Comment: ‘Tacticool’ Weapons Manipulation vs. Weapons Manipulation Training
There has been an on running thread over at the forum: ‘Tacticool “Weapons Manipulations” will get you killed.’ Reading through the comments was an interesting journey, and there is a lot of useful stuff there. It has prompted me to write this post.
We must remember that the reason I created the forum was due to the quality of the readership/commentariat on this site. It was to provide a place for that to continue unfettered by my having to approve blog comments. Its been going great. Thank you for your contributions. I do remember that when we were discussing the creation of the forum some people stated that we would simply become a mirror of the purpose of why we created the forum, as a resource counter to the ‘tacticool.’ We would become a little clique in our own right. I don’t believe that has happened, but I lay a warning down against becoming too ‘fundamental’ in what we tolerate on the forum.
From the forum opening statement:
MVT Forum: A Tactical Forum for the Armed Citizen.
Vision: to provide a forum for the constructive discussion of all matters tactical and related, as an alternative to ‘tacticool’ forums propagating unsuitable and non-combat effective tactics. To do this while remaining free from dogma, or falling into narrow thinking. An open minded and constructive approach.
Intent: to educate civilians in the correct ways to conduct tactics, and hence increase the survivability and effectiveness of such civilians when facing tactical threats.
So why am I bringing it up? Well, the linked post above was created some time before I announced the new weapons manipulation classes. The thread itself is not about those classes. But it seems sort of timely and it is a good reminder of the distinction between weapons manipulation training, and tacticool stuff. There is often a fine line.
I wrote this post back in December: ‘Clarification on Training.’ Here are some quotes from it:
Some would have you think that this is complicated and that there are different schools of thought on training out there, and that you must choose one. For example this is sometimes termed as ‘Appleseeders’ vs. ‘Tacticoolers’ vs. ‘SUT guys’. All this is just a perversion of the training progression.
Let me explain: when training a soldier, which is what we are training when we train an individual to become proficient at team level SUT, we follow a training progression. In summary, we can describe it like this, on the purely weapons training side (there are other strands, such as fieldcraft, that come together to create the finished product):
1. Marksmanship Fundamentals: i.e the basics of shooting
2. Grouping and Zeroing: training to create smaller shot groups and greater accuracy/consistency. Success at this level will permeate the more advanced levels as a solid foundation of competency.
3. Application of Fire: the relationship between point of aim and point of impact at varying ranges and conditions, such as cross winds. Applying accurate fire to targets. Simple example: seeing your rounds strike low, you can either aim up, or change your sight settings for the longer range, in order to bring the rounds onto the target. Progression to various firing positions.
4. Transition to Field Firing: The addition of basic movement, and more complex target arrays (incl. movers) at an individual and buddy pair level. Basic fire and movement, still on a flat square type range, using contrived cover (barriers and such). Increased dynamic weapon manipulation, mag changes etc.
5. Field Firing: full tactical movement and employment of the team and weapons systems to solve a tactical problem, such as a squad assault, break contact drills etc.
The confusion comes in with the conflation of these training/progression levels with a specific end result due to agenda. This is for various reasons. Let me hazard a guess at what these may be:
1. The objective of the student. If the student sees no need for SUT, they will have no wish to progress to it.
2. Lack of facility. You cannot train live firing (Stage 5) SUT without a suitable facility. That is why I created one in West Virginia.
3. Lack of industry/trainer motivation.
As an ‘SUT guy’ I do not disparage or demean the need for the good solid basics of the training progression. It is vital. I am simply critical of those who think that they are ‘tactically trained’ when they stop at level 3 or 4, and think “job done”. One thing that also needs to be considered is the vital holistic effect of team, which you will only really get into when you move onto SUT. Most of the stuff before that is individual or ‘easy pairs’ – just easy sequencing, without any real tactical decisions being required, or leadership/followership skills needing to be applied.
I see stuff written about how ‘berm shooting’ has merits, such as weapon manipulation and all that. Well, OF COURSE IT DOES. Going to the 100 meter point on a gallery range and zeroing your rifle, then putting in some good practice shooting groups out to 300 0r 400 meters has a ton of value. Practicing RTR on your berm range has a ton of value. But note: I said ‘practicing RTR‘, which means reactive shooting where you return fire, take cover and then return fire as appropriate. If all you have access to is said berm range, then make sure you ‘take a knee’ at minimum to simulate taking cover. Don’t be ‘that guy’ who feels he can dominate that firefight against paper targets from a standing position. Work within the range restrictions – if you can put up mock cover, then do so. But don’t base your whole tactical training around what you do on the flat range.
The bottom line here is that training is a progression. You can’t suddenly launch into SUT without the basics. Thus as people who appreciate the necessity of tactical/SUT training, we also know that we must reach that point via the fundamentals. That is why I am adding additional classes.
Most of this manipulation stuff is good solid basics that are practiced ad infinitum. Stoppage drills are stoppage drills, but if you have an eye for SUT you know that you have to practice them in various positions, and have your gear set up to facilitate that. That is what the MVT weapons manipulation classes are about.
Where the ‘tacticool’ goes wrong, is stopping at the individual weapons manipulation point. They do not progress to SUT. Because of that, they run out of things to usefully teach, and start to make things up, and create fads.
Weapons manipulation is clearly a very important area, as is the use of a square range to run drills, before moving to the tactical field firing side. In the same way that you should not be doing weapons manipulation on the square range before you have mastered the fundamentals of shooting. Where the MVT classes will differ from the tacticool is that our classes are specifically aimed at progression through the transition to tactical training. They are not designed to stop you at the square range. You will be taught the use of cover and various firing positions, etc. How to manipulate and fire your weapon from those positions.
The Rifle Manipulation Primer (RMP) is available prior to all CRCD classes right now. I have built a square range for this express purpose. You will get more out of the tactical training if you are better at weapons manipulations, and can get your head out of your rifle to be situationally aware. I will be less forgiving on future CRCDs of weapons incompetence, now that the classes are available. Don’t be that guy, on a safety fail on the bench, who should have taken the class but could not be bothered. It doesn’t mean I will suddenly become a harsh unforgiving instructor, but the classes are there for your benefit. Take advantage of that.
On the forum, I see various approaches. I see debate about the c-grip. I know I don’t use it, but others do. The point of the forum is to drill down to what works. Many won’t find those answers on the forum, and will have to train to find their own solutions. I have seen ‘c-grip guys’ becoming fatigued with it out in the woods and become ‘mag well guys’ by the end of the day. Combat shooting ‘ in the wild’ in a tactical environment will play havoc with your cool stuff!
It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun when doing serious MVT-style weapons manipulation training. For example, Aaron has included shooting on the move into the curriculum for the classes. It all just has to be put in the proper context, and applied at the right time.