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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

SA Defense Force Vets Fighting Islamic Terrorists in East Africa

Max Velocity and Peter both mentioned it. Whatever you might think of Apartheid South Africa some of those guys were kick ass fighters. After the move to majority rule a lot of very experienced fighters were suddenly unemployed. Some of them started a PMC called Executive Outcomes. If you are bored some Sunday go down the rabbit hole learning about them, very interesting stuff. They made Blackwater look like a mom and pop security guard operation.

In any case some of those guys are still out fighting for hire. They are killing terrorists, real asshole types, so I wish them good hunting.

On another note Max Velocity is offering a discount for summer training. Max's place has a nice canopy of trees that cuts the heat and the schoolhouse. I would certainly hydrate and (a thing I saw at CSAT) bring a cooler full of Gatorade. The point is people use weather as an excuse not to train just about all the time. The winter is cold, often in the spring it is rainy. Summer is hot and fall is full of holidays where we all do family stuff. Save your money, look at your calender and get the training you need as soon as possible.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CSAT Tactical Pistol Operator Course Review

Today I am going to be reviewing a pistol course I recently attended. I went over to Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) for their Tactical Pistol Operator Course.

The good:

A significant reason why I chose to train at CSAT was it's owner and primary instructor Paul Howe. Without overly 'tooting his horn' there is not anyone involved in modern tactical firearms instruction with a significantly better background to do what they do than Paul Howe. [Though he has a few peers such as Kyle Lamb, Pat McNamara, Larry Vickers and Frank Proctor, plus surely some Navy guys with similar credits.] He spent over a decade in a tier one Special Operations unit as an NCO. He was either doing bad things to bad people, or training others to do bad things to bad people for over a decade. When it comes to tactical weapon employment and self defense arguing anyone has much, if anything, on Paul Howe is an uphill battle.

This class starts with a brief introduction to firearms safety as well as the procedures they want you to use for clearing, loading, etc handguns. At this time the rules of the range and administrative considerations were discussed.

We also had a brief discussion of gear options with a focus on a tactical, assault type set up.
After the admin notes we had a period of instruction on drawing, gripping and firing a pistol. We then moved in to a drill based on the instruction.

The way the class worked is that we would come together for a period of instruction. After the period of instruction we would execute a drill. This broke pretty evenly into modules that were 45-50 minutes long. After a module we would reload magazines and ‘fluids in/ fluids out’ then move to the next module.

The class flowed in a logical, cumulative sequence. We took a break at lunch to eat then got back at it till about 4pm. The next day we got together at 8 and began again in the same format as the day before. It ended around 330 on Sunday.

I cannot necessarily recall every single drill or the flow of them but it all worked really well and built on itself. We trained on a variety of drills and the kneeling position.

Instructors were present and walked the line giving reminders and additional guidance as needed. They did a real good job of tempering this to the individual students experience level which varied widely. The DPS SRT member was on a different level than the eager, but decidedly new to guns, couple from San Francisco.

Day 1 ended with shooting some standards and being videotaped.

Day 2 began with watching the video from the end of Day 1. Being able to watch ourselves was a valuable visual of our shortcomings. Reminders were given. Following that we discussed some tactical issues and went over some real world shooting cases. Additionally we had a discussion about concealed carry gear, rifles and active shooter type bags.

After building fundamentals on day 1 we moved into different scenarios for day 2. First we worked on moving with hot weapons around people and shooting for precision in a hostage scenario. Next moved around/ between and shot from vehicles. After vehicles we worked on point of aim on a target wearing a t shirt and shot standards. After that we shot from behind barriers. The class culminated with us shooting the CSAT instructor standards to receive a score which can be used as a reference point for the future.

Specific take aways. Way too many to mention.

Draw to high ready and firing was trained. It was in line with the modern isosoles method but not strictly speaking a ‘4 step draw’. Paul said the reason for this is a fixation on sub steps (between holster and shooting) leads to artificial stops in the middle. This lead to a draw with the hands coming together at the high ready then pressing out fast into position, prepping the trigger while extending the arms, and shooting once you get the front sight. The result was a smooth movement that was natural.

Draws started from what Paul calls ‘interview stance’ in a natural athletic position with your hands together at roughly chest level. The reason for this is it’s a good universal position for a potentially violent situation. You can fight with hands, block, etc from there.

From other life experiences this is a good compromise between some sort of fighting stance which is aggressive and can be seen mistakenly by witnesses and being ready to get clobbered with your hands at your sides. In the past I have used the open hands towards people stance but Paul’s option is just fine. Really the difference between a fighting stance and these other stances is fists being closed and slightly higher. Either way the point to have your hands up and ready to react is significant.
Natural point of aim was a big point of the class. Going from a natural athletic type stance such as ‘interview’ through your draw should put the front sight on target at pistol fighting ranges. We still used sights but the goal is through proper mechanics that when you make the decision to shoot and your pistol leaves the high ready it lands on target.

Since we decide to shoot when leaving the high ready the trigger is being prepped from that point to full extension where you shoot. This movement is quite fast. The goal was under 1 second to hit a 6X13 vital zone at 7 yards. I achieved this goal albeit dead on with no margin for error.
The point to do things consistently was significant in the class. Example, every time you work the slide on a pistol grab it overhand. I was definitely guilty of using a ‘pinch’ technique for administrative stuff in the past so this was a point of improvement for me. The point of this is to be consistent across the board.

Dove tailing from that point the key that shooting is really all about consistence was pressed.
Both in the course of instruction and on the spot corrections to shooters Paul made a big point of only adjusting one thing at a time. I believe in the course of instruction the reason for this is to isolate a variable and guide shooters to the right answer FOR THAT VARIABLE. Over the course of instruction we worked through these in a logical sequence to end up in about as good of a place as a person can get in 2 days. For on the spot corrections Paul did the same thing. The reason was that a person can only really focus on changing one or maybe two things at a time.

The importance of automatically re acquiring your site picture after a shot was made. The reason for this is that it saves the time of doing so and thus speeds up the follow up shot if needed.
In a tactical sense we discussed managing encounters. The basics being awareness, verbal engagement [“I don’t want to talk with you today. Get away from me, do it now” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity. If somebody ignores that they are deaf or planning something bad.], the use of objects such as vehicles or gas pumps to create space and such. This also lead to some interesting discussion on use of force with currently serving LEOs in the room.

Use of force is a really complicated discussion and I would not hesitate to give any form of legal advice. That being said one might want to look at how their state treats civilians in use of force scenarios. In say Texas the odds are a person who acts reasonably is going to be OK, not so much in California. Just another thing to think about.

So much more stuff than I could remember. Honestly it was 2 days of drinking from a fire hose.
The Bad: I wasn’t able to take this class last year. Was signed up but work messed it up. Something came up and it was going to be OK, just narrowly. Our schedule was delayed 3 days out (from the class) and I was stuck in the Middle East. Paul said no big deal and cut me a full refund. A year later it worked out for me to take the class.

The Ugly: I didn’t take this class a decade ago.

Hardware:
Pistols- The class was probably 40% Glock, 30% M&P, 15% Sig and the rest were a mix of different pistols (a couple of those new H&K’s and I think some sort of new Walther.) Two of the SIGs were duty guns for Texas LEO’s and the other was a guy from San Francisco. He had a real hard time managing the DA first shot on that gun. Darn near pulled every one of them. He is going to buy a Glock.

Most folks shot compact or full sized handguns. A couple guys had subcompact Glocks. One swapped out in favor of his G19 and the other has a young guy (like under 18) who shot Dads Glock 30S the whole time. His had was pretty darn sore. Most guns were in 9mm, there were quite a few .40’s, about 3 .45’s and one guy using the Texas DPS issued Sig in .357 SIG.

Gear:
Most shooters were using some sort of OWB kydex belt holster. A few like me had drop type rigs. The LEO’s were wearing their Batman Belts with Safariland holsters.
I used a TT Duty Belt, my Safariland 6125 with a ghetto rigged leg strap, and a TT double mag pouch. Would have used my HSGI rig but I wanted to keep it simple. From here on out I will practice mostly with the HSGI Costa Leg Rig.

Planned Gear Changes:
Pistol- Grip force adapter to let me get a slightly higher grip and have more surface area on the gun.
Gear- I could use a couple inch longer leg strap for the Safariland. Otherwise I think I’ll stick with that rig for awhile and see how it goes. I need some of those belt keepers to keep my inner belt and duty belt together, especially if I’ll be wearing it for awhile.
Conclusion: The class rocked and I strongly recommend it.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dry Fire

Today I did my pistol dry fire like a good little wanna be Jedi. Realized I need to pick up some snap caps for practicing clearing malfunctions and reloads. Also sorely need a timer but that was a known issue and is going to be handled in a few days when I get paid and we do 'personal money.'

Beyond that I decided I'm going to try sticking with my current holster for awhile. I like that it can function without the thigh strap so if I was say rucking I could just wrap that part around the holster and have it off my leg. I also like, though it is a touch slower, that the SLS puts my thumb in the right position. I just keep it there and draw, the other hand falls into the right position, prep trigger, lock/ lock, front sight and press. Things are starting to get fluid and comfortable. Once I have a timer to measurably push speed we'll be cooking with gasoline.

Other than that no big thoughts. For safety procedures I clear my weapon, move to a different room that has a safe backstop and dry fire. I then leave the room (ending the session), reload and put my gun back in the safe. People either fundamentally mess up by failing to clear the gun in the first place, or more commonly reload thinking they will be done then go for just one more rep. This is where the psychological effect of a separate space matters with the back up of a safe direction ideally with backstop. A backstop could be a brick/ masonry wall or something improvised like a couple sand bags.

Dry fire is free, can be done in your home and if used properly will make your live fire training a whole lot more effective. You can dry fire to practice getting that first round on target fast as well as mechanical stuff like reloading and malfunction drills. Live fire is needed for recoil management, transitions, etc.

Previously I was a bit hesitant to further build bad or sub optimal habits but now that I have a solid foundation to build on it is game time.

I think I'm going to shoot for 4 sessions a week. Want to primarily work concealed pistol with some secondary emphasis on tactical pistol and carbine. Unsure how I should program that. 1 topic per each session or some mix and match. What do you think? What do you do?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Shooting Weekend

I spent the weekend in the woods of East Texas shooting pistols. Burned up about 600 rounds over the course of two days. It was a blast but two busy days left me with a sore hand, beat up and mentally exhausted. My pistol shooting is better than when I came. Also probably more importantly, I've began the development of solid technique and have an understanding of how to use that technique and continue to improve.

Later this week I will do a full post, or a couple posts, fully describing the experience. 

CSAT Rocks!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Friday Randomness

As the weather gets better the chickens seem to be averaging an egg per- so 6 eggs a day. We are awash with eggs. Discussing this with Wifey, the master of household and culinary affairs, we are thinking about working a couple of egg n something meals into our dinner rotation. Eggs n hashbrowns, eggs n pancakes, that sort of thing. Since we already feed the chicks might as well use the eggs.

On a training note I just sent a goodly sized check to a man who is very experienced in the use of defensive/ tactical pistols. This is the weakest link in my combative/ personal defense situation. I tried to address it some time ago but things didn't work out. Anyway now I'm trying to make this training goal happen. In terms of pistol stuff honestly I am not a total newb but far from where I want to be. Not saying I completely suck but the weakest link is such all the same. While I have some ammo stashed I hope things will work out so I can get a fresh case of 9mm to take out there.

Also I spent a good chunk of time today sharpening my knives. Got to have the EDC working well.


Anyway that is what's going on here today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan

Today I am going to be reviewing the book No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan.

This book is definitely old school written by one of the most preeminent western law men, pistol shooters and handgun authorities of his era. He spent 30 years on the border patrol, mostly as far as I can tell on the Texas border as well as fighting as a Marine in WWII and Korea. His shooting skills were legendary from wax bullet exhibitions drawing and point firing at asprin to a legitimate recorded .27 second draw and shot on target! Given that a one second draw to first shot is considered pretty good that is downright amazing. He was also the man behind the S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum which was the peak of the police/ fighting revolver.

This book is pretty short at 114 pages with a few thoughtful blank ones at the end for notes. There is a general opening followed by discussion on selection and maintenance of holsters, pistol grips, handguns, cartridges and bullets. After that it talks about the mechanics of the draw and how to work to build speed without losing accuracy (it's amazing how little some things change). After that it gets into some of the psychological stuff and a variety of different things then there is a summary and closing. Onto the usual format.

The Good: This book is short. At 110 pages I read it in about 2 hours. To say it is short is not an insult. It thoughtfully covered every topic necessary and left nothing out. There were enough 'no shit there he was' stories about cool old school lawmen/ gunfighters to be entertaining but so many as to bring the conversation off track or to add unnecessarily to the length of the work.

As noted before Bill Jordan probably sweated out more wisdom on the Texas border than most shooters, even competent instructors possess. Aside from being a tough guy in a tough place during a tough time some of the tangibles of his capabilities were downright amazing. Given that he lives to the era of shot timers and video cameras his feats carry a lot more weight of accuracy than those of an era where news was only passed by word of mouth and print.

So much of this work is still entirely relevant today. Granted the strictly technological stuff is dated, there isn't a way around that in a book that is 50 years old. Still a person outfitted with the gear described as optimal; a good wide gun belt, a stiff strong side leather holster, a double action 4" revolver with ergonomic grips and semi jacketed lead flat nose bullets could certainly do a whole lot worse. The setup he described is pretty much my perfect woods walking rig.

Gear talk aside so much of what was described is still so relevant.

I particularly enjoyed how Mr Jordan described the transition of different shooting techniques for different ranges. This is something I've thought about and practiced in the past. In short as distance increases you need more accuracy so there is a transition from speed to accuracy. It goes something like this.
0-3 yards- Draw and fire as soon as the gun comes level. Today we have reinvented this into a 'speed rock.This move is shown well in the beginning of the  Collateral 'Briefcase Scene'

3-7 yards. From the speed rock you extend the handgun and bring it out and a little up to get a better shot.
7-15 yards- The hands come together at stomach level.
15-25 meters- Traditional aimed fire at eye level.

So much more good stuff.

The Bad: Like anything that goes way deep into specific gear (vs concepts, etc) as time goes by it becomes dated. While I loves me some k frame S&W's that stuff is way out of date.

The Ugly: beautiful craftsmen quality fighting revolvers like the K Frame Model 19 .357 are no longer widely available and affordable for all but the lowest budgets in hardware and general stores.

Conclusion. You can take the gear stuff with a grain of salt though they represent the peak of the fighting revolver, well minus ammo. Today I'd choose a 158 grain JHP instead of the semi jacketed lead flat nose we tend to call a semi jacketed soft point today.  That being said I don't want to take either one to the chest.

Still gear aside the book has a ton to offer. Heck the 'there he was' stories and the amusing no longer politically correct outdated language is worth the price of the book for entertainment value alone. Seriously though this book has a ton of valuable tips and knowledge to offer. Also if you are so inclined a minute on google can find it in PDF.

Got bad assed old school gunfighter knowledge?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Something Lighter- Dynamic Pie Concepts

Too much heavy stuff floating around right now. I had a good little talk with a buddy last night and there is a post in my head from that but today I want to lighten things up a little bit. So I introduce you to Dynamic Pie Concepts.

 


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Larry Vickers on The Myth of Over Lubrication


Larry Vickers on 'over lubrication' of weapons. Before saying he is stupid I recommend a quick google search. It's fair to say Larry Vickers has forgotten more about all things guns and fighting with them than most people reading this know. His thoughts mirrors my personal experience, doubly so with the AR-15 platform which runs best wetter than other weapons. As far as I am concerned this is the last word on the matter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Train With Max Velocity This Fall: 28 SEP 6 Day Course

Posted: 12 Sep 2014 02:37 PM PDT
I have four spaces available on the September 28 – October 3 6 day combined CRCD / Combat Patrol Class.

This class is also running Combat Lifesaver (TC3) on September 27, due to most of the class having signed up for it.

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.

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?




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