Tuesday, November 12, 2013

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED

The Max Velocity Tactical Website (www.maxvelocitytactical.com) has been upgraded and is in the process of updating over the coming 48 - 72 hours. It is live right now as the new version but there may be some glitches as it populates. That's about all I know on the technical side!

This blog is also moving to be part of the Max Velocity Tactical Website. It will be at this web address: 
http://maxvelocitytactical.com/blog HERE.

All previous articles from this blog have been copied over to the new blog. There are a few of the latest ones that still need to be uploaded to the new blog, but that will be done over the next day or so.  

Once I am fully up to speed on the new blog, I will close comments on this blog. Just be aware that with the older articles that have been moved to the new blog, some of the embedded links will take you back to this blog. That will not happen with future articles that are posted on the new blog. 

I am just back from my latest CRCD weekend. I have a few AARs/testimonials already and I will be posting them on the new blog as soon as I am up to speed with that. 

Live Hard.

Die Free.

MV

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blog Moving

Over this weekend, my website will be updated and this blog will move to be part of that new website.

All previous posts from this blog have been moved and will be over at the new site.

Once this changeover is complete, I will disable comments on this blog. This blog won't be deleted, but all further posts will be at the new site.

The website address is: maxvelocitytactical.com (same as now, the look will just change when the new site goes live).

New blog: maxvelocitytactical.com\blog - it's simply a page as part of the new look website.

Thanks. More updates when it finally changes over.

Live Hard.

Die Free.

MV

MVT Tactical Training Class Schedule & Information

MAX VELOCITY TACTICAL TRAINING



Max Velocity Tactical has a 100 acre training site in West Virginia. The site is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, close to Romney WV, across the State Line from Winchester VA. Those attending classes will get site maps and joining instructions.
The site has excellent terrain for tactical drills and movement and offers natural live firing areas, in particular 'Ricochet Ridge' field firing area. The live firing areas have been enhanced with the addition of electronic 'pop-up' targetry for greater tactical realism.





Training is tailored to your requirements. You will be listened to and your standard assessed, allowing training to be best tailored to suit your needs. 'Crawl, Walk, Run' progression will be applied as necessary. Training is not about humiliating the student, but building them up and progressing. You don't need to be 'high speed' to show up for training; it is designed to take people with varying level of experience and bring them up to a higher tactical standard. Rest and revision will be built in as appropriate. On the other hand, you will be progressed as far as your performance and skill level allows.

Max Velocity Tactical is not about offering simple square range shooting, although the basics will be covered as required, moving onto combat shooting and use of fire positions. You will come and train with MVT to garner the benefits of tactical movement and field firing. You will be trained in real tactics that have been proven in combat.




Accommodation/Facilities: As part of the information packet sent to you once you make the deposit to secure your place, there is a list of local hotels/motels and campsites. The KoolWink motel in Romney is affordable and students like it. 

Camping: Tent camping is available by prior arrangement. It is rudimentary backwoods camping; facilities include the latrine and picnic tables and some shelter. Please note that the location of the site means that your vehicles are parked some 800 meters away and access to the training site/campsite is via ATV trail over a ridge A Ranger Crew 6-seater is available and is used to shuttle personnel and equipment in and out of the training site/campsite. There is also the option to walk, carrying as much equipment as you like. 
Families are welcome to join you for camping, even if they are not participating in the training. There is plenty to do in the surrounding area.

Course Summary
Combat Rifle / Contact Drills:
A two day class designed to teach you tactical combat rifle and movement skills from individual up to pairs and team level. This includes team 'break contact' drills and offensive flanking battle drills. This is the default open enrollment class. The class is adapted to the specific needs of the trainees. Returning students are welcome and usually gain much from attending several of these classes. 

Patrol: This is a three day basic patrolling class. It is a requirement to have attended CRCD prior to Patrol. This class will involve living in the field, tactical movement, actions on contact including break contact drills, ambush, raid and reconnaissance patrols. The first part of the class follows the format similar to the CRCD class, with training taking place in the schoolhouse with transitions between teaching and tactical phases to practice what is taught. The course is entirely live firing, with electronic pop-up targets playing enemy. The final night involves an overnight tactical patrol base. Equipment is required as per a three day patrol pack, to sleep tactically in the field. See HERE and HERE for more information on this class.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) will be inserted as background/concurrent activity when possible.


Testimonials/AARs: Check out the previous testimonials/AARs posted on this blog, and the training opportunities and testimonials pages on maxvelocitytactical.com.

Class Schedule:

(CRCD = the entry level open enrollment Combat Rifle /Contact Drills Class )

2013:

November 9/10: CRCD - Full

December 14/15: CRCD - available.

2014 (Jan - Jun):

January 18/19/20: Three day PATROL* (MLK Weekend)

February 1/2: CRCD

March 15/16: CRCD

March 29/30: CRCD

April 26/27: CRCD

May 3/4: CRCD

May 24/25/26: Three Day PATROL* (Memorial Weekend)

June 21/22: CRCD

The CRCD classes are open enrollment, priced at $400 per person for the weekend. Maximum capacity is 12. Groups are are welcome to book onto these open enrollment courses. Returning students pay $300 for the weekend.

*Three Day PATROL classes are open to prior students only. Priced at $500 per person for the weekend. There will be a requirement for one night spent tactically in the field. Gear and patrol pack/ruck will be required on the basis of a three day patrol. This will be a practical patrolling and live firing course. Class size: 8 to max 12. See HERE and HERE for more information on this class

A $100 deposit secures you a place on any course. Hit the PayPal button below or PayPal it to me at my email: maxvelocitytactical@gmail.com. Please fill out the comments section on PayPal so I know which weekend you are paying for. 


Payment Options
 
 

Payment: The $100 deposit secures your place on the class. I require the balance of payment by the Friday a week prior to the class (Seven Days prior). Otherwise, you will lose the slot and I will put it out to the wait list. Balance payments can be made via PayPal or sent to the new PO Box address in cash or check made out the Max Velocity Tactical (new PO Box address coming soon).
Requirements:

Fitness: Tactical training requires a basic level of mobility. Instructors will tailor the level of physical intensity to the capabilities of the trainees and rest will be incorporated into the training day. A moderate level of physical activity will be involved with the training.
You will be required to walk over rough wooded terrain carrying your rifle and battle load; fire your rifle from the standing, kneeling and prone positions; make short rushes and get up and down from standing to kneeling and prone positions. You will be exposed to the prevailing weather conditions at the training site and there is no air conditioning and limited shelter.


Rifle/Shooting Proficiency: MVT tactical courses are not beginner/introductory courses to weapons handling and basic shooting. The basic assumption of the course is that you are bringing a rifle and equipment as per the equipment list; you have the ability to safely manipulate and fire the rifle that you bring; you have the ability to zero your rifle and have some basic shooting experience. Prior ‘square range’ and bench shooting experience is fine, the course is designed to move you beyond that, but you have to have the ability to safely and effectively manipulate and operate your rifle.

Age minimums: Attendance by families is encouraged, as are females attending training. Past students have included multiple father and son teams, husband and wife (discount available HERE) and a father and daughter team. Teenagers are allowed to train, down to the age of 15. The requirement for anyone under 18 is parental supervision, that they have a mature teachable attitude, and that they are competent at weapons manipulation prior to showing up.

West Virginia code on age and Firearms: "Persons under the age of 18 may not carry or possess firearms unless on family premises or on other property with permission of the owner or lessee." Students attending my training will be on private land ad will have permission to train with firearms and live fire.
Equipment: This may vary due to the specific course that you have booked and will be confirmed in the email text. This list is a basic guide for the CRCD class, starred items are required. Basic equipment for all tactical courses:
  • *Fighting Rifle
  • Handgun (optional - you can use your handgun on the ranges as appropriate)
  • *Rifle magazines: minimum four, better six to eight
  • *Ammunition: 400 - 500 rounds: bring more and you can use it**
  • *Load/Ammo carrying gear: i.e. battle belt/plate carrier/tactical vest
  • *Eye protection
  • *Ear protection
  • *Water source: canteen/camelback/ water bottles
  • *Bug Spray
  • Knee Pads
  • Rifle sling
  • Magazine dump pouch
  • Tactical gloves/mechanic style work gloves
  • Patrol pack/daypack
  • Boots with ankle support
  • Long pants, hiking or combat style
  • Long sleeved shirt/top
  • Sun screen
  • Spare socks & foot powder
  • Change of clothing
  • Rifle cleaning kit/lubricant
**Note: .22LR is suitable. Perhaps to use on day 1 before moving to day 2 with high velocity rounds.

Ammo: there is no restriction on the type of ammunition that you can bring, with the exception of tracer, due to fire hazard. The absolute minimum is 500 rounds - 600 rounds is more appropriate.



















Live Hard, Die Free.

MV

Thursday, November 7, 2013

MVT BATTLEBELT - EVOLUTION!


It;s always a good topic - gear! I recently posted about how I had been making up my battle belt with a mixture of purchased, re-purposed and acquired pouches. HERE for the original post.

There were a number of things I didn't like about the old set-up, so I have amended it. I bought a couple of pouches online to better suit the purpose of the belt.

Here is the old belt:


Here is a commercially available example of the Brit PLCE webbing belt that this concept is modeled after:


There are a number of issue with my original concept and set-up:

1) The original webbing set-up does not account for a handgun. It is designed on the idea that you will have two double mag pouches on each hip each one containing 3 magazines. That total of 12 magazines is great for feeding ammo to your battle rifle, but leaves you with no back-up handgun (the priority here is actually debatable, especially if you are in a  team with others to back you up if your rifle fails). 

2) You cannot have ammo pouches forward of your hip bones, forward of the front plane of your hips. If you do your thigh will bang into them every time you walk/run/go uphill. 

3) In order to account for carrying a handgun on my right hip, I put a triple mag assembly on my left hip, to keep the magazine count up. This meant that it came a little forward of my hip bone, and was not ideal.

So really, the problem was to find a solution where I could keep the magazine count up, probably with magazines on both hips, but not forward of the hip bone, while still carrying a handgun as backup. Compromise would be needed, but I felt there was a better solution out there. There was. Here it is:


In this evolution, I have 6 mags on my left hip. Four are in flapped double mag pouches, two are in rapidly available open top pouches - I like this system, because it allows the battle belt to compete with a PC/Taco belt in terms of readily available mags.

On the right hip, I have two open top pouches, one double flapped mag pouch, and my handgun. So basically I put my handgun in place of a double magazine pouch on the outside of one of the open top mag pouches. 

I have a double handgun mag pouch on the right side front, in front of the plane of my hips. Yes, I know, it should really be on the left side, but its a real estate compromise - and being right handed, when I take a knee, my right knee goes down - if the handgun pouches are on the left front, they jam between my thigh and gut, so not ideal for patrolling and taking a knee etc. You need to think about these little things, and try your gear out. 

I had to lose the dedicated FLIR pouch in order to keep the ammo pouches back behind my hips. 

Someone was waffling in comments that with a MOLLE handgun pouch there is no retention - all I was hearing was tacticool-repeated-but-not-understood-tacti-speak - well, it has a thumb break and also an elastic retention strap if I want to use it. I'm not really worried about it, and how I carry my handgun gives you a sort of idea of how high I prioritize the whole transition thing. I'm not worried about someone taking my handgun when I'm out on patrol, I rarely get stoppages on my rifle, particularly ones that I can't clear in rapid time, and I expect to have team members to back me up if I do. I'm not in law enforcement, don't want to be, a rig like this is for light infantry work out in the boonies, and those that focus on the tacticool often forget the primacy of TEAM in all this. Team is something that people's eyes are opened to when they come on one of my CRCD classes, and the force multiplying effect.

Here is a look in detail:


1 & 2: 4 mags total, this is a Condor double flapped mag pouch. This pouch is attached to the MOLLE on the outside of pouches 3 & 4.

3 & 4: 2 mags in a double open topped Condor pouch. 

