Student Review: Rifle Manipulation Primer (RMP) 20 June: Lowdown3
On his site HERE
This was the second of the Friday classes I took up at MV Tactical in June.
Max states very succinctly in his description that RMP is not “general rifle lite” class. With roughly 4 hours, it truly is a “primer.” My suggestion would be to definitely take the Combat Rifle Manipulation (CRM) class if you have not had a lot of formal training- i.e, with some real instructors not you and Jimbo messing around in the back 40 type stuff.
I have quite a few rifle specifics classes under my belt but I still wanted to attend RMP. The reasons were simple-
1. I was there for TC3 and NODF that day also. With RMP in the middle of the day, it would have been stupid to leave and then come back.
2. You can always get something out of training, even if it’s on a platform you don’t work with any more(see later notes)
3. It’s another chance to practice.
4. Since I (rightly) assumed that everyone that was going through CRCD would probably go thru RMP on Friday, this would give me a sneak peak of everyone’s weapons handling abilities, etc. I know that sounds crappy or prideful, but it’s good to know for safety, I could care less about how I did compared to someone else. The point is safety. Max and Aaron run a safe range.
5. It gave me an idea how Max and Aaron run a range, how they expect safety, etc. This can widely vary from one instructor/school to the next. I got absolutely berated one place for NOT moving “muzzle up”. When I asked “what if I fall down?” The answer was simply “don’t.” Then oddly enough the same buttdart pushed me forward on the range almost making me fall down! You won’t find any of that asshatery at Max’s place!
We began by checking zero. I brought 3 Kalashnikovs with me to the class. It’s a 13 hour drive and in the unlikely event of a weapons failure, I damn sure wasn’t going to just sit on the sidelines for lack of a rifle. A decade or more ago, a scope went down on me at a Precision rifle class 10 hours away and I was forced to borrow a scoped rifle. I learned my lesson there and always bring another rifle when traveling distance to a class. I used my wife’s Arsenal AK without optics for the RMP portion of the class and used my Arsenal with a DBAL and Acog for the Night course and CRCD.
Yes I brought a Kalashnikov. I was the odd man out. Yes I know you’ve read where: “The AR is more accurate” yet I shot a fat cloverleaf during the zeroing phase with no optics, it had no problems regularly dropping the pop ups during CRCD. You might have also heard that the AR is “way faster to reload” yet I paid attention during RMP and the AK was up after a reload way quicker than the ARs. The AK also did not suffer ONE malfunction during the weekend, something that cannot be said for the other types.
Enough soapbox… the moral of the story- learn to run whatever rifle you choose and actually practice. It’s the user, not the tool. We should more concerned about skill at arms than how much ammo we have tucked away in a closet. Train, train and train some more. Then go home and actually practice and yes that includes actually shooting real ammo not just dry work. I’ve seen dozens of guys that say “dry fire is all you need” that flinched like mad when the gun actually went “bang.”
The new “square range” is nice but be prepared for it. Like most square ranges, there is no shade so drink plenty of water. (MV: there is shade there now, both on the range firing point and also in the wooded picnic/rest area next to the range). Everyone THINKS they do, but few actually do. I’m around 40, in decent shape, wasn’t “gassing” during any of the training all weekend, but I drank THREE gallons of water on Friday and a couple quarts of Powerade. If you take the time to go to training, do the smart thing and take care of yourself enough to get the most out of the training. Sunscreen and a smegh or sniper veil that you can dip in a cooler or wet by the creek there and then wrap around your neck really helps. Get in the shade during breaks and don’t wear 100 lbs. of unnecessary gear if you are not fully used to carrying it. Standing in front of the mirror with your gear on and thinking you look like a bad arse is NOT the same as truly being used to wearing the gear all day.
Kneepads. I hate them. I brought them but didn’t use them Friday. It’s all rocks up there (best we have down here is dried mud balls that resemble rocks). Your knees will thank you. We do a lot of ground fighting and low platform weapons work, so I figured my knees would hold up, and they did, but I put the darn knee pads on for Sat and Sunday. Lesson learned.
And be ready for temperature swings. Friday morning during TC3 I was cold. Saturday morning was worse- rained all day, cool in the morning and wet. The fleece beanie tucked in the chest rig saved my butt. A lightweight Gortex shell that scrunges down small helped during the rain.
The lengthy section of instruction on AR malfunctions and how to handle them was neat to see, even for an AK user. I owned a couple AR’s in decades past and had ALL of the problems Aaron covered and it brought back memories plus added some new ideas on how to deal with AR malfunctions. During the drills I worked some simple and some more complicated AK malfunction drills on my own. In retrospect I should have asked to borrow someone’s AR in order to get some more experience clearing AR jams in the unlikely event I’m stuck with one some day.