CRCD 14/15 DEC 2013 - MTP
It was a great weekend, spent in the company of good men. There are physical demands, though they dovetail beneficially with the training. As it should. They become a natural aspect and are real time backdrop to the overall scope of tactical movement, understanding cover, use of covering fire, coordinating with your buddy, working in elements, understanding fields of fire. Max starts out with the most basic tactics of one guy, how to react to fire, return fire, gain cover, movement, then we worked through doing those most essential tactics in buddy pairs. You learn how to react to fire again with two men who can multiply the effect of force in conjunction with using covering fire/movement of the basic foundation of tactics learned singly. Then we went by pairs, 2 elements of 2 men each, though it becomes a bit more complex in regards to angles of fire put on the enemy as 2 elements maneuver using the tactics of covering fire, peeling and getting on line, how and when to rally, and a hasty ambush position to be prepared for further possible enemy contact. After each section, Max immediately provided critique and support on the field to us individually/pairs, sometimes stopping us in the act to provide guidance, (or in my case tell me I'm a crazy bastard.) Before, and after each exercise we all gathered under the training pavilion and Max walked us through that particular cycle. The training is brilliantly condensed into the time constraint of 2 days. Giving my undivided attention was critical. In light of using a high volume of live rounds per training section, there is a certain gravity of seriousness you find sobering and exhilarating that carries throughout the weekend.
I learned so much and experienced so many new concepts, it is difficult to decide where to begin in writing this. If I could sum taking Max's CCRD up in one sentence, it is an embarrassment of basic sound tactical riches. A veritable banquet of the hardcore necessary essential ingredients required to fight and win. You learn this stuff, you can fight to win. There is not any other way to do this kind of thing and live to fight another day. It is that simple. You need this training. Doing so makes the gear and knowledge you posses work like it's supposed to. I have a tremendous amount of things I still need to know and practice, but it is these basics of warfare that make me a fighter now. Max wiped away the imponderables, and I can share my new found knowledge with my fellow patriots, we can train up right, and God forbid if it is required, we can take the fight to the enemy. And that is the real tacticool.
There is no fluff or dissimulation in Max's training. It is direct, to the point, distillation of the basics and basis of combat. It became apparent immediately upon the start of training I came to the right place.
It is difficult to convey in words what combat training, the essentials of small infantry tactics, is like. Same as for combat I'd guess. Nobody can tell you. You have to see it for yourself. I can maybe best sum it up, as a fellow of over a half century, of having been a woodsman and rural gentleman all my life, an accomplished hunter, trapper, and bushman, nothing in my life could substitute for the training I received from Max and the experience of training with like minded patriots in arms.
If what I knew previously to Max, I had idea's I knew what it takes, that I had the gear and the tactical concepts down and without having formal training from Max or others of his caliber, I could wing it and learn on the fly. Man oh man was I fucking bullshitting myself! My learning curve if the shit hits the fan went from surviving a few minutes by luck and stupidity, to surviving, and with more practice and training, thriving. My confidence has increased by an order of magnitude. I am grateful and humbled because of Max and the fighting chance he has provided me.
Max is a wicked cool guy. The real deal. Here is a fellow who has served under arms in many capacities for two countries, traveled the world, moved to the US, became a patriotic American citizen, written 3 outstanding manuals of arms and self published them, purchased a huge tract of rural land, built a training school and it's infrastructure on it, devised live fire courses simulating combat scenarios, runs a website, has a family, and best of all took it upon himself to do this training because he cares about what matters most. And he makes it fun and entertaining to boot. This is a guy with a plan and his shit together. And he brings this to the table for you to learn. How good is that?
A great extra Max set up for us was a crash course on battlefield medical care taught by one hell of a serious patriot and teaching trauma Doctor. A hope if it drops in the pot is there to keep you alive Doctor. This was an outstanding class. Doc gave it to us straight, no frills or pulling any punches. The down and dirty nuts and bolts of care under fire. And oh boy was it an eye opener. The use and application of methods and tools to stop bleeding of wounds, (the most critical thing), treating wounds to the lungs, battle field do's and dont's, the imperative that you have to kill or suppress the enemy first before you can treat fellow wounded fighters, (how the solder himself must administer care to himself and get back in the fight by all means possible), or you become a casualty too and now you have 2 wounded guys. It was 1st rate info and techniques, serious have to know stuff, from a true blue American.
The conclusion of our 2 days was a team assault on an enemy bunker complex, complete with a element providing a base support of fire with a maneuver element assaulting along a terrain feature using movement, covering fire and cover, and shifting fire of the fire support element onto a secondary target, ending up with a direct right up in your face posting of a grenade, (smoke) into the gun aperture of a bunker. All under live fire. It was a great event, proof positive small unit infantry tactics work. All the basic ingredients Max had up to this exercise trained us for came into play. Seeing my fellow class mates, we all go at it alone is worth whatever you have to do to get to Max's CCRD's. To say it was exciting is the understatement of the whole class. I can not exemplify the need for fellow patriots to get this training under our belts enough. Put aside what you think you know, sign up, give it all you got, learn to fight the right way.
Got to meet a great bunch of guys. Everyone had something important to say or experience/advice to share. I learned a lot just from my fellow trainees. It is quite the thing to meet up with total strangers, and work through this inherently deadly process, discover from the start everyone was focused and mission orientated. Thanks all you guys! It was an honor to train with everyone. How Max makes this work is remarkable in it's self. And he is gracious and patient in how he takes the time to help you grasp the nuances of things. He makes you feel a part of it all through respect and the taking time to listen to you. Awesome.
Can't wait to take another CCRD.
CRCD 14/15 DEC 2013 - D-Close
D-Close: In the middle, above.
AAR "Operation Winter Palace"
14/15 Dec 2013
Those in the partisan/prepper training business must have some understanding of the fickle nature of their participants. They balance the needs of family, finances and liberty to obtain training that might possibly save their own lives and the lives of others. There is no retirement program, no health care. The government doesn't provide their weapon or ammunition. Their logistics chain is linked to home and hearth. When the weather turns a less than optimal hue, it places stress on this organic support. Cancellations must be anticipated. At MVT 14/15 Dec CRCD class, in the face of mountainous winter conditions, we gained men! Tyranny, take note and despair!
Having participated in a summer session, there were marked differences due to weather and some more subtle, due to experience and refinement.
For those preparing for year round combat operational capability, one must attend training even during adverse environment conditions. Although not advertised as a requirement, West Virginia in December would certainly fit the bill as elevations of 1200-1500 ft MSL are common. Max communicated to our group that training was a go and winter clothing was required.
There are areas in which the self-reliant patriot (SRP) may try to "fly" Economy rather than First class. Winter clothing is not one of those areas. Max is big on the smock concept and it works for his loadout, to be sure. For myself, wearing a full set of level IV body armor, a carrier and attached MOLLE required a similar concept. With less access to the front of the smock, I went with the Blackhawk Warriorwear nylon shell over a fleece liner. My base layer consisted of Merino wool top and bottom, covered with a Multicam combat shirt as an extra layer. The long johns were pricey, $95 for the lower and $75 for the upper. They were fantastic. Next day I wore instead the USMC type poly base layer; It sucked.
Weight considerations: TAG plate carrier, plates, four loaded mags, BK2 knife, 2 smoke grenades, and a few other SMOLES items weighed in the neighborhood of 35 lbs. Rifle was 7.0 plus a Burris MTAC at 1.9 and a 30 round mag at 1.6. Throw a battle belt with dump pouch, BOK, PVS-14 and a Glock 22+1 mag in there and a grand total combat weight of...268ish. Now that is a bunch to be running around with in the snow, especially uphill, down to prone, breaking contact drills, assault a bunker, etc. Night of Day 1 was interesting from a pain management perspective.
So that segs into something that Max and many others have been talking about. Fitness is key. There is a requirement to remain fit throughout the combat effective life of the SRP. If this exercise had been longer term, illness comes into play. Your fitness level directly impacts your resistance level for disease prevention or injury.
Footing and infantry movement techniques (IMT) were certainly impacted by the weather. It directly impacted the speed for RTR and putting rounds on target. The snow is a double edged sword as it may help with concealment after the initial volley and soften the impact of the ground on your laden frame. React to contact meant that team members who had to advance up hill or down, needed to use care to avoid slipping and keeping weapons from eating snow and ice during a fall. Hint: KEEP A CLEANING ROD ON YOUR COMBAT LOAD OR ATTACHED TO YOUR RIFLE.
