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The Guns of Jack Carr's 'The Terminal List'

The Guns of Jack Carr's 'The Terminal List'


James Reece, a United States Navy SEAL team commander, is on his final deployment when disaster strikes. His entire team was wiped out in a well-planned and deadly ambush that seemed orchestrated.

TerminalList_Book_CoverAs he unraveled the conspiracy that brought about the deaths of his teammates, he discovered that corrupt elements in the federal government, the financial sector, the pharmaceutical industry, as well as military leaders in his own chain of command are behind the attacks.

With nothing left to live for — and everything to kill for — Reece set upon a mission of vengeance that put his enemies in the ground one-by-one using all of the tactics he learned through a decade of constant war.

The story is fiction, but Jack Carr's "The Terminal List" examines the lessons, emotions and the frustrations experienced during 20 years as both an enlisted and officer within Naval Special Carr_M4Carbine-2Warfare (NSW). The book also explores the important real-world topics of individual liberty, government surveillance and deep-rooted conflicts of interest amongst those in-power.

As a lifelong reader of fiction, it had always pained Carr to read an otherwise great book troubled by unforgivable mistakes in terms of describing small arms. Carr and his co-author (G&A Contributor Keith Wood) set out to make "The Terminal List" as authentic as possible to include the descriptions of firearms, knives and explosives. (A few caveats were made to ensure certain information stayed out of the "how to" section.)

Carr writes on many of his favorite small arms used during his time in the SEAL teams, as well as others that he enjoys as a citizen. "The Terminal List serves as a good recap of what U.S. troops employ to combat terror.

M4 Carbine 5.56x45mm

The protagonist of "The Terminal List", James Reece, does the bulk of his work with an M4 Carbine, a select-fire rifle that was was Carr's constant companion during deployments. Unlike the HK MP5 submachineguns used for close quarters combat (CQC), the beauty of the M4 was its versatility. During urban combat operations in places like Ramadi and Najaf, Iraq, SEALs often found themselves engaged in a street fight that was followed by the need to clear small rooms afterwards. The ability to employ the M4 at hundreds of meters in addition to contact distances made it an ideal choice for this complex urban environment.

Carr_M4CarbineJust as Carr did when preparing for his own combat operations, "The Terminal List" main character carefully selects kit for each mission, which often means trading upper receiver groups on the modular M4. Carr's personal favorite was the Mk 18, or what is often referred to as the Close Quarter Battle Receiver (CQBR). The Mk 18 features a 10.3-inch-barreled upper receiver assembly that is suited for use with a suppressor. Carr ran his with an EOTech holographic sight supported by a magnifier mounted in tandem, a Surefire Scout LED light and an EOTech PEQ-15 Advanced Target Pointer/Illuminator/Aiming Laser (ATPIAL) device. Using the PEQ-15 ATPIAL in-conjunction with night observation devices (NOD) gave Carr and his fellow SEALs a tremendous advantage over the enemy. It's an advantage that Reece exploits at every opportunity in the book.

Mk 11 SWS 7.62x51mm

Carr_MK12When Carr attended sniper school as an enlisted SEAL, he spent most of his time shooting bolt-action M40-type rifles in .308s, the Mk 13 in .300 Win. Mag. as well as the .50-caliber M107. Later, as Carr and his fellow snipers found ourselves in prolonged sniper operations in Iraq, they migrated toward a more versatile system: the Mk 11 Sniper Weapon System (SWS).


The civilian variant is the Knight's Armament Co. (KAC) SR-25. In Carr's experience, the Mk 11 was considered ideal for battling the Mahdi Militia in the streets of Najaf. In "The Terminal List," Reece and his fellow SEALs use Mk 11s to take out eight insurgents nearly simultaneously as they rescue a wounded U.S. Army aviator, a feat that would have been extremely difficult with bolt guns. With the MK11, an individual operator can carry it and be just as effective in an assault role when not working as a sniper.

Mk 48 Mod. 1 7.62x51mm

As an officer, Carr would not carry a belt-fed machine gun on a mission. However, for "The Terminal List," as a one-man army of revenge, Carr gave Reece access to every tool in the arsenal. The Mk 48 was designed and built by Fabrique Nationale (FN) as a compact, .30-caliber machine gun for use by special operations troops.

MK48Mod1The Mk 48 fires from an open-bolt and offers enough fire superiority without being unreasonably heavy; It is much lighter than the M60 it replaced. (Even the heavily updated and lightened M60E4 weighed 4 pounds more than the Mk 48. That's a lot of weight when you're wearing body armor in 100-degree heat.)

Thanks to the Picatinny rails that are integrated onto the Mk 48's topcover and forend, this machinegun can be paired with optics as well as lights and infrared (IR) lasers.

In the book, when a team is sent to ambush Reece in a location that he thought was secure, they find themselves directly in the sights of the Mk 48 that Reece liberated from his team's arms room.

Glock 19 9x19mm

Thanks to the U.S. taxpayer, Carr and his SEAL team had the good fortune of going into combat with the finest small arms and equipment available. Carr used a SIG Sauer P226 for his entire time as a SEAL. He carried it on every deployment, and for that, it will always occupy a special place in his heart.

Carr_Glock19Today, Carr's favorite general-use handgun is the Glock 19. He loves it for its size and capacity but, more than anything, I love it for its reliability. Carr's character "Reece" carries his own G19 concealed in a Blackpoint Tactical Mini-Wing holster, just as Carr does in real life. As Reece says in "The Terminal List", "Just change out the factory sights with aftermarket night sights and you were good to go."

Reece's G19 is loaded with DoubleTap ammunition, described in further detail as a 77-grain lead-free hollowpoint. The character puts each round to good use.

Reece uses a handful of other firearms in the book (and even a few blades), but these are the real stars of the show. Carr wanted Reece to use the small arms that he had access to in a SEAL team's armory.

Most importantly, Carr made every effort to ensure that the firearms and equipment were used in a technically and tactically accurate manner throughout the novel. If you're a fan of Stephen Hunter, Brad Thor or Vince Flynn, we're confident that you will enjoy "The Terminal List."

Jack Carr is the pseudonym for a former U.S. Navy SEAL sniper and is the author of "The Terminal List." You can find more information about Carr at

Pick up a copy of "The Terminal List" at

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