My Take-aways, Advice, and Tips from MVT

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    • #101199

        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, was essentially long range shooting techniques. Which is both good and bad.

        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.

      • #101200

          This wa snot Max, this is one of those posts attributed to me after the original forum changeover.

          Nice post diz. Can you expand/explain more on the muzzle up/down issue. In the service it was always muzzle down. But alot of the civi classes I’ve taken were muzzle up. I find myself using both now and to me they both make sense. What was your reasoning for going to all muzzle down? Thanks, gsb

          • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by Max.
        • #101201

            Here’s the reasoning for it, IMHO. We are in a somewhat unique situation. We have guys and gals from all walks of life coming together for training. Some have a background in this stuff, some don’t. I would say the average bear that comes to class is a different animal from the one who shows up at the tacticool classes. You have older, concerned citizens that need to learn how to operate in a U/W environment. so within the framework of crawl, walk, run, I think the muzzle down technique makes a lot of sense. You have lots of folks coming together and training, some for the first time. It’s a lot to learn in 3 days. Doing live fire this quickly requires strict adherence to safety. So the muzzle down rule ensures everyone stays safe.

            This is not to say that later, with your own group, you establish a different SOP. After sufficient training, you may decide that your guys can safely run muzzle up. But initially, I would start with muzzle down until everyone demonstrates competent weapons handling/safety skills.

            Before I trained at MVT I would have said muzzle up was my preferred method. Now after doing it live fire, muzzle down, I find that it actually works pretty good. It’s not as awkward as I thought it might be.

            So if and when I get to my own CUTT, I will be using muzzle down, as we train up to speed, and then we’ll take it from there.

          • #101202

              NODF- dummy cord your PVS14 to the Rhino arm on the helmet or cap after installing it. All too common to reach up to pull your Rhino arm down and squeeze the release for the J arm, thereby detaching the 14 from the mount. Sometimes you don’t realize that and the 14 can fall. A decent 14 won’t be affected by this, but still.

              The amber filter is nice like Diz said.

              Basic night stuff- be familiar enough with your gear that you don’t have to try to “look” at it at night. Sounds pretty “no duh” but not many train enough to do that. You’ll want your eyes up scanning versus trying to focus on your gear to “find” your mags. This should be done by feel and not require any visual input. All your mega important tasks like: changing mags, clearing jams, TQ use, etc. should be practiced till you can do them by feel at night without visual input. I still remember stripping down CAR15’s in pitch black 100 years ago having to put the damn little pieces from the bolt in your mouth so you wouldn’t lose them….

              Most just don’t get out enough at night to develop the amount of confidence you need. Breathe, relax, Bigfoot is literally NOT out there stalking you at night, trust me (I have the bastard locked up in a dog kennel and I sell tours so I KNOW! LOL). Seriously though, people tend to get sketchy at night if not used to the woods. Slow your mind and body down, move deliberately, keep in mind where your buddies are and where you are.

              Basically the more you get out there and actually do stuff, the more fun you will have and the more you will learn. The more you learn NOW means the better your chances of surviving later.

              OJT for the apocalypse isn’t the best approach, you need to train now, you need to be able to fail now, while you can correct mistakes, be they in mindset, gear, training, PT, etc.

              Won’t be any “do overs” in the PAW….

            • #101203

                Good adds Robert.

                On fucking up, I did my share, so did everyone else. Point is to get it out of your system now, as oppose to later. Can’t stress this enough.

                Dummy cord everything. I run a piece of 550 cord from the ’14’s back to the base on my helmet. They DO have a breakaway feature. Also don’t forget about the sacrificial window on front.

                If you guys are looking for any of this stuff, Robert is solid people and will take care of you.

              • #120012

                  If you run the recon/recce course without night vision will you get seriously fucked up ?

                  • #120040

                      What is the question here?

                  • #120160

                      I dont own any night vision and I would like to attend Heat Recon – is this an issue?

                      • #120161

                          You are looking at an old thread that has was not written for the new recon class. Recon class gear list is published in the Recon & Surveillance forum.

                      • #124892

                          Ha this is an oldie but a goodie. To answer the question, no, you don’t need NV. The 1st Sgt has already weighed in on this and said no NV on the first run-through at least.

                          Going a step further, you will not get “fucked up” at night without NV. I did it for years with the Mk 1 Mod 0 eyeball and it works just fine. Even when we first got them, we just used it like a “day optic”, where you take a knee and scan ahead, then return it to a pouch. Movement was still done with your std issue “night vision”. You would be surprised how well you can “see” at night with your plain eyeballs. Just takes practice.

                          I’m not so sure about that big foot thing anymore. See Crossfire pack review. pt 2 and you will believe.

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