Malfunctions increased due to the conditions. Wet and icy seem to be tricky. I used a Bushmaster lower and an upper from ARD. I had a few "failure to extract" casings that needed a pull on the charging handle to get back in the fight. You experts out there can tell me why. Out of 671 rounds fired, this may have happened four times. The bottom line is that the SRP needs to be ready to clear a malfunction in a hurry, especially in a fight when team members are moving to cover and you are supposed to be laying down effective suppressive fire.
For those of you who are contemplating a second run through Max's CRCD, the benefit is repitition of basic skills and the development of situational awareness during a fight. Another concern for the SRP is the use of IMT during RTR drills. One of my training goals was to utilize IMT during RTR to a greater extent and improve my survivability and lethality. As I became more familiar with the desired reaction during contact drills, my utilization of IMT became more effective and I was able to expand awareness of cover and concealment.
CRCD offers a safe and effective means of developing team combat skills. For those lucky patriots who can muster a fire team at home, this training is invaluable and difficult to reproduce on a local level. The use of remotely operated pop-up targets is effective in developing patrolling and react to contact drills. Working with our ad hoc fire teams of SRPs from places far and wide proves that like minded Americans can come together for common defense on short notice and perform effectively.
MVT CRCD has evolved into a highly efficient combat team tactics class. Tactical combat casualty care training was provided by a student with extensive experience in emergency trauma medicine. At the same time, Max was leading individual students on the "Jungle Walk" exercise. His patience level is amazing as he engages students with a wide range of ability.
The instructor steers away from basic weapon handling review. The SRD who attends this class must have basic knowledge on safety, marksmanship and malfunction clearing technique in order to achieve maximum benefit from the class. He must show up with a zeroed rifle and enough skill to engage targets and change mags from the prone position.
What level of capability does this training bestow? It certainly gives an intro to a basic infantry skill set that can be further developed and passed on to other team members. In a "without rule of law" (WROL) scenario, trained personnel working in teams should be capable of defending and if necessary, counter-attacking a similar sized enemy. If faced with a violent and numerically superior foe, the use of coordinated and effective fires by trained team members will prove effective in repulsing attacks against important targets. Logistics then becomes the limiting factor with the supply of ammunition, food, water and medical support key to winning the long term fight.
Ultimately, leadership will determine if battles are won or lost. Will SRPs develop an effective leadership cadre to engage threats throughout a range of scenarios? Will SRPs employ leaders who have mastered the combat skills necessary and can lead their teams through the agony of armed conflict? With basic blocks like CRCD and more advanced patrol classes, MVT and others like him make the development of effective small unit leaders possible so that self-reliant patriots can win the fight. To lead, you must first DO.
- D Close
CRCD 14/15 DEC 2013 - ApoloDoc
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Max Velocity Tactical -Dec 14/15, 2013
On the face of it, driving 600 miles in mid-December to spend two days running around in the snow in mountainous West Virginia sounds a bit ridiculous. Add in live firing of high power rounds simultaneously with multiple strangers in a three dimensional range while others are moving around you? Absurd, right? Finally, if one considers the purpose for most of the participants in being there is to prepare for a serious disruption in the structure of society, it becomes total lunacy! Tin foil hat stuff... you know, stuff like those guys wrote in Enemies Foreign and Domestic or Patriot Dawn.
Let's think about this: a man writes a novel about the collapse of society and patriots joining together for self-preservation and restoration of liberty. The same guy wants you to pay him so you can be a super-ninja, right? Sure, sounds like a scam to me. Everyone knows that all you need to do is go do "tactical training" with 20 other guys shoulder to shoulder firing hundreds of rounds into a cardboard target 20 meters away. That is how the 'high speed' guys do it, right? Wait, you're trying to tell me that 'tactical training' is NOT going to make me invincible in a societal collapse? I need to learn "fire and movement?" What is that?
Sarcasm off. I have watched videos of training at 'square ranges' standing (or kneeling, or perhaps lying sideways on the ground, or even on one's back) firing countless rounds at a paper target and wondered how this would translate in the real world. I have read a great deal online, and have followed the blog posts of Max Velocity (cute name, eh?) with great interest. He presents a compelling argument for the type of training that he does, and the limited usefulness of what passes for 'tactical training.' I have also read his replies to comments, and have discerned a good bit about his character from his writings. Based on this, I decided to travel to West Virginia in December 2013 to experience this first hand.
Although there are reviews that describe his training schedule and agenda, I will summarize for those of you who are unfamiliar. He begins with, and continually returns to, SAFETY. He is extremely safety conscious and this is a core concept both for training as well as for the 'real world.' I probably had more safety violations than any other student to which he responded quickly, firmly, and appropriately. As an example, on Sunday he stopped me for probably the third incident of moving with my muzzle close to horizontal, not towards the ground. He IMMEDIATELY got my attention but simply said something like "you know why I stopped you" in a calm voice. I immediately knew and was grateful for the reminder in a non-abusive fashion. Max is a TEACHER. More on this below.
After the opening safety brief, he moved to the fundamentals of fire and movement, starting with RTR: upon contact Return fire, Take cover, Return appropriate fire. At this point, the first live fire exercise: individual RTR drill as a response to contact front, contact right, contact left. Prior to class, I had read the sections in his excellent book CONTACT, and so this would be a simple, almost mindless exercise, right?
WRONG! Wow, things change when you are in a 3-dimensional live range in the woods. Even such a simple exercise takes on a dramatically different feel in this environment. During the first few drills the student KNOWS where the target will be, and yet there is still a lot of adrenaline and tension. On the last rep of this initial drill you don't know which target he will bring up, and the experience was enlightening. My heartrate blasted upward during this.
Next buddy pair movement is addressed: fire and cover, one man firing while the other moves, then take cover and fire and your buddy moves. Forward assaulting drills and break contact drills to escape were done in buddies. Then it is on to four man fire teams: two buddy pairs.
After the first day, most of us gathered at a local restaurant for some Mex and conversation. Max showed up an hour later. I had the opportunity to converse with him and get a feel for who he is. His character is actually his most outstanding attribute even over and above his vast knowledge and experience in small unit tactics. I will conclude with thoughts about this.
Day two began with the "Jungle Walk". This is an individual walk up his bigger range with Max. Targets appear and one performs the individual RTR drill multiple times. While this was being done individually, there was a talk on TCCC by an experienced physician back at the training pavillion. What a great bonus!
Max Interjects: Dr. James Berry of TACMEDICINE - he kindly agreed to provide the concurrent activity class while the jungle (arctic) walk was ongoing on the Sunday morning. Note: I am always interested in volunteers with interest classes to teach during this time period - we have had a CBRN expert and now a TC3 expert fill this time slot.
From there Max continued to teach and then progress through two man drills to four man drills on this longer range. The day concluded with the 'bunker assault' which was an exercise utilizing all of the students with two of us serving as an assault team to the bunker. As we moved downrange, there was live fire into the bunker off to our right. Safety remained a prime concern as there was a walk-through before hand, and a student with prior experience at this class acted as team leader for fire support. Fire was shifted away to the right at Max's signal. Although we never had rounds whizzing by our heads (or 'cracking' as I have heard happens with a supersonic bullet zipping past), the experience of fire support off to the side was loud and intense. The simulation of real-world combat in a safe environment is a monumental task to undertake, but I believe that Max pulls this off beautifully. At NO TIME did I believe myself to have been in any danger, yet I was able to experience something akin to real armed warfare.
A final debrief and we collected our gear to head out. All agreed that it was an outstanding experience. About half of the class were repeat students, and they said it was better this time around and that it was VERY worthwhile to repeat. This brings up another important element in the class: the group interaction. I met people whom I would trust at my side in combat or simply day-to-day survival. I learned from them, and hopefully imparted a bit of my own wisdom to some of them.
I won't detail specifics about gear (both what worked and what didn't in these conditions) at this point, but may write further about this going forward. There was no question that I was reasonably equipped for the training, and only got cold at times while seated 'in class'. Walking over to the fire barrel helped!
