What “Operator” Skills Do You Have? Question of the Day

SIG SAUER Tactical Tip (courtesy youtube.com)

In the video below, SIG SAUER Academy instructors Eric Palmer and Todd Moriarty show us how to reload a pump action shotgun with a slug, should you need to reach out and touch someone in the middle of a defensive gun use. Now I’m not saying it’s an inconceivable situation . . .

Especially for rural folk who may have to take a gunfight from inside to the great outdoors. But it’s not exactly what I’d call a likely scenario. I mean, if the bad guy isn’t within 00 Buck range, you’re probably better off withdrawing and calling the cavalry.

But what do I know? I’m not an operator who operates operationally. I don’t even carry a slug on the saddle attached to my Benelli M4. Maybe I should. But then which one would that be?

Let’s face it: to do this kind of stuff in a gunfight — like the shotgun reload or the one-handed semi-automatic handgun shoe rack — requires a fair amount of training. While the moves are as cool AF, I reckon my time’s better spent concentrating on moving and shooting.

Which is an operator skill! So I have one. Ish. What operator skills do you have?


  1. avatar AFGus says:

    I have a Kel-Tec KSG. I put 00 Buck in one tube, and Slugs in the second tube. Then its just a matter of flicking a switch to go from one to the other. No Operational Operating required.

    1. avatar Stereodude says:

      And I’m sure you’ll keep that perfectly straight in a high stress situation and not shoot the wrong kind.

      At least you’re not putting lethal and non-lethal shells in respective tubes with the expectation of keeping those straight in an a DGU.

      1. avatar AFGus says:

        Oh…I’m pretty confident that after 52 years of handling firearms (22 of that in the military), I can remember “right = 00 Buck” & “left = Slug” in a high stress environment. Even if I don’t (a big if), either one is going to do the job in a DGU home invasion scenario.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          You operate, operator. Don’t let common sense get you down.

    2. avatar Arc says:

      I can consistently hit targets at 500 meters and uhh… I’m not a lard ass, does that count for anything?

      1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        Not really. When was the last time a 500 meter shoot was ruled clean outside of the military?

        Fitness is great. But we see example after example of disabled and elderly folks, some of whom have never fired a gun, winning their fights with the bad guys.

        I think most POTG have a hollywood image in their head of what a gunfight will be like and it just ain’t so.

        1. avatar Sgt of Marines says:

          Longest shot I know of was 175yrd by the Secret Service. But that doesn’t mean a longer shot won’t happen, I try to stay proficient out to 1000 yards, it is fun to ring 6″ plates at long range. Because out of shape and older people win doesn’t mean fitness doesn’t count the better shape you are in the better you’ll handle the adrenaline dump and you’ll be able to stay in the fight longer.

        2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          Sgt. Shooting drills are fun. That’s part of the attraction of being a POTG. Guns are just fun. And I did agree that fitness is important.

          But the secret service has different rules, as does the military, than we mere mortals. I’m not aware of any dgu out to 175 yards for us non sworn types.

        3. avatar Sgt of Marines says:

          My point is that if you can reliably hit a 6″ target at 1000 yards you will be reliable at shorter distance. I don’t know the range, but years ago a Texas Hunter saved the life of a State Patrol officer with his scoped .270 Winchester rifle. Shooting skills with pistol rifle and shotgun should not be ignored. You may need those skills if civilization starts to crack and law and order crumbles.

  2. avatar Jeff in CO says:

    Colorado P.O.S.T. requires 120-hours of Ninja-Pho-Coolio. I can curve my bullet trajectories, jump out of the way of point blank bullet shots, and load magazine-clip-bullet-button-banana-thingies (30-rounds) in under .1 seconds. We also learn to shoot 30-rounds/sec. Bump stocks are overrated…

    1. You said, “We also learn to shoot 30-rounds/sec.”
      That’s nothing; according to New York Governor Cuomo, the AK-15 assault thingy is capable of firing “30 clips per round.” Governor Cuomo said it, so it must be true! By my calculations, 30 clips per round times 30 rounds per second = 900 clips per second, according to Governor Cuomo!

      1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

        I thought that was DeLeon:

        “This is a ghost gun,” de Leon begins, holding an unloaded rifle in his hands. “This right here has the ability with a .30-caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip in half a second.”

        I don’t have the “Miculek Mod5” upgrade in my operator toolbox, so I’m woefully shot of that figure.

  3. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    I know to A) not hug cover (well, in theory I do), and B) Present your firearm before rolling out from behind cover (again, mostly in theory).

    Also, I know that hair gel is crucial.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:


      “hair gel is crucial” even for bald OFWGs.


      1. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

        Sounds like yall read too many SEAL books. Also remember you MUST keep the red ball balanced on the end of your nose while clap firing MP5s. Oh and ABC (Always Be Cool) have book rights and movie deal papers already drawn up before operating operationally.

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          Did really have a US NAVY SEAL teach / train me on (our Uncle made him, but he did so very professionally and graciously to try to make us ‘better’ at our jobs):

          “Wall > Body > Weapon” in MOUT training. (Keep ~ 8″ off of walls and barriers and have your [held] weapon(s) outboard of that).

          Training repeated during military combat training by . . .

          government contractor: TEXAS OPFOR (various former SPECWAR dudes)

          and later repeated by U.S. NAVY 31ST NCR.

          [a/k/a: all the high-speed dudes that never heard of you, and who might also think that the ATF&E is a problem looking for a solution (that’ll obviously come from somewhere else)].

          We got trained on heavy weapons and door kicking, apprehension and transport of prisoners, etc., etc., etc., from U.S. Joint Services we got ‘Task Force Troy’ [anti-I.E.D. training] we got tactical driving training and vehicle operations on a couple of up-armored wheeled platforms from HMMV to MTVR to MRAP, lethal and non-lethal combatives, and a light batch of DM training, nothing too fancy, all good stuff, good stuff.

          I am an Operator in negative numbers (deep in the negative [not sure how deep, somewhere south of Rainman?] I probably owe, yeah, Wapner’s on) and I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good as I ever was.

        2. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

          I just drove tanks, bradleys, and hmmwvs while wondering where in the hell all those kick ass dune buggies and dirtbikes went that my recruiter swore all cav scouts get…. Then I reclassed to mechanic, not that I had a choice in the matter. Interesting factoid I’m not really ATF… In fact I actually work for the KY Department of Veterans Affairs the least operator job ever created but I get to hang out with some certified badasses from way back like World War 2 back.

        3. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

          Another good tip is to carry a 10mm so it looks like you’re cool with recoil, even if you’ve never shot the thing.

          The most important tip, however, is to make sure you apply temporary tattoos on your forearms before going to the range. Instant respect.

          P.S. I’m a civilian, so I apologize if I crossed a line and am now joking about stolen valor in a bad way.

      2. avatar Ret1SG says:

        +1. Don’t use gel but, I do use a cream. Going bald OFWG;s need to have some dignity…Operator skills? I shoot straight and fast, center mass> WTF else do you need to do?

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Look cool while you’re doing it, shooting with one hand, drinking Jameson with the other, while covered in high-quality trim from Las Vegas.

          Happy to help you. 😉

  4. avatar strych9 says:

    I can make toast and use a rotary telephone…

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      You are a certified ninja!
      Wait, what’s a rotary phone?

      1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        A rotary phone is an ancient weapon from an obscure eastern martial art. Made of a rare earth element known as ‘Bakelite” it has the weight and mass to give a 115 pound wife the ability to smack the living shit out of her 180 pound husband. His skull will break a long time before that Bakelite will.

        1. avatar strych9 says:


        2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          I’m laughing my ass off.
          I’m over at my moms house and saw an old rotary phone on a garage shelf.
          Yup. Black Bakelite. The thing weighs about 12 pounds.
          Then I’m thinking this could get big bucks on eBay in another 20 years.

        3. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          Actually, Tom, there’s a brisk trade on those rotary bakelite phones now. Last one we bought was 60+ bucks and it does duty as our living room phone.

        4. avatar Michi says:


        5. avatar A O says:

          I still have a rotary phone sitting in my bedroom. If the power goes out, I know that will still work so I can call…
          for a pizza?

        6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          Yup. I also keep a cool retro rotary phone plugged in for use during power outages

        7. avatar Stereodude says:

          A O: That’s genius! If only my cell phone worked when the power was out. Oh wait, nm…

        8. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          Stereo(twice the snark?), my late father lived in an area where cell phone service simply didn’t reach. An old school phone was his lifeline.

          If something ever happens to the new and improved a lot of folks are going to sit and suck their thumbs til they die.

        9. avatar Ralph says:

          I’m pretty sure that I saw Charlize Theron bust up a Soviet agent by crowning him with a big, black rotary phone in “Atomic Blonde.”

