AAR 29-30 MAR
Bottom Line Up Front:
This is a superb class that I feel significantly (if not dramatically) improved the likelihood of surviving initial contact with an active shooter. I highly recommend it as a logical progression beyond “square range” proficiency.
I am late middle age male (well over 50), happily married with 3 kids. I am over-educated, a bit heavy around the middle from a sit-down desk job. What physical stamina I have is due mostly to chores from our hobby farm.
I am Patriot. My interest in weapons and weapons training stems directly out of my concern for the preservation of our fundamental Jeffersonian liberties (right to private property, right to privacy, right to due process, freedom of association, freedom of speech, right to petition for grievances, and right to defend my family and my property). These concerns are sharply accentuated by the recent failure of our Federal institution’s to respect and protect these fundamental liberties. Consequently, over the past few years I find myself taking practical prudent measures to prepare against the non-trivial risk of increasing political oppression and likely civil unrest.
Given that we are in the initial soft tyranny phase of the oppression spiral, I believe that training opportunities such as those offered by MVT will likely be restricted or prohibited in the near future.
On the practical side of things, aside from very dated Marine marksmanship training (1978), 3-5 times a year I practice carbine drills on a “square range” against targets at 50 and 100m. These drills generally include reloading and position transitions (off-hand, prone, side-prone, kneeling, and occasionally transitions to a left handed grip). Hitting paper (8.5×11) as quickly as possible is “good enough.” Plainly stated, I am reasonably proficient at basic AR system manipulations and I reliably hit paper when the sun is shining, targets are directly to my front, and the ground is flat. I am light years away from being a basically trained grunt/infantryman.
I give this background to indicate that as a student, I didn’t give Max much to work with.
Personal Course Objectives
My purposes in taking the CRCD class were to: 1) improve my survivability to contact from armed threats, and 2) be able to teach my son – and perhaps others – a few basic threat contact techniques that might improve their survivability.
A few take always
- My over all interpretation of the course of instruction is that it is intended to teach a few basic reaction concepts to folks like me who may have little to no understanding of tactical engagements and to do so in a safe manner over a short 2 day period of instruction. To accomplishing these goals, under the safety and time constraints, necessarily requires artful compromises. For me, the pay off was a dramatic increase in my understanding of what is necessary to improve my survivability.
- Engaging targets in complex terrain was a huge eye opener. No amount of flat square range training can substitute for the shadowing, tree stems, brush, leaf litter, rain/snow/mud, steep hills, and seemingly small but hugely consequential micro-undulations between a firing position and the target. More times than I care to confess, I saw my rounds harmlessly impacted the ground (into those small undulations) in front of the target.
- In thinking about the terrain, concealment, and cover, a seemingly throw-away comment from Max that I found very profound was that “you survive in the inches”. The meaning I took from this is that by going prone and finding even small amounts of cover can save your ass. That once prone and returning fire, adjusting your position by a few inches can make a huge difference between hitting the target (or not) and covering yourself (or not) from return fire. When initiating a movement to a new position, backing slightly out (a few inches) from your firing position can maximize the protective cover of your position while you gain initial movement momentum.
- My reaction time to the pop-up targets always felt too slow. Many times, I felt “I was looking left when a target popped right.” Many times, shadows and terrain provided just enough target concealment to inhibit my recognition and reaction. I simply cannot stress strongly enough how terrain complexity impacted my effective target engagement.
- I had little concept of buddy communications, much less team or squad communications. It was stunning to see how a few simple communication techniques can improve your target suppression and allow your buddy or team to move.
- I was lucky to have a buddy with significant prior service. Observing his actions on contact and our post drill debriefing with him and Max often lead to significant additional gains in my understanding of the drill. For example, my buddy frequently adjusted his firing pattern to interleave with mine. This simple adjustment often reduced ammo consumption rates and simultaneously created a seemingly continuous stream of unbroken fire.
- Lastly, I had a blast. The drills were kept safe by Max’s constant and close oversight of each individual.
Preparation and gear
- Leave your ego at home and show up ready to learn. I was deeply impressed with my classmates. Everyone took the class as a serious endeavor and was there to learn, have fun, and be safe.
- I increased my PT intensity for the class but my quads were still hammered. In more than a few instances at the end of drill I was gasping for O2. Clearly being a fat old man didn’t seem to qualify me for the escalator that my partner seemed to be using to get up those hills. For the Combat Patrol class, I will significantly increase my PT. The lesson here is that lack of fitness not only limits your performance and learning, but it will also diminish your buddy’s learning and performance.
- If you use an optic, cold, rain, and snow require lens covers and anti-fogging treatment. I’ll start to carry a small dry cotton cloth in a Ziploc for clearing my optics. Much to my frustration my muddy gloves simply didn’t get the job done – duh.
- If you haven’t previously run your weapon hard and don’t know how it will perform, you should consider bringing a backup weapon. Early in the course I had a major weapon jam – an unfired round lodged on top of my bolt carrier group (BETWEEN the receiver and bolt carrier). After a great deal of pounding and fixed blade prying we cleared the round. Even though I didn’t have a single other weapon malfunction, there was always a little worry in my mind that I’d get hung up again. In fact, this event has caused me to replace my AR immediately when I returned home – just the excuse I needed to get a LWRC M6A2 J.
- Ear muffs with active shot cancelation are awesome.
- I never used my sidearm, but couldn’t bring myself to leave it behind.
- Rain gear should fit under battle belt and IBA/chest rig
- Don’t forget to bring lunch and water. Hot coffee in a thermos was a pleasure in the cold.