Thoughts on Max: clearly this man has a great deal of knowledge and experience in small unit combat tactics. This is light infantry stuff, not artillery nor swat. It is the type of situation that we are most likely to encounter in a societal collapse, which is why I made the effort to take this class. To invest the time, money, and effort to attend such as school 600 miles away during a snowstorm is not something to be taken lightly. Granted, I didn't know that we would have 6" of snowfall, icy road conditions (it was interesting trying to get personal vehicles back to the parking area for the class), and flat-out COLD weather. If I had known I might have had second thoughts about going. That would have been a mistake! The bad weather did not deter from the training, and the benefits of the class far outweighed the cost ($, time, travel, discomfort). Why? Very simple: Max! This man is a teacher who clearly has both a gift to teach and the heart to do so. He communicates effectively, deals with mistakes appropriately, and builds the confidence (as well as knowledge) in his students.
As someone who has done a great deal of teaching / training in my own professional arena, there is a fine line to be walked between supporting/encouraging students vs. enabling bad behavior. Similarly there is a fine line between firm, consistent correction vs. abusive response. In a setting such as this, an abusive Drill Instructor is NOT what is needed! As I noted above, I believe that I was the most frequent safety violator, and Max dealt appropriately with me in a private fashion. Perhaps I wasn't aware of the corrections of others because of how he handles the process. Max seems to have the gift to know how best to approach a particular student and has great patience. I KNOW that it was frustrating for him at times dealing with certain questions. His ability to respond APPROPRIATELY rather than EMOTIONALLY (gut response) is one characteristic that sets him apart from many teachers.
More broadly, in private conversation with Max I found him to be intelligent, funny, insightful, compassionate, and morally upright. Character matters! This is a man whom I would trust at my back in combat, but I would also trust him as a friend with personal matters. He is someone I would want as part of my 'team' or 'prepper group' even without his expertise. This is based on who he IS, apart from what he KNOWS. This is character.
In closing I would reiterate these points: this class was an outstanding experience taking someone who has NEVER fired an AR anywhere other than my local range (and I am relatively new even at that) and giving me valuable training and the confidence that I am FAR better prepared to defend myself and others. His site is very well designed for the purpose, and he continues to improve it all of the time. Most importantly this man is a TEACHER. I consider this high praise.
ApoloDoc snapped this photo of me, above.
CRCD 14/15 DEC 2013 CRCD – F
This was my 2nd trip to Max's range.
All previous comments listed in my previous AAR still apply https://maxvelocitytactical.
My previous review covers the tactical curriculum with some detail and for those mostly interested in a critique of the training content please see my previous AAR liked above. I had some questions about gear in this weather (comments in THIS POST), so I will try to cover that in more depth here than I would have otherwise.
After I arrived in town I met up with my buddy at the Koolwink Motel and went to eat. Low and behold we ran into Max in the restaurant and had an enjoyable and stimulating conversation with him. It was a nice chance for us to chat with him a bit especially for my buddy who had never met him before. It would have been more but I totally overate the the Italian restaurant because I was hungry and the food was great and plentiful. This would later turn out to be a real detriment as I didnt feel too hot after so much food and took until 1 or 2 to fall asleep.
But in the morning I had no problem getting up since I was excited to get started. : )
I wore a bit of a jerry rigged setup:
- A Army issue type MOLLE vest , which worked great, comfortable and well balanced - Basic military boots which had not been treated for waterproofing and predictably got very cold and wet. - 5.11 pants with long johns under them which worked well except got wet. - I had bought a British surplus over-whites set but the vinyl pants were so slippery I knew the knee pads would just slip off so I skipped them (they later slipped anyway). But i wore the over-whites top - Under the over-whites top I wore a US military fleece jacket which despite its thinness provided decent warmth when paired with a regular t shirt and a long sleeve t shirt. - I had some raingear pants at home which I did not bring as I had decided to dress as light as possible with this weather and not freeze in the interest of mobility. I was willing to accept the risk of wet pants from lieing in the snow during the prone.. Everything is a trade-off.
Despite my gear being no where near perfect I accomplished my goal of not freezing while not limiting my mobility with excess clothes.
There was a bit of a minor snow storm the night before class in the WV mountains.
As I had feared the night before ...on the morning of Saturday our little convoy had some problems getting up the trail.... the cliff notes version is, that after some wheel spinning and a little time wasting we cross-loaded ourselves into the most capable 4x4's and finally made it to the assembly area from whence Max took us up to the training area in the Ranger ATV.
Sitting in those chairs for max's Tactics white board presentation BTW got chilly real quick but I wrapped myself into a nice comfy poncho liner and that helped a lot. Others also had blankets or in many cases simply wore warmer clothes.
My Army/USMC issue type knee pads were a bit of a disappointment to me. They kept falling down on my leg after a couple of dashes into cover. I think the fact I had to dash into snow getting them wet didnt help the friction of the straps and thats why they came loose so easily.
My electronic earmuffs were fantastic, even though they were cheap..one side stopped working halfway thru day one as the water from the snow seemed to damage it but it partially came back on day 2...the batteries were getting weak by the end of day 2 but they still worked enough yo be useful. In a training environment where you must protect your ears but still hear your instructors these simply where a godsend and I think made me a better student.
On gear: Both myself and my buddy found that you can jerryrig a practical set-up from different surplus layers w/o spending high dollars. Were we a little less comfortable in this weather than those with high end gortex hunting boots/jackets? Yes... but it was very manageable, didn't present any real problems and did not impact our performance..
Speaking of the weather. It was simply a gorgeous winter wonderland!! The pics don't do it justice... real thick snowflakes were coming down during most of day one making our targets snowy and harder to see.. realistic just how I like it .
The Day 1 lanes were also noticeably improved from my previous attendance which had been a mere month before.
Another gear related positive was that my SIG 516 which had never shot TulAmmo worked just fine with it...Ihad felt that I incurred some risk to bring a rifle/ammo combination I had never tried prior to this trip... so I had a spare halfcase of M193 and a spare rifle to make sure I could run a gun on the course,.. but it turns out they were not needed. : )
The Snow added a lot of adventure to our lanes exercises as well as an atmosphere that was not just cold but a bit surreal. It was also a lot easier to fall , especially when you tried to sprint combat speed between positions, this I tried in the beginning but after my first 2 falls I stopped ;)
On Day 2
We had promised Max that we would meet a little early and crossload into the most winter competent vehicles right away and this we did on Sunday morning, which made our drive to the assembly area as speedy, as it was uneventful.
On Sunday we went through Lane 2 for the more advanced/demanding training, and started with the "Jungle Walk", ahem I mean the "Arctic Walk". This lane which we used for individual, buddy pair, fireteam and finally squad level drills went up a looong hill. So by the time you got to react to your pop up targets your blood was pumping and your breath was very labored no matter what shape you were in.
And that's the idea. ;)
One of the small but best features of Max's training as compared to mainstream military training is , that he will brief you a realistic scenario which will inform how you react and he explained WHY in this situation you would use "break contact drill" vs " assault" etc etc. When many many years ago I received Infantry training as private it was like "Ok guys we will now practice bounding overwatch" and we would do it but I could not have explained why as compared to a wedge formation etc.
Max realizes, that unlike an Army/UCMC private who (hopefully) will have skilled Platoon Sergeants and Platoon Leaders make his tactical decisions for him, a SHTF armed civilian needs to make all his own tactical calls at the fireteam level and below.
So he makes sure students understand what drill to use in which kind of Patrol etc.. People play lipservice to 'METT-TC" but not everyone fully understands what it really means... and Max makes weaves this principle into his training to ensure his students understand the why and when of a given drill so they use the correct situationally driven response when the situation arises.
