October 26th, 2010

Sgt. Sherri Gallagher Chosen As U.S. Army Soldier of the Year

Sgt. Sherri GallagherBy Brian Lepley, Michael Molinaro, Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown
Sgt. Sherri Gallagher of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, a soldier with 21 national rifle shooting records, added one more trophy: the U.S. Army’s Soldier of the Year award. This award is given to the top Soldier at the Army’s Annual Best Warrior competition. At the U.S. Army Assn. Annual meeting on Oct. 25th, Sgt. Gallagher was named Soldier of the Year by Kenneth Preston, Sergeant Major of the Army, and Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army Vice Chief of Staff. Sgt. Gallagher was selected for SOY honors over 11 other Best Warrior competitors from the Army’s major commands.

Sgt. Sherri Gallagher’s young life has been one of high achievement. Gallagher, one of the nation’s top long-range rifle shooters, won the National High Power Rifle Championship this summer. Now the 26-year old rifle shooter/instructor for the Army Marksmanship Unit is the first female ever to win the Army’s Best Warrior competition.

“This is such an honor — I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Gallagher said moments after the announcement here Monday. “Any one of us could have won the competition. I learned so much from everybody out here and loved every minute of this experience.” The Best Warrior event, held Oct. 18-22 at Fort Lee, Virginia, is a multi-faceted test of soldiery. This year’s competition included hand-to-hand combat, urban orienteering, detainee operations, casualty evaluation, weapons familiarization and night firing. “The reason I was successful is the training my sponsor, Sgt. 1st Class David Steinbach, developed for me,” said Gallagher. “He pushed me so hard that I was ready for everything during the competition. I wish that I could share this with him because it truly was a team effort.”

Sgt. Gallagher Named Soldier of the Year
Sgt. Gallagher Departs Rifle Range
Sgt. Sherri Gallagher leads her squad
Sgt. Gallagher Assesses Mock Casualty
Receiving Her Award
Caption
WASHINGTON -- Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, stands with Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army Vice Chief of Staff, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston Monday after being named the 2010 Army Soldier of the Year by Preston during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting. Gallagher and 23 other Soldiers and noncommissioned officers competed in the 2010 Best Warrior Competition at Ft. Lee Oct. 18-22. (Photo by Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO)

Sgt. Gallagher’s preparation was tested at every level during the week at Fort Lee. Following a board led by SMA Preston Oct. 18, competitors were tested on their knowledge in a written exam and essay. Three days of field exercises Oct. 20-22 came next. The candidates conducted urban orienteering Wednesday and each led a squad through simulated battle operations that included engaging insurgents, tending wounded soldiers on the battlefield, and a stress shoot while moving under ‘enemy’ fire.

One event Gallagher was expected to ace, of course, was M4 rifle qualification. “It was faster-paced, quick, reactive shooting, but all shooting’s the same,” she said, “Keep your sights aligned and you’re good. I’m always more comfortable with a gun in my hand.”

In between preparing for her boards and Soldier competitions, Gallagher became the first U.S. military shooter since 1987 to win the Nat’l High Power Rifle Championship. She was only the second woman ever to win — the first being her mother, Nancy Tompkins.

Sgt. Gallagher’s family is legendary in U.S. shooting competition. Gallagher fired her first weapon at 5 years old. She spent her childhood summers touring shooting competitions with her parents, both competitive shooters, and now participates in the World Championships every four years. “My goal is to make the Olympic team,” Gallagher said, although long-range shooting is not yet an Olympic sport.

“My family is always there for me — we are really close,” Gallagher said. “Being named Best Warrior was that much more special since my mom was there sitting next to me today. I am who I am today because of my family. We have so much fun and live life that way.”

Sgt. Gallagher also gave credit to her fellow soldiers: “My Army family is awesome. My teammates on the service rifle team have always had my back. The entire unit went out of its way to support me in any way they could. Even the leadership at Accessions Support Brigade and Accessions Command would call me and offer help.”

This week begins a year of Gallagher representing the Army as its best enlisted Soldier. Next week, however, it’s back to training — Gallagher heads to Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA, before attending Warrior Leaders Course soon after that.

“How great is the Army?” Gallagher asked. “I just got to spend a week with some of the most talented people this Army has to offer, and in a few weeks I get to jump out of an airplane. Nothing is better than being a Soldier.”

Related Story from Prescott (AZ) Daily Courier (Interview with Sherri and family members.)

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October 26th, 2010

GPal (aka GunPal) Payment System Under Investigation

GPal.netThis morning we received the following notice from the GunsAmerica operation. It appears there have been serious problems with transactions handled by GPal (formerly GunPal). If you are considering doing a transaction with GPal as the recipient of payments, we suggest you “hold off” until all serious questions have been answered. Please read the following notice.


Message from GunsAmerica.com — October 26, 2010

Gunsamerica.com

This message is about the 3rd party payment service for guns known as Gpal, or GunPal before that. Down this message a bit you will see a link to file a complaint if you feel you have been wronged.