          Try that with your iPhone.

        10. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Yup. I also keep a cool retro rotary phone plugged in for use during power outages”

          Tom, a note of caution –

          If you ever have a problem with the copper line, expect the phone company to have *very* little incentive to fix it.

          My folks found this out the hard way. Even though the local telco switch is literally 150 yards away from their home, when they reported a problem, the phone company kept blowing them off to repair it. They ended up having to set up a cable broadband modem for telephone service, which the cable company profits quite handsomely for.

          They sell dedicated cellphone interface devices for your rotary phones, but you’re gonna need a UPS to power it when you lose the juice.

          The days of the good old telephone POTS (Plain ‘ole telephone service) is rapidly coming to an end. Ever since they moved away from the mechanical wire-spring relay crossbar switchgear to the digital switches, the writing was on the wall.

          It kinda pisses me off. The most fun tech job I ever had was for a company that re-manufactured #5 crossbar switchgear. It was beautifully well-engineered stuff. The relays had a minimum rating of one billion make-break cycles. They used an ingenious self-cleaning mechanism. Every time the relay energized, the palladium contacts wiped themselves clean.

          They damn sure don’t make ’em like they used to anymore…

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      I’m pretty skilled at shooting empty cans with a .22 rifle.

      1. avatar Kapeltam says:

        We should get together sometime. I’m pretty good at emptying cans.

    3. avatar Bloving says:

      I can make a loaf of bread from scratch so Nine up there can make toast…
      And if the S really HTF, I can carve bows for our primitive tribe of survivors to fend off the radioactive zombie hordes after the ammo runs out.

      1. avatar ACP_arms says:

        I can make bread of from scratch as well. So you can sick to making the arrows and I’ll make the bread.

    4. avatar MyName says:

      Yeah, but can you make toast without a toaster? Hmm, can you?

      1. avatar Stereodude says:

        Yes, contrary to popular belief it is possible to toast bread without an electric toaster.

        1. avatar MyName says:

          Ahh, you know much that is hidden …

    5. avatar Ret1SG says:

      Damn, haven’t used a rotary telephone in I don’t know how long!! 40 years at least! Wasn’t there something satisfying in the simplicity? Remember when the push button ” Princess” phones came out? Ahh, the good old days. Wait, gotta go clean my AR. Wait, that came out a long time ago. Man, getting old sucks.

  5. avatar johnny go lightly says:

    Lol…Todd looks just a little tense….

  6. avatar Shire-man says:

    None. I make the little man buzz and light up every time.

  7. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I only use slugs in my shotguns unless I am hunting Bobcats.

    I have extras on my stock but I would probably use my skillz and draw my pistol instead of reloading.

  8. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    I am am a level i^2=-1 operator. That I even have such mad skilz is above top secret. Not even I know about them. I pretend to be incompetent at pretty much everything as part of my “legend”.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      So, imaginary then?

  9. avatar Tile floor says:

    I can operate a 240 like nobody’s business

    1. avatar Jon says:

      Yay for free belted ammo!!!

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Yay! Love our Uncle!


    2. avatar Ret1SG says:

      LOVE the 240. Used them on the ground but, mostly from my M1 Abrams ( several versions) tank. Awesome weapon!! Talk about suppressive fires!!

  10. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Frying bacon in the nude

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      Brain Bleach! Brain Bleach! You heartless motherfu………..

    2. avatar Ret1SG says:

      Frying bacon in the nude?? Sacrilege!! Sorry bastard! Wish I had some bacon to cook…gotta go shopping.

  11. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    1 ringy dingy….2 ringy dingy….

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

    2. avatar Ret1SG says:

      Man, you’re dating yourself… I remember that from Laugh-in. Wait I not only outed myself but, dated myself! Shit, getting old!!

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        i dated myself before i got hitched.

        1. avatar Bob in Calif says:


  12. avatar SouthAl says:

    Let’s just say I am OAF (not to be confused with oaf), incognito. You would never know it by looking at me or watching me on the range. When you are OAF, don’t need to show off those skilz, no one should know you have those skilz until it is too late.

  13. avatar SouthAl says:

    So OAF that my M&P takes Glock magazines.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      daaaaaassaaaammmnnn dude you SPECOPS. 😊

  14. avatar tdiinva says:

    I am a REMF. No operator skills required.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:


      Anyone who went outside the wire only did so bc they couldn’t hack inside the wire (or way worse, inside the CP).


  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    Gunny said all our ‘operator’ (special forces, ride the short bus, wear a helmet, lick the window) stories should always /only start out with ‘one time, at band camp…’ love that guy.

    So, one time @ band camp . . .


    1. avatar Michael Sayles says:

      Haaa ha ha ha, Gunny’s do have a way of cutting to the heart of the matter.

  16. avatar Mort says:

    I can decapitate you by flinging a DVD across the room.

    Save it… yes, it is true that I have been working on updating my skills… who knew when I spent years perfecting it, that DVDs would suddenly be obsolete… Operator– not psychic.

    Trying to perfect the same technique with more common edged discs… like a quarter. Decapitation has proved a bit challenging thus far. BUT… I can turn you into a eunuch. Providing that you attack me naked.

    However… if a large man suddenly appears naked and attacks me, fair warning: I’ll probably just have to shoot him. So, maybe the quarter has a more limited, specialized role… I don’t know yet.

    Because the Second is under attack, though… I feel that today I should share the bounty of my gifts… the man you need is Guy Savelli. Just put your fingers in the air like quotes, and tell him you want to learn how to “dance.”

    And never mention George Clooney…not if you want to emerge alive. Good luck.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      I can decapitate you by flinging a DVD across the room.
      You must be Agent Random Task!

    2. avatar MyName says:

      Oh yeah, George … ok, I won’t risk it.

  17. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I can throw a sh oe. And it really hurts.

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      I can throw a fit.

      1. avatar SouthAl says:

        I’m still at pitching one, working on throwing though.

        1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          My first wife was a seventh degree black belt(Hissy) at throwing a fit.

          I took notes.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          beware the petulant frenzy.

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I threw my back out once.

  18. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I’ve been known to operate heavy machinery after taking cold medicine on occasion.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      You’re a rebel.

      I like you.

  19. avatar =BCE56= says:

    I have a beard, a BDU shirt, side-zip Tactical boots, and a cap w/ a US flag on it; my watch tells military time.
    My .9mm AK 15 has a laser/light mildot scope w/ killflash and a tripod. And an air horn. (Just in case.) It’s wrapped in urban ghillie camo. The shoulder thing goes up AND sideways.
    Spare ammo (250 rds) in jungle-clipped betamags, and a Costco multitool, carried in a waterproof PVC fanny pack for quick access.
    For practice I use some old paper targets with pictures of Bin Laden. (These things seem to last forever.)
    I have watched quite a few training videos, and read some back-issues of SOF magazine at the barbershop.

    Let’s rock!

    1. avatar Ret1SG says:

      =BCE56=; Damn man. Remind me never to cross your path… Can’t deal with it all! 🙂

    2. avatar Ragnar says:

      Thanks, =BCE56=.

      Now I am shopping for a rail mounted air horn for my AR. Do they make MLOK air horn adapters?

      1. avatar =BCE56= says:

        Not sure about MLOK, waiting for The Next Big Improvement.
        Meanwhile the air horn is attached w/ a couple of hose clamps. Sturdy and thrifty and can be adjusted w/ the multitool.

  20. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I’ve had 7 surgeries. But I guess that would make me an operatee, not or.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Either… or… unless you’re a Winnie the Pooh character.

      1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        I like to play doctor. Does that count?

    2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Right there too. Recovering from a major one currently. Reading TTAG is only thing that has kept me from reaching max boredom especially the comments.

      I am non operator status but can make toast, operational toast. That I can do. Lol

  21. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I can reload a SAA in under a minute.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      I can reload the cartridges for an SAA in under a minute. If I can find my primers – where did I put the damn primers? (I can also solve a rubik’s cube in under a minute)

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        But can you do that under fire?

        1. avatar MyName says:

          Rubik’s cube, yes. Reload the cartridges, don’t know. (no one shoots at me in the basement)

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Sounds like you need to step up your training regimen.

  22. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    I’m incredibly fast at posting comments on forums about how to operate.

    Keyboard operators are a specific MOS at CENTCOM. Training for that occurs a day after one is dropped from selection.

    The only thing that slows me down is that for some reason it takes TWO clicks on “Post Comment” to actually post the comment. The first one just reloads a blank page.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      At least the reply button appears to be working again.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        LAUS DEO

    2. avatar Ragnar says:

      Never not double-tap !