Oct 26/27 CRCD - Ben
I arrived Friday night after driving most of the 2nd half of the day from South Carolina. Max met me there and showed me around the range and campground, after that he took off in his ranger to continue prepping for the long weekend ahead. By that time the sun had set and I had the entire mountain to myself, this was awesome! I usually backpack through the Smoky Mountains year round and am used to all kinds of weather and look forward to the more extreme conditions as it is a way to test my gear. I began to set up my hammock and the temperature was beginning to drop, the forecast was for a low of 28F around 3am. I was excited to try out some new kit for my hammock (down underquilt) to keep me warm during the colder months. It was about 9pm I had just finished some food, boiled some water in a stainless steel bottle using my Soto windmaster microstove, threw it in the bottom of my sleeping bag and climbed in the warm cozy hammock. I then racked the slide on my Glock 22, slipped it into the hammock side pocket then turned off my headlamp, I had a rain fly overhead which I rolled back and was greeted with a cloudless night and looked up at the stars which very quickly sent me to sleep. The next morning I broke down the camp, it was cold! I was anxious for the students to arrive, but damn it was cold! Luckily Max had built a chin up bar next to the main shelter; I did a few sets of pull-ups and burpies which warmed me up quickly. A few minutes later the students began to arrive via the ranger, we all briefly chatted until Max was ready start… In a nutshell, Max’s teaching style is geared well for this type of class. He keeps the training simple but effective for the goal in mind. There are many other cookie cutter “tactical” rifle/pistol classes which are being taught around the country. They all have the same thing in common.... weapons manipulation and to perfect the skill of hosing stationary targets while standing at 15yrds. As training good weapon’s manipulation is important for all mall ninja’s, Max’s class takes a completely different approach. Max begins the class by teaching reaction shooting at hidden targets in a wilderness environment. His hidden targets are dug into the terrain and are located at different elevations and distances with a 180 degree field of fire. To add another dimension to the training, they pop up on demand using a remote control at Max’s discretion. The most effective kind of reaction shooting is when you have no idea when or where a threat will come from. Max nailed this one on the head. Once he gets the class proficient at reaction shooting and safety he then moves the group of patriots into a classroom setting. At this point Max breaks out the whiteboard and begins to teach small 4 man team tactics derived from the British SAS. Being a British Citizen myself (Bermuda) this brings me a little bit of pride. The rest of the first and second day the class went through multiple live fire reaction drills to different kinds of contact with team communication and movement, each revolution there was more information added and the skills were developed to a point where no more information would stick in that short period of time. To ALL potential students who are interested in this class, In order to obtain as much information from Max, get in shape so that your physical abilities do not hold back your learning potential. Also get very comfortable with your primary weapons system. Be comfortable with dealing with weapons manipulations (magazine changes, malfunctions, sight acquisitions) in all positions of fire (standing, kneeling, prone) you will be doing a lot of… “I’m up, he sees me, I’m down”… 90% of all your training of this kind can safely be done at home with dummy rounds. By practicing this way you will very quickly realize where your physical abilities are and where they need to be improved upon. You will also figure out where your gear placement should be on your BB/PC. If you can figure out most of this before your 1st CRCD class, you will be absorbing more information from Max during his instruction. I will be returning for the patrol class and look forward to developing my skills further, I would highly recommend going to this class. Max has a wealth of information and I am thankful that he is sharing this with all of us. For the small community of patriots out there, this is the place to go. Stay Safe, Ben, South Carolina
Nov 9/10 2013 CRCD - Ben
Having just taken Max's CRCD class. I wanted to take a few minutes and write my thoughts on the weekend of training.
I'll say this right from the start. This class was everything that I had hoped that it would be and then some. I had been hovering on the fence about taking this kind of training. I read the AAR's from others that had completed the class and said to my self “see, that is what you have to go and learn.” My reasons for not going sooner were all financial. But this fall I made the choice to sign up and go get some professional instruction. It was not easy to come up with the dollars for the class and the travel and the ammo. From my home town to Max's location was about eleven hundred miles and took two days to drive. It was worth every mile! Max is great to work with, and easy to learn from. After the safety brief Saturday morning we jumped in head first and had a full day of shooting drills and lectures. But most of the day was on the range. I have Max's book Contact, and have read it all the way through. I've read in other books and on line about the shooting drills that we were learning. How to break contact and how to move and work as a team. Even so there was a ton to learn. It's one thing to say from the comfort of my house. I'll move to cover and shout to my buddy and we will suppress the enemy bunker, and actually teaming up with a buddy and running through the drills. The other students were really a great bunch of folks. Everyone was serious about what we were doing and as such there was no ego's. Every one was there to learn and it made learning easy.
Lessons learned this weekend:
I was right that I had a ton to learn. I had spent money on gear and ammo and my rifle. I had tried to educate myself as best I could. But deep down inside I knew I lacked the wisdom of experience. And as such I stood a good chance of not making it through the learning curve if the SHTF. What good would I do my family if I got shot up because the internet told me to do X or Y.
More PT. I consider myself to be in reasonably good shape. But there is a lot of room for improvement.
Be sure to have a good hydration system.
I was very glad that I had brought knee pads. You will use them, they will save your knees.
Bring enough ammo. I brought 500 rounds and I could have shot more. When I go back again I'll bring 700-800 Now that being said you can complete the training using 400-500, just realize that you will have to moderate how fast your trigger finger goes.
Bring spare parts for your gun. While I did not have a problem with my gun, their was an AR that blew its gas rings first thing Saturday morning. Lucky they had spare parts.
Good boots that will support your ankles. This is a real world environment. There are lots of stumps and rocks and slopes to walk on. But hey this is what it will be like if these skills are ever needed.
After having taken this first step in training I am profoundly aware of how easy it would have been for someone that had these skills to come and take me out. Also I realize that there is a lot more work for me to do. This will totally change the way I train with my family. While these skills that I learned are paramount to surviving in a SHTF scenario. It is also paramount to have the people that will be with you trained as well. If you can, if you have the chance, please do what it takes to get you and your family or group trained. Yes it cost me some time and money, but this was the best investment I've made sense buying my rifle. When I go back for more training next year my wife will be coming as well. If you are a woman that is looking for training, Max is the place to go. He is a great teacher and is not ego driven at all. He is not someone that is going to spend the day yelling and swearing at you. His goal is to have everyone learn the skills that they will need to be able to protect their families if the SHTF. I'll also say that several people expressed safety concerns to me prior to taking the training. After having taken the class I can say that Max takes safety very seriously. That and not being ego driven is why I feel confident that I can bring my wife to this training next year.
I don't know how much longer we as civilians will be able to take this kind of training. All it would take is for the powers that be to change the laws and this goes away. Take it from someone that had no tactical/small unit skills at all. This was absolutely the best thing I could have done for my families safety. There is no substitute to having proper, professional training. Even if you can't get your hole tribe to his class, pass a hat and get the funds to send one of your people to take the training. They can bring back these life saving skills and share it with everyone.
This class was worth every penny, every sore muscle, and every mile driven. I will be back. I will keep my family safe from what is coming.
From the mid west
Take care, and keep your powder dry.
Thanks to Max for being willing to stick his neck out and do this training for us.
Nov 9/10 2013 CRCD - J (anon)
AAR Nov 9/10 Training follows:
1. You will not be coddled. Tested? Yes. Challenged? Yes. Overwhelmed? No. Unable to meet the challenge? Not at all. Walk Then Run is a valid teaching concept. The tactics taught are simple to execute and will work in almost every situation- you react and then either fight through or withdraw (and set up a nasty surprise for your pursuers) Simple and elegant. 2. Max is still a Brit. As such, he is polite, listens and instructs rawther (sic) than criticizes. I was my harshest critic. Max is a professional; 3. There is not enough oxygen in West Virginia which will test your PT or lack thereof; 4. The hills are a bit steep which will test your PT or lack thereof; 5. You'll get to do a lot of shooting and moving and communicating and it will be very different from my previous 5 -day SWAT training (8 years ago) conducted on a square range- more rewarding too; 6. Your learning curve will be very steep, indeed; 7. The Koolwink motel is recommended; 8. El Puente II makes some of the best Mexican food on the East coast; 9. It is refreshing to find that you are not alone in your concerns about future events.
Summary: Get this training now, while you still can.
Nov 9/10 2013 CRCD - F (anon)
Just got done with a weekend at Max's CRCD Class.
Thoroughly enjoyed myself and I am sooo glad I overcame my workout injuries in the last couple of weeks to squeeze in some leg work outs before I came. but I get ahead of myself, let's start from the beginning:
I had been in the military for quite some time but with only very sporadic tactical training.
Recently I decided to up my game and was looking around for some tactical classes.
Looked at the ubiquitous Magpul videos and some other "big name" classes and they just bothered the heck out of me. They were mostly about becoming an AR driver and transition dancer, not a tactically proficient and rounded individual.,
Those others seemed to be focused on a PoU (Philosphy of Use) that might be good for a SWAT team but not for a civilian 1st Defender.
