Student Review: Citizen Close Combat: 26/27 Sept: Diz
Many of you alumni may be wondering if this course is worth going to. Let me answer that up front with a hell yes. This course was awesome. The amount of stuff I learned was staggering. Things I didn’t even know, I didn’t know, as the saying goes. It is the perfect compliment to your training, after Combat Team Tactics (CTT), and maybe even Combat Patrol (CP). You learn new nuances to things you did at past classes, and then learn a whole lot more.
The first day starts off with an accelerated zero check, then you work on individual skill sets, such as ready up drills, RTR drills, and rapidly progress to individual movement. You then learn to move in simulated urban environments, such as streets, alleyways, and inside structures. A quick note here. Someone asked: “Is this a What I did in Falujah class”? No it is not. It is tailored to the armed citizen, in a WROL situation, whether he may be alone, with someone else, or with a few more peeps. The drills are done to show you what it looks like with 1,2, 3,or 4 people. So it builds up to the 4-man team, which is deemed the basic building block for armed citizens. No further discussion on larger units is needed or required. We are talking about people preparing for uncertain times.
The course is further divided along the lines of how to fight within structures, in case that may be required, especially at home, or while “bugging in”, and how to “E & E” out of town in case the situation becomes untenable. Here is where you learn basic movement techniques, and actions on contact, while moving through urban terrain, to greener pastures. So I’m hoping I am conveying to you why this is not your typical SWAT style, “kill house” training you see elsewhere; this is cutting edge technique, learned in actual combat, and modified for our particular use.
So after the individual skill sets are up to speed, and the basic movements in small teams are covered, day 2 gets into the meat and potatoes of the training. Here is where your team must tackle a whole set of tactical problems, either moving through urban terrain, or clearing structures. This is the culmination of everything you’ve learned so far. It is hard, stressful work. Mistakes are made. But we identify and correct them. Run it again. It becomes readily apparent that urban terrain is A LOT different from the bush. But the T,T,P’s that you use to operate here are the same ones you’ve learned in CTT, and CP. Just applied in different circumstances. So it really brings it all into play. It will kick your skill level up a notch or two.
By the end of class, we were all pretty much smoked, but extremely happy guys. You’re doing a bit more running and gunning than maybe CTT or CP class, but it’s on a square range, so it about evens out. Round counts were in the 1,000-1200 range, but we got, uh, pretty enthusiastic about the training. You could probably get by at 800 or so. Your choice. A pistol is a very good idea, but some guys didn’t have them, and you still get good training with rifle only. Those of us with them, did do some drills with them as well, although it’s probably a lot different than you might expect.
Some other takeaways. The basics become critical at typical urban distances. Mag changes need to be quick and automatic. There is literally no time to waste. Support gear needs to be tailored for quick access. The speed and accuracy of your shooting needs to be balanced, and combined with movement. Positions become critical. Angles are everything. Situational awareness must ramp up. So you have to up your game in order be successful in this environment. But as long as you’ve successfully completed CTT, and are motivated to learn, you’ll do just fine.
As you can see, this is no longer an entry-level class. Some of you may have gotten the wrong impression from previous reviews. It has morphed into something entirely different, due to the guy teaching it.
And that brings us to Lee. Guys, for those of you that haven’t trained with him yet, you’re in for a real treat. Much like Max, he brings real-world experience to the table, and is very good at sharing that with you. I can’t tell you how many times I thought, yeah, I knew it, all that bullshit on-line was wrong. Here is a guy who learned the hard way what worked, and what didn’t, and can teach you how to do it right. It’s such a treat to be training with a guy who has actually done it, and not talking about “what a buddy told him”, or “what he read somewhere”, or “what some experts on some forum” say. It’s as simple as that. What really works when people are shooting at you in an urban environment. From the horse’s mouth. What is interesting, Lee discovered, was what Max (and a few other Brits) had learned in Northern Ireland, was exactly what worked in his situation. Go figure. The Brits were doing this stuff since the 80’s-90’s (at least), which was validated by more recent experiences. Go figure.
Personally I found this new environment extremely challenging. The distances to contact are so abrupt; the speed of engagement; movement, and position; angles of cover, observation, and fire. You can’t just “fix bayonets” and charge in there, like the cold war Marine I was. It’s very much a thinking man’s game, and the less time you have to spend on running your rifle (or keeping your damn muzzle out of the door!), the more time you have to actually solve the problem. I plan on coming back for another session, after absorbing, and practicing all the stuff we learned, to improve my performance.
It’s a fascinating new environment to practice your tactical skill sets in. And one that may well come in handy in the future. I look forward to seeing you guys out there again.