Well where do I start. After reading some of my classmates AAR’s its quite difficult to add more to what has already been written. However, one cannot state this enough, Max is one of the most professional instructors that Ive had the privilege to learn from. Also it really was quite incredible to learn and work with a group of strangers some of whom became quick friends and are excellent patriots. I know that all in attendance and all previous students will not make it easy for the regime. After reading Max’s book and following his blog for quite some time, I knew that his class was/is the next step in going from the square range to the 360 range. As some classmates mentioned in their AAR’s and some other alums in theirs….after learning all one can at the regular range this is where you come to do some real studying.
I initially signed up for the 5 day class as a means to take advantage of my drive down to his facility; learn as much as we could in the shortest amount of time; and I brought my son along to celebrate his Bday with a slightly extended spring break and some real class time learning. My foresight has made sure we have learned as much as possible over the last several years. Besides taking many classes at Frontsight in LV, several Appleseed’s in Illinois; Field Medicine with Medical Corps in Ohio; Survival classes with Dave Canterbury in Ohio; and a recent Wilderness First Responder course in Utah; I knew from following Max that this was the next logical step in our learning process, I just needed to get the money together. And believe me it is very well spent. Although some students have mentioned, or passed on comments of apprehension or nervousness I didn’t feel that at all coming to class. I was excited. Yes I went over our gear, and did my best to make additions to our supplies and I will be augmenting it with new supplies; however I knew this is where we needed to be. Of course as many have already stated, being in some kind of shape is a REQUIREMENT. In preparing for the class beginning in Oct of last year I lost 30 pounds of dead weight via a combination of cardio-kickboxing and proper nutrition. It is an ongoing endeavor and I will continue to focus on it. However after the patrol class, I realized that I have at least another 20 pounds more to go via more cardio and weight-loss.
Starting with the CRCD class.
After not shooting for the better part of 3 years due to unemployment and supply cost, I was quite surprised at how much we had learned and retained. However re-enforcing safety is Max’s number one goal besides teaching you important skills. With some firm reminders by Max, we both got our heads back into the game and began to focus on the learning part that Max excels at teaching. We were fortunate to have one of Max’s friends their, Aaron, who imparted some key words of wisdom via his combat experience and that really helped me/us focus even more. We are REGULAR GUYS, so we have no uniformed experience by any means, just the desire to defend what is ours and protect our God given rights as many of you have decided.
During the CRCD, we learned so much that taking the class again is in the works. Please read the course description and other AAR’s for more in depth discussion. However, in looking at my equipment I learned that Murphy is never far behind. After initially working relatively flawlessly my .308 began to have misfeeding problems. So much so that I was very fortunate to have a classmate borrow me an extra rifle for the duration of the class as mine went the way of the dodo bird during the remainder of the 5 days. This impacted the amount of ammo needed as now I had to latch onto my son’s ammo supply, as well as, buy some extra ammo that was available to top off the tank. Combined we shot approximately 1400 rounds…
Lesson One…word to the wise, bring an extra rifle if you have it or some spare parts just in case. Optics/Sights: I recently purchased a Sightmark red dot that was supposedly rated to .50cal BUT of course it couldn’t handle the 308 and kept turning off due to the recoil. Nice optic but might work better on a lower caliber rifle. Lesson number two…get quality optics…glass or red dot. My son’s NcStar scope fell out of zero and added more grief to my frustration. However, I did have our Leupold 3-9 zoom scope which worked flawlessly when I placed it back onto his rifle later that evening. Lesson 3…have a spare something. Although he coped as best he could Mighty Mouse saved the day for him as he was able to continue without any further difficulty. Other equipment issues…have your load bearing vest/plate carrier set comfortably. Although my son’s was more manageable, mine was a lil more difficult…will be addressing that soon.
The patrol class is where I really started to huff and puff and your ability to keep up a steady pace is KEY. More PT is necessary. Obviously no one is shooting back at you and if you had to make a retreat in order to setup a hasty ambush then moving your ass out of the way necessitates the ability to do just that. Imagine the STRESS of being fired upon and avoidance becomes worth it weight in gold. However learning how to fight back is what we were all there for and learn we did. Also learning that no one is special after making a error in light discipline and having to hump a ‘casualty’ out of the bush so to speak is NO EASY TASK. you feel like crap knowing or thinking it was your carelessness that got someone “injured” sucks the big one and PT is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT NOW.
Boots: I used my Keen 3/4 top hiking boots and they performed flawlessly. Yes many people have and use the full length battle boot and Im sure they like them but I liked what I had. Great support, never felt my ankles give way even on the day it rained all day with mud everywhere. One note to point out…cover the reflective pin-striping found on some shoes, like mine…the reflection on your feet can get you shot…mud or markers fixed that w no problem. They were comfortable and gave me great support. ONE MORE point – I purchased some compression socks a few weeks prior….they are the VITALSOX brand in black and they worked perfectly. I had no calf pain or soreness; no leg soreness or pain; no thigh pain or soreness. The only pain I had was in my glutes on the 4th/ mainly 5th day of patrolling as by then you are physically spent. Hence more PT. The socks made a huge difference in my opinion and I will be getting a couple of other pairs. worth it in every sense of the word.
Our rucks/3day bag’s are set up differently. Although Max showed us how to best assemble a fighting load, ours and maybe many other peoples bags are not set up that way. Our bag focuses more on sustainment, advanced first aid, and assorted supplies. Its more of a INCH bag, an I’m Never Coming Home bag. So it addresses many other types of supplies, such as the 10 C’s that Dave Canterbury focuses on as well as other survival aspects; we carry a couple of 110 conibear traps, some snares, perimeter defense measures, and other stuff…I will add a bit more on a fighting load aspect but not so much so. Fighting supplies will be addressed however via other means, as well as, a more appropriate sleep system and improved shelter.
Battle Belt: Our belts are set up a bit differently than most. Although we have a first aid kit attached to it, dump pouch, pistol setup, magazine supply, we use a small deployment bag just above our rear. In it we have the 10 C’s, more first aid, and other survival supplies. During the patrol class on our night recce I found it impossible to lay on my back without feeling like a turtle on his back as you cannot go flat when lying between trees on a steep incline. However, during the morning drill at stand-to when we had to get out of dodge; we all had to leave our rucks behind and fight out of the patrol base. All I had on was my battle belt, mags, and rifle. My one saving grace was the deployment bag on my belt that would have provided me with shelter, cordage, impromptu sleep system, water purification, small amount of food, fire starting abilities, and more first aid. I will not be removing that as cumbersome as it may seem since it is my third tier supply house should I lose my ruck/daypack. I will be adding a few things to it though. And it does help give the ruck/daypack a place to “sit” when you have all your equipment on. Lesson Learned: glad to have something on my person when all had to be left behind.
In closing, I could not have met a finer bunch of patriots who will be defending their families and our republic. Max is a excellent teacher bar none. His facility is rigorous and well planned out. His helpers Alan and Fred are great people and were a real pleasure to meet. Aaron provided some excellent input with a second set of fresh eyes. We will definitely be taking the class again; and so should you. As Max often points out this is Battle Inoculation and you are going to need every bit of it. Im going back for my second and third doses.
I sign off with this….in the words of General Emiliano Zapata who was quoting CUAUHTEMOC: The Last Great Speaker of the Aztec people…
“IT IS BETTER TO DIE ON YOUR FEET THAN LIVE ON YOUR KNEES” as well as his battle cry “JUSTICIA, TIERRA, Y LIBERTAD” – “JUSTICE, PROPERTY AND LIBERTY”