In my mind it is laughable that some of those schools make practicing transitions from rifle to handgun a mandatory part for their students, most of which have not yet even maxed out on the Rifle.
I myself even though I am
I am not an experienced Infantryman but I know a thing or two about training troops and using the right PoU ....and in my mind the mainstream, Carbine classes that are currently taught often use a PoU that fits the instructors needs better than those of the students.
But enough about why I think others are flawed, lets talk about whats great about Max's Class:
For one you are not on a static range.... pop up targets from different angles while doing live fire reaction drills as individuals, buddy teams, fire teams and as a capstone event as a Squad is a fantastic training tool. its hard to imagine good training without it. Secondly the terrain is realistic, no nicely maintained and easy to observe firing lane.. its all a conglomerate of bushes and trees and inclines and declines and ravines and stumps and rocks etc etc. Just like in the real world! Also , while Max takes reasonable safety precautions, he doesnt allow excessive precautions to cripple training like you will find sometimes in the big military and in most police depts. You get treated as an adult, which is why it is important you show up only after getting thoroughly comfortable with your rifle.
Finally Max makes a real effort to explain and make sure student understand which tactical response is appropriate in which situation, so you are later empowered to think for yourself what tactical situation or intent you have that will lead you to either break contact or attack thru or flank etc. Hopefully this way folks in a real SHTF will not blindly execute a drill thats inappropiate to the situation at hand, because they learned what is useful when.
It really helped me that I had read about half of his manual "Contact" before the class, otherwise it would have been harder to absorb his training. I strongly recommend students buy his book "Contact" and read it before taking the class. This holds especially for those w/o any military training who should read it slowly and thoroughly.
Speaking of his manual between that and his blog it totally sold me on training with him. I often find that authors of such manuals try to fit the square peg of their own experience as SF or SWAT into the round hole of training up civilian preppers for WROL, TEOTWAWKI etc results in comically misplaed guidance. but none of such errors in judgement can be found in Max's book.
Everything he write makes sense for the situations he writes about and hopes to train about.
I am convinced that as his book "Contact" slowly percolates thru the community it will achieve cult status within a decade or two, as THE basic manual that fits the "civilian caught in SHTF" PoU. I also believe that this type of training will transform the tactical firearms community in the next few years. We will see the faddish "tacticool "we will almost make you a SF operator" type schools adapt or shrink.
Non-faddish training focused on the basics is a must and I strongly recommend folks take his classes (or classes by those who exhibit a similar training philosophy which is not many, but some others do exist)
PS: The students were almost as impressive as their teacher a no nonsense kind of group that was competent with their rifles and eager to excel.
Nov 9/10 2013 CRCD - SP in NC
Link to SP in NC's blog post HERE
Date: 9 and 10 NOV 2013. Location: Somewhere around the 39th parallel in the hills of Appalachia. Purpose: Refine combat rifle / carbine skills and learn to shoot, move, and communicate with another shooter, a fire team, and a squad.
DAY ONE Time: 0645 Weather: 22℉, breeze approx 2-5mph, clear sky Terrain: Hilly deciduous forest, with steep valleys and hollows The attendees rallied at a meeting point as per Max’s instructions. Max came down the mountain and led the convoy of vehicles to a parking lot outside of the training area. Gear was unloaded and moved into a six-seater ATV and attendees were ferried over a ridge into the training area, which was a fork nestled between two small valleys with creeks at the bottom. There was a newly built gazebo-type structure that served as the classroom and center of activity.
People geared up, layered up, and tried not to think about the cold. Max had a 55 gallon steel drum with vent holes drilled into it that was used for a warming fire. He threw in a bunch of tinder and small logs, cranked that up, and and the training day began.
We spent close to three hours of didactic lecture on range safety, combat drills, and individual react to contact drills.
I want to state this very clearly at this point. THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER’S CLASS BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION. You need to be very familiar with shooting a carbine in a practical environment where there is movement and chaos. You need to instinctively know how to deal with a failure to fire and get back in the fight. You need to know basic commands and the language of fire and maneuver. You need know how to be aware of where your muzzle is pointing AT ALL TIMES regardless of the amount of activity going on around you.
Max defined the react to contact drill as an “RTR drill,” which is an acronym for Return fire,Take cover, Return appropriate fire. It is the sequence that a shooter goes through when engaged by a hostile element where the shooter immediately returns fire, moves to some kind of cover or better position, scans and assesses the area to decide on where to fire next. It’s getting inside of the bad dude’s OODA loop and working to keep him from messing up yours.
Once the didactic work was finished, Max took us to the range and we executed a group Load and Make Ready. Rifles were hot and the lanes were open.
The first shooting took place on a small range that sloped upward in a small valley. This was an individual exercise. Max has pop-up electronic targets positioned at the shooter’s 9, 12, and 3 o’clock. He started out very slowly and let you know where the initial contact was going to come from. The target would pop up, you’d scream “CONTACT FRONT!” execute the RTR drill, and go safe. The targets would be anywhere from 10-30 yards away and they were green, plastic, 3D silhouettes of soldiers, but I think they looked more like something produced by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation as a stress innoculator for the impending encounter we have with their activities on LV-426. But I digress. The targets were about 36″ tall and as wide as Hervé Villechaize. When you hit the target, it would go back down and depending on what Max had programmed into the computer, it would pop back up or stay down. This was the core on which all other learning was built. This exercise was also Max’s opportunity to assess the shooter and formulate what he was working with in terms of skill sets. From what I picked up, Max was wanting to see how fast you can engage the threat, get off the “X” and into cover or a better position, and get follow up shots back on the target from your new position. Do some burpees in your shooting gear while holding a carbine and you’ll start to get the picture of the physical effort required.
From there, Max had us pair up and you’d conduct the RTR with another shooter.
We took a break for chow and more didactic instruction. By this time the burn drum was pumping out some heat and was a welcome addition to the day. Yours truly brought a camp stove and some Mountain House, so I got to eat hot chow and have hot coffee, which was nice, because I hate being cold, and wet.
The next evolution was moving to contact, where a two-person team would execute the RTR, then conduct a bounding movement towards the hostile. This is where the communicating started to come into play. Again, Max was nice to us and let us know which direction the contact was coming from so each two-person team could concentrate on fire, maneuver, and communication. You learn very quickly that things go to hell fast when communication between team members breaks down. It doesn’t take much. We found ourselves doing walkthroughs on our own while other teams were going through the course. Even with multiple rehearsals, you’d still find a way to miss a “MOVE” call or a “MOVING” answer.
After that, we did more didactic on break contact drills. This introduced the lateral peel as well as bounding overwatch to the repertoire.
Back on the range, we’d conduct two-person break contact drills, again with Max giving us the heads-up as to where the contact was going to come from, so we could focus on form and communication. When we’d conduct a peel at closer range, one shooter would “go deep” and rather than the peel being strictly linear, you’d arc around hostile and one of the team would call out “GET ONLINE” which would set the team up for a break contact movement that had us getting out using a bounding overwatch to dead ground, setting up a hasty ambush, then bugging out.
That wrapped up day one. Round count for the day was about 150.
Max shuttled us all back to our cars and we headed out for the night. About half the class met for a fine dinner in town and Max was kind enough to meet us. We had a great conversation about current events, secure digital communications, digital crypto, the grid, nuclear reactors, and learned a lot more about the effects of nuclear radiation on humans than any of us ever thought we could know. The intellectual depth and professional diversity of the attendees would scare the piss out of all of the propagandist tools and regime fellators in the media and blow their comical stereotypes of the “Don’t Tread on Me” crowd to Uranus. But I digress.
DAY TWO Time: 0645 Weather: 49℉, breeze approx 2-5mph, with winds developing throughout the morning to sustained 30mph by 1100, partly cloudy Terrain: Hilly deciduous forest, with steep valleys and hollows Again we assembled at the rally point and Max took us to the training facility. After some residual radioactivity discussion and a really bad joke, we ferried back over the ridge to the classroom and got started.
Today was the day the training was ramped up. The best part (no offense Max) was that we got to shooting right off the bat.
