Student Review: Combat Rifle / Contact Drills (CRCD) June 21 – 22: Lowdown3

CRCD Review
June 20, 2014
Having done the three classes on Friday (TC3/RMP + NODF), I admittedly was a little tired beginning the Saturday class of CRCD.  We met in the parking lot at O dark thirty and Max began to shuttle us up to the training area. (Max: This was the first NODF class, which overran more than planned and we all got to bed a little late – we fixed that on the next class).
I brought almost two times the ammo requirement listed in the course description to include approx 800 rounds in an ammo can and about 30 mags loaded. Not knowing how much time we would have been drills, I brought a couple of shoulder bags with 5 extra mags each in them as well as PC with 6 mags and chest rig with 5 mags. In retrospect I should have simply lugged the ammo can up there as there was time to load mags between drills. Lesson from this- bring everything you need for the whole day with you on the shuttle out each morning. Thankfully I had food, a fleece beanie, water, etc. in my gear.
Max will show several drills on the whiteboard first. Pay attention to this part of the training.  This isn’t the time to daydream, load mags or otherwise space out.
We began with reaction to fire drills, very similar to the old “Dash” drills some of us may remember from the long long ago, updated and greatly improved in my opinion. I had to overcome the urge to shoot at the closer range targets while on the move. Take your shots, haul butt to cover, down, observe, sights, fire.
(Max: Note, CRCD has gone to a full 3 days after September 1st, with RMP subsumed into that first day. Details posted HERE).
This was only the beginning and soon we were moving as part of a buddy team and by later part of the day moving as part of a four man brick.
Max and Aaron kept an eagle out for safety and the drills were run no faster than the particular buddy team could handle it. I was impressed with their tact and willingness to get some through the course.
To be honest, there was a few there that should not have made this course their first foray into professional training. They could have definitely benefited from the Combat Rifle Manipulation (CRM) class first or a few other tactical rifle type classes and some home practice. Max and Aaron did their best to bring these folks along, slowing down drills for them as need be, etc. Max: See above re: 3 day CRCD! However, despite the 3 day CRCD, CRM is recommended depending on your skill level. The 3 day CRCD is designed simply to get everyone to a better level and improve everyone’s training experience. If you need more depth to your training, look to CRM first. Take an honest look and book accordingly. 
The moral of the story however is your going to get the most out of this class if you come prepared for it. That means going to CRM first, then spend some time working your manipulations on your home range, etc. Only through a lot of repetition will these manipulations become second nature. Also, be aware that standing or sitting at a bench at the local range with plenty of time to waste in changing a magazine is not the same as changing a magazine under stress while trying to keep a constant tempo of fire downrange. The stress factor is certainly higher during the latter. Simple exercises like shooting 2 rounds at a 50 or 100 yard target, then running down to the target (with gear and rifle), touch the target then run back and shoot again, will help you get in the correct mindset for these. Loading 2 rounds only in each magazine during this drill will help you work basic weapons manipulations under stress also. Your heart will be pumping, your hands will fumble and you’ll realize really quickly if you need more time working reps of weapons handling and/or PT issues. I digress…
Day 2 ramped up the skills and tactics considerably. Only 1 drill that I remember was done individually. After that all drills were done in buddy teams or fire teams. The final exercise was a blast and I certainly won’t give it away. Our team completed the first assault well, then fell in as the support for the second assault. One guy’s rifle went down catastrophically and then all three of the rest of ours went dry at the same time. We all scrambled to get the guns up and running again at the same time. There was a chorus of expletives as the three of us realized the irony of all three of us going down at the same time while acting as support! What seemed like a minute was mere seconds but these were an eternity given what was going on.
We filed back to the pavilion for AARs on the final assault as well as the class in general. This wasn’t my first or even fourth exposure to this sort of material, however it was presented better by Max and Aaron than most of the others I’ve trained it with before.
My advice- come to CRD with your weapons handling and safety up to par, with your brain switched on, don’t do “random stuff”, drink plenty of water, eat a good breakfast, get plenty of sleep, keep an open mind. The PT part  wasn’t bad at all. We have no hills down our way, so the hills and altitude were different, but the work isn’t that strenuous and there are plenty of breaks. Regular physical activity more than “12 ounce curls” should be a part of any serious survivalist’s actions anyways.
Finally- Don’t let your pride get crushed if you receive a correction. Learn from it, that’s how you get better. If you never push yourself, you’ll never grow.