A friend of mine, Antonio Carreras, asked for some advice for his rifle tape design. This first picture is what he had accomplished:
In the picture above you can see black and red tape in horizontal stripes on a white stock (this is the Glendale DrillAmerica 1903 replica rifle- the only rifle available with a white, black or brown stock). This is a great color combination on a white background. Blue would also work well. A lighter color like yellow might work, but only if it has tape of a darker color on either side and even then it may not work all that well with the larger white background.
On with the critique of the picture above I wrote, consistency in tape design would work better. The red-in-black on white is very eye catching. A sling is a must- a sling completes the look of the rifle.
As you can see in the tape design in the first picture, the inconsistency of the design looks a bit confusing. While having the red-in-black in the middle of the rifle, one may be able to pick up either single color in a place here or there, but if it is too far away from the middle, the color use may be lost and look confusing.
For the second picture I suggested that Antonio may want to remove the tape at the upper sling swivel (less is more). But for him to see what it looks like when spinning, it may be too much color. The key here is seeing what the design looks like when spinning.
School Colors Many replica rifles come in black and this is the perfect palette on which to create a design. The Army JROTC unit that I’ve worked with on Merritt Island has school colors of gold and black. Yellow tape was perfect for the black Daisy Drill rifles that the male cadets use and the black DrillAmerica Parade Rifles (also available in brown and white) that the female cadets use.
A Spinning Design
Creating a design that looks different or actually reveals a recognizable image during spinning can be a challenge, but it has been accomplished! Eron “Spinsane” Fayson, I friend of mine for a number of years, created the design pictured below. The tape design on the rifle at the bottom of the picture reveals a the number “5” when the rifle is spinning fast enough.
When Eron developed this design and revealed it to the drill world we were all amazed at how the “5” appeared. It was a first back then, a few years ago, and now needs to be further explored. Notice how the tape is minimal (again, less is more) and works well.
Horizontal stripes all over the rifle don’t necessarily work all that well. Vertical stripes really don’t work at all unless they are strategically placed on the rifle and specifically part of a design. However…
Night drilling? Do I have an idea for you! A friend of mine works an odd schedule with school taking up most of his time, so he mostly works on his drill routine at night. But he has a black Daisy Drill Rifle. It’s difficult to see. Until now:
Besides the, uh, colorful background, the tape, as you can see, is quite eye-catching and Max, my friend who sent me this picture, really like the look as well as having it help him see the rifle in low light.
Experiment, find your design. Have fun!
Here are some wonderful designs submitted by Omar Zamora, a drill coach and exhibition Driller.
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You don’t really need to practice! You will be able to throw a rifle around in just a matter of weeks, especially if you sleep with your drill rifle under your pillow.
OK, enough sarcasm, you need to practice. Every day. For a couple of hours at least and then wake up and do it again. World-class Driller Sam Gozo and I spoke a while ago about a question I received. The question was, “How did Sam Gozo get to be so good?” Years of practice. I knew and judged Sam while he was still in high school and he was very good then. Now, Sam’s work in the box is absolutely stunning at times. How did he get that way? Well, he practiced a little bit here and there and lamented that he was not better and by him being concerned that he was not better, he magically started to get better at drill. NOT! He practiced for countless hours over the last several years- and still practices! It takes time.
The cadets I work with at Merritt Island High School here in Florida here me say “One more time” at every practice and they know that it’s not going to be just that one more time. You need to do the same thing over and over and over and then do it again. Learn a new skill, perfect it and then move on to another skill.
Are you new to the military drill world? Learn how to stand at Attention, execute facing movements, the rest positions, saluting, static dress and cover, perfect them and then start marching. Learn columns, flanks, dress and cover while marching, perfect them and then pick up a rifle. Learn the basics: Port, shoulder, Present, Order, Sling, perfect them and move on. Learn the Port Spin, single-hand spins, the single toss, double, triple toss. Perfect each and move to the next exhibition/fancy drill move. Learn and perfect. Learn and perfect. The cycle never stops. Do you know why Adam Jeup is so good at performing individual moves? Practice, practice, practice. How did Matt Wendling do so well when he was in high school? Practice! These Drillers didn’t have their skills handed to them on a platter and that moment start drilling with an amazing style and perfect execution, they practiced for years.
Have you been practicing for a year or so and can’t seem to better yourself? It could be that you need to do more than just practice with a rifle. Weights and aerobic exercise will help with general health and will also help you improve your drill? Are you winded after one intense sequence in your routine and have to stop and rest? Start running and some other aerobic exercise- running through that same sequence back-to-back is also a good way to increase stamina. Do you have shaky muscles or does the rifle jolt your body around? Work your core muscles so that they are nothing but solid.
