For all the Type A people out there I’m going to give you the most important information up front in lists.
Things I learned at/about MVT:
– The students are high caliber individuals. It was a delight to meet 11 other people with emotional fortitude, who had actually devoted time to PT, hold generally advanced levels of education, represent diverse realms of occupation, and who really spent some time on their gear before attending. None of these people are here to be tacticool; they’re here to kick ass.
– Don’t be intimidated at all. Coming in as a complete civilian with no prior military experience this class was very much accessible. There are often ex-military students but it is not required by Max or the culture.
– This is Shoot, Move, Communicate in free space. You will learn to do all those in a safe manner. If you can not do that currently and you are feeling nervous about it – that’s the point! That’s exactly why these
classes and Max’s training exist.
– If you’re like me and never fired in teams or had any formal instruction patrolling you will benefit very much from learning smaller but very important details. For me it was things like how fast to walk to not
outpace my eyes and an adequate rate of fire. These things are not learned by media consumption.
– There is absolutely nowhere else in the country you can do training like this. (More on that below)
Things you’ll want to know before you come:
– This class is not political. If you have made the choice to attend this class you will fit in. Radicalism of any sort is not tolerated by anyone involved.
– Bring 1500rds. You could do this with 1000 but if you are unfamiliar with what your rate of fire should be you may run out before the end of the 3 days. “Worst” case you have ammo left over. I personally used about 1250rds.
– Romney is aware that MVT exists but does not know the full extent of what goes on there. Don’t be alarmed when you run into somebody in town and they ask if you’re headed to see Max. OPSEC accordingly.
– If you have even a moderate level of PT you will be fine. This is not to say you will not sweat or end a drill out of breath, that would be impossible (and lame). What’s important is that your body recovers quickly and you have enough stamina for your cognitive abilities to remain intact.
– Prepare for prevailing weather conditions. DO NOT expect to use a poncho in conjunction with your kit.
Onto the extended reading:
Prior to attending I did plenty of research in my AO about available training. Much of it is dominated by square ranges with little to no live fire buddy/team training. What is around is obscenely expensive and
usually marketed heavily to .gov teams. After reading the review, forums, and the MVT Blog it was clear to me these people were superior to what was in my AO. There is nowhere else I know of (and I would love to know) that offers live fire team training in groups in the manner Max does. This is not firing line team target shooting. To reiterate: This is Shoot, Move, Communicate in free space. You will learn to do all those in a safe manner. If you can not do that currently and you are feeling nervous about it – that’s the point! That’s exactly why these classes and Max’s training exist.
On the first day it was a bit unfamiliar to me to have the percussion of multiple rifles firing so close to my body. The feeling caused an involuntary shutter of my eyes and even a few muscles. By the third day
that was no longer. It became calming to hear my battle buddy firing his rifle because I knew he was on line and had my back. Now put 4 rifles behind you, 3 other rifles on your line, 4 rifles ahead of you, and get used to that. At MVT you can.
This is a class for teaching you skills to use and adapt in various situations. This is not a class for Scenario A with Plan A that only works in class. I was happy to see that the class I attended did not have any couch jockeys continuously chiming in, for any infinite reason, to interject about what we were doing. The logic in the tactics is sound and has been not only thought out, but tested extensively first hand (see: Cadre credentials). The Cadre preach critical thinking and you will be expected to use it. Critical thought under stress is also not something learned by any form of media consumption. Get after it.
An added bonus to this was seeing everyone’s kit. There are a lot of things that don’t work well. There are some nice to have things that you probably wouldn’t think of. Getting a chance to see all the different
options in practice makes buying things later a lot easier. Make a point to observe other students and the Cadre’s kit throughout the weekend. Ask some questions and see what works first hand.
Takeaway from this is that I will be doing everything in my power to attend again. There is simply nothing more intellectually, emotionally, and physically stimulating in my world as of yet.