This is solely a public service announcement. GPal/GunPal has never been an authorized payment system on GunsAmerica. There is some confusion about this because some of the other sites where you can buy and sell guns did endorse and even integrate GPal/GunPal into their websites. We did not, even though we were offered a “deal” out of the profits like everyone else, and it was for a reason that we didn’t. A Paypal-like system for guns with similar fees in the 3% range is impossible for the gun industry. [Text edited for length.]

Now, back to GPal. Because even though we never endorsed GPal or integrated it into GunsAmerica, a number of our sellers did take payments through them. Many have emailed us that they are unable to withdraw their funds now and have asked for help. We also have a lot of buyers who buy guns on all the online sites who are caught in the middle and have emailed us to see if we know anything.

I spoke to Carl Chapman from the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, who is in charge of managing this case. The GPal case is an open investigation, not a case that has been labeled criminal at this time. There are several agencies involved and as far as I can tell, nobody should assume right now that GPal did anything illegal. Everyone who made and accepted payments with them trusted them to be a successful enterprise. This could just be a speed bump from which they have yet to recover. Even PayPal had speed bumps, and they too were accused of fraudulent activity at the time.

We are sending this email to let you know how to file a complaint. We have nothing to do with GPal and have no knowledge of their relationships with other online gun buying and selling sites and/or internet discussion forums. We elected to not do business with GPal from the start because of exactly these concerns.

Mr. Chapman has asked that all complaints go through The Internet Crime Complaint Center. The URL for the complaint form is at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/

Don’t worry, this is not a black hole of government inaction. All the complaints for this case go right to Mr. Chapman in spreadsheet form that is easier for him to deal with than individual complaints on the telephone.

Hopefully the situation with GPal will resolve itself and everyone will get their money back. Many small gun dealers, accepting the endorsements of trusted entities (GunsAmerica not being one of them), trusted Gpal and took payments through them. They need those funds! We pray that Gpal does make it through and that no fraudulent activity is found so that everyone gets their money. The gun industry is a very small place and we are attacked from the outside by people and organizations every day. It is better for all of us to assume the best in each other, not the worst, and let the problems work themselves out if at all possible.

Whether you choose to use GPal now or in the future is up to you. We do not authorize any third party payment system. It is still a free country to some extent. And we most likely will not be updating our information about GPal in the future as we have nothing to do with them. The only public support forum we know of was recently closed by those hosting them. Regular customer support at GPal is support@gpal.net and the customer support phone number is 1-800-813-4725.

The notice above was provided by GunsAmerica. AccurateShooter.com cannot confirm or deny any of the assertions made in the notice. We reprint it here to assist our readers, but you will want to do your own fact-checking.

No We Never Used GPal for Receiving Donations
As a final note, in the past, some of our AccurateShooter.com readers requested that we take donations via GPal/Gunpal. After investigating the GPal service, and learning of some problems buyers and sellers were having, even a year ago, AccurateShooter.com decided to stay away from GPal altogether. It appears that was a wise decision.

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October 26th, 2010

U.S. Army Places Huge Order for New M855A1 Ammo

ATK has received orders from the U.S. Army for nearly 300 million rounds of the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR). The EPR is an enhanced version of the M855 5.56mm cartridge, used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s. ATK also announced it has received additional orders worth $10 million for nonstandard ammunition (NSA) in support of its current NSA multi-year contract with the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Rock Island, Ill. The three-year contract calls for ATK to acquire and deliver a broad range of NSA, or non-NATO ammunition [such as 7.62×39], to Kabul, Afghanistan, to train and sustain allied security forces.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPR

The military sought to replace current M855 ammo because M855 has not performed optimally in the Afghan theater. The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal claims that the new M855A1 has improved hard target capability, more consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash, and higher velocity. M855A1 ammo is tailored for use in M4 carbines but should also give enhanced performance in M16s and M249s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPRNew Steel-Tip Bullet Design
The 62-grain bullet for the new M855A1 ammo is a completely new design. While it may appear to have a plastic “ballistic tip”, that’s deceiving. The new bullet created for M855A1 ammo has a bismuth-tin alloy core with a steel “stacked-cone” penetrating tip. The photo at right shows the version from last year; the final production version may be slightly different (e.g. the final version tip is a different color). Apparently the latest bullet design is a winner. During testing, M855A1 ammo performed better than current 7.62mm ball ammunition against certain types of targets. According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, the program’s product manager, the new M855A1 ammo is “the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced. A true general purpose round, the M855A1 exceeds the performance of the current M855 against the many different types of targets likely to be encountered in combat.”

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October 26th, 2010

Shooting USA TV Delivers the Goods This Week…

This week’s episodes of Impossible Shots and Shooting USA are definitely worth watching. On Impossible Shots, Bob Munden shoots 600-yard targets with a .44 Magnum handgun and Jerry Miculek shows off his steel-shooting skills. Wednesday’s Shooting USA episode is outstanding — it features the Fort Benning 3-Gun Match, followed by rifle shooting tips from top marksmen with the USAMU. Both Impossible Shots and ShootingUSA air multiple times each Wednesday on the Outdoor Channel, starting at 2:00 pm (Eastern) for Impossible Shots and 4:00 pm (Eastern) for Shooting USA (consult your local listings for other areas). Watch the video below for previews of both shows.

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