Editor says: This post was submitted to us by a TFB reader stationed in Kuwait.
In the Middle East it is typical to reach around 120°F during the summer. Regardless of the frequency, it’s nothing you’re able to adjust to, and is always going to be bitched about. However on July 22, In Kuwait, the temperature had rose to a record 129.2°F (54°C), the hottest recorded temperature outside of the Death Valley*. Unfortunately, for my platoon and me, we had to go to the range that day. The range was essentially just a berm with sandbags placed 25 meters away. The only escape from the heat was getting back on the bus from where we came. We were in full kit (IOTV, ACH, Gloves, Ear/Eyepro) and we hated every minute out there. The only thing stopping us from becoming heat casualties was plenty of cold water in a cooler.
[ * Editor says: It is thought by a number of weather historians, yes that is a profession, that the temperature in Kuwait on that day matched the true highest temperature of the Death valley, making it tied as the hottest day on Earth in recorded history ]
We all loaded up the magazines with standard green tip (18 rounds to zero) and then walked to the firing line. It crossed my mind many times that putting my rifle on burst and would end this ordeal as fast as possible. We were supposed to do three round groups, walk to the target, correct and reshoot. By the time we had assumed a good prone supported position knew how much this was going to suck: the sand was hot, really f******* hot. To alleviate this, while waiting for the command to shoot, I assumed the “paint me like one of your french girls” pose, followed by giving my buddy who I was facing the finger, and mouthing the words “F*** this shit”.
I have to say it was the worst groupings I have done ever, both shooting recreational and in the Army. Although I did manage to zero my Aimpoint M68, which held up fine in the heat, and each weapon was properly maintained and lubricated, we still ran into many malfunctions. The soldier next to me had serious extraction problems with his rifle (rifle bottom in photo above), one round that was chambered expanded to the point that it took him and another soldier to yank it out ( one grabbing the handguard, one grabbing the charging handle). After ejecting the round we discovered a small chunk of the previous rounds casing was lodged into the star chamber, this was nothing I had seen before. My issues were purely with the ammunition, two out of the 18 rounds hand expanded to the point that they would not seat into the chamber, nothing catastrophic. Others had double feeding and stovepiping, our weapons went from Colt M4 carbines to Calico 100’s.
I have 20/20 eyesight, but my vision was definitely hindered. The target was by no means a crisp black silhouette, but a blurred black blob. Everyones heart rate was through the roof, just going to take a piss made me feel physically exerted (and I am a grunt in good shape). The only basic shooting fundamental I was able to have a handle on was trigger control. Overall it was the worst shooting experience of my life, and I’ve shot in the rain laying in a puddle with full kit and pneumonia after a ruck march. Overall If it’s the earth’s hottest day, I wouldn’t recommend shooting.