Student Review: Combat Patrol – November 2016: Batsoff
Company: Max Velocity Tactical
Course: Combat Patrol (CP)
Instructors: Max / First Sergeant
Location: Romney, WV
Dates: Nov 20th – Nov 22nd
This was my 2nd time through the Combat Patrol class. My 1st Student Review can be found here: Batsoff Combat Patrol Student Review
In the year since I first attended CP, I’ve been back to MVT twice for CTT and also participated in the September Rifleman Challenge. I’ve been fortunate this year to attend multiple classes and make new contacts with like-minded patriots. In VA, we’ve also worked hard on building a network of like-minded people, it seems as if there is always someone I know headed to MVT and it’s pretty easy to get pulled in to training weekends.
Even though these classes were just a year apart, my experience with both classes was very different for different reasons.
Managing Layers / Dealing with the Cold:
When I attended CP in September 2014, it was still hot and humid. The leaves were still on the trees and the canopy seemed to hold the humidity in. When we finished the night recce I was soaking wet from sweat, as a result I wound up freezing my ass off in the patrol base at 3am as I was too lazy to change my shirt when I got back from patrol. Lesson learned, I eventually straightened myself out that evening with dry clothes.
This year, the temps ranged from 30-55 degrees and there was a definite chill in the air. I’m used to being outside and actively managing layers of clothing in 30 and 40 degree weather… but I’m always active when doing so. It’s rare that I find myself going from “active” to “inactive” in 40 degree weather. This was a constant battle for me over the 3 days as I was struggling with managing layers. You could be bundled up and warm while being inactive, but once the activity started you were quickly overheating (and sweating), which only lead to being cold again when the activity stopped. The other option was just to be cold while being inactive, knowing that you would warm up once the activity started and then you would be comfortable, only to be cold again when the activity stopped.
I’m pretty sure everyone understands the concept of managing layers. But managing layers, over a 48 hour period, when the temperature is swinging from 30 to 55, and then back to 30, when you are kitted up in full battle rattle going from extreme exertion to no exertion, then back to extreme exertion was a real challenge for me. I never quite figured it out. Max and First Sergeant talked quite a bit about managing layers and a certain amount of “suck factor” that is just to be expected when you are out on patrol. It isn’t camping, and it won’t be fun when it comes time to do it for real.
You learn by doing, and this was another great reminder of that. “Travel light, freeze at night” was my personal weekend theme song.
Darkness, What Darkness?
Another big difference was the amount of light that was available during the night recce patrol. In 2014, it was pitch black (can’t see your hand in front of your face black). I spent that night stumbling around, walking in to trees, falling over logs, looking at the glowing florescent moss, and mentally promising myself that I would never attend another CP class without NODs.
Fast forward to 2015 and I’m back at CP (w/o Nods, dammit) with a beautiful clear, cold sky and a ¾ moon. Not only could we see everything, but we could make out colors and shadows. In 2014 there was security in the darkness (I couldn’t see jack shit, how could anyone see me?). But this year, I felt that we were “glowing” in the dark due to the amount of moonlight that night. I felt extremely exposed when sitting on the side of the mountain overlooking our objective. In addition, in 2014 there was still a lot of vegetation on the trees and underbrush that you could use to hide behind. This year, all the leaves were down and you could easily see for several hundred yards through the woods. Watching First Sergeant scan the woods with 500 lumens got my heart pumping as there was limited concealment available.
I had a good idea what to expect since I had previously taken this class. Even with my prior experience, I still received a good amount of “feedback” from the cadre, and I was thankful for it. I was on the receiving end of a few good verbal lashings, but I had rightfully earned them. Not that I want to make mistakes during training, but I’d rather mistakes be made in training as opposed to when I may have to utilize these skills in real life.
I can’t say enough good things regarding how Max and First Sergeant conduct their training, they are true professionals with a no BS approach to tactical training. For those of us who are looking to become tactically proficient, there really is no better place to train than MVT.
I wrote about it in my last Student Review, but I’m always amazed at how quickly the squads you are assigned to can build cohesiveness and start working together. With the proper instruction and motivation, a squad can come up to speed pretty quickly and start being effective in a very short time. Was it perfect? Hell no! But nothing ever is.
Looking forward to 2016 and some of the new classes that MVT will be offering.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics Nov 2015: 11Bravo
MVT Combat Team Tactics: the Second Revolution.
“Kak-kak! Kak-kak-kak-kak-kak!” The sound of rapid gun fire reverberates on the scene as you unload a fusillade of 5.56 into the last bunker. Round-after-round of 55 grain bullets punch through the plastic targets and unleash plumes of dirt upon striking the ground. When the final projectile spins out of the barrel and the ejection port spits out the last casing, the bolt on your AR-15 locks to the rear with a metallic “ka-chunk!”
“Stop!” Max yells, signaling an end to the culminating event at MVT’s Combat Team Tactics(CTT), a squad level attack on multiple objectives.
The exercise commenced fifteen minutes earlier when you and the other students formed into a support team(Echo-One) and two assault elements (Echo-Two and Echo-Three). Once on the high ground, Echo-One opened fire on the first bunker. At fifty meter intervals, the two assault elements negotiated the confines of a narrow ravine and then kneeled down into place. As the seconds dragged on, you glanced left and right, eyed the team to the front and then looked back at the rest of Echo-Three (your team).
“Shift fire!” someone yelled over the cackle of reports and Echo-One engaged a new set of targets. A second eruption of gunfire commenced when Echo-Two moved on their bunker. While the assault rages on, sweat streams down your face, your heart beats faster and a twitchy sensation takes hold in your legs. Finally, you get the order to advance.
Signaling the rest of Echo-Three to follow, you spring forward to a designated point and then crouch back down. Half of your team splits off and lays down suppressive fire on a target further ahead. Then, upon signal, you and your buddy scale the steep embankment and attack the bunker!
The course began two days prior when ten students from across the mid-west, the Atlantic seaboard and further afar fell in at the Velocity Training Center (VTC). The weapons handling skills of each attendee was as varied as their point of origin, but it didn’t matter. In just days, Max, the head instructor, along with his AI (either Lee or the 1st Sgt.) mold beginners into competent gun fighters who can operate in small units.
Not long ago, an online personality spouted off about the impracticalities of such condensed training and that it amounted to nothing more than “fantasy camp”. That clown doesn’t know what he’s talking about! Just ask any MVT alumni and they’ll tell you straight up, Max’s regimen is highly effective and another go through the course is well warranted. So, during your first attendance, make notes on everything- what went wrong, the equipment that didn’t work and the number of times you had to “un-fuck yourself”. Then, during the second revolution, employ these observations and get leaner, meaner and faster!
Day one is Combat Rifle. It’s a high-speed, low-drag training session that sets you up for the tactical ranges. Everything you do; penny drill, four mag drill, malfunction drills, facing drills and the rest of the lot prepare you how to operate efficiently and safely while over the ridge. If this is your second go, you’ve probably been hitting the range once a week in-between attendance. So, by the end of the day that rifle should become an extension of your upper body, fully calibrated with your mental reflexes and psychological acumen.
Days two and three are in the rough; two lanes of pop-up targets spaced out on a rocky slope with variances in wooded vegetation. As a training facility, it doesn’t get much better. Where else will you learn to communicate with your buddy and hone your marksmanship skills while assaulting the objective or breaking contact?
By now, you should automatically be scanning left and right during the drills. Instinctively, you should be managing the trigger reset on your rifle’s fire control group for speed and accuracy. Working your cover horizontally and vertically should be second nature too. When solid objects are sparse and all you have is the prone position, plant your rifle’s mag into the ground and tripod off of it (body flat and elbows dug in) for maximum stability.
Part of your training should be adopting a mentality of ammo conservation, for several reasons. First, you’re going to save some dough, but more importantly, during societal collapse online ammunition ordering will cease to exist. Replenishment may only come by pillaging dead bodies. So, if you can complete the drill with three to four magazines rather than five to six, do it.
Also, when you’ve fired the last round and you’re running on empty, does digging into your battle belt for a new mag take too long? If so, space two magazines with some kind of block and tape them up real good- jungle style. That way, you’ll only have to kick it over a notch to reload. Remember, the difference between life and death comes down to seconds and inches.
As a system of measurement, CTT will show you where you’re at in life regarding tactical defense.
We all know the best defense is a solid offense built on physical conditioning. Maxing out on the squat rack and the bench press is a waste of time. You need endurance; cardiovascular and muscle. Primarily, you should be concerned with getting your heart rate up three times a week for at least 60 minutes a session. Jogging ideally, but if your knees have seen better days, then hiking with a heavy pack or cycling (either stationary or road style) will suffice. You should also begin your mornings with a compliment of sit ups and press ups. After this regimen is firmly established, add two days of upper body work out with free weights or nautilus equipment. Your repetition count should be between 12-15 reps for three sets per exercise.
That said, no matter how much you train realize that fatigue is on a hold pattern the minute you walk into VTC. When you round the bend on the second tactical lane to take the final objective, it will be looking for an LZ in your legs or between your ears. Don’t slow down because “last bound” is only a few steps away. You should maintain the same aggressive demeanor throughout the drill. If thoughts like “we’re almost done” or “I’m tired” creep into your mind, flip on the “Rage Switch” and run it hard to the end!
Since you’re the guy taking the course and training everyone back home, you’ll want as much leadership experience as possible, right? When given the opportunity, take on the role as Alpha Team Leader. You’ll be the man who initiates contact and controls the advance. With the proper attention to detail, cadence of commands and skills acquired during Combat Rifle, two fire teams of two to three men each is not only manageable, but can be a well run machine pounding forward in a controlled, yet expedited manner, wreaking hell on the enemy’s position!
With social and economic uncertainties looming on the horizon, MVT’s Combat Team Tactics is a must for anyone concerned with self defense. When compared to similar 2-3 day rifle courses, the level of weapons manipulation and small unit training is unmatched. When it comes to readiness planning, those with foresight will make CTT an annual event in their life. And besides, where else can you find spiritual enlightenment in the form of a sweat soaked BDU and the smell of spent gun powder wafting through the air? Hit it!
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics 6-8 Nov 2015: Thomas
Combat Team Tactics 6, 7, 8 November 2015
Bottom Line up Front: CTT is some of the best thought out and executed training that I have ever taken. The MVT cadre is the best set of trainers that I have encountered anywhere on multiple CONUS and OCONUS assignments and training engagements. The MVT facility is the best facility that I have found outside a US Government facility.
The facilities at MVT are incredible. There is not much to be said about a square range. However, the square range at MVT has the potential to host 180 degree shooting. In fact, when configured to do so, the range can handle ~220 degree shooting. If you do not understand what that means, get out your protractor and compass and draw it out on a piece of paper. There is not much one cannot do on that type of range.
The training ranges are even better! Again, 180 degree shooting on pop-up targets is unheard of. Range safety fans simply do not exist in most places to allow this type of shooting. I have not found that type of training anywhere and have conducted a fair amount of training for US and other forces. I have only found the facilities that MVT offers at military bases. Live fire conducted on pop-up targets as it is conducted at MVT rarely happens even on active duty. This makes the CTT course at MVT rare and unique.
Max has added a mandatory range day to the CTT class. And, rightfully so. On day one, students learn the all-important purpose of solid weapons manipulation skills. As an example, tightening the battle sight zero so that three rounds pretty much touch in the center of the target is a confidence builder. Doing that consistently on day one means that students know where their rounds will go – as long as the student does his job – on days two and three.
On the square range, students worked on the task, Reduce a Stoppage. Max and Lee went to a level of detail that I have never experienced in weapons manipulations training. Tap-Rack-Bang is the universal standard. Max and Lee covered this in excellent detail. They went well beyond that with the more difficult stoppages such as double feed and bolt override. It is refreshing to learn from trainers who possess the knowledge demonstrated by these two instructors. After day one, no one in the class was uncomfortable handling their rifle. In short, day one builds confidence.
Day one also instills safety and muzzle discipline. The MVT cadre stress weapons safety and muzzle discipline very effectively. During the three days of training, I did not observe one episode of flagging. Max and Lee maintained a level of safety that is remarkable.
Moving from the square range to the buddy team ranges was smooth and efficient. MVT training is based on the crawl/walk/run format and is absolutely effective in moving students from novice to experienced quickly. Max uses walk-throughs and demonstrations extremely effectively so that students quickly get to the meat of the matter which is executing the drill.
Students quickly move from individual to buddy-team movement in a very controlled environment. Weapons safety is carried through each drill and from the square range onto the training lane.
The culmination of the two days of buddy-team movement is a squad attack with MVT cadre acting as squad/team leaders. The walkthrough provided each student with the knowledge to execute his part of the attack. During execution, Max and Lee provided positive control of each element from start to finish. Students experience the satisfaction of proper execution under the control of seasoned veterans. Max challenges each student to perform to the best of his ability. What results is a student who is confident in his ability to safely manipulate his weapon, work in a team environment, and communicate effectively. While amazing to watch, it is even more amazing to participate and see the growth of group of individuals as they inculcate the real meaning of team.
Max and Lee trained the MVT students exactly as I trained my rifle squads when I was a rifle platoon leader in an infantry company.
There are those who have not experienced the training at MVT who will talk down this type of training as being unsafe or unnecessary or blah, blah, blah. Max and the MVT cadre provide a type of training and level of training that is not found outside the military or very select training organizations that are generally not open to the public. Ignore them and their comments.
Also, there are those who believe that they were provided a high degree of “light infantry” training. For most, that is not true. They were trained as dismounted infantry but not true light infantry. There is a significant difference. Regardless, we all need to brush up on our infantry skills. The best way to do this is train at MVT.
The training at MVT is the best training I have ever encountered in the civilian world and is equal to much of the training that I received as an active duty soldier. In the area of weapons manipulation it is better.
If you have not yet experienced training at MVT, go now. I will certainly go back for more MVT training.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics & Night Firing 6-8 Nov: Paul:
Student Review: 6 Day combined CTT / CP: Rhino11
Many of us know people who keep one or more ‘black rifles’ in their gun safe and have squirreled away impressive quantities of ammunition and freeze dried food. A smaller subset of that group have made the commitment to practice regularly with their weapons; even fewer shoot in competition to develop and maintain the highest levels of proficiency. But the sad truth is that no matter how proficient & well equipped you are, if you haven’t practiced employing small unit tactics as a team, your survival quotient is poor when even a handful of bad people come to take what they want from you and yours. It is all very well to have read ‘Contact!‘ and the Ranger Handbook cover to cover and to appreciate that ‘fire and maneuver’ is key to small (or large) unit tactics. Sadly, academic understanding falls far short of having properly practiced tactics under pressure. Put more succinctly: if your first ‘break contact drill’ is when people are shooting real bullets at you, your chances of survival are much slimmer than if you had practiced these drills under the tutelage of instructors who know their business. In the real world combat is team on team; only in Hollywood or fantasy fiction does the rugged individual take on the bad guys and survive.
We had eight students in the October Combat Team Tactics & Combat Patrol class. Seven of those students had no military or competitive shooting experience. Six of the students had never hunted. But by the 6th day we were confidently performing a planned attack with assault and support elements working in concert. I was dumbfounded. I spent part of my military career teaching fighter pilots air combat tactics, but all of my students had been through months and months of the same schools before getting to a line squadron. They all spoke the same language and had demonstrated high levels of proficiency in employing their aircraft before they started tactical (i.e. team) training. That Max, Lee & Scott can take individuals from vastly different backgrounds and experience levels and get them working safely as a squad in six days has to be seen to be believed.
It is intense training. You will get tired and frustrated with yourself. On occasion you will experience ‘blue screen’ where you completely lose track of what you are supposed to be doing. Your feelings may occasionally be hurt by the cadre; trust me they won’t ask you to do anything that isn’t really important.
Knee pads which stay in position will save a lot of wear & tear on your knees.
You will learn more if you arrive in decent shape. Even if you live where it isn’t politically correct to practice rucking with full kit & weapon, get out and hike with weight in a backpack. Take your significant other, kids or grandkids (but don’t ask them to hump heavy packs). Burpee’s, ruck humping, squats & dead lifts are good ways to prepare for class or the real world. When ruck humping, make it a habit to ‘take a knee’ every time you pause. Most of us need practice at getting up off of a knee when we are carrying that extra 50+ pounds of gear.
Practice with your food; know the effects of MRE’s (Meals Rejected by Ethiopians) or Mountain House on your digestive system. Kids love MRE’s, you probably not so much.
Bring an analog watch with luminous hands. Lighting up your smart phone to check the time is a bad idea when pulling sentry after dark. A compass with luminous bezel is a wise investment for the night close reconnaissance exercise.
Don’t make any last minute changes to your weapon or with your ammo. One of our guys added a ‘high speed’ tactical charging handle to his weapon just before class. He ended up using a rental gun. Another guy decided to bring hand loads he hadn’t tested in the rifle he brought. He had to drive 100 miles in the dark to purchase additional ammo.
Plates, handguns & miscellaneous gear: you can only carry so much before it really starts wearing you down. How far and fast can you hump your ruck with a full combat load, plates & a handgun? How much rifle ammo are you prepared to leave behind to carry that pistol? Things to think about.
Student Review: Citizen Close Combat (C3) Sept 26-27: JARG
Sept. 26-27 Citizen Close Combat (C3) Class AAR – JustARandomGuy
You hear people all the time say “the devil is in the details”.
How hard is it to hit a paper plate sized “hit” zone from a mere ten yards away?
Now apparently there’s been some misconception that classes like this are just training unskilled shooters to spray and pray. Umm.. no. I’ll get into this a little more later, but this is not a “have fun shooting lots of ammo” type of “CQB” class. Further, I’m not going to claim to be a shooting expert, but I have no problem hitting a paper plate sized hit zone at combat ranges, let alone a mere ten yards, and maintaining an acceptably tight group.
We also did do dry runs before going live (as usual) and a couple drills were not even run live-fire, because of the angles involved.
But… going off the three types of shooting reviewed in the class- single shot, cadence, and “stream” fire, my whole shooting background has been accuracy based, and therefore revolved around single aimed shots, and cadence fire.
Which brings me to the point about nuance, where it’s the small cogs that count- if there is a gap in your skill set, this class WILL bring it to the fore, even if you’ve already been to other training. I remember my first CTT (back when it was still CRCD), and the “lightbulb” effect if had on the mind afterwards. If you had that same “lightbulb” effect, then the C3 class is like a second “lightbulb” moment going on.
Not only because of the things you’ll find out about yourself, but because of the actual class material.
I’m not going to go into what we actually learned too much because this will turn into ten pages (and that would be the KISS version), and I want to retain the element of surprise for further students. But if you’ve spent any time at all in the tactical shooting community, a lot of the courses, drills, and instruction out there these days are tailored around close quarters fighting, whether for SWAT, Military, or CCW’ers.
Here on MVT, you’ll hear a lot of talk about how much of the square range training is a “false positive” if you will, and how there’s a lot of flashy stuff that seems useful but isn’t.
Once you get out on the range with Lee and you’re going through the course, and you hear and see how things need to be done to be effective, and then have the direct comparison drawn to examples from the mainstream tactical side of this, you will understand why a lot of that is counterproductive.
I want to go so far as to say it’s almost something that can’t be truly conveyed in words across the internet, but standing there between the “buildings” going through an entry or movement drill, and having the “why” of it explained you’re going to be like “Lightbulb!”
Going a little further, they say urban operations are manpower intensive- you don’t realize *how* much until actually doing it- this “team” stuff always being pushed here on MVT and similar sites… turns out that’s actually really useful, if you hadn’t already noticed during CTT… CQB is also a lot more mentally intensive- more potential movements and angles that affect your own movements and angles to think about, and everything happens much faster. The more people you have, the better your angles can be covered, and the more options you have in a “situation”. If your potential situation has yourself as the only gun up front with non-armed, helpless, and/or tactically clueless others in tow, this will really hit home.
But this is really important stuff to think about because how many folks live in an urban area? What if you decide to shelter in place post-event, or need to bugout from a city, or pass through such on the way to a retreat? These are things you need to know, as much as CTT, and it really all goes hand in hand once you start put it all together and realize you can’t have one without the other.
About the instructor- Lee apparently has infinite levels of patience given the amount of wrangling it took us to get some of the instruction, and a great sense of sarcasm when explaining things as well. It’s one of those things where you’ll laugh about it, and at the same time be like “this is so obvious, why didn’t I think of it like that.” And the previous about this AAR going to ten pages- we could have easily spent two days just discussing the material before firing a single round- Lee evidently has the background for it. Further, the information presented wasn’t just a “here’s what to do, now do it” formula, there was a lot more “why” behind it- examples of “here’s how we did it before in the Major League Doorkickers, here’s why it didn’t work and the better techniques we developed.”
Some people are going to look at this being an Alumni-only class and say that it’s limiting the number of potential attendees, and you could make that argument, however, MVT was right to do so, as this is not a class for those new to their equipment, or working around other people. Coming from a more mainstream “run the gun” tactical shooting background, I figured this would be easier than CTT, but I blue-screened plenty, even on things I can do well any other day of the week.
For potential attendees; here’s some things to think about pre-class;
Fundamentals: practice reloads, malfunction clearance, height over bore offset, rapid fire with accuracy, sling use and shoulder transitions. Lee apparently delights in making right handed shooters shoot lefty (it seems he is an asshole too). But what better time to do it then at training where you can get immediate feedback on what you’re doing, and I did see marked improvement just within two days.
Gear setup: no loose pouches-make sure your gear is attached correctly so you’re not fighting with it. No flaps on the magazine pouches (or tuck them behind if you have elastic-banded pouches that will still retain the mags without the flap, like most double-M4 pouches), have at least some ammo reachable with either hand, a dump pouch may be useful if you have difficulty with tight mag pouches.
Round count: I spent approx. 640 rounds, plus a magazine or two of pistol ammo.
There can be plenty of opportunity to shoot more pistol ammo on day 2 if you start using partial rifle mags, but I wanted to focus on the class material as this was new to me and the confidence level wasn’t quite there. Further, while I wasn’t being stingy with the rifle ammo, you could easily spend more if stream fire really clicks for you.
So why should you attend this class? The answer is as stated in the first sentence.
Nuance- how something is done is often more important than what is done- anyone can run into a room and dump rounds into a target while screaming ‘Merica! and call it “CQB training”.
For my fellow shooters out there in the tactical shooting community who may stumble across this and read it;
If you’re going to a CQB-oriented class just to shoot lots of rounds at targets at close range, you’re at the wrong class.
If you think your current ability to dump lots of rounds into multiple targets on the line while running your gun at lightning speed between targets equals skill at CQB, you’re wrong, and you’re probably not as good as you thought.
I can hear the panties bunching over that last sentence so let me expound; be a rockstar with your weapon by all means. It can only help.
But the moment your high-speed sling gets tangled around everything as you attempt to run a shoulder transition you thought you were good enough at, or you forget to transition to your handgun when needed which you can do like a machine on a regular day but blue-screened on doing here because you got mindf***ed by all the other things you’re trying to do or assimilate on the way into the room… you’ll understand what I’m saying. You can practice something a certain way ad nauseum and be considered skilled, but then one part of the equation changes and suddenly you’re not that good.
Because the fact is, all that shouldn’t even matter- it’s just background noise to you and/or your team’s ability to understand the unfolding situation and act correctly (or at least pick the lesser evil path) that equals skill. This class will help give you that understanding.
So in short, if you left CTT feeling like it was worth every dollar you paid for it, or you’re looking for “beyond the shooting” CQB instruction, you should take this class. And may the angles be ever in your favor.
Student Review: CTT & Why I chose MVT for Training: DevilDoc
Why I Chose Max Velocity Tactical For Training:
Like many people reading this site, I am concerned about the future safety of my family. I have spent literally thousands of hours since 2007 studying the global financial arithmetic, along with the associated multiple Ponzi schemes and fraud etc. My conclusion is that there is a high probability that a collapse of the economy will occur with or without war. Historically this usually results in chaos, violence, and food shortages, etc. Maybe sooner than later, but hopefully I am wrong. With this in mind, trying to protect my family is of utmost concern. The hoarding of beans, bullets, band aids, and guns is obviously not sufficient. The bottom line is that excellent, realistic tactical training that has specifically been modified for a civilian, who is interested in protecting his family, is what I began to look for. In order to identify where to train I basically followed a similar approach that I used when deciding on where to train in surgery. To digress for a moment, it is my opinion that engaging in tactical training is very similar to training in surgery. Both involve preparation for close encounters with death. Both require a substantial knowledge base in order to make good decisions, and both incorporate a physical skill set that is enhanced with repetition and excellent mentoring. In other words your ability to be tactically dangerous and avoid the death of yourself or your family/tribe is in some ways similar learning to be a good surgeon. The quality of the final product, surgeon or war fighter is based on the quality of the training, volume and realism. When I was a medical student at the University of Iowa I knew that I would have to train in general surgery for 5 years prior to training in cardiovascular surgery. I also knew that I wanted hard core training with extensive exposure to all aspects of trauma, especially the penetrating type during this first 5 years. If I stayed in Iowa my trauma experience would have been primarily automobile and farm accidents. Essentially I spent hours researching every residency training program in the country. I even talked to the residents in many of the training programs that I was interested in to get the inside scoop, not the propaganda. After researching different residency training programs, I listed Detroit as my first choice and fortunately that is where I spent the next 5 years. This gave me tremendous hands on operative volume with massive exposure to all types of trauma while being mentored by professors who were leading experts in trauma surgery. When I began to decide on where to train in cardiac surgery I knew that I wanted a high volume hands on experience with the full range of cardiac, vascular, and thoracic surgery. The dirty little secret is that there are many, many cardiac surgery training programs where you do very little actual operating and a lot of 1st assisting. The problem is that some professors are not confident enough in their abilities to guide you through a complex cardiac surgical procedure and still have a good result. This type of training provides the trainee with a false sense of one’s own abilities. To me this is like doing all your tactical training on a square range. Or doing small unit tactics in the woods with blanks or training under the watchful eye of someone who has questionable credentials when it comes to war fighting. Essentially I wanted realistic training that was high volume, intense and physical. The other factor that affected my thought process is that prior to college I was a United States Marine. Almost 40 years ago in 1975 I went to boot camp at Parris Island and spent the next four years as an enlisted Marine. Several concepts stayed with me.
Also during my enlistment I was exposed to many great leaders who were non- commissioned officers (NCO’s). I found that the best of the NCO’s from a war fighting standpoint shared the following traits, in no particular order:
Essentially I was looking for intense realistic training that would be applicable to civilian home defense with professors (trainers) who met at least most of the criteria listed above. After much study I decided to train at Max Velocity Tactical and feel that my research paid off.
Last Sunday I finished the Combat Team Tactics (CTT) and NODF (Night Firing) courses for the second time. My goal in coming back was to continue to learn and do things better and faster. Hell, I may come back a third time for CTT/NODF. My first visit to MVT was for Combat Rifle. Remember the concepts of: crawl, walk, run and you probably don’t know as much as you think. Based on my personal experience I can assure you that Max and his assistant instructors fit all 8 of the qualities of great tactical trainers and leaders that I listed above. In addition, Max has invested a tremendous amount of money and time creating a training facility that is second to none. (Where else in the country are you going to learn to patrol at night with night vision, infrared lasers and do a live fire maneuvers in buddy pairs). Quite simply the training is excellent. Safety is always a priority. If you have never worked as a group doing live fire maneuvers before it may be hard to believe how it could possibly be safely managed. You will only understand how this works after you have been there. Obviously if I had any concern in this area I would never have returned for more training and would not be writing this type of AAR.
The oldest person in last weekend’s class was 68 and the youngest was 24. I was at the older end at 58. The second oldest was a former Marine Corps Captain (Diz, was with us for NODF and day one on the square range before moving on to the Citizen Close Combat (C3) course. The dude is very fit, squared away and a great guy, read his AAR’s). Six of us were returning students. One had lost over 40 pounds since his first visit. Some students were fitter than others but Max was able to scale the physical portion of the training so that everyone had an equal level of learning. Myself, I have a knee that is on its way to needing replacement after a tibial plateau fracture. Max and First Sergeant noticed a slight limp and repeatedly asked me throughout the days how I was doing and I appreciated that. All the students were treated respectfully. There is a certain level of intensity that Max and his cadre project during the courses. I think that this is appropriate in that most of us are basically training to prevent our families from suffering from violence during a collapse scenario. This is serious shit. This intensity is also essential for safety. Yes you will be yelled at, but how else do you think that one can communicate during the noise of a live fire range. It’s nothing personal. The atmosphere is certainly not in any way like Marine Corps Boot Camp in terms of harshness or physicality. The tactical training is in most ways much more functional than what I received in the Corps.
A good friend of mine who recently retired from the Marine Corps as an infantry Command Sergeant Major after 32 years with multiple tours in the sand box and elsewhere had this to say after studying the MVT website and reading several of Max’s blogs. “Excellent articles and concepts, agree with every word”. This Sergeant Major is planning on training at MVT after getting a stem cell transfer to an arthritic hip. In addition he is going to write an article on the history of square range training and how spending too much time training on them created serious trouble for the Marines early in the gulf war. This resulted in changes in the training paradigm. The square range has its place in developing the fundamentals and Max has two of them, but you don’t want to stop there. If you do, you handicap yourself and will have a false sense of your abilities.
The bottom line is that if you are looking for serious tactical training that is applicable to a rural retreat, the suburbs or the city, ( individually or in small groups) Max Velocity Tactical will provide you with a fantastic foundation. Also beware of the “tacticool” trainers (some of whom have questionable real world combat backgrounds) who will have you doing magazine dumps in front of the paper targets on the square range and other useless activities. In addition, instead of wasting more of your precious ammo at your local range, not really knowing what you don’t know, my advice is to stop creating training scars and learn to do things properly. The investment of time will be well worth it. I drove 16 hours each way for this training, twice for CTT and NODF and once for combat Rifle. I will definitely be coming back for Combat Patrol, Land Navigation and Citizen Close Combat, ASAP. I should also mention that I think we all enjoyed being around a fantastic group of likeminded people with the same concerns despite our different ages and backgrounds. When we finished on Sunday, everyone was euphoric and lots of new friends were made. All expressed that they had learned a lot, were happy they had made the trip and would be back.
Others have described very well the details of what each of the individual courses are like in their After Action Reports (AAR’s). I suggest reading these to help you prepare for training at Max Velocity Tactical. Also the very reasonably priced tactical fitness training plans available through Max are extremely helpful to prepare physically. But don’t keep delaying the training because you’re not in triathlete shape yet. Get in there and get started. Finally, people that know me, know very well that I am the type of person that is a hard grader of others to the point of being hyper critical and even more so for myself. Praise does not come easily. This is probably the result of 4 years in the Marine Corps and 8 years of surgical residency.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics September: Tango
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.
Student Review: CTT Day 1 / Night Firing September: Diz:
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics Sep: ‘Wild Bill’:
Something you will hear if your around Max very long is “you don’t know what you don’t know” and that could not have been more true than my experience at his past weeks Combat Team Tactics class.
I came to MVT through Max’s book ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises‘ wherein Max tries to wake the good people up to what could happen in SHTF “Murica”; the plot line and the characters were great but one thing that truthfully went over my head were many of the scenes involving Small Unit Tactics (SUT). Heck I had been in the military (Air Force) but like the vast majority of those who serve in all branches I was nowhere near the pointy end of the spear in fact I was probably as far down that shaft as you could get.
Therefore, I realized that maybe I needed to read Max’s other book ‘Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival‘ where he explains what those Small Unit Tactics are, the how and why. Read it, put it away for a week or so then picked it up again and reread it; okay now it made a little more sense so I went back and read Patriot Dawn again and the story took on a whole new exciting aspect for me.
Now I was intrigued because in soul searching truth I knew I had just enough gun handling and SUT knowledge to be worthless to my family if not just downright dangerous to them. For many including myself that is the biggest hurdle of all — the admitting that you don’t know shit about defending yourself or others. That being a man doesn’t automatically mean you have some gene preprogramed with all the knowledge that will turn you into a warrior —some modern day fictional Rambo that can handle any situation and give me the ability to kill those that would do me or more importantly the ones I love harm.
Ego when you really have the ability is one thing but a false I can step up and do what is needed when needed ego is what I think most of us have; that and the fear of admitting to ourselves and others that our “abilities” are bullshit. Yes, fear — the fear of looking foolish in front of others.
So, what other reason did I have for being hesitant about taking one of Max’s classes, truthfully it was I didn’t know what I didn’t know and that is what made me hesitant, that and the fact I was nervous as hell about “running through the woods shooting guns” — I was scared I might screw up and hurt someone.
Murphy’s Law is Murphy’s Law and anything can happen but Murphy is going to have to work hard to make safety an issue at Max’s class. Truthfully, I have never felt safer around a group of people shooting guns and training than I did at CTT. I cannot over emphasize the amount of safety that Max builds into his classes. First thing, every day there is a safety lecture with each new training element taught by explanation, demonstration/walk-through and then live fire or as Max refers to it “crawl, walk, run”. During each session either Max or First Sergeant stand over you watching everything you do to make sure you don’t do anything overly stupid or unsafe and I swear in some case they almost seem to know what dumbass thing you were going to do before you even did it.
And yes I’ll admit I was “that guy,” the one that had to constantly be reminded to watch my muzzle. Was that pounded into me for three days: yes. Was I warned that if I didn’t get it straightened out I would not be able to do some of the training because I might endanger others: yes. Was I embarrassed: yes. Was I resentful — HELL NO! I came here to learn and if I was screwing up then dammit I wanted Max and First Sergeant to point it out to me! Bad people wanting to take my things and kill me aren’t going to point out my mistakes they are going to exploit them and then I’ll be dead and of no help to my family and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like a bruised ego or pride get in the way.
Did I get better: yes, did it go from conscious thought to unconscious thought when it came to muzzle awareness and safety application: yes, and will it stay that way: only if I practice because all skills are perishable.
So screw ego, pride or whatever it is that might be keeping you from training!
All the macho know it all, prepper, survivalist, great hunter, I can take care of myself holdup in my retreat don’t need anyone else crap, will only get you killed maybe a little later that most but eventually because when the SHTF you will need help and not just any help but trained in SUT help.
When the SHTF ego or pride won’t get you through it, they ARE NOT a substitute for training and without the training you will be dead very quickly and if that is the case then truthfully I couldn’t care less because the training is here at MVT. I will only feel sorry for those that are depending on you for their survival if your ego/pride or something else was more important than training.
I think I have gone through every emotion there is before during and after taking CTT, but one thing is clear I stand a better chance of survival today for having done so.
Did I learn: yes. Am I better: yes. Will I need to practice: yes. Do I need to come back and take the Combat Rifle Skills Class as First Sergeant suggested: yes. Will I: yes, and I’ll also take the CTT class again and again and again. Why? Because skills not practiced perish, so even if you were part of the pointy end of the spear years ago are you still good to go? Have you truly trained lately, and I don’t mean some square range class where the paper targets patiently wait for you to get squared away, I mean MVT trained?
My wife, daughter and grandkids stand a little better chance today because of the training I received — don’t let anything stop you from getting the training you need so you can say the same about the ones you love.
Thank you Max and First Sergeant for working so hard to try to keep good people alive; just know there are 12 more out there that stand a better chance because of you.
Student Review: Citizen Close Combat: M1-Guy:
For all Combat Team Tactics (CTT), Combat Patrol (CP) alumni, you must take this class!!! This is an absolute, even though there aren’t supposed to be any. I will explain, but want to first talk safety. As all MVT alumni know safety is of paramount importance. In Citizen Close Combat (“C3”) it is monitored with great intensity given the close proximity with which the live fire drills are run, many times shoulder to shoulder. Safety is one of the hallmarks of MVT’s training reputation and this class is another example of why that is true. Lee ran it tight while allowing scenarios to develop and play out.
Why is C3 a must for everyone? The skills, information and critical thinking taught here might save you if you are ever in an urban combat situation as a result of home invasion, civil unrest or any other situation that causes you to have to transit an urban environment to safety. I say might save you because in the urban chaos you find yourself in, there are so many variables and random events occurring that there is no way to have an absolute outcome. In my mind I have termed this getting an Edge. These are techniques MVT has taught me that I believe will give me little advantage over any opposition I might meet, an Edge.
Note: CTT is a required prerequisite for C3. CP is not.
CTT teaches you the information you need (shoot, move, communicate) which then is used to allow you to gain more skills and knowledge for the urban environment taught in C3. This is not like fighting in the woods. If you read Diz’s AAR (here) you will get a detailed account of our 2 days. I am going to describe one of the scenarios we ran to describe and illustrate how CTT and C3 are intertwined.
Things have gone sideways and your group has decided to leave their area. Sporadic gunfire, fires, time to go. We need to get cross town. Our team is 3 fighters (A, B & C). A is front and responsible for the front sector, B is flank and responsible for our right flank and overhead (windows/roof tops) and C has rear. We have chosen the left side of this block (close to the buildings that run the length of the block) given the features we see (windows, doors and available possible cover and concealment) and make the decision that this is the best side of the street to go down. Our number 1 SOP is to break contact if engaged.
We pass a building on our left with a closed door. Prior to reaching the end of the block we are engaged. A calls contact front, returns fire, moves to cover/concealment close to wall on his left and returns strong effective fire . Simultaneously, B moves up on line with A almost shoulder to shoulder using the available cover/concealment (RTR). C calls the doorway, A tells B to move back to the doorway. As B is bounding to the doorway A calls “stoppage”, B reverses and rejoins A online to his left, shoulder to the wall, with strong cadence fire. A performs emergency reload, A yells “back in”, B tells A to move and A & C breach the door, pie it and clear the room, attaining a position of dominance. C moves to doorway security and tells B to move. B does not move in a straight line to the doorway but moves back on an angle that keeps his cover/concealment in play, then makes hard right turn into the room. The team then will plan their way out.
The preceding is a break contact maneuver. It was made more complicated by a 3 man squad, a compressed & walled battlefield, limited escape routes and numerous unknowns presented by buildings, doors and windows. You make the best decisions you can given the reality you are dealt. Oh, and our scenario didn’t include spouses, children, etc you might have in tow!!!
The potential complications are almost endless. This is where MVT and Lee come in. Lee is the instructor and has the credentials, experience and patience needed to teach us the information necessary to give us an Edge if ever faced with the chaos of urban warfare. Lee teaches us the high probability solutions, remember there are no absolutes and it seems even fewer in urban warfare. He teaches us to trust your training, assess the angles, make your decisions, scan your sectors, move quickly and be ready to reassess if/as the “flows” change.
Here are some of my takeaways in no order of importance:
Next Citizen Close Combat Class: December 12-13.
Next Combat Rifle Skills Class: Nov 7-8.
Student Review: Citizen Close Combat: 26/27 Sept: Diz:
Many of you alumni may be wondering if this course is worth going to. Let me answer that up front with a hell yes. This course was awesome. The amount of stuff I learned was staggering. Things I didn’t even know, I didn’t know, as the saying goes. It is the perfect compliment to your training, after Combat Team Tactics (CTT), and maybe even Combat Patrol (CP). You learn new nuances to things you did at past classes, and then learn a whole lot more.
Student Review: Combat Patrol Sep 18-20: D Close
Combat Patrol 18-20 September 2015
All of us are going to die. We do have some control over the time and maybe even the means. As the growing abyss beckons, it becomes clear that there will be fewer to pick over the scraps of our rapidly decaying civilization. Would you like to at least have the option of continuing? If you are reading this, you must have decided that options are a good thing. To preserve those options in a dangerous world, you must stay alive, first and foremost. The bad, evil people (BEPs) are legion. Counted amongst them are those who have not yet completely turned but are infected nonetheless. Let us assume you have chosen to oppose the BEP and make your stand. Good for you. Now what?
You must then be trained in the art of war. That means you must be able to resist your enemy and protect your family and tribe. You must be the protector of the good people (GP). The practical application of this desire to stand against the BEP is small unit tactics (SUT). The MVT Combat Patrol class is the embodiment of SUT for the civilian Protector. You will not survive without the ability to employ SUT. You cannot learn SUT on your own. It isn’t possible to do from the Interwebs. If you try to employ SUT against the BEP without formal training, you will lose tribe and/or your own life, thus failing in job #1: staying alive. For those of us interested in building tribe, that is too high a cost.
Max’s Combat Team Tactics (CTT) is the necessary precursor, yet it is only a beginning. The application of CTT is Combat Patrol. If you cannot find another reason to take this class, understand that your ability to employ SUT to save the Good must include this. The BEP are coming to take your shit. If you are alone, they will get it. They will take your family and you will be gone. If you have tribe, how will you help the tribe to resist?
Combat Patrol is a commitment. It can be painful. It is dirty. It is uncomfortable. It induces stress. It hardens you, as much as three days can. You sleep under a tarp with your buddy in a rustic patrol base. You stand sentry into the cold dark hours as foes probe your perimeter. You learn how to face multiple firing points and keep your team together. You learn how to fight back as you evacuate your wounded. You learn how to set a proper ambush and keep your team from getting killed by stupidity while doing it. Most importantly, you find out your weakness now, before it costs you everything. You cannot know these things without doing them.
You will learn these things. You can choose to learn them now under the tutelage of a dedicated cadre of instructors that includes Max or you can learn them from the BEP. The latter will not be merciful. They will not correct your mistakes. They will exploit them. If you have not learned how to patrol you will make fatal mistakes and that will be the end of it.
You may question why train for patrolling in the woods when you may live in an urban area? The terrain merely varies the shape and size of cover or concealment. The basic tenets remain the same. Security, security, security…Your patrol base might be in a parking lot or a building rather than a thicket or a hillside. Your team will need to use the same techniques to survive and protect themselves against the BEP and the elements.
We were a tired group coming off the hill after the raid. We double timed to the rendezvous point to evac back to the tactical operations center. We had spent the last two days getting ready to hit the target. These were a particularly nasty group of BEP. They had been terrorizing the area for some time. The locals had asked for our help because they knew we had the training. We had established a patrol base in the operating area. Soon after we were able to pinpoint several potential targets and conduct a reconnaissance. That is a skill to be learned at MVT, before you go bumbling through the woods or your town at night when the BEP are in your area for real. Can you look at a map and figure out how to get to your target? Combat Patrol is not a nav class but it certainly illustrates why that is a necessary skill.
As we spent time in the patrol base, we figured out where we might set up an ambush to gather more intel. At MVT, we were taught the importance of security at all times. The patrol leader must always account for that. An ambush is a risky operation, especially against a trained force. Even if the target is untrained, the risk of random events spoiling your party is there. We learned how to silently alert our patrol leader and initiate the ambush to maximize lethality and keep the team as safe as possible. There are a few ways to skin that cat but with the basic knowledge you can adapt to most situations and avoid catastrophic mistakes.
We took the intel we gathered from our ambush and night recon and planned our raid. We had our group leave the rendezvous (RV) and proceed to the operational rally point (ORP) from there we broke off into two groups. Three would have been better but you do the best you can right? Our support group set up with a direct view of the target. Our assault group maneuvered to assault from behind a ridge, out of sight of the BEP position. Our support group began plastering the target with well aimed rifle fire. The tempo kicked up and we advanced on line towards the target as it was under fire. As soon as targets were visible we engaged. The assault group then began advancing by bounds as the enemy were in complete shock. The support group shifted fire on queue and the assault swept through the encampment, destroying any further resistance. Suddenly, incoming fire from our flank alerted us to another position farther north. Our support group was still occupied so we detached a new assault group and maneuvered from the flank to destroy this last position. Job done, we all withdrew to the ORP and made a hasty withdrawal to the RV and then back to base. The BEP had suffered a defeat at our hands and we were proud of our work and thankful for our training.
Going home to family and tribe is what it is all about. This was my second combat patrol class. There is so much that goes into planning and executing a successful patrol, you will realize that three days is not enough. Somehow, you will learn more than you thought was possible in such a short time. You will get your gear squared away. You will understand the need for real fitness and why a couple trips to the gym each week isn’t going to cut it. If it ever happens that you are the one sending your guys and girls outside the wire to protect your homes, you will know what those folks are going to need to do to win against the Bad, Evil People and come back alive.
Key lessons learned:
Student Review: MVT Rifleman Challenge II: Sept 2015: Dennis
AAR Rifleman Challenge Sept 2015
There is just nothing to add to what Diz wrote about the RC events. So a little about my journey to the rifleman challenge. I believe that I was the oldest participant at 63, but keep in mind that the 2nd oldest, a 61 year old came in 3rd overall in the challenge. I competed in the first RC in March, so I knew that I would do ok in all the events, with the exception of the 2 miler, which would be close.
I first attended a 7 day set of classes (TC3, CTT, CP, NODF) in Sept. 2014 with my daughter. In preparation for those classes, I was just working out on my own with no real idea what I was doing. I have never been to a gym and know almost nothing about exercising. I did ok in those classes but it was clear that I needed to do more PT. Then Max scheduled the first RC and Max and Hunter came out with the fitness plans. The RC seemed like a really good idea with a variety of activities, some refresher stuff and some things like LN, CQB, and casualty evacuation would be new to me. Also, you get to repeat for FREE if you don’t make it. What a deal!
I bought the “12 week to RC training plan” and that was some of the best money I ever spent. I started the plan and by March 2015 I had lost 20 lbs and could actually run 2 miles in pretty good time. I was making the time down here in FL, but could not do it in WV, but was able to pass everything else. Another great thing about the fitness plan, is that you can restart it any time you want. I ended up doing the whole plan about 3 times.
So the bottom line is, get up to WV and do it. You are going to get tired and sore, but you are going to do it with a bunch of great people and you are going to learn something. Most of all, you are going to be amazed at what you can do if you just get out and start training.
Student Review: MVT Rifleman Challenge II: MikeQ
First let me start by saying thank you to Max, 1st Sergeant, Fred, and the Minions. Without Max most of us would never had even heard of each other or be able to call each other friends. Without 1stSergeant, Max would still be trying to unf**k everyone. Without Fred none of us would even think about using steel cased ammo (unless you own an AK) J. Without the Minions we couldn’t have done this challenge at all. Thank you again.
I like to look at each class, or challenge, or test I perform to identify the takeaways from each. As others have provided the schedule of events for each day I will not go into them. Rather I will speak about my thoughts and lessons learned from each event.
I’ve spent the last 9 months getting into better shape. In that time I’ve dropped 20 pounds and greatly increased my strength, endurance, and stamina. I credit that mainly with the training program I purchased and FOLLOWED through MVT. I cannot say enough good things about the training programs. It is well worth the $99 dollars to purchase a plan and follow it. If you cannot follow a simple plan (assuming you are not injured) how can you possibly expect to function should SHTF?
The two miler is what everyone is scared and nervous about. I took 9 months to get into the shape I am now. My battle buddy hadn’t done cardio work in over 9 weeks before the event and he did better on the 2-miler than myself. I had the wind to do better but my leg strength was too low for my liking. I still made the Rifleman time but missed the Vanguard time by 2 minutes or so. Therefore I need to maintain my wind and increase my leg strength.
The shooting portion went well. Your magazines need to be ready and loaded before you even hit West Virginia. Make sure your rifle is already sighted in with your scope, red dot, or irons before you show up. There is no verification time. I suggest practicing once or twice the week before the event. The shoot is not really that difficult. I missed more with the handgun than the rifle. So now I need to go take a handgun class and get better there.
The TCCC portion is really a class instruction with a run through on the test lane. I’ve never taken a TCCC class before and learned a lot. The practical test of applying a tourniquet, dragging your buddy out of the way, and then running through the MARCH protocols is an eye opener. Not difficult but something you need to be receptive to. I took a lot of notes, went back to the Koolwink that night, and ordered some more items and a different tourniquet.
The land navigation portion has no instruction period. You must know how to perform this before you show up. Once you calculate your headings and distances, go back and recalculate them to verify they were right to begin with. Make sure your compass is not near any piece of metal such as your pistol, magazines, rifle, or sitting overtop of a screw holding the table together. This also goes for using the compass in the field. Make sure the compass isn’t near your mags while you are pacing. Make sure you understand terrain association. Can you look at the map, intellectually understand what the map is telling you, and then convert the 2D map into 3D reality? Can you see the saddle on the map, look around yourself and verify that you are on that saddle? If you end up where you think the marker is and a 360 degree look doesn’t show it, then change your perspective. Take a knee and then look around again. I found one of my markers that way. Before leaving each marker I pointed myself in the general direction I should go, based upon my map and terrain association. I then adjusted the compass and finalized the heading. After finding my 3rd marker I started adjusting my heading for my 4th marker and realized I had inverted the azimuth. I subtracted (or added – doesn’t matter) 180 degrees and off I went. Well I did the math in my head I made a booboo and was off. By terrain association I knew I was in the right general area but had to adjust about 70 yards and finally found the 4th marker. I sweated more during the 1.5 hours I was hitting the markers than I did the entire day before. I was literally dripping sweat from the front end of my hat. If I had been out there much longer my 2 liters of water would not have been sufficient. Practice, practice, practice.
The contact under fire and break contact drills are straight from the Combat Team Tactics (CTT) class. This is why CTT is a pre-requisite. If you’ve taken this class then you know what you need to know. Fire, maneuver, communicate. When advancing when in contact I like to pick my next piece of cover between shots. When performing this drill with teammates you know and practice alongside really shows. My personal favorite part of the MVT experience.
The stretcher run is approximately 1 mile through the wonderful hills of West By God Virginia. The 1sthalf is uphill and then its downhill from there. I didn’t find it that difficult because you’re constantly switching out teammates. The longest distance carrying the litter was only 100 meters. There was probably 60-90 seconds of downtime before you get switched back in. The teamwork shown in this test really impressed me. Good legs and good wind will get you through this test.
The weapon manipulation is straight out of CTT. Practice of those skill at home is a must. Don’t do what I did and clear the malfunction, reseat the mag, charge the weapon, pull the trigger, and have the mag drop out because you didn’t really seat the mag. You will get yelled at. You will feel like a boob, and rightly so. Practice, practice, practice.
CQB is very interesting. This is not your SWAT team, tacticool style of room clearing. This is battlefield tested military style clearing. You will not have your fire team sleeping in the same room with you when something goes bump in the night. You will, at best, have you and your spouse. Or conversely in SHTF you probably won’t have a 6-12 man team with you to clear every single room in a house or small structure. Therefore flooding a room will your entire team doesn’t make a lot of sense especially if the bad guy gets half a dozen shots off. Half of your team or more may go down. This portion is really just an introduction into this style of combat. Luckily MVT has the Citizen Close Combat (C3) class which focuses on this specific subject. (can you say teaser?) I will take that class at some point in the future. This is a much closer style of fighting. You are much closer to your partner and the bad guys. Brass will hit you in the face. Get over it. There is a definite mentality switch before going into this portion. But a fun way to finish off the weekend nevertheless.
When, not if but when, you get to the point you want to stop or slow down find your “rage switch”. What will keep you moving forward. For me it was picture of my young children bleeding out. (I know that sounds stupid but it’s what works for me) What will scare you the most? Every one of us knows what that is. Find it, admit it, prepare against it, and use it!
Every day starts with getting you winded, hot, sweaty, tired for a reason. MVT wants to try and give you a taste of the hardships you may encounter. The age range was upper 20’s to 63. The 63 received a Rifleman tab. This course can be completed. You can do this. As long as you are willing to put the time and effort into preparing before the class you can do this! Is the course difficult – yes. But would you really feel proud of the Rifleman patch if any SOB off the street could complete it?
I went into this challenge with the attitude knowing I could complete each task. The land nav made me nervous but I knew I could do the rest. Don’t get wrapped up about competing against the other students. The only person you need to compete against is yourself. Did you give it everything you’ve got? If you did and you failed then come back the next time (for free by the way), learn from your mistakes, and get it done! I’m my own harshest critic. I took one day off for rest and went right back into my exercise regime (focusing more on leg strength). J
Another fun weekend at MVT. I’m looking forward to seeing you guys on the next class.
Student Review: MVT Rifleman Challenge II: Diz
AAR MVT Rifleman Challenge II: September 2015: Diz
Student Review: Land Navigation August: Arthur:
Student Review: Land Navigation August 22/23: Aaron
Land Navigation class review, by Aaron in Tennessee.
As with other MVT classes (I’ve taken CTT and CP, and am looking forward to Rifleman Challenge), I really like the emphasis that Max places on physical fitness, along with a unique “big picture,” within which the particular skill set is transmitted. And, this is always in conjunction with a well-organized class that combines theory and practice in effective proportions. Teaching style is accurate and professional – one would not hesitate to bring along one’s spouse or son or daughter. That said, Land Navigation was really fun and substantive. Many people have had some map and compass at some point, and one can obviously read about it, watch some Youtube videos, and go into the back yard and kind of apply it. But as with most skills (at least for me), taking a formal class, taught by an experienced expert, and then challenged with exercises in formidable terrain, translates into a learning experience that has some real value. The take-away is not just a foundational skill set, but a solid skill set combined with an instilled motivation to continue to use and improve those skills. Throw in the fact that you can always count on meeting and training with a very interesting set of like-minded students, Land Nav was a great experience that is highly recommended. Thank you Max! Looking forward to my next trip to West Virginia.
Student Review: Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics August: Ragnar
MVT CLASS REVIEW RS AND CTT 6-9 AUG 2015
This is the fourth class pertaining to tactical use of firearms I have taken in the past few years, and the eighth or ninth related to firearms and shooting. All of them have provided me with positives and negatives. Some I actually learned something; all asked that I consider submitting a review. This is the first one that I thought I should write a review for, knowing that it would most likely benefit myself the most. I believe skill with a rifle is one of the most basic responsibilities of an American (even if some think we are actually still Brits). I learned at this class that I wasn’t nearly as proficient as I thought I was, and it wasn’t a very optimistic opinion to begin with. I am glad that there are competent people out there willing to conduct this training for citizens.
I first heard of MVT from reading a few of Max’s books some time ago, I booked a class back in the spring after seeing a few blog posts I read on other websites. At the time I paid my deposit I also bought into one of the training plans (Training Peaks) in order to be in better physical condition to get the most out of the class.
The first two days were square range instruction (Rifle Skills and Combat Rifle); each day started with a detailed safety briefing that was partly training as well. All days of this briefing was very thorough and complete, without it just being the same “four rules and don’t shoot anyone” lecture I have become used to at other training I have attended. Both days continuously added small increments to the skills being practiced in preparation for more advanced things on the tactical ranges. The difference with MVT and other classes I attended began to show very quickly. My biggest issue with other classes I have had was the lack of a logical explanation of why certain things were done. Detailed explanations and demonstrations usually filled this need. When something out the ordinary arose, the explanation at this class always was explained in the same terms. Sometimes that explanation came in the form of a loud voice when you screwed up a simple drill, but it was still much better than what I have seen at other courses. There was no “that’s just the way it is” type of explanations. I have seen arguments between students and instructors at other classes on the firing line when the way being taught didn’t work for something unusual.
I experienced several problems with my rifle both days on the square range that ended up being attributed to poor maintenance on my part (I was the guy with the grease). I found it hard to believe, as the rifle I brought had been through similar use and weather (I rained for a while on Friday), but this was the first time in about 2.5k rounds that it failed. Have spares, proper lube, and cleaning equipment. I did have that, so luckily my rifle was never out for too long, but it cost me some training time, as well as taking attention of instructors away from the class. I don’t like being that guy; luckily I learned it early enough in the weekend to prevent it being an issue once we went down to the school house. After that, the only other problems I had were some GI mags that weren’t up to it, and a popped primer that jammed up my lower for a few minutes.
After the first few days, I felt good about how I was progressing, but I knew the following two days would be much different.
Saturday began at the tactical ranges with a safety briefing, and thorough explanation of what the basics of fire and movement entailed. Most of the drills this day and Sunday were preceded by a brief rehearsal by all members of the class, which helped a great deal. The lessons of the previous two days were put in to context verbally and with visual aids. The basic ideas of “head-body-weapon”, buddy position awareness, and other simple but important concepts drilled at the square range were added to the instruction. At the end of each team run on a drill Max and or 1st Sgt gave a brief critique of how you did. This wasn’t always good news, but gave you the information you needed to fix mistakes and learn the skills they were trying to teach. Usually, you knew what you were doing wrong, but the end of drill brief was one of the most valuable parts of the class for me.
The day started with two man buddy teams firing and moving on individual targets, breaking contact drills, and then moved to larger four man teams. The real stress of this class, for me, was the mental task of remembering all of the things I was supposed to do as part of a team, not just a single man with a rifle. Hitting the targets was by far the easiest part. Remembering the how, why and when of moving and communicating was far more mentally stressful, and the mental stress was far more of a distraction for me then the physical parts. Each added layer of training increased this load in the mind, and you had to pay attention at all times to your teammates locations in order to properly do your job in the team. This was all very new to me, and it was hard to get up to speed without making mistakes. Other classes I had done in the past that included movement were no preparation for this at all. Saturday ended with an introduction to peeling and discussion of the next day’s class. My rifle ran great most of the day except for a magazine related issue early in the day. By the end of Saturday, I was tired, but not exhausted. The next morning I was a little sore, but I think the training plan I used went a long way to preventing that from being worse.
Sunday began with the safety brief, and the first tactical drill was the individual “jungle walk”, which I pretty well screwed up. Each segment I created a problem for myself that showed areas of weakness in my manipulation skills, including a double feed that took me way too long to clear, the end brief by Max reinforced what I had to work on to improve. During that time we had a lecture from Fred about CBRN topics that was as depressing as it was informative. It was very good information, and laid to rest some questions I had about that subject. The realization of some of the scenarios he presented was not encouraging.
The rest of the day was various team drills, mostly breaking contact and peeling. Again, all the important but simple tasks all had to be employed in order to complete these maneuvers efficiently. The most obvious evidence of when you were spending more time shooting than moving and/or communicating was how empty you mag pouches were at the end of a drill compared to other teams that did it better. The day ended with the squad assault against a series of bunkers which combined many of the things we had been doing all weekend into one final exercise which included the same process as all the previous drills of the weekend, a briefing, rehearsal, then live. The addition of the instructors acting as squad leaders helped immensely for understanding what each fire teams role and responsibility was, and made it much easier to concentrate on what each buddy team had to do. The AAR at the end of the day helped answer those last few questions and helped tie much together. To me it ultimately proved that this was just the beginning of building the proper skills to employ a rifle in combat.
Overall I was very pleased with the class, it was mentally and physically demanding, but not in any way that would or should discourage anyone in average physical condition. The training plan helped me a lot, but that is what I do best with. Anyone with a moderate level of physical level activity can do this. It was very helpful to get real advice about many topics related to this from people who actually have real world experience. As we all know, it is very easy to find bad ideas masquerading as informed opinion on the internet, and sifting the good from the bad isn’t always easy.
The two biggest questions that I have in my mind since the class were as follows. 1. I could use a better understanding of use of cover. I know it was explained many times, but it still is uncertain in my mind. I assume that more training and experience will help that. 2. In some of the drills with more than one buddy pair, it seemed like part of the problem about how slow we (I) did things was no one knew (at least I didn’t know) who was supposed to be the guy to say where we needed to move to next. This was mostly apparent to me on the “contact left peel” that was to end up as a contact front as we got far enough back.
I plan on returning for more classes, and hope to bring others with me in the future.
Student Review: Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics – ‘The Rage Switch’: 11Bravo:
You don’t need to read Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” to see where the good ole USA is headed, just look around. The “Cult of Political Correctness” and other extremist elements have rooted themselves in all levels of government. Elected officials openly side with street criminals over Law Enforcement and private citizens. While Illegal Aliens flood across the southern border, Homeland Security fills small town USA with Muslim refugees by the score. Soon, we will undergo forced integration by the “historic moment” masquerading as President, and, while the White House is doused in rainbow colors, savage race mobs desecrate war memorials and historic icons. As the prospect of financial collapse draws nearer every day, cyber attacks on water works, food distribution networks or the power grid grow increasingly imminent.
Mainstream propagandists shout “diversity will only make us stronger” yet the world is in flames over ethnicity and religion (Do they honestly think it won’t happen here?). Something bad is on its way. When the push-button world we live in crashes, life will take a sour turn.
As civilized society crumbles away and the animals attack private property, how will you respond? If your contingency plan is unclear or shrouded in confusion, there’s a place for you. Head to the back woods of West Virginia and take Max Velocity Tactical’s Combat Team Tactics (CTT). It’s a three day course focused on rifle manipulation and small unit actions. A Rifle Skills class is offered the day prior, presenting the opportunity for four days of intensive firearms training.
The course runs on a one hundred acre facility outside of Romney, WV. Max, a professional soldier with loads of real world experience, is the head instructor. He’s assisted by the 1st Sgt, whose pep talk on fatigue, the enemy’s intent and the proper mental approach to challenging situations is inspirational. Both men’s attention to detail and commitment to training will ensure you reap the maximum that the class has to offer.
If you add on Rifle Skills (it’s highly advised), the first two days will take place on a 25 meter box range. After zeroing in your rifle the exercises begin, shooting in controlled pairs at a paper plate stapled onto a target. The drills are many and varied; firing from the standing, kneeling and prone position, facing from the right, left and rear, and simple bounding movements. These drills are an opportune time to master the basics of marksmanship; find your cheek meld, maintain a solid grip with your strong hand, control the barrel with your support hand and manage your breathing technique accordingly so you make every shot.
As the training progresses, you’ll learn how to efficiently execute combat reloads and the time and place for tactical reloads. You’ll also be introduced to concepts like scanning, buddy awareness, RTR (reaction to fire) and learn to constantly check the ejection port on your rifle. Bad habits like turreting (spinning wildly with your rifle in an upright position) and removing your hand from the pistol grip when performing common tasks will be dropped.
A considerable amount of time is spent clearing the five types of rifle malfunctions. Tap, rack and bang resolve the first three; failure to fire, failure to battery and stove pipe. Double feeds and bolt overrides are a different story, but under Max’s instruction you’ll get the picture. Master them with speed and efficiency, because they will come up on the live fire movements.
Days three and four take place on the tactical ranges up and over the ridge. The lanes are moderately wooded and on an upward slope. They’ve also been infiltrated by multiple pop-up Ivan targets.
Actions like RTR, finding cover, bounding on the objective and breaking contact with peeling maneuvers will be conducted over-and-over. You’ll run the drills solitary (the jungle walk), in two and four man fire teams and also in two three man fire teams. The culminating event will be a squad level attack (a support team and two assault elements) on multiple objectives.
At first the drills are chaotic, because there’s so much to think about at once; marksmanship, scanning, communicating with your buddy and movement to cover while a little man in the back of your head scrutinizes everything. So, remember to slow down, get your head out of your weapon and think about what you’re doing. Don’t get sucked into the target and burn up all your rounds. Going black 2/3rds the way through an exercise will get you “that guy” status on the range and dead in real life; control your rate of fire!
As a continuous process, you will be honing your marksmanship skills. Equally important you’ll learn how to shot, move and communicate in a fire team. Finally, as a tertiary assignment, you can take the skills learned at MVT and give your 2nd Amendment loving friends, neighbors and family members the heads up (though you’ll encourage them to attend CTT too).
A lot of MVT alumni comment on physical conditioning; it’s true, you’ll want to be as fit as possible for the course, but there’s no reason to skip out if not up to par. In fact, being whupped offers a certain aspect not mentioned in the course description. When you find yourself short of breath, dripping in sweat and standing with rubbery legs, you’ve arrived at a pivotal point in your training. Will you retreat to sweet thoughts of mama or reach down deep in your soul and light the fire that sends you forward; seizing the objective with an unrepentant fury (1st Sgt calls it the “Rage Switch”).
Now, let’s reflect on a few passages from Matt Bracken’s essay “When the Music Stops: How America’s Cities May Explode in Violence”. What starts off as a casual Sunday outing gets marred in gridlock; you’re boxed in front and back. It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, at first. Within minutes hundreds of “MUYs” (minority urban youths) have converged on the scene. Sounds of breaking glass and shrieks of horror fill the air. Women and metrosexuals are ripped from their vehicles and subjected to acts of violence they never thought existed. As the mob moves towards your position, you make a command decision, “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!”
The four doors on your sedan fly open and your family instinctively rallies at the rear of the vehicle. Popping the trunk, you retrieve two bags from the back, each one holding magazines and ammo for an AR-15 and a small caliber pistol. In moments, all four of you are armed; you and mother with the rifles and the balance to the kids.
“Right side, baby,” your wife says, as she’s already eyed cover in a nearby tree line. Moving off in a staggered formation you come under fire from soviet bloc small arms, though the rounds of 7.62 are wildly inaccurate.
“Contact left! Contact left!” you shout over the din of urban savagery. Simultaneous, the four of you get online and drop to the kneeling position, blasting the pack with a controlled and accurate rate of fire. The effects are immediate and the mob breaks down, but only momentarily. As they swarm again, you give the command to peel off in two man teams, wife and daughter, father and son, alternating movement and fire until reaching cover (you taught them this after getting back from MVT). Like a jack boot to a carton of eggs the message is clear- don’t f*ck with us!
In summary, the tactical training at MVT is spot on and the psychological endurance you’ll pick-up is unprecedented. On a personal note, I was ARNG Infantry during the 1990’s. At the time, a malaise had crept into the National Guard, largely brought on by the policies of the Clinton Administration. So, I ETS’d with a bit of an empty feeling. However, after four days training at MVT (CTT and Rifle Skills combined) that gap has been filled and is spilling over with rekindled motivations and a refreshing outlook on life. I’ll be taking CTT again and you should too; get some!
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics August: ‘Gatlinggun’:
I had wanted to attend a Combat Team Tactics (CTT) class for some time and in August 2015 it finally happened. I arrived in theater on Thursday and got settled into the Koolwink. As I arrived at the motel there were several “military age males” loitering in the parking lot. So after I registered, I walked over and talked to them. It turned out they were attending the same class.
Friday morning was cool and rainy and after introductions and an in-depth safety briefing by Max the class got started. We zeroed our rifles and started right into drills. Stoppage drills, rifle manipulation drills, muzzle awareness and more. All of the drills were done under the supervision of Max and 1SG.
Shortly after lunch the light rain that had been falling finally stopped. It was onto the individual RTR drill, after that was the RTR drill with a buddy. The buddy drills were where the constantly stressed muzzle awareness really became evident. The first day of drills and shooting gets you ready for what was to come the next two days.
Saturday morning was a little warmer than the previous day and again began with an in-depth safety brief by Max. Max was very thorough and serious about safety and buddy position awareness, especially on Saturday and Sunday. We started out with basic buddy team drills RTR’ing up the valley. “Shoot, move, communicate”.
I mentioned to several classmates that it is easy to shoot, mostly easy to move, and most difficult to remember to communicate. The first time or two the targets popped up I did the RTR drill and then blue screened as my rounds went down range. My buddy was not so patiently waiting for me to tell him to move. 1SG quickly (and not so gently) brought me back to earth. After each drill Max would give a critique and the next buddy team would do the drill.
During the class I had the dubious distinction of being the only blockhead to do a “tactical pirouette” earning 10 pullups on the pullup bar!
The drills on Sunday built on everything we learned the two previous days. Again after an in-depth safety brief Max got right into the instruction. First was the individual Jungle walk. Then came move advanced fire and movement drills with teams.
It was during the team break contact drill that I took an unplanned trip into the creek. Bravo team had told us to move. I answered for my team, got up and took about two steps, tripped over some unseen, unknown object (or maybe it was my own feet) and went head over heels into the creek. After Max and 1SG stopped laughing, Max came over and asked if anything was broken (only my pride). I said no. On the next bound back I was limping heavily and Max again came over and asked where it hurt. “Everywhere” was my answer. He laughed again and said “Good”.
It was only a minor injury but it put me in a support role for the last drill, the squad attack.
I must mention that I was the only one in the class not running an AR. I used my DSA FAL-para clone with an 18-inch barrel and ACE folding/telescoping stock. Optic was a Hi-Lux Micro Max red dot sight. I was shooting surplus South African 147-grain ball and didn’t have any stoppages due to faulty ammo.
If you want to use a .308 caliber rifle, here are a couple of takeaways from the class:
The CTT class can be successfully completed with a .308. I did it.
20 round magazines go quickly. So slow down your rate of fire. (Thanks 1SG.)
7.62x51mm ammo is heavy. I carried 8 mags in pouches and one in the gun.
Ammo magazine management is critical. When doing a tactical reload don’t be shy in bumping fresh mags to your ready pouches. Be sure to announce the bump first.
I want to thank Max and 1SG for their professionalism and attention to detail.
Student Review: Citizen Close Combat (C3) August 2015: Duane
Above: Lee (right) instructing High Threat Room Entry & Clearance
WoW! Another weekend and MVT training and another 8 hour drive after training. That stretch of I 81 is definitely getting longer.
I’ve done Combat Team Tactics (CTT) twice, Combat Patrol and the MVT Rifleman Challenge in the past two years. I have also done multiple pistol and rifle classes at two tacticool schools along with umpteen Appleseeds including their 400-600 yd Designated Marksman clinics.
So why did I take what is billed as an entry level course?
In the Book of Five Rings Myamato Mushashi discusses that a warrior needs to be a student of many schools. The tacticool schools are all fairly uniform in their teachings on weapons manipulations and tactics to some degree. While these things are all appropriate within the context for which they were taught, much of the stuff is not appropriate for use in a combat situation against a trained and determined aggressor. As I seek to improve my warrior skillset, I seek out many schools to learn from so as to add to my tactical toolbox. Having been at multiple MVT classes prior to this, I knew that they had a different perspective on tactics and weapons manipulations and I believed I had something to learn. Plus I have been under some stress lately and this is a great stress relief.
I was not disappointed. I did learn.
Day one consisted of checking zeroes and adjusting as needed in the morning. After that, we moved on to weapons manipulation, stoppage drills and malfunctions drills. We moved on to some application by doing ready up drills and engaging stationary targets using single shot, cadence firing and stream firing. We closed that day by doing alternate positions.
Day two began right where we left off by doing alternate positions and engaging targets from behind cover and shooting while moving. We learned how to transition to sidearms. The second half of day two was spent learning the right way to clear rooms. This is done by making maximum use of cover from the door. We did this as individuals and then again as buddy teams. Believe me, when I first learned how to clear rooms the SWAT way by stacking nut to butt and flooding the room before engaging I thought that it was very stupid and a good way to get killed. The way taught at MVT remembers the First Rule of Unconventional Warfare (STAY ALIVE!).
My impression of this class is that day one would be an excellent primer for someone wanting to get into combat shooting by teaching a good solid foundation for tactics and weapons use. Day two is an excellent introduction for teaching people the right way to clear rooms. Something that is extremely practical for the self defense minded homeowner or the patriot getting ready for WROL.
Thoughts and lessons learned:
1. Go with an open mind and don’t be afraid to mess up in front of people. The first way I learn to do things is typically burned into me and makes for a habit difficult to break. So I was constantly fighting to keep from defaulting back to Appleseed or the tacticool way of doing things.
2. Take appropriate equipment. As Mushashi says: A warrior should not have a favorite sword. In this case, this was a learning class (vs an application class) for me and I took an AK. While I learned a lot using my AK, an AR would have been more appropriate as most of the malfunction drills were geared towards it. This not to say that if all you have is an AK or something else you shouldn’t come, but to say that if you have a choice bring an AR. I learned how to tactical reload my AK using the side by side method. Ultimately I took the AK because the ammo was 0.08$ a round when I bought it.
3. If you do take an AK, the modified safety lever with a finger tab is a must.
4. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment for this type of class. After lunch on day two, my back was hurting so I took off my chest rig and stuffed my spare mags in my pocket. It was more than appropriate for this class. Keep in mind that it is Civilian Close Combat so it makes a certain sense to NOT show up in full battle rattle. Although flip flops and boxers might be a little extreme in the wrong direction. (NOTE BELOW)
5. While I didn’t see that anybody at this class had a problem, I have seen it at other classes whereby someone is convince that “their school” way of doing things is the only way. You have to keep in mind the perspective for which something is being taught.
6. Lee is a dynamic and charismatic instructor who genuinely loves doing it. It shows and fosters an environment of learning.
7. It helps to zero your rifle (on paper) prior to arriving. If you can, do a near and a far zero on paper. I emphasize on paper as you can see where your shots land. This can help you diagnose your problems with fundamentals. It can also show you what your bullets are doing.
8. Hydrate, rest, good nutrition are all helpful when it is hot.
9. Kneepads. ’nuff said
10. At this time, this is not a pistol class. Transitions were taught, but you don’t have to be a gunslinger to effectively utilize a pistol in this context.
NOTE: a timely comment given yesterdays post on ‘Normalcy Bias.’ If your purpose with this class is more aimed towards home invasion defense in current times, don’t make the mistake of thinking that ‘gear’ such as chest rigs are inappropriate. If you are of the mind that if this ever happens to you, then you will not be kitted up in full battle rattle, then let’s think about that for a minute: If your home is ever invaded, it may well be at night. You are going to be asleep wearing your pajamas. Given whatever head start you get, if any, on the home invasion, you are going to have to get out of bed and grab whatever weapon you keep to hand, whether that be pistol or carbine. Same applies during the day if you are caught unawares. This is not really an appropriate time to ‘stuff spare mags in your back pockets as per a carbine class.’ You are going to have to go with whatever is on the weapon, unless you can create a breathing space with your initial engagement, or you have enough warning to throw some spare mags into pockets. Because why? Because your jim-jams, boxers, knickers or whatever don’t have pockets!
So, to analyse that, rather than having loose mags, it would be better to prepare your mags in some sort of carrier. Either chest rig, battle belt, plate carrier (perhaps a slick one with 3 mags on the front) or even a bandoleer/man-bag style single shoulder strap thingy. Because it would be quicker to throw such an item on over your neck, even a plate carrier/chest rig without doing up the cummerbund/back strap, than it would be to try and stow mags. Also, in a home invasion situation, throwing on a slick plate carrier actually gives you protection.
So let’s get away from this ‘mags in the back pocket’ thing, hey….
Student Review: Virginia Combat Team Tactics July: Mike:
This was my 3rd class at MVT and my second Combat Team Tactics (CTT). I won’t go into great detail about what was taught by Max and First Sergeant. I will instead focus on the “take-aways” I learned.
Having only taken this course a few months ago, the class itself did not differ much but what I gained was icing on the cake. The first day, focusing on weapon manipulation, was a great refresher and confirmation on the many nights of practice since the last CTT. I spent several nights a week since the first CTT working on stoppage drills, mag changes, and equipment layout. The practice really paid off and aside from one “brain dead” moment I was able to fix all the stoppages quickly without issue. The mag changes were also smoother this time around. “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” Actually works.
This class was taken in the dead heat of summer. The addition of the water bladder on my battle belt was essential. I burned through my 1 quart canteen and half of my bladder the first day. The second day I went through all 3 quarts on my kit and all but about 4 ounces of water in my cooler. The range day was hot under the direct sun but Max and First Sergeant insisted on at least 6 breaks throughout the day with 1st Sargent barking at all to “drink water!” “Get out of the Sun!” The next day was in the cover of the pavilion and the tree canopy but since we were running through the lanes a lot more sweat was worked up. Thankfully there was about 30 minutes of break, at least, between each run of the lanes. Although at one point, while running a lane, I had to stop shooting so I could drink water from my bladder. I had complete cotton mouth and couldn’t relay commands to the other team. Considering the “longest” lane run is approximately 15 minutes, that ought to tell you something about operating in the weather extremes… All that being said I want to take CTT again but in the winter so I can feel the two extremes…
Taking this class a second time around allowed me to really absorb another 10% I simply missed the first time around. Max and cadre throw so much information at you, it’s like trying to drink water from a firehose. You literally cannot take it all in. Your brain needs time to assimilate everything Max and his cadre tell you. One weekend is not enough time. The 1st time I took this class I made several mistakes, I DID NOT make them the second time around. A big point Max is trying to get across is that all the information he’s giving you needs to become second nature so you are not thinking what needs to happen at the point of contact. You simply react automatically.
This time I was able to spend less time in my rifle and more time looking around. I had a better feel for my teammates location and disposition. This time I could tell when the timing seemed to be off. For instance I didn’t hear a command to move. After what seemed like a long time I looked around to see a teammate telling me to move. He recognized I couldn’t hear him so he spent his time trying to get me to hear him between his shots. I was also able to look for my next position of cover between shots. That also helped a lot. I pulled my hamstring the 1st CTT class and was hobbled for the rest of the weekend. I couldn’t go prone or kneel that weekend. I hurt myself because I was throwing myself through the terrain without appreciating it. This time I went about 80% speed and 100% more vision and that made all of the difference.
People make a big deal about the level of PT you need to do this kind of training. As Max has said before there are 70 year old people taking this class. The class can be as easy or as hard as you choose it to be. The 1st time around I pulled my hamstring but had no residual muscle aches after the weekend. My legs were not sore, nor my arms. Why? Because my hamstring was pulled I literally could only walk the lanes, could not kneel, and definitely not go prone. As a result no muscle fatigue or soreness, except for the pulled hammy. Therefore you can literally walk through this course and be just fine. However, once you see the effort everyone else is putting forth it’s really hard not to pull together and not be part of the team and push yourself as hard as you can. Therefore EVERYONE walks away wishing they were in better shape. I believe the reason people say that is because they are honest with themselves knowing that they can always be in better shape.
Now let’s talk about teamwork. I ran with a team of guys I’ve trained with before. Our communication was really good and we worked well together. The last class we ran together as well and there were some mistakes. Two of the four of us had run the class previously and they were fine. However us two newbies made mistakes. The more experienced pair let the mistakes play out as a learning point. This time we worked well together. Please run this with your team, if you have one. Between lane runs you can work out what worked well the last time and what didn’t. Does one person not communicate well between teams? Does one person have weapon manipulation issues? Does one have a physical ailment? How will the team adapt to those issues and overcome.
Finally after training hours there are the dinners. Every dinner I’ve been to has been instrumental in forming the team for the next training day. You learn new things about the people you are with and almost everyone is of the same mindset. It is really a good time had by all. I highly recommend everyone attend the dinners every night there is one.
Major take-away points.
1) Summer – water intake as well as electrolytes.
2) Head out of the rifle – observe what your teammates are doing, and where they are.
3) Slow is smooth and smooth is fast – Don’t be afraid to do something slow until you get it right. Now is the time to do it right. Speed comes later
4) Teamwork – run with a team and adjust when necessary.
5) Practice – practice at home doing what you can, simple manipulation, reloading, and dry firing will make you so much better.
Student Review: Virginia Combat Team Tactics July: Shortbread:
The Combat Team Tactics (CTT) weekend was three days of heat, humidity and hard work. I was really glad to get home and sink into the sofa with a rum & tonic, and watch a treasure hunting program on the discovery channel (that’s how pirates relax). The team leader on the treasure hunt expedition was commenting on the treacherous island and rough waters that he and his team would have to conquer. His concerns were the team working together for the first time. Then he said, “You don’t know about your team until the bullets start flying.” That was the perfect summation of the CTT training weekend I just had at MVT.
Buddy awareness and working with your team is was my biggest take away for the weekend. If you aren’t aware of your buddy’s position, this could put you both in big trouble. I certainly flubbed up in exactly this way. Of course this is training and learning. Max & Scott are watching and anticipating every move you make while executing a drill making it very safe. Buddy awareness is essential. You must always look and see where your buddy is before you make a move and same goes for your buddy. Head, body, weapon…keep repeating. And communicate…go ahead and freaking yell! Train together and with your group. Don’t wait until the bullets start flying.
My next huge takeaway is to keep training. I did a CTT (formerly CRCD) over a year ago. I remembered the basic drills and I’ve come a long way since then, but much of what I learned was not practiced for far too long. Do not wait too long to go back for further training. This is an ongoing exercise. It is not a learned it, pack it away activity. You must do it continually and consistently or you are starting all over again. I was glad to start on the square range on day one to refresh my memory.
The square range at the beginning of the training was perfect for getting my rifle warmed up, figure out any potential gear issues and calming jitters. Yes, I get nervous especially the first day. I really like how the instruction at MVT is geared to work you in slowly and get you shooting. Funny how shooting a rifle can calm your nerves. This is the crawl portion of Max’s “crawl, walk, run” method of teaching. Max won’t push you into anything you aren’t ready for, but he will push you to succeed on to the next step. I have no prior military experience and I am now doing fire and movement drills.
All training lessons begin in the schoolhouse before the actual live fire and movement begins to go over exactly what the drill entails. Again, this is what makes it safe. This is when the learning really begins…the exciting part!
Take the square range drills that you learned day one and then add real world heat, humidity, wobbly legs from hiking up the hills, stress of wanting to get it right, and then pow! out comes Ivan the target. We are just pretending that a guy jumped out of the woods and wants to shoot us. That pretending feels real. It makes my heart pump and my brain go zinging! This pretending is practice for the real world. Sure you can shoot a gun, but can you now think clearly with all of these added stresses? There were a few blue screen moments for me during the drills. Crappy feeling. But this was when I learned by experiencing. I don’t want to wait to find that out during a SHTF situation. This is real prepping!
If you haven’t been trained professionally for this you won’t know how it feels. One needs this instruction to develop a natural reflex. This is something you can’t learn on a square range, standing still and facing one direction. You just have to get out there and do it. If you are reading this you are already in the frame of mind that something is amiss in our big bad world. Put this it right up there with food and water on your To Do list.
I met and trained with smart, strong and dedicated men. I was the only female at this class and I felt nothing but strong backing from the instructors and the other students. The support I received was what inspires me and encourages me to do more training. Training is necessary to become part of a group. No one can do this alone.
A large part of the VA weekend was discussion about developing relationships of support in a SHTF situation. How can I ask someone to join my group/retreat if I myself haven’t received proper professional training? Yes that means you too ladies! I want the best team around me, be it a former military professional, a retail clerk, a computer technician, a farmer, a teacher, a carpenter, a mom! Having someone join my group that has a MVT patch on their shoulder is quite reassuring to me and I am sure most would agree that it is a proud feeling as well.
“Though she be but little she is fierce” – Shakespeare
Student Review: 6 Day CTT / Combat Patrol: Keeper
First I want to say is that if you want to learn how and what it takes to protect your family and yourself I cannot say without a doubt that these two classes are a must and Max will ensure that your will learn it and live by it. The first day is square range time learning the basic that you will use for the next five days while there. The second and third day will take you out in the field to put the lessons that you learned on the first day with the use of the pop-up Ivan’s throughout the training course there. During the CP course we were taught how to use the landscape to conceal ourselves and how to use it in a fight. On the second day we learned how to set up our tarps/ponchos for cover and along with sentry duties. On the night of the second day we were instructed to gather Intel on the local enemy. On the third day we learn how to take the fight to the enemy and win.
I could a lot more in depth on these classes, but anyone who wants to learn how to fight for his or her freedoms needs to attend these classes. The few of the things I learned during this course that Max taught me was don’t over think stuff, JUST DO IT and keep it simple, If you use a different type of ammo that you think you got a good deal on, FORGET IT, USE WHAT YOU KNOW THAT WORKS PERIOD. The last thing I want to stress is Fracking PT !!!!
In closing I want to thank everyone who was there Max, Lee, Scott, Greg, John, Brent, Russell, Mike and Brain.
P.S has anyone seen Billy?
Max adds: due to an odd number of students (or was it due to odd students?), Billy was Keepers’ battle buddy. Below is a photo of a rare sighting of Billy, although Ivan is creeping up behind him, so the prospects are not good:
Student Review: 6 Day CTT / Combat Patrol: HybridMedic
I highly suggest that if traveling you NOT do what I did and just show up the day before and try to find lodging. After the 2nd and 3rd day of CTT, you will want the hotel. It’s appropriately rigorous for the seriousness of what you will be expected to do and a warm shower, hot meal, and soft bed are very welcome to rehab some sore muscles, and you will be sore. We ended CTT with a hasty attack, which from my own personal standpoint was nice because you will do a lot of break contact drills. Which in retrospect, you will be doing a lot of when it’s just your CUTT and you don’t have a large support apparatus. You will want to save your strength and pick your battles, so it’s realistic.
The patrol class started on Day 4 with more lessons on proper patrolling, spacing, and types of patrols. More break contact drills. Day 5 is kind of a no firing day and you will get a lot of instruction on patrol bases and the creation thereof and creating blind sacks in recce patrols (see what I did there) (Yeah, Yeah, inside joke….). Day 2 ends with a close target recce patrol on the mountain side. The Mountain Men (good2go, Jon R T, his kid Brent, and myself) went WAAYYYY up on the side to come back down and do the recce. If you’ve never hunted before or done any stalking, this part will be a bit difficult to keep from making so much noise (historically the best infantrymen have been long time hunters and stalkers). Max provides instruction on night movement which is useful but some prior practice might be useful.
Day 6 goes ****************** (you’ll see) and you’ll ****************************** (censored by Max for OPSEC purposes). Then you’ll roll into rehearsals for operations related to the enemy force you observed the night before. I thoroughly enjoyed some lessons and hands-on on offensive operations, and the raid was just an absolute blast.
Instruction was high quality. Max, Lee, and 1SGT all were top notch, personable but serious about their work, and held no grudges but would use mistakes and randomness as jabs for improvement (Max adds: see how he wrote ‘top’ only two words away from 1SGT? Uh Oh!). I made PLENTY of mistakes and got yelled at a few times (as did others) but so long as you take that in mind with what you’re doing is saving your life and that of your buddy and use it to IMPROVE you will do well.
Student Review: 6 Day Combined CTT / Combat Patrol: Jon R T
CTT/CP 6 Day Class June 26-July 1 2015: Jon R T (aka Blind Sack)
This was my fourth visit to MVT and my third patrol class. Each time my perspective and understanding open up a bit more. The logic and goals of each lesson become clearer and my comfort level increases. As always the class attendees were just a great bunch of guys.
This was a special visit for me. Through an unexpected series of events, I was able to catch my spouse at a weak moment and received the maternal green light to take our 15 year old son to MVT. The background story is a lesson in and of itself (and humorous as well).
For alumni that have teenage kids and want to bring them to MVT, I would not hesitate to bring them if they have the maturity and skills to handle it. My 15 year old has been shooting for about 4-5 years and we have done a bunch of hunting together over the last 3 years or so. After attending MVT the first two times, I went over the drills with him a bit. We did buddy team drills with AR15 pattern airsoft guns and perhaps on two occasions we did live fire buddy team drills. He did some ‘penny in the magazine’ tap-rack-bang drills also. On the ranges, he performed much, much better than I had hoped. Quite honestly I was shocked how well he did. He was a superb battle buddy. Thinking about it over the last several days, I think his good performance was because almost all his experience with long guns was derived on AR patterned rifles. (Food for thought!)
I would not hesitate to bring my kid back and, when they are ready, his brothers. Attending the class with my son was one of the best experiences of my life. I hope one day that I can attend with at least 3 of my kids and make a team. That would be awesome.
Max continues to refine and improve the lessons. The new raid location was a nice change. The first day of CTT (which didn’t exist when I took the old 5 day CRCD/CP class) was very, very good. TAP-RACK-BANG! My round count to the 6 days was about 1760.
Max, Lee and Scott were great instructors and great guys. Fred’s talk was great. I think I asked Fred the most questions of all the attendees.
Lessons learned and/or reinforced:
-Assemble your entire kit before the class (including your shelter) and practice with it all if possible.
-Read about patrol formations and movement prior to the class (Contact is a good reference).
-Drink lots of water if it is hot. (Holy moly!)
-Streamline your kit.
-Boonie hats for the woods.
-Get some rain gear.
-Anti-tilt followers are nice.
-Not all flash suppressors are created equal.
-Have an orienteering compass.
-The MVT shield is a high quality piece of kit.
-Those taco magazine pouches look nice and they work.
-Velcro is very noisy in the still woods.
-You don’t want the muscle memory gorilla.
-the new MVT Rifleman Challenge course is tougher than the old one (!)….train up. *Note
Jon R T (aka Blind Sack….why?….you don’t want to know)
*Note: the 2-Mile Tactical Fitness Test has changed route. The new route has a hill in it that you do twice as part of a circuit. It’s a gut check. However, with uphill, there is plenty of downhill – it was felt that this was better than using the entrance road to the site, which was basically an uphill slog for the whole mile back to the finish. I have beta tested it, and as the winner of the first Challenge, Jon also ran it. Times have been adjusted so the Vanguard time is up by two minutes to 25 minutes and the Rifleman time is also up by two to 30 minutes. Although that is a standard 15 minute mile pace and may appear easy in writing, the 2-Miler is supposed to be a gut check, and the hills make it so. You need to get running/shuffling on the plentiful downhills to make it up.
Student Review: Land Navigation June 20/21 2015: Jason
I attended Jun 20-21 Land Nav course at MVT. What a great experience. MAX provided instruction that was first rate. His course is designed to give a student with little to no background in land navigation all the skills needed to safely and quickly move through the most difficult terrain. I attended this course with my 13 year old daughter. She picked up the instruction quickly and had a blast all weekend. This course is low stress and fun. I would highly recommend this course for people of all ages. MAX and all of his students conduct was very mature and professional. It was great to meet other Americans training and preparing themselves. After trekking about the MVT facility I believe it is world class. MAX is developing citizens with the skills needed the protect and lead there families and communities in a collapse environment. So stop making excuses and start a real training program.
Next Land Nav class: August 22/23.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics May 2015: Machine-Gun Ken
This review actually came in as a comment on the ‘MVT Tactical Training: Perspective‘ Post:
I’m with Diz, and Max.
Just finished my first Combat Team Tactics (CTT) about a month ago. My first “professional” firearm training of any type although I’ve been shooting for years.
It was a real reality check!!! Not that I thought it would be easy, but just wow. As Max said, you don’t know what you don’t know, which is why I went. I did know that I “had” to go. Too much on the line to make any excuses at all. And when someone like Max, with his experience and expertise makes available to train you, you just do it.
I’d been keeping my eyes out for a good year or two trying to find this type of training and had no luck. I found all the tacticool range type training, and even saw them at my local range but knew that wasn’t what I was looking for. After reading “Contact”, and finding out MVT existed, I think I dropped the book right then and went straight to the site to inquire about classes.
I knew it was going to be unfamilar. Uncomfortable. Out of my comfort zone. Exhausting. But you suck it the F up and be a man. If I can’t deal with 3 days during times of peace, how am I going to during times of unrest when people are shooting, kicking in doors, whatever it winds up being? I knew that I had to get this kind of training and MVT is if not the only, one of only maybe a couple that offer the “real” shit, and in my opinion the only training that is “really” worthwhile for an “oh shit, this is it” situation.
It was perfect. Stressful. Satisfying. Intense. Educational, and every other kind of thing all rolled into one. There were times I wanted to quit. Times I was thinking what did I get myself into, evidently I’m an idiot. But you press on and press through and “get it”. Like Max said, this ain’t no tactical Disney land. Lol.
I appreciate that they give a crap enough to pour their hearts and experience into training everyday normal civilians! So many training centers I found would only offer training to LE and ex Mil.
In the hand to hand combat training I do, they work stress into the training, and whether on purpose or not at MVT, they do too. It is very important because “everything” changes when you introduce stress, pressure, etc. Fine motor skills diminish. You get tunnel vision (which could be deadly for bystanders or team mates), auditory exclusion, all kinds of things. It’s super important to train under these circumstances and get used to them because when someone is shooting back, your buddies/groups lives depends on you.
We’re all bad asses in our own minds and have a tendency to have delusions that because we read this or watched this video 12 times on team movements, formations, peels, whatever, that when it comes go time we will just magically performs. It’ll be stellar… Not. I think the vast majority of MVT alumni can confirm. It’s only when you put your boots to moving and actually do it that it starts to actually take hold and become a part of you. And add live fire, real breathing human beings all around you that depend on you, shouted instructions in the midst of all of the controlled chaos, and your in for some real “in the shit” training.
I am thankful that MVT is there. I am thankful that Max and his team believe in this country and the principles of liberty, and have went full time to bring their expertise to the good people of this country. To me it is discouraging that more people don’t value liberty enough to get off their asses, drop the excuses, and deal with the looming threats the way they should be dealt with… With training. It’s a little preposterous to me that so many threats can by laying clearly in plain view and people aren’t motivated enough to bother to drop the remote and do something about it when their very lives, the lives of others, and liberty are at stake. But, hopefully in their time, and before it’s too late. I guess we all wake up at our own time in some regards. I’m talking about those who have already woken up and still choose to not take action.
I will be back, and probably get yelled and screamed at, make mistakes, but more importantly gain more skill and proficiency.
I have two so far that are planning on returning with me in the fall hopefully. MVT is a must. Period. End of story. Don’t question it. Drop every excuse. So what your old (I’m 50, at least one in the class if not two were 60+), young, fat, skinny, poor (but have 39 rifles… Sell 33 of them), live too far (I’m from Florida, and one guy drove from Montana!). Just do it!
(Because his trigger finger was that fast. Until Lee snapped it off. Only joking!)
For those wanting a slower learning curve, we have just introduced the 2 day square range based Civilian Close Combat (c3) Class. It will be taught at least initially by Lee, perhaps have guest appearances by the ‘Muscle Memory Gorilla’ and we may even persuade The First Sergeant to show up from time to time.
Student Review: Land Navigation 20/21 June 2015: Skittles
Student Review: Land Navigation 8/9 June 2015: Antony
Land Nav June 8-9
Simply put, Max’s 2 day Land Nav course is well worth your time of commitment and expense.
I have been interested in land nav for quite some time and have done a lot of reading on the subject matter and even took a basic course. I mainly used map reading for hiking and thought I was fairly decent with it until I had to actually do it while using terrain association and a compass to locate specific points in the woods. This was a good challenge for me that initially was frustrating.
In the end, after 2 days of instruction I felt more confident in my abilities and really liked Max’s customized method of instruction which highly utilized terrain association but also incorporated pace counting and other methods when applicable.
I highly recommend taking this course for obvious reasons, and for the prelude to the Rifleman’s Challenge.
Student Review: Land Navigation 8/9 June 2015: Otis
This was my first experience with MVT and land navigation.
The class is informal yet professional, which I felt made it comfortable. Max is approachable with questions and a quality instructor. He cares that you learn and learn you will. Keep your ears and mind open. Military equipment and techniques are covered in theory, but what is taught is orienteering, which seems to be much more efficient for hiking, patrolling, etc.
The terrain lends itself well to land nav. Distances are short, but the topo is such that all techniques taught can be practiced.
I didn’t know anything, except the suggested pre-reading, when I arrived. I left confident in terrain association, map reading, and general navigation. That’s a lot for two days instruction. As I’m sure is the case with all classes at MVT it’s a great value.
Useful as preparatory training for the MVT Rifleman Challenge.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics 6/7 June: Diz:
Student Review: Land Navigation 8/9 June: Diz
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics March 2015: Dawn
I am tardy in posting this review from March 2015 training (Combat Team Tactics) but I hope some will still find it helpful. First, I want to thank Max for offering this (one of a) kind of training and making it available to the average person. I am a 5’3″, 48 year old female with slightly above average physical fitness. I consider myself to have intermediate weapons skills, which I will define as general knowledge of weapons manipulation, clearing malfunctions and zeroing; albeit I have had very limited opportunities to practice these skills. At the very good recommendation from a friend, I attended a basic carbine class prior to signing up for CTT. Max is a fantastic instructor and will work with your level of skill to successful completion of the drills but I would strongly recommend you have a close relationship with your weapon in order to get the most from the class. This is not a beginner course, not in terms of weapons skillset set nor physical fitness. I would read class reviews as there is a wealth of information from alumni to help you gauge appropriate preparation.
I was the only female in our group of 12. The entire training was professional and “fair” – I was expected to pull my weight and participate as all the other students, but not once was I uncomfortable or required to do a drill I was not prepared to execute (as long as I paid attention to the instructions). If you are a female interested in developing your tactical skills, please don’t overlook this type of class. Even though you may be the only female in a class, I can say from experience you will succeed as long as you have taken the proper steps to know your weapon. The skills taught by Max are neutral in terms of gender. Also, women tend to be easier to train and in many cases can a better shot than men. If you have only practiced on square ranges (or worse indoors with air conditioning), by comparison you will find the conditions rustic, the terrain challenging and the training demanding. However, there is absolutely no comparison to the type of tactical training you will get in Max’s courses. Your time and money will be well spent! Last but not least, I never felt as if this training was promoting violence or unnecessary aggression. I simply felt empowered with knowledge and experience of tactical response should I ever be in the position to defend myself and others. In his book and his training, Max comments on avoidance first.
Day 1 weapons manipulation on the square range was very instrumental in setting me up to complete the rest of course. Max was smart to add this day to practice malfunctions and sort out equipment glitches prior to introducing students to the range higher up the mountain. Don’t short change yourself on this day. Even if you find some of the drills remedial to your skill level, take advantage of this time and focus. Max is taking you through these drills for a reason and you will be most grateful during the following two days. And if you don’t pay attention, you will likely get the “that guy” label the very first day. You will learn quickly that while Max’s style of instruction leaves room for humor and sarcasm, he is very serious about safety and reinforcing the important things you need to complete the course. As simple as this sounds, just LISTEN.
During Day 2 and 3 I completed drills that I would not have thought possible. I attribute this to Max’s ability as an instructor. After all, he took a group of regular folks, most with minimal prior tactical training and had us working in battle buddy and four-man teams by the end of the weekend…very impressive in my book. My overall take was the practical application and how this is actually what you would need if ever faced with responding to a threat. Also, I thought Max was very thorough in drills to develop muscle memory. The drills build upon each other and each one has a purpose – so back to that just LISTEN comment because it will serve you well.
My lessons learned can be summarized by:
(1) Don’t try anything new on race day. I learned this gear tip training for a marathon and triathlon years ago. It simply means test your gear before race day and don’t try anything new. I think this is a good practice for tactical training. New items generally result in realizing (too late) that something does not work like you thought. You will have enough on your mind absorbing information about the drills and properly following instructions. Learning and using your gear in advance will condition your body and mean less blisters or other physical discomfort. Also, the more muscle memory you have for your gear the better for application under stress in the drills.
(2) As follow to (1) set up your battle belt before class. You will find this information in Max’s book Contact, Chapter 2 in a gear blog.
(3) Practice packing your gear a few times before class. And repack. And then repack again. You will be hauling this stuff up a mountain. Be mindful your gear will be transported in an ATV vehicle with other students. I found after Day 1, I eliminated about half the stuff I thought I would need. But don’t ditch your water supply, make sure you stay hydrated.
(4) Most people emphasize PT, and I do as well. I prepared for class with mostly cross-fit style exercise in addition to short distance running. Still, my physical abilities were tested.
In summary, Max provides a safe and effective opportunity to learn tactics that in my opinion are very practical. Max has an exceptional ability as an instructor to bring people with a variety of skill levels to combined success. As mentioned before, I encourage you to read reviews from my classmates and other alumni who give more thorough reviews about gear and day-to-day details on the CTT course.
Student Review: MVT 12 Weeks to the Rifleman Challenge Tactical Fitness Training Plan
With the MVT Rifleman Challenge coming up in September and with Max posting the start date of the 12 Weeks to the MVT Rifleman Challenge, I thought I would finish my AAR for this program. Everyone that has been to MVT knows that you wished you had been in better physical condition. I participated in the CCT/CP class in November of 2014. It kicked my butt. The first few days were good, but when you aren’t used to running (crawling by the end of the 6 days) up and down mountains carrying a pack, battle belt, and rifle, then it will start to take a toll on you. Then I saw Max and Hunter had created programs to help improve your “tactical” fitness. Awesome, because I had no idea what I needed to do other than running. The program has lots of features like, emails everyday to let you know what the next workout will be. You can also download the app and have it on your phone. You can also link GPS watches (see compatibility on the website) if you have one. So on with the AAR.
I’m going to tell on myself here, so that all will see how well this program works. I’m a 39 year old smoker (yes, I said it, a smoker) that hasn’t done any PT in close to 6 years. I was lazy and really didn’t care what kind of shape I was in. After completing the 6 day class, I realized (should have been a lot sooner) that I need to get my act together. So, with that being said here is what the program will do for you.
The program eases you into it, not saying it’s easy though. One word of advice here, do what the program says, run when it says run, walk when it says walk. If you are not tired when you get through, then you didn’t do it right. After a week, to get you used to running and wearing a pack, you get a 2 miler for a test, to see where you are and for comparison. I completed my first 2 miler with 35 lb Bergen (no rifle) on somewhat flat terrain in slightly less than 30 minutes. I had to walk a lot. That’s a 15 minute mile with complete exhaustion at the end. It was all I could do. The MVT Rifleman Challenge requirements were (as they have changed do to route change): Rifleman- 28 minutes and Vanguard- 23 minutes. Remember this is just a test. It gives you an idea of where you are improving. Also, the MVT Rifleman 2 miler is on hilly terrain, with 30 lb Bergen and a rifle. Remember my time as we will get back to that later.
As you progress through the program you will start TABing. Max explains this in a video. It’s basically, run downhill, shuffle on the flats, and walk (with a purpose) up hill, opening your stride and swinging your arms. The program also incorporates some weight training (you don’t need any special equipment, just something you can use for weight). This will help you with carrying your rifle, going prone to standing and back again, and with the litter carry at the Rifleman Challenge.
This is not a non-stop PT program. There are some “off” days to allow your body to recover and repair. You need these, use them. These days you incorporate some shooting and dry fires (this is also in the program).
The program talks about training zones. I didn’t use these, but will the next time through the program, as I feel they will dramatically help improve my overall physical fitness.
Near the end of the program, it tests you on the 2 miler once again. This time I completed it on semi-hilly terrain with a big set of stairs at the end. Again, I used a 35 lb Bergen with no rifle. I completed it in 25:22. That’s almost 5 minutes off my original time. I was amazed at how much I had improved. Still not where I wanted to be (I was looking for Vanguard in the fall challenge), still had plenty of time.
Well, things changed. I finished the program and was going to start it over, after a break, and be ready for the fall challenge, but was asked by fellow teammates (they also did the program) to go to the spring challenge. Not what I was ready for, but if you don’t pass you get a training weekend and get to go back again to the next challenge. You can’t beat that. Let’s go.
The first thing you do at the MVT Rifleman Challenge is the 2 miler. At least I get that out of the way quick. When I started the run, I was thinking the whole time “if this was real, then I would be running up to help my fellow teammates who are under fire. I need to get there as quickly as possible”. When I finished, I was amazed at my time, under 26 minutes (not sure of the exact time). Now you may be thinking “well that’s what you did the last test”. Well, it is totally different at MVT as you all know. Just to show that it’s not just about the run, I finished 3rd overall at the challenge. 1st place ran the 2 miler in a very impressive time of 18 minutes (was in his 50’s). I did not get the coveted :Vanguard”, but I am very happy to say that I am an “MVT Rifleman”.
This is here to show you that it is possible; you just have to want it. It is well worth the money. Get this program. There are no excuses, only choices. I’m tired of hearing people say “I’m too old” or “I have too many injuries”. Suck it up, get off your ass and get out there. Why? BFYTW!
Student Review: Combat Patrol May 2015: Mike H
AAR Combat Patrol Class May 2015
By Mike H
First visit to West Virginia since CRCD in March 2014. Have a long haul to get there(over 1160 miles each way) but I’ll say the trip was worth it. Any eye opener to say the least. Coming there all this way and then forming up a team of guys that just met is a challenge in itself. Sunday and Monday nights in hotels allowed myself to reflect and put together some notes from the weekend. Also reviewed my copy of “Contact”…nice way to fill in the meatspace. Here’s what I got…..
Arrival…get settled in Romney early if you can…this will allow you get your gear squared away. Get some food and rest the night before class and stay hydrated.
Met a couple of the guys the night before class….determined we would convoy to rally point next morning…good idea.
Some comments on various topics(in no particular order):
PT: Stressed here big time/all the time….well always increase your PT levels, you will benefit when you get to class. I’ve purchased the training peaks plans and have gone thru two rotations. I live in a flat AO so I realize now I’m going to have to amp up my workout to get up to speed for WV. I’m a slow mover in the first place and by Sunday I was gassed. My workout will now feature more off the road time on any hilly terrain I can find.
Rifle and Ammo: Only had one issue and that’s when I tried a magazine of Wolf Mil Classic…didn’t feed worth a crap. I do need to square away my sling setup…that will allow me to control my rifle’s muzzle better and also conduct other functions in the field. My muzzle control was terrible and I’m still pissed about that. CTT is in the near future for me…I would look forward to that added first day.
Gear: Again I need to get my gear set up better to allow better mag changes which will lead to more rounds on the target. I did use a dump pouch for the first time and even dropped a mag down my smock front..so one thing I can say is a didn’t lose a mag which could be important in SHTF.
I used a Snugpak Endurance ruck(40L) and it worked well. I could in the future add some pouches for mags, water, admin but I was fine just using it and stuffing it. Put a bladder in there along with an extra canteen so water wasn’t and issue. I had one of those fold up Esbit stoves with gel fuel and cooked two meals no problem.
Sleep system was a poncho liner inside a bivy on top of a thermarest pad…I was fine for the night. Get a MVT shield ….nice piece of kit, I have to bring some more bungees next time for quick setup.
Eat enough and drink water! You will burn thru your energy pretty quick.
Take notes through out….again I took the two nights after getting home it collect notes and write other thoughts.
Max’s facility continues to evolve…really has a nice set up.
Max with his cadre are top notch….safety is a priority and the knowledge through experience is first class. Thanks to Max, Chris, and Fred.
Thanks to all the other attendees….enjoyed your company and look forward to bumping into you again.
So in closing I plan to attend a CTT class after working my PT up to a level that keeps me able to push thru the stress and keeps my situational awareness complete. Lots of windshield time for me but well worth it. If you haven’t attended a class get signed up; a unique experience!
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics April 2015: Palmetto
I’m getting this posted a lot later than I intended – so apologies for that. This was my second training attendance at MVT. My first training was Combat Rifle back in November, 2014 – I invite folks to go back in the student reviews to read my AAR on that course – there is a lot of good info there that I won’t take space to repeat in this review.
The first day of Combat Team Tactics (CTT) is an intense, condensed version of Combat Rifle. The first day lays a solid foundation of basics upon which the rest of the weekend is built: zeroing, malfunction drills, movement, react to contact (RTR drills) and a ton of other information and advice. If there are problems with your rifle, they will be exposed and evident on this day – which is good – it allows the student to fix problems and get things squared away for the next two days. For instance, one student had chronic malfunctions with his weapon on Day One but Max was able to work with him and diagnose the problem and the student was able to make adjustments that allowed him to operate smoothly the next two days.
Day Two and Day Three are spent on the tactical ranges which are over the hill, away from the square range and parking area. Students are shuttled to the tactical range four at a time in an ATV. You will not have access to your vehicle during these days so you take everything you need with you when you shuttle. Max provides drinking water and primitive latrines. The lecture periods are held in the “schoolhouse” which is a covered shelter with comfortable, folding, camp chairs and a whiteboard.
The tactical training is progressive. The segments are first described in lecture then there will be a demonstration and/or dry-run before moving to live fire. Each segment builds on the previous. Most progressions start as individual movements then go to buddy pair movements then go to four man team movements. I won’t go into a lot of detail on the movements because that is well covered in the course description and plenty of other student reviews.
The course is challenging and demanding both physically and mentally. I don’t care who you are – Gomer Pyle or Sgt. Rock – you will be heavily taxed both physically and mentally by this course. But the flip side to that coin is that, no matter who you are, Gomer Pyle or Sgt. Rock, you can complete the course and you will greatly benefit from it.
The course is tough physically. You will be running up and down hills, over leaves, rocks, mud, sticks, logs and everything else one can expect to find in the woods. You will be squatting, ducking and diving for cover then jumping back up to run a few more yards. You will be carrying more weight than most people are used to carrying, especially while running around. Several loaded magazines, water, a rifle, medical kit, some rations may not be too much of a load hanging off your belt or vest while standing in your living room; but try lugging that stuff around for hours while running around in the woods and those pounds start to feel like tons by the end of the day. Just try holding an 8 or 10 pound rifle all day, lifting it up to sight targets over and over, while breathing hard – it’s a lot different from plinking on the square range back home.
So then do you have to be a PT stud to do this course? There is a danger in both over-emphasizing and under-emphasizing the need for being in shape to take CTT training. Obviously, the better shape you are in the better you will perform and the more you can concentrate on learning the skills rather than gasping for air and moving your limbs. You don’t need to be a PT stud but you also don’t want to be a slob who never walks farther than from the couch to the fridge. Just try to be in the best shape that YOU can be in. Here is where you can really trust Max. He knows how to gauge a student’s limits and he knows how to push a student to the limits of their capabilities but not beyond.
On a personal note, my PT level was pretty low when I attended Combat Rifle in November. I learned a lot in CR about the skills I needed to work on and the PT improvements I needed to make. When I returned five months later for CTT I was in much better shape in both skills and PT. So was my PT top notch for CTT? Heavens no! Those WV hills kicked my tail and had me sucking wind like I was on a ventilator – it was ragged and ugly. I could have put off going to CTT and done PT for another year but I didn’t want to wait; to me it was more important to get the training while I still had the opportunity and I believe I made the right choice. Max recognized what my limits were and he pushed me to my limits but not beyond. Note that I did NOT say Max took it easy on me, not at all. He just didn’t beat me beyond what I could recover from.
Some final thoughts/advice on PT: Don’t put off taking CTT until you think you are in good enough shape; go ahead and sign up for a class now a few months out and use the time you are waiting to get in as good of shape as you can. Having a hard date on the calendar is a strong motivator to get off your tail and do your PT. I found that the CTT course hit me hard physically in two areas: my wind/cardio and my thigh muscles and I attribute both to dealing with the hills. A consistent, 2 to 6 month regime of burpees, squats and hill sprints should get the average Joe up to snuff enough to hack it. Max also offers several PT conditioning plans designed by an Olympic trainer who is also an MVT alum.
When you are at MVT for training you are being totally immersed and saturated in weapons training and team tactics. It is a whole different world. You are in the woods, wearing your gear, surrounded by like-minded folks, shooting combat rifles all day long for three days. You won’t know how much you change over those days until you return home and realize that you won’t be getting up, putting on your gear and shooting all day with your buddies – you are going to seriously miss it and you will start planning to go back for more training.
Like I said, you will want to come back for more. There are plenty of progression training courses available to come back for but let me put in a plug for doing repeat courses. While I did not repeat a course per se, I did complete Combat Rifle and come back for Combat Team Tactics. The first day of CTT is a condensed version of CR and all the reloads, manipulations and malfunctions drills are the same. I absorbed a lot of instruction in CR but when material was repeated in CTT I experienced a deeper, more internalized understanding and ownership of the instruction. Realizing this, it’s becoming a dilemma for me to decide whether to repeat CTT or move forward with Combat Patrol.
Let me mention a bit about the importance I see in getting this training. As I mentioned, when you are at MVT you are immersed in a different world. The weekend I was at CTT was the weekend of the Baltimore riots. Getting news of the riots while we were there in training was strange and surreal to me. But it also emphasized the point that what happened in Baltimore and Ferguson could now easily happen anywhere in the country at any time. In times of large-scale civil unrest you will not be adequately prepared to defend your family, home or neighborhood just having had conventional, concealed-carry, handgun defense training. If you face civil unrest or even a limited “without rule of law” situation, you will be in a much better position to prevail with MVT CTT training under your belt. But now is the time to get the training – if you wait until the wolf is at the door, it’s too late.
I’ll end with this: CTT is tough and demanding. MVT is a serious training facility teaching serious skills. This isn’t a fantasy camp and Max isn’t there to coddle you or be your buddy. You will work hard and stretch your limits. But the payoff is that, after you complete the course, you will feel a very real sense of accomplishment, growth and confidence that very few people experience and that only comes from hard effort working under expert instruction. MVT truly offers a remarkable opportunity and a remarkable value.
Student Review: Combat Patrol May 2015: ‘That Guy’
Combat Patrol 1503
I hope you will indulge me on this introspective AAR. If you want bullet points on the curriculum, feel free to read them under the class description. Special thanks to Ranger Chris for his contribution to the class and deep knowledge of cool movie quotes – and Fred for not seeing us creep up on him through that creek bed despite his wide array of technology.
If you are like me and believe defending liberty and your family is of the highest order, you can’t just talk the talk. Classes at MVT will help you walk the walk. You can learn range drills on YouTube all day long. But there’s nothing I know of that can replicate the experience of a combat environment like Combat Patrol.
Showing up Friday morning I knew a little of what to expect having taken CTT (which you must to do CP). Max isn’t there to just watch you burn enough rounds at IPSC targets to feel like you got your money’s worth. He expects you to perform. Obviously safety is reason enough but it goes beyond that. You can tell the pride in what he does is not about the money. It’s much deeper than that. Not speaking for him, but my sense is that he is driven to see students walk out of his classes truly better prepared and more effective at the things that matters most – preserving life and liberty should those things ever become in question.
Exhausted. Exhilarated. Humbled.
I can’t think of anything else you can do in life that offers those three intense feelings simultaneously. But that’s how I felt hopping off the ATV following the final exercise of Combat Patrol. I’m sure these sentiments went for many others in the class.
Combat Patrol is grueling. Why? While Max might say, “Because fuck you, that’s why.” – the reality is it has to be. If square range classes are hitting balls in a batting cage, these classes are like taking batting practice with Nolan Ryan in his prime throwing. And who wouldn’t pay $600 for three days of that!
You will be exhausted come Sunday afternoon – I don’t care what kind of shape you think you’re in. The terrain will tax your body. The amount of information will stretch your mind. The 24 hour exercise will test your heart. If you’re not at least a bit intimidated by all this at some point during the weekend, you’re either superhuman (you’re not) or in denial about reality. Combat Patrol is the closest thing civilians like you and I will ever experience to combat – short of the real thing. If you’re looking for the real deal, this is it.
But despite being physically smoked and mentally drained you can’t help but feel exhilaration at the end of it all. Covered in dirt, drenched with sweat and clutching a smoking hot weapon, you’ll be able to say “I did it”. You’ll walk (well, maybe limp 😉 away with more confidence (real confidence – not ego inflating BS) than you walked in with. It’s all about breaking through your own self-imposed barriers and I can’t help but think the value of this training can extend beyond defending life and home.
Be prepared to be humbled too. You might think you’re in super shape but you’ll probably find out otherwise here. You might think you have the perfect kit but you’ll find out otherwise here. *Special note to gear whores – if you really want to find out if your setup will actually work in a real life situation (not in front of a mirror in your basement) – take this class. It will save you money in the long run. Maybe even your life.
You also might think you are “super tactical guy” because you’ve taken a few classes from some sexy-resumed instructors or maybe you can pound small groups into paper at 100 yards from a bench on a Sunday afternoon. Well, guess what? Reality – in this case combat, doesn’t care about those things. Combat Patrol will teach you what really matters. Plan. Execute. Shoot. Move. Communicate. React. Endure. Overcome.
If this all sounds more like a personal challenge than an AAR, maybe it is. You’ll have to go to WV to find out for yourself – if you have the balls.
AAR of Combat Team Tactics (CTT) 1505
I am going to have a hard time saying anything that Diz did not cover in his AAR from this class
His AAR covers the class progression really well. Me repeating that is not useful…..
So I am going to do some inline comments.
“Get your headspace set and get ready to work.”
Be prepared with your personal organization (travel, food/water, ammo, gear, etc) in advance as much as you can. Be focused on the class and be open to learn.
“The training itself is hard, and it will push you to your limits. But it is attainable.”
I am 46 and in just OK shape. I am not overweight but my fitness level is not that of an athlete. I was gassed on the Saturday evolution of fighting up. Big Time.
IF I had been concentrating on WHAT I was taught and being deliberate about the motions of the drill I probably would have been GTG. I was moving way too fast and too far on every bounding movement. The point here is that spastic movement for the sake of trying to be quick is cheating you out of the real lesson which is cover your buddy’s asses safely so they can move to their next cover. Pick your spot, move safely and deliberately in to position, and start covering fire so your team can either win the firefight and clear the position or GTFO alive. I tried so hard to be quick, that I winged a tree with my shoulder, got spun and committed a safety violation with my muzzle due to the sudden change in my torso’s direction. To quote Lee ”YOU MUST BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR BODY”
Yes, it was delivered in BOLD.
“I have not mentioned the first day of weapons manipulation training. This is actually very good stuff and sets the stage for the upcoming training. Everyone needs it, to one degree or another, and now we are all on the same sheet of music, which is a very good tune, by the way.”
Nothing to add here…The malfunction drills are excellent. Simple as that.
I was not a participant in this portion of the class; I don’t own the required gear. I was allowed to sit on the Group W Bench at the square range to observe the zeroing exercise and some drills. Besides being freaking cool to watch, it was an introduction to what rifle fire at night really looks like. Generally rifle shooting at night seems to be discouraged pretty much everywhere I have ever lived with the exception of raccoon hunting.
To quote what I heard Max say during the range drills :< Max accent on> “In the military, you don’t do this until…until…until FUCKING FOREVER” <Max accent off>
That about sums that part up completely.
“First off, just let me say, you’re going to get yelled at. Yes, actually yelled at. Oh my.”
The yelling is simply louder instructions. There is live rifle fire right fucking there. It needs to be yelled to be heard. To quote the Muscle Memory Gorilla: “If it is loud, it is important.” There is nothing personal here. Move on.
“That being said, Max knows his shit.”
I have no specific frame of reference from any prior Military experience to judge however there are plenty of AARs from prior service that will back this up for Diz.
“He has deep knowledge and experience to teach you this stuff. And is actually a very good instructor who is capable of doing so.”
I can agree with Max being a very good instructor. He has the talent and the art down. Instructing is not all that easy. I have a bunch of years in the auto racing/high performance driving world. Some time as an instructor and I know how hard it is to convey the information to the student in a way they can absorb and execute the lesson. The quality of the instruction is very high.
“Lee is a fucking gem…..Will he get into your face? Oh yeah, skippy, indeed he will. But know this; if you can operate with his bark in your face, you are well on the way to being operational.”
See the above about loud = important. Again, this is not personal in any way.
“The training facilities. It is a heavily wooded, steeply hilled environment. It is difficult terrain and rightly so… The live fire lanes are awesome…”
Max put a lot of time and effort into developing this facility to mesh with the lessons he is providing. He has done an excellent job with this. The facility is very good.
“Weapons. Just a quick note. Keep your weapon light.”
I brought 2 rifles in case of a fail or just BFYTY… My ‘better’ rifle and an out of the box M&P Sport with a sling and a Bushnell red dot. The better rifle has a 1×4 with the mount and is noticeably heavier than the Sport. I zeroed both but set out to see how the Sport would do since it is a budget rifle ( more easily affordable). The gun ran all weekend. I had a double feed on Sunday during one evolution. That was the only malf and thanks to the practice Friday, I cleared it and rocked on. Blasphemy alert: I did not field strip and clean the rifle all weekend. I DID keep it wet and once Max ‘reminded’ me to get more lube on it because he heard the sound of the bolt carrier drying up…
“Every extra ounce on that piece is extra work on every evolution.”
It’s OK to have a space gun if you like but you don’t need it in this class. Why work extra hard? It takes away from the lesson.
“Equipment. Again keeping it lightweight is the key… Take only what you need.”
I used repurposed surplus FLC vest belt as my battle belt with a 3 hole USGI mag pouch for ready mags and 3 double USGI mag pouches hung on the vest with the belt in the vest reversed like a chest rig. Was it ideal? No fucking way. Did it work? Yes it did. It also helped me decide what the next version will need to be for ME. Gear is expensive if it is worth a shit so I did not want to just buy what I saw the cool kids wearing.
“Ammo. Typical round counts were over a thousand.”
I didn’t count so no specific numbers but I had plenty with me just for insurance or in case a buddy ran low. I used up some random stuff I had (AE black box, some Tula, some Remington .223) and finished up with Wolf Gold. Zero ammo issues. You WILL drop live rounds on the ground and leave them there; you will destroy a few rounds doing the malf drills. Oh well…
“Water. I would go through 1 1/2 gal a day, easy. I try for about 16 oz an hour when I train, so this is about right.”
Over hydrate…. Plenty of places to piss. No point screwing your performance due to dehydration.
“Food. Get good high energy carbs plus a little protein”
This one is person specific but you will be burning a shit load of calories so make sure you can replace that energy regularly. I like trail mix with M&Ms. If you need a really quick boost, a squeeze bottle of honey is the ticket. The honey will be fuel almost immediately.
“PT. Oh you knew this one was coming.”
Yeah… do more. My problem was cardio fitness from sitting on my ass for the last 10 years as a desk jockey. Enduring efforts eventually wipe me out due to this. I was going to run a double evolution on Sat. to help square up the team numbers but after the first run(see above gassed comment) I was not feeling like I could complete the second run safely due to lack of fitness. This really hit me because if I HAD to keep going, I was fucked.
“Improve. I would like to see more “encouragement” towards team building from the get-go.”
This is a really good improve. I was lucky to be attending with guys I know already and we are already a ‘team’ in some respects. I hadn’t really considered how the solo attendees might have felt, just showing up. Knowing in advance that if you didn’t bring a buddy, you were going to get one assigned is helpful. Sorting that shit out as early as possible is the way to go.
“Get out and talk with everyone else. Help each other prep for the next day. This is on us as students.”
Bolded for emphasis. Maximize the experience by participating fully.
(Max: we traditionally have dinner together on the Saturday night).
This part of the weekend is really great. Good food and good company builds rapport.
“Brief bios of everyone at the beginning. Instructors and students. Make everyone get to know each other. Quickly. Come out of your shell.”
Even if it is just names…. We forgot to formally do this but informally I saw plenty of interaction among the students.
Sustain. Training progression. Emphasis on 4-man teams. TEAMWORK. Quality of instruction. MINDSET.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics May 2015: MikeQ
I’m not going to cover the actual steps taken and items MVT teaches. There are many other AAR’s which do that better than I can. I plan on discussing the “take-aways” as I like to call them.
Max and Lee, as others have stated, are very professional. When you get an ass chewing, you deserved it. When you did well they told you so. They then gave a “little polish tip” to make you even better. If you can’t take a correction when its needed then “grow a pair” and man-up.
Equipment: This is a rabbit hole each person must take on their own. After talking with others who’ve taken this course, every time results in an adjustment. Hell, look through the blog history and see the changes Max himself has gone through! Diz’s review gave a good account of what you really need for the class. I brought more and I’m glad I did. I wanted to train as realistically as possible. In other words I wanted all the equipment I had on my BB because that’s what I’ll need to sustain me for 12 – 18 hours… All of that being said. There will be adjustments I’m going to make. Each person must make that determination themselves.
Equipment: Mark all of your magazine with highly reflective tape so you can find them. That wonderful “earth” colored mags which are designed to blend in with the ground… Guess what? THEY BLEND IN WITH THE GROUND! I lost 4 mags over the weekend. 1 broke and 3 are out there right now sprouting into Pmag trees for the next generation.
Muscle Memory: The 5 main weapon malfunctions will be practiced every week. My rifle ran well the whole weekend with only 2 failure to battery. Other people had more issues but none horribly so. The Friday before the running ranges is all about weapon manipulation. These weapon stoppage drills lasted about 2-3 hours. They are AWESOME. Especially when your “buddy” induces the malfunction and you have to clear it. Excellent learning points there. If you have someone at home who can do this for you for 20 minutes each weekend it will make your malfunction clearance much better.
Muscle Memory: Practice speed reloads and tactical reloads. Speed reloading I was fine with. The tactical reloads were causing me issues. After receiving a few “polish tips” I’m nearly as fast at tactical reloads as speed reloads. Thanks to both Lee and Fred for those particular tips.
Team Building: Go to dinner every single night with the people training. Every night! The geographic diversity is surprising. Everyone there has the same basic mindset so the conversations are everything you are desperately looking for. (you know what I mean) Enjoy the time off together, besides, there really nothing else to do in Romney…
Team Building: You will have time “off” between drills. During that time practice the steps with your team mates. Practice, Practice, Practice. Diz made a good comment about bring 100 mags loaded so you don’t have to spend time doing that between drills. 30 will be more than enough – per day. Unless of course you’re “Machine Gun Ken”. J
PT: Everyone talks about this but until you’ve actually run up those hills, on a daily basis, you have no idea. I thought I was in good shape, and I was, until I pulled my hamstring damn near 1st thing Saturday morning. For the rest of the day I was half of the “old and busted” team. I literally limped through the rest of the day and didn’t even kneel down the rest of the day, much less going prone. The next day, after sufficient use of the “stick”, I was able to perform much better. Kneeling, prone, and even some light running. I am at one level glad I hurt myself. I was so focused on moving fast I was throwing my body around the woods. I was going so fast I literally, tripped on stumps, and almost flagged a team mate with my muzzle. Slowing down, through injury, forced me to focus on where I was going, what I was doing, so I would not injure myself further. In the end I gained a lot more from the training because of that.
Knowledge: Think of standing in front of firehose at full blast. There is that much coming at you. If you zone out for even 10 seconds you’ve missed something. I made a critical mistake in one exercise because I forgot one of the important steps in a fight back scenario. Too much information and in the heat of the moment I forgot. I almost got the “that guy” patch… 10 pull-ups later… This class needs to be taken at least twice if not three times. There is that much information coming at you, you simply cannot process all of it fast enough. The information needs to be acquired and turned into muscle memory so you’re NOT thinking about these basic activities. Besides the course changes all of the time. Apparently Saturday used to be easier than Sunday. They are now both equal in length and duration as far as I could tell.
Visual Acuity: I’m a city boy. I’ve spent time in the woods but only when hiking or camping. No real time as of late. Therefore I had issues acquiring the targets sometimes. Especially while firing and maneuvering on an existing threat. I did not get my eyes off the target enough to look around and make sure there were no other targets. I kept trying to put Ivan back in his hole that I didn’t see his buddy pop up! That seemed to be a continuing thread for everyone. 360 degree eyes are needed. The more comfortable you become with your scanning and rifle skills I think the better you’ll get. But you have to fight the tunnel vision. Also as the weekend progresses the target aren’t always going to pop up where Max says they will. Those devious little Ivan’s come out of the woodwork sometimes! Little Bastards! Other times they wouldn’t go down! At that point I would find myself focusing on putting them down and nothing else. Try and pull your head up out of the stream so you can see the “muscle memory monkey” sneaking up on your ass!
Real Experience: There is no square range substitute which can compare with this experience. What square range can you feel the pressure wave of every shot from your teammate roll up or down the length of your body? Where else, in a dynamic environment, can you feel his hot brass smacking you in the head while another team is maneuvering on the target? (Why are you that close to each other in the first place…) Can you stay focused on your job while this occurs? How about the shear noise level of a teammate putting rounds into a target, while still communicating? Where else can you feel the comradery of protecting a teammate, while he protects you? This is where the rubber meets the road folks. Do you have what it takes to perform at the level your teammates (i.e. family) deserve? Do they? Can you honestly expect a teammate to trust you that much? If you take this class and can’t finish even part of it because of lack of PT then the definite answer is NO!
I went with a team of guys and that was great. But all of the other guys there were singles, except for one pair. Everyone gelled together well. Friday was little slow on the uptake in team building. But those dinners each night really help to reinforce the bonding experience.
To all of my compatriots in that class, thank you. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone. I’m looking forward to more of this training in the future.
To Max and Lee, thank you as well. I never took any criticism personally. Everything was done at a professional level. The knowledge and experience gained is literally priceless. Thank you.
I should state that you’ll get out of this plan what you put into it. If you half ass it, you’ll get half ass results. Remember the only person you’re cheating is yourself. Well yourself and your family. If you can’t get off the “X” because you’re too big to maneuver then you die and so will your wife and children (or perhaps a fate worse than death for your wife…)
Pre-plan: Let me begin by saying that I’m 36 years old and was in fairly decent shape. I used to run every single day approximately 4 miles. However I did not do any strength training. I am 5’-11” and weighed 174 lbs. I ran the 1st 2-miler in 23 minutes 14 seconds. I give you all of these numbers as a baseline for the results which are shown at the end.
During-plan: The plan is well thought out with plenty of alternating exercises which allows a one day recovery. In other words your basic cardio one day, strength the next day, etc. The weekends are usually the harder cardio times with “days off”. The days off are spent doing dry fire exercises and range work. On average there was at least 1 to 2 trips to the range per week. The 1st two weeks of the plan were fairly easy for me but after that became real challenging.
The plan also includes a heart rate monitoring portion which will push you into another zone. I failed to follow this step because I don’t have a heart rate monitor. (I cheated myself on this level) I’m going to modify the plan starting around week 3 or so and start over, using the heart rate monitor and push myself to get better. (once I recover from my hamstring pull I acquired this weekend at CTT) Even being in good shape a simple muscle pull can really slow you down. I was able to push through however, since it was not a major ordeal. (Thanks to Diz for his “stick”, without which I could not have completed Sunday’s portion.)
Post-plan: I’m still 5’-11” (well maybe a little less because of the ruck pushing me down! J ) I now weight 166 lbs. My final 2-miler was completed in 21 minutes 18 seconds. Therefore I lost a total of 8 pounds and shaved just shy of 2 minutes off my 2-miler time. I was also able to complete CTT without too much muscle fatigue. Nothing different than what I normally have after each weekend on the plan!
1.) I really enjoyed this plan and actually looked forward to it every day.
2.) Make sure the shoes you wear are well broken in before you start.
3.) Pick the best time of the day for you to do these exercises and stick to that. If you don’t stay with that schedule, life will get in the way and next thing you know you’ve missed 4 days.
4.) Only equipment needed is appropriate clothing, shoes, rucksack, and a pullup bar.
I’m looking forward to the release of weeks 9-16 plan. I suspect there will be a lot more 8 mile TABs…
My excuses for not going to MVT.
“Why should I take a course from some funny sounding guy with a silly nick name?”
Well, Max has good qualifications: He trained Paras in England. (Insert the link to para training video) If you watch the video you will see how the instructors always lead from the front. He is not teaching square range tacticool stuff. His facility is awesome, with valleys and trees for cover, as well as pop up targets. He has enough land and several ranges that you don’t get bored of shooting the same targets day after day. (as if that could happen any how….)
“He is too far away. I don’t have enough time.”
For the last CTT some guy drove from Nebraska or Montana just to go to the course. Others came from as far as Florida. It just depends how much you really want to have this kind of training. Oh, and Max will come to your location if you can get a group together.
“Too much money..”
$200 a day is the industry standard for a day of firearm training. And that is for a day at an “easy to maintain” square range, not a huge multi acre complex with pop up targets. For what Max charges it is very reasonable.
“I’m not some high speed Special Forces dude with a big beard”… (Translation): I don’t have a whole lot of experience running and moving with a rifle (who does really anyhow?), and I don’t want to look like a real nube in front of the others…
This is not a beginner course on basic rifle manipulation. The better you can reload and handle your rifle the better. Practice reloads (make sure the rifle is empty first…) at home. With your gear on lie on the floor and do tactical reloads and admin reloads. Do that every night for a month and you will be surprised at how fast you can get at it. Then do the reloads in the dark for added practice. Another thing to practice is Ready ups with an unloaded rifle. Start with the rifle pointing to the ground bring it up, look through the sights-safety off- pull trigger-( you did check to see if it was unloaded first?)- safety on-lower back down. Repeat 30 times a night.
“I’m scared of how my PT compares to the other students.”
Not to worry. If everyone waited until they were in “tri-athlete condition” we would never go. Once you send the money in… then you can ramp up your training. Max will not push you beyond your limits. The goal is to learn stuff, not to physically exhaust you. Buy Max’s training program so you know how you will be compared to others.
“I only have a cheap AR and not some “uber” weapon.” The quality of today’s ARs will get you through the course. Max also has loaner rifles for rent if you really need one. Also don’t worry if none of your gear matches…this is training anyhow, and you don’t want to crawl around in your good pants anyways.
“It’s too dangerous-running and shooting. Do I trust these complete strangers not to accidentally put a bullet in me?”
Yes it is dangerous- you will sign a waiver. But walking across the street is also dangerous. Max is very safety conscious, with safety briefings at the start of each day. At no time did I feel uncomfortable with any of the guys in our group. Muzzle awareness is very strict.
“I’m going to pay money to have someone yell at me? Are you crazy?”
I don’t know where this yelling thing came about but Max and his staff Lee were never mean spirited in their corrections. They have to yell during the exercises- duh.. Afterwards their comments were always geared at breaking though my adrenaline induced brain fog: “WHAT were you thinking being way over there? Were you even LOOKING at your teammates?”
So why not go. The instructors are excellent, the facilities are fantastic. If I am unsure of my skill level, I can practice my reloads and start doing more PT. Safety is a priority at MVT. And the best reason to go to MVT is that it is Super Fun! Are you kidding me- I get to practice cool things- getting behind cover- crawling through the dirt- blasting at pop up targets, while keeping track of my buddy beside me- waiting for my cue to move “Bravo MOOVE!”, and replying “Bravo MOOVING!!”, jumping up from cover, “sprinting” to the next cover, diving down- locating the targets, firing again… Feeling the barrel get hot from three or four mag changes- the leaf litter being blown away from the muzzle blast…. AWESOME!!!!
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics May 2015: Diz
AAR of Combat Team Tactics (CTT) 1505
First of all, I will say ditto to all those comments about the trip, Romney, the Kool Wink, etc. It is a very welcome break from the daily grind, wherever you may be. You are going to a rural setting, with all that entails, and learning SUT, as it applies to an armed citizen, in a WROL situation. For some this is going to be a complete break from your lifestyle. For instance, this is the first time I have been on line since Thursday. And deliberately so. So realize this is about mindset, first of all. Get your headspace set and get ready to work.
The training itself is hard, and it will push you to your limits. But it is attainable. A couple of guys had injuries. Everyone was hurting to one degree or another. But if you approach it with the idea of pushing through the hardships, you will find yourself doing it. Perhaps more than you thought you could. I am 59, going on 60 years old. I am in reasonably good shape. Max (and Lee!) put my dick in the dirt, but I made it. If I can, so can you.
You will learn individual movement, buddy team movement, 4-man team movement, and finally 12-man team (CUTT) movement. Yes, that is a lot in one weekend. But it’s actually a smooth, natural progression. To highlight it, the individual movement teaches you your scan, more than anything else. You are looking for those target indicators, in this case, the enemy popping up to take a shot at you. The RTR is being ingrained into you. The 2-man buddy team teaches you to do this in conjunction with someone else. Now you have to tie in with your buddy. The beginnings of fire and movement. Yes, you may have done this much on the square range, but believe me, it is completely different on real terrain. This starts to get you coordinated with teamwork. The 4-man team really starts to get things cooking. Now you are working with your buddy, with another buddy team. As this is the basic building block (IMHO) of the armed citizen in a WROL sit, this is where you make your money. We spent much time at this level. We learned teamwork, in some cases whether we wanted to or not. Individuals became a team. This is the key. And then it culminates in a CUTT-sized assault (12-man) on an enemy position. This is actually another key, because up until now you’re just basically doing fire and maneuver. Here you are actually doing small unit tactics, as you establish a base of fire, and a maneuver element, and so forth. This really brings it all together, as far as I’m concerned, if only to show you what the oppo may be capable of when coming at you. So there in a nutshell is the current CTT curriculum.
I have not mentioned the first day of weapons manipulation training. This is actually very good stuff and sets the stage for the upcoming training. Everyone needs it, to one degree or another, and now we are all on the same sheet of music, which is a very good tune, by the way.
If you can take the NODF in conjunction with CTT, do not pass it up. Yes, it is a lot of training on the first day, but you will not want to miss this one. Real capabilities, and limitations of night vision. Forget about all the nonsense on line about NV. It’s all bullshit. Take this course and see what actually happens in a night assault on an enemy position. You are not going to see this, live fire, unless you are in a Ranger Batt or above. This is truly an amazing opportunity worth the missed sleep.
All right, onwards toward the instruction. First off, just let me say, you’re going to get yelled at. Yes, actually yelled at. Oh my. All this noise about Max (and probably Lee going forward) being asshole(s). Remember what I said about mindset. Get past the fact that someone is screaming at you. Learn to operate in a high-stress environment. What do you think actual combat will be like? Learn to take that shit on the chin, and drive on. Figure out what you’re doing wrong, and fix it, real time, as the say. Don’t worry about getting your feelings hurt by harsh words. Remember all that OODA loop shit? Don’t let that keep you from operating. You are going to feel somewhat overwhelmed at times. Fight through it. That’s the whole point.
That being said, Max knows his shit. Guys if you are not aware of it, the Brits are some of the best light infantry in the world. Man for man, they are light-years ahead of most armies. I say this as a guy who has gone through Uncle Sugar’s training at Quantico. It is that good. There may be those of you out there that are naturally biased towards someone trained in the ‘Mericun army. These are the guys our top guys want to train with. Max himself is the real deal. He has deep knowledge and experience to teach you this stuff. And is actually a very good instructor who is capable of doing so. So I think we need to really define what we are throwing around as an “asshole”. If you mean someone who gets in your face and yells at you, you are wrong, and have completely missed the point. He is not trying to be your buddy; he is trying to teach you how to fight. If you are roughly treated, think of it as battlefield inoculation, not some kind of insult. Mindset, people.
Lee is a fucking gem. He reminds me of the ideal NCO. Even more, I could see him standing shoulder to shoulder with the Spartans at Thermopylae. Now this guy is the embodiment of the Marine Corps ethic at it’s finest. Will he get into your face? Oh yeah, skippy, indeed he will. But know this, if you can operate with his bark in your face, you are well on the way to being operational. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the NCO ranks to the party. So there you have it. A superb Company Commander and Company 1st Sgt to boot.
The training facilities. It is a heavily wooded, steeply hilled environment. In other words, the perfect “G” environment. It is difficult terrain and rightly so. You are operating in a primitive environment, but you have parking, places to sit, places to shit, etc., so it’s more than adequate. The live fire lanes are awesome, if not challenging. The training works on an interval system so you are pushed hard but always get recovery time before the next evolution. There is a covered, outdoor classroom for this purpose. But plan on being self-sufficient. You bring all your ammo, food, and water on a daily basis.
Weapons. Just a quick note. Keep your weapon light. Every extra ounce on that piece is extra work on every evolution. Strip it down to bare essentials. Use QD mounts for any accessories you may need. Keep them pouched up until needed. This is not a tier one doorkicker with all that shit on his rifle. This is you in the bush, with just what you need to fight.
Equipment. Again keeping it lightweight is the key. Every extra ounce of shit you will feel going up those hills. Strip it down to bare essentials. Ammo. Water. Some energy foods. Don’t sabotage your training experience by overloading with a bunch of shit you may need “just in case”. Take only what you need.
Ammo. Typical round counts were over a thousand. I think I went through about 1100. This includes the NODF. I ran Wolf and Tula without a hitch. YMMV.
Water. I would go through 1 1/2 gal a day, easy. I try for about 16 oz an hour when I train, so this is about right. My piss was a nice straw color throughout the training.
Food. Get good high energy carbs plus a little protein. I was too protein heavy at first, but pushed the carb intake up. Eat a good breakfast. Clif bars at breaks. Good lunch with lots of carbs. I also used GU gels, for when I could fell myself start to flag. So basically, I was trying to sustain about 20g of carbs and hour, with Gatorade, Clif bars, and occasional GU.
PT. Oh you knew this one was coming. I had just completed a tri season and was doing off-season sustainment training for the last 3 months. Basically averaging 10 hours of workouts a week. I just started the Improve Your Tac Fitness, Intermediate course from MVT. But I modified this to get ready for class. Lots of hill repeats and intervals. Some ruck runs, starting at 15 lbs and ending with 32. This course still kicked my ass. And that is how it should be. You really have to push through at times, at that’s the whole point. I would highly recommend getting one of the MVT PT courses to prepare for class. It will give you the basic fitness level to complete the class.
Improve. I would like to see more “encouragement” towards team building from the get-go. Perhaps establishing buddy teams as early as the first day. Get people thinking along these lines early on. We have limited time to work together and need to coalesce as a team as quickly as possible.
Again more “team-building” events. Encourage everyone to link up at the hotel and eat together as much as possible. Don’t “silo” in your room. Get out and talk with everyone else. Help each other prep for the next day. This is on us as students.
(Max: we traditionally have dinner together on the Saturday night).
Brief bios of everyone at the beginning. Instructors and students. Make everyone get to know each other. Quickly. Come out of your shell.
Sustain. Training progression. Emphasis on 4-man teams. TEAMWORK. Quality of instruction. MINDSET.
OK enough of this shit, I’m going back out there. Cheers!
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics April 2015: Rob
If you are taking the time to read these reviews, you are probably more than curious about the training Max offers, as I was. I won’t bury the lead: Stop what you are doing, get out your check book and reserve your spot in the next available MVT class. Do not wait any longer.
This is a review from someone with no military or law enforcement training. I have, however, grown up with firearms starting in childhood. I saw an increasing need to get my battle rifle situation squared away. Problem was 1) I didn’t have one and never had fired one 2) Even if I did have one, my knowledge of that kind of weapons system was almost nil. 3)- How to deploy/handle yourself with an AR should it come to that.
Long story short, I went the route of building an AR with an 80% lower and showed up at CTT having only fired 100 rounds through it. So, #1 was solved. But a massive hole in my knowledge was painfully evident. MVT solved #2 and #3.
If you are looking for a highly condensed rifle handling/malfunction clearing/small unit tactics training. Max’s CTT fits the bill perfectly. If you are anything at all like me, the last thing you will EVER do is purposefully jam your weapon just so you can see how bad it can get. Well, you get to do that Day 1 at CTT! Shiny new rifle? Here! Cram that cartridge in there sideways and ram it home! Cool, huh? It’s a beautiful thing, in it’s own way. Point being, even if you are familiar with the AR, there is much to learn about the basics of your weapon that you get to learn in a trial by fire situation that you simply won’t get in a sterile range environment.
A note about PT. I’m a desk jockey, so marathon runner I am not. I did prepare as best I could before the class with lots of burpee’s, sit ups, etc. Also threw in, as time allowed, hard, short hikes in hills/mountains with a 25-30lbs pack on. If I had to do it over again, and going forward, I would do a lot more of the pack and hike routine. Nothing can substitute scaling a hill with a pack on like actually doing it. And you will be doing this, to some degree, in CTT (depending on your load out you choose to wear for the class), with a loaded rifle. I was dragging pretty hard at the end of the class, but that in and of itself is valuable intel. How else could you figure out how well you can perform with all your gear on, humping your rifle all over most of West Virginia if you didn’t’ take CTT? Do as much exercise you can before the class. Work at it, don’t half-ass it, but don’t let not being in peak physical shape stop you from taking the class.
All I can say about the fire and maneuver tactics that encompasses the two remaining days is that they are a huge eye opener. You realize the depth of what you do not know. Humbling, really. I came away with a much sharper understanding of what proper infantry tactics are. Max deals with the basics during this class, but, believe me, it’s still a lot to take in. Even at this basic level you’ll find yourself feeling the ‘stress’ of the situation (which is partially the point) making you appreciate how hard it is to function in an effective way even when it’s only your teammates firing off rounds and yelling at you to move.
Max creates a good working environment to teach you what you need to know. He’s not a drill instructor, but neither is he running a day care center. There is a certain amount of gravity you need to bring to the class given the fact that you are there to learn from him how not to get killed in the event you need engage a hostile target someday.
All in all, one of the best instruction experiences, of any kind, I have ever had. Looking forward to my next class.
Written that check yet?
Class gear takeaways:
– Would bring at least 1200 rounds of ammo for comfort margin. I went through 850 rounds while trying to be conservative.
– April weather is a fair mix of hot and cold factoring in the gear you have on. For future classes I’d bring better, light weight thermal base layer. Also, I’ll bring some kind of GI issue rain gear in the event we get dumped on. We didn’t this time, but that was just luck of the draw.
– As this was my first time out, I used a combination of a battle belt and an issue FLC for mags. My mag pouches were double stack HSGI taco’s and Condor covered flap models. Carrying a total of 8 mags. Next time around, I will have 6? single stack taco’s on the vest with possibly the double stack, double pouch on the belt for reserve.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics April 2015: Old Bear
Since the following is my first AAR following the attendance at Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) Combat Team Tactics (CTT) training, I’ll begin with a little background on myself.
I am a male, in my mid 50’s, who has led a very physically active life. I have attended numerous firearms training courses over the years, most of which were geared toward concealed carry, and long gun (shotgun and carbine) with some room clearing training. I have had ‘introductions’ into what was billed as ‘team tactics’, but they were adjusted for square-range training scenarios (which is obviously not designed to provide realistic training). I have also sustained numerous injuries over the years with a particularly troublesome knee injury, dating back to the 90s, which reared its head during the April CTT class. Long story short, I am a mature man who has hard-road mileage on his frame.
Prior to taking the CTT training, I read numerous AARs from prior attendees. I also had the advantage of speaking with friends who had taken the course, so the previously AARs provided me more perspective. Regardless, of what I ‘thought’ the class was going to be like, it was MORE…much MORE than any of my anticipations, ideas, or imaginings. My initial impression of the class (1st day) was that Max provided extensive and concise information that was on par with the ‘most advanced’ courses I have taken at other square-range schools…and this was just the 1st day! The RTR and stoppage drills provided a basic set of forms in order to engage subsequent training more effectively on days 2 and 3.
Allow me to stop here a moment and state that the Safety Procedure SOPs (covered every morning prior to class) were among the most professional I have seen provided in a potentially hazardous environment (I know something about this subject from my line of work). Safety is paramount with Max and is demonstrated repeatedly throughout the training. In addition, The quality of people at the April CTT event were a mixed group of individuals with various backgrounds and ages, all of which impressed me as being of the highest ideals, intelligence, and personal standards. You have to be a motivated and focused individual to even attend this course. I have been to other training events with much less motivated and disciplined people who I would not want behind me with a rifle (I know some of you know what I’m talking about). Quality People plus Quality Training and Instruction equates to Superior Student Development.
I know many of the AARs presented on the MVT website refer to the sheer physical demand the course, and I cannot elaborate further on their statements because it is all accurate and true (the sound of my own heavy breathing in my amplified electronic earmuffs, as I moved up those hills, still resides in my memory). Moreover, the dynamic range staging and reactive targets are unlike anything I have seen or experienced, thus offering the student the opportunity to drill skills in a manner closer to reality. The more one trains in a “realistic” manner, the less they are burdened with those particular issues during an actual conflict, and this subsequently frees them up to address other concerns before them.
Since everyone has many of the same experiences at the CTT training, I will offer a few personal realizations that I experienced:
• Attachment to your team – I found myself “attached” first, to the 2-man team, then to the four-man team…I felt driven to understand and perform the drills for the men that were moving with me. This was not a bullshit event, and it provided a load of motivation to me to not yield to my aching legs, poor physical condition, and blown knee. You train to protect yourself and your team-mates. The training of advancing up the hill not only expands your understanding of your own physical limitations, but it simulates the physical stress of life and death encounters and offers an effective inoculation for this type of stress.
• Shooting accurately under physical stress is not too difficult and is conducted with your controlled breath. I suspect everyone must find this out for themselves because it appears to abide with one’s personal rhythm.
• Aggression during ‘Contact drills’ MUST be trained in. Aggression, while advancing, aggression while breaking contact, aggression while fighting back. You must be aggressive…not haphazard and stupid, but aggressive, determined and focused…there is no substitute.
• Communication with your team mates during the drills IS paramount, and I found it can even help you break up your tunnel-vision (I’m going to be experimenting with this).
• The realization that my previous firearms training produced unknown byproducts. For example, ‘hesitation’ prior to engaging the enemy may be applauded in some square-range formats as being concerned for ‘what’s behind the backstop’, ‘knowing you target’…etc…etc. That reaction is geared toward Concealed Carry (and all the legal issues associated). MVT training IS NOT this type of training. You must React immediately and decisively to the threat, and Max’s approach moves you toward that goal.
• You will sort out your gear pretty fast during this class and will discover what works and what does not. There is no need for what does not work.
• Injuries can be used to your personal training advantage because they offer additional obstacles that are very real, that MUST be overcome, and will likely occur during real-world conditions. I will insert at this point that Max is a keen observer of the students, and he identified my injured knee shortly after I aggravated it. He fired off a series of questions, one would expect from a seasoned medic, and provided a point of relief for me stating it was more important for me to learn the material than blow my knee out…He left it up to me as to how much stress I would apply to myself in regard to my knee, but I suspect that if I was being a self-destructive dumbass, he would have had words with me…Besides blowing my knee does not help the team and the training is Combat ‘Team’ Tactics.
• Previous square-range ‘presentations’ and training of team tactics are a poor substitute for understand what happens to your body, equipment, and awareness during a rush up a mountain, while your team mates provide cover fire. If square range training is your world, you don’t know what you don’t know…and frankly, that sucks! Square range training is like when you were a kid drawing your letters and practicing your words (It is very important suff),… but we don’t draw our letters after we grow up, do we?
• The final squad-level drill was a ring-side seat as to what a coordinated attack can do, both to you and from you. There is a lot to ponder there, and it was a taste of classes to come. I will be returning for that meal.
In closing, for those of you contemplating attending a MVT class, get off your ass and find a way and make it happen. Take the CTT course first, go home and adapt it to where you live, and drill it, drill it, and drill it. Don’t deceive yourself that your square range training has you prepared for the real thing…That’s like jerking off and telling everyone you had sex with a supermodel…You may feel good, but it’s not real. Go to Max Velocity Tactical. It’s the real deal.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics April 2015: CouchSurferKyle:
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics April 2015: Tom:
AAR – Max Velocity Tactical Combat Team Tactics Class April 2015
This student review/AAR of the April 2015 Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) Combat Team Tactics (CTT) class has been difficult for me to write, since there are so many great things to say about this class and the experiences I’ve had training at MVT. This April 2015 class was my second time at CTT, which I attended for the first time in October (2014). I was extremely impressed with the entire MVT experience after that first class, and had been looking forward to repeating it ever since. I was not disappointed. The MVT CTT class offers important information and skills training, in a top-notch facility with excellent instruction.
The class is a three-day progression, beginning with square range fundamentals on the first day, and going to a set of tactical ranges for the last two days. The first day on the square range begins with zeroing or confirming zero of the students’ rifles, and then progresses to malfunction clearing and a set of team drills to test and confirm students’ mastery of diagnosing and clearing rifle malfunctions. By the end of the first day, students are performing basic react-to-contact drills. I would describe the first day favorably as being the better part of a defensive carbine class all on its own. The second and third days are spent on the really “good stuff”, though, small group tactics drills. Max conducts the training and the drills in a progression, building on previously learned material and skills, but almost always adding some new factor. By the end of the last day, basic concepts and drills have been learned and practiced at the individual level, then at buddy pair level, then team level, and finally beginning to get up to squad level. It’s a lot of information to process and to try to put into practice, but the training schedule really maximizes how far a student can come in just three days. The class is intense, especially if you’re taking it for the first time and haven’t had this kind of training before.
Several things with the CTT class and the MVT experience impress me enough that I want to describe them. One such thing is the incorporation of stress inoculation into the training, which is the concept that the more one experiences stress, the better one can learn to cope with it. In seeking this type of tactical, defensive training, one should accept that defending oneself and one’s family is going to be an extremely stressful thing if that time ever comes. The student gets stress inoculation while performing drills, what with the physical exertion of quickly and almost continuously dropping to prone or kneeling behind cover, jumping up for a 3-5 second dash to the next bit of cover when it’s your turn, and doing that over and over. There’s also stress in controlling the excitement and noise of center-fire rifles going off all around, keeping an eye on where all of your teammates are and where they are going, people shouting, keeping your rifle in a safe direction while you’re shooting, there’s a lot going on. Under enough physical and adrenaline-induced stress, it’s hard to think, and even simple actions such as operating your rifle and remembering which way you’re supposed to run are much more difficult to perform. It makes sense to come up on that learning curve in a controlled environment like a class, rather than trying to figure it out for the first time when your life may be on the line. Max controlled the stress and flow of each drill, ensuring that the experienced and inexperienced students both learned from the drill.
The MVT range facility is impressive for this type of training. The tactical ranges cover several draws, valleys, and hillsides, with electronically-controlled pop-up, reactive targets which drop when the plastic silhouette shape is hit. The hillsides are, well, they’re hillsides in the woods in West Virgina which have things that hillsides have, like trees, tree stumps, piles of leave, loose stones and twigs to trip on, depressions, lots of stuff. Targets don’t always come up where you can easily see them, which forces you to keep your eyes open and to pay attention to everything around you. Although the ranges show signs of being maintained and groomed a bit, the terrain all over the ranges is still realistic in providing obstacles, cover and concealment, and in some places requires more physical effort to get over, under, or through. The use of the electronic pop-up targets also really adds to the training experience, since they react to your shots when or if you hit them. You can’t just put a couple of rounds into one like you might a static IDPA-type target, you have to pay attention and react accordingly. When you run through a break contact drill in that setting, I don’t see how you can get much more realistic without people shooting at you. The result is a physical and intense experience, after which you get a better idea of yourself and if you can operate a rifle under stress as part of a team. Despite being tired after a couple of days doing all this, I saw a lot of smiles after the finale drill, a squad-level exercise. I wasn’t the only having a great time with the training.
Having previously attended CTT, I had a good idea of what to expect, and for the most part, the CTT class was the same as what I’d experienced the first time. Max has made some changes and improvements since the last time I was there, though. One of the ranges has been extended quite a bit, and now goes almost up to the top of the hill. This makes the range cover something like 200-300 yards in length, and that last 50 yards or so at the top is fairly steep. The hike alone will really gets the heart pumping, never mind being ambushed by green plastic pop-up Ivan targets. Some of the class content and drills have been slightly re-arranged, to improve the learning flow and to maximize the number of team drills that can be run on the tactical ranges. This time around, the first day on the square range was manipulated such that we got further through the curriculum by the end of the day, and were able to start the second day on the tactical ranges with more advanced drills.
All in all, I couldn’t be more satisfied with the training experiences I’ve had at MVT, and I can’t recommend this class enough to anyone who would like to be able to take a team tactics approach to protecting their families. There are many good firearms and individual-level tactical trainers available, but I know of almost no other trainers who are teaching this type of group- and team-level defensive tactics. The MVT CTT class combines excellent instruction with a superb range facility to make a unique training experience for the armed citizen.
Student Review: CTT & NODF: 23-25 April: Jane
This weekend I attended the Combat Team Tactics class at Max Velocity Tactical in West Virginia. It was my first time taking any class there, and I heard a lot of good things about it. Although I have taken many firearms-related classes at different schools (including a team tactics class), I must say that a major difference is their static environment vs. the dynamic one at MVT. You simply can’t compare a square range and static targets with a large area (100 acres) of heavily wooded mountains and targets that suddenly appear out of nowhere at different distances and locations around you. Couple that with world class training, and you have a real winner!
The first day was focused on rifle drills and malfunction clearing on the square range (FYI, a second square range is being built at MVT too). This was to bring everyone up to speed and on the same page, and to work out kinks in your gear. In addition to all the typical malfunctions covered at other training schools, I learned a new one which I have not seen taught anywhere – the bolt override drill. While bolt override is an uncommon malfunction unique to AR-15s, it can be a showstopper if you don’t know how to clear it. Max showed us a very easy way to do so.
I also took the Night Optical Device Firing (NODF) class (add-on class given the night after the first day of CTT), which shows you how to set up and utilize night vision gear with your rifle. I used a head-mounted PVS-14 monocular with a DBAL I2 IR laser sight. The class included zeroing and doing many of the same drills we did during the daytime on the square range. Then to top it off we had the grand finale of going on a night raid of an enemy encampment on the “Raid Range” on the other side of the mountain — it was just like in the movies! The night raid was one of the coolest shooting exercises I have ever experienced.
The second and third days were out on other ranges for many contact drills – “Maxercises” as I called them, because in and of themselves they are great physical conditioning! This class is not for the sedentary and they don’t make molle bags for defibrillators. I don’t feel that the CTT class required anyone to be a super athlete…. just a basic level of fitness. You will be running up and down mountains, diving for cover, shooting, then getting up again and doing some more running. The problem is that today people load up on sugars and high glycemic carbs and get very little exercise, if any. That simply isn’t going to work. Just a little cardio and strength training goes a long way. If nothing else, grab a WOD off the Spartan or Crossfit websites a few times a week. You should be doing something to stay in shape anyway – it is your responsibility to maintain your health.
The contact / break contact drills themselves were a lot of fun, engaging 3D pop-up “enemy” in various scenarios, just like you see in the movies! Skills learned included team movements, bounding, RTR, peels, etc, each drill run in two person and four person teams. Although these are described in Max’s book “Contact!”, it is one thing to read about them, but a whole different thing to experience them in a live and dynamic environment, where you are under pressure and make mistakes. Not only are you learning through immersion, you are having fun!
The grand finale on Sunday afternoon was the squad hasty attack on 2 enemy bunkers (the “squad” being the class of 12). Once again, just like in the movies! I really don’t get the recent banter of Max being too tough on people, or an a**hole. I thought his class was like Disneyland for people who like to do dynamic shooting — if you like action-oriented, run-and-gun type competitive matches, you will love this class!
During the class I ran through about 1100 rounds of ammo (including the NODF class), and the new light weight AR I recently built to accommodate an IR laser ran beautifully, without any malfunctions except those that were induced for the purposes of clearance drills. There were others that did have some issues, but all were able to be resolved without having to resort to any backup rifles they might have brought.
(200 rounds approx for NODF, bring 1000 for CTT, you need around 900).
One other thing – this is a class on teamwork in dynamic scenarios. You will be relying on your buddies, and them on you. I want to thank George for being such a great training partner this weekend!
To summarize, if you want a weekend of fun, physical exercise and learning in an intense setting in the mountains of West Virginia, I highly recommend this class. And bring friends! Bring friends with guns…
Caveats: I am a civilian who has been around guns since a young age shooting in the forest and on the square range for fun. I have done no tactical training prior to this, and no rifle training beyond Appleseed
REVIEW: First off Max is an asshole. This may sound harsh but it is not. It is in fact a good thing, and part of what makes Max a good teacher. He is confident, serious about combat and comfortable in his knowledge. The reason I mention this off the bat is that if you think you are a tier one mall ninja operator, or a special little snowflake Max is not the trainer for you. He will not cuddle you before you go to bed, or give you the warm fuzzies when you screw up or don’t listen. He is an asshole because he wants you to learn, and survive. He is one of the few teachers I have met who truly thinks a student’s failure reflects on the lessons of the teacher.
1. You are in worse physical shape then you think you are: I run every day. I feel pretty fit. But that is not the kind of fitness that makes the most difference in a real combat situation. Just running does not prepare you for the gear you have to carry, the hills you have to climb with the gear, and going from prone to kneeling to standing to moving. If you are interested in being an effective fighter you need to train as you will fight. Max pushes you, but tailors it to your fitness. But one of the clear points is you need to not be a fat slob.
2. You need to use your gear to find what configuration works: Seems obvious no? Its amazing how much difference small changes in your gear can make when you have to fight under pressure. Max does not emphasize gear, but he gives you a good basic perspective on what you need and what is functional. A corollary of this is: know how to use the gear you have, buying it is not enough. Thus you need a course like Max’s to teach you.
3. You do not know how to fight from watching u-tube or reading a book. Nor do you know how to fight from shooting on a square range: One of the biggest strength of this course is that Max is actually teaching you how to fight, both as a small group and as an individual. From the malfunction drills, to setting up an ambush, and basic movement such as peels and break contact, the course content teaches you and then practices the things that will keep you alive and win a real world firefight. Max’s use of large open ranges and dynamic pop up targets cleverly arranged to simulate possible real world encounters creates a realistic combat experience. The use of live fire is done in a safe but realistic way, and allows you to develop some level of battle inoculation.
4. Whatever plan you had to defend you and yours in a bad situation, will not work: Part of what Max is teaching is that 90% of the ideas that people have about combat and how they would defend themselves and their property is bullshit. Max teaches a more realistic way to fight, based in experience as opposed to some prepper fantasy.
I learned many more lessons from my six days, but in the end the bottom line is this: Max knows what he’s doing, he’s a gifted teacher, and he wants his students to learn. The stuff he is teaching is applicable to what what someone like me might encounter in this world, as a patriot, or as a prepper.
The course is well worth the investment of time and treasure.
Married Couple Student Review (California): Combined 6 Day Class April 2015:
This combined class is absolutely worth it. It has the perfect blend of fundamentals, theory, and progressive drills to get you to the next level. The site location, its terrain, the range equipment and the training method, all contribute at creating a teaching ‘bubble’ that keeps the student at his highest performing state. I would definitely come back and take it again to focus on certain aspects on my training. Highly recommended.
Note: Getting to the class from California was its own challenge, but not as hard as it sounds. Encouraged by a review by an alum from San Diego, my wife and I flew from LAX to Dulles. The flight is 5 hours. Getting the guns through the airports was not a big deal. After the class we had left over ammo so we mailed it home at a UPS Service Center (not store) in the original shipping box with the blue OMD sticker on it. There is one in Cumberland, WV, but we used the one in Front Royal, VA on the way to Dulles.
This course was great! The course structure made my lack of prior military training unnecessary. The demands are high, but achievable even by a woman like me. The lectures were concise, clear and well paced. Everything Max told us and had us practice in drills progressed into a cohesive whole. The building of the teams and the team mindset was vital. Max guided this with skill. Everything he did was with safety in mind, and with care for us as individuals and teams. I learned what was good about my gear, what was superfluous, and what I might want to add later. The pop-up targets gave me immediate feedback on the accuracy of my shots, even at distance. There is nothing like running in the rain, with a full load, on muddy ground covered in logs, sharp rocks and leaf litter, to teach you to handle your weapon safely and effectively. The CP class took everything we learned in CTT and applied it to ambush, reconnaissance and raid. Looking back, I am just blown away by the amount I learned, and eager for more.
The Raid from the class:
Student Review: 6 Day Combined Class (CTT & Combat Patrol) April 2015: Leatherneck556
Student Review: MVT Rifleman Challenge March 2015: Jim – III% Society Scholarship Competitor
First I’d like to thank Kerodin and the III percent Society for sponsoring my weekend at MVT. When Max first announced the MVT Rifleman Challenge I planned on going and started training. I’m a self-employed contractor and the normally slow January after Christmas, followed by an unusually icy and snowy February, and then taxes in March forced me to suck it up and realize it wasn’t the best time to spend extra money. Bummer, but planned making the next challenge in September instead.
The III Percent Society held a raffle a few months ago and I signed up. I never win stuff like that, but I figured, “what the heck”. I then forgot about it. Two weeks ago, I open up my e-mail and there’s a message from Kerodin saying I won the raffle if I could make it. Hell yeah!
I gathered up my gear and did one last ruck to see where I stood physically. I put 50lbs in my pack and did two miles in 29 minutes. I figured that was close and headed up to Max’s.
The run was first. It was a gut check just as Max said. I had twenty lbs less in my pack, but the last mile is all uphill. By the end I was trudging along and my legs were screaming, ” Stop!” As I got closer to the finish, Fred and the others were yelling, “go! run!” I pulled it out and made it with seconds to spare. I came in at 27:27. The minimum was 28 minutes.
Next was the shoot. I fired my rounds faster than I should have, and didn’t take any time to breath, but I passed that evolution as well.
That afternoon we did TC3. Max gave a good lecture on the procedures and sequence of performing them. Then we got into groups and each of us got a chance to practice what we learned.
The next day started with the Navigation Exercise. I have no real experience, but read Max’s post on navigation which taught me a lot more than I knew. I got a detailed knowledge of Max’s property. He’s got a lot, and its all mountains. It seems like it is all uphill. I shot the azimuths reasonably well, and I felt my terrain association was OK, but I second guessed myself and ended up walking a whole lot more than I should have. I spent a good deal of time doing increasingly larger circles around some points. I found every objective that wasn’t mine. My biggest problem was judging elevation in relation to the map. I thought I was too high, and for some reason went higher (?!). It was some warped strategy I created. I figured with the time constraint, I didn’t want to spend too much time looking low and then be in a hurry to rush uphill if needed. I was up too high, however. I spent over an hour going from a point 20 meters maybe from my objective to the far reaches of Max’s property and back, just to do it again.
(MVT will run a class the day before the Challenge, on practical land Navigation, if you request it).
I ended up taking much more time than I wanted, but I got all the points I was assigned. Strangely, I was fine physically, walking up and down the mountains. I did get a blister on my foot, but I didn’t gas out like on the run. I say that because a few guys who ran a better time than me mentioned the Navex was tougher for them. I could have kept going. Not that it wasn’t tiring, but the run was a lot harder for me. It must have something to do with that “fast twitch/slow twitch” muscle fiber thing.
I finally got all my objective points and went down the mountain in time to do the attack and break contact drills.
More running up hills….!
Even exhausted, that stuff is just fun as hell. My rifle did go down during the exercise. Another student was kind enough to lend me his rifle and a number of others were helping me figure out what the problem was. A few guys offered me spare parts if I needed. There’s always a bunch of good people every time I’ve gone to Max’s, and this time was no different.
Thanks to all who gave or offered assistance!
The problem was ultimately a cleaning issue. I thought I cleaned my rifle pretty thoroughly, but I didn’t get the nooks and crannies in the chamber area. Later that night scraped some vile looking stuff from the recesses and behind the bolt lugs, oiled her up and she ran fine the next day. I learned the obvious lesson about the importance of good maintenance and ALWAYS carry spare parts.
The final day started with the litter carry. I was kinda sweating that one because of the route Max had planned for us. It went really well, however, and everyone worked together and ran right through that scenario.
The last thing we did was CQB. That was a blast. We got off to a slow start, I believe and Max was looking like he was wondering whether or not this was a good idea. He ran us all through it again a few times dry fire until we got it down a little better. We took a break and then we went live. It was intense and quite a rush. We all seemed to be doing well and when Max asked after a while if we wanted to pack it up or keep going, every one said, “keep going!”
After that, Max handed out the awards. Congrats to all, and especially Jon and Hunter on getting Vanguard. You are both BAMF’s indeed. It was great to train with you again, as well Jon.
Above: successful Riflemen. Jim first left.
It was a great weekend. Not only did I get a feeling of accomplishment by passing the Rifleman standard, but I learned a lot. Anybody wondering if they want to do it or not next September, get training and go for it. Oh, and…
I didn’t use Hunter’s training program as I work out several times a week with a Krav Maga/MMA workout; so I just incorporated a weekly ruck in to my routine. I made it, but if I were to do it over, I would purchase his program. I think I could have improved my times if I had. Everybody who did use his program swore it helped them.
Also thanks to Max’s “henchmen”, Fred and Lee. Max always gets top notch instructors to help him, and his newest; Lee, no exception. Great job! Thanks again to the III Percent Society, and thanks Max for doing what you do.
Above: Lee, left & Max
Student Review: MVT Rifleman Challenge March 2015: Steve AKA Airforce
Just got back from a challenging weekend at Max Velocity Tactical. Completed the MVT Rifleman Challenge and let’s just say that Max has truly come through with another great training opportunity/standards for the Rifleman.
I will put this plug out there that I am extremely glad that Max and Hunter put together training programs to prepare oneself for the challenges that the Rifleman Challenge involves. I used the intermediate fitness plan and let me just say that had I not used it I probably would not have attained the Rifleman patch.
This event was well planned out and as always Max delivers a great product.
Day one involved the 2 miler and let’s just say in the words of Max “It’s a ball buster”. However it was attainable due to the fact that I got my lazy ass out there and trained for it. We also had the shooting qualification and unfortunately I failed it the first run through. I passed it on my second attempt. Shooting right after the 2 miler was difficult to say the least. I know that with changing up my training I will improve my recovery time which is what is needed. After that we went through an abbreviated TC3 and then completed trauma lanes. Definitely gleaned some great information from that and will be expanding my knowledge level and revisiting our teams IFAKS.
Day two started with the land nav course and yet again I am glad that I trained hard with the intermediate training program. PT was just as important in this event as having basic land nav training. We then went to the ranges and completed movement under direct fire and break contact under direct fire. There was an added element to this event, there were 2 targets to engage on both drills and it was a 4 man team movement. You had to make sure to suppress both enemies while your team mates moved. That added great value to the training and brought in a new element to deal with.
Day three started out with a casualty evacuation. What way to get the blood flowing first thing in the morning! Training prior to arrival was a huge asset to this event as well. For those that have trained with Max you will know the route we ran. We started in the parking area and went up the hill toward the pavillion. Our team worked together really well and changing out went seamlessly. We then went to the square range and larned CQB. that was some seriously fun and informative training. I will always fight from the door.
Max out did himself again with another great training/standards test that any patriot should go and experience. My group went to set standards for our training. I did not get Vanguard but I will when I return in September. Thank you Max for the nudge to attend. I was initially waiting till September. But between Max and ‘Pointless Pockets” encouragement, I decided to attend and now I can call myself a Rifleman. I will continue to train hard and improve the skills that Max has given me.
So to all those out there procrastinating, get out there and train. Anything is possible with the right mind set and the determination to see it through! You owe it to your loved ones!
Steve aka Airforce
Student Review: MVT Rifleman Challenge: March 2015: Dennis
Rifleman Challenge March 27-29 2015
Now from the perspective of the older guy (oldest one there this time).
A little back ground, I retired 7 years ago after 28 years as a Police Officer in South Florida. I was 57 years old at the time and 5”9” at 210 lbs and had high blood pressure from all the fun working there. I dropped 20 lbs and got my blood pressure down to normal pretty quickly just by walking, working around the property and eating much better.
This time last year, I signed up for the 7 day fun package at MVT and started working out (on my own). I made good progress rucking and jogging with some strength stuff mixed in. I had one of my regular doctor visits in August and they were worried at first, as I had lost another 20 lbs since my last visit. The classes in Sept/Oct went well but it was apparent that more PT was needed.
When the Rifleman challenge was announced, I was starting to think about what to do about preparing for that event. About that time, Max & Hunter came out with the training plans. I purchased the “12 week to the Rifleman Challenge Plan” and started on Tue. Dec 30th. I should have started on a Monday but wanted to get started. This is the best $100 I have ever spent. I have never worked out in gym or similar setting and had no idea what I was doing. The plan includes access to a web site with your plan laid out and you get daily emails about the next 2 day activities. The web site is great because you can look ahead at what is coming to plan around, or you can change the order of items on the plan as needed. On March 19th, I did a 2 miler in 23:00 with no pack. On March 23rd (last Monday) I did a 2 mile with 30” pack and rifle in 27:00. So I though that I had a chance of making the time.
I did the 2 miler in 29:01, passed the shooting (54), and passed on the navigation with only 3 points found, but on time. Knowing what I know now, I think I could have passed the 2 miler with a better plan, but I will be training harder and WILL pass it next time. I also know that I can do better at the shooting. The navigation was new to me. I under stood the azimuth, distance thing from being a pilot, but had never used that type of compass and maps before (I found Facebook’s compass in one of the Alice Packs). Max gave a short explanation at the beginning and I understood how the compass worked. PT was my biggest problem on the nav. course as you have to go up and down the mountains numerous time.
In closing, if you are thinking about the challenge but not sure how you will do, I say just do it. If nothing else you get to go back for free to try again.
BTW, thanks to Robert at JRH for the coupon.
MVT Rifleman Challenge, 26-29 March
I want to start out by saying what a great job Max and his cadre did putting this challenge together. We all had an awesome time. Got to spend time with some great patriots and time on the ranges, which is always good. I’m not going to get into specifics about the challenge, as I feel Duane has covered it pretty good in his AAR.
A little about myself, I’m 39 y/o, 160 lbs, and 6 feet. I was not in the greatest of shape (PT wise) prior to any of the MVT courses. I previously attended the CRCD/Patrol class back in November. That is when I was introduced to the possibility of the MVT Rifleman Challenge. When I got back from the class, me a few fellow patriots began thinking of what we needed to do to get our butts in shape for what is to come. In late December, we see that Hunter and Max had developed some training programs. After looking at the different programs they had to offer, we settled on the 12 Weeks to MVT Rifleman. They do offer others from beginner to advanced. The program starts out slow and builds up. At the beginning, I was getting a 2 miler in at about 30 minutes with a 35 lb bergen on flat ground. By the end, I had built up to a 25 min 2 miler on rolling terrain. I was a little concerned at first, but once I got into the program, I could see my fitness improving greatly. Now, on to the Challenge.
The MVT Rifleman Challenge is not intended to fail anyone or try to make someone look bad. It is designed to show what it takes to be a “Rifleman”. It is not only a challenge, but is also a learning experience. Even if you do not qualify in the 2 miler, you can still get a lot of good training the rest of the weekend. My original plan was to attend the fall challenge, but plans changed and I made it to this one. I’m glad I did. Max has worked hard on this. To me, it is not about a contest with other people, it’s about heart and determination. A competition with one’s self.
Day 1 – 2 miler/shoot qualification/TCCC
On the drive in to MVT, I kept looking at the hills and thinking, I’m not sure if I’m going to make the time under 28 min. Once I started I quickly realized how much the 12 Weeks to MVT Rifleman Challenge program from Hunter really helped. I made it to the 1 mile mark with only having to walk up one hill. Back up the hill is a bit harder due to the one big hill. You just have to want it and push through. I was thinking the entire time; I have to get to my guys that are under contact. If I don’t, they may die. Max being on the hills and encouraging all of us help to motivate me even more. When I finished, didn’t know what position I was in. I didn’t really care. After that, we had the shoot. Again, the PT program helped me tremendously, in that my recovery time was very short, which in turn, helped me concentrate more on my shooting than trying to catch my breath and recover. I tied for 1st on the shoot. After lunch, we had a short training session on TCCC. This something I had wanted to do prior to the 6 day class in November, but my schedule would not allow me. The class not only helped refresh my prior training, but also made me realize, I need to revamp my IFAK.
Day 2 – Navigation/Move Under Direct Fire/Break Contact
This is something I was looking forward to. I wanted to see if my skills were good enough. I had training on the use of a map and compass, but had never been able to go out and practice in terrain. When I got my first bearing and saw what I had to climb, I thought, it’s going to take me forever. Once I started I realized, again, that the PT program had done its job. It had prepared me for everything Max was throwing at us. After completion of the Nav course, we were shuttled to the shoot lanes. We completed the “move under direct fire” and “break contact” drills, as Max teaches. We had time to rehearse the movements. Always a great time on the shoot lanes.
Day 3 – Casualty Evacuation/Awards
Again, I thought I would be exhausted after this, but I wasn’t. Not saying it wasn’t challenging, just that the PT program, once again, helped tremendously. The method that Max showed us was something I had never done (switching out on the move). During the awards, when Max started calling out the order of our overall finish, I was surprised to hear my name as finishing 3rd overall.
What did I take away from this weekend? That you can do anything, if you want it bad enough and you have to PT. I cannot stress that enough. Quit sitting behind you TV or computer and arguing about what gear is better or that the shoot qualification isn’t hard enough and get out there and PT. When SHTF, it will be too late. The MVT Rifleman Challenge is two things. One, it’s a challenge to you. Max has challenged us all to do this. Let’s show him we can. If you need help, try the training programs that are offered. There are several to chose from that will meet your needs. And two, it’s a set of standards that we all need. Max and his cadre have a lot of experience. They know what it takes to be a “Rifleman”.
Don’t be “That Guy”.
To my fellow Riflemen Challenge compatriots: Let me say that it was great all y’all even if I wasn’t the most talkative.
I started my training in 2001 when I bought my first rifle(s) and I went to an NRA Highpower match to pick up a few tips. Seven years later I decided that I needed some real training. I attended an Appleseed Clinic and after working at it for a few months and a clinics I got my Rifleman patch. I continued with the program and I have qualified at full distance (400 yds) with everything from an M1 Garand to an M4. In 2009 I attended my first “Tacticool” class and I took several rifle and pistol courses. By 2012 I realized that individual (square range) skills were great, but I had maxed out my individual gun handling skills. As a prepper, I knew the next logical step would be squad and platoon level (team) tactics. I signed up for a 5 day team class at a tacticool school. By the end of the class, I had learned some things but I felt that some of the stuff they were doing did not make any sense.
I found John Mosby’s site in 2013 and when he announce he was coming to WV, I signed up. While I did OK in the class, I came away with some realizations. 1. More PT. 2. Moving and communicating is a lot harder than just shooting. I came across Max’s site a month or so later and I immediately signed up for CRCD in 2013. At MVT I have taken CRCDx2 and Combat Patrol.
One thing that frustrates me in the prepper/III’er/gun nut/patriot community: The lack of standards. More descriptively: People believe that if you have a gun and some ammo then you are ready. Some even believe that if you have been to a tacticool school then you are an “operator”. As a student of history, I knew that was BS. Even in a self-defense situation, PT and good TEAM tactics is what makes the difference. So when Max announced a set of standards, I was excited. It is still my hope that this concept will catch on in the prepper/III’er/gun nut/patriot community and that there will be MVT “Franchised” Riflemen in other places. The potential for networking will then be endless.
So, a little about me: I am a 41 year old BFF (Big Fat Fellow) husband and father of three. I have been a registered nurse since 1994. I commissioned into the Army Reserves in 2011 for God and Country and currently finishing up my first active duty mobilization. I am not a natural athlete. In high school I was on the chess team and weighed 280 pounds. In 2007 I was at 310 pounds and began exercising and dieting and lost 60 pounds. I began running and have been running ever since.
Everyone thinks that if you are in the military, that you are automatically tactically sound and physically fit. Not so. The physical standards are actually quite low in the Army Medical Department and there is little opportunity for high speed training, especially in the reserves. That being said, I still didn’t have to start from zero when I began training for the Rifleman Challenge.
My training plan was conservative to say the least. I did not want to reactivate a long list of “sports injuries” that I have. I started off by rucking with a 30 pound ruck 2-3 miles for a month. On the second month, I began TAB’ing once a week. Starting with a 20 pound ruck and advancing to 35 pounds. By December, I was TAB’ing 2 miles in 25 minutes. The section of road I TAB’ed on was sufficiently hilly to make it a challenge. In the month prior to the RC I had gotten it down to 22:30.
Above: Qualified Rifleman. Duane: right side.
DAY 1 of the RC:
As stated in the course outline the first thing you do is the PT test. The course is one mile downhill and one mile back up the hill. It was wet, a little muddy and rocky. The terrain definitely takes away time from your run. I held myself back a little on the downhill so I could have some left on the uphill to run. That didn’t last long. As the uphill is about 85% percent uphill, there was no opportunity to catch my breath on flat ground so I ended up speed walking most of the uphill. I put forth maximum effort to the point I was gasping and I had tunnel vision. When I got to the finish point, I thought like 6-7 people had passed me and gotten there before me. Turns out I was #3 with a time of 24:40.
Hindsight being 20/20 I would have trained harder and put forth maximum effort on the downhill. With the terrain being what it is and the hills I will be shooting for a 20 min TAB by my house. I drank my recovery (chocolate milk, gatorade and 2 bottles of water) and prepped for the rifle qual.
When Max first posted the standards for marksmanship, there were a lot of people who thought it wasn’t stringent enough. After the PT test, it was plenty tough. (I am saying this as an Appleseed Instructor and Full Distance qualified). See the course description for the COF. I passed the first time though with a score of 55.
We then attended a condensed lecture on TC3 and then broke into teams of 3 and practiced it some.
Sufficiently tired we ended the day and met at the Main Street Grill.
Day 2 began with Land Nav. I have had land nav twice before and performed adequetely (AS in I have never been permanently lost). I refreshed my memory the night before and Max gave a brief orientation to it in the AM. Then we set out to find our points. I have known all along that land nav is not my thing. While I grasp the concepts, in the application I still have problems. I should not have had problems as this course was not too advanced and there was only about .5 K distance between points. Needless to say by the time 3 hours was approaching, I had only found 3 out of 4 points. I did come back in the 3 hour time limit so I got 3 points plus 1 for coming back in time which would have dq’ed me from Vanguard had I made the PT test in under 23 mins but still kept me in running for Rifleman.
Let me say that the Land Nav was physically a gut check for me. I never once considered quitting on the PT test, but by the time 2 hours of up and down those hills had gotten there and I had only found 2 points the thought entered my mind. I sucked it up and drove on despite the cramps in my legs and the pain elsewhere. When I got back to the rally point, I didn’t know if I would physically be able to carry on but I went to my car drank, ate and napped and I was able to soldier on.
We did weapons clearance and malfunctions and then we moved on to the lanes. The first lane was react to contact and assault forward. It was more aggressive than anything I did in CRCD or CP. Then we did a RTC break contact.
Sufficiently tired we ended the day and met at the Main Street Grill.
It began with a simulated casualty evacuation. We had a stretcher three 20L USGI water cans and we as a team effort evacuated the casualty from the sqaure range to the pavilion. We had to switch out in 4 man teams and the standard was we didn’t quit, didn’t stop and didn’t drop the litter. I have to say, that this was the smoothest I have ever seen one of things go.
Then we began the CQB instruction. This was an extremely informative block of instruction and well worth it. When I first learned CQB and room entry, it was the “stack 10 guys on the door and flood the room.” I thought that was kind of stupid as it meant that any resistance had a lot of targets to shoot at. The way taught at MVT makes perfect sense with the priority being “stay alive.”
1. PT. Depending on what your local terrain is, plan on training to a higher standard than what you are trying to achieve. I was shooting for Vanguard and I was satisfied with a 22:30 2 miles on the road near my house.
2. Food and hydration. Do a lot of it. Calorie expenditure on something like this is high and don’t be afraid to eat a lot more and more frequently than you normally do. Hydrate before, during and after.
3. Gear. Go with the lightest gear you need for this event. I ran my 4.5lb AR and a small chest rig. My plan was to switch to my AK and larger rig on day two because the bullets are cheaper. After the land nav in which I carried my AK and AK rig, I said F*&% it and went back to my lightweight gear.
4. Don’t let your ego get in the way of doing one of these. I honestly believed I stood a good chance to make Vanguard and maybe even coming in 1st or 2nd. While I am disappointed that I didn’t make Vanguard I still learned alot. For the people that are so afraid of failing in front of other people, you will never self improve unless you challenge yourself.
I don’t know where I will be or what I will be doing this September when the next RC is offered. I hope that I will be in a position to do it again or at least volunteer as a Marshall. The people who showed up, competed, and learned are all winners in this even if they didn’t make Rifleman. MVT is doing a good thing and I hope it catches and takes off.
Rifleman, Max Velocity Tactical.
AAR Intermediate Fitness Plan 8 weeks to Tactical Fitness
Time Frame: Dec 30th,2014 to Feb 22nd, 2015
Age 53 Beginning weight 212 ending weight 201
Adjustments: Originally was scheduled for a Combat Patrol class first week of February (which was cancelled) ; changed workouts to reflect a week of travel/training. After the class was cancelled added a week of lighter workout. Conducted the 8 mile CFT in week 8. Hip acted up so the 10 mile PARA TAB wasn’t done. Also adjusted some workouts due to work schedule and extreme cold weather (although this was rare).
Equipment: A cheap kitchen timer, a pedometer, and a headlamp.
Early on wasn’t used to running several days in a row. Followed the schedule, gradually building up time and distance. I purchased the intermediate level plan but really wasn’t at that level in the cardio portion. I did make it work. Discovered with proper rest I could really work my cardio to levels I hadn’t been at before.
I was a lot better at the strength portion. Pushups and pullups were something I had been working on regularly. Some the exercises were new to me but I continued to work on them and saw my overall fitness improve over the course. Flexibility and balance are two areas I never worked on.
Receiving emails with the workouts attached was nice. Also the online calendar is great. You are able to adjust your workouts and add countless workout details and data.
At the end I made the 2-miler time and even the 8 mile CFT time with some seconds to spare. Wasn’t able to legally carry a rifle but did have the extra weight in the ruck.
In summary I’m well statisfied with the plan. I worked out before but didn‘t know how to work out effectively. I now know how important a regular stretching program is the solid foundation of a successful workout program. I dropped over 10 lbs in weight with some of it that “vanity” bulk that Max speaks off. I’m lighter, faster, and more flexable than before.
Starting my next 8 week plan end of March in prep for May MVT class. These plans are well worth the purchase.
I just want to say thank you to Max for the fantastic training that I had this past weekend at the CTT class. I was also able to meet some great like-minded individuals concerned about protecting their families and communities.
If you are concerned about the future but you are making excuses to not do training like this because of your health or injuries to “suck it up buttercup.” Do what is necessary and get ready for this class by doing your PT. I am recovering from heart failure, had both hips replaced, neck surgery and a bad back but, I was able to get ready for and push through this class. It took me about six months to prepare and yeah it sucks and it hurts but it’s worth it.
In this class I learned weapons manipulation, clearing malfunctions, reacting to contact, how to move in buddy pairs, and so much more. Max was very knowledgeable and was able to effectively convey that knowledge. There is no better way to learn these things and this goes way beyond what you would learn on a square range.
I am going to continue doing PT and preparing to go on to the patrolling class. I encourage you to push away from the computer and start doing your PT so you can join me and others in learning from Max and the other instructors.
Student Review: Texas Combat Team Tactics / Mobility Feb 2015: Mark
Student Review: Texas Combat Team Tactics / Mobility
Feb 2015 : Mark
I recently attended the Max Velocity Tactical Combat Team Tactics and Mobility Drills class in Texas. I have been following Max’s blog for a bit and had purchased “Contact”. The more I read, the more I realized I really needed to learn this stuff.
I tried to first organize a small group to take the class, but was unsuccessful after 7 months. Then I decided I needed more PT before I took the class. The more I thought about it, the more excuses I came up with. Reality was, the idea of a dynamic firing line made me a little nervous. After enough procrastination, I decided it was time to man up and take the class. Wow. I am glad I did.
As in most of the student reviews, I can say that Max runs an extremely safe range. He takes safety very seriously and makes sure all of the students do as well. At no time during the week did I ever feel I was in any kind of danger (well, maybe from the other students for snoring back at the lodge. Sorry T.) Any concerns I had were over by the middle of the first day. As a lot of students before me have said, Max is an excellent instructor. You have read about “crawl, walk, run”. In hindsight, it’s very easy to see how he did it. However, during the training, he managed to keep everyone, all with different skill sets, interested and engaged. It was amazing how much we accomplished in 5 days. From day one on running your rifle and malfunction drills to day five with the squad attack. Was that really the same group?
A few words on PT. You always need more. I am certainly not in the best shape, but was able to keep up and follow along. Don’t let your lack of PT prevent you from taking this class. Yes, you need to have a certain amount of PT, but Max does run his classes in a way that allows everyone to participate. You will not be left behind. I would highly recommend Max’s Training Plans before you take the class irrespective of where you are at PT –wise. You will be glad you did. The best thing I heard over the week regarding the PT part of the drills was from another student. Run the drills at YOUR maximum effort. Run the drill as fast as you are able, while still staying safe. Not everyone in the class will run at the same speed, and that is fine.
As much as I learned, and as valuable the training is, I would be remiss without mentioning one more aspect of the training…it is FUN. Almost everyone had a huge smile on their face after each drill. True, most of us are not there for the “fun” factor, but it was a blast. Most of us kept harassing Justin because he wouldn’t stop smiling. He was like a kid at Disney World for the first time. Truth be told, I was smiling just as much.
If you are procrastinating or are concerned about taking a MVT class, STOP. Man up, sign up. You will be glad you did. I can’t wait to be able to take another MVT class.
Student Review: Texas Combat Team Tactics Class Feb 2015: ‘AgingDrifter’
AAR CTT/Mobility Texas Feb 2015
[I’m hesitant to write an AAR given that others have done an excellent job before me, but I will focus on certain aspects that may be helpful.]
Why attend? Learn simple drills to keep you alive. I very much want to get away from any scary people shooting at me; these drills get you moving and off the X. If you haven’t trained, you may be an internet scholar and “know” what to do in your mama’s basement, but when the time comes, there is a good chance you’ll freeze unless you’ve seen it in training. You still may freeze momentarily even after training, but you are much more likely to snap to, break the freeze and get on with it.
I’ve attended Max’s CTT in WV, both the 2 day and the 3 day iterations. I’m 58 with no military experience, with some square range experience from some high profile instructors. I know I need “continuing education” and I live in Texas, so attending this class was a certainty (screw Dulles especially), but I was surprised at the difference the terrain made. In WV, there are short sight lines due to the heavily wooded steep hills. The Texas ranch was open with few hills; however, there were stands of trees as well as creek beds and high grass. This allowed for “patrolling” formations that differed from the simple file in WV. Also, the space between buddy pairs and between teams was substantially greater in Texas. This provided an opportunity to see the action develop, both as a participant and as an observer when the other students were going through their exercise.
One benefit of the WV terrain is that on break contact right/left, you quickly see how it is necessary to get on line and fight back, instead of just mindlessly peeling until you’re circling the enemy. That’s not a concern in Texas. WV also has more microterrain that provides for good bound points and early rally points. You can bound a long way in Texas before you’re out of sight of the enemy. Mercifully, Max would stop the exercise after a reasonable period of bounding.
The Texas Ivan targets were not pop-ups, but this didn’t detract at all from the learning experience. All of the students could shoot, so visible reaction to hits was not a concern. Of course, some distant steel would have provided more cowbell…
This was not a patrol class, but the lectures and the exercises build the foundation of patrol movement. You will definitely take away not only the need to train with your home team, but also the necessity to develop SOPs for responses to contact.
It seems to me that fights are won—you get your ass away to fight another day of your choosing—by returning fire, taking cover, returning appropriate fire, then rolling into your break contact drill. If the enemy wants to pursue, hurt him with a hasty ambush, and repeat until they’ve had enough.
Momentum always and intelligent aggression when the situation requires that you attack. Don’t mistake breaking contact for some cowardly pell-mell dash like a flock of turkeys—Max makes it clear that a properly executed break contact comprises an initial response that gains at least enough fire superiority to suppress the enemy, then accurate sustained fire and movement by teams. Your intent is to keep the enemy’s head down and the way to do that is with accurate fire. Basically while your other element moves, shoot the bad guy in the head.
One thing we didn’t do was deal with a (simulated) casualty. But then that’s a matter of essentially winning the fight, dragging the casualty to cover, treating what you can, then littering out. Thankfully for this old boy, the additional suck of dealing with a casualty was beyond the level of this class.
Mobility. Before the class, I thought this wouldn’t be terribly interesting. I was wrong. Max, from more experience than I would care to think about, has a lot to say about how you might find yourself in a vehicle and about the situations that might generate.
When things go bad, you are looking at break contact procedures initiated from an immobilized vehicle. Unrelenting accurate fire, and continuous movement made possible by that fire, is your plan. Get away from the bullet magnet.
For you greybeards sitting on the fence, just sign up and do the class. The exercises are not that damn taxing. The youngsters out there will obviously keep low(er) and move fast(er), but listen to that little voice that tells you that you need to increase your odds. Your family and your neighbors are depending on you, and there are people you will never know who will be better off if you live to defend rightful liberty. It’s not in the nature of youth to consider this, but you have no excuse.
Finally, believe me when I say that Max is a gifted trainer. It’s abundantly clear that he has trained a lot of people, from young, pub-crawling, curry-craving British recruits to old Texas lawyers. He is all about maximum learning in a safe environment. You will crawl/walk/run, with lectures, demonstrations and his intense scrutiny on the range, both for safety issues and for tactical errors. You will have a ridiculously good time, with teammates who you will be proud to achieve with. And bring an AK. BFYTW.
Gotta love the AK guys. Here’s an AK from the class (there were two):
Shepherds crook broken. ‘No AR’s were harmed in the making of this video.” Just sayin’……BFYTW 😉
But they make great flank effects team weapons, because they sound like bad guys….
Student Review: Texas Combat Team Tactics / Mobility Class February 2015: Shooter
I posted this AAR over at M4Carbine.net and Lightfighter.net, but thought I’d throw it in here (MVT forum) as well…
AAR: MVT Combat Team Tactics and Mobility Drills – 18-22 Feb 2015
This 5-day class was held at a ranch near Brady, Texas. Most of the students stayed at a hunting lodge located at the ranch, so that really helped develop the team mentality.
This class was a group of 16 guys with varying skill levels. NONE had ever worked together doing anything like this, though a few pairs knew each other. Two guys had some prior small unit tactics training through military service – one post-911, and the other 25 yrs ago. The rest of us were civilians. Two attorneys, a mortgage broker, three dentists, a petroleum engineer, telecom tech guy, CAD draftsman, real estate broker, etc…
I’ll get to a brief overview of the course, and videos of some of the drills, but one thing that really stuck with me that I have not experienced in “tactical” classes before is the way the team mentality really blossomed in this course. Day 1 and Day 2 we were a group of individuals, but by the end of Day 3 we were TEAMS. Not only were we learning to work together more effectively on the drills, but we were hanging out together, driving to town for meals together, etc. We even organized a rotation for cooking and dishwashing in the lodge (at Max’s suggestion.)
On to the training…
Note: Lecture periods, with whiteboard, colored magnets, and dry erase pens preceded the field exercises. This helped immensely, since we understood what we were doing and why we were doing it when we got out into the field to physically do the drills.
Day1 was what most of us are familiar with – safety briefing, square range zeroing, turns, controlled pairs, malfunction clearance drills, etc.
Day2 was intro to 2-man “buddy pairs” bounding forward and backward on the square range, then some very simple 4-man team stuff (2 buddy pairs) bounding forward/backward, peeling left/right out in a big field.
Day3 started with individuals going through a “jungle walk” to hone RTR – Return fire, Take cover, Return appropriate fire. We then moved into progressively more complex 4-man team stuff. Same basic techniques, but performed on more broken ground, more brush, etc. There was some discussion on patrol movement techniques, but this was not a “patrol” class. We used a column formation to begin the dismounted contact drills, since it was appropriate to the terrain. Column is kind of a cockeyed diamond with one buddy pair in the front (“alpha” team) and one pair in the rear (“bravo” team).
Once we started functioning as 4-man teams, probably 75% or more of what we did was break contact drills – fighting backward by buddy pairs, or peeling off the “X”, or combination of both. A few drills were fighting forward through the contact.
Days 4 and 5 were the “Mobility” portion of the course – vehicle based drills. There was also a “hasty squad attack” drill on Day 5, which was the highlight of the course for me. Scenario was two 4-man teams on patrol take fire, front team reacts and suppresses the enemy while the other does a flanking maneuver and fights through the enemy position.
The instructor was clear that, for safety reasons, some of the scenarios were not as realistic as they could be. He needed to be able to see all of us in order to control us, we needed decent backstops for all those rounds downrange (2,000+/- rds per student), exaggerated offsets to keep from shooting vehicles (rather than shooting under the vehicles from behind the axle or engine block), driving slow, etc… Also, some of us 40+ year olds had aches and pains, gimpy knees, or whatever, so at times we would kneel when going prone would have been more realistic if bullets were flying both ways.
I was AMAZED at how far our skills advanced in 5 days, and all in a very controlled, methodical, way. It was a pretty sharp group of students, an EXCELLENT instructor with a well-planned training progression, radios for comms, safety guys assisting on some of the drills, attention to safety angles, backstops, etc… I’ve taken other classes where I sat out drills that I thought were pushing the edge of safety too far. Not this one. I never felt like I had anything to worry about.
Availability of this kind of team tactics training is sadly very limited for us civilians, even though it should be considered our duty to be trained in this stuff. (See Amendment II, U.S. Constitution). Get it while you can, but be careful who you get it from. There are some snake oil salesmen out there…
Max is legit.
Student Review: Texas Combat Team Tactics / Mobility Class Feb 2015: TexasFredericBastiat
AAR – MAX VELOCITY TACTICAL – CTT/Vehicle Mobility
My goal in writing this – to motivate the reader to get more training. Get to West Virginia to a MVT class. Take a square range pistol or carbine course in the interim. Read Contact, the Reluctant Partisan, Sparks31 comms book, John Hurth’s tracking book, etc. Get motivated, and realize that you probably dont know how to fight. Get motivated, and KNOW that you need PT, and that you need to be getting stronger and more fit every day.
Overview: This was a class where MVT traveled down to Texas to train responsible armed citizens in how to run their rifles, fight as team, and then how to fight in and around vehicles. The purpose fits the average guy pretty well – you will likely want to drive somewhere in your car. Learn how to not die with MVT.
People: 16 students of varying backgrounds. A few with prior military experience (Thanks to the Marine for being willing to share his story). A few ‘training junkies’ who have taken thousands of hours of training. A few guys with zero prior experience in training. Max taught the class by himself. The hosts were wonderful and have a very nice setup.
About myself and previous training: I have attended several “Square Range” type courses from various folks, including pistol, carbine, competitive shooting, combatives, etc. I never served in the military or Law Enforcement. My most relavent prior training was the last year – i had the opportunity to attend John Mosby’s (mountainguerrilla.readfomag.com) Small unit Patrolling class. At that course, held near Prescott, Arizona, Mosby covered weapon manipulation, patrolling formations, battle drills, principles of patrolling, etc. It was an awesome class and i learned a bunch about a lot of topics. Since that time i have practiced what i learned, and thankfully was able to expand on my skillset with this MVT class in Brady.
Location: the ranch was a perfect spot of Texas hilly country, with everything from oak trees, bluffs, hills, creeks, long roads, goat pastures, and ponds. This gave Max the chance to really take advantage of the property and develop quality ranges specific to the drills. A majority went to town together as a group.
This course: covered shooting, weapon manipulations, malfunction clearing, react to contact, individual movement techniques, buddy team bounding, four man battle drills – advancing forward breaking contact, peeling left or right, rallying up. Patrolling formations – modified diamond “Column”. It then covered fighting in vehicles, ideas about vehicle convoys, tactics for spacing, bounds, security halts. Max covered a lot of topics covered in Contact during a lecture portion. This was vital – and better than just reading the book because you could ask him questions and further develop specific topics. The most fun drills were involving vehicle down, reversing out, quick reaction force, all vehicles down, etc. Basically – get the people out, fight if you need to, get out of there. An awesome drill was the squad attack, with one element providing suppressive fire, and the other maneuver element flanking and attacking. lots of fun.
Main lessons learned:
– Peeling left and right as a team when under contact from the side, and situational limitations don-t allow you to break contact like you normally would.
– All of the vehicle stuff – my only previous knowledge was… hollywood crap. Now i have a decent idea of what to do, and how to practice it. I will be training my friends and family.
– I will not be following through with my previous plan of purchasing a travel trailer to carry “bug out stuff”. I will instead plan on having multiple vehicles and drivers in a convoy.
–make yourself available to help others who need it: mindset, skills, techniques, and of course gear. Some guys at these courses will be pretty fresh with their rifles, gear, and will need some encouragement.
– My dang rigid cleaning rod that i had taped onto my rifle came off during one of the drills somewhere on the ranch. Previously i had it taped up so secure that i was not able to get it out under stress without accessing a knife to cut away lots of tape. So i loosened it. Apparently too much. woops.
– I screamed my head off the first few days trying to be loud enough for my battle buddy to hear. Then i didnt have a voice for the last three days. Woops. Lesson learned – dont scream quite as loud? practice screaming? Learn how to yell without screwing up my vocal cords?
Positive reinforcement of previous skills learned:
– The Big Stuff – Having been to John Mosby’s Small Unit Patrolling class last year, i had a good idea of what i was getting into as far as individual movement techniques, battle drills, principles of patrolling, and “fighting with a team” go. (obviously in a training environment, not in real combat). This allowed me to be helping others more, refining my skills, focusing on ‘headshots only’ if possible, instead of sucking wind and scared. Mosby’s class and this MVT class had different end-goals in mind, and are hard to compare. I learned an incredible amount of information from both of them and highly recommend both trainers.
– the little stuff- have your gear ready before class. Pack smart so you can get to things easily. Move your ammo out of the little boxes into a big tool bag or ammo can for easier reloading. Tape up your mags with bright orange or yellow (or MERIKA) tape to make them easier to see.
– PT – i have been training PT as hard as i can, 4-7 days a week, since i started reading Mosby’s blog and got motivated. It helped me in his class to not have to sit out any drills, and another year of PT made this most recent MVT class in Texas much much easier. It wasnt ‘easy’. I was exerting near maximal effort on the bounds and drills. The difference? I didnt get tired, sore, and i recovered extremely quickly. This class was an ‘off week’ for me PT-wise. Get you some crossfit, MovNat, burpees, heavy sandbag lunges, squats, push press, etc. Build the habit of doing more stretching/mobility work (youtube Kelly Starrett and Vic Verdier), more squatting/hip hinging and extension, and more MOVING. Lookup ido portal and crawl around. Look up MovNat and do what they do. Sign up for MVT tactical PT program. Join a crossfit gym. Take brazilian jiu jitsu classes. Take a daily walk with or without your ruck. Eat healthy ( i prefer paleo/primal).
CONCLUSION: Get training. Do more PT. Practice your skills. Teach others. Build your tribe. Repeat.
Student Review: Texas Combat Team Tactics / Mobility Class Feb 2015: Justin
Training with Max Velocity Tactical is INCREDIBLE! Having no previous military experience or formal rifle training I knew I was going to learn a lot. I HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH!!! More over I had no idea how much FUN I was going to have. I planned on going to class, working my butt off and getting an education. I did my best to soak up every bit of information that Max provided but was surprised at the bonus of FUN, COMRADERY, and FEELING OF PERSONAL ACCOMPLISMENT. I would not only recommend training with Max Velocity Tactical, I would implore you to get off the couch and pull the trigger. Stop sitting there reading about the success that others are finding training with Max, get up, PT and get out to TRAIN!!!
More than a year ago I came upon http://www.maxvelocitytactical.com/ and started following the blog and training opportunities available. It was my feeling that if there was ever to be a civil unrest situation of any kind, the type of training Max Velocity offered was exactly what I needed to be more prepared to protect my family.
Upon reading the numerous after action reports (AAR) on the blog, I understood that to optimize my training experience I needed to get in shape. I PT’d my ass off and after a hurdle or two (knee surgery)
I was able to make it to training. Be careful not to injure yourself in the process of getting ready for class. Despite my efforts I still came away with the lesson that I needed more PT. I had plenty of air from my running but my thighs were on fire from getting up and down so much. Burpees, up downs something… Max said the Physical Training Programs offered on his site address this problem.
Another common thread in other’s reviews is to read ‘Contact!.’ DO IT! Contact is written in an easy to read and understand fashion that allows readers the opportunity to get valuable information pertinent to training. Upon taking a class the information provided then leaps from the pages onto the range before your eyes.
I attended the Combat Team Tactics (CTT) and Mobility/Convoy Tactical Training in Brady, Texas. From the initial email contact through the end of training the entire experience was handled professionally.
The training in Brady allowed the opportunity to stay at a lodge on the property where the class was being held. Upon arriving at the scheduled meet up, we were taken to the lodge where the accommodations were exceptional. In this situation, staying on site with classmates allowed us to build rapport and team unity. Take the time to get to know one another, you will be shooting, moving and communicating together during training. The better relationship you have with your teammates will ultimately influence how well you train. If possible bring your buddy, train with them, then take your training home and practice. Don’t grow complacent! Shooting, moving and communicating are perishable skills. The goal is to get the most out of training.
Throughout the entire training period safety was paramount and at no time was I concerned.
Max’s Training moves an individual from crawl, to walk, to run. Without getting into the actual nuts and bolts of training we progressed at a steady tempo. Topics covered during CTT training included; zeroing, malfunctions, facing drills, RTR, movement drills as buddy pairs, fire and movement as a team, fighting through and fighting backwards, peeling, position clear, rally, hasty ambush, squad level hasty attack. Mobility/Convoy Tactical Training included: Drive! Drive! Drive!, Reverse! Reverse! Reverse!, Vehicle immobilized peel forward, peel backward or fight back, vehicle mounted QRF. Dispersed throughout the training were lectures geared toward the individual drills. The training built upon itself allowing the individual to understand not only what to do but why we were doing it. By the end of training, we were running the drills with confidence. The feeling of accomplishment as a result of this training is unexplainable.
Although training with firearms is “deadly serious shit”, it is a BLAST. After each iteration of a drill, I was unable contain a huge smile. Classmates would tell me to wipe that shit eating grin off my face. At the end of one drill when Max had called “SSSSSSTTTTTTOOOOOOPPPPP!!!!! Apply your safety catch and stand up.” he added “… and STOP SMILING!” I couldn’t. I was so amazed and happy at what I was doing I couldn’t help myself!
Many in the class talked of how surprised we were of our progression. I feel that we definitely got our moneys worth. I’d recommend that if you are planning on training with Max that make the most of it. Take advantage of all opportunities presented to you. Add as much training that you can to your trip by the way of optional courses. You won’t regret it.
I’m hooked. I’ll be back for more.
P.S. – MORE COWBELL!!!
Student Review: Combat 2 Gun (C2G) 6-8 Feb 2015: Wes
I’m turning 50 this year; I have been looking forward to this birthday for about the past 5 years. I am determined to be as fit a 50-year-old as I can possibly be. Be all you can be…I think that was the Army slogan when I joined in 1987.
I have been really busting my ass on fitness, utilizing activities such as mountain bike racing, adventure racing, and trail racing to drive my training. I have adopted a paleo-style diet which I used to drop 40 lbs and make my body perform at a MUCH higher level…yet, something was missing.
My good, old friend, Chris, turned me on to the MVT website and it hit me…I need to become as tactically fit as possible in order to not only protect my wife and 3 kids from any number of various potential threats in an increasingly dangerous world, but also to do my duty as an American citizen to protect my community and way of life to the greatest extent possible.
Why? Well, I had received M-16 basic rifle marksmanship training as part of my OSUT Cavalry Scout training in the Army. I knew it, or at least I thought I knew enough to get by. Then continued discussions with Chris made me think (Chris is good for that)…that training on the M-16 was 27 years ago! Also, after OSUT scout training, I was never issued an M-16 ever again. For the remainder of my military career, I served as a crewman (either driver, gunner, or commander) aboard an M3-Bradley Fighting Vehicle and was issued either a 1911 or M9 as a sidearm.
It would have been a HUGE mistake for me to have skipped this C2G Course and to have jumped right into CTT.
I learned WAY more in this 3-day course regarding the deployment of an AR-style carbine and a pistol (G17) than I did in my entire Army career.
I would love to go back for the Combat Rifle and the Combat Pistol courses, and I will, eventually, but I really want to get on to the CTT and the night vision course.
Night Vision…we discussed the subject at dinner with Aaron and Max the other night and at the time I thought I can’t afford it right now. The fact is, I can’t afford to NOT have the capability. I will make it happen and when I am back for CTT, I will have it.
Ok, the best thing about this inaugural C2G course other than it was fun as hell, spending time with my good friend, Chris, meeting and training with some awesome folks (Matt, Steve, Austin, and Michael – all wonderful people) was the instructor, Aaron. Aaron presented the material in an intelligent, concise, SAFE manner. He was full of humor, great movie references (some I didn’t get), and hard-earned, real-world wisdom. He utilized stories from his multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq to really drive home the training. Aaron was great at inducing stress while clearing weapons malfunctions and firing exercises.
I would love to someday attend one of Aaron’s history classes, but only if I could take the course pass/fail and not be required to write papers. Aaron, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for EVERYTHING!
My very favorite thing, which I guess was not actually part of the course, was the opportunity granted by Max to run the MVT Rifleman Challenge 2-mile ruck run course and then go directly into that timed course of fire which I assume will also be part of the Rifleman Challenge. I had never done any shooting under that sort of physical stress, and it was awesome! I just need to practice.
Thank you, Max, for coming to this part of the world and offering this training. I can’t wait to come back.
Wes would have qualified as MVT Vanguard, with his 2-Miler time.
Aaron ran the first Combat 2 Gun (C2G) class this past weekend. Training numbers have been slow this February due to concerns over the weather, but we had 6 students and the weather was a little cold but good overall. The students also helped me beat test the shoot and 2-Miler standards for the MVT Rifleman Challenge HERE: Updates / Finesse to the MVT Rifleman Challenge: 2-Miler & Shooting. Thank you!
Student Review: Combat 2 Gun (C2G) 6-8 Feb 2015: Matt G:
Going into this weekend I didn’t know what to expect, as I was told that this was the first one of these classes that they had done. Let’s start with the info packet I got ahead of the class. The packet came with directions to the site and a list of required equipment both for training and safety. The directions were very precise and as a result I found the place with no trouble and never got lost. Required equipment was simple and not complicated.
Our instructor, Aaron, really knew his stuff, and I know I learned a lot from him. He wasn’t arrogant about his abilities, but very professional and knew exactly when to yell and when not to. I would have no problems taking another class from him.
Safety was never a concern. Safety was taken very seriously by Max and the cadre but not so seriously that it hindered or restricted training. There was never a time when I felt unsafe or in danger.
One of the best parts about this class was the way that Aaron and Max didn’t foster an environment of competition between the student and instead showed the value of learning to work together as a team. Never was any one student elevated above another. The team was what was important.
The training material was practical and free of any unnecessary movements or steps. It focused more on real world scenarios versus rudimentary (what I call) “shooting range techniques” . It gave me the confidence that with training and practice my reactions would better fit certain situations. Also, while the training is geared towards the AR15 platform Aaron was very good at adapting to other platforms like my AK47, and the Israeli Tavor brought by another student. This made it so that my training was no different than the rest of the class’s.
All in all this class was well worth the money. It was an extremely great value and I look forward to taking more classes with MVT in the future. Max and Aaron were great guys and were actively involved in the training process. I loved everything about this weekend. I would whole heartedly recommend MVT to anyone seeking to further their skills beyond the standard shooting range. I would give MVT 5 out of 5 stars hands down.
After Action Review: Max Velocity Combat Team Tactics, January 2015: Benny
After Action Review: Max Velocity Combat Team Tactics, January 2015: Benny
Above: Benny at his day job
I’m currently serving in the United States Army on Active Duty. I attended the January CTT class and will put to paper my thoughts on the course in an attempt to answer questions that other Veterans and Service Members may have when considering the course. It will be a useful review for anyone however as the basics always apply to everyone. Max’s Resume and professional course offerings stand alone. However, well thought out reviews are important for anyone who is considering spending their hard earned money on training. It can be difficult to accurately judge the caliber of a school in a field that has its fair share of dogma, marketing, and general internet hype. I will do my best to review the course I have taken in light of the experience and training that I have gained in the U.S. Army, but the lessons I took from the course will be applicable to anyone who cares to read it.
I became acquainted with Max Velocity Tactical while I was deployed to Afghanistan. I read Max’s books and blog posts in order to hone the training I was providing to my Afghan counterparts. As well, I am always looking for tactical insight to apply to real world missions. I push myself and others to always be a student of tactics. No amount of study is to great, or too focused, if it is towards killing the enemy and saving lives. You don’t have to be fighting a war to undertake the same study. Anyone who may have to use a rifle in self defense can benefit from the study of tactics as they can all be distilled to proper fundamentals. Furthermore, if one is to do the same with at least one buddy, they must study tactics as not doing so is negligent.
Let’s start from the very beginning though: If one truly believes in their own self-defense, then they ought to possess a firearm and competent knowledge of its use. This isn’t a political discussion, you don’t have to own a gun if that “isn’t your thing”. But even having that choice is predicated on living in a country where the peace is maintained by those capable of applying lethal force. By and large, it is the only way to negate the physical disadvantages that one may have against a predator. No matter how physically able we may be, we all get old, or sick, or were born handicapped.
The argument for armed self defense is founded in the necessity to seek every tactical advantage in the hope that we will survive, and ensure the survival of those who cannot defend themselves, namely our families and loved ones. Following the same argument it is apparent that, should the situation be so dire, we can increase our advantage by increasing our numbers. As we increase our individual skills, and reach out to like minded individuals, we must seek sound tactical training to realize every advantage that our numbers have. Whatever your thoughts on the matter Light Infantry tactics apply to groups of armed individuals. We can admit and exploit that, or not, but we will reap the consequences.
Above: “Get to the Chappa!”
I am doing my best not to dive into politics here, but often times the arguments for firearms ownership, and free citizens seeking tactical training follow the same lines. We have the luxury of choosing not to arm ourselves, or consider self defense in this country. Often times one may be in denial. We choose not to follow the path because we cannot comprehend someone using violence against us, much less being forced to use violence against others. But for the average law abiding citizen, it is never their choice when that comes. The only choice they have in the matter is to seek the best training and preparation they can in hopes of protecting their life, and the lives of their family. If you don’t believe in that, then the hope is that someone will be there to step in. But as many have chosen to defend the lives of our citizens, they may not be at your house when it counts.
I went to Max Velocity Tactical with no preconceived notions other than a basic familiarity with the curriculum. Based on everything I had seen I knew the training would be to a high standard with emphasis on the basics of weapons employment, movement, and communication. No matter how many times one has done such training, proper repetition can only help you get better. I also viewed it as an occasion to test my personal gear, which I had never used solely. Much of my kit has been used piecemeal for my work but I had never used my rifle and personal kit alone for anything but square range zeroing. This proved to be beneficial but annoying at times. My personal rifle exhibited malfunctions that had never occurred on my duty weapon, like magazines not quite fitting in the mag well! I cleaned and even honed some of the surfaces in the mag well but each reload and malfunction was a unique and special experience. I believe I’m better for it but this is an annoyance that can easily be prevented and in the end can distract from training. Where as I do little personal training with my own gear, do yourself a favor and work these things out at home since you are able to do so. Common sense right? Well why am I saying it then.
I owe these discoveries to MVT’s introduction of combat rifle training on the flat range for the first day. You WILL have an adequate understanding of what it takes to run your gun in the field after the first day. Any preparation you do will help though to include basic weapons handling, zeroing procedures (zero beforehand) and simple malfunctions. You may be better off with a 50 (200) meter zero as the flatter trajectory will achieve more hits on the lanes when you instinctively aim center mass. As Max and Chris point out on the range, this should put you about 2 inches low on your 25m zero. I usually aim center mass at a standard 25 meter zero target and adjust my point of impact to hit at the bottom, but within the black. It is always worth verifying your zero at known distances as results will vary. However, zeroing in this manner promotes a flat trajectory within a couple inches of line of sight out to 300 meters. When engaging at 300 you should hold a little high as reflected by your impacts on the 25 meter zero target since it represents a silhouette at 300 meters. If you just use a stick on target as we did at MVT just remember the 2 inch part. Besides, zeroing is something you can refine before your class and verify the day of.
A constant and hard lesson is to always have a back up, the old adage “two is one, one is none” always applies. Get a good set of back up iron sights and zero them as well. The benefits are obvious but part of your pre-combat checks can be to verify that your red dot and back up sights are still co-witnessed and therefore zeroed. This is only theory of course unless we verify zero, but its the best that we have and you will know right away if your optic has shifted before you have to rely on it. A friend of mine likes to run fixed back up irons as he will know at any given time if his zero has been knocked off and can simply use the irons.
Weapons maintenance is another crucial piece of the puzzle. You can find a million opinions on the subject but find a system that works for you and stick to it. CLP has always worked for me as well as TW25. This class I decided to grab, of all things, a can of “Remoil” in my hasty 30 minute packing job. I had the other two lubricants but they weren’t at the top of my bag. I will not disparage the product, I like it to prevent rust and such.
My only other experience was seeing an upper receiver catastrophically fail in a shoot house in a high round expenditure school. After that the instructors banned the use of “Remoil”. So of course, why wouldn’t I bring that :wacko: . My weapon began having more and more stoppages the last day until I tore it down and used another product, problem solved. So I’ve illustrated a couple themes here: first, know your kit and what works for you. This comes from training and repetition, that’s it.
Above: an experienced soldier will tell you: sleep is the best thing to do once essential tasks are complete.
I like running my gun dirty, real dirty. This is usually due to a suppressor but don’t ever have an excuse for improper weapons maintenance. Spit shined doesn’t seem to work for me, nor does full on sludge so find that sweet spot. A little advice goes a long way as the more you look the more product pushing and varying opinions can complicate the process. Instead use the time on the range and in practicing the basics of marksmanship and weapons handling. Second, once you’ve done the leg work, stick with what you know! And if your still figuring things out, at least don’t go with what you know doesn’t work! Common sense right? Well Ill tell you why I’m saying it, because often times the “mindless” adherence to tasks, conditions and standards in Military training isn’t mindless. Someone already did the thinking for you or learned the lesson in blood. Take nothing as gospel but do a litmus test and make sure it works for you and stick with it as small variances or corner cutting can be insidious, creeping up and causing problems at the worst possible moment. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, or at least as great starting point.
To paraphrase a saying from “Tiger Swan”: “there is no such thing as advanced shooting skills, just the basics performed under stress” and under different situations as I like to add. I showed up to the class with my own kit, some professionally and self gained knowledge, and the same exact goals as everyone in the class. That being to hone the basics of shooting and moving. We never graduate beyond the basics. We may have jobs that require many more tasks to be performed on top of that but that doesn’t change the requirement to shoot, move, and communicate at a basic level. If your job doesn’t require a specialized skill set, then it is that much easier for you to focus on the basics.
So I want to reinforce what I said in the class: that you are getting the best training you can get in light infantry tactics for the money. If ever you find yourself tasked with a more complicated mission or training scenario then break it down into its basic individual and collective tasks, and practice and rehearse those until you feel competent in doing what needs to be done. MVT demonstrates an excellent model for building a competent tactical team member from the ground up, for most, if not all of the situations that a dutiful Citizen would ever hope not to face, but would be prepared for should the day come.
Diligence in the basics,
More to follow on NODF…
If you own your own NVGs and intend to use them as a part of your kit then do your self a favor and take the NODF class. It was my first opportunity to use my own kit exclusively and it was refreshing to see that I had 90% of the same capabilities with my own kit that I do at work.
There are obvious limitiations seeing that I cannot purchase my own class 3 laser system. This is not a “show stopper” though. I was using a surefire mini scout with a vampire IR bezel and a DBAL and found that this met my needs. You lose some range with the system vs. a .gov LA-5 but for our purposes and considering the ranges you can actually PID targets you will do fine with a my setup mentioned above. The flat range portion of NODF is exactly what you need to zero and familiarize yourself with your equipment. The “night exercise” that Max has put so much work into is icing on the cake and worth the price by itself.
I didnt mention too many specifics above in my review but one thing I wanted to say is that the combination of well sighted lanes in the woods, top notch targetry, and superb instruction to match makes this a course that is a “must attend” in my book. Give MVT serious consideration if you are someone who is prepared to defend their family and their country with like minded individuals.