Angelini Talks Gaming With DEVGRU Operator Craig Sawyer

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Tom’s Hardware: I imagine there are certain weapons with which you’re intimately familiar. Given a choice between new technology that might fire faster, more accurately, with less recoil, and to greater effect, or a firearm that you’ve put thousands of rounds through, which do you pick? What is your personal selection process?

Craig Sawyer: Well, for me, I choose familiarity over anything else, just like little David with his five smooth stones going up against the giant Goliath. He went with what he knew, and he made it happen. Normally, I'd stay with the trusty old M14, except that the POF I mentioned on the previous page is in the familiar M4 platform and offers the accuracy and reliability of the M14 in a shorter, modern package. In this case, then, newer is clearly my choice.

Tom’s Hardware: On the topic of new technology, is there a personal weapon system that has you excited right now? Why?

Craig Sawyer: There are actually two high on my go-to list right now, due to their unique capabilities and fun factor for shooting:

  1. The Desert Tactical Arms in .375 CheyTac. The DTA is a bullpup design, which allows it to have the same barrel length and performance as conventional sniper rifles, but in a one-foot-shorter package! That thing shoots like a champ and the .375 CheyTac round is performing better than just about anything else out there for extreme range. So, that's my long-range choice.
  2. For everything under 1000 yards, I'm running the POF, 6.5 Creedmoor. That thing is a tack driver and has a super-flat trajectory. With a low recoil, that rifle is so forgiving to shoot between various ranges, it even seems easy for beginners. I recently took some celebrity friends, Michael Broderick (who did voice-over work for Medal of Honor Warfighter) and Leeann Tweeden, shooting with that rifle. They both wore out small steel targets all over the range. Michael had been a Marine, so I wasn't as surprised by his good shooting. But Leeann was just learning, and she was quickly nailing small steel targets from 100 to 400 yards, back and forth very quickly as I called them out to her. She handed the rifle back to me and said, "Hey, that was easy! I love that thing!"

Training Leeann Tweeden on the POF Training Leeann Tweeden on the POF

Tom’s Hardware: Do you see a point in the future where unmanned drones/robots eliminate the need for special recon that puts the lives of soldiers in peril? What are your thoughts about automation on the battlefield?

Craig Sawyer: I do see a great value in drones for recon. For actual rescues, though, you'll probably always need real people on the deck to make judgment calls and work through the problem in real time.

I appreciate automation on the battlefield because it keeps more of our troops out of harm's way. The downside is that anyone who don't understand combat is likely to lose sight of the fact that it will always take physical occupation to dominate certain battle spaces. So, there's no magic bullet able to replace a highly-motivated warrior.

Firing a Milkor Multiple Grenade LauncherFiring a Milkor Multiple Grenade Launcher

Tom’s Hardware: Are there any key technologies you anticipate will affect the outcome of battle in a decisive way?

Craig Sawyer: Man, that's already happening so regularly today. Stealth changed the game, as did modern body armor, satellite communications, thermal imagers, IR lasers, and even services like Skype for the war figher's morale. When I was a kid, we only saw that kind of thing on The Jetsons!

In the future, we'll see new technology that will allow snipers to fly a bullet very accurately out to extreme distances with known impact. That one will open some minds, so to speak. ;) I'm working with developers on that technology now.

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  • Very interesting article and special thanks to Craig Sawyer!

    Quote:
    We did not pursue questions that would violate OPSEC

    Yeah, we wouldn't want another MoH overreaction.

    Quote:
    The lack of a fatigue factor, even in fairly realistic first-person shooters, has always bothered me. Most titles allow you to sprint briefly before slowing down to a run, but you’re able to shoot, jump, and then, seconds later, sprint again. Is this something that needs to change in the next generation of games, or would "the real thing" be a total turn-off for a gamer?

    Try Paintball. Otherwise VR with electric shock. Either way, IMO very few want total or close to realism in gaming other than theatrics. Listen, I've been shot by a 22mm that grazed off my knee taking-off a piece of meat -- getting welted-up from paintball's or electric shock is a cake walk.

    Personally, I'm far from a SEAL (really far) but I like my guns, and my Glock 19 with a LaserMax will make folks think twice about leaving in a home invasion - it's there as fast as I can reach. The POF-USA P308-12-MRR 7.62mm NATO is indeed sweet and ain't cheap; just what every 'deer' hunter needs.

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  • Correction on page 2:
    Quote:
    Tom's Hardware: I think all gamers remember the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 scene where you're a sniper in the top floor of a building in Chernobyl. As a real U.S. Navy SEAL sniper, how accurate is this experience?

    I remember that so well that I know for a fact that it happened in the original Modern Warfare, ie COD4: Modern Warfare.....before they stopped the numbering.
    And after finishing reading the article, I'd like to add that it was pretty great. To someone like me who doesn't know a thing about real world combat, it was very insightful, and Sawyer made some good points about the direction of the gaming industry in regards to shooters.
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  • Accuracy's my biggest problem with Crysis, to this day. I especially remember a point early in the first game where I like to lie down in the grass and take out the Norks manning MG emplacements that just can't seem to see me. The problem was, with the Assault Scope I was taking 3 or 4 shots to get a head shot on these guys. The reticle covered the whole head! I checked the range range with the visor, or binocs, or whatever, and got a range of 80m!
    Now, I'm no sniper dude, but I can get multiple 2 inch 5 round groups at 200 metres with the Steyr AUG, and that has a 1.5x optical scope. Also, no cool crysis suit to help. So at 80m, firing from prone, you bet your arse I can pick which eye to take out. But not in Crysis. Most of the other stuff about that group of games is cool, but the accuracy issue drives me nuts every time.
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  • Quote:
    Tom’s Hardware: What is Sleep, Eat, and Lift? Craig Sawyer: Hey! Are you punking me, man!? Hah.
    Chris, I bet you were making your prayers and cringing already while he was saying that. :lol:
    I'm kidding of course. :P But I know I would, knowing that guy could snap my neck with one hand! :lol:

    That aside, a great read! I thank you and Mr. Sawyer there. :D I giggled at the thought of how ridiculous the things we do in games are, and imagined it in real life. Seeing those CoD (and others) commercials would make think they're silly now albeit still cool. :lol:
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  • He could run for governor of California...
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  • Good article. I especially liked the part about posers. That shit always bothers me and I've run into my fair share of them as well.

    Sua Sponte Craig, good luck in your new endeavors.
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  • Thankyou so much for this article Chris! The most interesting piece I've read on any site for
    a long time.

    Best wishes & respect to Craig and all his colleagues.

    Ian.
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  • ChewieAccuracy's my biggest problem with Crysis, to this day. I especially remember a point early in the first game where I like to lie down in the grass and take out the Norks manning MG emplacements that just can't seem to see me. The problem was, with the Assault Scope I was taking 3 or 4 shots to get a head shot on these guys. The reticle covered the whole head! I checked the range range with the visor, or binocs, or whatever, and got a range of 80m!Now, I'm no sniper dude, but I can get multiple 2 inch 5 round groups at 200 metres with the Steyr AUG, and that has a 1.5x optical scope. Also, no cool crysis suit to help. So at 80m, firing from prone, you bet your arse I can pick which eye to take out. But not in Crysis. Most of the other stuff about that group of games is cool, but the accuracy issue drives me nuts every time.


    I personally participate in bolt-action rifle competitions up to 1000yards but...AUG A’s 1.5x optical scope with 2 inch groups at 200m? You better have used a fully locked bench rest for that...AKA you were just pressing the trigger and the bench was holding aim. Otherwise I really doubt your "consistent" 5 round groups; I have used A1's reticle 1.5x scope before, and after 100-150 yards the "donut" reticle covers too much to know where the true center is. So you either very lucky repeatedly or are over exaggerating a bit.
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  • happyballzSo you either very lucky repeatedly or are over exaggerating a bit.


    Or he has practiced lots and lots more than you
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  • One of my favorite experts on Top Shot. Can't wait till the next season (which has been filming since September I believe.)
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  • Awesome article and i was just thinking that the articles on TH were getting kind of lame last week. Very good points and helps me sleep better at night knowing dudes like this are doing things to protect our country and make it fun to play our favorite games!
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  • Can you make murder more glamorous?
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  • usersnameCan you make murder more glamorous?


    Sure, have Cameron Diaz be the one holding the guns and taking out the bad guys :D

    Ian.
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  • happyballzI personally participate in bolt-action rifle competitions up to 1000yards but...AUG A’s 1.5x optical scope with 2 inch groups at 200m? You better have used a fully locked bench rest for that...AKA you were just pressing the trigger and the bench was holding aim. Otherwise I really doubt your "consistent" 5 round groups; I have used A1's reticle 1.5x scope before, and after 100-150 yards the "donut" reticle covers too much to know where the true center is. So you either very lucky repeatedly or are over exaggerating a bit.


    This was when I was 18, during basic training. And it wasn't every day, like clock work, or something. But I could get 2 inch groups of 5 rounds. and repeat it. I remember the corporal telling me, "Slow down, aim your shots", then the target slid back up with one cardboard circle showing multiple rounds in that area. The corporal said, "I don't know where your other rounds went" and then on the second or third round of the next group the cardboard circle flew off somewhere. I seem to recall that the donut reticle had a cross in it that helped. Maybe not the A1 you were using?
    As I said, not everyday, but I could repeat it. At least enough to make the instructor stop bugging me about shooting too fast. I'm told by an american friend that it does usually require sandbags, and is refered to as 2 MOA, which is at the limits of accuracy for that rifle. Hell, maybe I should have gone on to the Infantry instead of the Ordnance Corps.
    Probably couldn't do the same thing now, but I'm sure I could get a head shot on a slow moving target at 200m, let alone 80!
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  • Very interesting article. What FPS would he recommend to someone thinking about "testing" the genre?

    I'm just a civilian maggot, although my father and brother are former USMC.
    Thanks, Craig, for sticking your neck out for the rest of us. It matters, and some of us will never forget it.
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  • One hell of an interview, Mr Chris!

    Kudos to the Tom's team for getting this piece together and also thanks to Mr. Craig for letting this happen.

    Cheers!
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  • how in the hell did you land this guy for an interview Chris?

    this was better reporting than i have seen televised 90% of the time.
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  • Amazing article Chris...like some of the previous commentors posted...best gaming article in a long time. Pure kudos to Craig for his expertise, insights etc. The one question that I would've liked to read that Chris would've asked Craig at the conclusion of this great article is..."What video game that has been created would you say is the most realistic, in terms of what you have gone through, in your military life?"
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  • One of the best articles I have read in a long time. Thanks to Craig for your amazing service to our country! A real American bada$$
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  • From one active Sailor to a salty, retired, SEAL:

    HOOYAH!

    Excellent read! Thank you for your incredible service, Craig. I'm honored to say that I'm in the Navy when we have outstanding Sailors such as yourself.

    I only wish we had more hardworking and motivated folks =\
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