Student Review: Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics March by ‘Short Stroke’

Student Review: Rifle Skills & Combat Team Tactics March 2016: ‘Short Stroke.’

Never had tactical training? Never owned a rifle? Buy one, get to know it, and sign up for training anyway. That’s what I did, and I didn’t even embarrass myself too much.

I am writing this review four months after attending training. It’s given me further perspective. My purpose for submitting this is to get others to stop putting off training the way that I did for several years. And, sorry, I will not discuss the actual training specifics as much as I will discuss the mindset that I believe too many of us have, which prevents us from doing what we know is right.

I am 31 years old and only formed a concern about the state of things and the future about four or five years ago. The only training I’d ever received was the very little, basic square range instruction I received from my brothers, who are Marines. I only acquired my first firearm five years ago. I stumbled across Max’s blog three or four years ago and began reading it weekly. I quickly came to the realization that, for my family’s sake, I needed to get serious training. Thank you, Max, for your blog that helped to wake me up. But signing up and paying for training is not easy when you have many competing spending priorities as a young family. Nor is convincing a spouse who is mostly—but not entirely—on the same page about expecting a possibly very perilous future.

If you expect to have trouble—or are having trouble—convincing a spouse to take the time and money to acquire the gear and attend training, my advice is that you approach them with extreme patience, show that you will sacrifice to cut personal spending (or pick up extra work) to make it happen, and do a good job (maybe even practice your words; seriously) of expressing that you genuinely wish to do this for unselfish, noble reasons (but please don’t use the word noble).

I understand that not everyone has this obstacle to overcome, but I imagine there are many people out there who do. This is honestly what held me back for a long time (years); I did not communicate well with my wife. It wasn’t until I was able to convey that I was genuinely worried about her and our children that she joined the cause. Speak their language. Women are often better at empathizing. We men are often worse at properly opening up to our wives, to our own detriment.

So, how did the training go? It was incredible. Expecting to be intimidated due to my lack of training, I ended up having a very positive experience due to Max’s gradual progression from basic to more advanced movements. But by gradual, I do not mean slow. By the end of just the first day (Rifle Skills), I was more capable than I imagined I’d be at the end of the four days. Not to say that I was or am an expert, but this training seriously works. The repetition of each lesson builds a muscle memory and mind memory that allows you to leave the training more confident than ever before, and also prepared to continue building and refining those skills. And, sure, I screwed up on a number of occasions during the training, but so did every single other student.

If you have never attended firearms training, sign up for Rifle Skills and Combat Team Tactics. I had to buy a rifle and most of the gear needed for this training just a few months before my training. The Forum on this site was an excellent guide for that, and if you have questions, I’m sure the staff here would be happy to provide gear suggestions. Lastly, and on the subject of gear, I am going by the name ‘Short Stroke’, as Max proposed after the very inadequate, difficult-to-move charging handle that came with my rifle helped to rub my finger raw, resulting in several short strokes on Day Two. Get quality gear.






(Rifle Skills is an optional flat range pre-day to the 3 day CTT class).


Combat Team Tactics is a 3 day class in individual and team skills, 1 day on the flat range, 2 days on the tactical ranges).


Combat Rifle Skills is a 2 day flat range class, incorporating elements of Rifle Skills and day 1 of CTT).


FoF Team Tactics is a 2 day class utilizing UTM Man Marker Rounds. There is no training prerequisite.


This is scheduled prior to FoF Team tactics weekends. There is a morning Run n Gun Event and an afternoon FoF CQB Training Event.