The first day of class had us shooting on the move, point shooting, and working on our footwork using glass houses on the square range. Every student was already zeroed which saved a tremendous amount of time. We all learned how to get our dumb side to move similar to a tank turret. My mind was blown by how much you could see into a room using the diminishing return peek before cutting the pie, and moving on to the quicker step center, button hook technique. The tactics were simple and repeatable even under stress.
John, Kang, and Phil each coached us using real world experiences and lessons learned. They gave the reason not just the answer. They also stressed that the techniques they were showing us was a way not the way. It was great to have more than one instructor because each group of four students received feedback after every repetition from an instructor. The instructors listened patiently and never seemed rushed even when students got long winded during coaching.
Day two introduced us to the UTM bolts and ammo, while reinforcing the importance of identifying threats and friendlies. We got multiple repetitions that allowed us to work on the new footwork that we learned on day one and the importance of maintaining our sector while not flagging your teammates. We wore all the safety gear that was required to get a feel for what it would be like on day three. The instructors had us rotate positions so that we gained experience as every number of the two man and four man teams. The instructors quickly changed out targets to keep us from gaming the rooms and even added some surprises to the rooms to keep us on our toes.
Day three brought everything taught so far together so that it would all go out the window as soon as one man was down in the doorway. The more teammates got killed the worse the tactics got. It was only when we performed the tactics that we were taught that we would succeed. Surprise, Speed, and Violence of Action had to coexist in order to dominate the room and not have any casualties. If a team lost surprise, then usually one man would die and there would be a one for one in the room. Watching some of the helmet cam footage, I realized that usually when multiple teammates got hit, it was because I did not do a sharp enough button hook, or exposed my barrel in the doorway. It was also hard to keep moving once hit. Looking back many times it seems that if I would have just plated off after being hit, that my teammates would survive and finish the room. the instructors setup Mega House which added a hallway to connect the two shoot houses. The tarp walls brought the realization of shooting through false cover (dry wall) vs thick concrete. I experienced being shot at and hit through the walls and never stood a chance. We got to experience a dug in enemy in the rooms and the lemming effect. Windows were opened up which added another option instead of being stuck going through the fatal funnel door ways. Three corners of a room could be cleared from a window while holding security on a lengthy hallway. That was an eye opener for me. At times because of the chaos in a room, it was easy to lose track of the other team that you were working with resulting in friendly fire incidents. Running as the Opposing Force was helpful to see what worked and did not work. For anyone worried about the pain penalty, it felt like bee stings, but kept you honest. There is no other training out there like this for civilians.
- Bring a case of water, hydrate often
- Take every opportunity to defog your goggles
- During breaks check your barrel for UTM squib loads
- Do not camp, it distracts you from giving the class your full attention while providing minimum sleep.
- Draw a floor plan of your home and bring it to class, instructors will coach you on a good strategy for clearing your home during breaks.
For the detail on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Force on Force (UTM ammunition), click the link below: