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Charlie Melton talks about being a sniper and a SEAL

By February 14, 2018 One Comment

“Most important thing in shooting is like pretty much everything in life. You gotta learn the basic principles, you gotta follow them and practice them over and over. Build that muscle memory up.”–Charlie Melton

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Charlie Melton is the marksman who trained Chris Kyle and Marcus Lutrell among many others. Charlie and the Commander go through his career with the SEALs as both a trainer and a soldier. Charlie was always interested in shooting, and was determined to enter the military. The SEALs seemed to be the hardest outfit for acceptance, training and service so that’s what he chose to do.

Hear about:

  • After a very serious and tragic car accident that caused the death of his wife Charlie was still able to come back to active duty with SEAL team 5.
  • How Chris Kyle was very good, but he was also at the right places at the right times
  • Charlie recently broke the 5000 yard (2.84 miles) record for shooting

Most recently, Charlie started Charlie Mike Precision, which specializes in long-range rifle, carbine and pistol training at his ranch in Texas. The website is at charliemikeprecision.com.

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Transcript & Shownotes

Hwy folks, this is Mark divine. Welcome to the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining me. I do not take it for granted. I know you’ve got lots of things on your mind and lots of things to do, so the fact that you’re spending some time with me today, that’s just incredible, and I’m humbled. So thank you very much.

We got a super-cool guest today. A teammate of mine. From SEAL team 5, SEAL team 1, 2…went through BUD/S about six classes after me. Doing some incredible things.

But before I get more into that, let me remind you, if you haven’t heard yet, this year I’ve decided to up my game regarding support for veterans who are really struggling with post-traumatic stress. And I’m organizing something we call Burpees for Vets through my Courage Foundation.

My goal–check this out–is to do… not personally but with a thousand others, a total of 22 million burpees this year in 2018. I’m committing to 100,000. That has me up at 6:30, 7 AM–I’m cranking out my 300 burpees every morning and I’m loving it.

And I’m donating 10 cents a burpee, so I’m putting ten grand into this cause. I’ll probably put a lot more, but that’s what I’m committing up front. So you can go to burpeesforvets.com if this sounds interesting to you. I encourage you to check it out. At least get the word out. Help me spread the word.

I need 900 more people to join me. I’ve got a hundred so far, about 4 and a half million burpees committed. We need to get to 22 million.

Why that number? Because if you didn’t know this, you need to know this. 22 vets a day are committing suicide. That is unsat. And everybody listening to this can do something about it. Even if you don’t want to do a burpee, you can’t do a burpee, you never heard of a burpee–you can go support me or another team or another individual who’s going to suffer alongside these vets. At least in a way that will do some good. So burpeesforvets.com. Check it out. It’s simple. It’s doable. And we can make a difference. So appreciate that.

Intro

04:35

All right, Charlie Melton is a Navy SEAL, like I said, but he’s doing some incredibly cool things. And everyone that I know, or that I talk to loves SEALs. And not all SEALs are created equal, we all have different interests and passions.

Charlie’s passions are really cool, even to me. I was from upstate New York, and I did some gun hunting and rinky-dink stuff when I was younger but as an officer, I never really got to really master the craft of shooting and sniping. I never went to sniper school. And I was always in awe of the snipers and the enlisted guys who could do that kind of work.

And so Charlie was a master at that. And he holds a world record today, we’ll talk about. And he’s even got a company to teach people how to shoot long guns and how to be proficient in that really cool skill.

This guy trained Chris Kyle, and Marcus Lutrell as a sniper, when he was in the teams as an instructor. Operated in many, many different environments around the world. Just super-cool.

So Charlie Melton. That’s probably the best part about the intro. He is retired. He had 10 combat deployments. Received the bronze star, purple heart, yada-yada-yada. Super-cool guy.

Anyways. Enough said. Of course, I’m going to say that about any of my teammates. But super-stoked to have Charlie on the show. Charlie, thanks for joining me. How you doing today?

Charlie Melton: Yes, sir. I’m doing excellent out here in Louisiana doing a little duck hunting.

Mark: I understand you’re down there with the Navy special warfare Foundation. Actually, I think the call it the Navy SEAL foundation now.

And this program you’re down there to raise awareness for vets? Or just to get guys together? Or what’s the purpose.

Charlie: It’s actually Special Operations Wounded Warrior foundation, but they put on a hunt down here every year. So a deal the Ron Bellan has set up. And they bring you down here and totally pay for everything. Take you duck hunting, goose hunting for the whole weekend. It’s a pretty good setup they got down here.

Mark: Oh, that’s cool. And fun. Sounds cold too.

Charlie: Yup. Cold is good for duck hunting.

Mark: So, Charlie, tell me… tell the listeners a little bit about your early background. Where did you grow up? What got you interested in the SEAL teams and what was your initial training kinda like? You went through class 176, so about 2 years after me. I was 170. So that must have been 1992, I’m imagining. Or ’91?

Charlie: One.

Mark: Okay.

Charlie: Yeah, I guess… I grew up in small town in Georgia. Macon, Georgia. I grew up in the country. I grew up hunting and always had a thing for guns. It was one of my passions ever since early childhood. Think I got my first BB gun or .22 when I was, like, 5 years old.

So I just been shooting a lot. Always wanted to join the military. And at a young age I wanted to join the military and become a team guy.

Mark: ‘Kay. Did you have any family in the military?

Charlie: Yeah, my dad did 8 years in the Navy. But he wasn’t a team guy.

Mark: Well, how did you first hear about the SEALs? And start to think that that was it?

Charlie: My dad had a buddy used to come over and he was a team guy back in Vietnam and he used to tell stories all the time when I was a young kid. That’s kinda what got me going toward the SEAL route.

And of course, I did all my research on all the different Special Forces, but I picked the SEALs cause it seemed like they had the hardest training. Were the best of the best.

Mark: That’s a pretty common theme for team guys, I think. They wanna go for the hardest and challenge themselves beyond all measure.

So what was it about your childhood experiences that caused you to wanna go after the hardest thing you could possibly find?

Charlie: I don’t know. Maybe he had something to do with growing up poor. Just wanting to do great things, and at young age I always knew that I wanted to be in the military or something like that.

Mark: Mm-hmm. So the SEALs were it for you.

What about BUD/S? You were in class 176. What did you learn there? What were some of the big “a-ha” moments or biggest lessons learned?

Charlie: I’d say the biggest lessons about BUD/S is it teaches you how to use your mind and get past anything. Figure out there’s nothing impossible. You can do anything you put your mind to.

That and just the camaraderie of the teammates. The other guys that are going through it with you. It was incredible.

Mark: Yeah. What was the most challenging part of BUD/S for you?

Charlie: Swimming. I didn’t know how to swim.

Mark: No shit? Okay. That’s… most people would be kinda surprised to hear that. You go to SEAL training, you don’t know how to swim. So you actually learned how to swim at BUD/S? Or before, in pre-training?

Charlie: I found out in boot camp, SEALs drown in the pool. Guy showed me how to… I’d never even heard of… I didn’t know what a sidestroke was. So he showed me in the locker room right quick.

Then I went and jumped in a pool with about 150 people. I about drowned the first 5 yards. (laughing)

Then after boot-camp I went to A school and learned how to swim in A school. And then tried out again at that and then got orders to BUD/S.

Mark: ‘Kay. That’s pretty incredible. So what was the… when you were at BUD/S, did you ever have any challenging moments where you didn’t think you were going to make it? Were there any evolutions that really pushed you to the edge, almost?

Charlie: No, I don’t think so. I actually enjoyed BUD/S. I had a good time. Probably weird thing to say. Not many people say that. But, yeah, I enjoyed it. And like I said, my biggest challenge was swimming. Starting out, I was probably last place every swim.

I was always in the goon squad for the swims. But then by my last BUD/S I was in the top spots swimmers.

Mark: No shit.

Charlie: That’s one thing. Put your mind to it, you can do anything.

Mark: Yeah, right. Absolutely.

What was the funniest things that happened to you at BUD/S. Cause like you, I’m sure that… to me BUD/S was absolutely probably the most hysterical period in my life. Just absolutely loved it and had a blast. But certainly not without it’s challenges though.

Charlie: I think like most team guys, during BUD/S the funniest part was… Some of the funniest things were during Hell week, you know? When you’re rowing around the world. And guys are falling asleep and falling out of the boat.

And hitting each other with paddles. I think that was the most… the funniest part of Hell week.

Mark: Yeah, I remember paddling around the island… around the island paddle… and this guy in front of me was paddling, and then he just dropped his paddle into the ocean, but his arms kept moving. As if he was still paddling. (laughing)

So I grabbed the paddle as it went by. Because I was the coxswain and I smacked him in the head with it and woke him up. And I’m like, “Here, you idiot. Here’s your paddle back.”

Stuff like that.

So when you got out, you got orders to SEAL team 5, right? And…

Charlie: My first team was actually SDV team 2.

Mark: Oh, no kidding? So you went back to Virginia Beach. Okay.

So what kind of operation did you do there? Did you do anything interesting at SDV 2?

Charlie: Yeah. I started out… my first platoon I was a primary pilot. So the primary driver.

Then you have… SDVs is probably one of the most challenging jobs in the SEAL teams I think.

Mark: Yeah, I think so too. I was at SDV 1 for a while. It’s a ball buster.

Charlie: Oh yeah. Used to break ice and go on 12 hour dive. With a wetsuit.

Mark: (laughing) Now Let’s break that down a little bit for the listener. So what Charlie just said is at SDV team 2–which did more cold weather work. See, I had it easy, Charlie. I was at SDV 1, out in Hawaii, so…

Charlie: You were out there in Hawaii?

Mark: Yeah, when we moved out there. And even then it was cold as shit. And we would go out into the deep Pacific and it was cold.

But for you… to do it where you did it yup in Bangor, up in Maine, and probably over in Europe.

You’re talking about going under water in water that’s 50 some odd degrees or colder. And you’re spending 12 hours underwater. So just talk us through… without revealing any, of course, tactics or nay of that stuff. Just talk us through what that’s like in terms of a mission.

Charlie: Yeah, so basically… well, SDV is basically a miniaturized submarine. But it floods with water, so your own scuba gear is actually underwater.

One of the main missions is you launch off of a regular submarine and drive forever underwater and go in and do whatever mission you can do. It’s got many capabilities.

But definitely some long… all you’re doing is staring at a screen and 90% of the time it’s at night when you’re driving too.

Mark: Right. And so you got a pilot and navigator. You were the pilot. The enlisted guy’s… usually it’s an officer and JO is the navigator, but not always…

Charlie: Yeah, when I went through it wasn’t like that…

My navigator was an enlisted guy.

Mark: Yeah. So what were the… what’s the most challenging? Was just boredom? Or staying focused? You got 12 hours underwater staying warm. How do you stay warm?

Charlie: Yeah. Staying warm was the key part. You look forward to urinating on yourself, or getting hypothermia. (laughing) That’s what you got to look forward to.

Mark: (laughing) Yeah, I certainly remember that.

And you’re wearing dry suits for those… that region, right?

Charlie: Oh no. SDV 2 did not wear dry suits. Cause you get a pinhole in it, you’d be… end the mission. So we wore wetsuits about 5 inches thick of rubber. That you couldn’t move in. I think my weight belt was 60 pounds or something.

Mark: (laughing) Unbelievable.

Well, that takes an incredible amount of patience. I remember that mission and sure felt good to get home. Spend about 2 hours sitting in the hot shower, right?

Charlie: Oh yeah. You’d get out of the water at the Psych ops and they’d help carry you into the shower. That water feels like it’s scalding.

SEAL career

15:06

Mark: That’s incredible. Did you any real world operating when you were at SDV team 2? Were they doing any tactical…?

Charlie: No, they weren’t.

Mark: Not at that time?

Charlie: No sir. We started the whole R & S platoon. Create snipers.

Mark: Yeah. That capability has now come full circle and they’re doing a lot of that. And so the SDVs have become much more strategic and important asset than I think in the ’80s or ’90s when we were down around there.

Charlie: Oh yeah. They’re doing a little good stuff with mudders.

Mark: Okay, so after SDV team 2, then did you go to team 5? Or was that…?

Charlie: Nope. Then I left SDV team 2. I had orders to team 5, so I went back… I had to go through SQT. Again.

So I was going through SQT right before I went to team 5 and probably about a month before finishing, I was in a bad car wreck. My first wife got killed. And I was broke up and not going to be team guy ever again.

Mark: Wow.

Charlie: So after that, they ended up making me an SQT instructor. So I became an SQT instructor and taught marksmanship and shooting. For about 2 or 3 more years.

And I totally rehabbed myself. Got back in the shape where I could do the job again…

Mark: what kind of injuries did you sustain in the accident? And I’m sorry to hear about your wife. That sounds horrible. I couldn’t imagine going through that.

