Review: CRS/CTT Texas February 17-20: ‘Wheelsee’

AAR for 4 Day Combat Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics

TX, Feb 17-20

This was my first class with Max Velocity tactical .  With any new activity or endeavor, there may be some anxiety, whether from self-imposed or hearsay.  I’ll explain later.

The training will take place on a ranch in excess of 3K acres (> 4 square miles).  The housekeeping letter states to be at the gate by 4PM – this allows the host to lead us in to prevent getting lost and just wandering about.  BE there by 4PM.  Once we were led in, we were introduced to our temporary quarters, completed paperwork, received room arrangements, and paid range/lodging fees.  This all took < 30 minutes, freeing us to go into town for food, last-minute supplies, next day lunch, etc.  Again, be at the gate BY 4PM  (being late just delays everyone else).

Days 1-2 were spent on the square range, Max gave a detailed safety brief and expectations for the class.  We are dealing with deadly weapons and safety is paramount.  The first step was sighting our firearms, from the prone position (the most stable field position).  This should be done anyway with any new sighting system – RDS, scope, or BUIS.  I do recommend having done this prior to coming.  This should be done anyway with any new sighting system – RDS, scope, or BUIS.  Once the sighting was completed, we started with our shooting drills.  This was done in a crawl, walk, run format (for the CRS class – crawl, walk) with Max demonstrating each.  The first was Contact Front drills, then Contact Left drills, followed by Contact Right drills, and lastly Contact Rear drills – all while stationary.  Yes, you are pivoting to get on target, with your team members on either side, and this may cause some discomfort for some.  Remember the safety briefing?  Max teaches the method of head-body-weapon.  It is immediately apparent how safely this can be done (gotta keep your head in the game).  Remember this maneuver, you’ll be using it from now on.  We then progressed to contact drills while walking (again, on the square range).

Stoppage drills were introduced (you’ll need to attend the class for this one) with Max making decision-making easy – is the bolt closed or open??  (again, you’ll need to attend the class for the answers).  Suffice it to say, even an older person new to the AR platform can follow these basic moves.  We were also introduced to controlled pairs, hammer fire, and stream fire.   While the recommended ammunition allotment is 800 rounds, I recommend bringing 50% more.  This is because a student’s definition and inexperience is going to lead to a higher rate of fire until the lessons are learned.

Days 3-4 we moved around the ranch learning Combat Team Tactics.  Max was able to find terrain that reflected his scenarios further driving home learning points.  Again following the crawl-walk-run method, Max would explain the movement (with rationales, expectations, and possibilities), then we would dry run it (without weapons), then live fire.  Expect to do short bounds (<10 yards) from a kneeling position, so work on anaerobic exercises such as forward lunges (see Max for training plans).  Read Contact! for the various maneuvers (won’t repeat here).  The final scenario involves a squad attack (again, read Contact!).

Lessons learned

  • Be attentive, listen to the briefs and SLOW DOWN, THINK THE PROBLEM THROUGH.  Max has already given the solutions but we have to identify the problem.
  • HYDRATE!! I tried PowerAde Zero with good results – replenishes sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, $0.80/quart.  I started with 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, then doubled that with good results.
  • Bring spare batteries – AA, AAA, optics. I had batteries go out on my hearing protection, bought more that night at Walmart.
  • If you think there is a problem when loading your weapon, FIX IT!! I didn’t and ended up with a stoppage at first contact.  Again, FIX IT!!
  • Magazine capacity – Mine are 30-round mags, had a couple of episodes of difficulty seating the mag, and 1 mag with 31 rounds that I couldn’t seat. Had a fellow student mention 29 or 28 rounds to fix problem.  I went to 28 rounds per mag without any problems.
  • To paraphrase Max – CTT ain’t about me, but about keeping my team alive. Think through the scenarios and do those things which help keep your team members alive.
  • Ammunition – though each class lists the required amount, increase it by 50%, or even 100%. Doing the CRS, night-fire, and CTT class, I went through ~ 2500 rounds.  Again, due to my own inexperience.
  • Knee pads though not listed as required, I HIGHLY recommend. By the 3rd day, my right knee was so banged up just from the up-downs, it was painful just to get up from sitting.  Very comfortable home-made ones can be made from a $7 blue camping mat from Walmart.  Double-padded, for the last day, going down on my right knee was no problem.
  • Yelling – yep, you’re going to do it. You HAVE to communicate with your team to keep everyone safe.  And you’re going to receive it.  Yes, Max yells too, its a loud environment, and he’s blunt.  In all fairness, I receive much worse at work (not from co-workers).
  • Teamwork – not only on the field but also in the lodge. Do what needs to be done and don’t hesitate to jump in. Check on one another, see #6.
  • Respect each other. The people who are there want to be there. Keep it positive.  See #6.
  • Equipment – JOIN the forum. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. Ask for recommendations, listen to the responses and make your decision.  Buy once, cry once.  Expensive??  How much is your life worth??  How much would you have saved (in the long run) if you had bought quality to begin with?? (Max Adds: The MVT Forum is $25 per year subscription).

  • PT – you knew this was coming, right?? Just from reading previous AARs, I chose to run/jog/walk the stairs at work (14-story building), stopping about every 4th floor to do push-ups. This seemed to work OK though I need to add more squats within the routine.  Also, look at your day-to-day life – what can you do to become more physically fit??  See a doctor first to make sure no underlying problems, i.e. heart disease, COPD (smokers??), uncontrolled high blood pressure, etc.
  • Grow the tribe – Tell your friends/family about MVT. You’ll know who is open to training and who is not, focus on those who are. See you in TX!

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