Showing posts with label firearms training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label firearms training. Show all posts

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fighting vs Training vs Gaming PT 1: Training Fundamentals

Tam and American Mercenary have been discussing gaming vs training and general thoughts thereon. I went down the rabbit hole of thought and am not only going to do a post, I am going to do two or three posts on the topic. So today we are going to talk about the fundamentals of training.

Wikipedia says Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performance.

Additionally Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase "practice makes perfect".


Basically you train to get a skill and practice to maintain and refine that skill. Admittedly the two can muddle together. During this series I may use 'train' when 'practice' could potentially fit. Anyway here we go.

Today I want to discuss two sub topics to meet the endstate of having a common picture on training. The first sub topic is how to figure out what to train on. The second part is a general outline of how to train on the stuff identified in the first part.

Deciding What to train on matters considerably. We only have so much time, energy and resources so training on too much stuff means we are not in effect really training on anything. It starts with what we do.

In the Army we use something called a Mission Essential Task List. A METL is a list of tasks that an organization needs to do to be successful. It starts with large collective actions like 'conduct full spectrum offensive operations' or 'conduct counter insurgency operations in a multi national environment'. Those METL tasks are broken down to sub tasks which then eventually flow to individual tasks. Moving from the tasks a Battalion or Company needs to do all the way down to individual soldiers is a rather lengthy process. I'll do an example for an individual survivalist. Will just drill all the way down on one set of sub tasks to give you an idea.

[Now this is not meant to be a formalized survivalist METL. I'm just doing it to give an idea of how to figure out what to train on with a topic we all know should a bit about.]

Ryan's Draft METL

-Defend against criminal actions

-Conduct movement in varied enviornments

-Communicate with individuals and receive information

-Sustain in varied situation through stored goods, redundant capabilities and production

If I recall the genera guideline is to have between 3-5 METL tasks. That might be something I totally made up but 2 is certainly too few and 6 seem like too many.

To drill down further on 'Defend against criminal actions':

-Home defense against armed intruders

- Execute anti car jacking operations

- Defend against criminal activity (mugging, kidnapping, active shooter, general psychos) outside the home

-Defend against threats in WROL enviornment

Make sense?

We'll keep going deeper on 'Defend against criminal activity':

- Have working understanding of general principles, as well as state and local laws as they pertain to use of force

- Have working understanding of  the dynamics of persona criminal violence (think South Narc) as well as local threats and trends

- Engage in hand to hand combat with an emphasis on ending the fight quickly and potentially employing a weapon

-Employ a handgun for self defense

Hope that makes some sense. Each task has sub tasks which have sub tasks till you get down to individual relatively discrete tasks. It might sound like you will end up with dozens of tasks here but that is not exactly so. The next step is called a METL cross walk. Basically you make a giant table/ spreadsheet with all the higher level (in the Army collective) tasks on one side and the totally boiled down common denominator individual tasks on the other. For Army units/ soldiers when it is all boiled down a lot of individual tasks appear in many larger tasks so it boils down to a more manageable number of tasks. For survivalists given the varied nature of the problem set we choose to undertake is a bit more varied but we also do not have artificial 'check the box annually requirements' so that is something.

I think in a long winded way the first question got answered. While it is not the only option I have laid out a way to establish the tasks you need to train on.

Now to the second part, how to train on something.  Look at each part of that task and figure out how to crush it. Establish standards as well as goals for it. If you are not qualified to do this for a task you feel important enough to learn then find somebody qualified to do so and learn from them.

I do not mean to dismiss the second half of today's question but it is hard to find a principle for training that will work for gardening and ham radio as well as shooting goblins in a parking lot.

Part two will be about how fighting, training and gaming come together. There may or may not be a part 3.



Monday, July 7, 2014

The Riddle of Steel and Home Brewed AR-15 Lesson

Commander Zero as well as Conan can be credited with the Riddle of Steel becoming part of my vocabulary.

I was at a shooting range yesterday. Was going about my business there when a guy pulled up and went to a bench near me. He had an AR-15 of the M4 variety with a pretty big scope on it. I didn't think much of the whole thing. He set out a target at 50m when it was cold then shot a little. His AR jammed in short order and I sat there watching him become increasingly frustrated trying to clear it.

I normally do not do this. I find giving folks unsolicited gun advice is almost as jack assish as giving unsolicited critiques of someones exercise routine. Aside from general shooter talk I leave folks alone to their business. However this guy was clearly stuck. There was no way he could solve that problem. Also since I've been shooting AR's for over a decade I figured the odds I could fix the problem were pretty high. Anyway I felt bad enough for the guy that I wanted to help him.

After waiting a couple of minutes, to the point where he had taken a break from even fiddling with it, I walked up to him.

"Sir, would you like some help?" I said. He was probably 40 so certainly not old enough to justify the formality age offers but I figure men, who all think we are gods gift to weapons as well as general athleticism, who are having trouble with a gun will respond well to a respectful tone.

I do not remember what he said but it was an enthusiastic yes.So I took a closer look at the rifle.

It was  a bolt override, in this case there was an expended round above the bolt and another in the chamber. I 'pogo sticked' it which got the bolt back far enough to get the first round out. At this point another guy came over to join the discussion. I used a screwdriver to pry the brass casing from above
the bolt.

 The guy was pretty frusterated about the whole thing. Turns out it was a new gun and he fired 2 rounds before it jammed. Not a good sign. I had noticed the gun was bone dry. The other dude had some gun oil and offered it up. I uncharacteristically did not have oil since it was just a quick trip. I explained to the guy that AR's run optimally with far more lubrication than other rifles.

After lubrication I stuck a magazine in it and went to test fire. It shot 2 rounds then failed to feed. Took the mag out, it was some cheap aftermarket BS. So maybe it was the mag. Looked at his pile of mags, there were a couple more of the junk ones and a decent metal mag of some sort. Metal mag did the same thing. Not the mag. Not good.

At this point Other Guy brought over his AR. I hadn't brought one. After some process of elimination we figured out it was the buffer spring. He had a commercial tube and what appeared to be a mil spec, probably heavier tension, spring. Other Guy put his standard commercial spring in and the gun worked just fine.

I told him to hop onto midway and order a standard buffer spring.

It turns out this guy's rifle was home built, I strongly suspect by someone he knew personally. Needless to say he was not happy and was bringing it back to that person to fix the problem.

I felt for the guy. He surely paid a decent amount of money for an AR with a quad rail and  Burris scope with a back up fast fire red dot site. Aside from the scope having way too much magnification for a 14.5in barrel (it was a 3x9 or maybe even a 4x12) it was set way too far back so you couldn't get a decent site picture. I recommended he move it up.

What are the morals of this story.

1) Unless you know what you are doing and have a specific reason to deviate from the military or factory specifications for a working part of a firearm it is best to stick to the standard option.

2) You can spend a lot of money on a gun and still not have a damn clue what you are doing. Get training from guys like Max Velocity, John Mosby or other experienced combat based trainers to fix your deficiencies. Remember that the root word of gunfight is not gun but fight.

3) Get out and make sure your stuff actually works when the worst consequence is an annoying range day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recent AAR's from Max Velocity

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Classes from Max Velocity

A note from Max Velocity

The new ‘Square Range’ at the MVT site is under construction. I’m going to make sure it is not quite square, maybe rectangular. Photos to follow next week ;-)
The Rifle Manipulation Primer (RMP) class is already scheduled to run prior to CRCD classes, as part of a TC3/RMP day.
The following classes:
Combat Rifle Manipulation (CRM)
Combat Handgun Manipulation (CHM)
Have been developed and will be scheduled shortly.

I have taken on a new AI, Aaron, who is an excellent instructor with a depth of knowledge, three combat tours, and a great teaching manner. He will be primarily responsible for these new manipulation classes, which will be mostly held on the new ‘rectangular range.’
The intent of the weapons manipulation classes is to provide a more in-depth training service, while remaining focused on the MVT philosophy of progressing students towards realistic combat tactical training. ‘Square range’ weapons manipulation classes are part of the transition from basic marksmanship to field firing tactical training. The MVT manipulation classes are focused on transitioning the student towards  tactical training, such as found on the CRCD classes. The danger of ‘square range’ training is that it becomes an end in itself, a diversion from the real purpose of the transition, which will give students a false sense of their training level, and in many cases teaches habits that are harmful to your health in a combat environment.
MVT ‘square range’ weapons manipulation training remains focused on the progression to tactical training. These classes can be taken as precursors to the tactical classes, as additional skill builders, or as stand alone classes in their own right.
The new classes will often run concurrently to the tactical classes. Schedule coming soon. Questions about a new combined CHM/CRM/TC3/RMP/CRCD/Combat Patrol 10 day class will be politely ignored ;-)

Ryan here: I should also note Max's new 5 day Combat Rifle/ Contact Drill and Patrolling class seems to have been a big hit ( AAR 1, AAR 2, AAR 3) on it's first go around

Got Training?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Have You Done Lately To Prepare?

In recent weeks this has fallen off so I want to play catch up. Lost some weight which was good. My fitness level has dropped due to field time but it'll come back. Goes to show as a reminder that you lose weight at the table and get fit on the track/ at the gym. I'm trying to focus on a good consistent diet to lose another 10 pounds.

Going to try to implement record keeping for running from here forward. Did 3 miles this morning. A half mile out, a 1m(ile), .75m, .5m, .25m 'sprint' workout then a half mile back.

Was supposed to take a sweet pistol class awhile back but unfortunately work crapped all over that dream. It's not like I talked to my boss 4 months out before booking or anything, oh wait a second I did. Was really depressed about it for a few days but what can ya do. On the plus side I've still got the case of 9mm ammo set aside for whenever I do make it to one. The guy was cool about the whole thing and even though it was just a week out he gave me a full refund. Since it won't work to try anything again for awhile I'll probably put the refund into a case of 62 grain M855 5.56 ammo.

Also on the plus side I ordered a new pocket knife, an Al Mar Eagle HD. My concept of use is for a light EDC blade to do basic tasks and I suppose if needed go all Singer Sewing Machine on somebody. A light, thin knife with a full 4" blade seems like it'll fit the niche well.

Picked up a couple extra stainless steel water bottles recently. Got tired of moving em around. Now I have one to carry, one in my assault pack/ bail out bag/ get home bag, and one in each of our BOB's. Kind of along these lines I have finally unified my military and personal survival level 2.5 systems into one. The full on level 3 entertainment system is a bit more complicated due to different needs and work mandated color schemes. Anyway it's a good exercise to work through.

So that is what I have been up to in terms of preparedness lately. What have you been up to?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Max Velocity Coming To A Treeline Near You!

Yes the picture is Mad Max. I included it because it's a great iconic survivalist character. Max Velocity will probably not show up wearing leather, with a 12 gauge pistol and a dog. Then again he also probably won't drive around drunk or  go on racist anti Semitic sexist tirades or threaten his pregnant ex girlfriend so that's something.    
Max has opened up his schedule to doing courses outside of his WV home training site. This would be beneficial for a group in say Minnesota or Colorado as the cost of Max traveling to you would be lower than the cost of 8-12 of you traveling to Max. Add the benefits of Max doing a tactical assessment of our site and training on home ground and this has potential to really help some folks.

Do however beware that to replicate the type of training Max does, specifically the live fire portions there are some site demands. IIRC the surface danger zone for 5.56 is something like 2,000 yards. Figure on a live fire scenario with a fair range fan (say 180 deg) and that quickly becomes a lot of land. My informal assessment is that you're either going to need a fair bit of land with multiple back stops (gravel pit not wood pile) and not a lot around it, or a huge piece of empty space. A 5 acre ranchette surrounded by other 5 acre ranchettes ain't gonna cut it. With that disclaimer aside if you want to train with Max but getting your group to WV then by all means contact Max to set up a course.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thoughts on Recent Field Experiences

-Do not make the mistake of assuming that because everyone, or more realistically a high percentage of the group, are trained and even combat tested that they can work together as a group. Working together as a group is it's own beast. First you've got to get everyone onto a common operating picture. While it is true the fundamentals are the same all over, as we see in Max's discussions of how the Brit's do it, little things vary widely from unit to unit or service to service. Once the unit has established a common way of doing things THEN that needs to be tested to figure out all the little kinks. With a trained group this process should happen pretty quickly but it does in fact need to happen. This is why everyone in your "group" doing the same training such as Combat Rifle/ Contact Drills and Combat Patrolling is so important. This way everyone gets trained WHILE you figure out all the little stuff so by the time you leave the group has a solid basis to train on for the future.

-You do not know what you do not know. The only way to find out is by trying to do stuff. Maybe there is an important skill set you are defficient in. Maybe a small part on a critical piece of gear breaks notably so it should be replaced with a better widget or spares stocked. Maybe an important doo dad sucks batteries like a fat kit with a Popsicle. Maybe your radios can't talk across the street, let alone for their whole theoretical range. The point is that you have to get out and test stuff, people and systems to see how they actually work.

-Test your commo plan in as close to realistic of a scenario as possible, as early as possible. Turning the radios on and doing a comms check in the same building/ parking lot immediately prior to SP is not a validation of a comms plan.

-Train as you fight but don't be stupid. There is little, if any value in being cold solely for the sake of being cold, wet just to be wet, etc. Beyond familiarity to learn a bit about yourself there isn't any value in stupid stuff. Realistic training is hard enough on it's own so no need to be stupid.

-Dave Canterbury recently started (or at least it's the first time I've heard it) using the phrase "smoothing it". The point being that you are getting beyond roughing it to a point where things are fairly comfortable and decently set up so they could be sustainable for the long term. It doesn't necessarily imply a ton more gear, just the right stuff that fills multiple roles and a solid understanding of how best to use it. You can be pretty comfortable without bringing the kitchen sink if you practice and put a little bit of cash into the right gear.

-Plan for things to be a bit worse than they are realistically going to be. A bit colder, a bit wetter and the problem lasting a few days longer. This way you are unlikely to get caught short. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 New Years Resolutions Recap

 So I realized it is about end of the year time. Figured I'd see how this years New Years Resolutions turned out. Obviously completed ones will be lined through. Comments will be in italics

Physical:

Maintain a consistent weight lifting program. It wasn't 100% perfect but I have been lifting much more than I have for years. Overall I'll call it a W.