Charlie: Definitely a touch thing in life.

Mark: Did that…? Let me rephrase that… how did that experience change you? Your perspective and your motivations and whatnot? A lot of people could be destroyed by something like that, but it sounds like you made a full recovery and went on to do even better.

So what was that like?

Charlie: I think it’s like anything in life. You learn from everything, and it definitely makes you realize that life is short and it goes by fast. And it can change in a minute. So that’s part of my theory on life–you should live life to the fullest every day, and do everything you can.

Mark: Right. And what type of injuries di you have? Broken bones? Didn’t have any head injuries or anything like that?

Charlie: Yeah, I had 2 broken shoulders. I broke 3 vertebrae. I was in a coma for about a month I think.

Mark: And what did you do to recover? Was anything unique that you did? Was any mental training that you did?

Charlie: Just a lot of physical rehab and just working my shoulders back up. Those were the worst.

Mark: So you made a full recovery while you were doing the SQT instructor gig. And then you get back out in the operational world?

Charlie: Yup. So after I finish up that… while I was an SQT instructor. I did that for 2 years I think. And then the sniper school, they were having some issues down there. So then they sent me down there for a year to be in charge of that. Then ended up merging with the West Coast sniper courses together.

And then after that I got orders to team 5. Finally made it to team 5.

Mark: Okay. So was that your… was that the only time you’ve been at the sniper training was that year? Or did you go back to the training command after that?

Charlie: No, just that year and a half.

Mark: Okay. And so it was the year that you were there, that some of the guys that people know about on this call, came through the training. Like, I mentioned earlier Chris Kyle who was “American Sniper.” And then Marcus Lutrell, “Lone Survivor.” (laughing) we know them by their movie names.

Charlie: Yeah, I actually taught SDV School for a while. I forgot about that. In between I taught SDV School before I went to SQT.

Mark: When it was on Coronado. Yeah.

Charlie: Well it was in Coronado, so I taught it there for a year. And then we moved to Panama City, Florida.

Mark: Okay.

Charlie: I think they’ve moved it to Hawaii now.

Mark: I think so.

Okay, so after… so you went to 5. Did you go to…? You got to participate in the Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom?

Charlie: Yes. Team 5. That was probably one of the best deployments ever. I got to go to Ramadi, which is cool because I basically relieved… Chris was the lead sniper when I went over. And we relieved their platoon.

Mark: Mm-hmm. We you over there when… was Jocko a part of your platoon? Or was that…?

Charlie: We relieved Jocko’s platoon.

Mark: That’s when you relieved… cause Chris was in his platoon, right?

So tell us a little bit about that. What was Ramadi like when you got there, and what was your mission when you got there?

Charlie: Basically, when we showed up to Ramadi, it was kinda like what you think being in the teams would be like every deployment. We got there and our main job was basically to take out the Al-Qaeda insurgents any way we could. We did a lot of sniper ops, sniper over watches and just disrupt them.

At that time, it was kind of like, they were out of control and they said that we could never get control of it. And I think by the second there it was under control.

Mark: Mm-hmm. And how did you… what do you account for that? Like, it was just a better tactics, more intelligence… both of the above? Pace of operations? Like, how did you take control of that city?

They had a lot of snipers. They had a lot of bad guys there.

Charlie: Oh yeah. I think it was a combination of all that, but this being… you know, you take a platoon of team guys and turn them loose and let them figure out how to solve the problem, it’s usually going to work out that way. And when we got there we pretty much had free reign to do what we wanted.

Mark: Is that right? You didn’t have anyone up top telling you what missions to do? You just kind of searched your own missions, went out and figured out where the bad guys were and then went out and waited for them?

Charlie: Yup. At the beginning. Toward the end, they started establishing a lot of cops and stuff and changing things. That was kind of when it was getting back under control though, so…

Mark: Mm-hmm. Interesting.

So in that environment, did you track how many targets you took out? And I guess the way I want to back into this with Chris, is how accurate is this whole story about Chris’ kill count and stuff like that?

Charlie: Yeah, Chris got lucky. Cause he was always in the right place at the right time. So he got to do that push through Baghdad when the marines went through there. He did his sniper watch… He was always in the right place at the right time.

Mark: And you think that was just luck? Or was he requested to be there? Or coulda been someone else?

Charlie: Yeah, it could have been any SEAL sniper. But he timed it perfect.