The point is that it takes months of unending practice; constant repetition and more practice. It is true for the armed or unarmed JROTC Driller or the Olympic athlete.
The DrillMaster Education and Training System: Drill Team Training- The DrillMaster: Filling in the Gaps
Knowledge is key: educate yourself!
Drill Team Training: Filling in the gaps for the Exhibition Drill books and the Honor Guard Manual. After publishing these books, questions arose that I answered and ideas came to me, all of which I wrote in articles on my website, thedrillmaster.org. This is a collection of all of those educational articles from 2012. Collected and published to help independent Drillers, drill teams and honor guard units who are seeking to constantly improve and increase their knowledge.
The DrillMaster Education and Training System: Drill Team Training- Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, Vol II
The follow-up to Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team. Where the first book left off, Volume II gives you in-depth and broader information. Continue your education with the second book in the only series for drill team training.
A reader’s review: Exhibition Drill For The Military Drill Team, Vol II, is an excellent resource for those who have very little to no drill experience and yet still contains information for those experienced in drill. Volume II is written in an easy to understand style and is directed towards instructors and cadets. It contains all you ever wanted to know about drill and maybe more. One could actually build a team from scratch using Volumes I and II and be extremely competitive
The Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: DRILL TEAM/DRILLER INFORMATION.. 9
The Professional Driller 9
Exhibition Drill: Building from the Foundation. 9
Things to consider for a performance: 10
Reporting-in or -out: 11
Speaking When Spoken To. 12
Uniform and Equipment How-To’s, Care and Maintenance. 13
But, how do I really make a routine?. 15
Performing to Music. 21
The Commander: Rifle or Sword/Saber?. 22
Offering Feedback. 22
Which Service Has The Best Drill Team? The Final Answer! 25
This article could be easily based on bias: Joes Rivas, the owner of Glendale Industries, is a friend of mine. I could say that his rifle is the best, but I won’t, I’m going to let you make the decision after listing the pros of each rifle:
The Daisy Drill Rifle has been around the longest, so Daisy goes first.
The Daisy Drill Rifle was the first M1903A3 replica to be mass produced on a very wide scale specifically for drill. It is a very durable toy rifle (yes, legally, it is nothing more than a toy). The Daisy has been replacing JROTC demilitarized rifles (M1, M14 & M1903) now for several years and cadets have been using it just as long with great benefits. The parts are even interchangeable with a real M1903 rifle. The stock comes in a black resin only. If you damage the stock, scars can be sanded and even filled-in. What’s not to like?
Well, here is a point to not like: rust. The Daisy’s metal parts are bare, just like a real rifle, and are subject to rusting. The schools I work with in Florida, store their rifles in rooms that are not air conditioned in the summer and that moisture builds up and rust is the outcome. You then have to disassemble the rifles, sand the rust and oil or paint the metal and then put it back together. The stock is also slippery. Tape is usually the workaround for this, but it’s still not the best surface for gripping if you don’t want to tape it.
The Glendale DrillAmerica M1903 Rifle
The newest addition (Aug 2012) to the replica industry, the DrillAmerica M1903, in many respects, is like the Daisy. Here are some differences: all of the metal parts are painted black (no rust!) or, and this is a huge plus, the rifle comes in chrome! The stock, comes with a wood grain-like finish and, another big plus, the upper bad comes with a bayonet lug! It is a truly beautiful piece of equipment. The stock is smooth, but not as slippery as the Daisy and easy to grip. What’s not to like with this rifle too?
Here’s something that may be not pleasing: the stock. If you damage the stock, you’ve just scarred the wood grain layer and that cannot be fixed to look the same. Of course, you can completely sand down the stock and paint it whatever color you wish (as you can with the Daisy). Some individuals think the DrillAmerica is the “wrong color.” I don’t understand that thinking since the rifle it is a replica of has a WOOD stock.
What’s DrillMaster’s choice? I own a Daisy Drill Rifle and I like it. It’s a good, solid rifle and I’ve been working on mine to make it black and gold and attach an upper band with a bayonet lug. I’m going to use it as my tinker rifle, since I cannot physically spin anymore. For the pluses listed above and the sheer beauty of the rifle, I’m going with the DrillAmerica M1903 as my choice for drilling. I can attach a DrillMaster Bayonet to it right away. I’ll deal with the scarred stocks when they happen.
And, the DrillAmerica M1903 is $70 less in black and $130 less in chrome.