Review: Combat Rifle Skills – August 2017: ‘Boot’

I attended the Combat Rifle Skills class at VTC Romney on the weekend of 19-20 August 2017. The class consisted of five shooters, including the four from my group, as well as one MVT pistol class alum. Skill levels varied from shooters who have barely put 100 rounds through an AR platform to intermediate rifle shooters with some tactical training and competition experience. The weather was incredible on both days, and the small class size allowed the instructor, Scott, to give individual attention to each attendee. While the class is centered around the AR platform, and students will get the most out of the class with an AR, other tactical platforms are welcome. One student used an AK throughout the class with success.

The class began on Saturday morning with a safety brief and an extensive lecture on the AR platform. From its inception, adoption, to modern modifications, Scott did an excellent job explaining why the AR platform is the most popular rifle in America. The historical context, as well as technical explanations of moving parts, gave those new to the platform a better understanding of what makes the rifle work and what to look out for when obtaining a new rifle, which helped guide several students after the class was over.

After the lecture portion of the class, Scott ran the class through confirming zero on all rifles, then moved on to the meat of the course. Using the crawl, walk, run method, Scott introduced the shooters to “combat” reloads, “tactical” reloads, and malfunction clearance to round out day one.

After review, day two started by building on what was learned the day before. Since students were now accustomed to clearing malfunctions and performing reloads, keeping the rifle fed and running fell on the students themselves. Scott took the class through facing movements, including left, right, and rear, then introduced movement. Shooters were taught the basics of reacting to contact, as well as when to perform certain tasks, such as reloads. The use of cover and concealment, as well as the difference between the two, was discussed, and day two finished with buddy pair fire and movement drills. The culminating drills drove home the necessity for effective communication as well as subconscious weapons manipulation to all students within the class.

This class was an excellent experience, especially for shooters who are new to the AR platform, or those who want the “why” behind everything in weapons manipulation. New shooters should not feel any hesitation about taking this class, since the POI is very heavy in making sure students have full understanding of the fundamentals before moving forward. While the gear list may look extensive to some, the required gear is more than enough to set a student up for success. If you are unsure where to start with gear, contact the MVT staff for help. While a chest rig or plate carrier capable of holding four mags is a great place to start, a few belt mounted AR mag pouches will certainly do the job for students unsure of where to start. Pouches like the G-code softshell scorpion or blue force gear ten-speed belt mounted pouches will get the job done without breaking the bank. I would recommend that, if you are new to tactical training, come to class with just enough gear to get the job done, that way you can see what works for you, as well as what works for others, in order to help you make a more informed decision when it is time to upgrade. Other than the required gear, a good pair of gloves is all you NEED. The parking lot is on site at the range, so do not worry about humping all your gear around for the day. Finally, bring as many mags and as much ammo as possible. Scott likes to stay at or under 800 rounds for the course, but it never hurts to have extra.