Mark: Yeah, that’s what I figured.

It’s kind of like this whole focus on O’Neill, the guy who shot Bin Laden. It could have been any team guy who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Charlie: I think it was quite a few team guys.

Mark: (laughing) Yeah. Exactly. No doubt.

Okay, so you got out… Did you do a full 20 years or did you retire? Cause I saw a note from Allison, you did a 15 year career and I wasn’t sure…

Charlie: No, I actually did 25 years. So I worked 5 years for half my pay. (laughing)

Mark: There you go. Okay so 25 years. Retired… when did you retire?

Charlie: I retired in April of ’15.

Mark: So a couple of years ago. Well thank you for your service, by the way. I forgot to say that.

Charlie: Yes sir. Thank you.

Mark: So I retired in 2011 but I spent a little time… my last few years as a reserve officer. So I wasn’t… I was out there only 40 days a year roughly or so.

But great experience. What an incredible experience. Very formative.

Long Range Shooting and Principles

26:00

Mark: Now that you’re out… you went back… basically you still kept your passion for shooting. So tell us about what you do right now and I think you got a world record, don’t you? As far as the longest shot to hit a steel target.

Charlie: Yes sir. We did. Back in September, we hit 5000 yards.

Mark: Wow.

Charlie: Yeah, it’s definitely a far shot.

Mark: That’s unbelievable. Now that must have been like a picture perfect day. No wind, you know.

Charlie: Oh no, we had winds. Changing direction. All kinds of stuff.

Mark: Really?

Charlie: Yeah, every 5 rounds, we had to let it cool down. And the winds would change, so it was definitely challenging.

Mark: Yeah, I remember struggling just to hit 100 yard target. What’s the standard when you do sniper training in the SEALs? What do you… what’s your kind of your baseline? What are you trying to get guys good at? What kind of range?

Charlie: Yeah, well I have a company now called Charlie Mike Precision and I actually teach long-range shooting. And we teach clients to basically shoot from 100 out to 1000 every hundred yards.

And then teach them about all the basic principles of marksmanship. And…

Mark; There’s no real business teaching someone beyond 1000 yards. Because it’s just a crapshoot after that, right?

Charlie: Nowadays it is, because the new guns they got out… all those 6 mm rounds… you can shoot 1500 now consistently.

Mark: Is that right? So tell me… give me also cause I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a good shooter with a long gun. But what are the most important things to learn or to do I guess? To be able to do that?

Charlie: The most important thing in shooting is just like pretty much everything in life. You gotta learn your basic principles. You gotta learn them and practice them over and over and build that muscle memory up. That’s the most important part of shooting and probably anything.

You don’t have principles to go off of, then you gotta figure something out.

Mark: Yeah. And what are those basic principles for shooting a long gun?

Charlie: I teach 7 basic principles. So it starts with your body position, then you r grip. Then your sight lines, site picture. Breathing. Trigger control. And follow through.

Mark: And let’s talk about the breathing. How does that play out when you’re taking a shot? What’s the breathing pattern?

Charlie: Yeah, if you’ll notice when you’re just sitting around breathing, you have a thing called the “respiratory pause.” So when you exhale, your body has a natural 3 to 5 second pause before you inhale. And that’s where you pull your trigger.

Mark: So on the exhale. And why on the exhale instead of the inhale pause?

Charlie: Cause when you exhale, your body’s in… You exhale at the exact same spot every time. So your body’s in the exact same position.

And people have different… Some people teach to take a half breath or whatever, but my theory is you can’t take a half a breath at the same spot every time. So you always want to have that solid spot that’s the same every time.

That’s the good to shooting good, is doing everything the same every time.

Mark: And with your students, what do you think of those 7 steps, what’s the hardest one for them to learn? Or where do people get stuck?

Charlie: I think the hardest is trigger control. Once you master that, it’s good.

People are always anticipating the shot. Jerking the trigger, or pushing the gun. But yeah, I’d say trigger control is a big one.

Mark: So if I think about that, what I used to try…and I’m not saying was successful at this…but to try to be surprised by the shot. You pull the trigger so gently you don’t anticipate it. Cause like you said, if you anticipate it, you’re going to jerk forward, backward or even just having your mind thinking about it is not… It’s like Zen and the art of weaponry. You just be surprised by it. Like, “Whoa, there it is.”

Charlie: Yup. You definitely have to practice it over and over cause especially once you start getting recoil and percussion then you start doing it doing it more and more. So definitely you want to make sure you’re pulling that thing straight back and nice and easy every shot.

Mark: Yeah. When you were really in the shit, and sniping… doing it for real, which not many people get to do. They get to train it, and maybe fantasize about it. But you actually got to do it. How many rounds could you…? Like, what was the periodicity of the shots? And let’s say you had a bad guy and you missed the first shot. Let me start there. How quickly could you… was that it? Was that your only shot? Or did you often get a second shot?

Charlie: Over there it was all urban stuff, so you’d normally get a second shot. They might have had a sprinter or runner. You didn’t always have time to get 2 or 3 shots.

Mark: And how quickly could you cycle through 2 rounds or 2 shots?

Charlie: With a bolt gun?

Mark: Yeah.

Charlie: Split seconds. Really quick.

Mark: Really? And that’s loading and cocking and then taking the shot. So you have to actually expel the round and put another one in, right?

Charlie: Yeah, but you never come off your gun or sight picture. You just cycle the bolt.

Mark: No kidding. That’s interesting.

Charlie: But we had semi-automatics sniper rifles over there too.

Mark: You did?

Charlie: We had the SR-25 and the Mark 12, Mark 11s.

Mark: That’s come a long way with that tech, hunh?

Were those as accurate as the bolt rifle.

Charlie: No. I’d say 99% of the time I always carried my 300 Win Mag that was my preferred weapon.

Mark: So now with Charlie Mike, do you teach all sorts of groups? What… can anybody–a business guy listening to this, or a mom who wants to learn how to shoot, can they come to your training?

Charlie: Yes sir. I teach anywhere kids from 5 years and up. All the way up to business executives or anybody that wants to learn.

Mark: No kidding.

Charlie: No kidding.

Mark: Do you mix them up? Does it matter? Or do you have different types… obviously, you must have like a beginner’s course and that…

Charlie: Yeah, I have kids, I’ll do a special curriculum for them. We had 8 kids come out and do like a little birthday party shooting thing. They really enjoyed it.

Mark: Yeah. And do you have your own range? Or do you work on someone else’s property?

Charlie: No, we have our own range. We have a 1000 acre ranch out in Texas. And we have our range out to 1000 yard. We’re putting in a 1500, 1 mile and 2000 yard targets here next week.

Mark: And whereabouts in Texas are you?

Charlie We’re in Normangee, Texas so we’re 2 hours from Dallas, Houston and Austin. Right in the middle of all three.

Mark: That’s pretty cool.

So besides shooting, Charlie, what else gets you fired up in life?

Charlie: Hanging out with good people and meeting good people.

Mark: Yeah. Do you have any charitable interests or causes that you work toward?

Charlie: Yeah, I do. I actually do a shoot every year for the Matt Axelson foundation. We do a shoot and we donate all the proceeds to that. I definitely… once I get the company up and running, we’ll definitely do a lot of stuff for charities.

Mark: Yeah. Ax was Lutrell’s teammate…

Charlie: Yeah, he was the one on Operation Red Wings.

Mark: Yeah. I think I remember him from the West Coast. He was a West Coast guy for a while.

Charlie: Yup. He was team 5, I think.

Mark: Yeah. I think so. Red haired kid. What a neat guy.

So how long has Charlie Mike been around? How many years you been up?

Charlie: Just started a year ago.

Mark: Okay.

Charlie: That’s a good thing for veterans–I think a lot of guys, soon as they retire they’ll hop into another job right away, and I was lucky… I got a great job. I was guiding hunts and managing a 10,000 acre hunting ranch out in Texas. That was a great job.

I did that for about a year, then people kept asking me if I was going to… if I taught shooting.

So finally, I’m like, “All right. Sounds cool.”

Charlie Mike Precision

34:20

Mark: Where’d you get the… Did you raise some money and bring some partners in to buy the ranch? Or how did that come about?

Charlie: Yeah, my partner owns the ranch. I have 2 partners, and one owns the ranch. We’re getting ready to start building custom guns, so we’re fixing to open a gun shop also in Texas.

Mark: Nice!

Charlie: It’ll be like Build a Bear, but Build a Gun.

Mark: (laughing) I love that. So you come down and build your own gun? And shoot it and walk away with it?

Charlie: You’ll be able to pick out your barrel, your stock, your trigger, your optic. And then we’ll put it together. Blueprint it.

Mark: That’s cool. Is that going to be under the Charlie Mike Precision brand, or are you going to do a different brand for that?

Charlie: Nope. It’ll be under Charlie Mike Precision.

Mark: I love that. I wanna come down and do that.

Charlie: You’ll be able to do it on the website, too. Like, go on there and build your gun.

Mark: No kidding. That’s a great idea, by the way. I think that’s going to be huge. So what’s the website… you have a website for that?

Charlie: Yeah, it’s charliemikeprecision.com.

Mark: And what’s the Charlie Mike a reference to for the people who don’t know what that is?

Charlie: Charlie Mike’s a reference to “continue mission.” Thing you always… especially if you were in SDVs, you’d run into a bridge, come up with your instruments in your lap. And that’s the last thing you wanna hear.

Mark: (laughing) Charlie Mike. You’re thinking, “This is time to abort.” And they’re like, “Charlie Mike.” Carry on.

Charlie: Basically, don’t give up, don’t quit. Keep going.

Mark: Roger that. That’s awesome. That is awesome.

So gimme a geolocation in my mind for this town you said… What was the name of the town?

Charlie: Normangee. You know where College Station is? Texas A&M? We’re 40 minutes northeast of there.

Mark: Okay. What’s the weather like down there? Is that a dry kind of area, or is it…?

Charlie: No. it’s very similar to where I grew up in Georgia. It’s all big oak trees, ponds, rivers. Very green all year long. Was a lot of exotic hunting ranches out there. Deer hunting is awesome.

There’s a very small town. One traffic light. 2 tractor dealerships.

Mark: (laughing) That’s awesome.

And do you put people up at the ranch, or do they have to stay in town when they come down there?

Charlie: Yeah, we put them up at the ranch. Eventually we’re going to build some nice lodges around the lake out there. A cabin, big lodge.

But to be honest with you, most of my courses I’ve been teaching this last year have been other places. I teach all over the US.

Mark: You do?

Charlie: Yup.

Mark: So under that brand, you have an MTT or you teach for other people?

Charlie: No, I teach under my brand.

Mark: Yeah. Huh. I gotta hook you up with the guy who runs our SEALFIT alumni events.

Cool. What’s… just again, for the person who’s thinking, “Man, I really ought to go learn how to shoot”–how long are your courses? And what do they cost, generally speaking?

Charlie: My long-range course is a thousand dollars and it’s 2 days long.

Mark: Okay. That’s pretty reasonable. And that includes lodging?

Charlie: Yup, that’s lodging, meals everything.

Mark: Right on. That’s awesome.

Charlie: And if you don’t have your own gun, you can come out and we can rent you a gun. You can rent a gun or obviously… people that are long-distance shooting they’re going to want to have their own weapons to get the dope on them and stuff.

Mark: Right.

Charlie: A lot of guys, if they’re just getting into it, then you might want to come and try out a couple different guns. See what you like.

Mark: Right on. Very cool.

And what’s your biggest goal, or initiative for 2018?

Charlie: My biggest goal is to get this company up and running and turning a profit.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’ll be nice, hunh?

And you’re the technical guy, one of your other partners is the business guy? And one of them owned the land? Is that how it worked?

Charlie: Yeah, both my partners are engineers, so the one guy, he’s going to be our main gun-builder. And probably one of the top 3 best gun builders in the world.

Brad Stair, he owns Performance Guns or Tejas rifles, and basically going to train my guys up how to actualize and blueprint guns. So he’s an awesome guy.

Builds great weapons and rounds. He’s the guy that built the gun that I shot the 5000 yards with. And the bullets.

He’s definitely a master gun-builder. He’s been doing it for almost 50 years I think. 40 years?

Mark: That’s incredible. Well cool. All right, man. So that sounds awesome.

Folks if you wanna go down and learn from a master, build your own gun. Learn how to shoot a thousand yard target with it. Take it home all registered–I’m not sure how you get it across state lines. That’s a whole different thing. But…

Charlie: It ain’t California either…

Mark: Yeah, I live in California, so I’m not sure I’d be able to do that. Bring it back in little tiny pieces, right?

Boy, I pine… I wish… a part of me wishes I could move to Texas. But I live right on the coast and it’s kinda hard. You know what it’s like out here. It’s hard to leave. My wife is very much a Californian.

Charlie: I love Texas.

Mark: Yeah, I can imagine. I spent a little time in Austin. It’s a really neat state.

And the taxes are favorable, let’s put it that way.

Charlie: Yeah, they take care of their veterans too.

Mark: Do they? That’s great.

Well, Charlie, thanks again, man. I really appreciate your time. Folks if you’re interested in this type of thing. You know the world. The world we live in is really… man, we’re going through kind of sketchy period. I had a bunch of friends who were out in Vegas at that concert–the country concert–when that guy started launching rounds and killing people. I’m not saying you necessarily need along gun for your own home defense. But it’s a really good skill for mental toughness and focus and concentration.

I think, Charlie, some of the best things about long gun shooting is just what it does for your own focus and ability to control your emotions. You know what I mean?

It’s almost like a meditation, isn’t it?

Charlie: It is. And the principles of marksmanship don’t change whether you’re shooting a pistol, bow and arrow, rifle, long gun. All the principles are the same.

Mark: Right. So you think learning how to shoot a long gun will make you better at shooting the pistol?

Charlie: Yes. Learn how to shoot anything, it’ll get you started on building that…

Mark: Should someone learn the pistol before they come down and spend some time with you?

Charlie: I would start… pistol’s probably the hardest to learn.

Mark: Really? Okay.

Charlie: So probably start with a rifle.

Mark: Do you guys do any pistol shooting?

Charlie: Yeah, I teach pistol courses. And carbine courses.

Mark: Okay. So you can do both down there.

Charlie: Yup. You can do all three, if you want.

Mark: Right on.

All right, man. All right, so charliemikeprecision.com and Charlie Melton’s your guy. Is there any way… if someone was interested they could find you through the website. If they just want to ask questions? Like, your email or something?

Charlie: [email protected] My phone number’s on the website. You can call that phone number, that’s my direct cell.

And call or send an email. And we’re also up on all the social media stuff too, like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube.

Mark: All right, so someone can just Google Charlie Mike Precision, they’ll find you. That’s the world we live in. Not that hard anymore. So awesome.

Thanks again for what you’re doing. Good luck next year. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

This podcast will help get the word out. I know a ton of people are interested in learning how to shoot. Glad to have some place to send them. And love to reconnect in person as that opportunity becomes available. Whether you’re out here, or if I’m down in Texas.

Charlie: Yeah, you should definitely come out to Texas and check out the range and maybe do a little shooting.

Mark: Yeah, I’d love to do that. I’ll look at my schedule. See if I can squeeze it in this year, but that’d be awesome.

Charlie: Take you on a little hog hunt too and let you employ your skills.

Mark: (laughing) You do that right on the ranch there?

Charlie: Oh yeah.

Mark: That’s cool.

Right on, right on. Then we get to eat it.

Charlie: Oh yeah.

Mark: Ah man, I am definitely in. That’s awesome. Thanks again for everything, and appreciate you for doing this. And for what you’re doing.

Charlie: Cool man. Thanks Mark. I appreciate it.

Mark: You bet buddy. Hooyah.

Charlie: All right. Have a good one.

Mark: You too, as well.

All right folks. Charlie Melton. Check out his long gun training. Learn from a master. Navy SEAL sniper teacher. Taught Lutrell and Chris Kyle and a ton of other amazing snipers. And what a great opportunity, just to go out–hang out with world class Navy SEAL instructors in beautiful Texas. A thousand acre ranch. I mean, that sounds fantastic. I’d like to go do that tomorrow if I could. So I gotta free up my schedule, and get down there. I’ll let you guys know if I’m going to go down there. Maybe we organize a little group of guys to go down there…

Charlie: Don’t forget, great food too… Do you like crayfish?

Mark: You know what? (laughing) I wouldn’t say I pine for crayfish. But if you can get me to like them, Charlie, that’ll be awesome.

Charlie: We make pretty good crayfish bowls.

Mark: Awesome. Well, roasted pig. I do like that. So you got me on that one.

All right, folks, that’s it here. Unbeatable Mind podcast. This is Mark Divine. Thanks again for joining me. Appreciate you listening and supporting Charlie and supporting all the vets out there. Especially through–if you can, if you got the courage–stepping up with the burpee challenge. burpeesforvets.com.

I’ll see you next time.

You guys rock. Stay focused. Train hard. And go learn how to shoot. It’s an important skill.

Divine out.

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