Gear vs Training (newbie question)

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    • #135898
      Tony S
      Participant

        I don’t know if this is the proper forum to post this, but figured I’d start here and let it get moved if it’s in the wrong place.

        Briefly, I was getting ready to sign up for my first MVT class, due to an online recommendation in a different forum, and read many of the posts on this forum to get a feel for things. Apparently my gear is all wrong, I have the wrong plate carrier (in the wrong color), with the wrong plates, the wrong RDS, and likely the wrong p-mag versions. I have one rifle that might make basic standard (BCM), and one that’s considered a no-go (PSA) based on the forum posts. The BUIS’s on both rifles are solid (Magpul.) I have no head protection and I got rid of my BDU’s years ago. I have decent electronic ear-pro, unknown if my eye-pro makes the cut. I have no chest rig (which I realize needs to be addressed before HEAT 1 anyway) or its associated pouches. I have no radios. My only hydration option at the moment is a Camelbak used for running races. I get that I was going to need to buy SOME gear (i.e. mag pouches for plate carrier/chest rig) to meet the requirements for the class(es), but I can’t (financially) start over from scratch.

        So here’s my dilemma, originally I wanted to attend HEAT 1 in March, HEAT 2 in October and then hopefully one of the FoF Squad Tactics classes (Apr or Sep). But I can’t attend the training AND rectify all the gear mistakes I’ve made. I’m at the point where I feel that the training is more important than the gear, but is that the wrong idea? Am I not going to be able to get enough out of the training because my gear is shite and I’m going to be sidelined?

        I don’t come from a tactical background, I was in the US Army prior to 9/11 in a combat service support role (unit armorer to a MI unit), and other than PLDC have had zero tactical/fieldcraft training (and I assume that PLDC isn’t viewed with high regard for its training either.) When I was in the army they had really only begun to start issuing body armor, it didn’t become a normal piece of kit like it is nowadays.

        I can’t do both (or if you prefer, I won’t do both) training and a massive gear re-buy, it’s a zero-sum financial issue for me unfortunately. I am doing everything that I can to get debt free and only spend what I actually have in hand now. What should I do? Focus on bringing my gear ‘up to snuff?’ Or, bring myself closer to snuf? Or should I middle of the road it, take only 1 class and use the other funds originally planned for the other classes on gear?

        I really do appreciate advice on this! And, yes, I am attempting to read and process all of the gear recommendations from the forums as I find them.

        • This topic was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by Tony S. Reason: Make title explicit
      • #135900
        JC
        Participant

          Get the training!! Come as you are!!

          It is likely the training will inform your thinking on what gear to get. Many of us got gear, and then the training, only to discover we wasted money on gear that did not work out for us.

          All you are really going to need is eye & ear pro, and a belt/simple chest rig to hold a minimum of 6 mags. There was a recent post on inexpensive chest rigs. Knee pads & gloves are highly recommended, as are boots appropriate for rough terrain.

          Do not worry about the color! It’s not a fashion show. Some guys turn up in jeans with very marginal surplus gear.

          Get the training. Bring both your rifles. Then decide what gear you need and work to acquire it over time.

          Check out the HEAT 1 Class gear-requirement page.

          Class Equipment Requirements

          Good luck, and have fun!

        • #135903
          trailman
          Participant

            Get the training!! Come as you are!!

            It is likely the training will inform your thinking on what gear to get. Many of us got gear, and then the training, only to discover we wasted money on gear that did not work out for us.

            All you are really going to need is eye & ear pro, and a belt/simple chest rig to hold a minimum of 6 mags. There was a recent post on inexpensive chest rigs. Knee pads & gloves are highly recommended, as are boots appropriate for rough terrain.

            Do not worry about the color! It’s not a fashion show. Some guys turn up in jeans with very marginal surplus gear.

            Get the training. Bring both your rifles. Then decide what gear you need and work to acquire it over time.

            Check out the HEAT 1 Class gear-requirement page.

            Class Equipment Requirements

            Good luck, and have fun!

            Ditto. Make sure you have a good working rifle and whats recommended above. It’s more important to get to the range and get the training. Eye and Ear pro, an inexpensive chest rig and mags will suit you just fine.

          • #135905
            hellokitty
            Participant

              get the training!
              This forum is here to give you advise on gear before you buy. Since you have already purchased gear, use it in training. The training will show you what works and what doesnt. You can always change some of your gear as you go. Training is priority. Always.

              HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
              HEAT 2 (CP) X1
              FOF X3
              OPFOR X2
              CLC X2
              RIFLEMAN

            • #135907
              Robert Henry
              Participant

                People tend to overthink this.

                Just get to class, the rest of this stuff will work itself out and/or it will become evident what you really need/want after some training.

                No one is going to out you for cheap gear. No one is going to not let you sit at the cool kids table if you don’t have the best rifle.

                The reason why you sometimes see people that train regularly seem “passionate” about getting good gear is that we’ve all made stupid mistakes, cut corners, etc. and have wasted money on cheap gear that broke during class, etc. Hardly anyone I’ve ever seen actually training is that big of a gear snob.

                Biggest things are make sure you can change mags efficiently with your gear setup and shit isn’t hanging off too much, etc. Other than that, get to class to get a better idea of what YOU need and what will work for YOU.

                • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by Robert Henry. Reason: spelling, etc

                www.jrhenterprises.com

                Lost my MVT class list- been here a time or two :)
                Team Coyote. Rifleman Challenge- Vanguard

              • #135909
                Spencer
                Participant

                  AKOStocker, I agree with all the others. Bring what you’ve got and get the training. I’m a civilian with no military training. I just took HEAT 1 this past December and of course, was not properly outfitted. I did struggle with the gear that I had, but that’s part of the learning process. I plan to go back to the class this March with improved gear and having practiced what I learned so that I can focus on the next layer of skills instead of worrying and fussing with gear.

                  I do not have plates or a PC, (but do plan to get them soon), it wasn’t required for the course although some of the more experienced guys did have them and ran them on “some” but not all of the tactical runs on days 3 and 4. Most important thing is to get the training, bring some shite gear like i did and be prepared for some good-natured ribbing. ;-) I hope to see you out there in March!

                  DCH 10/2019
                  H.E.A.T. 1 12/2019

                • #135910
                  Tony S
                  Participant

                    Thanks all for the quick replies! Perhaps because it feeds my confirmation bias I’m going to sign up for the training and deal with the equipment problems as they occur. I’ll worry about the future classes after getting through the first one and make the tough decisions on where to spend the notes at that point. Thanks all again! :good:

                  • #135911
                    Tony S
                    Participant

                      … I plan to go back to the class this March with improved gear and having practiced what I learned so that I can focus on the next layer of skills instead of worrying and fussing with gear.

                      … I hope to see you out there in March!

                      Spencer, money has been placed where mouth is, and confirmation received, so you’ll see my sorry ass in March! :yes: Thanks again to you and the others for the confirmation push.

                    • #135915
                      Max
                      Keymaster

                        Thanks for signing up.

                        There is a link on the HEAT 1 page that tells you what you actually need for class.

                        Most of the other things you are reading are best practices / opinions on the best gear. It doesn’t mean you can’t train.

                        The most important thing for HEAT 1 is that you have an AR that runs. So maybe go out and test it and ensure it simply runs. Get some rapid fire through it,. Make sue it is lubed.

                        Eye pro, ear pro (pref. electronic), a way to tactically carry your mags (not a Walmart plastic bag) and some suitable clothing.

                      • #135916
                        Spencer
                        Participant

                          Spencer, money has been placed where mouth is, and confirmation received, so you’ll see my sorry ass in March! Thanks again to you and the others for the confirmation push.

                          AKOStocker – I’m just waiting till after Lobby Day to spend the money, but barring any weirdness that will prevent my attendance in March, I’ll look forward to making your acquaintance. You won’t find a better group of individuals anywhere, your money has been well spent.

                          DCH 10/2019
                          H.E.A.T. 1 12/2019

                        • #135919
                          Tony S
                          Participant

                            Thanks for signing up.

                            The most important thing for HEAT 1 is that you have an AR that runs. So maybe go out and test it and ensure it simply runs. Get some rapid fire through it,. Make sue it is lubed.

                            Thanks for offering the training.

                            I don’t know whether to make this next question its own thread since it’s now off topic of this thread, but related to Max’s ‘most important thing’, can anyone recommend a public range where I could do this within 90-120 minutes of the Marxist paradise known as Fairfax county? The one public (rifle caliber allowed) range that I know about has a 1-round/2-second rule, so I can’t rapid fire test it. Others that I know are handgun only. I used to be able to shoot with a friend in MD until a.) he stopped his membership at the members-only range, and b.) traveling to MD with firearm related items became an exercise in hoop jumping to not run afoul of their dragnet. At this point I don’t need much, just re-zero the rifles (see how the RDS works on the BCM rifle, which unfortunately has a fixed front sight post) and do the rapid fire tests. Recommendations appreciated.

                          • #135922
                            dave37
                            Participant

                              Training uber alles. If your BCM runs and you have sufficient mags, throw one of those $10 ACU mag pouches on your plate carrier and go to work. Sell the PSA to fund more training or better gear after you’ve taken HEAT 1 if money is that tight.

                              You can get guns and gear anytime anywhere. Prioritize training, once you have that they can’t ever take it away from you.

                              HEAT 1 2017
                              Intro to CQB 2017
                              Texas HEAT 2 2018
                              Operation TeaSinker 2019
                              Combat Leader Course 2019
                              Team Coyote
                              Team Rekkr
                              Team Cowbell

                            • #135923
                              DiznNC
                              Participant

                                Hey dude I applaud your absolute candor in admitting where you are at in these things. Most guys won’t. But really we’re all just at different places along the path, no big deal. The important thing is that you realize where you are, which is conscious incompetence. The next step is conscious competence, which is where you’re heading with training.

                                Although there are many things to optimize training, it can be done with a minimum of equipment. The most important thing is to show up, train, and learn. As many have said, these other things will all follow.

                                Honestly, you just need a few important things. First is a good rifle. BCM is one of the best. PSA has had issues but can usually be made into a good reliable rifle with a little work. Set up your BCM as your primary, with your RDS, and BUIS. Get at least 7 good mags (I still use Gen II Magpul; if that’s what you got, use it). Zero your rifle at 25, confirm at 100. Make sure your back up irons are zeroed as well. Recommend going with a good 55 gr training ammo with brass case, but use steel case if you gotta. Take the complete BCG from the PSA with you as a back-up. As long as your set up shoots reliably at your home range, you are GTG. So if you practice shooting from standing, kneeling, prone, from 25 to 100m, and can get good hits, you’re ready.

                                For class, get a good synthetic oil, such as Slip 2,000, EWL, etc. Keep your rifle wet. This is important. Put fresh batts in the RDS. Check attachment screws/bolts. Blue loctite and re-torque.

                                Next you need safety glasses. I like UVEX because I’ve worked in them for 20+ years. Relatively cheap. Get clear and tinted lenses.

                                Ear pro does not need to be complex. Foam ear plugs will work if that’s all you got. A set of ear muffs is nice to have. Fresh batts if they have them.

                                LBE also does not need to be fancy either. You just need something to hold 6 mags. This could be a 4-mag chest rig, and 2 single mag pouches on the belt line. Body armor is not required. But if you do have a PC, then a 3-4 mag panel of some sort on front would be ideal. Plates not required; just use as chest rig. Some sort of belt, with rifle mag pouches, and perhaps a TQ and bleeder kit is all that’s really needed; pistol gear can be worn if you have it. Radios are not required.

                                Clothing just needs to be something in subdued natural colors, that fits the season. Good outdoor boots a plus.

                                A simple boo-boo kit, with bandaids, A&B ointment, super glue, Tylenol, etc. is a plus.

                                Plenty of water. Even if just bottled for on breaks.

                                Energy food and snacks.

                                Ammo can to plus up mags on breaks.

                                Notebook and pen to take notes.

                                Some other notes:

                                If you just get your Basic Rifle Marksmanship tasks down at your home range, you will be ready to learn the next skills. Work on your stance, sights, breathing, trigger squeeze. Dry fire. Live fire. Get a solid zero. Practice mag changes. Dry fire, Live fire. 2 rds standing, change mags; 2 rds kneeling, change mags; 2 rds prone, change mags. You don’t have to do all this, but if you do, you will be more apt to pick up all the new skill sets being taught, instead of having to concentrate more on these basics. You can focus more quickly on things like movement with shooting, and doing so in concert with others. Above all else, think safety. Muzzle awareness. Safety on at all times, until in position to fire.

                                Most drills can be done in less than 60 rds, so if you have one good ready mag, primed and ready to go, you can make that mag change quickly and drive on. This means have one spot designated as your ready mag, and have it rigged for fast draw. The others may be retained by shock cord or top flaps, but this one should be prepped with cord to the side, or top flap tucked behind it.

                                As you gain experience, you’ll realize when it’s a good time to admin reload, so you have a fresh mag to start the next drill. Then rotate, or plus up your mags, so your ready mag is also fresh, with any partials towards the back or far pouches.

                                Don’t fixate on any one task. Think fighter pilot scan. Sights. Enemy. Buddy(s). Situational awareness.

                                Do some PT before you show up. Some running, calisthenics, and weight training combined is ideal.

                                Relax, you’re gonna have fun. It’s work but nothing you can’t handle.

                              • #135924
                                Spencer
                                Participant

                                  can anyone recommend a public range where I could do this within 90-120 minutes of the Marxist paradise known as Fairfax county?

                                  It looks like the NRA range is in your back yard. I’ve shot there and you can zero rifles from their shooting bench, not sure about rapid fire.

                                  A little further away is Elite Shooting Sports in Old Town Manassas. I’ve shot there too but only remember shooting pistol there. You should be able to zero your rifle there but again, stress testing with rapid fire, not sure. I’ll bet if you just ask them and let them know that you want to do rapid fire for a couple of minutes they’d probably be OK with it, as long as they knew what was happening.

                                  DCH 10/2019
                                  H.E.A.T. 1 12/2019

                                • #135926
                                  DiznNC
                                  Participant

                                    Hmmm I forgot most ranges don’t like movement. If nothing else practice position changes/ mags changes dry fire at home.

                                    Zero off a bench will be slightly different than proned out (as done at MVT) but at least you will be close.

                                    The main things are: your rifle, mags, and ammo work; you can apply the basic fundamentals of rifle marksmanship; you have a zero; and you are safe, and engage safety after each string of fire. The sooner everyone in class is at this level, the sooner you can all move on. If everyone did this beforehand, you would all learn a lot more.

                                  • #135931
                                    Mike Q
                                    Participant

                                      Elite shooting sports in Manassas has a 100 yard indoor range. They do allow movement in their range as long you’re in your lane and between the glass. You can’t turn around 180 from the lanes but 90 each way is allowed. You simply need to ask them at the front desk if they are cool with your requests. However don’t work on the movements until you go to HEAT 1. There is a specific set of steps to do it correctly and we don’t want you with self imposed training scars. Really simply make sure you’re zeroed with both rifles and Max and 1st Sergeant will show you how to do everything else.

                                    • #135934
                                      Tony S
                                      Participant

                                        Hey dude I applaud your absolute candor in admitting where you are at in these things. Most guys won’t. But really we’re all just at different places along the path, no big deal. The important thing is that you realize where you are, which is conscious incompetence. The next step is conscious competence, which is where you’re heading with training.


                                        Don’t fixate on any one task. Think fighter pilot scan. Sights. Enemy. Buddy(s). Situational awareness.

                                        Do some PT before you show up. Some running, calisthenics, and weight training combined is ideal.

                                        Relax, you’re gonna have fun. It’s work but nothing you can’t handle.

                                        There’s so much good information in your post that I saved a copy of it for reference! Thanks! I really appreciate your detailed responses and the encouragement.

                                        Elite shooting sports in Manassas has a 100 yard indoor range.

                                        However don’t work on the movements until you go to HEAT 1.

                                        Really simply make sure you’re zeroed with both rifles and Max and 1st Sergeant will show you how to do everything else.

                                        This is JUST what I was looking for! Thanks for the recommendation! I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this place (as often as I’ve searched for NoVA ranges)?!?! Don’t worry, I’m just looking to do the zero at 25/100 with the RDS and BUIS on the primary rifle and BUIS (no RDS) on the back-up, along with verifying that it will stand up to at least some rapid-fire. I won’t be moving with the weapon. As you said, learn to do it right before doing it on your own.

                                      • #135947
                                        wheelsee
                                        Participant

                                          Check out the NRA range at National HQ (Fairfax). Rifles are allowed as well as full-auto. There is NO round/sec rule (or at least last time I was there). HOWEVER – there is a “controlled fire” requirement, meaning as long as you’re hitting the target and none of the structure, you can fire as fast as want.

                                        • #135948
                                          DiznNC
                                          Participant

                                            To the OP, I think the training is vastly more important than the gear. With that being said, if everyone coming to class prepped as well as you’re doing, Max and the 1st Sgt would be a lot happier. In fact, if the entire class showed up with working rifle, mags, n ammo, BRM and safety fundamentals, and no shit 100m zero, I’d pay for the team dinner.

                                            I can tell, you’re gonna do just fine. Listen to Max. Learn the skills. Put out on every evolution. Help your buddies. Build your team.

                                            Past the actual skill sets you will learn, the guys you meet at MVT are some of the best people I’ve ever met. It was an honor and a privilege. Bust out of your shell and get to know your team mates. Help the guy who is struggling if you can. Learn from the guy who is squared away. Share with the guy who is a little short. Bring any extras you can. Try and foster a sense of teamwork from the very beginning.

                                          • #135949
                                            JustARandomGuy
                                            Participant

                                              How the heck can you have the ‘wrong” pmags? There is no such thing as a “wrong” Pmag unless it’s broken… haha

                                              But seriously Ako, you’re fine. You’re actually in essentially the same conundrum I was before my first MVT class; I knew I had my rifle squared away, but I was afraid to come because I had no idea what to do for gear, and my fitness wasn’t great, and I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of all the other supposed “high speed” attendees…
                                              Well, it turned out the other attendees weren’t so high-speed either, but that’s another story. Moral of the story, you’re not going to get thrown off the range for having the wrong colored pants or something. haha

                                              Hell, you should even bring your “wrong” PC and run it a bit, just to get the real-life feedback.

                                              As far as chest rig, if you go to the chest rig thread here in the LBE section, there’s several options listed that are pretty cheap and you can have quickly.
                                              Don’t even worry about a belt line (unless you already have the gear), just put your pistol on there and and the rest of your mags/IFAK on your PC/CR and call it a day.
                                              Water- bring bottles, don’t worry about a bladder, you’re not going to need it to run the drills here (unless attending a “field class” later); throw it all in your range bag.

                                              You’ve already got a good rifle, Pmags, and your PSA will be fine as a backup. Get some Slip 2000 EWL if you don’t already have it.
                                              You’ve already got electronic earpro, which is good because this will be a HUGE help once you start running group drills on the wooded lanes. I made the mistake of wearing foam earplugs my first class, and there were several times I missed communication with other team-mates because I could not hear them.
                                              Eyepro, you can get a pair of clear-lense ESS Crossbow at opticsplanet for $36 right now.

                                              That’s really ALL you need. Oh, and of course a good pair of boots, some light gloves (mechanix are still pretty cheap and decent) and some kneepads (arc’teryx knee-caps FTW) would be nice as well, perhaps a light rain jacket just in case. Snack throughout the day, don’t eat a heavy lunch.

                                              It’s all a lot simpler than it seems. ;-)
                                              And to be fair, I would NOT make a huge re-investement in gear, until I got to a class so I could see how that is going to influence future buys.
                                              This is a mistake I made, and it ended with me spending a LOT more money and putting myself further behind, than I should be right now. :unsure:

                                            • #135956
                                              Roadkill
                                              Participant

                                                I did my first CUTT class in jeans, red plaid shirt, decent rifle, and I bought one of Maxs’ chest rigs the start of the first day of training. I think he had 2 for sale and both sold. The Ivan targets couldn’t differentiate between red plaid and multicam. I didn’t look that cool, but I was there for the training.

                                              • #135965
                                                Robert Henry
                                                Participant

                                                  I did my first CUTT class in jeans, red plaid shirt, decent rifle, and I bought one of Maxs’ chest rigs the start of the first day of training. I think he had 2 for sale and both sold. The Ivan targets couldn’t differentiate between red plaid and multicam. I didn’t look that cool, but I was there for the training.

                                                  This!

                                                  www.jrhenterprises.com

                                                  Lost my MVT class list- been here a time or two :)
                                                  Team Coyote. Rifleman Challenge- Vanguard

                                                • #135970
                                                  Anonymous
                                                  Inactive

                                                    At first I thought you might be joking because of your references to the wrong gear color and whatnot, you’re overthinking.

                                                    I haven’t been to class yet but I have volunteered as OPFOR. I went with a 1990s LBE, some hunting camo, kneepads, and hiking boots, and an old steel pot helmet. We in the US have the great luxury of having a ton of great firearms and tactical gear to choose from but people have fought wars with far less, don’t let gear anxiety get in the way of training.

                                                    Obviously make sure your rifle is working, but it’s important you get the training in. If you’re really concerned network with other guys who are going to the same class and see if they have any loaner gear you can use for a class, 1SG let me borrow a chest rig when I was down there because of the hassle the LBE was giving me.

                                                  • #137265
                                                    Spencer
                                                    Participant

                                                      Spencer, money has been placed where mouth is,

                                                      Mine too Bro! It’s the day after Lobby Day, I’m here, I’ve signed up. See you in class.

                                                      :good:

                                                      DCH 10/2019
                                                      H.E.A.T. 1 12/2019

                                                    • #137266
                                                      Tony S
                                                      Participant

                                                        Mine too Bro! It’s the day after Lobby Day, I’m here, I’ve signed up. See you in class.

                                                        :good:

                                                        Fantastic! I’ll see you there!

                                                        Right now I’m trying to figure if I can wait a little bit (dinero reasons) before signing up for the April Squad Tactics class, or if I risk it filling up because of increased interest in training. Originally I was hoping to wait until after HEAT 1 before paying for it, but wondering if waiting 8 weeks is going to leave me without the opportunity. My only other hope is that if it fills up fast, maybe MVT will schedule another class before the one in Sep. :unsure:

                                                      • #137272
                                                        Spencer
                                                        Participant

                                                          Right now I’m trying to figure if I can wait a little bit (dinero reasons) before signing up for the April Squad Tactics class, or if I risk it filling up because of increased interest in training.

                                                          I totally get it, that’s always my worry also. If you’ve got the cash, sign up. But that assumes that you’ve got all the gear squared away for the class you’ve already paid for. But then again, i guess this whole OP is about the question, gear vs training, and the general consensus is get the training. Tough call, that only you can make. I’m with you though, I’m surprised that there are any open slots in these classes and that they’re not booked up a couple of years in advance.

                                                          At any rate, see you in class and looking forward to meeting you.

                                                          DCH 10/2019
                                                          H.E.A.T. 1 12/2019

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