Blown up, severely burned and nearly dead with bilateral femur fractures, Sergeant Omar “Crispy” Avila kept on fighting to help his teammates survive. Courage under fire? Try courage while on fire! Tank tough? This guy is simply a tank.

As I type this, it’s exactly 12 years to the day that Avila arrived home in Texas from the battlefield in Iraq. Shortly after touching American soil, doctors put him into a medically induced coma for three months while he underwent dozens of surgeries. Then he woke to fight again. That’s a recurring theme with this absolutely remarkable man.

Why Omar Avila?

In my nearly 25 years as a tactical, hunting and outdoors magazine editor, I’ve worked with a great team of colleagues to produce more than 1,000 issues. And yet I have never met or read about a man as tough as Avila. That’s why we’ve named him our first-ever “Warrior of the Year.”

After you read his story, check out the accompanying video author Scott Baxter put together for us online at We’ll post that full 40-minute interview on June 11. Check out the teaser video above.

Avila’s will to fight through all manner of adversity and desire to inspire everyone to take on life’s challenges are one-of-a-kind gifts. This isn’t hyperbole; it’s a miracle that Avila is alive today. And he’s not wasting his second shot at living. If you need some motivation in your everyday life, please let Avila’s story enrich and empower you.

Yes, it’s understood that it all has to go through U.S. military channels. However, we at Ballistic see Avila as a prime candidate for the Medal of Honor. Why, Dakota Meyer, another Medal of Honor recipient, once said, “Crispy, you are my hero!” We couldn’t agree more.

From military heroics, this issue pivots to iconic Americans in the firearms world, including inventors, manufacturers and today’s prominent Second Amendment defenders. Also in store is a special feature on Ronnie and Chris Barrett, whose dominance in military-adopted weapons is second to none. Plus, we have an exclusive sit-down with Venezuela-born-but-American- made top shot Gabby Franco. If her story doesn’t make you proud and thankful to be a lawfully, constitutionally armed American, we’re not sure what will.

The June/July 2019 issue of Ballistic Magazine is on sale June 11. Get your digital or physical copies at

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