Review: Combat Leader Course (CLC) April 2017: Craig ‘Hello Kitty’
Class Review of Combat Leader Course (CLC) April 2017-
Description of class:
Course length: 7 days, Sunday thru Sunday. Lived in a simulated FOB during class. We stayed in tents on site in as much comfort as you cared to bring. I recommend a large tent so you could do administrative tasks out of weather.
We used UTM rounds in our AR-15 rifles for the entire course. No live ammo.
Per class page. Camo clothing is necessary for types of missions run. You typically carry enough for a 12 hour mission. So 8 mags, water for 12 hours, some food, rain gear, protection gear per class page, etc. You are issued 1000 reds of UTM ammo. I used just under all of it. Bring some extra cash in case you have a heavy trigger finger. 1000 is a good average but some were under and some over.
Day 1 Sunday- arrive by 1500. Admin and check in. Terrain Model construction. We improved several times during week.
Day 2 Monday- lecture on Op Orders in morning. After lunch, First Warno for afternoon mission. Appointed squad leader (SL) planned mission, gave Op Order, (Max critiques Op Order after presentation), then on to rehearsals and then do it live. There were 4 OPFOR we fought against each mission all week. After mission, we debriefed. Returned to FOB. Did admin and then eat and sleep.
Day 3-7 Tuesday thru Sunday-
This would be our routine throughout the week. Max would give WARNO to the 2 new SL for next day the evening before. One SL presented OP ORDER at 8am. 2nd SL presented at 1pm. We ran 2 missions each day using same routine. This repetition gave us opportunity to learn how to plan and write Operation Orders, then present them, rehearse them and then lead the mission.
Max did allow some folks to stay in hotels due to logistics, but preference was to stay in FOB. We were able to make supply runs in town if needed. We also ate on Friday night as a class in town. And Saturday night we cooked burgers for all students and OPFOR.
First, this is the only class that I know of that teaches how to plan and execute a mission using the Military Planning model. Although, you may attend a course that presents this in a general way, this class teaches it and makes you do it, over and over. Which is the only way to learn it. Now understand, you will learn it but you need a lot more repetitions to get good at it. A LOT.
Second, this class really provided an excellent medium to learn leadership and follower skills in a stressful environment. Some students had trouble leading, some had trouble following. We were presented with so many learning opportunities that you will fail and learn. This is not an easy class. It will take you out of your comfort zone and you will learn from it. I found being a follower harder than a leader. It is something I have identified to work on going forward. Which is the beauty of this class.
Finally, communication was the real difficulty for everyone. We improved as the week went on. However, It wasn’t until the last day that it clicked for me that listening is just as important in communicating. This may seem counter to what you learn at CTT but if you practice and get decent at moving by bounds in pairs, you don’t have to keep yelling to move. Just do it silently unless you have to yell. It makes it easier to hear commands from Team Leader (TL) and SL. Another lesson on listening. As a TL, it is easy to get wrapped up in your own team, moving and fighting your guys, to the point where you are not listening for commands from the SL. It’s kinda like over focusing on IVAN or you sights. As a TL, you need to give short LOUD commands to team but be quiet so you can hear your SL. Speaking/yelling is only half of communication.
There is a misconception that if you learn basic Fire and Movement at CTT that you are good to go. That is so far from the truth. CTT teaches you a tool so you can function in a team, but it is just the basics. We have a lot to learn. And the CLC class is the next logical step in your learning progression.
Google “leadership” and it will net you 787,000,000 results. Search Amazon for “leadership book” and it will net you 206,850 results. Merriam Webster defines leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” – about as broad of a definition as you can get. Suffice to say the topic of leadership is not a finite concept. Also suffice to say that with that much interest everybody has realized how important and relevant the skill of leadership is to their lives.
If you’re looking at this class and think “Combat Leadership” means this only applies to combat, you would be sorely mistaken. Leadership is a universal skill – whether you’re in the board room, raising children, flying a plane, directing a symphony, or fighting a fire. We can all recognize who the leader is in any given situation. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone looked around and knew that person was you?
That last line played to your ego a bit. Truth is, you will never be a leader if you don’t believe you can do so – the ego is a requirement. Also true, you will be an awful tyrant if you believe you are entitled to do so – the ego is a detriment. That’s a part of the constant dichotomy. Leadership requires unparalleled levels of discipline, restraint, exertion, tone, content, timing, and delivery. Correctly applying all 7 of those ideas simultaneously is an infinite struggle. It is immediately apparent when one extends too far on any one of those levels, and all are aware. Not all have the ability to perform as a great leader but all have the ability to discern a poor one.
Also part of the dichotomy of leadership is followership. In this class you will only receive 1 out of 12 chances to prepare a plan and lead a team. That means 92% of the available time will be spent as a follower. Take heed. Absolutely do not discount the impact of being a follower on not only team effectiveness but your own ability to lead.
As a testament to the universality of this skill and Max’s format, just 3 days after taking this class I was tasked with solving an issue at work. It required me to work with another department that will provide the labor to implement my idea/plan. Immediately I offered to put together a package to describe what I want, how it should be accomplished, and imagery to convey the idea visually. What just happened was a WARNO, the act of asking for an pre-planning the problem solving, an OPORD, the act and format of presenting my plan, and imagery much akin to a terrain model. At the end I will be supervising the implementation on the area of the company I am responsible for. ROI in less than 1 week?!
Whatever environment you may be living in leadership is vital to your success. There are no prerequisites for this class for good reason. The tactics are only a vehicle to your leadership development. We can (and did) get complete newbies tactically functional within the squad in a short period of time. Leadership on the other hand is a lifelong pursuit.
Situation: 1 week class, Sunday to Sunday, learning how to develop an idea into a clear mission brief and ultimately lead a team to execution.
Mission: Convey the idea for your plan clearly with as much detail as possible in order to develop a functional team capable of competently executing your plan.
Enemy: OPFOR will be a 4-6 man unit that is well trained, well armed, and well lead. They get their ammo for free and have roofs over their heads so expect their morale to be high.
Friendly: You are a 12-13 man squad that is well trained (or so you think ;)), well armed, and hopefully well lead (that’s what you’re here to learn). You are glamping (glamour camping) at Velocity Training Center (VTC) with comfortable tents, cots, fires, hot food, and plenty of friends.
Intent: You will be conducting Raids, Ambushes, Advances to Contact, and CQB operations in order to destroy NT14 elements in the area and facilitate friendly operations.
Support: Earth tone clothing, Small arms, body armor, Load Bearing Equipment, 8 rifle mags, IFAKs, 12-24hr small patrol bags.
That sort of step-by-step logical progression of thought and planning is a portion of what you will be learning in this class. This format helps facilitate your performance in rapid decision making, high stress communication, instilling motivation, and clear/concise conveyance of ideas.
You will be provided an outline for how to write a Warning Order (WARNO) and an Operations Order (OPORD) with the culmination being your presentation to the whole squad. Each person gets a chance to come up with their own plan, write a WARNO, write and present an OPORD, and act as Squad Leader for their respective mission. Note: Max has allowed riflemen only attendees if this feels intimidating. Max has made some changes to the class format after our experience. You will most likely be given a demonstration on how to deliver an OPORD prior to your attempt. This will help make it clearer what is expected and some visceral hints as to what works. Max has also taken our AAR points into consideration that even though one person is giving the OPORD it may be beneficial for multiple students to come up with a basic plan in parallel (homework), for extra practice, on their own prerogative. Keep an eye out for Max’s comments on other AAR’s and the class page.
Tempo will be 2 OPORDS and 2 full Squad Attacks per day. Anyone from Combat Team Tactics or Combat Patrol will be familiar with the squad attack format. It was the ending portion of your class where the whole class participated in the single iteration. Support by fire, assault team, flank team, shift fire, assault through, sound familiar? Two of those per day – only difference is they are planned by you. There is time to eat, drink, shave, shower, call the kids, etc. You will be busy but not slaving.
Now even though you have given an amazing brief and you have a fool proof plan prior to stepping off it still needs to be brought to fruition. Needless to say, there’s an endless supply of lessons to be learned in how to apply leadership and ensure your squad executes properly. What you say, how you say it, when you say it, what you do, how you do it, and when you do it are a continiously randomized vortex of targets you are trying to hit. Somebody will say “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” which you will learn is only true if you give up on first contact. No plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it can stay mostly in tact (quote credit Mike Q).
Just because you are a squad leader does not mean you are the only one executing the plan. Attempting to do so is a serious mistake. Whether you like it or not, these are the 12 other people you have to work with. You will need all 12 of those people to believe in your plan and WANT to get it done if you are to succeed. Instilling motivation in someone who has few reasons to follow you and infinite reasons to leave is a priceless skill.
Dichotomy again – Even if you could convince the whole world to follow you, if your idea is too complicated it will never come to fruition. Taking the idea from your head and putting it into many others’ means it needs to be universally understood. A basic calculus problem might seem basic to you but calculus is literally a foreign language to the art student. Tracking?
Of course, we all love the gear. After this class there is no doubt you can consider your kit field tested. To take this class you will be wearing and fighting in what you bring for an entire week. If you have not sorted out your boots, clothes, LBE, and rifle you will find out very quickly something is wrong. Chafing, blisters, broken kit, or broken rifles will seriously immobilize you. Amazingly, this class did not have any significant gear failures, injuries, or frankenrifle issues. Everybody on this class was squared away. UTM equipment/munitions were extremely reliable with only a couple instances of rounds stuck in barrels requiring cleaning rods. For further discussion on gear I have started a new thread on the forum (link: https://forum.maxvelocitytactical.com/forums/topic/mvt-class-what-we-wore/) for everyone to discuss what they wear to any and all MVT classes, what worked, what didn’t, and what changes may be made.
My Personal Takeaways:
– 92% rule
– Write, read, and re-read your OPORD. You missed details the first time, every time.
– It is surprisingly easy to survive an ambush.
– Bowline Knot
– Proof that leadership is contagious and it trickles down
– “Pelvic Thrust” is not an acceptable signal for Ambush Set
– The boss is not always right, but he is always the boss.
