Once a year, SureFire puts together an exclusive event for some friends in the firearms industry to get together and train. In 2021, SureFire Precision-a-Palooza was an opportunity like no other.
Since the beginning, SureFire has been a strong advocate of individuals improving their skillset, but the level of training at Precision-a-Palooza bordered on other-worldly. The event provided a select group the chance to try their hand at precision long-range shooting with instruction from the world’s premier authorities on the subject, Todd and Colby Hodnett of Accuracy 1st.
Accuracy 1st provides superior sniper training/techniques to the highest levels of military snipers. Todd Hodnett is considered one of the most respected and sought-after instructors in the entire world. With over 20 years’ experience that includes multiple championship victories in various PLR matches, he has traveled the world, training soldiers in the art of precision shooting. His determination, knowledge, and vision have also guided the development of products to improve the accuracy and function of the sniper.
The two-day event featured instruction in two classrooms. The first was an immaculate lodge used to host class attendees in downtown Canadian, Texas, population 2,663. The second classroom was an 11,000-acre ranch with targets ranging from 255 meters to 1 mile in distance.
The lodge provided all the comforts of home and offered a great place for attendees to unwind and enjoy the camaraderie that makes these SureFire events a hot ticket. One of the evening highlights included an impromptu One Chip Challenge where three brave souls attempted to eat a single tortilla chip infused with Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers. Needless to say, it was as funny to witness as it was painful for the takers, but one super-human magazine editor somehow managed to grind his way through one and a half of the demonic chips. We won’t mention his name. We’ll only add that it made the entire audience recoil in horror. Many thanks to lodge owner Wes Avent for his hospitality and for caterer Darrell Narron of Oilfield Mafia Spices, who served three delicious meals each day, including some fantastic ribeye steaks on the final night. No one went hungry at Precision-a-Palooza.
By contrast, the range would turn out to be far more hostile, with gusting and variable winds that created a tremendous challenge. The wind and unpredictable weather make the area a perfect training ground for snipers who may face similarly adverse conditions while on a mission.
Anyone who ever attempted a long-distance shot knows that many variables come into play. Hodnett and his team, which includes son Colby, have completely shifted the paradigm in precision long-range shooting. Working with everyone from scientists and engineers, they’ve developed mathematical formulas and techniques that make long-range shooting faster and more accurate for military and LE snipers, and easier for everyone else. They eat, sleep, and breathe PLR, and their methods are proven.
The tools used at Precision-a-Palooza were top-notch. Each student was issued a Barrett MRAD bolt-action rifle fitted with a Nightforce ATACR™ 7-35 x 56 F1 scope and Horus TREMOR3™ reticle. Hodnett provided R&D for the reticle, which incorporates the Accuracy 1st Speed Shooting Formula into the elevation hold to make wind calls easier and allow faster shooting. The MRAD itself offers many benefits, including an interchangeable barrel system that allows for fast caliber changes. Every rifle was also equipped with a SureFire SFMB muzzle brake and SureFire SOCOM338-Ti suppressor, which provided excellent sound attenuation while maintaining extremely consistent accuracy with the .308 and 300 Norma ammunition used during the two-day course. SureFire also supplied everyone at the ranges with its in-ear Sonic Defenders® hearing protection to guard against noise-induced hearing loss
Accuracy 1st also provided each student a Kestrel Ballistics 5700X Elite Weather Meter. The 5700X features a built-in ballistics solver from Applied Ballistics to calculate a bullet’s drag profile and measure corrections for Aerodynamic Jump, Spin Drift, Coriolis, and Drop Scale Factoring to achieve accurate extended long-range shots. The Kestrel also measures many environmental factors like humidity, wind speed, wind direction. SureFire would also like to thank perennial supporters Oakley and Mystery Ranch for their generous contributions to this year’s event. As always, it is greatly appreciated.
Day 1 of the class included an intensive classroom session at the lodge as Colby Hodnett taught the Accuracy 1st theory of long-range shooting in a time-condensed session. Subjects included a PLR mathematics primer, how to use the Kestrel to help make accurate wind calls, and how to use the Horus TREMOR3 reticle, which, like the classroom session itself, packs a lot of information in a small space. Next, it was time for a trip to the first range, which featured targets set from 255 meters to 1,217 meters. Firing their MRADs set up in .308, the students appeared to absorb the material well, with many of them ringing most of the targets on the range despite heavy winds that really tested one’s ability to calculate and make the necessary adjustments to score a hit.
As evening set in, the Hodnetts ushered the group to another range where SureFire demonstrated the effectiveness of the SureFire SOCOM50-SPS suppressor on a Barrett .50-cal rifle by giving everyone a chance to experience it from behind the trigger. To read more about the SOCOM50-SPS and its mission, which goes beyond noise and flash suppression, and minimal and consistent POI shift, CLICK HERE.
Day 2 featured more classroom time before the students traveled to a second range with targets set out as far as 1,609 meters – roughly 1 mile. This time, the MRADs were set up in 300 Norma. Again, by working the algorithms provided in the classroom sessions, students were able to hit the longest targets on the range with regularity. Making PLR shots look easy when they aren’t is a testament to Accuracy 1st’s level of instruction. They eliminate the competition and the mystery of the process by breaking down the elements of PLR in a way that makes it digestible and easy to put into practice.
There was one last – and frankly awesome – surprise that awaited the attendees during Day 2. A Robinson R44 helicopter appeared on the horizon at around noon and landed just a few yards away from the range. For the rest of the afternoon, students were taken up in pairs to experience shooting targets with SureFire SOCOM556-RC-equipped ARs from a moving helo, courtesy of Rotor Recoil. The Rotor Recoil course provides a truly unique opportunity to learn the dynamics of shooting from a helicopter. The range includes 90 custom-made targets scattered over 11,000 acres. With changing terrain and variable conditions, it provides consistent target opportunities and a fast-paced experience designed to be challenging for shooters of any skill level. For more information on Rotor Recoil, CLICK HERE.
The PLR knowledge gained and the opportunity to put it into practice at such an amazing facility would’ve satisfied anyone at Precision-a-Palooza. The good news is anyone can book a course with Accuracy 1st and receive the same training. If you hunt game or are merely interested in long-range shooting, we highly recommend getting with them and taking a shot at improving your rifle skills.