Student Review: HEAT 1 Combat Tactics August: Mike

Day 2: Hammer Pairs / Stream Fire

H.E.A.T. 1 AAR – August 2022

By: Mike

I recently had the opportunity to attend a MVT HEAT 1 class and I can say I regret not taking this class earlier.  I’ve attended other shooting schools over the years and I was blown away with the professionalism, knowledge, facility, and safety protocols of MVT.

In this particular class we had a good mix of people with little/no experience and people with extensive experience – including repeat HEAT 1 attendees (this class is meant to be repeatable).  The teaching styles of Max and Scott really shined when I had the chance to take a step back and observe their interactions with this mix of students.  At no point did I feel like the curriculum was too easy nor was it going over the heads of the newer shooters.  We all learned a lot in this course and the overall course kept a very manageable pace.

HEAT 1 is a four-day class split into two major segments: two days on the flat range followed by two days on the tactical range.  I like this approach because it provides a good grounding for everyone in the class and gives the instructors time to learn where everyone is skill-wise and introduce them to the drills and commands they will be experiencing over the coming days.  The drills themselves are not complicated on paper but once you start putting the shooting, moving, and communicating together you begin to see there is a lot to remember and a lot that needs to become second nature over time. 

We started the first two days off with a safety brief, expectations, and doing a quick zero on everyone’s rifles.  This moved into reviewing and practicing some basic and intermediate-level rifle manipulations.  Note, the malfunction drills that were taught in class were hands down the best malfunction drills I’ve ever experienced (no, I won’t say how they were performed, you’ll need to attend a class!).  The tail end of the flat range days culminated with some buddy pair fire and movement.  This was done with a 1:1 instructor-to-student ratio and really opened my eyes into the complexities of dynamic shooting – it was also a lot of fun!

Starting on Day 3, we headed to the tactical ranges on the other side of the MVT complex.  These ranges added a whole new level to training, no longer were we to operate as individuals but now we were working together in two and four-man teams.  This brought forwards many positive aspects I hadn’t experienced before in shooting classes – particularly due to the dynamic, multi-faceted environment we were training in – including spatial awareness, target acquisition, communication, and movement with others on uneven terrain.  These are all important lessons that come into play in the real world but are almost impossible (maybe completely impossible?) to teach solely on a flat range. 

I regret not taking this class years ago when I first heard about MVT.  The curriculum was amazing and the safety protocols at this facility easily rivaled, and in many ways beat, every major shooting school I’ve attended.  If you were like me and lurking the MVT site but not taking the training, don’t wait any longer.

Some quick tips and points I noted from my first MVT class:

  • Bring pre-loaded magazines, lots of them (I brought 16).  This saves you a lot of time throughout the training because you can relax, hydrate, or have side conversations with the instructors while other students are loading mags between drills.
  • Fitness is important and will make the training easier but don’t shy away from this training if you aren’t in peak condition.  Take the functional fitness test at home and if you can pass it then you’ll be fine during the class.  Overall, I didn’t think the terrain was as bad as I was expecting but my legs were definitely sore by the end of Day 4. 
  • Listen to the instructors, they will tell you everything you need to do to be successful in class.  Pay attention to the details.
  • Hydrate and eat well.