WHAT: Combat Rifle /Contact Drills Class
WHERE: West Virginia mountains.
-Instructor-Max Velocity. The consummate professional soldier and excellent instructor who is also a gracious host.
-Students-12 Patriots with ages ranging from early 30’s to early 60’s (including one woman). Some were prior military, most were not.
-Me- 40 year Army Reserve officer. 66H MOS (Registered Nurse). Multiple shooting classes and John Mosby’s Small Unit Tactics Class.
WHY: The primary reason I took this class was to continue to improve my knowledge and application of small unit tactics in case of SHTF and to be able to pass this knowledge on. Secondarily, to familiarize myself with using an ACOG.
Day one began with introductions and a lecture on safety. Throughout the weekend, safety was reinforced and enforced. You can look at Max’s course descriptionhttp://www.maxvelocitytactical.com/Consultancy.html to find out specifically what was covered. I’ll not give a verbatim recording of what we did but I will make some comments on the course of instruction.
Max began every point of instruction (POI) by starting off with a lecture on what we were going to do, how we were going to do it and why we were doing it. We began individually working on fire and movement techniques. Max introduced RTR: Return fire, Take cover, Return appropriate fire. This was the foundation for everything we did over the weekend. We began doing this drill individually as we walked along the range and waiting for a popup target. Then we did it again as buddy teams practicing contact front, left and right. When you contact front, you move forward by bounds. One element laying down suppressive fire, while the other maneuvers forward (or backwards in break contact). When contact is left or right, you peel to the side until you have the angle to consider contact front and then you get on line and bound back.
Day two began with the jungle walk in which we walked down a new range and awaited to receive contact from one of the popups. Then we did it again in pairs and eventually by the end of the day working our way up to two four man teams. The culmination was the assault on the bunker with two four man teams. On receiving contact from a bunker, the fire element layed down suppressive fire while the maneuver element flanked and assaulted the bunker.
Some of these things I knew before, but they were reinforced in this class.
Shoot, Move, Communicate is easier said than done. It is very easy to get tunnel vision and lose sight of the overall picture. Tunnel vision also interferes with the ability to detect targets from more than one angle. Even if you have done this before, it is still good to this on a regular basis to keep yourself frosty. Each time this type of class is repeated, it allows a person to focus on a different area that needs work. If all you have ever done is shot on a square range, then shooting after diving for cover while trying to stay under cover will be a new experience for you.
I didn’t suck at this quite as bad as I did in my last class so some of it is beginning to sink in. No matter your experience level, this needs to be practiced. As evidenced by two OEF/OIF formerly active Marines doing this class. The physical requirements of doing even minimal small unit tactics is enormous.
NOTES TO FUTURE STUDENTS:
I read AARs of classes before I go to know what I need to know before I go. So I would say to future students the following: Bring a teachable attitude. Don’t sweat the equipment. As long as you have the minimal recommended equipment, then don’t worry about impressing anyone. PT, good for you, good for me. Even if you are not in the best shape, you can still participate in this class although you may surprised at what it takes to shoot, move and communicate while carrying even minimal gear. Typically when I take a class similar to this, the gear begins to be shed by the end of the first day. I would encourage all potential students to show up in whatever they call battle rattle. It will be an educational experience.
NOTES ON EQUIPMENT:
ACOG- As stated, one of the things I wanted to do was familiarize myself with the ACOG. I found that on the first day, I was very slow to acquire the target. Most of this was because I had gotten sloppy while using red dots since they don’t require good sight alignment. The ACOG is not as forgiving. Once I improved my alignment, using the ACOG was faster. For use on targets less then 25 meters, I still believe the ACOG is slower; however, training will minimize this. I am going to attach a mini red dot to the top of the ACOG as is commonly done in the military to help overcome this.
AMMO- I used reloaded ammo during this course. I had one stoppage of my rifle which I suspect was from the ammo as I deformed the neck on some of these cases when reloading them.
KNEEPADS- I used soft inserts in my ACU pants as I have done in all my previous courses. This was woefully inadequate for this terrain. I have had problems keeping kneepads in place historically, but I will resume my search.
Note: due to full classes til the end of the year, I have laid on an additional training weekend on Oct 26/27. There are still spaces available. HERE
Live Hard, Die Free.