By: Guest Blogger Gamaliel Ortiz
What is Data on Previous Engagements “D.O.P.E."
Most of the information is based on my experience and training as a US Army Sniper. This is what has worked for me at the range and abroad. First thing we must understand that no situation, environment nor rifle are the same. One of the many reasons all my rifles have names. No name is the same, and like people each rifle and scope combinations require different “affection”. This article will be sweet and to the point and I hope the D.O.P.E. methodology helps you to become better and more efficient as a shooter.
Data on Previous Engagements “D.O.P.E.” has been one of the most crucial needs for me to know since I went to Sniper school. What is D.O.P.E.? In a nutshell, it’s the gathering of information of previous visits to the range, training, or engagements. The key is to use that gathered information and to reapply that data next time you shoot your rifle and to repeat hits on targets. One crucial part to shooting is consistency, and that’s where this data plays a key role.
What Is The Focus of D.O.P.E.?
The focus of D.O.P.E. is to achieve constancy and to be an effective shooter. The first thing when gathering data, is to use sources available to get you close to the center of target. Yes, there is ballistic data calculators (BDCs), online sites, and information on the side of ammo boxes. Unfortunately, all that is just info until confirmed at the range. Most of that free data will be close but may not be exact. Some people depend on phones apps, online services, or BDCs when at the range. Those tools are great in initial gathering of data, especially when obtaining elevation, temperature, wind, environmental factors, etc. The only issue is what if your phones, BDC, or computer battery dies?
Effective data is something you can always have available to you with easy access. We have established we can gain strong data through electronic means, but as we identified we must have more solid ways to obtain it and have it ready. Many use data books (D.O.P.E. books) which can become very large once complete. In those books you have tons of information, like environmental factors, bullet information, range to targets, target size, and a ton of other stuff! It would be awesome to be able to have all that information, but who’s a big fan of carrying a big book around at the range, shooting competitions, and not to mention in tactical environments? To me smaller is better!
What Are The Top Characteristics of D.O.P.E.?
D.O.P.E. should be easy to understand, small and easy to carry around, and multipurpose in its applications. This article just discusses what D.O.P.E. is, which comes in after the fundamentals of shooting have been established. You must understand moa/mils and how to apply them to the scope you have, only then you can obtain good data. So in regards to my D.O.P.E. I prefer an index card with range, mil hold/scope adjustment, wind hold staring at 2 miles an hour and hold for moving targets. I usually run a mil/mil scope set up, meaning scope reticle reflects the same adjustment dimensions as the turrets, “knobs”. Environmental factors can change that data.
The key is to know how to adjust for those based off what you have by adding, subtracting or multiplying what’s needed. For example, what if my wind speed is 6 miles an hour and I have only 2 on my chart? Solution is simple as multiplying that amount times 3 to get the hold or adjustment needed. Simple math to get the same results as a bigger chart. Same when it comes to elevation and other environmental factors as well.
The index card is my way to have D.O.P.E. in a light package yet in a reliable fashion. There are many ways to have that light yet reliable data. Options such as scope caps with written data on them, retractable data strips, card holders and you can even order custom turrets for your specific rifle and load combination. Many options to use, but the key is to develop a system that works for you.
Gathering true data from multiple environments and ranges will take some time, but the end results will give you precise adjustments, not to mention more confidence when making your shots. Without you a rifle is just a tool, so develop, obtain and gather knowledge you to need to be a great. Fenix Strategies is willing and able to help you gain that edge as a hunter, competitor, and operator. To learn more, visit www.fenixstrategies.com.
Have a plan. Be safe!
About the Guest Author
US Army Sniper
Fenix Strategies Instructor/Adviser
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