Max had each individual shooter conduct a “jungle walk” on a much larger and steeper range that was nestled in a valley where you were out by yourself on a patrol. The terrain to your right elevated to a ridgeline, the terrain to your left initially descended to a creek, and then rapidly elevated up to a ridgeline. The terrain in front of you elevated slightly over a long distance of anywhere from 300-700 yards depending on where you were walking from. The further away, the steeper the elevation. In other words, you were a fish in a barrel.
On the jungle walk, you had to execute RTR drills when a target popped up and then fight on. This time, you didn’t know where the contact was coming from. Did I mention the targets were 1/3 the size of the targets we shot the prior day? I thought so.
A quick didactic session on reacting to contact and we were off.
The next evolution was two-person teams shooting, moving, and communicating up the big range from objective to objective. With more space, longer ranges to the targets, and smaller targets, the difficulty was ramped up considerably. Again, we got no heads up as to where the contact was coming from, so skills for scanning and communicating were paramount.
Another didactic session on breaking contact resulted in more two-person team action on the big range breaking initial contact and using bounding overwatch to exfil the area, only to get engaged from other directions on the way out.
The lunch bell rang and everyone took time for chow.
Then Max really started ramping it up. We conducted the same drill evolution but with a four-person fire team. Same things with reacting to contact and breaking contact, bounding overwatch to a rally point, setting a hasty ambush, and bugging the eff out. At this level, you could see where bad communication can get people killed in a hurry. You also saw the inherent advantages of eight eyeballs vs two eyeballs in detecting threats and being able to get a base of fire on a hostile. When it worked well, it was badass. When it went to hell, it was scary how fast it went to hell. We did have a drill where our teams started blowing communications and it turned into a soup sandwich, but because we did a quick mod to the communications protocol before the drill, we were able to get everyone out of the chaos, onto a rally point for a hasty ambush and then off the field of fire. It was nice to see that we were figuring it out enough to recover when we fouled up.
The day culminated with Max leading a squad element through a bunker assault. I won’t go into the specifics of the assault. You need to come take the class and find out. What it did was reinforce all of the drills we performed as individuals, pairs, and fire teams to make an effective squad. The assault was loud, fast, and physically challenging. You got to have lots of things go wrong for you on the way up the hill to the bunker and just had to make sure you dug yourself out of whatever hole you were in to get back in the fight and deliver rounds down range.
By the end of day two, I think I’d probably done close to 200 burpees in field gear with a carbine. My knees, hip flexors, and back were pretty well smoked, but I kept going. While ammo expenditure on day one was sparse, on day two, we got it on. I estimate my round count to be close to 800 for the day.
Max gave us a final didactic session and we called it a day.
CONCLUSION I say with confidence that you will not get this type of training at most shooting schools. Max is an outstanding instructor. He is an excellent communicator and his enthusiasm for what he is doing comes out plainly as he does it. He is very patient and tailors instruction to each individual based on his or her skill level.
This class clearly illustrates the need to have a network of like-minded people that you can train with if there ever is a situation where we are without rule of law (WROL) and there are bands of brigands and raiders pillaging the countryside. Regardless of what the idiot “prepper” shows on TV may insinuate, the guy with his castle keep is just a big, juicy target that will die alone in a pile of silver coins and have his stockpile pillaged.
What Max teaches is not easy to execute. It requires regular practice and honest assessments of skill and ability so that people can improve. You can’t do this for two days and think you are an expert. You have only tasted a drop from an ocean of knowledge. Max mentioned in one of our informal discussions that ego is usually the greatest barrier to people mastering new skills, especially in an alpha-dominated activity like shooting. I will say that this class of people did a good job of keeping egos in check and being open to constructive feedback not only from Max, but from each other.
The only thing that would make this class better is duration. If you could drill this stuff for two weeks, it would be very impressive to see what people would be able to do by the end.
Max is also a prolific writer and has several books out that are great survival fiction. He has also written a book called “CONTACT!” which is a great technical / tactical manual that really is required reading before his class. You may not quite understand it all when you read it at first, but during the first didactic session with Max, it all comes to life very fast, and only gets better as you go through the course. Definitely check out all of Max’s books. For further comprehension of the skills we learned and their practical application, he was emphatic about me reading “Patriot Dawn” which is now #1 in queue on the nightstand. Apparently, collectivist trolls have been hitting his Amazon reviews and slamming the book, so I know it must be good if they hate it.
I also highly recommend reading the US Army Field Manual FM 7-8, The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad as well as the Ranger Handbook sections on patrolling and movement before the class as well. They will only make the info Max teaches more valuable in practical execution.
As for me, I plan on coming back Max’s way to do this class again and also take more advanced ones as he offers them.
Physical fitness To get the most out of this class, you need to be in the best shape you can be – for YOU. I’m in pretty decent shape, and I am sitting here typing this after eating a few fistfuls of Advil to help with a sore back, knees, and hip flexors. Our class had students ranging in age from the 20s to the 60s and all points in between. Best of all, nobody was fat. The guys in the upper age range were laying down fire and moving in a way that I hope to by that age. It was impressive.
There is no flat terrain anywhere on the ranges, so you need to be able to move around with a carbine and gear and not snap an ankle. Be prepared to hit the ground hard when you react to contact and have to get up on something that might be unstable.
You will need to hydrate – a lot. I went through close to two gallons of water at the range and drank at least another half gallon each night after the class. Keep your electrolytes up too.
This is a physically taxing class. However, Max will work with you and train you regardless of your blown knees, bulging discs, or whatever else is driving you up a wall, physically or mentally. We had a fellow student who took the class before, did what he could and knew he could do better with some PT. He came back 25lbs lighter after rucking a bunch, getting his PT on, and rocked it. He’s coming back for more and loving every minute of it. We had another student who was “moving slow” because she screwed up her knee doing Krav Maga(!) recently. Did I mention she was in her 40s? She was lugging a big old 7.62x39mm carbine with all the trimmings, full kit, diving in the dirt like everyone else, and getting rounds on target.
Max does not require you to be 75th Ranger Regiment material to take this course. The point I am trying to make here is that if you know you can stand to lose ten or twenty pounds, then start working on it NOW by cutting carbs and moving more, because you’ll do even better at the class. You’ll still make it through regardless, but getting your PT on in preparation is going to help, no matter what.
Gear Here’s a list of gear I used for the class. I’ll post pictures later.
- Carbine: Colt LE6920 with a JP Enterprises / VTAC handguard with free-float barrel with A2 flash suppressor, Troy Industries BUIS, SureFire G2 with VTAC mount, and VTAC sling. Everything else was stock.
- Optic: Aimpoint M68 CCO with LaRue cantilever mount co-witnessed with sights.
- Pistol: S&W M&P 9c
- Mags: Colt USGI aluminum 30rd and a couple of PMAGS
- Belt: ATS war belt with 2x ITW fast mags, Tactical Tailor (TT) dual pistol mag pouch, Blade-Tech holster, Maxpedition dump pouch, HSGI bleeder pouch with QuickClot gauze, 2x Vaseline gauze, NPA, and Israeli bandage, TT tool pouch with a Leatherman Wave, TT pouch with backup SureFire G2.
- Chest rig: ATS low profile chest harness.
- Misc: Mechanics gloves. Carhartt watch cap, Crye field shirt and pants, Hatch ankle and shin pads (supposedly knee pads, but they spent all their time on my shins and lateral malleolus).
That about wraps it up. Take Max’s class. You will learn much, and realize there is much to do.
Nov 9/10 2013 - Mike
Posted on Reddit: HERE
Nov 9/10 2013 - Helen & Joe
Oct 26/27 2013 - Kurt
AAR: After Action Report
I wanted to wait to write this AAR to let all I learned and my thoughts soak in.
In a word the training was: Awesome
Max is the real deal. A no nonsense patriot. A Brit that is more a patriot, and working to equip patriots, more than most natural born Americans.
There was a varied group of guys from all over the east coast and one from Wyoming.
Gear: I was happy with how my gear performed with a small exception. My rifle trigger group pins were walking out. I knew about this prior and upgraded to anti walkout pins. This didn't help when the screws that held the pins in fell out and the pins began walking worse than before. At the start of training I ran into some catastrophic failures on my rifle that would have taken it 100% out of the fight in SHTF. Luckily someone had some Blue Locktite and I was able to continue training. The frustrating thing is that 2 weeks before training I ran over 200 rounds through my rifle without incident. I wasn't the only one running into problems with their rifle so that made me feel better.
SO my #1 tip is get your weapons squared away a day or 2 before you come and KNOW that it won't fail.
I was running a Condor Ranger harness. Very happy with it.
THE COLD: I wasn't ready for this. I had a coat and that wasn't the problem. My legs were stiff as a rock after driving 4 hours to arrive. The cold made it much worse. DO NOT DO THIS. Spend the money. Drive the night before. Stay at the Cool Wink Motel. You'll be glad you did. And you will not be dead tired. The only reason I didn't do this was I had family in from CA and it would have meant loosing almost a whole day with them.
Fitness: If you've read any of Max's stuff( http://maxvelocitytactical.
Guess what I've brought away from the weekend? NEED MORE PT. and I've already started working that into my weekly team level training and my personal fitness.
The Training: Locally, for a while we have been working patrol tactics into our training regimen. I thought that there was something missing. There was. ALL our reacting to contact was to fight through. We never once thought to fight away from. Bad way to go. What if we came into contact with a superior force? If we had continued in our training that way we would have charged over the hill to our deaths some day, having engrained stupidity into our training. Max helped fix/undo some of that in my mind. As had his book "Contact"
Training was Crawl,Walk,Run as it should be. Max worked us as Individuals, then paired us off, then as 2 teams of pairs. His equipment is amazing. I wish I could afford just one of the many reactive moving targets he had. You'll never know how hard it really is to spot one till you train with max. But this is why we train. To find our weaknesses and to learn new things. Another great hands on visual was the "bunker assault" on day 2. Think those radios will help you fight through? When 10 guys are shooting rapid suppressive fire on the enemy? Better learn hand signals.
Observations: Max is no nonsense when it comes to safety. If you a "safe queen" square range shooter (someone that takes his shiny black rifle out 2x a year and burns a whopping 100 rounds off) You better get some tactical range training and square your weapons manipulation away. Get some high pressure shooting under your belt. Not to say that Max can't fix "some" of this. But if you've never run an AR before and don't own one...stay home. And LISTEN to Max, it's his range and he knows what he is doing. This training is for serious shooters. People that want to take their training up a notch from the square range to the real world. If that isn't you then stay home. You'll leave open slots for those that want to come.
Oct 12/13 2013 - Jay
After Action Report
CRCD Class 10/12-13/2013
Max Velocity Training
I attended the CRCD course at Max Velocity Training outside of Romney, West Virginia on 10/12-13. The preceding AARs filed about this session, as well as for all previous sessions, are excellent in their presentations and representations of what to expect should one decide to attend one of the upcoming classes. It was a uniquely personal experience I won't soon forget.
At 59 years of age I may have been the oldest person in our group of 12. It was 40 years ago almost to the day that I became the property of the U.S. Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Back then the drill instructors had 16 weeks to mold me into a credible 11B (infantryman). Max had about 20 hours. I believe he delivered on all his promises; any shortcomings were my own. He is one hard working guy and a consummate professional. The lessons learned four decades ago, mostly forgotten with time, started coming back to me in dribs and drabs over the course of these two days.
Yeah, I know, pop-up targets don't shoot back. But short of being in actual combat there is only so much a civilian like me can do to prepare for a SHTF scenario where firearms training plays a central role in the preparation. Unless you can afford to go to one of the top-shelf spec ops schools that are out there, MVT comes about as close as one can get to learning functional battle tactics that may just help you beat the averages in a world gone mad.
I enrolled in the course on June 29, after reading about it on the MVT blog. Over the next three months I assembled equipment I didn't already have, acquired a left-handed AR-15 and stepped up my fitness program to get ready for the course.
I spent lots of time in the coming months pondering why someone my age would want to do something like this instead of just relaxing on the couch dreaming about retirement in a few years. The answer came, quite literally, the weekend before the class was scheduled to begin when I happened to catch an interview with a 90-something year old WWII veteran who pretty much told the Washington, D.C. park police where to go when they tried to stop him and his group from touring the war memorials that were closed to visitors because of the government shut-down. Ninety years old and still fighting the good fight! Why, I'm a mere youngster compared to him
It is my personal opinion that even if you're just the designated pencil sharpener in your unconventional warfare unit's admin section, you should know how to do these drills. The numbers aren't exactly on the side of the Freedom Forces after all, so it would probably be a good thing if each one of us could do the drills. With that said, the course will definitely be a challenge for the older individual in general but particularly for one who has health issues or hasn't done so much as a push-up in years. The same can be said for anyone of any age for that matter. There is no faking it once you are on the range.
I am convinced there is not a single flat spot anywhere in the entire state of West Virginia. On either of the two ranges I was either running up a hill or down one while carrying an extra 30 to 40 pounds of gear, ammo and weapons on my body. Future attendees should expect to be walking, stopping, shooting, getting down, shooting some more, getting up, running (or walking if that's all you can do), stopping, and on and on. This is the infantry after all. So if you are out of shape or in questionable health, think this part through carefully before signing up. Know, though, that there is a place for everyone in what Max calls the Resistance.
Personal fitness is always important all the time. I work out vigorously at least three times a week with a trainer who is a competitive world-class strength athlete, a pretty unique resource in my little hometown. Even if you don't have access to a personal trainer there are plenty of resources available on-line to help you out. It doesn't have to be expensive. Most of what you need to train with anyway is your own body and everyday items that can be found in and around the house.
In my case, three months prior to taking the class my trainer and I revamped my workout routine to mimic the type of movements I thought I would be performing at MVT. On Monday morning, after the class was over, my body told me we had been successful. There are those out there who advocate donning a too heavy ruck sack and pounding the hills and valleys for miles on end several times a week to get into proper fighting condition. Max addresses this issue in his blog and is something that is completely unnecessary for taking this course. Walking up and down multiple flights of stairs while wearing a light load of some sort would be more beneficial. I think the longest drill lasted maybe 15 or 20 minutes. My typical workout, from start to finish, lasts no more than 30 minutes and is always a heart pounder. If you are out of shape and decide to take the plunge, give yourself several months to get to where you need to be physically. It's not going to happen for you overnight.
Equipment and weapons malfunctions, operator inexperience and Mom Nature all conspired to make it as real as real can get without actually having bullets flying in both directions. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons to come out of the training for me was that I was able to see what works and what doesn't work with respect to my abilities, my weapons and my gear. My fitness regimen is going to be tweaked some more, changes have already been made to my primary weapon and one of the items I was wearing on my battle belt may never see the light of day again. Waiting until SHTF is actually happening to find this stuff out would probably be fatal.
Almost all of my equipment was new to me, with most of it having been purchased for the purpose of taking the CRCD class. I wore a Condor battle belt and “H” harness loaded with seven full magazine pouches, an I.F.A.K. and a dump pouch. In addition to my left-handed Stage Arms AR-15, loaded with an eighth 30-round magazine, I carried an M&P Vtac 40 in a drop-leg holster and three full magazines for it. Not once did I feel the weight or experience any discomfort from the load. Read Max's articles on the battle belt. It will be worth your time.
In my opinion, knee pads are a must-use item whether or not you have knee problems. I have problems in both knees but experienced no pain whatsoever despite all of the up-and-down movement I did. The pads definitely made a difference.
Wearing proper clothing is a must as well. You are not going to be able to perform in jeans and tennies. Because of the rain I wore a lightweight rain jacket overtop an Under Armour tee shirt both days. I'm still scrubbing the mud out of the combat pants. Also, be selective about your footwear. I wore a pair of Blackhawk something-or-other combat boots with gel heel stabilizer inserts and arch supports and experienced no foot issues whatsoever. Prior to the class I wore the boots everyday for at least two months to make sure they would do the job without destroying my feet.
An assault pack containing food, water, extra ammo and other items was carried in but then detached from the belt and harness upon arrival at the training site. My food supply consisted of beef sticks, protein bars and dried fruit and nut bars that I was able to snack on throughout the day to keep my body properly fueled. I had a Camelbak filled with fresh water for drinking plus a bottle filled with a mixture of water, Gatorade mix and BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) for sipping during breaks. I knew I wouldn't be burning thousands of calories during each day of training so eating light was in order. Dinner at Mario's after training was a different matter altogether.
