Review: Texas HEAT 2 February 2018: William
This was my second year taking a class from Max. I attended Combat Rifle Skills and Combat Team Tactics (4-day class, which is now HEAT 1) in 2017, learning about a rifle platform I had almost zero knowledge of and how to work as a team. I was impressed enough that I had already decided to attend 2018 before the 2017 class was even finished. Max runs one of, if not the safest range (static and dynamic) that I’ve ever been on (public or local/state government). This also made my early decision easy.
If HEAT 1 is about learning to crawl and stand up, HEAT 2 is about walking. We spent the early mornings learning how to apply team concepts in varied situations through discussion, whiteboard, and going through the movements without our gear (adhering again to the crawl, walk, run concept). Once we felt comfortable with this, we headed to a pre-determined location that Max had setup for the drill. (Another conversation can be had on Max’s ability to use specific parts of a >3K ranch to enhance the experience – the terrain chosen always lends itself to the lesson he’s conveying). During these drills, some of the more experienced students were given the responsibility of leading. Different teaching styles and working with a group absent egos resulted in positive learning experiences.
CQB and FonF were also introduced. This was one of my biggest learning challenges. While SWAT has changed over the years, this isn’t SWAT. Suppressive fire?? WTH?? And yes, I was that guy. I died multiple times, thankfully it was in training and I learned a little bit more each time. Am I competent? No, but I’m aware of my limitations and some realizations.
Lessons Learned –
- PT, and yes, more PT. Walking/tabbing on flat ground isn’t the same as going up and down the gullies of south TX. This year will be spent walking the football stadium (think “running the stands”) as often as I can.
- Have spares. While cleaning BCG, I noticed the gas rings were crumbling (only 1 remained after handling). I carry an armorer’s repair kit (and a spare BCG) so the downtime was only temporary.
- Team – one of the most enjoyable aspects of the class was working with people who, while I only knew a couple from previous training, had similar desires and NO egos. These were a GREAT group of people to work with.
- What the heck?? When I stripped my rifle down to clean after the UTMs, a chunk of metal was found in the action. It took several people to figure it out (thanks Dave!!). The tip of the forward-assist had broken off……don’t ask how, I have no clue……
- YDKWYDK – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. While I’m still processing it, the term suppressive fire has a totally different meaning now.
- Gear shakedown. EVERY single day, I was adjusting something. Even something I’d adjusted the day before.
- PT – did I mention PT??
- REPEAT – this isn’t a skill set that is a “one and done”. Max knows the importance of adjusting and honing, even the basics, and it shows in his classes. TX is already on my schedule for next year………