October 16, 2002
Thunder Ranch

An interesting article in today's Chron about the Thunder Ranch, a high-end firearms training facility in West Texas that has been very popular with law enforcement groups.

Heidi Smith, wife of Thunder Ranch President Clint Smith, said she has been flooded with media requests seeking interviews with her husband for insights into the sniper subculture. She declined a request from the Houston Chronicle for an interview and tour of the facility.

But she did say the complex, about 96 miles west of San Antonio near Mountain Home, has had no contact with Maryland authorities about the shootings, in which nine people have been killed and two wounded since Oct. 2.

"Our only comment at this time is that anybody that we do (train) here has proof of no criminal background. We do not want to say anything, do anything until this is all over," she said. "Until this is over and they capture this excuse for a human, we really don't want to contribute to anything or say anything that would hinder the police in what they're trying to do there."

Clint Smith has trained snipers for police departments, and some of them have returned as part-time instructors. One course at Thunder Ranch teaches students in precision rifle shooting, hitting a target at up to 1,000 yards.

"Snipers are kind of like the Air Force. They stand off a little bit, they get to hit stuff. They don't really kind of have to get dirty, and I don't mean that ugly. But there is a detachment from it a little bit," Smith said in a 60 Minutes II interview last year.

In the lexicon of snipers, Smith described the sniper target as a computer shielded inside a helmet that is constantly moving. He was referring to the human head of a hostage-taker with the computer being the brain and the helmet being the skull.

Take a moment to read these two articles about carrying concealed weapons from the Thunder Ranch web page. I personally would feel a lot more comfortable about the whole idea off CCW permits if I knew that everyone who had one had also undergone training like this

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 16, 2002 to The great state of Texas

Great links for the pair of "why get training" articles. I'm still very squeemish about guns. I support the 2nd ammendment because it is there, not because I have a particular love for those things.

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on October 16, 2002 9:03 AM

The Smiths...Let me tell you what they mean to me...Honesty, integrity, and they may have saved my life. One of Clint's truths is "If y0u don't have a gun, or are out of ammo, point something at them anyway.

I was in an unfamilier spot, and it quickly resorted to "what are you doing here", and an advance of two people towards me who's goal was not in my best interest.

I immediately reached back under my shirt, stuck my left hand out and said,"Don't start something you're not going to be able to stop!"

While pointing my left index finger at them, I threw back my cover shirt, and though I did't have a gun, ACTED like I had a gun.

At that pont the Lone Ranger arrived (manager), and walked me to the front door; asking if I had a permit for the gun. I had the permit, but no gun.

Thanks Clint, I don't know if I owe you my life, but I owe you for not having to get a nose job or an ER visit.

Tom Lilleberg

Posted by: Tom Lilleberg on May 17, 2004 12:45 AM