Student Review: Combat Team Tactics May 2015: SeanT


AAR of Combat Team Tactics (CTT) 1505

I am going to have a hard time saying anything that Diz did not cover in his AAR from this class

Diz Sayz

His AAR covers the class progression really well. Me repeating that is not useful…..

So I am going to do some inline comments.

“Get your headspace set and get ready to work.”

Be prepared with your personal organization (travel, food/water, ammo, gear, etc) in advance as much as you can. Be focused on the class and be open to learn.

“The training itself is hard, and it will push you to your limits. But it is attainable.”

I am 46 and in just OK shape. I am not overweight but my fitness level is not that of an athlete. I was gassed on the Saturday evolution of fighting up. Big Time.

IF I had been concentrating on WHAT I was taught and being deliberate about the motions of the drill I probably would have been GTG. I was moving way too fast and too far on every bounding movement. The point here is that spastic movement for the sake of trying to be quick is cheating you out of the real lesson which is cover your buddy’s asses safely so they can move to their next cover. Pick your spot, move safely and deliberately in to position, and start covering fire so your team can either win the firefight and clear the position or GTFO alive. I tried so hard to be quick, that I winged a tree with my shoulder, got spun and committed a safety violation with my muzzle due to the sudden change in my torso’s direction. To quote Lee ”YOU MUST BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR BODY”

Yes, it was delivered in BOLD.

“I have not mentioned the first day of weapons manipulation training. This is actually very good stuff and sets the stage for the upcoming training. Everyone needs it, to one degree or another, and now we are all on the same sheet of music, which is a very good tune, by the way.”

Nothing to add here…The malfunction drills are excellent. Simple as that.


“If you can take the NODF in conjunction with CTT, do not pass it up.”

I was not a participant in this portion of the class; I don’t own the required gear. I was allowed to sit on the Group W Bench at the square range to observe the zeroing exercise and some drills. Besides being freaking cool to watch, it was an introduction to what rifle fire at night really looks like. Generally rifle shooting at night seems to be discouraged pretty much everywhere I have ever lived with the exception of raccoon hunting.

To quote what I heard Max say during the range drills :< Max accent on> “In the military, you don’t do this until…until…until FUCKING FOREVER” <Max accent off>

That about sums that part up completely.

“First off, just let me say, you’re going to get yelled at. Yes, actually yelled at. Oh my.”

The yelling is simply louder instructions. There is live rifle fire right fucking there. It needs to be yelled to be heard. To quote the Muscle Memory Gorilla: “If it is loud, it is important.” There is nothing personal here. Move on.

“That being said, Max knows his shit.”

I have no specific frame of reference from any prior Military experience to judge however there are plenty of AARs from prior service that will back this up for Diz.

“He has deep knowledge and experience to teach you this stuff. And is actually a very good instructor who is capable of doing so.”

I can agree with Max being a very good instructor. He has the talent and the art down. Instructing is not all that easy. I have a bunch of years in the auto racing/high performance driving world. Some time as an instructor and I know how hard it is to convey the information to the student in a way they can absorb and execute the lesson. The quality of the instruction is very high.


“Lee is a fucking gem…..Will he get into your face? Oh yeah, skippy, indeed he will. But know this; if you can operate with his bark in your face, you are well on the way to being operational.”

See the above about loud = important. Again, this is not personal in any way.

“The training facilities. It is a heavily wooded, steeply hilled environment. It is difficult terrain and rightly so… The live fire lanes are awesome…”

Max put a lot of time and effort into developing this facility to mesh with the lessons he is providing. He has done an excellent job with this. The facility is very good.

“Weapons. Just a quick note. Keep your weapon light.”

I brought 2 rifles in case of a fail or just BFYTY… My ‘better’ rifle and an out of the box M&P Sport with a sling and a Bushnell red dot. The better rifle has a 1×4 with the mount and is noticeably heavier than the Sport. I zeroed both but set out to see how the Sport would do since it is a budget rifle ( more easily affordable). The gun ran all weekend. I had a double feed on Sunday during one evolution. That was the only malf and thanks to the practice Friday, I cleared it and rocked on. Blasphemy alert: I did not field strip and clean the rifle all weekend. I DID keep it wet and once Max ‘reminded’ me to get more lube on it because he heard the sound of the bolt carrier drying up…

“Every extra ounce on that piece is extra work on every evolution.”

It’s OK to have a space gun if you like but you don’t need it in this class. Why work extra hard? It takes away from the lesson.

“Equipment. Again keeping it lightweight is the key… Take only what you need.”

I used repurposed surplus FLC vest belt as my battle belt with a 3 hole USGI mag pouch for ready mags and 3 double USGI mag pouches hung on the vest with the belt in the vest reversed like a chest rig. Was it ideal? No fucking way. Did it work? Yes it did. It also helped me decide what the next version will need to be for ME. Gear is expensive if it is worth a shit so I did not want to just buy what I saw the cool kids wearing.

“Ammo. Typical round counts were over a thousand.”

I didn’t count so no specific numbers but I had plenty with me just for insurance or in case a buddy ran low. I used up some random stuff I had (AE black box, some Tula, some Remington .223) and finished up with Wolf Gold. Zero ammo issues. You WILL drop live rounds on the ground and leave them there; you will destroy a few rounds doing the malf drills. Oh well…

“Water. I would go through 1 1/2 gal a day, easy. I try for about 16 oz an hour when I train, so this is about right.”

Over hydrate…. Plenty of places to piss. No point screwing your performance due to dehydration.

“Food. Get good high energy carbs plus a little protein”

This one is person specific but you will be burning a shit load of calories so make sure you can replace that energy regularly. I like trail mix with M&Ms. If you need a really quick boost, a squeeze bottle of honey is the ticket. The honey will be fuel almost immediately.

“PT. Oh you knew this one was coming.”

Yeah… do more. My problem was cardio fitness from sitting on my ass for the last 10 years as a desk jockey. Enduring efforts eventually wipe me out due to this. I was going  to run a double evolution on Sat. to help square up the team numbers but after the first run(see above gassed comment) I was not feeling like I could complete the second run safely due to lack of fitness. This really hit me because if I HAD to keep going, I was fucked.

“Improve. I would like to see more “encouragement” towards team building from the get-go.”

This is a really good improve. I was lucky to be attending with guys I know already and we are already a ‘team’ in some respects. I hadn’t really considered how the solo attendees might have felt, just showing up. Knowing in advance that if you didn’t bring a buddy, you were going to get one assigned is helpful. Sorting that shit out as early as possible is the way to go.

“Get out and talk with everyone else. Help each other prep for the next day. This is on us as students.”

            Bolded for emphasis. Maximize the experience by participating fully.

(Max: we traditionally have dinner together on the Saturday night).

This part of the weekend is really great. Good food and good company builds rapport.

“Brief bios of everyone at the beginning. Instructors and students. Make everyone get to know each other. Quickly. Come out of your shell.”

Even if it is just names…. We forgot to formally do this but informally I saw plenty of interaction among the students.

Sustain. Training progression. Emphasis on 4-man teams. TEAMWORK. Quality of instruction. MINDSET.