5: Medical pouch - enhanced IFAK (UFAK).

6: GI Canteen pouch - containing night vision: PVS 14 & FLIR Scout.

7: GI Canteen pouch - admin/emergency rations plus other bits and pieces, including a lifestraw.

8: GI Canteen pouch - BrtiMil black canteen plus metal mug.

9: MOLLE handgun pouch containing Glock 23.

10 & 12: Mirrors 3 & 4.

11: Single version of 1 & 2. This pouch has 2 mags in it. However, it does fit the FLIR Scout. So depending on the mission I can change out the FLIR with the mags and have it more handy. I can also put other stuff in there such as smoke. Remember that you should also have an assault/patrol pack and stuff can be prioritized and traded between. 

13: This is a VTAC battle belt. Condor also do a version.

14: Condor harness.

15: Blackhawk riggers belt. The roll-pin style belt is ideal. 

Yes: Opinions on Condor vary. Its probably not the best stuff around, but it works and I can get it on Amazon.com in about two seconds of searching, cheap. Many of these pouches are multi-cam that I use krylon on to get my preferred green camo color. 

The GI canteen pouches have little pouches on the sides whcih are really useful for stuff such as water purification tablets, lighters, batteries, paracord etc.

Other views:



Does this gear have weight to it? Yes, it does, if you pack it up with mags and gear. That's kinda the point - to carry the gear on your person. I'm used to wearing it all day every day, only taking it off to get into a sleeping bag, sometimes even sleeping on it to get off the ground. I wear it all day on the ranges on my CRCD class - it's tradition where I come from that range safety will dress as per the exercising troops, except they will not carry a rifle and will have high vis bands/vests on as appropriate. If you are going up and down the range with gear on, so am I. When I put a good battle belt like this on, unlike any other means of carry gear such as a vest or PC, I feel comfortable, it just feels right, like an MV comfort blanket.



Live Hard.

Die Free.

MV

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stomping on the 'Near' and 'Far' Ambush Drill


I just saw and read a post by DTG HERE: "So, What Do We Do If We’re Ambushed?" (h/t WRSA)

The article references a post I wrote on the 'The Drake Method', or 'cover shooting'. I see the post on DTG as a follow on to a comment made by DTG in detail on my 'Fight Through! Fight Through!" post. In that comment, DTG brings the conversation back to the 'near and far ambush' drill. I was actually reluctant at the time to let the comment be published, because I felt that although well meaning, it clouded the water of what I am trying to push. I did indeed reference the 'near and far ambush' drill in the post, but simply to make the point that I don't agree with it and don't use it. But at the end of the day, DTG appears like a good bunch of guys and having a discussion is always good.

The bottom line is that although there is good stuff in the DTG article, and good tactical common sense, including the reference to RTR drills and TAKING COVER, I fundamentally disagree with the use of even a modified 'near and far ambush' drill, even if you modify the ranges involved. 

So, let's look at that in detail. 

In the article, it is suggested that the 'near and far' ambush drill is changed from a definition at a range of 50 yards (I always thought of it as about 30 yards, which is grenade throwing range as per the definition) to a modern definition dividing it at 7 meters (within 7 meters being near, farther away being far).

Here's the thing: DO NOT FOLLOW THE NEAR AND FAR AMBUSH DRILL!

When you go out, you have one drill. The only way this varies is as per the direction of the contact. More in a bit. Let's look at some other fundamentals. 

Firstly, this is not an ambush, it's a contact - you just 'bumped' the enemy. How are you going to know if it's an ambush? By weight of fire maybe? However you don't know, so treat it all as per a contact. The more simple you can make the drill, the more likely you will successfully carry it out under fire.

Running through the enemy position.: This is old school, and not taught. It should not form part of your IA drills. However, historically in certain theaters of war against certain enemies, it has been shown to work. Either as a final charge through after fighting close using a skirmish line, by short rushes, or as an immediate reaction to a very close enemy contact. Rhodesia is the prime example. The only time you would bring this method in as a drill is if you found yourself in those conditions and it was a tactic that would work i.e.: chasing entitlement zombies off the position after they ambush you for your stuff (which is a little like Rhodesia, really...note to self: bring bayonet).

