After Action Report – Max Velocity Tactical Combat Rifle / Contact Drills
July 20-21, 2013
Vicinity of Romney, WV
Excellent course. Would certainly recommend to a friend, neighbor or fellow prepper, looking for a class that moves them beyond a static, square range. Plan to attend AGAIN in the future.
Long winded write-up:
I had the opportunity to attend Max’s Combat Rifle / Contact Drills class last weekend.
It’s been two weeks now, the aches and pains of the weekend had all subsided within a week. Some of them were from bumps and bangs as a result of running, ducking, dropping to a knee and diving to the ground in the woods. But a lot of the aches and pains were indicators of areas to improve in my workout routine. I am a professional e-mail jockey, most of my day is spent with butt firmly planted in a chair, eyes focused on a monitor. I try to get 45-60 minutes of circuit style weight training in place of a typical lunch break on weekdays. Yard work and around the house manual labor on the weekends. Definitely not good enough for the performance level I wanted to exert during the class. I think I managed to move through the drills with a reasonable pace, but was certainly out of breath afterwards (and it was hot). What really got me was the muscle soreness in my ankles and legs the first couple days following the class. Running, turning and walking on the uneven, angled terrain had me struggling a few days later on stairs and through the office. I am sure I would have had to slow my pace on Max’s range during, hypothetical, days 3 & 4 of a longer class. Short sprints, added to my workout routine, on hills and with gear, or equivalent weight, may improve this.
Course Content –
Just about everything that Max taught during the weekend can be read in his book, Contact, in a collection of articles on his blog or as a fictional narrative in Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises. But the experience of doing is invaluable and worth the investment. Max’s class runs you from the individual exercise, to working in a buddy pair, team and then squad. It becomes readily apparent that the concepts and techniques which make fluid movement in a buddy pair scale as the unit size grows. I recommend you get the book(s) and attend the class.
In a few cases, the wording Max uses in his book is verbatim what he said during the class, this is certainly not a bad thing, the reinforcement of his repetition is good. It also makes the point, that Max is intentional in the words he writes and uses in class.
Course Instruction –
The instruction method works well. Saturday started with a quick and effective safety brief under a tarp around some picnic tables, then moved on to an overview of the weekends events. A discussion of ‘RTR’ and how it might vary in a situation and we were off to the ‘small’ range for individual RTR practice from Contact Front/Left/Right. A brief break and then Max introduced RTR as a buddy pair on patrol. As Saturday progressed, the course built up to advancing, breaking contact and peeling in buddy pairs. This first range is arranged in a way that allows everyone in class to view the current student and learn even when you are not the one shooting. Max continually shares points and advice with the group as it comes up during the exercises.
On Sunday we moved to the longer range, starting with an individual jungle walk to refresh the RTR reaction, use of and breaking of cover. Then back to pairs again and up to teams. Sunday culminated in a live-fire, but orchestrated, squad assault. All in all, it was a very effective increase in the pace of the course.
On Sunday, mid-afternoon, the team I was part of had an opportunity to execute a contact left, peel and break contact just as the West Virginia sky opened up and dumped rain down. No one thought twice as we continued through the exercise, increasing distance with the first target when a second contact occurred. The team continued to place effective fire on target while communicating and peeling in buddy pairs back to a rally and running back towards the shelter of the tarp. We were all drenched, out of breathe and smiling. In my mind, just one of the highlights for the class.
A few words on Max –
Max is intense and his commitment will exceed that of even the most energetic students in class. There were a few occasions during the two days, as I sat during a break, catching my breath and a bite to eat, when I noticed Max had hustled off to check targets, set up for the next lesson, make sure the target pits were draining correctly during the deluge of rain on Sunday or some other endeavor. Then it would occur to me that for every iteration through a scenario I did, Max accompanied me AND the other buddy pairs and/or team, for every iteration. The guy went ALL day, moving more and faster than everyone in the class and maintained the ability to coherently lecture (in the good, educational sense) before the next exercise. The few moments where he was still were after he pulled a thermos of hot tea from his bag, yelled for everyone to “Drink water, stay hydrated!”, poured a small cup and sat back. But then he was up and going again. I think it is obvious to someone who takes Max’s class that he does this out of a desire to share his knowledge with those looking to learn and because he really enjoys it.
If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, one weekend, a few easy hours drive, a few hundred dollars and as many rounds of ammo, this class is definitely worth your time and investment. If you are willing to travel from further out or will be in the area, don’t hesitate, you are in for some great training.