Run over 1,000 miles. Didn't track this honestly. Rough mental math says it was closer to 600.

Ruck at least 1x a week . Didn't do this but have been rucking more consistently than in years so I'll call it a partial W.

Eat reasonably with decent consistency so I don't gain and lose the same weight 2-3 times over the year. Eh did better than the year before so it's something.

Skills/ Training:

Attend a defensive handgun course. Did not happen, tried but things kept falling through. This will roll over to next year with a high probability it will happen.

Attend a trauma based first aid class (I am due for retraining). Negatron.

Work on developing a variety of other skills as they come up by doing as much myself as possible. Did some DIY home stuff which was good. I'll call it a W

Guns and Gun Junk:

Pick up a couple holsters, pouches and assorted other stuff to get squared away for what we have.  I went a long way on this one. It is always a work in progress but a Raven Concealment Vanguard 2 and Safariland 6285 plus the War Belt it lives on were enough to make this a solid W.

Buy 2 cases of .223 ammo. Did not happen, prices are getting better but slower than I figured they would. Ended up buying 7.62x39 instead as it's prices went back to relatively normal faster.

Free float the barrel on project AR. Pending I ordered the rail in July but it hasn't showed up yet. Honestly I'm so angry about the whole thing I don't want to talk about it.

Get more spare parts. Beef up on core stuff (AR's and Glocks) and get some basic stuff for other guns. I got a fair bit of AR parts including a full BCG and a spare buttstock. Will call this a W though the non AR side of the house can still use some love.

Finally get my (already sporterized) 1903 30'06 tapped and mount a scope on it.  Sold the '03 so this one is moot.

If this gun ban madness calms down start building an AR pistol. Parts prices are getting better but I haven't gotten to this one yet. May roll over to next year.

Food:

Build up to a 1 year supply of food for 4 people. We made progress on this one. Not a win but at least a partial one.

Can something. Tried and failed (underestimated the cooking piece, no point canning junk).

Edited to include: Will upgrade this to a partial. Forgot to add that I canned some strawberry jam with an acquaintance. Could definitely repeat the process.

Pursue gardening/ fishing/ hunting as it fits with our environment and life.  Did a fair amount of fishing this late summer/ early fall.

 Energy/ Other:

Get a better solar setup. A bigger panel with a power supply and a few small lights is the answer. Goal 0 makes what I am looking for. It will cost about $400. Probably 500 once I get the lights. This would have gotten purchased late in 2012 but the whole ban madness shifted my priorities elsewhere.
Purchased the Goal 0 setup.

Get licensed to drive a motorcycle. Purchase a used enduro/ adventure touring motorcycle. Nada. Just maybe next year.

Continue putting together and refining our systems. Firm up the bug out bags and the heavy (vehicle) bug out setup. I hesitate to call this one complete as these systems are always evolving but substantial progress was made.

Re look and improve our cache situation. Substantial progress was made here.

Financial:

Continue being debt free and saving. Along these lines continue not doing stupid things. 
We did some saving. Didn't do anything stupid.

Once we are done with the food storage goal get back to putting away some silver and gold. Worked food pretty hard. Did make a small gold and silver purchase when prices went down so technically it was a W.

Long Shots:

Get a DBAL for my AR. Done.

Buy some land (this mostly depends on some other things). Ended up going with the other thing. Will kick this one down the road.


Overall Assessment: Some goals were met, some others were partially met and some fell through the cracks. Overall not too bad.

Due to firearmagedon last year got pretty gun centric. Also if I am being intellectually honest it gave me an excuse to go on a bit of a gun buying spree. Last year I purchased mumble mumble number of guns including the 642, the 870 P and mumble, mumble, mumble.


I also ended up putting away 2 cases of 7.62x39 as I needed it and it was affordable, a fair bit of 12 gauge shotgun shells, several hundred rounds of .22lr and some various other ammo when it was available at sane prices and I had the cash to buy it. Ended up with a few more AR mags and a couple Glock mags also.


We moved into a better place when we got to Louisiana which is really nice. Also put some cash into getting furniture and generally upgrading our household. This isn't prep stuff but the Mrs wanted and deserved some decent stuff. The Broke College Kid home decorating plan stops being cute at some point. Of course we saved up and did it reasonably.

Along these lines we also purchased a large gun safe. An important purchase we've probably been putting off too long. 

A lot of little stuff was purchased towards getting my EDC and fighting loads right.

We got Dog. He's not actually that useful but is large and imposing looking. Odds he'll wake up, let alone eat a burglar are low but we don't actually need that, just need the burglar to go rob somebody else.

That is really all I can think of that happened in terms of preparedness.

On the down side (or not depending on how you look at it) we spent a lot of money. Of course we saved and planned for it but we ended up writing some huge checks. It goes without saying we didn't touch the emergency fund. That being said stuff isn't getting cheaper or better made so getting things we want, within reason, might not be such a bad plan anyway. Honestly limiting the percentage of our resources that is in digital accounts within the interwebz is something I wanted to do anyway.

What did you do to prepare this year?


Training Paradigm Discussion

The Chickens Have Had Enough" No One Sees the Other Side Part 1

Interesting discussion for sure. Too many folks take the specific discipline of martial training, or arguably shooting sports, too seriously viewing it as the be all end all.

My .02 cents
I'd say that Appleseed type stuff is a great starting point in shooting as well as a potential entry point to precision shooting.

The CQB type stuff is good for weapons manipulation (loading, reloading, clearing malf, etc) in general and specifically priceless for fighting in structures, room clearing and other civilian defense type stuff. This is what will save your life when 2 meth heads break into the house at 2am. This is where most of the silly poser instructors/ classes/ schools seem to exist. Largely due to these courses being executed on normal square ranges there are lots of folks in this game. I would be careful about choosing instructors/ classes/ schools in order to get quality training in a safe (a relative term, real training has some risk) manner.

The small unit tactics (SUT) also known as bread and butter light infantry stuff like Max Velocity teaches is another beast entirely. It is a lot more useful for more kinetic situations be they large crazy gunfights like the '86 Miami FBI Shoot Out or some sort of WROL situation. CQB does not equal SUT. Running around barrels and through plywood houses doing controlled pairs and mag dumps from standing and kneeling arguably (very much for quality classes IMO) has real value in clearing homes, civilian defense, etc but not here. Try that in a more kinetic SUT fight and you'll be toast.

SUT is what you need in a full on Max Max scenario or an actual violent conflict.

I would argue that the fundamentals of CQB and SUT are fairly similar, fire and maneuver, use of cover when applicable and of course violence of action. That being said the execution of the two is so different that you probably need to train on both to be proficient in them.

As American Mercenary said, well more or less, "CQB is a survival skill, Longer range shooting and SUT are offensive tools."

As a final thought if the appleseed guys did some CQB, the CQB guys did some SUT and the SUT guys split their spare time between precision shooting and CQB we would all be more capable, lethal and generally useful individuals.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Range Report and Strike Hard Gear AK Chest Rig Initial Impressions

Went to the range today. I had the privilege of coaching a person who had never fired a handgun before. He did well which is always good for positive reinforcement. I think he plans to shoot more often then eventually purchase a handgun of his own.

I shot OK considering it's been awhile. Revolvers are always fun to shoot. It also helps on ammo that they only hold 5-6 rounds and do not reload as quickly. So a 50 round box lasts a lot longer than with a 17 round Glock 9mm.

Rifle shooting went well. Honestly the setup where I was didn't have sufficient range to test that much but I was able to do CQB type stuff plus a few longer shots out to 150 meters or so.

I was able to find ammo locally to shoot though it took going to a few stores. That was good as I only flew with a small amount of ammo and my Lucky Gunner purchase is still en route.

My Strike Hard Gear AK-47 Chest Rig showed up in time to come along on the trip. I went with the padded H harness and am very happy with it. They charge $8 or something for the padded H whic is very reasonable and totally worth it. I especially like that the harness attaches to the rig with buckles so you've got a variety of options. Adjustment was simple. It is also pretty comfortable as well as low profile. The 4 mag pouches with small admin pouches on the sides and a read map pouch is a nice configuration for most civilian needs. They make an add on shingle to take it to 8 mags if you want. The front has MOLLE so you could stick on all manner of pouches to suit your needs. Mags are secured by tabs (designed for AK mags) held by elastic cords. It is a nice simple system. Access to mags in a hurry was great, I was able to do a few shoot 5, reload, shoot 5 drills and it worked well.

Overall for $75 plus 8 for the H harness I think this setup is an excellent buy.

We had fun shooting up all the ammo we could afford to shoot. Got home then I oiled up the guns because it was pretty wet. Tonight after the kids go to bed I will bring them out to do a real cleaning.

Shooting is fun. How was your last range trip?




Thursday, December 19, 2013

RE: Max Velocities Considerations on Night Operations

Read the original post here. My thoughts in no particular order:

Everything is harder at night, fighting is no different.

When patrolling at night you really need to tighten up distances and formations to the point you aren't losing folks. The groups skill level as well as the percentage of illumination and vegetation dictate but sometimes the only option is a very shallow wedge or even a file. Losing people at night is a real bloody mess.

Accountability at night needs to be done by physically touching people. Like walking down a line (or moving people through a release point) and touching each one of them. Otherwise you will think you see somebody and it is actually a clump of brush or a figment of your imagination.

At night, especially low tech you need really simple plans. Like basic suppress and flank type stuff. A 7 phase plan with multiple fire control measures and supplementary support by fire locations is not going to work. Keep it super simple.

White lights on weapons are good for up close work. I favor them for CQB and clearing buildings/ caves/ etc. On the other hand hitting one in a fight in the middle of a field would be bad.

Parachute flares are an old school way to illuminate an area. They are great for defense and can be used under the right conditions offensively. A person in a covered position lighting an area up with flares right before a complicated final assault on a small compound might be a good idea.

I've talked prioritizing night vision in the past. I won't fault folks who cannot afford gen III night vision, let alone an IR laser and FLIR. Personally I do not have FLIR. I'd like it but do not really have a plan to make that happen.Will hav to think on that and maybe over the next year or two make it work.

If you don't have the money well, you don't have the money. There are things that are really important which cost money, more than some folks have, so I do not see a point in beating them up about it. I'd love to have a 50 foot sailboat ready to go on the gulf and an isolated off grid cabin in the PNW but I don't have an extra few hundred grand to make it happen. On the other hand I think a person who is buying extra guns they don't use to squirrel them away in the safe instead of getting night vision to maximize their effectiveness as a combatant is making a real mistake.

Fighting people who have better technology is hard. It is an uneven fight from the get go. Like Max said you need to maneuver the same way you would during the day. When it comes to being seen use terrain to your advantage. Maneuver up to a hill from behind, launch an ambush then get terrain between you and the enemy quickly. Wrap that into a simple plan and you've got a chance at success.

The low tech underdog really needs to have their ducks in a row before choosing to fight.  I would find a situation where by location or poor operating procedures (weak walls, lazy guards, etc all) the enemy was vulnerable AND I was confident I would be able to get in, execute the attack AND GET OUT. An underdog is better off doing a thorough recon and deciding against 3 attacks to get to the right one then getting massacred by air power. Better to choose selectively and LIVE then be less selective and more successful till you die.

As a final thought I would be sure to do full rehearsals AT NIGHT in comparable terrain whenever possible. Get used to dealing with all of the problems of operating at night while still in the planning phase. So those are my thoughts on that.

Edited to include an email from B
I found an interesting article over at Hackaday that may be interesting to you and your readers looking to get an advantage at a cheaper price. The Flir E4 Thermal Camera ($1000) has the same guts as their Flir E8 ($6000) which can then have the firmware upgraded to create a really good camera at a large discount. Link to article http://hackaday.com/2013/11/04/manufacturer-crippled-flir-e4-thermal-camera-hacked-to-perform-as-high-end-model/
Have a happy holiday!

B



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Not very often does law enforcement have to confront actual combat veterans. When they do, there are frequently heavy casualties.....

If I played golf against Tiger Woods, he could beat my a$$ with a set of rusty K-Mart clubs, just as easily as with his Pings. It's not the gear. It's what you can do with the gear."

SD3

RE: Hoss USMC on the FBI Miami 86 Gunfight



This case is very interesting. I absolutely agree with Hoss on the importance of using cover. If nothing else like Max Velocity says Get LOW.

As to revolvers vs pistols. Double stack pistols offer an undeniable advantage in round count. A loaded Glock 17 is equal to an S&W model 19 PLUS TWO SPEEDLOADERS. You'd have to have a whole belt o speedloaders to equal the Glock plus 2 spare mags. Then again the power of the old Combat Masterpiece can come in handy sometimes.

Granted the whole thing was a total cluster F and agents carrying auto pistols didn't perform much better but to say this incident highlighted the long reload time under realistic combat conditions is an understatement. The revolvers slow reload time was unfortunately a big part of why some FBI agents did not come home that day. To the inevitable person who links to Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden reloading a revolver in .024 seconds 1) They are not using realistic duty gear. 2) The average decent shooter is not Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden. 3) The amount of manipulation required to reload a revolver is absolutely more than a mag fed auto. More manipulation means more time and more things to go wrong. If the death of the service revolver had to be attributed to a single incident it would without a doubt be the Miami 1986 gunfight.

Does this absolutely mean a magnum revolver as a duty/ go handgun is not a valid option? I don't think so. Just because there is a better option doesn't mean a revolver is not a viable tool. I'll get to the specific issues that I believe were more important in a minute.

I am hesitant to criticize the individual agents for their performance or lack thereof. Aside from the worst luck ever, which some could attribute to flaws in their training, a couple things worked against them.

First and foremost the FIBs faced trained and determined opponents, particularly Platt. The FBI agents failed to act as a group; training in contact drills would have helped a lot. This brings up the fact that lots of bad people do in fact have training and experience. IMO both Platt or Maddox were probably better trained for a full on gunfight than the FBI agents.  Also the bad guys were very focused and probably more willing to accept risk than the FBI agents. A trained person who doesn't really care if they die and wants to take as many people with them as possible is going to cause a lot of damage.

Why Maddox was not really a factor in the fight is unknown to this day. It is however good for the agents as if Maddox had pulled his share there would've been a lot more casualties.

Secondly Platt had a magazine fed RIFLE while the agents were armed primarily with various handguns and a couple shotguns. The round count, accuracy and lethality of rifles is such that anybody armed with a pistol is at a huge disadvantage. The results of the fight show this enough I do not need to belabor the point.

I consider the lack of rifles to be more of a critical gear problem for the FBI agents than the specific handguns they were carrying. Had every agent been carrying a Mini-14 or AR-15 variant this fight might have gone down differently, no matter the wheel guns on their hips.  Even the most antiquated rifle is better than just a pistol in a fight. A model 1894 30-30 in a FBI agents hand could have ended this fight a lot faster with fewer casualties.

This event, followed by the North Hollywood shoot out led to the swap out of shotguns in favor of rifles as the law enforcement back up long gun. For a variety of reasons that changeover was a lot slower than the move from wheel guns to pistols and there are still plenty of 870's riding around in cop cars today. Shotgun vs rifle is another discussion but from a strictly combative angle (excluding for a minute economics, legality in anti freedom areas and versatility) I will take a rifle every single time. There is nothing a fighting shotgun does that a fighting rifle cannot do better.

Lethality vs incapacitation:
It is critically important to understand the difference between these two things and why it matters. Obviously lethality means death. Incapacitation means a person is seriously degraded or outright incapable of being an active combatant. Incapacitation is not always lethality. Example, a bullet goes through a person's arm and another hits the hand on the other side. Dude can't manipulate a weapon and as such is incapacitated. Dude's odds of living are very high and he'll probably make a good recovery but for the sake of this fight he is no longer a factor. Lethality is a bit more problematic. A person dying eventually does not make them cease to be a threat right now.

Platt is the textbook example of this. The 9mm round to his chest early in the fight was probably an unsurvivable wound. He could have been on the table in Johns Hopkins and it would not have mattered. However in the time it took for Platt to die (during which he was shot several times) he extracted a fearsome toll.

Don't just expect to shoot somebody once and have them die immediately. The human body is a weird machine, a fraction of an inch can be the difference between immediate lethality and a drawn out death or even a totally survivable wound. If somebody is worth shooting they are worth shooting a lot. Continue shooting your enemy until they are incapacitated and no longer a threat.

Wrapping it up:
Use cover
Do not just be a bunch of individuals, work as a team with your compatriots
Double stack pistols beat auto's as a duty gun
Have a rifle handy for prolonged situations
Expect to shoot somebody a lot before they cease to be a viable threat

So those are my thoughts on that. What is your take?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Train With Max Velocity 14-15 December Combat Rifle/ Contact Drills Availability

Max has several spots for his 14-15 December Combat Rifle/ Contact Drill class. I assess that folks are getting ready for Christmas, beginning to travel, etc all. Anyway if you are staying local in the South East (or I suppose are willing to travel there) or the greater Virginia area this is an excellent opportunity for quality training.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

You Will Not Rise To The Occasion

There is this American idea about rising beyond ones normal abilities to rise to a challenge.  It is cute but just not realistic. Sorry to say it folks but if you cannot do it Wednesday morning on the track, Thursday afternoon at the gym or Saturday at the range the odds of doing it when you need to for real are about zero.

For every '90 pound mother who lifts a car off her kid' there are many, actually documented cases where Momma can't lift the car and the kid gets crushed. For ever normal guy with a .38 in the nightstand that survives or even wins when 3 armed thugs kick in the door many get robbed, beaten, maybe raped and killed. Sort of like they say the plural of anecdote is not data.Sorry to be real but that is actually how life works.

You will not rise to the occasion. At best you will default to the level of a skill you have mastered. These excellent recent articles prove the point in more detail than I'm willing to go into:

Why You Need Tactical Training. Teaser...
You need tactical training. You know, in your heart of hearts and soul of souls, that you need training. You just have to turn your ego down and listen to your brain for a change. 

About Some Survival Myths....

Somehow folks think people are just born with inherant skill in fighting each other which is really stupid. It doesn't matter if you are brave, right minded or own a really cool gun. Folks without knowledge of combat (hand to hand or weapons) tend to somehow think it is not in fact a learned skill that builds off other capabilities/ traits both inherent and developed. The funny thing is if we turned it around and instead of talking fighting talked fixing an engine, building a house, writing computer code or whatever else the person does, they would go into a half hour long tirade about why that would never work. Funny story, the same things apply to fighting except the stakes are far higher. If you out computer program/ car fix/ carpenter me six ways from Sunday nobody ends up dead.

Get quality training from guys like Max Velocity or John Mosby before you need it.