On my CRCD class, I focus on individual react to contact drills (the combat rifle part) with RTR and the rest. I then move on to break contact drills up to team (4 person) level. (We also run a squad attack against a bunker, but that is not the point here). The point is: How do you know what drill you are going to run when you go out that day? The answer is that it was included in your pre-patrol orders/brief. 

The team break contact drills that I teach are taken from drills used for small military specialist reconnaissance patrols. Thus they apply to small SHTF groups, whether conducting recce, forage or other tasks. The key point is that when bumping the enemy and coming under surprise contact, they will always carry out a break contact drill. Why? The mission is not to fight, and given that it was a surprise contact they don't know what they just bumped into. 

Thus, for a small team, every contact is treated the same, with a break contact drill. The variation is the specific way the drill is run due to enemy direction - hence "Contact (front, left , right and rear)!"

The other variation is due to the weight of fire encountered. You may be caught in a full well sited ambush, or you may have bumped a sleepy sentry (the fact that his whole company is waking up and stretching in the main position behind him exemplifying why an immediate assault,  regardless of range, is not a good idea). If the fire is very heavy, you may end up fire and moving at a crawl, dragging any casualties with you. If fire is less heavy, and you are able to suppress it to a certain extent, then a more bounding rush-style drill will work. The mechanics are the same, whether at the crawl or the run. If you can't identify all the enemy positions, use the cover shoot method to suppress as best as possible. 



Clearly in such a situation, some guys will be more heavily pinned down than others. This is why those who are least suppressed need to man-up and provide the cover fire to let their buddies crawl out. 


The vital thing about this whole scenario is that when the patrol went out that morning, their mission was not to fight. They have hit an unknown enemy position in unknown strength. They seriously lack information. If they bump the enemy they will always break contact. If they want to fight that enemy, they need to rally, recover back to base and send out another recce/OP patrol(s) in order to gather the information to plan a raid (in appropriate force, with sufficient information). 

Ok, so now on to the fighting patrol. If you are in a fighting patrol, which is usually a larger force but may only be a squad of maybe eight but better twelve men in an SHTF situation, then you went out that morning looking for a fight. As part of your orders/brief the SOP for IA drills on contact with the enemy will be established. Even if you are an ambush patrol on the way to your objective area, you may still have a break contact drill planned if you yourself are ambushed en route. This is because you don't know what hit you. Alternatively, you are in aggression mode so your IA drill will be aggressive. 

If you intend to fight and go forwards on bumping the enemy, then you need to employ aggressive drills which should be essentially the same as a squad hasty attack. You would hope that with a  larger force not all of you would be caught in a the kill box (on the X). However, you may well be. You need to consider if you will employ such aggressive hasty attack drill onto an unknown enemy in an SHTF scenario. You may simply want to break contact, rally up and then consider your next move (as per the recce patrol with the break contact drills). *NOTE below

If you are going forwards to attack, then you will ALWAYS seek to flank the enemy. No matter what range they are at. Here's the other thing: if it is a 'near' ambush, then unless the group in close contact is right on top of the enemy and can actually fight through with any chance of success, they will likely be pinned down with casualties. So, those outside contact need to put fire down to relieve the pressure, before assaulting from the flank. The 'far' ambush drill was always basically a squad hasty attack, so we can leave that there with a note to attack from the flank. So really, I am saying there is no 'near ambush' drill - it is only, if you are going to attack, a hasty attack drill, the difference simply being the range.

To summarize:

Do not attempt use the 'near' and 'far' ambush drill. How are you going be able to tell the range when you are in contact? Is it six, or eight meters away? Have you located all the enemy positions? 

A break contact drill should be automatic and will be rolled into as a result of an enemy contact, having briefed the patrol before going out that break contact IA drills will be employed. 

Prior to going out all SOP IA drills will be rehearsed, with all patrol members in their respective positions for that patrol. 

If you decide to employ a hasty attack drill, then it happens regardless of range to the enemy. Remember that unlike a break contact drill, which only requires a direction to be automatic (i.e. Contact Left!) a hasty attack is a drill but it requires command input. What do I mean by this? It's a drill, but squad/team leaders need to call out a direction to attack, unless it is obvious. Thus, someone needs to make a decision - left or right flanking, and route to the objective.

An example would be a 'contact left' with the lead element pinned down in the kill zone, let's assume on a trail. It's a no-brainer - the follow element needs to go left flanking, off the trail onto the enemy, to fight onto the enemy position. But it still needs leadership to make it happen. Remember - the enemy also may not know the true size of your force, and may hit a lead team not knowing you have more behind.

Here is a snip from 'Contact' illustrating an aggressive flanking response: 


This goes back to the simplicity of IA drills - they are not actually hasty attacks, but drills that can be rolled into without a leadership call. It's simply a direction. Thus, if you are breaking contact you peel back to a call of contact left or right. In the same way, if you are the Rhodesian Light Infantry, you turn towards the enemy fire and either skirmish or charge straight through. That is a simple IA that only requires an enemy direction to initiate. 

*NOTE: when you analyse the option of going forwards as a reaction to contact, with a hasty attack, I have already told you that if at all possible you need to assault with a flank element. However, if you are ambushed by an enemy in sufficient strength, such as a large linear ambush with cut-off groups, then you may well find yourself enveloped by the enemy kill group/cut off groups. In such a situation a flank attempt will not work, as the flank attempt itself will be hit by the enveloping enemy line/cut of groups. An aggressive reaction to contact like this best works if not all your elements are in the kill zone, and can thus flank, as in the example above. This brings us back in a  circular fashion to the idea of utilizing a break contact drill to ALL surprise contacts, even if your mission that day was raid or ambush but you yourself were ambushed on the route to the objective. Thus, even if you were a platoon sized element, ambushed by a company, you would try and peel back out of the ambush, using fire and movement, with the best suppression from those elements less suppressed by the enemy (use available ground and micro cover to shoot from and crawl along). In such a worst case scenario, you would either die in the kill zone, or you would survive in the gaps, the lay of the ground, and the play of chance. Also, if all seems lost, you can do this: 'Fight Through! Fight Through!' - the point of which being, not that it is the best IA drill, but that it may be all you have! Or you just may decide to take one (or more) for the team.

The first conclusion of this post is that you should not try to use the concept of 'near' and 'far' ambush to inform or initiate your IA drills in a contact situation.

The second conclusion is that in an SHTF situation, you are most likely better off planning to break contact as a result of all unexpected contacts generated as a result of bumping unknown enemy positions. 

If you break contact and rally up, then you can decide on a further course of action. 

The only way I see this changing is due to your historic experience with the enemy as a campaign  develops, where you may decide to adapt you IA drills accordingly. 

More info here:


Illustrated here:

Live Hard.

Die Free.

MV

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Caitlin's AAR - Oct 12/13 CRCD Class - A Female Perspective

Caitlin sent me her AAR, posted below. I hope that this will encourage more wives/girlfriends/ladies in general to attend the classes. I believe it is important that, although it may not be best to place women in the 'front line', the women are able to fight, particularly to defend the kids when the men are dead or away. 

In my experience, a lot of women (just like many men) are not suited to combat. Perhaps, in some kind of ersatz theory dragged up from the back of my mind, there is a smaller portion of the female population suited to combat than there is in the male population. However, there are some women who have that combination of physical ability and tactical common sense that allows them to be effective operators. Many men lack this also, but some have it. 

And no, I'm not talking about butch bulldog types with short haircuts. Although I don't want, for example, my wife or daughter to be fighting, I want them to be able to fight if necessary. As a father and a husband, I want to take on the brunt of the risk, to shield my family from it. However, in an SHTF situation, or when I am dead, there may come a time when all need to fight to survive. 

So although I believe that when the SHTF mothers should be with children, there are other women who will not have any children and who will fill a role in a resistance force. Some will have the ability to be actual fighters. Some will perform auxiliary roles, perhaps as medics, and yet others will engage in espionage. 

When debriefing Caitlin on her jungle lane, I told her that I was impressed. I was impressed because she had that rare combination of physical ability and tactical understanding  that allowed her to be effective. So many don't. So many females (and many males) in the US Army and US Army Reserves have no tactical ability. They are simply not an'act of war'. Many joined for the wrong reasons. I have run 'movement under direct fire' training lanes where it has been atrocious. Utter lack of determination, aggressive movement, or really any clue at all. What I see on my CRCD classes is 100% better- mainly because students come with the right attitude, regardless of physical ability, and they have heart. 

In 'Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises' I have several female characters who are part of the force and who get it, they are capable: 'Val', 'Caitlin', 'Jenny'. These are all based in part or whole on people I have known or met. 

I don't go in for sexism/misogyny, and at the same time I have no time for  feminism/feminazism- I am performance based in my judgement. If you are a man or a woman, I will judge your ability to fight simply based on the tactical competence, the heart and understanding, that you show me. 

AAR:

October 12-13. Rural West Virginia. 1 professional instructor. 2 experienced TAs. 11 weapon-toting men. 1 female. Yes, I am that one female, and it is with excitement, a desire to furthur my training, and no regrets that I write this review.

First a bit of background. I am a 25yo, athletic female. I grew up hunting and shooting, and while I am quite comfortable wih firearms, I have had very little tactical training. Prior to taking this course, I had taken one other "tactical" class, which consisted largely of moving and shooting drills - very helpful skills to learn, but I had very little practice with them. It was therefore with a bit of apprehension that i headed west for a weekend in the woods. > > From the beginning, Max set a very professional, welcoming tone for the class. The other students came from a variety of backgrounds, as you may glean from the other AARs. Because these other AARs have done a fine job of outlining the specific schedule and material covered by this class (great job, guys!), I'll focus on a female's perspective. I'd like to share a few highlights, and a few comments for the ladies...

Highlights:

I truly enjoyed the individual drills. The "Jungle Walk" in particular was a great opportunity to practice the techniques and maneuvers learned in the schoolhouse. Being able to focus on my own moving, situational awareness, and ability without the added variable of a team or partner was very helpful. It laid a good foundation for the team drills.

Max's professionalism was great. He was able to engage each student at their level, teaching and challenging individuals while keeping the whole class involved.

I found the format of the class to be easy to follow - whiteboard lesson in the schoolhouse, followed by a drill using those lessons. I would have liked more time to go through each drill a few more times, but still valued the practice time we did have.

A few thoughts for the ladies re: the class overall:

Perhaps the biggest consideration for any woman taking this class: Don't be afraid. Yes, spending two days in the backwoods of WV with a bunch of guys and more camo 'n' ammo than you've probably seen in one place (outside the military) sounds nerve wracking  Get over it. These guys are our boyfriends and husbands and dads and brothers...take a chance to come see what all their time and money have been directed to lately.

Learn to shoot. And learn well. Prior to coming to a class like this, prepare! Find a weapon that fits your body type, needs, and ability. Learn the weapon inside and out. You don't need to be a crack shot, but be comfortable shooting and reloading. The value of a class like this lies largely in the fact that you're learning things which can't be taught or practiced at your local gun club. Learning about the weaknesses and strengths of your gear will happen over the course of the weekend, of course, but it shouldn't be the focus of your training. I used a Mini14 with open sights and loved it. I brought 5, 20-round mags and never found myself wanting for ammo.

I've saved the hardest for last. The mental hurdle it takes to jump from range shooting to patrolling with the option to kill. As women, we have no problem protecting those we love. Yes, it isn't too hard to imagine dispatching a ne'er-do-well if s/he threatened those whom we hold dear. The biggest challenge for me is to make the jump from the defensive mode to the offensive mode, that is, to be mentally prepared to patrol and engage in a more battle-type scenario. I admit it: I do not want to do this. I learn these skills with the hope and prayer I will never have to use them. But if the need ever arises, I'll be damned sure glad I have them. 

Thanks again to Max for leading and teaching this.


Live Hard.

Die Free.

MV