I had the opportunity to attend four classes this year while MVT was in Idaho. This is a long review, so if you don’t want to hear from one of the kool-aid drinking Disneyland wannabes, don’t read any further. But, if you’re a regular guy or gal trying to decide if this type of training is for you and your family, I encourage you to explore further.
I consider myself a regular kind of guy. I have no military background, nor do I pretend to be a wannabe special forces operator. I’m a husband, father, full time Emergency Medicine physician, medical director, etc…you get the point. I have a career and life other than prepping/training. However, I do consider myself a prepper and see the utility in tactical training for myself and family. As part of my life’s mantra, I am continually trying to improve upon myself. You can never know everything, be the expert on any given subject, the fastest or strongest, the best shot, etc…but you can compete with yourself, pushing further each day. That is why I train. My father in law wrote a guest piece on why we train; I encourage you to take the time to read it:
As with anything, you get what you pay for. I ran a Sig Sauer 516 whilst my wife, who also did CRS/CTT, ran a Colt 6920. They performed flawlessly. I witnessed several “Frankengun” failures ranging from gas blocks coming loose to bolts shearing in half. If you don’t have a mil-spec rifle, invest in one. If you have a spare, bring it to class with you. You’d be surprised at how many back up rifles were in use. Optics is a larger discussion and there are lots of opinions out there. I personally run vortex which can go from 1-6 power and doesn’t require a battery. Again, it’s all about functionality for the end game. Get knee pads and elbow pads or clothing with them built in…they will save your joints. Check the local weather and make sure you have appropriate rain gear. Insect repellent for us was huge with all the ticks. Treat your gear with permethrin or at the very least have DEET. I also ran plates (4.7 lbs each) with a battle belt through all three classes (CLS had no live fire component). I invested quite a bit and have now run the same plate carrier and battle belt for two years with no issues. I also believe training in what I would wear in the SHTF scenario is critical. You’d be surprised how many pouches get moved around during the break. The point of all this is that you get what you pay for when it comes to gear. Don’t let the first time you put your gear on or use your black gun be in class or even a worse situation. The MVT forum has a great gear section; I suggest you check it out.
This is an interesting topic. I ran the CTT portion in full gear with plates doing each iteration twice due to an odd class number. I’ll be honest; you get way more out of class if your fitness level is in high gear. Since taking MVT in 2016, I haven’t stopped training. I hike with a pack, run, weight train, burpees, etc. pretty much every other day. I’m in no way a marathon runner, body builder, but I can hold my own. You will be exhausted both mentally and physically by the end of this training, but it is well worth it. Now with that said, you can show up in whatever shape you’re currently in. Max will not push you past your limit. But you get way more out of the training by preparing.
The subject of safety always comes up when I discuss this type of training with folks. This is live fire training, and there is some inherent danger solely on that. Now, if you want to be a square range Rambo, good on you. However, if you want to learn how to shoot, move and communicate dynamically as part of a team, there is some risk. There are several safety measures in place to prevent accidents. This includes daily safety briefs before weapons are loaded, active muzzle awareness, and safety angles. At NO time in my MVT class history including CTT/Mobility/CP in 2016 as well as CLS/CTT/DA/FoF/CQB this year did I feel unsafe.
CLS (1 day)
Why would an ER physician take a basic combat lifesaver course? That’s actually very easy to explain. In the ER, I have some control over the chaos, surrounded by trained staff to assist when all hell’s breaking loose. I have the tools and the backup when I need them for pretty much any scenario. In essence, it’s my world and what I’ve been trained to do. CLS is not. Learning the basics of self care under fire, buddy care, MARCH, communicating extraction were great tools to add to what I already know. IFAK contents and tourniquets are always great to check out and practice applying. As with all gear, you really don’t want the first time you try it out is when you or someone you know has been shot. If you don’t have any first aid training or an actual IFAK, I encourage you to invest in real gear and take a course on how to actually use it.
CTT (2 day)
As I’ve already stated, this was my second CTT. I was amazed by how much I had absorbed from the first time, and how much I had forgotten. It is a perishable skill and needs to be practiced with your tribe. This year I had the pleasure of doing the course with my wife and her sister. They are savage!!! The course focuses on the basics of small unit movement, engagement and communication. Practice the drill…not the scenario. It gives you the basic knowledge of how to shoot, move and communicate effectively as a team. By the end of the course, our family unit was very efficient. It gave us all the ability to use the same language and tactics which we can now drill. In the end, it’s up to you and your tribe on how to apply it based on your bug out scenario.
Direct Action (3 day)
Direct Action is a new evolution of Combat Patrol. I’ll be honest, I did miss the night recce, however this year’s Direct Action was great. I would describe this as graduate level CTT. It covers advanced tactics such as ambush, hasty attacks and raids. There is advanced squad movement and requires a higher level of thought, but in the end…it’s just more application of the basic drills. I had the honor or burden of being nominated squad leader by the rest of the trainees. By the end of the course we were completely student led with Max acting as RO/Safety and providing feedback. The amount of progression and level of improvement by our class was outstanding! If you have the energy or the opportunity to take Direct Action, I strongly encourage it.
FoF/CQB (2 day)
This was NOT paintball. Our first day was out in the field with lots of concealment. Our family team started off strong, but quickly got beat down on day one before lunch. After a change in mindset (got back to basics), we quickly dominated the second portion of the day. The first day of Force on Force truly highlighted the necessity of having leadership, communication, movement under cover fire, and the ability to think dynamically based on the change in situation. It was a great progression. Day 2 was purely CQB. This was eye opening. It is amazing how quickly things will go sideways with folks running around no longer communicating or performing the trained drills when fire is coming in. It was stressful and definitely required more dynamic thinking and application of tactics based on the developing scenario. In the end, application of the fundamental drills, dynamic thinking, and active communication are key.
- You can’t train enough. Make the time and find the money to invest in it. Make the best of your training environment. You get out of it what you put in.
- You need to train as a team or tribe. This year was a huge team building experience for our family. Now, it’s up to us to continue the momentum. These are perishable skills and need to be rehearsed and drilled.
- You can always be in better shape, PT!!! This is not only great for training, but lifestyle in general. There are several opinions, training regiments, but in the end, find what works for you and make the time.
- Max is a GREAT instructor. He takes a group of people in various states of physical shape, age, and walks of life and by the end of class has them operating as a small unit with precision. He has an inordinate amount of patience, but don’t expect him to sugarcoat his feedback. Does he yell? Yes, but only if you deserve it and at no point does he strip you down or belittle you in any way. The whole point is to build you up and increase your knowledge and skill level.
Well, if you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this. Hopefully if you were on the fence about taking an MVT course it helped with your decision. I’m just a regular guy trying to improve upon himself for the benefit of his family and tribe.