Student Review: HEAT 1 Combat Tactics, May 2023: Abby

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,

  and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25

I came to this class having never handled any rifle beyond a .22 (and not a large amount of training on that either, to be honest.)

I was concerned about being the only woman in the class. The world of training and the range tend to be a man’s world. This is alright…it is not every woman’s duty to know how to defend their family in the same capacity as it is a man’s. I understand this.
However, for those of us women who are protectors, and desire to know how to take care of those we love if worse should come to worst, it is even more important to find training which isn’t designed to make you feel good about yourself, or feel “super cool”.

This HEAT 1 class I took was certainly not one of those. I was told plainly when I goofed up. I was told I needed to “hit the gym”, because I am a twig with no upper-body strength. (No, the men did not CALL me a twig with no upper-body strength, this is simply something of which I am aware.)

I was told of my weaknesses, and where I needed to do better and listen better. But I was also encouraged and treated respectfully. I was not treated as though I was stupid, but neither was I coddled when I was being stupid. Safety is the priority, and Max nips possible safety violations right in the bud. I have seen idiots with rifles and handguns many times, but that was not tolerated here.

I knew basic function of the Tavor I brought to the class, but had never fired it before. I quickly abandoned the Tavor for an AR 15 we brought to class, as my rifle had not been fired enough to work out the stiffness and had not been zeroed before.

In the first two days, I went from having never handled an AR 15 and knowing only some of the basic functions, to knowing how to clear malfunctions and how to work cover. Max did very well in explaining malfunctions and how to clear them, to the point that I dreamt about clearing them the night after that particular section of the class.

Days 3 and 4 were spent in the woods, going up paths, moving around trees; all of these things while working in a four-man team. It becomes quickly evident how easy it is to lose communication and get sucked into firing off shots when you’re moving through the woods. After each drill, Max told each of us our strengths and weaknesses, which made it so much easier to know precisely how to get better for the next drill.

I was told before coming to the class that I would feel like I was drinking from a firehose. While it felt overwhelming at first, this was not entirely the case. I went in with the desire to learn and see the beginning of what I could be capable of – perhaps if I went in thinking I’d kick butt, it would have been a drink from the firehose. But, as Max said multiple times, “It can’t be complicated. If it was complicated, it wouldn’t work in combat.” It was new, and it was a lot…but it was straightforward, and any questions were answered in a straightforward manner.

If you are looking for training that is going to teach you and show you what you must work on in yourself, rather than make you feel good about yourself in your complacent lazy excuses, I highly recommend this class. It will not feel good, it will be uncomfortable, you will make stupid mistakes. But you will learn. You will get noticeably better.

I fully intend to come back and haunt more classes with what was christened “the look”, and learn more each time. (Though next time, I shall do so on my own rifle.)


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