As a 67 year old veteran Infantry Officer, 10 years in the army, 2 of those in Vietnam with a Ranger Company, earning 3 purple hearts, Barry is an impressive guy.
Coming to a Max Velocity Class….
I have attended a lot of training over my lifetime. A lot of the training was good, and some was really bad! I would rate my experience with Max as one of the very best programs I have attended. The key for a successful experience is preparation on your part. Here are a few suggestions:
Before you attend one of Max’s classes, you need to do some critical thinking. People attend training for a variety of reasons, all of which are valid. But understand what your goal or end state is or what you want it to be.
What is your skill level with the particular weapon you are going to attend training with?
Are you fit enough for the training?
Will this class help you achieve your end state or proficiency goal? How?
Can you afford the time/travel/etc. associated with the training?
Be honest with yourself about your own ability. For example, it you are not comfortable with the weapon you have selected and have not worked magazine changes out of field kit then you might start your training with Max’s Combat Rifle Manipulation class and then progress to the Combat Rifle Contact Drills class. You need a basic understanding of the rifle and kit in a tactical role; you need to understand battle sight zero, and malfunction drills, etc., before attending a class that will have you moving, shooting, communicating with others. More importantly it will make you a safe shooter and you will absorb more information in the class because you will be confident in yourself before you get there.
Start where you need to start. Better shooters than I have said there is no such thing as advanced marksmanship training, it is all basic marksmanship skills. Come to class without an ego, listen and learn. There is a time and place for questions, wait for that time.
Select the Training You Plan to Attend
Do your homework! Training is expensive and time consuming. Do the research, there are many forums and websites that are devoted to trainers and training programs. Don’t be dazzled by the instructor’s accomplishments. While they establish his bone fides, the most important thing is his or her ability to impart information. Read the AAR’s and any student comments that you can find. Look at photos of students and notice their gear and method of carrying equipment, etc. Ask questions, Max’s Forum is a good place to start. Students will share their experiences with you and that will help make yours a better one.
If you need gear, assemble it well in advance and wear it if you can. Many of you live in the “occupied areas” of the United States. This will make it difficult to test your equipment in a field setting. If the best you can do is to wear it in the house or your garage, then that’s what you have to do. You need to feel where it rubs, etc., before you wear it for two or three days in a row for 8 hours plus.
Carefully read the material Max provides you in advance and read the suggested gear list. Pay attention to what he tells you to bring! Consider purchasing his books and read them prior to attendance.
You should have some type of physical training program for yourself regardless of your training goals. Much has been written on this topic and I am no expert. I would suggest that you think about the tasks that you might have to accomplish in training with Max. For those of you who do not live in the great state of West Virginia, the entire state is built on the sides of mountains…endless slopes with no downhill side. Think about that about 4-6 months out from your scheduled class. I measured the distance traveled by me in a CRCD class. It was roughly 7 miles. None of those miles were flat. There was plenty of time to rest, hydrate and jam magazines between evolutions. But still, get in good shape!
You can certainly take a hike with a rucksack just about anywhere without attracting too much attention. Do it. I use a 25 pound weighted vest I bought at a sporting goods store to simulate the weight of body armor and field kit (minus the ruck). I wear it sometimes for PT, and sometimes while doing chores around the house. Remember if you attend one of these classes you will be wearing your gear for more than 5 minutes. Get used to it. In order to test my ability to dash and get down, I wore the weighted vest and practiced “I’m up, he sees me I am down” dashes across a football field…..you get the idea. Build strength and endurance slowly to avoid injury. Trust me; you will enjoy this experience if you are in reasonable shape. Sucking gutter water while trying to absorb information is no way to learn anything. More importantly, it’s avoidable.
Dry Fire/Weapons Manipulation
15/20 minutes of dry fire practice a week will improve your rifle marksmanship more quickly than anything else. Place a small target on a wall about 15-20 feet away. Practice dry fire at this small target standing, kneeling and prone. Understand and get comfortable with “wobble.” Purchase some dummy rounds and practice loading, magazine changes and clearing malfunctions. Changing magazines smoothly while wearing your gear will make you much more efficient when you are changing them on a hill in WV with Max and your partner watching you.
Bring first line ammunition and magazines to this class that is unless you want constant weapon problems to interfere with your learning curve…..
The Night Before…..
Square your equipment away and load your magazines. It will help if you have your ammunition loose and out of packing boxes as it is easier to load quickly if you don’t have the cardboard boxes to slow you down. Get as good a night’s sleep as is possible. The day is long and you need to be alert in this setting.
Arrive early. As a new Infantry Lieutenant, I was taught that if I was not at least “five minutes early I would be ten minutes late……” Arrive at the parking lot and be ready to transfer your gear to Max’s all-terrain vehicle. This would include water, food, etc. Be ready to carry these items!
Find a spot near the classroom and set your gear up so you can load magazines, grab a snack etc in an efficient manner. Have a small notebook so you can take notes. Between each training evolution, load your magazines, grab a snack and drink some water. Water is the single thing most students neglect. Once you get dehydrated your ability to be safe and to learn falls off rapidly. Don’t let that happen to you. Ideally you should drink enough to urinate frequently. Just remember to drink a little between each evolution. There will be plenty of time to rest and recuperate.
Enjoy the experience!