After Action Review
Max Velocity Tactical
Combat Rifle/Contact Drills
03/04 Aug 2013
1. Course was conducted in eastern West Virginia. Terrain is a wooded, 100 acre area, with hilly, rocky, features. Firing ranges are located in draws and small valleys. A small, tarped classroom area is located at the AA to conduct chalkboard rehearsals, ammo resupply, and lunch breaks.
2. Weather was warm and humid with temps in the 80’s. Rain also added to the mix late in the first day. Daylight training only.
3. Beware the speed traps! Obey WV carry laws! If you carry in the vehicle it must be in plain sight and your rifles may not be loaded. (MV: Not entirely true, see bottom of this post for detailed info on this).
4. The class was full with twelve students. After a delayed assembly and brief intro, Max conducted the initial brief discussing admin, environmental and safety issues. One of our teammates suffered a rather serious laceration to his hand that allowed us all to observe a field expedient medical procedure, directed by the victim who happened to be a physician. The wound was deep and required sutures that were administered by a former Navy corpsman who did an excellent job for someone who had been out of that business for twenty years! GO NAVY! (MV: This wound was a self inflicted accidental laceration with a pocket knife that happened at the parking area, not as a result of training!)
5. Max briefed the first event that was very much a crawl/walk/run approach that seemed designed to evaluate student ability to train to proficiency.
6. “Shoot, move and communicate,” was the foundation of the weekend. Return fire, Take cover, Return appropriate fire (RTR). This was gradually expanded to include work in buddy pairs, then fire team and culminated in a squad sized exercise.
7. The use of remote controlled, hit sensitive, pop-up targets allowed for increased realism and safety. These sufficiently simulated OPFOR action and allowed students to safely engage targets at varying ranges, azimuths and elevations.
8. The target system malfunctioned after a period of moderate rain. We were still able to train with these targets despite this. When the rain stopped and the sensors dried out a bit they seemed to work as required. (MV: it was a humidity problem with the hit sensors. It has been researched and fixed – better watertight tape attachment of the sensors to the back of the target facers).
9. The course was able to accommodate students with various levels of fitness into the same exercise.
10. As a group, everyone was well prepared with gear. Personally, I made the decision to ditch my side plates in favor of greater mobility. In the future, I might replace them, depending on the threat. One of the strengths of the unorganized militia is that each citizen is free to choose their own gear and what works for them. That being said, if operating with a team, I would suggest coming to a decision about which ammunition is standard. (Obviously this choice is a luxury.)Between numerous stoppages, usually for ammo, I could imagine that using a 7.62mm platform when the rest of your team is running 5.56mm ARs could work against you during a prolonged engagement. Cross training with various platforms is critical, When planning for Mission, Enemy, Terrain and Troops (METT) in a SHTF scenario will you get resupply or will your buddy happen to have a spare mag of 7.62? A beloved 7.62mm EBR might have to be abandoned if your ammo is low and your team has just “liberated” a few hundred rounds of 5.56mm and an M-4. Oh well.
11. Stoppages. We were encouraged to practice these throughout the course and many of us short loaded one or more mags for this purpose. We learned that when operating as part of a team or pair that your buddies needed to keep up the rate of fire to ensure the enemy was suppressed while you un-fucked yourself. There were serious stoppages too: failure to feed, magazine drops (due to a faulty catch), clogged barrels and a damaged casing that left the weapon unsafe, all occurred without any additional encouragement. I didn’t run a pistol on this course although most others did. We never used them, however I am reconsidering this in light of what happened. SGM Lamb advocates rubber banding a cleaning rod to your rifle. I think you really need to in light of what I saw. (See, Green Eyes, Black Rifles). At a minimum, ensure your cleaning kit with a rod is handy, not back at the AA.
12. Be ready to fight. I went on a scenario late in day two, with my Aimpoint switched off and the covers still on. Yes, I felt like a dumbass because some part of me was too tired and sweaty to remember to turn it back on. This resulted in me failing to engage the first target in a timely manner with accurate fire. The battery lasts 50,000 hours, jerky! Make this a part of your routine every time you pick up your weapon or chamber a round. Buddy checks were something we practiced when unloading, but not prior to a scenario. We should have. Your team should always check each other BEFORE you go outside the wire.
13. Some guys ran suppressors. They really do help, especially when trying to communicate to the rest of your team. What was amusing was the suppressed guys fighting next to the HK-91 clone guy. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM, versus pop, pop, pop. On a real patrol, you will probably NOT wear earpro, something else to consider. Eyepro in the rain? Maybe someone will invent some with wipers and defog. For targets in low visibility around the 75-100m plus mark, I doubt you will take the risk of missing him in favor of it.
14. Rally points. After a “break contact,” your team will need a rally point to consolidate and redistribute ammo (see common platform pitch above). There are several ways to do this. The guys we had who had actually been in combat before knew how to do this very well. We learned to set up a hasty ambush as part of this technique, with three guns facing toward the known enemy and the fourth facing the rear.
15. When breaking contact, don’t try to walk or run backwards! I tried it, contrary to Max’s direction and confirmed it does not work well, especially on rough ground. If a stump takes you out, you are still out. Don’t be “That Guy.” (Max, get that patch made!)
16. Max has succeeded in distilling relevant portions of both British and American military doctrine into a training course that allows motivated, liberty-loving Americans to defend their family’s lives and homes in many scenarios using basic infantry skills.
17. Camaraderie. I know that I left the course with a deep appreciation for my fellow patriots who attended. They brought a range of skills and personalities, different gear, etc., but we all shared a deep love of liberty and had wide discussions on the future and our ideas of good governance. “Hey you, out there all alone,… can you hear me??” Bottom line: Get some training! Meet like minded Americans and learn how to fight. Your brothers and sisters need you to lead. You are not alone. Build tribe now. Meatspace is real. Use it. Nothing like a solo “jungle walk” with a 360 degree threat to drive that home. Max has done an excellent job with this course and it will only get better. I’ll be going again and bringing future warriors with me.
Carry Laws in WV:
From the West Virginia State Police FAQ Page:
Q. Is it lawful to carry weapons (e.g. rifles, shotguns, and pistols) in my vehicle when I travel in West
A. Individuals who possess a valid concealed carry permit may carry a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle for purpose of self-defense only. West Virginia permits anyone who can lawfully possess a handgun to carry an unconcealed handgun. If you choose to carry an unconcealed handgun in your vehicle and are stopped by a law-enforcement officer, you must understand that that the weapon will immediately attract the attention of the police officer. The presence of the weapon may lead to action by the officer to ensure his or her safety such as the drawing of his or her weapon, ordering you from the vehicle, and/or performing a pat-down search. Weapons intended for hunting must be unloaded and in a case when transported in a vehicle.
It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.
Open Carry (Without A Valid Permit/License)
Open Carry is legal. In a vehicle the defensive handgun must be in plain view. Places as listed in the “Places Off Limits” above apply to those who open carry. When open carrying, be prepared for Police Officers to question you as open carrying firearm gets their attention.
The state preempts all firearm laws in the state and local authorities can’t have Laws/Ordinances against
open carry. Charleston, South Charleston, Martinsburg and Dunbar had firearms laws that were
grandfathered and may ban open carry. Starting on or about July 10, 2013 Home Rule cities can ban open
carry on all their property. Remember that if you enter any property and the owner/responsible person ask
you to leave you must leave. Failure to leave can result in Trespass Charges. The Minimum age for Open
Carry is 18