Student Review: Combat Team Tactics August: ElProf

MVT Review: Combat Team Tactics (CTT) August 2015.

If you are concerned about the state of the world, and disinclined to rely solely on the Authorities for the defense of your life, liberty, loved ones and property, then you need to think seriously about taking Rifle Skills and Combat Team Tactics from Max Velocity Tactical.

Actually, what you need to do is just take it. Think about it later. Don’t succumb to the “I don’t have the money right now” or the “I’m not in good enough shape to do this” or the “The age of endless supply and security in which I live will never end, so why bother” excuses. They’re just excuses. You need to take these courses. Yes, you.

The courses are taught by a former British Parachute Regiment officer (Max), with the assistance of a former American Army NCO (First Sergeant), both with immense reserves of military experience, combat and otherwise, on which to draw. Both are fine teachers, each in his own way. I have no military background myself, but it seems to me that these men work together in exactly the way an officer and his senior NCO ought to work. After having been taught by the sergeant for several days, I personally would follow him into the gates of hell—he is supremely competent and unrelentingly demanding, and yet at the same time seems utterly committed to the well-being of his student-troops. Color me “very impressed” with First Sergeant (and with Max too).

(Note: cadre rotate between classes, so you may have First Sergeant, or you may have Lee, USMC NCO (Chris is on contract right now): Cadre Page).

First Sergeant has a great flag on his hat, too, but that’s another story…. Let’s just say that those who dislike political correctness will find this place, and these men, to be a welcome relief.

This is not, as the course description indicates, a class for absolute beginners who have never touched a battle rifle before. You need to know at least a little bit about handling such a weapon. You don’t need to know a lot, though, so don’t be intimidated. In fact, while the Rifle Skills course focuses on weapon handling (and I highly recommend taking it as the first day of a four-day sequence), the Combat Team Tactics course focuses on exactly what its name indicates: team-based tactics, not marksmanship. One could learn a lot of this material, and certainly practice it at home, with a mop handle instead of a rifle. It wouldn’t be as much fun, and it wouldn’t subject you to the battering of the sounds of gunfire and other stressors, but you’d be able to work on the meat of it. I wish I’d figured that out a little faster than I did—despite the title, and despite being told repeatedly that this was “not about the targets, and not about you,” that it was “about your buddy,” I was kind of annoyingly slow to catch on. Oh well, that will just make the next time I take the course more fun and more productive…and I do plan to take it again. This is the sort of course one could take over and over, and profit from it every time.

It’s all well and good to learn firearms skills on a square range, or better yet out in the woods. But what happens when one is actually under fire? How does one learn to implement good tactics while severely stressed? This is not a minor issue. If you ever need to use these skills, it will be precisely because you are stressed, and probably severely. How will you react, under such severe stress?

There’s no real way to know that until one is under fire, but fortunately Max and First Sergeant do their best to stress students enough, while instilling the needed muscle memory, to begin to simulate this, at least. If you have a thin skin, don’t try this course (or better yet, and wiser yet, toughen up and do try it!). If you don’t like to be yelled at or cussed at…well, again, toughen up, and sign up for the course. If you don’t like to tear yourself away from surfing your favorite survivalist websites, and actually do something about survival instead of just playing at it…don’t try this. Just go on surfing and playing comfortable little games while the world goes to hell. You might be OK. The Mutant Zombie Bikers might take pity on you when they pillage their way through your neighborhood, looking for your freeze-dried food and your pretty wife.

Or they might not.

So it would be much preferable to get fit, set your ego gently on the shelf, realize that the world doesn’t care about your weaknesses or your self-esteem or how many survival websites you’ve surfed, and go to West Virginia to learn from two very dedicated men who would like to help you survive the storm clouds that appear to be gathering over our world.

Just do it.

I’ve done some demanding things in my life, and I’ve accomplished a great deal. Some of it was very hard. In their own way, though, these courses were as demanding as anything I’ve attempted, and when one walks away with the badges for having completed them, one feels a great sense of accomplishment and confidence. And one takes away skills that, if one ever needs them, could be quite literally life-saving, for you and for those you love and for whom you have responsibility.

Just do it. (Did I say that before?)

A word about fitness. These courses are genuinely somewhat demanding, and moreover, when Max says—as he does elsewhere on the website, that there isn’t much in the way of flat ground on the site and that you need to be prepared to run uphill and down—he means it. He won’t push you harder than you can go. He and First Sergeant are very alert to people’s physical abilities and weaknesses, and will not push you harder than you can safely go. But one wants to get as much good out of these courses as one can, and to do that, you should be as fit as you can manage.

Fortunately, there is a wonderful way to get prepared: the Training Peaks program, designed by an Olympic trainer (Hunter Allen) and calibrated to produce the kinds of fitness needed for these tactical courses. I took the beginning, 12-week fitness program before going to West Virginia. I found it worth every penny, and more. I now have a stronger, tougher body than I’ve had since I was loading hay trucks on the Great Plains at 17…and come to think of it, maybe ever. The Training Peaks program is very highly recommended.

A word about safety, too. These are, for the most part, live-fire exercises. Some people might be uneasy about that. Don’t be. Max and First Sergeant are very, very vigilant about safety. A really good way to get yelled at is to violate one of their safety directives, even in a small way (and they are quite right to do so). At no point in the four days did I feel unsafe. Max and First Sergeant are generally right behind you, often literally within arms’ reach. If anyone begins to do something wrong, he will hear about it, loudly (again, quite rightly). The instructors’ concern for everyone’s safety is very clear, and their ability to enforce that concern equally clear. Don’t fail to take these courses because you are worried about safety. These guys know what they’re doing. Do what you’re told, and all will be well.

In short, then: Get fit. Put your ego on the shelf. Sign up. Come with an open mind and a willingness to obey and learn. Prepare to be surprised by how good these guys are at what they do, and how deeply they’re dedicated to sharing their expertise.

Or you could always just go back to web surfing and hoping that the Mutant Zombie Bikers—or whatever enemies lurk in the shadows ahead—prove to be kind and compassionate fellows.

Take your pick. I know which choice I’d recommend.