Student Review: HEAT 1 Combat Tactics August: Tyrus

Day 2: Hammer Pairs / Stream Fire

I’ll admit…I’ve been a lurker for the longest of times. I was first introduced to Max when one of his other alumni dragged me out to help be OPFOR for one of the Heat: Reconnaissance classes. Since then, I’ve come back as OPFOR again a few more times, but not until now had I actually managed to take HEAT 1. I’ve been involved with other organizations like Project Appleseed and am a fairly good shot with a rifle, so I assessed I did not need a basic rifle class. 

I could not have been more wrong. I reinforced to myself before arriving that I would approach this class with an open and learning mindset, and build from zero up, learning to do things the way Max and Scott do them, even if I had been taught a different way. I learned SO much during this class. Max and Scott were constantly placing new information between and around what I already had and dropping casual and completely invaluable pearls of wisdom. Their malfunction clearing methodology enabled me to categorize mentally so that I could process and fix rifle malfunctions quickly. It blew my mind. 

A note here: I’ve seen unsafe ranges. I’ve been muzzled on a line before at public ranges and came close to being muzzled during qualification for work. My prior experiences have taught me how to recognize a safe range and a safe environment. This class is the safest I have ever been in – full stop. These men are completely committed to safety, and watchful at all times. I was completely confident in my own safety, despite under the looming threat of “wearing” Scott if he felt we were even coming close to not keeping our muzzle straight down.  

All this said, the real magic of this class occurs on days 3 and 4, when students go off the flat range and into real terrain. As stated above, safety is almost religiously enforced. However, this is real life. As the instructors would say throughout those days, “Life is in 3D”. I’d never had the opportunity to get off a flat range before, and it completely changed my perspective. My bounds were too long, my communication wasn’t loud enough, and I wasn’t taking enough time to make sure my teammates knew what was happening. I drank through a firehose for those 2 days, and it was amazing. 

No excuses. Even if you’re a total beginner, they start from zero. You can do this. Get your kit on and get out the door. Take this class. You won’t regret it. -Tyrus

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