– CQB is an extra cruel mistress.
– XMRE meals are surprisingly palatable.
– Yeah, I could live like this.
– There were completely new-to-MVT students here. In 2 days the squad had mentored our maneuvers and nomenclature into adoption. No factor.
– Camping is not mandatory, although highly encouraged. Keyword here is immersion. Almost this entire class luxury camped the entire week with proper tents, cots, stoves, showers, etc. The social aspect of this class is not to be discounted. The comradery was great as well as learning how to talk to eachother. Knowing which words to use and how to use them with each individual student makes leading much more effective by the end of the week.
– There were no ruck marches or planned squad overnight patrols at all on this class. There was only a single small volunteer night recon patrol and they were back by midnight. Essentially identical to those who have done the Close Target Recce from Combat Patrol with rifles, LBE, and patrol packs.
– Food: You will only need 2 full meals per day with snacks. Double up Gatorade purchases. I personally brought XMREs, Mountain House, and some home-made meal kits. It was nice to have options but I brought way more than necessary. Undoubtedly you will eat out or somebody brings food, and you are free to leave for grocery runs, so don’t go crazy on the meal prep.
– PT: Be aware that you will be wearing your full kit and walking to your objective to fight twice per day. There is always a spectrum of fitness levels, as is to be expected, but make sure you are not the one holding your team back. Your cognitive ability drops as your exertion levels go up.
– Weather: We saw temperatures from 28°F-78°F, up to 40mph winds, hail, rain, snow, thunder, and lightning. Be prepared to fight in all conditions.
– Ammo expenditure: I personally used about 1250 rounds. The spread of the class was total 850-1250 rounds consumed per person. My personal recommendation would be to bring some extra cash with you in case you need more ammo. Don’t let it be the limiting factor in your experience.
– PPE: By the end of the week almost everyone was wearing some form of face cover (gaiter, balaclava), goggles, and head covering (boonie, helment) for patrol operations. CQB stuff we broke out the mesh masks for sure. The gaiter/balaclava and hat is enough for long distance shots and almost eliminates goggle fogging while the mesh mask and helmet keeps contact shots off your head. All of the snake oil solutions on goggles, fans, and infinite genius solutions could not 100% prevent goggle fogging. It will happen, learn to fight through it. Body armor is not required, approx 4 of 12 students wore it consistently.
– The amount of freedom you will have in this class is unparallelled in comparison to Max’s other classes. You will be given enough rope to hang yourself with. Proceed wisely.
– Based on a mix of Max’s feedback and our own this class is not likely to happen more frequently than once per year.
The majority of the students partaking in this class are active on the forum so feel free to ask us any questions you may have.
GET AFTER IT.
I was one of the lucky four members to fight (and more often die) as the OPFOR (Opposing Force) team.
Review: Combat Leader Course April 2017: JohnnyMac
Combat Leader Class AAR – JohnnyMac
I want to be very direct: there is no other place in the world in which a civilian can receive this sort of training. This is, for all intents and purposes, the apex of tactical training from the civilian perspective. In general we can think of a training progression that looks something like: weapon manipulation, individual fire and movement, buddy fire and movement, team fire and movement, team battle drills and, finally, leading teams through sequencing in battle. The combat leader’s class, at the zenith of this progression, was educational, challenging and revelatory. It’s important to note that any gaps in your personal performance at any of the lower levels can/will have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness and survival of your combat team. Bluntly, your screw-up could get you and your buddies killed.
The purpose of the class was to develop the ability to receive a mission, plan it, and lead it. The amount of onus/freedom placed on students was quite large. If you were in command, you had to make sure your team knew precisely what needed to happen, when, where and how to do it- no hand holding from cadre. The cadre would step in if you were on a collision course as a leader, but otherwise, they left the squad leader to plan/supervise the execution of the mission. The class is roughly 20% planning, 80% execution. This is both in terms time and importance. There is the often quoted maxim, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy” but until you live it, I’m not sure you can really understand the chaos and confusion of battle.
The afternoon of arrival was spent in-processing and getting the FOB set up. The students were also challenged to make a terrain model of our AO. Our initial attempt was kind of feeble, so Max stepped in to point out errors and discuss construction techniques. After some revision (and lots of dirt!) we had something that resembled the terrain of the MVT training facility. If you haven’t ever created a terrain model, it is an art. From a practical standpoint, an accurate terrain model really helps your team understand your mission plan and where they need to be. At the same time, even if you could make the world’s greatest terrain model, crappy leadership or execution is going to mean mission failure.
Monday morning was classroom time around the terrain model going over Max’s tactical check notes and the basics of running a mission. We were then thrown to the wolves for our first mission Monday afternoon. MVT training usually follows a walk, crawl, run methodology and I think for many of us we felt like it went from walk to run. It’s a tough problem because there isn’t as much time as you might think over the course of a week to get everyone through a command appointment. No matter how it’s approached though, the first day or two is going to feel like drinking from a fire hose.
One of the things I learned quickly was that details need to be worked out to a level of detail much greater than I expected going into it. Some of the really small details can be worked out in the rehearsals but, as a leader, you really need to have a firm handle on exactly how everything should unfold (and contingencies that you can clearly articulate ahead of time, for when the situation/plan changes).
Over the course of the ensuing days, the class became conditioned to the routine of mission planning, prep, rehearsals and execution. It was particularly evident in the OPORDs, which slowly began to follow the standard format being taught. Although I wish I had more than one command appointment, we were all able to learn during the debriefs that occurred after each mission. During the debriefs, we were able to learn from not only our own mistakes, but also mistakes of others. Now, there was yelling in some debriefs, but I would say we deserved it after making the same mistakes for multiple missions. Honestly, if you’re too sensitive to be yelled at, you’re probably too sensitive for armed conflict. On a few occasions, Max went around and individually pointed out opportunities for improvement. I think that was super helpful as a student.
To a certain extent, some of the most valuable lessons had to be learned the hard way. The value of this training, and its use of UTM, cannot be overstated. When I say ‘the hard way’, many of the lessons we learned, both individually and as a team, caused the “death” of usually multiple team members. Very few people are lucky enough to get a second chance at life like we are given when training with UTM. In the real world, most lessons are paid in blood, but with UTM, we can learn some of those lessons with only the cost of a bee sting and maybe a bruised ego.
The tactical lessons learned were so numerous I’ll have to list them, but make no mistake, reading these bullets points will not cement them into your mind. You might not even understand them without enough training. Heck, I was THERE and still feel the need to take the class again to really internalize all the lessons. No matter what skill level we as students came into the class with, I think we all left with the feeling we have a lot of work to do.
Onto the stream-of-thought lessons list:
-You’re not nearly as good as you think you are. Check your ego at the door.
-Good communication is both VITAL and difficult.
-“Any given Sunday” …even with a tactical advantage things can go south quickly. In less time than it takes you to read this sentence, an entire team can be wiped out, even if they have numbers or terrain on their side.
-Indecision or freezing up can end up getting everyone killed.
-Even with a good plan, things can go south. With a bad plan, you might be doomed from the outset.
-As a leader you need to “grip” your team. Sometimes that means telling someone to STFU.
-A leader needs good followers- do what you’re told!
-Every man is a link man.
-You need a deep, booming voice to be heard on the battlefield. For me personally, developing a better command voice over the course of the week was one of my bigger personal achievements (and hurdles).
-Don’t get sucked into your own little bubble, stay aware and keep communication brief so you can hear incoming communication.
-The larger the team, the more difficult it is to function efficiently. (OODA Loop)
-You better be in good shape if you plan to do any direct action. Even more so if in mountainous terrain. Your lack of fitness could get yourself or a teammate killed. And if you think, ‘oh, I’ll use my vehicle’ (or some other excuse)….you’re wrong. Without fitness you might die.
-If you don’t want to be seen, stay low and don’t move when they’re looking in your direction.
-Turn your head slowly, not fast.
-Look in to your leaders and teammates periodically.
-Without proper use of cover, you’re going to die.
-Moving without suppressing the enemy, you’re going to die.
-Always bring as much ammo as you can, without it you’ll die.
-No one cares how fast you can burn through a mag, you’re going to run out….and die.
-Failure to ensure everyone understands and can execute the plan will probably mean you die.
-Keep a headcount, leaving someone behind will mean they probably die.
-Never underestimate the power of a flanking attack.
-Never position friendlies where they could cross fire into each other, even if shooting down into a valley. (Bullets do crazy things)
-Ambushes need walls of lead….and surprise.
-Jumping around when describing your plan will confuse people.
-There is a direct correlation to how well-developed your plan is and how many questions you get after laying it out.
-Keep your plan as simple as possible but don’t skip the key details.
-The tactical skills of the individual can make or break the team.
-Trust in your teammates is vital.
-Be an aggressive savage towards your enemies.
-When you’re given feedback, keep your mouth shut and take time to digest what was said.
-Dress for the mission so that you’re a little cold at the start, you’ll heat up when moving on foot.
-Dry leaves are super noisy, go for moss/dirt/rock.
-There is an art to staying perfectly still for long periods of time and remaining tolerably comfortable.
-Accept that you’ll be uncomfortable and try to stay positive.
-Being helpful to your teammates and leaders goes a long way.
-You need to move quickly.
-You’ll never have all the information you’d like to have.
-Adapt the plan to the situation, don’t try to jam the plan into the situation. (Don’t go towards the light)
-Buildings can be death traps, don’t try to clear a building if you don’t have to.
-A leader needs to know both where they are and where they’re going.
-When you face plant, recover as quickly as possible.
-A warm drink can do wonders to warm you up.
-Communicate both specified AND implied tasks to subordinates so they’re ready to perform.
-If you think you’ll be able to throw a tactical team together ad hoc, you’re sorely mistaken.
-Just because you’re good at X, Y or Z, doesn’t mean you’re good at combat. Either accept it step out of the way or seek to improve your abilities.
-Gear might not make or break a mission, but it sure helps. A few things that were either clutch or that I wish I had: a bore snake and cleaning kit to care for your rifle (especially with UTM), goggles that don’t fog and have both tinted and clear lenses (Revision Wolf Spiders never fogged on me), a solid daypack, a drybag and rain gear, a good fleece jacket, a magnified optic for PID (debatable), multiple TQs in easy to reach places, a sleep system warm enough for the weather conditions, extra clothing/socks/footwear, pain reliever, a litter for casualties, lightweight ballistic plates, HELMET SCRIM ( or camo boonie hat), an easy way to clean a pot/cup, a multitool, open mag pouches (MVT, taco, esstac, etc), GOOD KNEE PADS
-You might need more than 1000 rounds of UTM to get through the week.
Overall I thought the class went quite well and it will only evolve into an even better class the next time around. The knowledge I gained through the class was enormous, more than I ever expected. I will definitely attend the class again, especially because the learning curve is rather steep for the first few days. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who feels they have the basics down pretty well (or feels confident they can learn quickly). The immersive environment through camping at the FOB was great, allowing the students to help each other out, have our own informal debriefs and get to know each other better. Although not required, I would encourage future CLC students to stay on site.
To my fellow students, it was a pleasure learning and fighting alongside you.
Max Adds: There is only room, and it is tight, for a single squad leader appointment on the class. Students are able to get multiple team leader appointments. We will make some tweaks for next time to allow students to plan more than their own mission, voluntarily, as homework each night. This would only vary if we got more students who were there to be ‘rifleman only’ and did not want the squad leader appointment. The battle rhythm was, after we ran the first mission Monday PM, two missions per day, with those nominated as squad leader having the night before to plan and write their mission briefs.
I just posted some comment here: ‘Video: Combat Leader Class (CLC) April 2017.‘ Copied from that:
I am going to schedule another of these for April 2018. I am also interested in knowing if there is sufficient interest in running another CLC in the fall. We could fit one in late October / early November. The training value of the class is priceless. I realize that it is a chunk of time, but well invested, at 8 days Sunday – Sunday. The way I run enrollment, is that we need 12 – 13 students to make the class work. I take deposits with the understanding that if the class does not make the numbers, students agree to transfer to deposits to another MVT class of their choosing. So you commit to train either way.
If we do not run another CLC until April 2018, in the meantime we do run the 2 0r 3 day Force on Force Team Tactics / CQB intro classes. The next one is running June 16 – 18 and there is space. There is an opportunity for team and even squad leader roles, purely voluntary, on the scenarios we run as part of that class. It is a good intro if you are looking towards the CLC.
We have the next Combat Team Tactics (CTT), which is really the MVT ‘basic training’ class, July 6 – 9.
Review: Defensive Concealed Handgun, March 11-12: Melanie
I took the defensive concealed handgun training course taught by Scott this past weekend. I’m 24, a woman, and had shot a handgun about two or three times before the start of the class. I was definitely feeling a little out of my element when the rest of the class began introducing themselves as far more experienced shooters. However, Scott paced the course really well and started everyone with the basics. It was definitely a “crawl, walk, run” structure. By the end of day two I was completely comfortable using a handgun. I would definitely recommend this class to novice and intermediate handgun owners.
Review: Combat Team Tactics / Convoy Tactics Texas 2017: James
I attended this training after reading about Max’s teaching methodology on various websites as well as reading his books. I have been to numerous square range type trainings and while extremely useful for teaching and practicing weapons manipulation and tactical movements, there is only so much you can get out of these types of courses. Max’s training is a completely different animal and if you are serious about being able to protect your family and tribe no matter what may come.
Max’s curriculum for the CTT class was great, it started out with weapon manipulation and was very concise on proper weapon handling and malfunction clearance. I have been through various iterations of this type of training and it can be a grind with all of the repetitions, however at no point was Max’s class boring or un-useful. The majority of people attending the class were pretty much up to speed and serious about their training which is great because inevitably there will be that guy who is not up to speed and either causes delays or safety hazards.
The combat team tactics section of the training was definitely an eye opener as it is much more difficult to run your weapon, move, keep in sync with your buddy pair/team, and think about what you are doing than it is to shoot targets on a square range. All movements and exercises were strictly managed and overseen with an emphasis on safety and proper tactics, as well as weapon handling. Even with 14 other guys moving around at the same time I never felt like there was any safety risk. The biggest issue I think most had with this section of the training was slowing down and getting their head out of their weapon so they could see what was going on around them. By the end of the class everyones buddy teams were performing the set tasks with a minimum of randomness (insanity, fuckuppery). I took away from the training alot of ideas to run through with my family so that in an emergency we will be able to work together more efficiently.
Mobility/ Convoy tactics was a big part of the reason I attended this training. In the current times we live in we spend a lot of time travelling in vehicles and at some point in the future may face higher risks of road blocks, ambushes, travel through hostile areas, etc. Having the tools to approach these types problems will be extremely important to keeping your family/tribe safe.
Night vision Primer/ Night shooting was an extra that only some of the students chose to do. This was done after a full day of training so be prepared to be tired. It was amazing getting some basic instruction on the use of night vision and some drills to practice shooting at night. We also ran through a short night raid scenario, which really hammered in how important the use of night vision can be even though it’s not the be all end all and does not really allow you to “own the night”. You will use some additional ammunition for this so bring an extra 500 rounds or so. If you have the opportunity to add this on to a class you should do so, you will be glad you did.
A couple of additional things I really liked about the training were the team building and camaraderie that were part of staying at the (very comfortable) lodge with the other trainees. Also the context under which a lot of the training is done is useful as it applies to a collapse or WROL scenario rather than trying to make everyone a high speed tactical badass. While certainly a large chunk of money and time Max’s classes are by far the best (and best value!) I have attended. I learned a ton and look forward to repeating the training on a yearly basis so I can learn and practice even more. Thanks Max for a great experience!
James D. in Texas
Review CQBC, March 24-26, 2017: Arthur
I took the original MVT Citizen Close Combat (C3) in 2015. The new Close Quarter Battle Course (CQBC) is leaps and bounds beyond the original offering due to instruction, facility improvements and equipment enhancements such as the UTM’s. It is exactly as described at the MVT website (Class description HERE) where you can find out exactly what to expect. This is 3 days of straight forward excellent training that begins to give you the tools you need in the event you are faced with a CQB situation in your personal life.
TRAINING & FACILITY
CQBC is three days of intense training beginning with classroom discussion of CQB methods and theory, proper foot work and body movements, structure entry methods, breaching methods, room types, room clearing methods, sectors of fire and force on target. This covers the first 2 days and as noted earlier it is intense and mentally exhausting. The purpose of the first 2 days is to provide the knowledge and tools to execute the force on force drills on the 3rd day using the UTM rounds and the shoot houses constructed at the VTC, providing real time realistic training. It is one thing to run the drills using force on target, but a whole different world running force on force where the “target” is returning fire. Stress level is high, decision making is tested and the mistakes you make are accented with the incoming UTM fire.
The class was instructed by John (BIO Page) who brings his real life military experience to the class. He knows how to motivate, explain, correct, praise and criticize, remaining fair, objective and open to discussion of methods. This tells me that with the material taught and the free flow of information there is no set in stone dogma. Time and again we were told CQB involves continuous problem solving while on the move. This becomes evident during force on force when, for whatever reason, things go sideways and you and your team need to reassess under pressure of a closing opposition. The basic fundamentals you have been taught don’t change you need to adapt, adjust and reapply them under evolving conditions and intense pressure.
After each drill/iteration a complete debrief was done to close the circle on the learning experience.
Max has done a great job bringing John in to instruct and constructing this facility at the VTC. This is as real to life training as you can get, providing invaluable instruction of a skill that may have real relevance to your life.
Max adds: the next CQBC is in May, but it is currently full. John and I are talking about putting another CQBC on in late August, watch this space.
This course package was held at a ranch near Brady, Texas, 28 Feb through 5 Mar 2017. This was the third year MVT has come to Brady, and I can say without reservations that Max’s courses just get better every year! The course material itself is constantly evolving, (I assume) based on info Max gathers from active and recently active combat troops, as well as Max’s perception of what students are capable of and what they NEED to know. Speaking as a person who has been through more than a dozen courses with some of the biggest of the “big name” instructors, I can tell you that Max goes way above and beyond what most are willing to teach to “mere civilians”, and that Max is an EXCELLENT instructor who has an uncanny ability to evaluate students as individuals and as groups, and train them to their maximum potential.
Day 1 was a review of CTT, where we did several break-contact and assault drills to refresh our memories on how to effectively function as 4-man teams. Basically, this was a repeat of the last day of CTT – bounding forward, backward, peeling right and left as 4-man teams.
Day 2 started with classroom type lecture in the “lodge” describing squad movement techniques and tactics. Then it was off to “the goat pasture” where we did break contact front with a team in overwatch giving supporting fire, then simultaneous break contact front and right, simulating breaking out of an L-shaped ambush. The night of Day 2 was spent with 6-man teams doing night recce missions, with role-players performing activity that the recce teams were expected to report on in their debrief later that night. Lecture describing the hows and whys of recce missions preceded the field exercise.
Our Combat Patrol / Direct Action class was a little different from the Combat Patrol class last year, and I think it was quite an improvement. The main difference is that rather than spending 12+ hours doing a patrol, eating chow in a security position, moving into a patrol base, and swapping sentries all night, more time was spent working on setting up and executing the ambush, searching enemy “bodies” (mannequins), evacuating a casualty, etc. Last year, we left the patrol base in the pre-dawn darkness, moved into our ambush position, executed the ambush, then bugged out… all while half asleep. It was super cool, and the overnight patrol base was a great experience, but I think the 3 repetitions of the ambush this year were a lot better bang for the buck! We still did a daylight walk-through of setting up the patrol base, so it wasn’t bypassed entirely, but I think students got a much deeper understanding of how to conduct the ambush than we did last year, where we were basically just following orders and going through the motions.
I just touched on it above, but I have to point out that the hours of classroom type lecture in this course are invaluable. Max is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and this is an in-depth course where Max really gives you a great overall picture of how small unit tactics are actually applied in the real world and why they are applied the way they are. CP/DA is a 4-day course, but it is much more “brain intensive” and less “ammo intensive” than CTT. I shot maybe 600-700rds during the entire 4 days, and probably close to half of that was on Day 1. Even so, the level of understanding you get from all the explanation and background in the lectures gives you a much deeper understanding of the what, why, and how of all this stuff. It is a LOT of info, and I don’t claim to have absorbed all of it, but I am amazed at how much information Max can shovel at us in such a short time without making it feel overwhelming. It all makes sense, and it all flows logically from one aspect to the next.
CQB and Force-on-Force – Now THIS is where the rubber meets the road! The overwhelming take-away for me is that even though you have gotten really good at “running the drills” against static targets, that’s not enough! You must know how to adapt those drills to a rapidly changing environment when the targets are moving around and shooting back at you. I fully expected this UTM force-on-force phase to be a giant leap forward, a “lightbulb moment,” and I was not disappointed! I got shot in the face a couple of times without even seeing who shot me, and then the cartoon lightbulb over my head came on! All that stuff we hear about “keep your head on a swivel”, “I’m up – he sees me – I’m down,””look at your next cover, then go to it,” “maintain 360 degree security,” etc., all began to actually MEAN something. This was not a glorified game of paintball, but an awesome opportunity to learn to ebb and flow with the situation, use the terrain and available cover, and actually APPLY the tactics. It wasn’t always pretty… mostly not pretty… but it was where all this stuff really came together for me, and gave me some real context for all the drills. When “running the drills” now at home, my mind is in a totally different place than before I had UTM rounds hit me in the face. (Side note: Don’t be intimidated – UTM doesn’t really hurt. You know you’ve been hit, but it’s no big deal).
Review: CRS/CTT Texas February 17-20: Andrew
Review: 17-20 February 2017 Texas 4 Day RS/CTT Class – ‘Brushpopper:’
First off I must admit, not having been to any type of class before other than shooting with friends, I was a little nervous. Whether it was from being afraid of looking dumb, or not being able to keep up physically (be in shape by the way), or any other number of self induced nervousness, I don’t know. That was all put to rest upon meeting up with the group the night before and meeting Max. Everyone, yes even Max, were down to earth people, all trying to learn or earnestly wanting to teach you (Max).
The first two days of Rifle Skills were great, honestly I didn’t think there would be enough to fill two days but there were, from zeroing to combat & tactical reloads, keeping your gun running in the fight by being able to think and look and discern why your gun stopped firing from failure to battery to bolt override and every other imaginable calamity in between, there was more than enough. This in turn let us roll right into Combat Team Tactics fairly seamlessly.
Rifle Skills was an eye opener, but Combat Team Tactics really opened my eyes, I was almost afraid that I would forget from day to day what to do, but by the time you get to your third and fourth day you have gone over these drills on the white board then in rehearsal and then live so many times it almost gets instinctive, albeit for me slowly instinctive (I know I could have moved a lot faster during our bounds and peels).
There was a mention of an on line discussion about Max’s yelling, first off yes there is yelling, not the screaming in your face deriding you of the nature of your breeding, but the kind of yelling that goes with having to talk over rifle fire trying to get your attention whether it be for your safety or your team mates safety, or to get you out of your sights to look around you to see what other danger may be in need of attention. There was some frivolous name calling, all jokingly of course, meant to also get your attention, I believe I was called a maniac (man I wish I could type in a British accent here) or a lunatic at one point for not being in the right position or for not being faster or running out of ammo, I cannot remember which, probably all of the above. It’s the kind of joking banter you would do with your buddies, giving them grief and hell over something they did type of banter, all while learning something.
(Max Adds: This became a bit of a topic because I brought it up at class and specifically asked for feedback on ‘yelling,’ and covered it / asked questions about it in the class AAR).
All in all, this definitely was worth saving up for and I plan on attending more of the Texas classes in the future. It is definitely an eye opener and makes you hungry for more!
AAR for 4 Day Combat Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics: ‘Wheelsee’
TX, Feb 17-20
This was my first class with Max Velocity tactical . With any new activity or endeavor, there may be some anxiety, whether from self-imposed or hearsay. I’ll explain later.
The training will take place on a ranch in excess of 3K acres (> 4 square miles). The housekeeping letter states to be at the gate by 4PM – this allows the host to lead us in to prevent getting lost and just wandering about. BE there by 4PM. Once we were led in, we were introduced to our temporary quarters, completed paperwork, received room arrangements, and paid range/lodging fees. This all took < 30 minutes, freeing us to go into town for food, last-minute supplies, next day lunch, etc. Again, be at the gate BY 4PM (being late just delays everyone else).
Days 1-2 were spent on the square range, Max gave a detailed safety brief and expectations for the class. We are dealing with deadly weapons and safety is paramount. The first step was sighting our firearms, from the prone position (the most stable field position). This should be done anyway with any new sighting system – RDS, scope, or BUIS. I do recommend having done this prior to coming. This should be done anyway with any new sighting system – RDS, scope, or BUIS. Once the sighting was completed, we started with our shooting drills. This was done in a crawl, walk, run format (for the CRS class – crawl, walk) with Max demonstrating each. The first was Contact Front drills, then Contact Left drills, followed by Contact Right drills, and lastly Contact Rear drills – all while stationary. Yes, you are pivoting to get on target, with your team members on either side, and this may cause some discomfort for some. Remember the safety briefing? Max teaches the method of head-body-weapon. It is immediately apparent how safely this can be done (gotta keep your head in the game). Remember this maneuver, you’ll be using it from now on. We then progressed to contact drills while walking (again, on the square range).
Stoppage drills were introduced (you’ll need to attend the class for this one) with Max making decision-making easy – is the bolt closed or open?? (again, you’ll need to attend the class for the answers). Suffice it to say, even an older person new to the AR platform can follow these basic moves. We were also introduced to controlled pairs, hammer fire, and stream fire. While the recommended ammunition allotment is 800 rounds, I recommend bringing 50% more. This is because a student’s definition and inexperience is going to lead to a higher rate of fire until the lessons are learned.
Days 3-4 we moved around the ranch learning Combat Team Tactics. Max was able to find terrain that reflected his scenarios further driving home learning points. Again following the crawl-walk-run method, Max would explain the movement (with rationales, expectations, and possibilities), then we would dry run it (without weapons), then live fire. Expect to do short bounds (<10 yards) from a kneeling position, so work on anaerobic exercises such as forward lunges (see Max for training plans). Read Contact! for the various maneuvers (won’t repeat here). The final scenario involves a squad attack (again, read Contact!).
Review: Defensive Concealed Handgun Class: March 2017: WildBill
Will you be ready?
No, I’m not talking about the societal collapse that we can all see coming and for which we are reading this forum to gather information on how to prepare. Nor am I talking about the SUT classes teaching TTP, which many of us have decided to learn what we’ll be needed to help survive that collapse. All of that is great and needed but when the SHTF does happen, it will be most likely a slow downward spiral that will take days, weeks or maybe longer to become life threatening to you, your family and friends.
I’m talking about the more immediate threats like the 50 killed at the Orlando nightclub, 12 killed Aurora movie theater, 13 killed Fort Hood, 32 killed Blacksburg Virginia Tech., 23 killed Luby’s Cafeteria, 21 killed McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif. On the other hand, maybe it is a lone attack in parking garage, a park, a hiking trail, at mall or any one of the many attacks that never get mass media coverage but are just as devastating to the victims and their families.
These immediate acts of violence could happen to you or someone you love today or tomorrow so how do you prepare — books, YouTube videos?
Alternatively, why not take the time to be trained I mean really take some no bullshit training at a Defensive Concealed Handgun class. First Sergeant Scott’s class that I just completed this weekend is training that may very well keep you or your loved ones alive, whether or not when it comes to a pistol you are a beginner or experienced you will not be disappointed. Following other MVT classes Crawl, Walk, Run philosophy you start with a lecture on safety, equipment, legal and moral responsibilities involved in carrying a concealed handgun and are taught ways to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime.
Above: Scott (teaching Rifle here)
Moving on to the square range you learn the proper draw and re-holstering of your pistol and the first test of your marksmanship which you’ll find vastly improves after two days of drills and scenarios. Scott shows you a couple of great drills that you can use practice later that run through many of the techniques taught in the class using only a 50 round box of ammunition.
In addition, don’t forget the malfunction drills that if you don’t know how to clear could very well mean that you are holding a club instead of a functioning pistol. Then there’s strong hand only shooting and clearing malfunction drills and then support or “weak hand” only shooting and clearing malfunction drills that help round out the “don’t know what you don’t know”.
Where to sit in restaurants and how to extricate yourself from a seated position to shoot an assailant are discussed and practiced. Scott also demonstrates how that Tueller drill is not the end-all- be-all when it comes to keeping assailants at a distance and how if it is followed to the letter could get you killed.
Then come the scenarios set up by Scott and the other students forcing each student to think if this is a shoot or no shoot situation because in the end you are legally responsible for every round that leaves your pistol and shooting one of the many no shoot targets is a big no-no.
Even though not listed on the class handout a separate Night Fire session is available, which is well worth the extra money, where you learn the use of pistol and flashlight whether hand held or weapon mounted. You will also learn trough demonstration and drills how maybe just the use of a flashlight might be enough to deter a would be assailant. What you don’t think the Night Fire class is necessary then you must never go out at night — right. Take the class because you aren’t going to be able to practice these drills in the dark at your local indoor square range in all likelihood.
Add the Defensive Concealed Handgun class to your preparedness schedule for that day or night comes you are faced with having to defend yourself or a loved one when all you wanted was to pick something up at the store, grab a quick meal, visit a nightclub or go to the movies — it is money and time well spent.
Video Review: Combat Team Tactics / Convoy Tactics Texas 2017: Bob:
Other Texas Videos: