There is always the question of what to get someone who likes military drill (drill team or honor guard member) when Christmas or their birthday comes around. Here are some suggestions:
Number one on the list is equipment for practicing. Ya’ just gotta have this stuff!
The newest items for the military drill world are the Glendale DrillAmerica M1903 Replica Rifle. Whether you get the black of chromed version, this rifle is just beautiful and the upper band has a bayonet lug! If you have a ceremonial unit, the chromed version is a must! Click the picture to get to the Glendale website.
The above blog post is great if you want to buy a demilitarized rifle or even a working 1903, M14 or M1 Garand, but what else is out there and are these alternatives right for military drill? Well, let’s look and see:
Let’s start with a hot button issue for some Drillers. The (marching band) color guard rifle. Why is this such a hot issue with some? Because it is not a “real” rifle and only weighs about two pounds. The biggest problem with using this type of rifle is a Driller using it like it’s an eight-pound demil. Does this work? Not on your life. This rifle is designed to be whipped around the body at lightning speed and thrown for a 10-revolution toss. Pretending otherwise just makes that Driller look silly. How can they be used? Younger Drillers, for a start. They can be used with solo Drillers and teams as well, but need to be used according to their design.
Then there is the Glendale Industries DrillAmerica Rifle. A fine and affordable M1 Replica that is actually outstanding for honor guard ceremonial use ad good for Drillers. The problem with the DA is that once it gets banged and dinged, it has to be relegated to the practice rifle group. There are some sharpish edges (like the trigger guard), but nothing too serious. What about the moving bolt? It’s a neat idea, but it sticks more than it works.
The Daisy Drill Rifle. A great number of Drillers use a Daisy or a hybrid “Spraisy” (Springfield M1903A3 + Daisy Drill Rifle). Currently, this is the choice of world class Drillers for the most part, besides having a demil’d rifle.
The DrillMaster M14 is not in production and may not ever be due to costs. It is virtually unbreakable and the Driller can repair scrapes and scratches. MCJROTC and even NJROTC units are a perfect fit for this rifle.
Keystone Arsenal: M1 Garand, M1 Garand Tanker (6 inches shorter), Krag Jorensen and several others. These are beautiful rifles, but they are only for ceremonial use and not for drill since they are breakable.
What about a Saber or Sword? These are great pieces of equipment that are used by a small number of drill teams and many armed team commanders. Sometimes an issue arises: the competition host does not allow the either of these pieces of equipment out of the hand of the Driller due to safety concerns. Understandable, but still a big pain; this puts severe limits on the Driller! Hello spinnable saber! It’s not exactly the same as a military saber, but is extremely close.