  23. avatar Pelvicpunch says:

    I can calibrate a Priority 1 Emergency Power Unit test set for an F-16 at 4pm on a friday in under an hour;)

    1. avatar MyName says:

      I believe all of this except the 4pm Friday part. By 4pm friday you will have been gone for 30 minutes – don’t try to deny it.

      1. avatar Pelvicpunch says:

        LOL!!! Oh i wont deny it. Having to come back after getting off early is the worst part! Damn standby….

  24. avatar Accur81 says:

    I can use my cell phone to call for backup when my government radio is out of range!

  25. avatar TStew says:

    I own a pair of Mechanix gloves and have a paracord bracelet. Pretty sure I’ve got a “Molon Labe” morale patch around here somewhere, too…

  26. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    What operator skills do you have? I dunno, never manned the switchboard….one ringi dingi, two ringi dingi, three ringi dingi…..

  27. avatar Tom W. says:

    I can throw a #2 Stanley Phillips Head Screwdriver like a knife and cause melons to fear me.

    Than after I’ve perforated their bodies I eat them and absorb their soul.

    And I still play Lawn Darts.

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      I got a lawn dart out of a tall tree with a 12 ga. and number 6 shot.

      It whistled every time we threw it after that.

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Careful now, lawn darts are dangerous.

        1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          Oh yeah? Hold my beer and watch this……

    2. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      That would be Jarts. By the way, WTF were they thinking?

  28. avatar MyName says:

    Do black cargo pants and a pair of oakleys count?

  29. avatar matt o says:

    once, just to prove i could, i reloaded a half dozen 25acp cases using nothing but a nail, a hammer, a live 12ga #4 buck and a box of strike anywhere matches. trust me, it can be done and they shot better than expected.

  30. avatar Kendahl says:

    None. I don’t work for the phone company.

  31. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    I can mix a stiff drink, get myself drunk off plugged watermelon, smoke a rack of ribs, and deep fry damn near anything while nude outdoors in February with 2 ft of snow on the ground while my neighbors try and figure out who to call…. Mwahahaha we’re in Kentucky silly neighbors can’t nobody drive on snow.

    1. avatar SouthAl says:

      Now that is OAF.

  32. avatar Waffensammler98 says:

    Just everything I learned at MCT.

  33. avatar Michael Sayles says:

    I had the good fortune to train with some very dangerous men who weren’t interested in publicity. They trusted me enough to do gov. contracts with them. Alas now I am a broken down OFWG And I am lucky to remember how to get the Coffee maker to operate.

  34. avatar YARB0892 says:

    Does Tanking count? I’m a graduate of the Fort Knox School for Men if that counts for anything, and am fair at OPORDs, FRAGOs, and CONOPs.

    1. avatar Ret1SG says:

      Tanking “ALWAYS” counts!! We had the big guns!!

  35. avatar Ralph says:

    I don’t use slugs. I’m hunting wabbits.

  36. avatar What About Bob says:

    I can roller skate…..backwards.

    I would love to incorporate other activities but the rink owner would probably from on me blasting out the disco balls.

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      ‘some motherfucker is always trying to skate uphill….’

  37. avatar Ret1SG says:

    This has been a fun thread to read tonight! I tried to make some funny replies and hope I succeeded. I needed this kidding back and forth. Thank you all for the funny comments I have seen here. My wife has been in the hospital (4 days on a ventilator in ICU) since Tuesday week before last and I haven’t had the time to get on here. Late as hell and I need to get to bed so I can make church in the morning. God Bless all of you my fellow POTG. Goodnight.

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      Hope it all works out ok for your family.

      1. avatar Michael Sayles says:

        Prayers to all the God’s for her quick and complete recovery.

  38. avatar Brandan says:

    I can reload my revolver one-handed…I operate like its 1987.

  39. avatar MDH says:

    X-ray vision, super sensitive hearing, and the ability to reliably detect bullshit with .001 MOA accuracy at 1,000+ meters in total darkness.

  40. avatar J says:

    Oppose Gun Control and Weapons Ban Legislation



    Please help save our 2nd Amendment rights. Please pass the first link to others so we can get this petition sent to the White House.

  41. I’m so operationally operational that I operate with a tacticool rail, laser sight, strobe, and RMR sight on my .357 Magnum revolver! Next I’m going to mount an Aimpoint CompM4 on my lever-action Henry, then I’ll be a super operator! Now if only I can figure out a way to mount a bipod and suppressor on the octagonal barrel of that lever-action Henry…

  42. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Love this talk about “skills”

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