AAR on July 20/21 Training Weekend # 2

Company: Max Velocity Tactical
Course: Combat Rifle / Contact Drills
Instructor: Max

Location: Romney, WV
Dates: July 20-21

I recently attended Max’s Combat Rifle class in West Virginia with 7 other patriots.  The class was a representation of what makes this country great.  Ages of the participants ranged from late 20s to early 60s, and professions were just as varied (everything from active military, IT, small business owners, and engineers).   I’ve had the privilege of attending several carbine classes in the past, but this was my 1st class away from the square range.  Given that, I’m not sure I want to go back to the square range for training (I do understand that the square range has its place for training, it’s a great place to learn shooting fundamentals and firearm manipulation, both of which you should have an understanding of before attending a class like this).

The class was broken up in to 2 days and the format can be found here:
The class definitely followed the crawl, walk, run methodology.  Max does a great job of getting you thinking about real world encounters.   All too often we work on the square range punching holes in paper with no reaction from the paper (like a boxer who only hits a heavy bag, but never spars with an opponent).  While that is great for building skills via repetition, it’s just not realistic and not something I would want to replicate in a real fight.   From the very first reaction drills, you understand the need to Return Fire, Take Cover, and then Return Appropriate Fire.
The class progressed from Reaction Drills, to Fire and Movement Drills, to Contact and Break Contact Drills.   These were done as an individual, in pairs, and then as small teams.  Running through these drills was a complete eye opener.   These types of drills will keep you alive in a fight.  For all of the drills I have run on the square range, none of them come close to this type of training and coordination with other team members.  The class finale was executing a flanking maneuver with 2 teams (fire support and flanking team) and taking out a bunker.  
Thoughts, Ramblings, Learning:
1.  The training site is fantastic, Max has 2 “lanes” to run these drills and they are both different to vary the training experience.
2.  The use of pop-up targets really made the training experience more realistic.   Even when you know where the targets are, and which target is going to show itself, the anticipation adds to the training experience and execution of the drill (similar to being timed on the square range).
3.   Ammo Usage – this is a class where you can burn as much or as little ammo as you want.   I’d guestimate 300 rounds on the low end, the sky is the limit on the high end.   I used ~500 rounds, but you could go much higher than that depending on how much return and suppressive fire you want to throw down range.   The pop up targets are reactive and have a “rhythm” to them (1 shot every 3 seconds to knock the target down and have it pop back up so you can shoot it again)…  but feel free to double or triple tap away at the target, that is your call.
4.   Physical Fitness – This is a class where you will work physically.   Both of the lanes face up the mountain, so get ready to fight up and down the mountain.  You can always move at your own pace, but you will be breathing heavy on several of the exercises.  The drills are spaced out so you can catch your breath, but get ready for 5-10 mins of “fighting,” followed by recovery while the other teams go (repeat all day long).
5.  Another thought on PT…  especially on day 2.  There are several drills where you have to patrol up the lane before you even start the drill.  By the time you reach the contact point you are already breathing heavy and the anticipation of the contact just adds to the experience.   Don’t let the physicality of the course scare you away from training, it was well worth it, and if anything, will help you identify where you need to work to improve.  I’m going to change a few things in my PT as a result of taking the course. (MV Comment: Rob is a physically fit guy and worked hard. Others are less physically fit and are still able to complete the training, just at a slower and steadier pace).
6.  Common Range Mistakes take on a whole new meaning during this type of training:
    Example 1 – Ammo Management.  Several times I called for a my teammate to move, only to run out of ammo as soon as my teammate broke cover, got up, and started to move.  Knowing I just told my partner to move without appropriate cover fire was an eye opener.
    Example 2 – Not seating the mag in the mag well correctly (push / pull dammit!).   After lock and load I always eject the mag and look to see that that the 1st round was stripped in to the chamber, then I re-insert the mag.   Twice I had not reseated the mag correctly only to walk all the way up the lane, make contact with a target, take cover, fire 1 round, and have the magazine fall out of the gun…   all while that damn target is flapping up and down and I’m “taking fire.”  It was an eye opener for me and I hope the lesson was finally learned (insert mag, push/pull).
Max has a real passion for this training, you can feel that passion in his blog postings and his teachings.   I personally will be looking for 1 more training weekend with Max before the year is through.
Rob B