Student Review: Combat Team Tactics / Night Firing April 2016: Bob W
AFTER ACTION REPORT
MAX VELOCITY TACTICAL
8, 9, 10 APRIL, 2016
Bob Whaley Reporting
For a number of years, I have been looking for classes related to small unit tactics to enhance training I received several years ago as a member of my police department’s full time SWAT unit. None of the courses I investigated appeared to offer the balance of instructor capability, course skills/information and safety I was looking for until I stumbled on the Max Velocity Tactical web site. Lucky find!
After reading the course descriptions and watching the training videos, I had my son (former 11B – Airborne/2 deployments) and a former US Army Special Forces Captain watch the videos and offer comments. Both vetting sources stated the videos looked good with basic movement and safe operation. Based on the combination of their recommendation, Max’s background and price, I registered for the April CTT course.
The registration process was easy. I simply followed the directions and within a matter of minutes, I was registered and had paid for the CTT course and additional night vision segment. A confirmation email followed. Several weeks before the class, Max sent an email with reporting information, liability release documents and detailed directions to the range. Additional emails were sent out leading up to the class with weather/equipment advisories and a re-send of the previously mentioned documents. There were no surprises or missing information reference the registration/reporting information. All in all, a very smooth process.
In the email regarding registration/reporting documents, information reference local hotels is provided. The Kool Wink seemed to be the location of choice. Contact was made with the motel and reservations were set for the appropriate dates. The Kool Wink is a family owned motel and a throw back to the days of Route 66. When I arrived, I found out the office also serves as the owners’ family residence. Gotta love it! When you stay there, you’re truly supporting a local, family owned business. I highly recommend it.
TRAINING DAY 1
I arrived at the assembly area described in the reporting information and made contact with a several other CTT students. A number of the group had attended the rifle skills session the previous day and knew the route to the range. I followed them at the appropriate time although the directions provided in the previously mentioned documents are very detailed and make it pretty hard to get lost.
On arrival at the range parking lot, we were contacted by 1st Sgt Scott who collected our paperwork and directed us to the appropriate square range. We car-pooled to the range and 1st Sgt and Max presented a safety and skills lecture.
Following the initial lecture, we started work on square range skills. In addition to all reporting information, Max had provided a detailed equipment list. If you show up for class without the right gear, frankly you’re not paying attention. Between the information in the required reading (CONTACT) and Max’s emails, there’s no excuse to show up without the proper gear and ammunition.
A thorough run up related to carbine skills filled the day. From loading/unloading, zero procedures, reloads, malfunction clearance and acceptable accuracy considerations, all skills were explained, demonstrated then practiced until all participants demonstrated course acceptable skill levels. The square range session set the stage for safe operations during the ensuing practical applications on training days 2 & 3.
The class was dismissed at seventeen hundred hours excepting those participating in the night vision segment. You will need your own NOD, mounting system and IR laser/pointer to participate in this portion of training. Once again, we worked through a regimen of basic skills related to the application of night vision equipment in a tactical environment. The session culminated in a live fire assault under NODs. All in all, a very informative session with information for on-going training provided during the event. By the end of the day, all the ups and downs were beginning to wear on me and Max seemed to get a good laugh out of my grunts and groans every time I got up to move during the night exercise. As I told Max, those are just “Old Guys’ War Cries”.
TRAINING DAY 2
We assembled at 07:00 in the parking area then car pooled to the tactical range. Training began with a safety brief then straight on to the main thrust of the course that being team tactics. A stair step approach was applied beginning with two man movements progressing to four man movements. Safety was emphasized and maintained throughout all movements and at no time was a lapse in safety procedures tolerated. A very firm STOP issued from Max would, when necessary, bring the proceedings to a screaming halt. Luckily, we didn’t hear “that voice” very often.
The addition of Max’s pop up targets adds a dimension to training missing from many other classes I have attended previous to CTT. That aspect of training can’t be discounted. Although you know where the targets and pits are as you move, that doesn’t mean Max is going to trip the closest target or the one directly in line with your movement/route. That forces you to perform an effective scan so you don’t miss a target indication. Add the necessity to execute the various drills correctly and you begin to develop the skill of thinking in a tactical environment instead of robotically waiting for the signal to execute a square range drill. Team tactics are all about maintaining tactical cohesion as a means to stay in the fight and maximize effectiveness. The second day of CTT provided that opportunity.
We broke at approximately 17:00. All participants attended a group dinner at a local restaurant further adding to the team aspect of training. As a former SWAT officer and supervisor, I will attest to the need to develop the team mentality on multiple levels. Social events outside training/operations are indispensible to developing team cohesion. It’s also good business for Max so if you attend CTT, take advantage of any group events.
TRAINING DAY 3
Class began at 07:00 and we moved back to the tactical ranges. We continued developing team movement skills adding additional movement patterns and complexity. The stair step approach was maintained and the amount of information provided never reached the point that I felt overwhelmed or unable to assimilate the skills to at least a basic level of understanding.
Training continued until we were able to execute a deliberate squad attack against a hostile position. Like many of the movements, Max led a walk through of the exercise to familiarize the students with their individual and group roles. Following the rehearsal, we executed the attack under Max’s watchful eye. Again, no compromise regarding safety was allowed and the movement went off without a serious hitch. Like all exercises, a hot wash was performed so all students understood what went right and wrong on an individual and team basis. An honest hot wash is vital to any serious tactical training. If you screw up, you need to know it so you can fix problems for the next mission. If you delude yourself into thinking you are always “good to go”, you’ll never grow or improve. Max’s evaluations are honest and direct and provide a platform for improvement. Don’t take criticism personally. Besides, Max was a whole lot nicer than my teammates and I used to be with each other. At least nobody was threatened with bodily injury in the CTT class!
We adjourned at roughly 16:30 with presentation of certificates and Max Velocity Tactical patches.
The CTT class provided the information I was looking for in a level 1 small unit tactics class. Max has the background and teaching ability to push out the skills necessary to assimilate the information without overwhelming the student. Safety measures are maintained and never compromised throughout all levels of training. Administrative issues are processed efficiently and Max answers individual questions about the class in a timely manner. You really can’t ask much more from any training provider. In fact, most classes fall short on many of the same areas where Max Velocity Tactical excels. As a result of the quality of the training, I’ve already registered for the July 2016 CP class.
A couple items I’d like to mention in particular. First, get in shape before you attend this or any other tactical class. Running up and down Max’s hills will kick you butt if you’re not ready for them. If you’re sucking wind, you won’t be able to learn much. Second, get your gear squared away before you show up. If you have to constantly adjust, change or play with your gear, you will miss information. Don’t be “that guy”. Last, your optic comes with a manual. Read it! Show up to class with a zeroed rifle or at least know how to adjust you optic/sights and understand it’s function. Don’t expect the instructors to know how every piece of equipment on the market works. Especially when you show up with an off brand “just as good as (fill in the blank)” POS that really isn’t just as good as…… Invest your money in good equipment. Enough said.
Max is providing a service that is unique in the civilian training market. There are very few reputable trainers teaching similar team tactics to the civilian market and I encourage any interested students to take advantage of the classes offered at Max Velocity Tactical.