Jay Oct 2013
March 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm #57776CorvetteParticipant
Oct 12/13 2013 – Jay
After Action Report
CRCD Class 10/12-13/2013
Max Velocity Training
I attended the CRCD course at Max Velocity Training outside of Romney, West Virginia on 10/12-13. The preceding AARs filed about this session, as well as for all previous sessions, are excellent in their presentations and representations of what to expect should one decide to attend one of the upcoming classes. It was a uniquely personal experience I won’t soon forget.
At 59 years of age I may have been the oldest person in our group of 12. It was 40 years ago almost to the day that I became the property of the U.S. Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Back then the drill instructors had 16 weeks to mold me into a credible 11B (infantryman). Max had about 20 hours. I believe he delivered on all his promises; any shortcomings were my own. He is one hard working guy and a consummate professional. The lessons learned four decades ago, mostly forgotten with time, started coming back to me in dribs and drabs over the course of these two days.
Yeah, I know, pop-up targets don’t shoot back. But short of being in actual combat there is only so much a civilian like me can do to prepare for a SHTF scenario where firearms training plays a central role in the preparation. Unless you can afford to go to one of the top-shelf spec ops schools that are out there, MVT comes about as close as one can get to learning functional battle tactics that may just help you beat the averages in a world gone mad.
I enrolled in the course on June 29, after reading about it on the MVT blog. Over the next three months I assembled equipment I didn’t already have, acquired a left-handed AR-15 and stepped up my fitness program to get ready for the course.
I spent lots of time in the coming months pondering why someone my age would want to do something like this instead of just relaxing on the couch dreaming about retirement in a few years. The answer came, quite literally, the weekend before the class was scheduled to begin when I happened to catch an interview with a 90-something year old WWII veteran who pretty much told the Washington, D.C. park police where to go when they tried to stop him and his group from touring the war memorials that were closed to visitors because of the government shut-down. Ninety years old and still fighting the good fight! Why, I’m a mere youngster compared to him
It is my personal opinion that even if you’re just the designated pencil sharpener in your unconventional warfare unit’s admin section, you should know how to do these drills. The numbers aren’t exactly on the side of the Freedom Forces after all, so it would probably be a good thing if each one of us could do the drills. With that said, the course will definitely be a challenge for the older individual in general but particularly for one who has health issues or hasn’t done so much as a push-up in years. The same can be said for anyone of any age for that matter. There is no faking it once you are on the range.
I am convinced there is not a single flat spot anywhere in the entire state of West Virginia. On either of the two ranges I was either running up a hill or down one while carrying an extra 30 to 40 pounds of gear, ammo and weapons on my body. Future attendees should expect to be walking, stopping, shooting, getting down, shooting some more, getting up, running (or walking if that’s all you can do), stopping, and on and on. This is the infantry after all. So if you are out of shape or in questionable health, think this part through carefully before signing up. Know, though, that there is a place for everyone in what Max calls the Resistance.
Personal fitness is always important all the time. I work out vigorously at least three times a week with a trainer who is a competitive world-class strength athlete, a pretty unique resource in my little hometown. Even if you don’t have access to a personal trainer there are plenty of resources available on-line to help you out. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of what you need to train with anyway is your own body and everyday items that can be found in and around the house.
In my case, three months prior to taking the class my trainer and I revamped my workout routine to mimic the type of movements I thought I would be performing at MVT. On Monday morning, after the class was over, my body told me we had been successful. There are those out there who advocate donning a too heavy ruck sack and pounding the hills and valleys for miles on end several times a week to get into proper fighting condition. Max addresses this issue in his blog and is something that is completely unnecessary for taking this course. Walking up and down multiple flights of stairs while wearing a light load of some sort would be more beneficial. I think the longest drill lasted maybe 15 or 20 minutes. My typical workout, from start to finish, lasts no more than 30 minutes and is always a heart pounder. If you are out of shape and decide to take the plunge, give yourself several months to get to where you need to be physically. It’s not going to happen for you overnight.
Equipment and weapons malfunctions, operator inexperience and Mom Nature all conspired to make it as real as real can get without actually having bullets flying in both directions. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons to come out of the training for me was that I was able to see what works and what doesn’t work with respect to my abilities, my weapons and my gear. My fitness regimen is going to be tweaked some more, changes have already been made to my primary weapon and one of the items I was wearing on my battle belt may never see the light of day again. Waiting until SHTF is actually happening to find this stuff out would probably be fatal.
Almost all of my equipment was new to me, with most of it having been purchased for the purpose of taking the CRCD class. I wore a Condor battle belt and “H” harness loaded with seven full magazine pouches, an I.F.A.K. and a dump pouch. In addition to my left-handed Stage Arms AR-15, loaded with an eighth 30-round magazine, I carried an M&P Vtac 40 in a drop-leg holster and three full magazines for it. Not once did I feel the weight or experience any discomfort from the load. Read Max’s articles on the battle belt. It will be worth your time.
In my opinion, knee pads are a must-use item whether or not you have knee problems. I have problems in both knees but experienced no pain whatsoever despite all of the up-and-down movement I did. The pads definitely made a difference.
Wearing proper clothing is a must as well. You are not going to be able to perform in jeans and tennies. Because of the rain I wore a lightweight rain jacket overtop an Under Armour tee shirt both days. I’m still scrubbing the mud out of the combat pants. Also, be selective about your footwear. I wore a pair of Blackhawk something-or-other combat boots with gel heel stabilizer inserts and arch supports and experienced no foot issues whatsoever. Prior to the class I wore the boots everyday for at least two months to make sure they would do the job without destroying my feet.
An assault pack containing food, water, extra ammo and other items was carried in but then detached from the belt and harness upon arrival at the training site. My food supply consisted of beef sticks, protein bars and dried fruit and nut bars that I was able to snack on throughout the day to keep my body properly fueled. I had a Camelbak filled with fresh water for drinking plus a bottle filled with a mixture of water, Gatorade mix and BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) for sipping during breaks. I knew I wouldn’t be burning thousands of calories during each day of training so eating light was in order. Dinner at Mario’s after training was a different matter altogether.
My weapon is zeroed for 200 meters so hitting “Ivan” at 75 meters or less wasn’t a problem. Up until that Saturday I had only put about 600 rounds through it and then another 400-plus rounds over the weekend. Several stoppages were experienced on both days, some because of the weapon’s newness and others because of the operator. It’s a little embarrassing to have your magazine drop to the ground when you pull the trigger during a simulated firefight. It could be a fatal error in a real one. Some brushing up on clearing stoppages and overcoming nasty surprises is now on the agenda.
I used an EOTech XPS2 holographic sight on the AR. In my opinion, a red dot sight or illuminated scope is probably a good idea for those shooters with old, tired eyes that can’t focus like they used to. It is especially necessary for me because I am a left-handed shooter who is right-eye dominant. The problem pretty much went out the window when I first started using this sight. I intend on adding an EOTech G33 3X magnifier to further improve my sighting/aiming capabilities.
I wore a new pair of bifocal shooting glasses designed specifically for what I expected to encounter in the course. They were purchased from Chris at Safevision.com, and they fit the application beautifully. Pairing these glasses with the EOTech sight proved to be a real winner for me.
Perhaps my biggest limitation was my hearing. In early August I suffered an accident that took part of my hearing in both ears. I wore electronic earmuffs during the course, which helped, but with all the noise going on around me it was still difficult to hear commands clearly. The recommendations made by others in their AAR about overcoming this problem are exactly right. Anyone with a hearing problem needs to give it some consideration.
I was teamed with a battle buddy who was eight years my junior. He made it through probably 98 percent of the course before succumbing to his arthritis and taking a seat for the rest of the drills. I would take him as my “BB” any day of the week over all the armchair patriots in the world, though, because he got off his duff and showed up for the party. The two of us ended up on the fire team with the daughter-dad duo. What a pleasure it was for me to be able to meet and work with these three fine people as well as the rest of the group, Max and his assistant instructors. Thank you all.
For those making the trip to Romney to train with Max, be advised of a few things. Hwy 50 east out of Clarksburg is one curvy, hilly, two-lane road. Driving it in the rain and fog wasn’t much fun. Also be aware of the firearm laws of the states you will be traveling through to get to MVT. A nasty surprise could await you if you get stopped in the wrong place.
Finally, I want to recommend the Koolwink Motel located on Hwy 50 on the east side of Romney. It’s clean, comfortable and has 1960s décor in the rooms. I felt right at home. Another plus is you can park right outside your room, making it convenient for transferring baggage and other items between the room and your vehicle.
As if to drive home the point of why even older folks should consider taking this course, while our group was training in the hills of West Virginia with an eminently qualified Brit-turned-American who has dedicated his life to preparing his adopted countrymen for SHTF, veterans groups, including those pesky WWII vets, were facing off against federal police in our nation’s capital at about the same time the food stamp system in Louisiana and other places went silent. Think about what might be happening right now if the pushing and the shoving had escalated out of control or the food cards didn’t start working again.
Oct 12/13 2013 – Pinky
12/13 October, 2013 – AAR, Max Velocity CRCD
(From ‘Pinky’, the DHS plant from the Richmond Fusion Center. Only joking – initially I thought he was way too high speed to have no prior service, then I realized that he was way too high speed for a DHS team, given what I have heard about their performance on ranges, from eyewitnesses….turns out he’s just a squared away tactically competent liberty minded citizen. Awesome, we need more of those, and more of them to stop talking about it and actually do tactical training).
I never knew that Max did a training class. I knew him from picking up “Contact!” via Amazon based only off some website “based on what you are looking at, you might be interested in this” advertisement. You know, the ones you never pay attention to? I thought, surely, no one is really named “Max Velocity:” sounds like a stage name for one of those adult actors or something similar. Read the book, great stuff. Good refresher and new material and very easy to read.
Fast forward to an ar15.com review by someone – the name “Max Velocity” caught my eye and I thought, there it is again, that name. It was an AAR from someone that had attended the CRCD class and had great things to say about it. They talked about what a great time they had and how they’d never experienced anything like it with live fire and pop-up targets. Sold.
Night 1: Rain. More rain. And then some more rain.
Day one: Crawl, walk.
Day one began with a safety briefing, terminology review, and the basics. It was clear from the beginning that Max was going to cater the teaching according to each participants’ capabilities. We had a mixture of people from various states, some “free” (VA, TN, FL), some behind enemy lines (MD), but all with a similar mindset and goal for the weekend – learning something. We had old, young, men, a woman, father/son, father/daughter (AWESOME), and then a few of us that fit into the feared category of MAM, Caucasian, Christian (now found in official documentation as something to be feared).
Training began with safe loading, solo trip into “Range One” for our first encounter with the pop-up targets. Contact front, left, right. Crawl.
More in the schoolhouse whiteboard (tip: don’t re-arrange the chairs or the magnets on the white board; it impacts Max’s OCD and you may receive a death threat) then pairing up with a buddy. I had the pleasure of working with a US Marine (never “former”) for the paired drills. We quickly got into a groove and worked well together in the two-man drills (contact, move off the X, fire, move, break contact, etc). This is where we established the basics of communications (contact/move/moving). Walk.
Late in day one, a pleasant smell came wafting into the training area; it was a new Marine, coming to help instruct and provide range safety.
We completed Day One with our first four-man team exercise, grouping each pair into a single entity for the purposes of breaking contact. Peeling, moving, shooting. More walk, but a bit faster.
Throughout Day One, Max took the time to instruct, correct, and make sure everyone knew what they were doing and also why. Later, most of the class met for dinner; we had a choice of the Mexican restaurant or the Italian restaurant. We chose the latter; good conversation, like-minded Patriots all.
Night 2: Rain. More rain. And then some more rain.
Day two: Walk then run.
Day two began with more whiteboard discussion (again, don’t mess with the chairs or whiteboard magnets) about breaking contact, assaulting, peeling, getting on-line (no, not the Internet), and patrol basics. Activities for day two took place on the much-larger “Range Two,” which was nice and slick due to wet, fallen leaves and mud mixed in. As with day one, we got a solo run and a taste of fighting at longer distances, still facing contact front, left, right. On to two-man runs, same concepts, but adding communication to the mix. “Ivan,” the pop-up targets, were starting to experience some issues due to the rain, but still awesome.
We ran a few scenarios in two-man teams, then on to four-man teams. I had the pleasure of teaming up with three guys from TN. We seemed to work pretty well together and I believe we did a pretty reasonable job of dispatching Ivan on our runs. I was able to fill in with another team, the one that contained the father/daughter team (again, AWESOME). After we ran the drill and were lined up in hasty-ambush position, we did a check (“everyone OK? need to re-load? etc, etc) and our team leader, the daughter, shouts “are you OK, Dad?” As Max stated in his blog, this was a somewhat surreal moment. It took me a second, but wow, I have a daughter, and all kinds of thoughts and emotions passed through me. HUGE kudos to the Dad in the pair; you’ve raised a phenomenal kid and Patriot – thank you.
Late in Day Two, just like Day One, more pleasant odor appeared in the camp, yet another Marine, coming to assist with instruction and safety. At this point, the smell of victory was now heavy in the air, courtesy of the Corps. Note: despite the number of them, to my surprise, nothing at all was destroyed.
The final event of the day was a bunker assault. I won’t ruin it for anyone, but it involves a “grenade” (max sure you ask for a pin for yours), covering fire, lots of mud, and all around a good time. A taste perhaps of what a patrol class might look like. To me, this was the “run” in the crawl, walk, run sequence.
All in all, a great weekend. My summary of the training event and Max: an “A .” Would I go to another training done by Max? Yes, without question. On the one hand, a satisfying, fun weekend of camping, shooting, meeting new people. On the other hand, to feel like I need to develop/polish these types of skills means that we as a country are in a really bad spot.
Most encouraging was the fact that I was not there alone – 11 other people were there, training. I’d like to believe America is full of millions more of them that are prepared to do what is necessary to keep America great. Man, I hope so…
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Oct 12/13 2013 – JustARandomGuy
Max Velocity CRCD Oct. 12-13 Class AAR
I attended the Oct. 12 and 13 Contact Drills class at the site in WV.
Over the last couple years I’ve been seeking training in how to better deploy myself and my weapons if needed, and have done some formal shooting, both classical and tactical. Each time the training I did, or things I saw during it reinforced the need to get training based more in real-life. Much as I hate to say it, some of the “cult of personality” that goes along with the usual tactical training actually ended up making me less inclined to attend, so the search for something realistic, yet still at my skill level turned into something of a wild goose chase.
Anyway, to make a long story short, having stumbled across WRSA’s blog a year or so back, and having read over material by folks like Mosby and LizardFarmer, it was an eye-opener to how much you’re missing in the mainstream tactical shooting community. I was like “I’ve got to find some way to do stuff like this!”, and lo and behold, Max shows up with a training program right in my backyard.
I put off signing up for a long time, not just because ammo is bloody expensive right now, (not to mention gas…), but because at my skill and fitness level, I had some serious reservations about my ability to attend. However, after reading over every AAR about ten times apiece I decided f*** it, I’m going. So there I was on October 12 standing in the rain with 12 other attendees….
Overall, the class was exactly what I expected- a real f***ing reality check. Seriously.
Everyone talking about fending off the “cannibalistic sanfranciscans” or “fighting tyranny” with their group of buddies they’re never trained with, or gear they’ve never used or think that they’ll simply “sling up and pick them off” and that “that’s all you need to know” are Fubar’d. If you’ve just read an FM or watched a DVD- it’s so simple until you get out into the open.
In fact, there’s a little song from band of brothers will probably start running through your head about halfway through day 1…. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMU5x3–h4E)
I don’t mean that in a defeatist way- I just really don’t think people in the shooting/patriot community (myself included) realize exactly what it would take to actually be effective (or at least not get completely massacred in the first 30 seconds) in a real-life engagement. Once you get out there by yourself on the Jungle Walk portion for example, and realize that as you were looking the other way “Ivan” popped up and had all the time in the world to line you up and shoot you before you finally looked over, spotted him and actually started firing back (not to mention getting “off the X”), any delusions of tactical ninjary you may have had will go right out the window… And of course if you listened to Max’s explanation of how a well-prepped ambush would go down, or realized that in real life you’ll probably be taking fire from more than one enemy from more than one direction and that what you thought was good cover really sucks…. Well, you get the idea.
Anyway, enough soap-boxing-
Some things I took away from the class;
1) It rained a lot both days. However, even though I was initially a little annoyed, it was great value added. Because in real life it’s always going to be clear and sunny when s*** happens, right? No- it’s going to be wet, muddy, and miserable and you’re going to slipping and tripping all over everything. If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training! Having trained in rain and snow before, it wasn’t that big of a deal, and once you get into it, it’s actually more fun this way too.
For the folks getting a frowny face here, even though there were plenty of spills, there weren’t any safety issues- if it got too hairy, either the drill was paused, or people were moved during the drill to a correct position.
3) Targets; One thing the rain did was mess with the target electronics, so sometimes they wouldn’t pop up and down. Frankly, I didn’t see this as an issue as it was relatively intermittent, and since you never knew when one would pop up and stay up, it was a good exercise to break out of the “one shot and it’s down” cycle when suddenly you’ve shot it six times and it’s still staring at you.
One thing I had a small personal issue with is that sometimes if your buddy pair is providing suppressive fire on the target, if you’re both firing at it rapidly and/or simultaneously sometimes you can’t tell if you’re hitting the target or the other guy is – so something I tried to do if this happened was to alternate shots with my buddy – it wasn’t something we planned, just something I did if I was having hard time spotting where my rounds were hitting. It also helps keep your fire rate down to an applicable level, if you find yourself laying on the trigger to much.
4) Knee pads- some folks in other AARs have mentioned this, and I’m going to second it. My knee pads were worth their weight in gold this weekend, as you’re always on your knees or on your belly.
5) F*** fixed rear sights. I attempted to use mine with my face this weekend- it didn’t work out to well. If you have an optic, get a folding rear sight. Speaking of which, if you have the means, get a decent optic and put your rifle under it. Due to monetary difficulties, I’ve spent the last couple years shooting irons only- the increased speed and visual clarity you get with a good optic like an Aimpoint is worth every penny you will spend on it.
6) Communication- this is KEY to successfully executing the drills. If you don’t communicate with your buddy/team the result is chaos and confusion- I can think of at least one drill that I participated in that was a complete cluster because of this issue. This was made even more evident (along with the need for TL/ATL persons in your group) during the final bunker assault exercise- if you don’t have good comms there, the nice fellows in the bunker won’t need to shoot you….
Thankfully, I ended up buddy’d with a previous attendee who helped carry things along when I forgot what I was supposed to be doing. Thanks bro!
7) On day 1 I noticed a strange phenomenon for a shooting oriented class of this type- there was a female attendee! I’m sure some folks reading this may be offended, but given the current crop of women who in situations such as this weekend complain about it being to cold and to wet and their rifle being to loud or the gear to heavy, or how they broke a nail and therefore just can’t go on, and yet soapbox about “empowering women” on the way home, I was prepared to NOT be impressed.
I was wrong.
This female attendee not only ran through the mud and rain with her rifle and gear with everyone else and operated competently without a single complaint for both days, but also camped on site overnight while I scuttled back to the hotel. I was like ‘what is this rarity?’
For any other potential female preppers/patriots- here’s your bar.
8)Fitness. This is super important, and something I need to really work on. Running up and down the hills all day long will really kick your ass if you aren’t in shape- and I wasn’t even wearing plates or a pack. At least I have a high thrust to weight ratio (sarcasm)… .. Even though this is a class that you can tailor to your own speed, you will KNOW when you’re dragging.
Anyway, I think everyone here gets this so, onward….
9) Keep your movements short- the “3 second rush” rule and all that. I found myself over-moving at times to get to “better” cover behind a big tree or such, which of course isn’t really cover anyway…. This is a bad habit from other sports I’ve played where you can literally outrun the projectiles coming at you. Obviously you can’t outrun bullets….
Speaking of movement, something to think about is, if this is your first course, slow down. Many folks (myself included) were trying to go too fast with the drills, and it caused some clusters. There’s a lot of info being covered in only two days, and simply moving faster isn’t going to make your team any ‘slicker’.
10) Gear- I’ll soapbox about this later in my own space, just because I’m nit picky about certain things, but a couple related thoughts;
If possible, use active ear pro, so you can hear better- I just used foam plugs, and while I can hear conversation nearby, sometimes when there’s multiple guns firing and people trying to yell over them, you just can’t make it out clearly.
I’ve found it helps to set up your gear so you have a “go to” mag or two for quick reloads, before you have to dig into a pouch. Really helps to get back to shooting quickly if you run dry or have a malfunction in the first few seconds of a drill.
You’re not going to make it far in real life if you only have two or three mags on your gear like some people like to run these days- you can never have to much ammo, and once you apply the timing of a “Rapid” rate of fire of 1 shot every 2 or 3 seconds, you start to understand how finite what you’re carrying on your gear is. Resupply/cache point, anyone?
11) If you’re a civi who’s new to team tactics, as some other folks have mentioned you need to take this class more than once- you won’t get it all the first time through. It’s also not something you and your buddies can attend once or twice and then go home and be like “yeah, we know this s*** now”. It needs to keep being practiced together as much as possible. If you’re like me and don’t have a “group”, it’s going to be difficult to keep fresh on everything.
And on that note, this course will also show you the importance of having a team to work with. You can’t be or watch everywhere at once by yourself.
Overall- Take this course. Time is getting short (maybe shorter than we think)- get here while you still can. It’s well worth the money and expenditure of ammo. As I said before, it WILL change your mind about many things. The company was great as well- It was good to meet other like minded folks and hear their POVs on various topics.
BTW Max, is there an award for longest AAR ever? :D
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