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Angelini Talks Gaming With DEVGRU Operator Craig Sawyer

Holster That (Extra) Side Arm!

Tom’s Hardware: So, what’s your opinion on Colt 1911 pistols? It seems like a lot of people have tricked-out 1911s. Would you carry one of these fancy pistols? 

Craig Sawyer: The tricked out 1911s are a total blast to shoot. I've owned several and had a world of fun racing across steel head plates with some of the finest ever made. On the range, they're magic! For me, though, they have no place in combat. I say that only because the basic design of a 1911 is 100 years old, with more controls than are necessary now. Their magazines have less capacity, to boot.

In a close-range confrontation, I want the most reliable pistol money can buy. In the world of Special Operations, if you're down to your pistol, you're either in very tight quarters or your primary isn't shooting, either from a malfunction or a necessary magazine change. In that context, all of a race gun's fancy qualities mean nothing. Reliability is king when you're halfway around the globe, in the dark of night, engaged in a violent fight.

More necessary SEAL equipment: the Tactical Mustache

Tom’s Hardware: Gamers also have a propensity for running around with two handguns out. Is there any practical scenario where you’d dual-wield side arms?

Craig Sawyer: Take two .45s out to the range and try shooting them together with any speed; that's a no-go in real-world operations. The reason is simple. To effectively manipulate and control that weapon, you need a good grip with both hands and good body mass behind the weapon. When you use one hand, the pistol moves off-target much more with the recoil of each shot. And at some point, you need to conduct magazine changes. That's not a simple task if you're trying to run two pistols like a cowboy. Finally, if you have a malfunction, which can be common in the adverse conditions of a combat zone, you want both hands to get that weapon back up and running as quickly as possible. I like to remind operators that I train: "In a close gunfight, a down weapon is like a total parachute malfunction. You have exactly the rest of your life to fix it!"

Unsung heroes: Helicopter recovery after rigging Iraqi anti-shipping mines for destruction

Tom’s Hardware: Switching gears here, in a recent interview I did with Jacob Rosenberg, the CTO of Bandito Brothers, he mentioned to me that the team there wanted Act of Valor to put the viewer in the SEALs' boots and talk about the sacrifices they make. Apparently, that project was really well-received in the community. When an elite soldier, like you, sees a movie or game depicting his role—particularly one that cannot be discussed freely—what does he want to see?

Craig Sawyer: Well, I appreciate seeing the sacrifice and dedication that makes these warriors who they are. There's no magic formula for creating Navy SEALs. You can't instantly create them out of thin air. We're guys who feel strongly compelled to go forward and kick the asses out of our country's worst enemies before they come to our homeland and bring harm to our families, or our fellow Americans. We're just regular guys who love freedom enough to go through whatever it takes to become the most capable Spec Ops warriors on the face of the planet. The amount of personal sacrifice that goes into that overall effort is something I appreciate seeing portrayed.

An actor friend of mine, former Army Ranger, Tim Abell, was connecting me to the Bandito Brothers last year, but they were in the heat of filming Act of Valor, so we never fully linked up. I expect we'll cross paths soon with so many common interests. I was glad to see the film do well. At least this time, the story was being told by people who support our troops, instead of those who just want to dishonor them by portraying our defenders as indiscriminate, blood-thirsty killers. Positive is better. Our troops have earned it.

  • jaquith
    Very interesting article and special thanks to Craig Sawyer!

    We did not pursue questions that would violate OPSEC
    Yeah, we wouldn't want another MoH overreaction.

    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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  • Pawessum16
    Correction on page 2:
    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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  • Chewie
    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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  • army_ant7
    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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  • blackmagnum
    He could run for governor of California...
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  • US_Ranger
    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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  • mapesdhs
    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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  • happyballz
    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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  • mayankleoboy1
    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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  • stevelord
    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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