Get training. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

5 Question Spotlight with Max Velocity

Today we will be doing a spotlight with Max Velocity. Max provides tactical training out of a site in West Virginia and is the author of Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival as well as Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises. Max is a veteran, patriot and an all around interesting guy. Remarks complete, onto the spotlight.
5 Question Spotlight
1) Just for fun let's see what you would choose. The scenario is unknown, maybe everyday life, maybe a natural disaster, could even be some sort of guerrilla war.
-Pistol? Glock 19 or 23 - depending on how you feel about the .40 cal vs 9mm thing. Personally, I have a Glock 23 because I got sold on the .40 cal thing. Jury is still out for me. 
-Rifle? AR15: I like the Colt Law enforcement 5.56 version, because it is a good quality AR very close to the M4's that I am used to, and you can take one and modify it nicely with rails and optics etc, or keep it basic. If you want a stable of AR15's for spares, loaners, family rifles, backups etc. then the Colt version would be a good one to stock up on. The AR15 in general is an excellent rifle and there should be a good amount of 5.56/.223 to be found in a crisis or guerrilla war for resupply.
-Other gun? If I had a choice, I would want to get hold of a SAW or 240, with a supply of suitable ammo. Excellent fire support in the assault or defensive ground holding weapons. I would like the T&E tripod with the 240, to mount it in a fire support position. 
-Knife? Three: Leatherman Wave, practical tool. Pocket folder - Spyderco do a good version that open one handed as you take it out of your pocket. And a machete for camp work in the woods (stuff it down the side of your ruck). In the jungle, a machete is so essential that you wear it on your belt below under your battle belt so you never take it off during waking hours. 

2. So what made you start writing? What made you get into training? Was the transition planned or did it just sort of happen?
It just sort of happened. I woke up, started prepping. I then decided to write the manual. Running training just followed. I really enjoy training people, and I love tactics, so it's a good thing for me.

3. What sort of new projects do you have coming up?
I continue to work on my training site. We are building a permanent  pavilion as a school house right now, to replace the temporary tarp. My training schedule for the new year will include patrolling courses. I also have to get to the sequel to 'Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises', but I have been unable to so far. The plot is in my head but so far unwritten.

4. What sort of scenario(s) are worrying you these days? What are you doing to prepare for them?
When I woke up and got into prepping, and with the first version of 'Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival', I had not fully woken up to encroaching tyranny. My mindset was more about classic SHTF prepping and survival, with my main worry being economic collapse (i.e. the crocodile that seemed closest to the boat . I wanted to bring tactics to people with the idea of using them mainly against post-SHTF marauders, people after their stash etc. Now I am fully awake to the tyranny and the police/surveillance state, the situation we currently find ourselves in. I remain very concerned about an economic collapse and the potential need for a resistance campaign (or civil war) against enemies both 'foreign and domestic'. So much so, that when I wrote 'Patriot Dawn' the scenario was based around a combination of a collapse,  foreign attack on the grid, and a domestic Regime waging war against free Americans. 
I still write for and about standard prepping with a tactical and security focus, but I am more and more concerned about the need for tactical resistance forces to combat coming tyranny. In fact, one thing that really worries me is that there may not be a precipitous crash, but rather a soft slow descent into (further) bureaucratic tyranny, that will not give people like the jolt they need to wake up and do something about it. Or, the Regime will overplay its hand and there will be some sort of defining moment. 

5. What do you think is the biggest widespread mistake people make in survivalism?
I think they pay lip service to tactics and defense, by purchasing a weapon or two and maybe going as far as doing something 'tacticool' at the range, and consider that 'job done' for their defense. They also focus to much on static prepping in a 'retreat' without giving due consideration to patrolling defending that location  and psychologically they are not prepared to potentially to abandon that location should they be threatened with overwhelming forces. So really, they may be kidding themselves about their physical fitness, their tactical preparation and they may be too wedded to their 'preps', which may ultimately get them killed. 

Ryan here: Max, thanks for participating in this spotlight. Everyone, Please check out his books Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival and Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises. If you need training and are in the South East/ Mid Atlantic area look into coming out for one of Max's courses.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All That's Mine I Carry With Me

Spent all day cleaning, packing and getting ready for the move. Had dinner at 9:30 and now it's about time to go to bed. Totally beat. About to run a contest for a Subscription to SHTF School but don't even have the energy to do it. Consider this a teaser I guess.

Anyway SHTF School did run an excellent post Tactical Gear vs Skills for Survival.

This post is just plain full of excellent. That gear is part of the conversation but only part, and not really the most important part is pure genius. A fight is far more likely to rest on skills from quality training from a person like Max Velocity or John Mosby and your physical fitness level than whether the rifle in your hand is an AR, AK or even a mighty .308.

Personally in the next coming year my primary focuses are going to be training and organization from piles of stuff into coherent systems. We will keep acquiring food as we aren't there yet and can always use more ammo plus a few odds n ends. However a lot of the preparedness money is headed toward training.

Of course you need some stuff. It's really hard to win a gunfight without a gun and eating without food is difficult. I'm not saying having a spare knife or three and maybe even some guns plus obviously ample consumables like food, etc doesn't make sense. The point is that we can all probably stand to put more energy into becoming more capable people better practiced in useful skills even if it is at the expense of getting more stuff.

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