AAR - Feb 23-24, 2013 - AR-15 Carbine Operator Course
3T conducted a 2 day Tactical AR course on February 23rd and 24th at the Training Range at the Beaver Valley Rifle and Pistol club.
The Training Range at BVRPC is just about perfect for our needs - no absurdly restrictive safety rules, approx 80 yards in primary direction of fire, and the ability to fire approx 130 yards in the secondary direction.
I do a very thorough and detailed Safety Brief. This takes about 30 minutes, but is absolutely essential to get everyone on the same page of music as far as what is expected safey-wise, and what we will do in case of an emergency.
Probably 80% of this course was fired from 50 yards + on steel. The remaining 20% was from 15 yards and less on paper / cardboard.
Weather was pretty much as advertised - high of about 40 degrees, a little sun, no rain.
We started out getting a solid 50 yard zero on everyone's AR. This is my preferred zero as it will give you a very workable POI out to 200 yards.
It took much longer for some guys to get a zero on their AR. Here is a tip for anyone considering attending a course such as this - please have a least some kind of zero on your AR before you show up. It makes things much easier on everyone, and allows for more quality training time.
Showing up to a class like this with a brand new rifle that has never been zeroed, or with a brand new optic that you literally put on your AR 10 minutes before the start of the class means you haven't come prepared.
I use the VTAC two sided paper targets for pretty much all of my classes. These targets clearly show the proper target areas on the human skeletal system.
Also, I demonstrate - live fire, and both left and right handed - every single drill I want my students to perform. I will never ask a student to do something I can't do, something I can't correctly demonstrate how to do, something I can't teach them how to do, or something I haven't done before.
If you go to a firearms class and the instructor does not demonstrate the drills he or she is asking the students to perform, you need to be asking yourself AND the instructor why that is.
I also wear the same gear as my students. Wearing plate carriers and chest rigs can change how you use the carbine.
If you come to one of my classes, be willing to get dirty.
We worked on rifle to pistol transitions. Not only how to do them, but when and why. Before doing a rifle to pistol transition, you need to have an honest conversation with yourself about exactly what your skill level with the pistol actually is.
There was a lot of goodness at this class.
We finished day 1 with a low light shoot. These pics don't really show how dark it was. It was much darker than it seems. Plus, right before we started the low light shoot, the moon came out from behind the clouds.
Whether you are law enforcement using your AR for duty use, or a private citizen using your AR for home / self defense, you need to have a light mounted on your AR. This is not a "nice to have". A weapon mounted light and a sling are the two things that are absolute requirements for an AR you may need to fight for your life.
Weather was certainly not as advertised. I always check the weather many times leading up to a course. I was told it was going to be mid 40's and sunny. Not even close. More like mid 20's, windy, and very little sun.
I need to be a weather man. It must be nice to never have to be right.
All kidding aside, the students did very well at dealing with the cold. People can lose concentration and start to focus on the cold rather than doing the drills safely and correctly. No issues with this class. At all.
We were lucky enough to have a AK47 on hand, so I did a very brief AR course as a bonus for the students. There is a special place in my heart for the AK - I carried an AK for my first 6 months in Afghanistan and have fired untold rounds through AK's - but given the choice, I'll take an M4/AR any day.
We were also lucky to have some full auto M16 love on day 2. While it's fun to play with full auto weapons, there is training value also. Semi-auto only AR can go full auto if the trigger housing pins break. Ask me how I know.
Jay Cunningham and Ashton Ray from Low Speed - High Drag stopped by on Sunday for some full auto fun. Exposure to multiple qualified instructors is a good thing for all shooters. No one person has all the knowledge. I highly recommend everyone train with Jay and Ashton at LSHD.
We did a lot of barricade and use of cover and concealment shooting on day 2. There is no one-size-fits-all technique for utilizing / shooting around cover / concealment. You have to adjust to the situation at hand.
- J.W. uses a barricade for support when firing from his correct side shoulder. He ran the suppressor all weekend. It was VERY quiet.
- Use of the kneeling position is many times over looked.
- There is a lot of benefit to being able to get your body AND your weapon into multiple positions and still be able to get hits on your threat. (The white stuff in the air is snow.)
- Nate during the final tactical exercise. Use of cover and threat discrimination was stressed throughout.
- This is a very solid standing position.
This was a very good class with a solid group of students who showed up to learn. It was truly a fun weekend for me.
Thanks to Jay Cunningham and Ashton Ray for stopping by on Sunday and offering some of their input. You guys are always welcome.
Our next course is a 1-day Concealed Carry Handgun with night shoot next Saturday, March 9th at the Beaver Valley Rifle and Pistol Club. We still have some slots available. You can sign up on the website or call 412-925-0818.
Please keep checking in here at the website - we will continue to add classes throughout 2013.