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:
- 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.
- 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!"
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.
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.