AAR # 3 – Sept 14/14 CRCD Training Weekend

MVT Training Review – September 14/15 2013
I completed my second training course with Max on the weekend of September 14/15.  I attended my first training course in July and knew then I’d be back for more.  After initially reading Max’s Contact book earlier this year, his training seemed like the logical next step, so I signed up for the July class.  The hundreds of hours I’ve spent at square ranges over the years provided the basic skills and created a solid base to expand upon.  Prior to July, I had no tactical experience or training.  I’ve been a hunter/shooter for 30+ years and have always wanted to try a tactical course.  I looked at a number of sites offering such training, however most seemed to be more LE/MIL/Contractor focused and as a beginner I was concerned that these sites may not be a good fit for me.  After reading reviews from students who had completed Max’s course I decided to give his course a try.  I made the right choice.
Max has made a number of improvements to his training site since I was there in July.  The parking area is larger, he’s built a larger and permanent pavilion for classroom instruction, additional targets have been added and one of the course lanes has been lengthened.  Obviously, Max is committed to investing in and improving his site and raising the level of training his students receive.  He’s not done either.  More improvements are planned and I look forward to seeing those next time I train with him. 
At no point, in either class I have attended, did I feel unsafe.  I was a bit apprehensive initially, considering this is live fire, with other students whom I don’t know and don’t know what their skills or capabilities are.  The safety and health of each student is priority #1 with Max.  He was constantly monitoring our fluid intake, reminding us to drink and watching for any signs of fatigue or injury.  During the drills, Max is always very close by, monitoring each student and ensuring we were safe.  Before and after each drill, weapons were loaded/unloaded and checked/double checked before we proceed on or off the lanes.  I’ve been at a public square ranges where I was more concerned about my safety.
As other students have stated in their reviews, Max uses a progression method of teaching.  Crawl, walk, run. Single man, pairs, four man and eight man.  Max outlines the theory of the drill on a white board in a classroom setting, provides time for questions and answers, goes over it again and then it’s time to practice on the course.  Max provides feedback to each student/team at the end of each practice drill.  Each drill builds upon the skills learned in the previous drill, expanding in scope and complexity.  His teaching skills are excellent and he explains things clearly without getting overly technical or complicated.
That said, you -really- need to be experienced and proficient with your chosen weapon before you attend this training. It should be zeroed and functionally tested and ready for battle.  Additionally, you should be able to quickly reload, clear jams and know how to do all of that safely.  
I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and most of it has just collected dust.  Showing up with a chest rig or plate carrier at my local public square range would guarantee a face-to-face with the Range Officer and with today’s environment, who knows what else.  Most of the students brought a lot of gear; chest rigs, loaded plate carriers, battle belts, side arms, day packs, camelbacks, etc.  Max has no restrictions on what you wear or bring to train in.  You can change gear and try different loads/kits too. Many students did this. Obviously, different situations have their own set of needs and requirements and prevailing weather conditions may dictate some changes as well but this is the perfect setting to put your gear to the test, refine what you carry and ensure you and your gear can hold up in these conditions.  As an example, in the July class I used a chest rig and had an inexpensive red dot optic. Half way through the first day the glass in the red dot broke while taking cover and the chest rig was difficult to deal with when reloading while prone.  In the September class I used a battle belt and a better quality optic and this worked out very well for me.  
Physical fitness:
The course is physically demanding but not overly demanding.  The wooded terrain, your gear, your level of fitness and weather conditions will have an impact on your performance.  There is time to rest and hydrate between each drill as the other students take their turn on the course.  Personally, I don’t do gyms and I don’t work out.  I’m in good shape and I had no problems with any of the training.  I’m even a light smoker!  After the July class I started hiking and plan to add additional cardio elements to my lifestyle. 
I highly recommend that you bring and use a good quality set of knee pads.  Find a set that will stay in place while walking, running and crawling, doesn’t limit your movement too much and has good shock absorbing qualities.  If you do what Max tells you, your knees can take a beating and you should invest in a good quality set.  
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m a professional guy who spends 10 hours a day at a desk, has a family, friends, a rural homestead and had no formal tactical training.  I’m just your average, normal guy who is concerned about the future.  I was worried that I would be too “regular”, not “fit in”, not in good enough shape and be treated as a “grunt”.  My concerns were unfounded.  The other students were from all walks of life, were like minded and shared similar views, outlooks and concerns for ourselves, our families/friends and our country’s future.  Max is “one of us” and we’re lucky that he’s willing to share his skills with us.  Quickly I knew I was among friends and felt very comfortable.  This was the case in both of the classes I have attended thus far.
Sign up and take the course.  If you’re like me, not quite sure, have some reservations/concerns, whatever, it’s okay.  I’m sure all the other students had the same thoughts and concerns initially too.
Read his books first ( Patriot Dawn and Contact ) and take the course, you’ll have no regrets.  If you have a team/group of friends, go together and train together.  If your friends can’t make it, go anyway, you’ll make new friends just as I did.  I’m already looking forward to the next class, possibly taking a small group of friends and hopefully joining up with the friends I’ve made along the way.
Perhaps I’ll see you there!