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

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.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Product Review: Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belts

I talked about the Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belt a week ago. Now I'm finally sitting down to write a proper review. First a broad overview of the product:
Basically $110 (shipped so equivalent to other folks charging $95ish) gets you a ready to go battle belt setup with a decent budget IFAK and some other items. A breakdown of the components is:

  • Padded War Belt:  The core of the Midnight Rider battle belt is a new USMC-issue Padded War Belt (NSN 8465-01-615-5140).  This comes with an as-issued "Y" harness but has extra attachment points to be compatible with four-point "H" harnesses.
  • GP Pouches:  We add two surplus USMC-issue general purpose/IFAK pouches (NSN 8105-09-000-2725).  These pouches have a convenient internal subdivider and measure about 6"x6" with about two to four inches of depth, making them great general purpose pouches as well.
  • Canteen Pouch:  Each belt is equipped with a NEW USMC canteen pouch.  These have a convenient buckle closure and fit a canteen with cup.  Each pouch has side pockets useful for water purification tabs, paracord, or other small accessories.  
  • Mag Pouches:  Finally, we round out each belt with USMC double magazine pouches.  These pouches will fit two standard capacity 30-round AR-style magazines, including PMAGs.  Small belts can fit only two pouches, medium belts fit four, and large belts can pack six.  If you don't need to carry magazines they provide handy storage for smaller items like monoculars, NVDs, or radios.  Some of the surplus pouches show some evidence of wear but most are in excellent shape.  You could use magazine shingles under these pouches to increase the capacity of your belt system.
  • "LOADED!"  The "LOADED" battle belt also comes with a USGI canteen and the Midnight Rider Patrol Pouch (consisting of Trauma, First Aid, and Patrol Modules -- see below for details).  I toss in a canteen cup for free, but these cups are not to milspec and thus won't nest with the canteen.
As to concept of use and where this system fits in the big picture. It is definitely a high value to cost system. A full USGI (vs airsoft type stuff) battle belt with pouches and an IFAK for $110 is a great deal. Especially considering the price includes shipping it compares more equitably to other setups in the $95 range (shipping for a large flat rate box is $17.). For a person on a budget who wants something more modern and ergonomic than ALICE that is not going to fall apart the first time you take it out training with somebody like Max Velocity or John Mosby this would be a fine choice. The person who put this together has been using one exclusively for awhile. It works fine and I would have no issue using it exclusively.

What I really like this setup as is a sweet spot between expensive new gear and budget but aging and not exactly ideal ALICE stuff. I believe every rifle needs it's own mags and fighting load. That means per rifle not per platform. So if you own 3 AR's it would be three separate sets of gear. The cost of doing that at $200+ a pop can get cost prohibitive in a hurry. At the same time I would like something more along the lines of my primary rig than the old ALICE. That's where Midnight Rider's Battle Belt's come in.

Now we can cool at some pictures. Sorry for anybody still on dial up.
The Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belt as it was shipped to me. For a general non AO specific set of gear Coyote AKA tan is a fine option. It works pretty decently in most areas. I appreciated how it came set up so I could check it out right away (note apparently this is not standard though it's available for $15). For the less experienced user this would avoid MOLLE madness and let them get strait to using it.

What Midnight Rider Outfitters calls a 'patrol pouch'. Basically it is an IFAK plus some other stuff. A little disposable poncho, some matches, etc. I also showed the canteen and canteen cup.

This is my battle belt. I showed the picture for comparison and because I do not really have a good picture of it's current configuration.

My battle belt with components shown. Again mostly for future reference and so show you how my gear is set up.

The Midnight Rider Battle Belt as I started putting stuff into it.

Top view

It got dark but here is how I set the Midnight Rider Battle Belt up. For testing I wanted to put it like I would actually use it. The changes are addition of a pistol mag in a pouch and reconfiguring the pouches a little bit. I put the canteen on the right side and shuffled some stuff around. From left to right: pistol mag, 2x rifle mag, 2x rifle mag, first aid non IFAK items and various stuff, chow and bino's (those two may be the other way, I don't recall), canteen, Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, Military Green, 4.1-Inch , IFAK in a 2x mag pouch and 2 more rifle mags.

I did not put a holster on this setup because holsters can go in a lot of directions and I wanted to stick to the fairly common setup of the rig.

Now finally on to the normal review format. Since  I have talked a lot already this will be somewhat abreviated.

The Good: A ready to go battle belt setup made of quality components with an IFAK for $110. This is a good well thought out set of gear at a very fair price.  The belt is fine, the pouches are G2G and the suspenders are really nice. I like them a lot and plan to get a set for my personal battle belt. 

I may pick one up some day to use as a back up rig for a spare/ back up rifle. At that price why not.

I also like that it comes with a basic but serviceable IFAK. The only not perfect item is the TK4 tourniquet, some folks criticise them. I reviewed the TK4 tourniquet awhile back and think they have a role for back up's and folks on tight budgets. If you don't like it go out and buy a CAT or SOF-T. Too many people, especially new folks or those on a right budget might forget to get an IFAK. This setup starts you out with one.

The Bad: The canteen cup is not nesting with the canteen. I put it in one of the sustainment pouches on the bottom. That could work but is not ideal. Additionally I would be lying if I think the canteen cup is a particularly durable piece of kit. If/ when I get one of these I will replace the canteen cup.

Additionally while I do like the IFAK and Canteen/ Canteen Cup being included I am underwhelmed with the other stuff that comes in there. A might work once disposable poncho, a little packet of water, a couple water purification pills and matches. I know what they were trying to do with that but as a perspective buyer would rather not pay for that stuff. Along those lines while I do like the IFAK what is someone just wants the belt kit and already has plenty of medical gear?

Generally speaking I would like to see an uncoupling of the core belt/ pouches and the IFAK/ patrol pouch components. Maybe they could just offer them as an add on.

The Ugly: The pouches are definitely 5.56 specific. They are designed for AR mags. It is probably reasonable to assume they would take Mini-14 and most other double stack mags that are shaped similarly. It is not compatible with AK or 7.62 mags. So this system is really only viable if you are shooting an AR or similar rifle.

Also if you for whatever reason do not want Coyote the options are to choose another setup or try dying it yourself.

Overall Assessment: This is a high value system that is a good affordable option to use as a primary system and has a nice niche as a back up battle belt. I am sad to be sending this Battle Belt back and  would like to purchase one in the future.

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.

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?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Post Field Time Thoughts

1) The do-er does what the checker checks. The checker checks what the inspector inspects.

2) The more capable a group is (or appears to be but pro's can tell the difference) the less they actually have to fight. To put it into a nonmilitary context let us look at Tiny. Tiny is a 6'1" 330 pound mason (stone and cement not the group) with a 23" neck and arms like medium sized trees. After work he likes to have a couple beers at the bar near his home in a working class area. Tiny could faint at the sight of blood and have a glass jaw but WHO would never know? After all what person in their right mind picks a fight with a 300+ pound man named Tiny?

3) For the entirety of this recent experience the only knife I used was a Mora. I think it was the companion model. It worked out great, till it rained. Unlike hobby outdoorsmen I didn't have the choice to stay home or hide in a tent reading a book. While mora's are priced to be functionally disposable in a long term (even a deployment) scenario you might not be able to get a new knife when needed so that is problematic. I'm half convinced military knives need to be coated, stainless steel or otherwise somewhat rust resistant. More on the mora later.

4) I am firmly convinced that baring new superior technology I will never go into the field without a Petzl headlamp. Those things are so rugged and useful.

5) I need to buy another metal spork.

6. Food is a crutch.

7. Coffee and I are past the point of fun. It is a need more than anything. Sure if I had to I could quit, though it would suck for about 2 weeks, but it is easier to add more of it to the stash.

8.When facing IDF target the spotter, that is generally the easiest way to do it. Computer programs that give line of sight analysis can help a lot in terms of where to look.

9. Stand to, which is 100% (or very close) of personnel pulling security from roughly a half hour before dawn to a half hour after, and the same for sunset, still has some applicability in today's world.

10. Always bring baby wipes. Chapstick and foot powder are probably good ideas too.

Friday, January 24, 2014

RE: Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon

Max Velocity wrote  Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon.

Personally I think the conversation got too bogged down in the term "primary". The comments section was disjointed with people talking apples and oranges because they were all using generic terms like SHTF to describe different scenarios. I do not plan to weigh in on whether a handgun can be "the primary weapon". Instead I plan to discuss the times and circumstances where one might choose, if only by process of elimination, a handgun vs when they might choose a rifle.

Before we go any further it is worth noting that any firearms battery that is smaller than a basic 4 of handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle and a centerfire rifle is a compromise that is inevitably missing some important capability. One could take that a level further and include the next logical 3guns (dedicated CCW pistol like a 642 (presuming the first pistol is larger) or a baby Glock, a bolt gun if your first rifle is a semi auto or opposite if rifle #1 is a bolt gun and a .22 pistol) in that argument. Anyway this isn't a what to buy first discussion though I am on the record about that. Also a lot of that sort of discussion is touched on in my basic guns series.

For a home defense gun Chris Costa makes an interesting case for the utility of handguns.  Personally in our Sentry Safe Home Defender I keep a Glock 9mm with a light and a Project AR which has a light as well as Wifey's .38. Next to the safe sits my plate carrier and battle belt. In any case for home defense use whatever you prefer.

So when does a handgun make sense? A handgun makes sense all the time. I carry one as much as I am functionally and more or less legally able to do so.

To further define that question. So in what SHTF/ disaster type situations does being armed solely with a handgun make sense? Basically being out and about in any sort of situation on the continuum between normal everyday and Mad Max thunder dome time. This could include riots, natural disasters including large regional ones, economic collapses, etc all.  While my default answer to most problems is to avoid them by staying home that is not quite realistic. Say the figurative drunk driver that is our current economy takes a turn a bit slow then over corrects and ends up in the ditch. I am almost surely still going to work and will be seeking to continue purchasing food, etc all. In this case I might upgrade from the S&W 642 to a Glock with a light. Might add a couple extra mags to my belt or even stash a couple of those big 33rder's in a cargo pocket. I might even choose to wear soft body armor or a stripped plate carrier. However I'm not going to get away with walking into the store to buy $20 milk and $5 banana's with an AR-15. I'll keep the AR handy at home and might even start keeping a long gun in our vehicle but when I part and go to do errand's it is going to be the pistol that I'm relying on to defend myself.

Conversely when is a rifle useful during a SHTF type scenario? Well they are always handy things to have around the house. For fun shooting as well as a handy capability to throw accurate hate down on somebody multiple football fields away nothing beats a rifle.

Having one at home is handy. Having one in a vehicle can be quite comforting. I like my odds against the EBT deprived hordes much better if my AR and battle belt are sitting under an old blanket in the floor of the back seat. 

When would a person carry a rifle around? I have heard of people doing it during various Hurricanes. Folks doing neighborhood watch type patrols armed with long guns during Katrina and the like. We all know the Korean grocers found rifles and shotguns pretty handy during the LA Riots.

Obviously in your Red Dawn/ Mad Max/ Civil War type scenarios rifles are pretty darn important. If you are in a fight with a person who has a rifle and have anything less capable you are at a real disadvantage. Also a rifles range is pretty darn handy. At this point the odds are you won't be going many places anyhow. The issue of taking my AR to the grocery store is moot if the store is empty and closed down if not burned. Also if things genuinely got that bad folks would probably carrying guns a lot more anyhow.

In conclusion.

1)You genuinely need a pistol. Right now the hard truth is that it is the weapon you are most likely to defend yourself with given that it can be readily carried outside of your home/ property.

2)There are many realistic situations where even though you might WANT to carry a rifle you will not be able to do so. One could argue these numerous realistic situations are more likely and more of a concern than the largely apocalypse porn fiction based  'Mad Max without rule of law shit hit the fan time'.

3) All of that being said you do need a rifle. Look at it like this. Most of us probably carry a folding type knife to do normal everyday tasks. However sometimes that knife will not cut it and we need a big butcher knife. The butcher knife is the rifle. You don't need it very often but when you need it you really need it. However while you do need to own the butcher knife you don't need to carry it around all the time to open envelopes and cut string, that is what your folder is for.

You need a rifle to TRAIN now while you still have the chance. If the day comes when you need to grab a rifle and a chest rig/ battle belt to go protect home and hearth then no other gun will substitute and the pistol takes a much less important role.


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.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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.

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
Have a happy holiday!


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. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Just Do It!!!

This week we decided to get back to eating right as well as generally being healthy. We were moving out, then on the road then in a hotel at this end for awhile. That turned into a long weekend that was yummy but not especially healthy. I took Walker swimming the other day. Definitely crammed 20 pounds of Ryan into 15 pounds of suit. It was certainly a wake up call. So anyway now we are doing better.

I've gotten back into the gym as well as other exercise. Might just strap on the old ruck tomorrow. Again right now I'm probably figuring out a time schedule that is realistic plus a routine that fits my needs. There is a gym close to where I will be working so that is good. Also post has lots of pull up bars, ropes, dip bars and such for body weight stuff which is cool.

Also I started daily dry fire training. Nothing crazy really just establishing a habit, can fiddle with the programing later. Once spare mags and snap caps come out of storage that will help considerably. Do need to purchase a timer though.

The point of this is to stop being complacent and get yourself in gear. Start working to be the person you want to be. Just do it!!!

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.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Range Report: Burris MTAC Dialed In!

This morning I had some plans so woke up fairly early. Things sort of fell apart so I came home to get myself together. Decided to grab some stuff then go shooting. My only real goal was to get the Burris MTAC on Project AR zeroed at 100 meters. Max Velocity likes the 100 meter zero. Personally while the 100 is a fine option I favor the 50 meter zero. However since the BDC on my scope is based on a 100 meter zero that is just what makes sense.

Got to the range and it was a ghost town. It was full this morning but I guess nobody felt like shooting outside in the desert in July. Anyway the couple people there cleared out pretty quickly so I had the whole place to myself. Since I was the only guy shooting the Rangemaster said it was fine for me to shoot a group, go check, repeat as needed. So I was able to it really dialed in which was great.

After a couple rounds to get used to the BDC I put 3/4's of a mag into the 300m steel without a miss. The 400 was a bit hit and miss but that is much more me than the gun. For my purposes as a practical defensive rifle I am pretty happy with where things are. Need to work on the chuckle head behind the gun with some good training but that is another discussion.

Now I'm at home drinking water to rehydrate. Shooting is fun. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Reflections on Weak Spots and Priorities

There are some times when you take a step back then reflect on life. I had one of them recently. The good thing is that overall the results were positive. Great family, pretty decent job I am fairly happy with, not a financial mess. Certainly could be worse. There were however some areas where I came up wanting.

Fitness- I am not in terrible shape but am not in great shape either. It's taken awhile to get there but I may have finally realized that youth's forgiveness for poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption and less than ideal consistency is no longer in my favor. Being good 5 days a week isn't cutting it anymore. I can do anything I have in the past, just have to more consistently make positive healthy choices.

Training- I need to get some quality training to beef up weaker skill sets, specifically handgun and defensive shotgun stuff. While more stuff would be nice I need to get better with the (already decent stash) of stuff I have. Am saving some money towards that goal now. Once we are settled in the next place I'll start pursuing available opportunities. We will be within reasonable driving distance (3-4 hours) of a couple large urban areas so there should be good options. Hopefully ammo comes back by then so I can get enough 9mm fmj to do this without hitting the stash too hard.

Food Storage- We have come a long way in a few months but are not "there" by a long shot. Need a whole lot more long term staples and a good stash of emergency food for variety and various kits.

Those are going to be the preparedness focus's for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Group Internal Training

This weekend I am teaching some people land navigation. Sort of a terrain walk/ land nav instruction thing. I would call it the 'walk' phase.

The point that John Mosby brought up awhile back comes to mind. There is really no excuse for all your folks being cross trained in useful areas the others have capabilities in. If you have serious 3 gun guy then everybody should smoke gun handling/ shooting. An MMA guy can teach combatives. An EMT can teach medical stuff, you get the idea.

You do need to be realistic. Sometimes training has to be coordinated from outside the group.  The guy who spent 3 years in the national guard as a cook (bless their hearts) is not qualified to teach fire team and tactics or battle drills. If there is not a qualified individual in your group to teach this stuff then seek one out. You need realistic combat training.

The point is to get to training. Do whatever you can internally now. All it costs is time and maybe some anecdotal consumable supplies. For essential training you need it is important to find a qualified person and fill those needs.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And the Winner of One Year In Hell Is...

Chris has won a membership to Selco's One Year In Hell. Send me an email and I will pass on the UN/PW. The winner will have 2 days to claim the prize or an alternate winner will be selected.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Close Quarters Carbines, Square Ranges, CQB, Weapons Manipulation and Tactics

Max Velocity wrote an interesting post called The Great Tactical Training Con. I agree with him in some regards but disagree in others. This stumbles into something I have been thinking about for awhile.

Over the past few years or maybe the last decade the role of the rifle in close quarters fighting has changed.  What used to be considered almost solely shotgun territory has become dominated by AR's, AK's, etc all. These rifles hold 30 rounds and reload themselves which is pretty handy. Not taking anything away from shotguns but their primary benefits are low cost, legality in non permissive environments and versatility, not capacity or reloading. At the same time these rifles have come into prominence CQB (close quarters battle) has become the buzz word and all the rage. Though really SRM (short range marksmanship) is probably more accurate. There are all sorts of courses, classes, video's and such to teach you to be a super cool Sammy Seal type guy.

We need to realize that firearms training is a business. As a business the firearms training industry wants to sell people on paying money to take classes. They want to be able to offer classes in as many places as possible, with the lowest overhead possible, to as many customers as possible. Many of them are genuinely good people who want to train people to use weapons to defend their selves but they also like making money.

The average American range is probably a hundred meters wide and a couple hundred long. They have a safe backstop but limited capacity for movement and very little capacity for shooting in different directions. These ranges can support shooting from 0 to whatever meters strait downrange. People can move a bit left or right as long as they still shoot downrange. They can move forward and back also but still shooting must be in the same downrange direction.

Shooting in multiple directions while moving or static is significantly more complicated. Instead of needing a relatively safe backstop in one direction for a fairly narrow arc you need a lot of space. I'm talking roughly 2+ kilometers in any direction you will shoot in to support shooting rifles. Of course a backstop like a rock quarry or a cliff cuts that down a but but we are still talking a lot of space. Due to the lack of spaces that can readily support this type of training it is a lot easier to gravitate to what we call the square ranges. Folks do this because there are many more ranges that can be used for training that way.

CQB as the cool kids call it is simply using rifles to engage targets at close range, we'll say under 50 meters to keep things simple. Lots of ready up drills, turn and shoot, etc. Reloads are of course mixed into all of this. There is movement but it is usually limited to a few steps in whatever direction. This is good stuff. If you use a rifle for home defense you have to know this stuff (if you use a shotgun do the same thing with it).

A person who is not trained in this stuff can make huge strides in a day of instruction. Part of the business side of the firearms industry is that trainers can leave people feeling good about what they learned wanting to take another class. They can offer Cool Guy CQB Sammy Seal Classes 1-6 or whatever.

CQB is important. I have heard it described, I think by American Mercenary, as a survival skill set. That is true I think in that it's how civilians are going to realistically fight with a rifle. Joe the Engineer who lives in the Burbs or Frank the Farmer are not going to get into 300 meter gunfights. They are going to hear something that shouldn't be in the garage, grab their gun then check it out. People start moving and a 7 meter fight becomes a 50 meter fight but we are still within CQB ranges.

Like anything it is too easy to get overly focused in on one thing. The Tactical Tommy types can practice regularly andgo to 20 classes yet never shoot past 50 meters with a rifle capable of 400 meter accuracy. On the other end of the spectrum there are some high power types and sniper wanna be's who are hyper focused on long distance shooting.Which one of them is right? Neither of them are right. They are wrong on the opposite ends. The CQB Ninja needs to learn how to reach out and touch someone. Mr. High Power needs to learn to rapidly engage targets at close range.

There have been some interesting discussions by Mountain Guerilla and American Mercenary about how much of each skill set you need. In general I am a fan of balance. Instead of being great at either end of the spectrum focus on being competent engaging targets at close range quickly all the way out to putting accurate hate on folks a few football fields away. However if I had to get pegged into a more specific answer I would lean towards CQB for civilians whose rifle concept of use is defensive. The reason is that they are far more likely to fight up close than far away. Yes if you stand in the middle of the road in front of the house you can probably see pretty far, however the odds of you being there with somebody on the other end 400 meters away shooting at you are low. On the other hand getting in a gunfight with somebody in your house or trying to jack your car is considerably higher.

I agree with Max that most 'tactical training' is a bit square range  focused. However I look at it differently. This training is weapons manipulation. Teaching folks to engage targets, reload and clear malfunctions, etc. While some folks sell it as such this is not IMO tactics. It could be argued this is teaching you how to fight as a civilian in a close quarters situation to which I would agree. However if you want to remove some qualifiers, maybe add some friends and such you get into what I consider tactical training. How to move and engage targets, alone or as part of a team.

The two things are sort of different. Think of weapons manipulations as punching and tactics as boxing. Both are important. Weapons manipulations are essential but they sort of happen in a vacuum.  Tactics and small unit training like the stuff Mountain Guerilla and Max Velocity teach to be able to put use your weapons manipulation skills into the realistic environment of the two way range.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

React To Contact, Break Contact and Insurgent Operational Planning

I talked about Battle Drills awhile back. Recently Max Velocity talked about Reacting to Contact. We label the steps differently but basically do the same thing. I will get into it a bit but do not feel the need to write it from memory or get fancy paraphrasing FM 7-8. Either you know how to do it and I'm wasting my time or you don't and me writing about it for a couple paragraphs will not fix the problem so I'm wasting my time. For those without an Infantry or Special Operations background Max's book Contact (my review here) is a great starting point. In that mythical time when I have a hundredish dollars of preparedness money which is not spoken for picking up a few copies to hand out would be a good idea.

Anyway in the US Army React to Contact is a Battle Drill. It is the 2nd one according to the copy of MF 7-8 I'm looking at. Personally I think it should probably be number 1 because it is the most frequently used and more importantly it is the base for platoon/ squad attack and break contact.

React to contact is the classing 2 groups stumble into each other situation. To cover it very briefly the element in contact returns fire and seeks cover. Anyone who can see what is going on yells the direction, distance and disposition (CONTACT LEFT, 200 meters, 2 personnel in a ditch or whatever) so everybody in that element can put fire onto them. If people need to move (crawl) to a different location to put fire on this element they will. The patrol's leader will make the assessment of whether they can achieve fire superiority and maneuver on the bad guys or whether they should break contact. At this point they attack or break contact.

I would in fact argue platoon/ squad attack (as per the battle drill it's a hasty attack really, not a deliberate one/ raid/ ambush) and break contact are really just subsets of react to contact. Anyway moving on.

The decision to attack or break contact has a lot of variables. A cohesive well trained force that happens to patrol into an enemy element that is larger but unprepared or outright screwing off/ sleeping/ eating without significant security can defeat them. A squad wiping out a platoon in this fashion is not implausible.

As Max discussed sometimes a small element can not achieve fire superiority. Sometimes the other guy has more soldiers or bigger weapons or key terrain, whatever.  Conventional forces are unlikely to just break contact though they may adjust their locations. If they are unable to achieve fire superiority typically they will try to fix the enemy or at failing that hold up in a small area defense until reinforcement arrives via additional personnel or CAS/ CCA/ Fires.  The reason for this is that in a counter insurgency (COIN) type unconventional environment time is on the conventional forces side. Almost without exception (the exception typically being massed pre planned enemy attacks) they have more friends and weapons coming than the insurgents/ guerrillas do. The longer the fight goes the better it is for the conventional forces and the worse it is for the G's.

For guerilla's/ insurgents/ whatever the word of the day is the question is equally simple with the exact opposite answer. If I were a guerrilla small unit leader in the stumble into another force situation we would break contact probably 8/10 times. The only times we would not break contact would if the enemy force was very small and isolated (2-3 guys that clearly are not a point or security team for a larger element) or a situation that is too good not to exploit (a few enemy soldiers boozing it up in the woods, a high value individual whose vehicle broke down on the side of the road, etc).

John Mosby has debunked the .308 battle rifle 'far ambush' fantasy such that I do not need to talk about it. His point that infantrymen win fights by closing with and destroying the enemy is correct and valid.

In my opinion guerilla's should only fight if they have no other choice or are confident they will win. Guerilla's need to fight when their advantages can be used and their weaknesses mitigated. If a guerrilla force makes contact with the enemy in any situation they are not sure they can win with few to no casualties on their side and a clean get away they need to break contact.

Furthermore coming back to something I have touched on before it is my personal opinion that guerrilla's should not only fight when they can win but when it serves a purpose. Guerrilla's are very often outnumbered, their medical care systems are poor and getting trained replacement personnel is problematic. My point is that G's shouldn't be doing ambushes for the sake of ambushes. Guerrillas can not trade 1-1 casualties with the enemy, they will run out of men and lose by default. Guerrillas should be conducting operations to deter the enemy from patrolling their safe haven areas, gather intelligence, attack key (military) infrastructure or supply/ log convoys to put pressure on the enemies logistics or whatever.

My point is that guerrillas should only fight when they can win and that win serves a greater purpose. Anyway that's my .02 cents on that. As always input is welcome.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts