Diz Sends: My Take-aways, Advice, and Tips from MVT
On the MVT FORUM:
Diz Sends: My Take-aways, Advice, and Tips from MVT
I’ve already done AAR’s but wanted to give my overall impressions of training at MVT, and how that has changed my tactical perspective of things.
I have written a little bit, on another website, about my tactical philosophy and such. I wanted to explain how this has changed since training at MVT.
First of all, I am a black boot Marine, which is to say pre-GWOT, or basically a jungle bunny. I did not have much experience in what was called “MOUT” in my day. Probably 90% bush to 10% MOUT training time. So my background, as JPLIII posted on (Old School vs. GWOT), was essentially long range shooting techniques. Which is both good and bad.
Max adds: My follow up to JLP’s post: ‘Lee Sends: Old School vs. GWOT: Comparison + My Comment’
Next, I explored the more “modern” technique, by attending several different schools, in the early 2,000’s. This was essentially the close-range weapons manip that JLPIII referred to .
Then I embarked on a journey to make sense of it all, by trying to combine the best of both old and new. First on my own, with a small group, then finally by training at MVT.
So what has changed. Well, first of all, you can save a lot of time and money by training with MVT, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel on your own. What Max, Lee, and Chris are doing is combining the best of T.T.P’s from both eras, AND teaching what actually applies to US. This is exactly what I was trying to do, but not quite as well, as these guys.
What has changed is the actual mix of T.T.P’s. With some current live-fire training, I now see rationale for what they’re doing, and have changed my thinking to match. For instance, I was a big proponent of reloading with retention. On a previous website, this was almost like one of our standing orders. I have since come to realize that mags are basically expendable. You just need to have a lot of them. I now believe in a “emergency” or combat reload as the standard response to running out of ammo, and that a tac reload is more desirable, whenever possible.
Another example would be muzzle awareness/discipline. I used to believe that muzzle up or down was OK, as I was trained in muzzle up and didn’t see any problem with it. I now see that differently. As armed civilians from many walks of life, I now see the reasoning behind insisting on strict muzzle down awareness.
And another, would be scan and rate of movement. Coming from a mostly recce background, my default setting is low and slow. And during that timeframe, moving mostly at night. I learned to adopt a more “middle ground” approach to movement technique; moving just as fast as I can scan the terrain; no more, no less. And adapting a more 24 hr approach to patrolling, versus doing everything at night.
These are things that were fine-tuned by doing realistic live-fire with others. Since it had been awhile, my default setting on this stuff was back in the 80’s. As long as you have an open mind, and can see the advantages of the newer techniques, you can change, and update your skill sets.
But, on the other hand, there are other things that I (or any old geezer like me) bring to the table, that others could stand to learn from as well. Things like movement techniques and patrolling procedures that are all but forgotten in the modern military. Things like shooting at longer ranges, or just a good founding in BRM. We have become dependent on RDS’s, GPS’s, complex comms, battery-operated everything. There is much ado about NIR, and FLIR. White light, visible laser, and IR laser. While these things are nice to haves, the old tried and true fieldcraft still works as well.
This is where MVT comes in. I don’t know of any other school that is making as concerted an effort to combine old and new school, as is required for our terrain and situation. If you can keep an open mind, and be ready to adopt any technique, be it old, or new, combining them into a new SOP that is tailored for OUR situation, then you are ready to train at MVT.
This is my main take-away from MVT. It calibrates your former training with updates and lesson’s learned throughout the GWOT, but it also uses solid, classic fieldcraft where applicable. (I am hearing noises about the military getting “back in the bush”, especially from SOCOM, but it will probably be years before you see visible changes.)
My advice to you is this. If you believe this stuff has any chance of occurring, get your ass out here, as soon as possible. Yes, there are many concerns. One thing I have learned is there are certain times in life you just need to say, fuck it, and go do what needs getting done. This is of of them. Do whatever it is necessary for you to get out here and train. I do not think there will be this kind of opportunity, like we have, right here, right now, for a very long time. The US is last hope of relevant gun ownership (and by extension, freedom) in the world. If this goes down, game over. They know that. You need to get that figured out. Quick.
Tips for CTT. Read all the AAR’s. Lots of good stuff in there. Several recurrent themes. Hydrate. A good 3L water bladder. Electrolyte mix a definite plus, especially in this hotter weather. Knee pads. At least soft pads, if your pants take them. Hard shells if you prefer. Weapons lube. Bring a small oiler bottle and keep it on you (in a small utility pouch). If you keep your weapon wet, it will probably run just fine. Put some kind of hi-viz tape on your mags. I thought CB P-mags were the shit until I tried to find them after each exercise. You will probably want some kind of light “contact” gloves. Between all the weapons manipulation and getting up and down from the ground, your hands will tend to get torn up. I recommend taping your web gear. This is something you see mil-guys doing all the time, but I can’t ever recall seeing someone on the square range doing it. Webbing tends to slip under the stress of training (and fighting). Some more than others. When you get all your straps where you want them, tape them down. Same for your rifle sling. Read “Contact”. Be familiar with what will be covered in class. Read the course description under the training section here. Zero your weapon. Whatever zero you want. Max prefers the 100m zero. Be familiar with the weapons manipulation drills. Practice loading/ unloading your weapon, from kneeling, and prone. Especially prone. That’s where you’re gonna do it 90% of the time. Above all else, keep it simple. Don’t add all sorts of shit “just in case”. For instance, you only need to bring one rifle. Bring some spares, maybe even a spare bolt, but know your rifle probably ain’t gonna blow up. Jock up with all your shit on. Run some simple wind sprints with it. Then prone out. Repeat. Find out what ain’t working. Move it, tape it down, or get rid of it.
Tips for NOD-F: Consider the Crye Night Cap. With a good counterweight, this is an excellent replacement of your helmet. The -14’s and cap can be easily pouched up on your assault pack. Versus the weight and bulk of a ballistic or bump helmet. This is huge. One big difference from doing this stuff in the bush versus urban combat. Consider a Wilcox filter for your eye piece. This allows you to stand off the optic from your face, which gives you some peripheral vision, and lets you wear clear safety glasses, which are highly recommended at night. Goggles not recommended because eye wear will fog up in the heat and humidity; eyeglasses will clear easier/quicker. IF you get the chance do this initial zero. Get a low light setting, where you can still see the target. Put your RDS on center mass. Sand bag it in if you don’t have a buddy. Now turn on the laser and using the ’14’s, look where it’s POA is on the target. This will save time and effort at the class. Consider some kind of IFF, such as glint tape, IR tape, or luminous tape. This helps tremendously on the night assault, IMHO. Put all THIS shit on and practice walking around at night in it, a little. BTW try a mag change at night, with NV’s on. Put fresh batts in ALL optics. Carry spares in your helmet counterweight pouch.
Tips for CP: Get the MVT shield or Brit basha. The USGI ponchos are too small for 2-man fighting positions. Use bungees, pre-attached. A simple fold up stove and heat tabs work great. Civvie freeze dried like Mountain House will cook in the bag, so only one cup is required for your brew. Bring lots of coffee and cocoa (aka Ranger coffee)! Bring cough drops or hard candy to suppress coughs. Getting down in the leaves and brush gets this fine dust up your wind pipe. Tape your muzzle for extended patrolling. You’d be surprised how much shit can get in the flash suppressor. Get a simple red lens LED flashlight. All over ebay, and inexpensive. Dummy cord, this, a notebook, and a pencil/pen to your utility pouch. Have a letterman tool, paracord, and duct tape. You can fix anything with those three items. Stay hydrated and EAT, even if you’re not hungry. Change your socks, keep your feet dry as possible. Foot powder definitely recommended. If you’re not going commando, I recommend compression shorts, and some sort of “Body Glide” product. I use Mennen’s (unscented) Power Stick, which is very waxy and works great in hot, humid weather. This will keep “crotch rot” or “monkey butt” at bay. This is SOP with triathletes and I’ve found works well for our purposes too. Again, keep it light, and simple. You don’t need a ton of shit to do this.
Land Nav: Get a good pair of off-road or mountaineering boots. Trail runners work great for the tactical classes, but when you get off-trail and run land nav here, you need a pair of close-fitting boots. Foot care can be critical here. Bring extra socks, powder, and blister pads. I aired my feet out at lunch time, re-powdered, and put on dry socks. You will be humping hills. Think about energy snacks. I did my endurance training routine of one Gu per hour. Along with LOTS of water/gatroade. Get a good compass, like the Silva Ranger 75, which reads in METERS, not miles. Read Max’s primer on land nav before you show up. Have a basic understanding when you arrive.
Go check out the new Civilian Close Combat Class (C3). The first class is running on July 11/12. They run concurrent to the CTT classes on Saturday and Sunday. This is a good intro before moving on to the Combat Team Tactics and Combat Patrol Classes.
There are some follow on comments on the FORUM POST that are useful to read. There is also a discussion on muzzle up/down safety. At MVT we teach muzzle down. This is not only for the ranges, it is also your operational patrol and safety posture. The point at MVT is that the safety is real operational safety. Yes, you may cut down some safety angles of fire a little when going for real, but other than that we are not teaching you ‘range nazi’ safety. We are teaching you real operational practices. Carrying the weapon muzzle down is also the patrol ready posture, which can go to low ready and is the foundation for your ‘ready up’ and react to contact (RTR) drills. We often have to beat people out of the habit of trying to break contact heading away from the targets when either trying to run backwards or run with the torso twisted around and the rifle held pointing downrange. These are actually less safe operational practices that come from unrealistic training scenarios, range nazis, and sports such as 3 gun.
The three main, basic, safety precautions at MVT are:
- Active muzzle awareness (muzzle down).
- Safety on at all times when not engaging targets.
- Finger outside trigger guard.
- (Head, body, weapon).
If someone is disregarding any of those and runs muzzle up, and falls, something that happens when you are out in the wild and not on a flat square range (i.e. when in a real tactical training environment) then as they fall there is a strong possibility of the muzzle sweeping others as they go to ground. If they ignored the safety, and perhaps reflexively grab with their trigger finger as they fall, then that is an accident waiting to happen. With muzzle down and active muzzle awareness, which is drilled in by the muscle memory gorilla, the worst that happens with a slip or a fall is that the muzzle goes into the dirt. Well, actually the worst is that you get a split lip or bruised cheek from an optic on the fall, but we aren’t worried about that kind of thing!
Oh, and if you get that muzzle in the leaf litter/dirt, get right back on target and fire the next round. We don’t need to have a group hug and create a Facebook group just because a little dirt got in your flash eliminator. These are tools, it will blow out. Your rifle will not explode. You may have to smash that muzzle into someones mouth at some point. The broken teeth and blood will blow out. You may have to beat someone to death with that AR that you ‘built’ (i.e. put together) in your Mom’s basement. It’s just a tool. A largely hard metal one.
Diz Also Sends (MVT Forum): Some More Thoughts on Tactical Training:
…or why MVT is the real deal. I wanted to add some more thoughts about this, after reading the student reviews from last weekend’s CTT class.
One guy really hit the nail on the head. A lot of folks are under the mistaken impression that what Max is teaching is just applicable to the light infantry unit in an active insurgency. While it is that, it also is applicable your present-day circumstances, or what you may find yourself in the near future.
The key here is learning to work in conjunction with another person or persons in a tactical situation. Aka TEAMWORK. Most square range training is done on the individual level. Very little involves working with another person. And when it does, it is invariably static. What you learn to do at MVT, is fire AND maneuver, in conjunction with another person, and then with a 4-man team. This could be applicable for you and your wife in defending your home, or with your own team, defending your neighborhood. The point is you have a live fire range where you can practice this. It might be out in the woods, or it might be in your neighborhood. The terrain doesn’t matter. The principles you are learning and practicing are the same.
Also I wanted to point out the difference between typical drills on the square range, and what you do at MVT. On the square range, targets are always visible. You merely point and shoot on command. At MVT, targets must be FOUND (observation) before you can decide to engage. This is an important point. Your target is not always going to be standing up, in full view, for you to service. You have to actively seek out targets, not knowing exactly where they are at. Yes, that’s a lot harder, but also a lot more realistic.
And, unlike blank fire or most other scenario training, you have to get HITS on target before it falls. This forces you to aim in, apply BRM, and actually hit the target, not just make a lot of noise.
These are two important points that you don’t get from typical square range or tactical training. The fact that you have to actually find the targets, and then get accurate fire onto them.
MVT also teaches good weapon’s manipulation. I learned many new T,T,P’s which were not done in my time, but have evolved since the GWOT.
To sum up, teamwork, fire and maneuver, observation, BRM, and also good weapons manipulation. These are the skill sets you get from MVT training. The fact that it is done in a woodland setting, obviously means it applies there, BUT, it can be applied to any terrain and situation as well.