocks or chassis will fit everyone. This is sadly not the case. Each individual shooter’s length of pull, cheek structure, hand size, forearm length, and a number of other factors play into each shooter’s fit to a stock. There is always someone more than willing to tell any new shooter that the stock or chassis that they have is the only way to go. More often than not I watch online as shooters go from a stock to a chassis and back, continuously buying and selling stocks until they finally settle on one that is comfortable for them and fits their shooting style. Continue reading

Emerson Knives

Emerson CQC7 and CQC8 showing their wear from use, as they should.

I remember growing up watching my grandfather pull out his Case pocket knife regularly to do any myriad of tasks. I remember getting my first pocket knife and carrying it with me everywhere I was allowed and some places I wasn’t. A knife in your pocket just becomes part of your routine, just like carrying a wallet or your car keys. Fast forward to joining the military and getting to my first command, I was introduced to Emerson knives. Half my platoon seemed to carry them, all well worn and treated like prized possessions. Of course wanting to emulate my mentors I purchased my first Emerson knife about eight years ago and haven’t looked back. I have been issued, carried and used knives from just about every quality manufacturer out there, each one making its way into my pocket for a short time only to be replaced by an Emerson again.

Known as one of the elite hard-use knives on the market, Ernest Emerson started Emerson knives in 1979 and since the company has grown to its current state. Offering a large variety of different size and style folding and fixed blade knives, Emerson’s style shows their intent for their knives to be used with their black handles and basic finish options. While Ernest still makes full custom knives, the company focuses on their factory offerings. Emerson also runs a training center for self defense both with knives and without. Another thing emerson is known for is their patented “wave” feature, which is a hook on top of the blade allowing for one handed opening when drawing from a pocket or pouch. All their factory offerings feature G10 epoxy handles, 154cm steel blades and Titanium locks. Finishes offered are black and satin blades with most models being offered in serrated and non serrated versions. Recent developments has led Emerson to do a Multi-tool as well called the EDC, adding to their line and offering another great option to the market owned by Leatherman, SOG and Gerber.

I have owned at least six different emerson knives in the last eight years, sadly losing a couple over time. Currently I’m running a CQC7 and CQC8 with black blades on a regular rotation depending what i’m doing. The CQC7 is a medium sized tanto folding knife and the smallest of my Emersons but seems to be the one I tend to carry the most. Their slim profile allows for very comfortable daily carry. This is a big thing for me as many “hard use” knives on today’s market seem to be built so if you attached a chain to them you could use them as a boat anchor. This is not the case with Emersons, even their larger models are slim and fairly light making daily carry painless. I cannot say enough good things about their customer service, always being treated amazingly well. I will never say a company is the ONLY way to go but an Emerson Knife will be a regular companion of mine for the foreseeable future. New “high speed” knives come to the market regularly touting feature or options that nobody even knew they needed. The true test is to put out a product that lasts and built for a very demanding end user. Emerson has been and will continue to be used by the worlds elite military and law enforcement units for that reason.

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Victor Company Viper Skins Stocks for AI Rifles

Remington 700 in 300wm in an Accuracy International chassis with Viper skins.

Accuracy International is one of the premier military hard use rifle manufacturers in the world. Known for making no nonsense, purpose built weapons and chassis for bolt action rifles, their AI Arctic Warfare (AW) and AI chassis system shape is one of the distinguishable shapes in the firearms industry. With its square fore end, folding option, and wealth of adjustments its a very capable Mil/LEO bolt-in option for the R700 platform. With that being said their thumb hole design fits some shooters more then others, leaving some to shy away from the design. This is where Michael Victor came in with his design for the Viper Skins in 2010. Victor Company’s Viper skins are replacement skins/ stock sides for the AIAW/ AIAE and  AI chassis systems replacing the thumbhole with a pistol grip. Other added features to the viper skins are a widened fore end and integrating picatinny rails for additional accessories. Continue reading

Looking to Attend a Training Course: Things you should consider


A vehicle being used for the VTAC Street Fighter course

So you’re a new shooter who just bought your first gun and want to attend a training class to learn the basics. Or you’re a seasoned law enforcement officer, competitive shooter, military trained sniper, special operations, etc and you want to attend a training class to get a different perspective then what is offered within your unit or department. Where do you start? The endless flood of information online and varying opinions within the pool of possible venues of instruction is unbelievable. With over ten years of active combat overseas there is a large number of US and foreign veterans looking for life after military service. Many of these people are attempting to find a life after service running firearms instruction. With current political climate the gun industry is exploding with people buying weapons preparing for the zombie apocalypse, civil unrest, or just personal protection in response to recent natural disasters. So where do you turn, what do you need, what things should you consider before hand, what is important? Continue reading

Precision Rifle Series: Building Real World Skills Through Competition

Who doesn’t love the smell of gunpowder in the morning?

Are you a law enforcement officer, military service member, hunter, or just a casual shooter who is interested in increasing their ability to hit targets at distances greater then 200 meters? Now, what if I told you, you could do this with a great group of people in a fun, safe environment, on some of the best ranges in the country, and have the chance to take home a prize?  Interested now?

Well, let me introduce you to the world of tactical precision rifle matches. Unlike F-class or other precision rifle disciplines in tactical precision rifle matches, you will engage targets at varying distances from positions outside of only prone or off a bench, while wearing your needed gear, most times while under both a clock and physical stress. Modeled after many law enforcement and military sniper competitions, it gives civilians the opportunity to safely test their skills against one another in varying scenarios across the country. It is fairly inexpensive to take part in and welcomes young and old, male and female, sponsored and amateur shooters shoot side by side in this quickly growing sport. Continue reading

Desert Tactical Arms- Stealth Recon Scout (SRS)

If you ask my wife she’ll say my personality lends to me being a headfirst, all or nothing type of guy. When I started getting into the precision rifle market, I was overwhelmed by the different options available to me. In today’s modern media based world it is really easy for a person to become overwhelmed by sifting through the mountain of information available to them and determining what is valuable. Having a pretty solid background from work, and a budget that could support a fairly nice platform, I started researching. During the quest for my first personally purchased precision platform I stumbled upon a company from Salt Lake City Utah called Desert Tactical Arms (DTA) and their Stealth Recon Scout (SRS). Desert Tactical Arms was founded in 2007 by Nick Young, who set out to make a reliable, compact, extremely accurate and affordable bullpup rifle system. Other previous weapons to the SRS were foreign and extremely expensive with the DSR-1 being the most recent and priced around 12-17k dollars if you can even find one for sale. The Stealth Recon Scout was developed to be completely modular. The SRS is a switch barrel system capable of firing most short or long action calibers from .243 all the way to .338 Lapua Magnum. Continue reading

Review: GA Precision’s GAP-10 Semi-Auto Precision Rifle

I was first introduced to GA Precision through the precision rifle community 9 years ago. GA Precision was founded in 1999 by George Gardner to support local high power and long range shooters. This N. Kansas City, Missouri company has since grown into one of the premier custom shops for tactical, Mil-Spec, F-class and hunting type rifles. GA Precision also serves numerous law enforcement agencies such as FBI SWAT,  FBI HRT Team Quantico,  ATF SRT , Illinois State Police HRT Team, Kansas City, KS P.D., Escondido P.D., CA  –   and many others. The gunsmiths working under the GA Precision roof, exhibit their experience in the extraordinary consistent quality of the rifles they produce.  My military background carries into civilian shooting competitions with my demand for both precision and unfailing reliability when choosing a rifle. Continue reading

Review: Geissele Super Dynamic 3-Gun (S3G) trigger

To most people, a “match trigger” in a AR15 platform belongs on a rifle with a 16 to 22 inch  precision barrel. During the course of my career I have shot the normal GI trigger that I was given. During sniper school the precision platform opened up to me, but the desire of a nicer trigger didn’t really bleed down to my other carbines until I shot a friend’s Geissele trigger a few years ago. I have since tried many “match” triggers of all types and from numerous companies, never really finding something I liked enough to warrant the additional funds.

I shoot a lot of 1911 like most of the other contributors on this site and personally use primarily a flat blade trigger. This preference of a flat trigger has bled down to my bolt guns as well. I learned that Geissele was producing a flat blade trigger and I had to try it, so I ordered 1 of every model ( Super Dynamic 3 gun, Super Dynamic Enhanced, and Super Dynamic Combat). Continue reading

First Look: Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6×24

The Vortex 1-6 proved a very good optic for the money and took everything I could throw at it.

A fresh and happy hello to everyone as a new writer for Modern Service Weapons. Choosing what to review first was a interesting dilemma. Just having finished a block of training at work I had the opportunity to run the new Vortex 1-6 through a pretty intense month of trigger time and abuse. Looking at options of glass to run on a SCAR17 I first looked at what I wanted to accomplish with it. The optic we usually run is the ELCAN Spectre DR 1-6, which I am not the biggest fan of which is another review all together. I was looking for engagement range from zero to 600 meters, big eye box, good clarity, tactile adjustments, easy to use illumination and something low power but able to be shot on 1x as well as get some magnification for farther shots. Continue reading