- Format: Print Magazine
- Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
- Publisher: Group One Enterprises Inc
- ASIN: B00007B1T8
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038 in Magazine Subscriptions (See Top 100 in Magazine Subscriptions) This magazine subscription is provided by Magazine Express, Inc.
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Swat : Special Weapons & Tactics for the Prepared American
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Print, 1 year
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Covers weapons, tactics, and training. Also includes product reviews, the tactics of professionals, and real world training.
Subscription Length: 1 year
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My only complaint is the continued presence of Leroy Thompson, a distinguished professional who unfortunately hasn't written a coherent article in at least several years.
This magazine does cater to the LE community, but upon careful examination, you will see that many of the articles pertain to anyone who wants to learn self-defense. Also, they write reviews on various firearms that are available to the public, particularly handguns. Moreover, you will find articles and write-ups on accessories, training videos and classes, shooting techniques and more.
The articles devoted to LE specifically are very interesting to me as a non-LEO; it's fascinating to see how to properly enter a building where bad guys might be waiting, or how to properly deploy bodyguards while protecting a VIP.
This magaizine is hard to find on the newstand, but if you can, subscribe and try it out. If you like firearms or magazines like Soldier of Fortune and the many other firearms magazines available, I guarantee you'll like this one as well.
First and foremost, the quality of writing is top-notch. In other firearms magazines I expect to be inundated with misspelled words, sentence fragments without reason, run-on sentences, nonsensical use of punctuation, intermittent subject-verb agreement, and tangents that go on purposelessly for paragraphs; this is my cardinal complaint about firearms publications, which are largely poorly written by what seems to be C-minus/D-plus English students. Anyone can expound on the subjects covered in this genre, but I am paying for professional writing ability. I challenge those who scoff at me on this point to find as poor writing even in frilly publications, such as _Us Weekly_ or _People_. _S.W.A.T._ is well-edited, well-written, structured with a Zen-like focus on the subject at hand, and I don't get a headache by tripping over poor writing structure and awful grammar skills. _S.W.A.T._ gets an A-plus in this regard.
Every page is full color, and this includes most advertisements, which occupy about half of the pages they appear on; however, not every page is splashed with ads, and _S.W.A.T. _`s evaluations of products do not acquiesce to its advertisers. If the product evaluated is junk, the article will honestly point this out. The January issue's "Don't Bet Your Life: Arguments against the .380" bellows that this pistol caliber is downright dangerous insurance, and I agree. This certainly demonstrates _S.W.A.T._'s integrity to be realistic in the face of advertisers' claims, and there are a slew of .380 pistol manufacturers that have to be shaking their collective fists at the magazine because of its candidness. You definitely will not find this type of honesty in other firearms magazines.
The editor's opening piece is interesting in that Denny Hansen doesn't just review the subjects listed in the table of contents. For example, in the January issue, he mentions the FBI's 2009 Uniform Crime Report, to advocate situational awareness, and a recall by Bushmaster for its ACR rifle, to increase buyers' awareness. I have not seen either item listed in any of the popular firearms magazines, yet.
"Mail Room" usually has four or five letters from readers, but this relatively small selection contains pertinent questions and commentary on prior issues, and each letter gets the editor's response. "Mail Room" does not waste space with favorable, eulogistic letters that only say, "Great mag! Keep up the good work!" much like will be found several times in the "Speak Out" section of _American Handgunner_. I really dislike when magazines will publish readers' letters but will not respond to the letters' questions in any meaningful way. Hansen not only repeats the essence of the question, but he commonly thanks the writer for their commentary, directly answers the question, isn't afraid to say that he doesn't know an answer or doesn't care for the writer's opinion, and promptly provides advice. In the January issue, one reader lionizes law enforcement officers as "murdering bastards" and gun grabbers, to which Hansen replies, in his usual, moderate, calm tone, that most in that profession are quite the opposite, with a closing but friendly barb of "[y]ou may want to take your hat off for awhile; I think you may be having an allergic reaction to tinfoil." This typifies the magazine's professionalism, confidence, and sense of humor, for the mean-spirited letter could not have been published in the first place.
There are always articles on training; tactical school evaluations; and old and new firearms, knives, and related products, such as scopes and holsters. The January issue includes articles on basics of escape-and-evasion techniques, training with white lights and lasers, training with .22 rifle trainers and conversions, a Defensive Edge armorer's course for AR rifles, as well as evaluations of the RPK-74 light machine gun, Alexander Arms' AR-platformed .50 Beowolf, Pro-Tech's automatic knives, a couple of Blackhawk's CQC holsters, and Bushnell's Stealthview II digital night vision monocular. There's always a Gear Locker section with brief product mentions of a variety of kit that a street cop can use. More importantly, product evaluations are honest, based on the authors' extended usage of the products, and they are never regurgitations of claims from manufacturers' product copy. Articles are thorough, well-paced, and steady in their focus, and they never feel dashed-out or chopped-off. Another big plus is the magazine's continuity. The articles usually continue onto following pages and are not cut off after the first page and spliced onto another page in the back.
My favorite sections are those about personal experience. "Frontline Debriefs" by Scott Reitz and "Training and Tactics" by Louis Awerbuck help to generate the warrior mindset, situational awareness, and a sense of self-criticism and humor. In the January issue, Awerbuck advocates training in no-light conditions to see where the user's basic gun-handling skills are, and, in a no-nonsense tone, he admonishes all of us who think we're above that "basic" kind of training. He's right, and those of us who have been there alone in the dark, juggling a pistol, a flashlight, and a radio with two hands, will be nodding our heads in both agreement and after-action-debrief embarrassment. Awerbuck writes, "Oh well, life isn't fair. Fair is a word that the state uses for an annual event wherein they sell candy floss and Ferris wheel rides. That's what fair is."
I don't have any complaints about _S.W.A.T._, but I can foresee some readers being turned off by the regular coverage of AR-style rifles. Guess what? Law enforcement largely uses the AR-platform, so this directly addresses the needs of the audience, and _S.W.A.T._ evaluates several brands of top-quality, rugged, affordable ARs and leaves other brands conspicuously out. Sorry, Colt. Sorry, Bushmaster. Sorry, Smith & Wesson. One other reviewer on Amazon did not like Leroy Thompson. He can write well, and he covers subjects in his field of specialty, protective services, so I don't see the reasoning there. I only wish Thompson would use more specifics when he throws us an anecdote from his vast experience, as he tends to include only general details about his training personal tactical teams and dignitary protection teams. I want to know specifics on the "certain European protective detail" that he will invariably bring up in his articles. I want to read Thompson's war stories. Is that too much to ask?
Both men and women are part of _S.W.A.T._'s audience; the magazine does not condescend to women by discussing a pink object in a token women's article. Training articles regularly feature men and women, and I have not come across a single instance in the writing that suggests that women are not equals to their male counterparts, unlike another cop magazine. As best as it can, _S.W.A.T._ remains nonpolitical as well as being ethnicity-neutral, but it still has a distinctly American voice. As for LE management, the magazine doesn't present much except for articles on training topics and tactical schools, but management isn't _S.W.A.T._'s intended audience. The suits and supervisors have enough of their own micromanagement publications, anyway.
I recommend _S.W.A.T._ to anyone involved or interested in law enforcement. It would make a great gift to your beat partner or the LE relative who never tells you what he or she would like for a birthday or holiday surprise. Amazon's price of $35 for a year's subscription is the going rate, and the twelve issues are definitely worth it. I re-subscribed for the next three years, which I got for a bargain at just under $90. Quite simply, this is the best law enforcement publication available.