My weapon is zeroed for 200 meters so hitting “Ivan” at 75 meters or less wasn't a problem. Up until that Saturday I had only put about 600 rounds through it and then another 400-plus rounds over the weekend. Several stoppages were experienced on both days, some because of the weapon's newness and others because of the operator. It's a little embarrassing to have your magazine drop to the ground when you pull the trigger during a simulated firefight. It could be a fatal error in a real one. Some brushing up on clearing stoppages and overcoming nasty surprises is now on the agenda.
I used an EOTech XPS2 holographic sight on the AR. In my opinion, a red dot sight or illuminated scope is probably a good idea for those shooters with old, tired eyes that can't focus like they used to. It is especially necessary for me because I am a left-handed shooter who is right-eye dominant. The problem pretty much went out the window when I first started using this sight. I intend on adding an EOTech G33 3X magnifier to further improve my sighting/aiming capabilities.
I wore a new pair of bifocal shooting glasses designed specifically for what I expected to encounter in the course. They were purchased from Chris at Safevision.com, and they fit the application beautifully. Pairing these glasses with the EOTech sight proved to be a real winner for me.
Perhaps my biggest limitation was my hearing. In early August I suffered an accident that took part of my hearing in both ears. I wore electronic earmuffs during the course, which helped, but with all the noise going on around me it was still difficult to hear commands clearly. The recommendations made by others in their AAR about overcoming this problem are exactly right. Anyone with a hearing problem needs to give it some consideration.
I was teamed with a battle buddy who was eight years my junior. He made it through probably 98 percent of the course before succumbing to his arthritis and taking a seat for the rest of the drills. I would take him as my “BB” any day of the week over all the armchair patriots in the world, though, because he got off his duff and showed up for the party. The two of us ended up on the fire team with the daughter-dad duo. What a pleasure it was for me to be able to meet and work with these three fine people as well as the rest of the group, Max and his assistant instructors. Thank you all.
For those making the trip to Romney to train with Max, be advised of a few things. Hwy 50 east out of Clarksburg is one curvy, hilly, two-lane road. Driving it in the rain and fog wasn't much fun. Also be aware of the firearm laws of the states you will be traveling through to get to MVT. A nasty surprise could await you if you get stopped in the wrong place.
Finally, I want to recommend the Koolwink Motel located on Hwy 50 on the east side of Romney. It's clean, comfortable and has 1960s décor in the rooms. I felt right at home. Another plus is you can park right outside your room, making it convenient for transferring baggage and other items between the room and your vehicle.
As if to drive home the point of why even older folks should consider taking this course, while our group was training in the hills of West Virginia with an eminently qualified Brit-turned-American who has dedicated his life to preparing his adopted countrymen for SHTF, veterans groups, including those pesky WWII vets, were facing off against federal police in our nation's capital at about the same time the food stamp system in Louisiana and other places went silent. Think about what might be happening right now if the pushing and the shoving had escalated out of control or the food cards didn't start working again.
Oct 12/13 2013 - Pinky
12/13 October, 2013 - AAR, Max Velocity CRCD
(From 'Pinky', the DHS plant from the Richmond Fusion Center. Only joking - initially I thought he was way too high speed to have no prior service, then I realized that he was way too high speed for a DHS team, given what I have heard about their performance on ranges, from eyewitnesses....turns out he's just a squared away tactically competent liberty minded citizen. Awesome, we need more of those, and more of them to stop talking about it and actually do tactical training).
I never knew that Max did a training class. I knew him from picking up "Contact!" via Amazon based only off some website "based on what you are looking at, you might be interested in this" advertisement. You know, the ones you never pay attention to? I thought, surely, no one is really named "Max Velocity:" sounds like a stage name for one of those adult actors or something similar. Read the book, great stuff. Good refresher and new material and very easy to read.
Fast forward to an ar15.com review by someone - the name "Max Velocity" caught my eye and I thought, there it is again, that name. It was an AAR from someone that had attended the CRCD class and had great things to say about it. They talked about what a great time they had and how they'd never experienced anything like it with live fire and pop-up targets. Sold.
Night 1: Rain. More rain. And then some more rain.
Day one: Crawl, walk.
Day one began with a safety briefing, terminology review, and the basics. It was clear from the beginning that Max was going to cater the teaching according to each participants' capabilities. We had a mixture of people from various states, some "free" (VA, TN, FL), some behind enemy lines (MD), but all with a similar mindset and goal for the weekend - learning something. We had old, young, men, a woman, father/son, father/daughter (AWESOME), and then a few of us that fit into the feared category of MAM, Caucasian, Christian (now found in official documentation as something to be feared).
Training began with safe loading, solo trip into "Range One" for our first encounter with the pop-up targets. Contact front, left, right. Crawl.
More in the schoolhouse whiteboard (tip: don't re-arrange the chairs or the magnets on the white board; it impacts Max's OCD and you may receive a death threat) then pairing up with a buddy. I had the pleasure of working with a US Marine (never "former") for the paired drills. We quickly got into a groove and worked well together in the two-man drills (contact, move off the X, fire, move, break contact, etc). This is where we established the basics of communications (contact/move/moving). Walk.
Late in day one, a pleasant smell came wafting into the training area; it was a new Marine, coming to help instruct and provide range safety.
We completed Day One with our first four-man team exercise, grouping each pair into a single entity for the purposes of breaking contact. Peeling, moving, shooting. More walk, but a bit faster.
Throughout Day One, Max took the time to instruct, correct, and make sure everyone knew what they were doing and also why. Later, most of the class met for dinner; we had a choice of the Mexican restaurant or the Italian restaurant. We chose the latter; good conversation, like-minded Patriots all.
Night 2: Rain. More rain. And then some more rain.
Day two: Walk then run.
Day two began with more whiteboard discussion (again, don't mess with the chairs or whiteboard magnets) about breaking contact, assaulting, peeling, getting on-line (no, not the Internet), and patrol basics. Activities for day two took place on the much-larger "Range Two," which was nice and slick due to wet, fallen leaves and mud mixed in. As with day one, we got a solo run and a taste of fighting at longer distances, still facing contact front, left, right. On to two-man runs, same concepts, but adding communication to the mix. "Ivan," the pop-up targets, were starting to experience some issues due to the rain, but still awesome.
We ran a few scenarios in two-man teams, then on to four-man teams. I had the pleasure of teaming up with three guys from TN. We seemed to work pretty well together and I believe we did a pretty reasonable job of dispatching Ivan on our runs. I was able to fill in with another team, the one that contained the father/daughter team (again, AWESOME). After we ran the drill and were lined up in hasty-ambush position, we did a check ("everyone OK? need to re-load? etc, etc) and our team leader, the daughter, shouts "are you OK, Dad?" As Max stated in his blog, this was a somewhat surreal moment. It took me a second, but wow, I have a daughter, and all kinds of thoughts and emotions passed through me. HUGE kudos to the Dad in the pair; you've raised a phenomenal kid and Patriot - thank you.
Late in Day Two, just like Day One, more pleasant odor appeared in the camp, yet another Marine, coming to assist with instruction and safety. At this point, the smell of victory was now heavy in the air, courtesy of the Corps. Note: despite the number of them, to my surprise, nothing at all was destroyed.
The final event of the day was a bunker assault. I won't ruin it for anyone, but it involves a "grenade" (max sure you ask for a pin for yours), covering fire, lots of mud, and all around a good time. A taste perhaps of what a patrol class might look like. To me, this was the "run" in the crawl, walk, run sequence.
All in all, a great weekend. My summary of the training event and Max: an "A+." Would I go to another training done by Max? Yes, without question. On the one hand, a satisfying, fun weekend of camping, shooting, meeting new people. On the other hand, to feel like I need to develop/polish these types of skills means that we as a country are in a really bad spot.
Most encouraging was the fact that I was not there alone - 11 other people were there, training. I'd like to believe America is full of millions more of them that are prepared to do what is necessary to keep America great. Man, I hope so…
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Oct 12/13 2013 – JustARandomGuy
Max Velocity CRCD Oct. 12-13 Class AAR
I attended the Oct. 12 and 13 Contact Drills class at the site in WV.
Over the last couple years I've been seeking training in how to better deploy myself and my weapons if needed, and have done some formal shooting, both classical and tactical. Each time the training I did, or things I saw during it reinforced the need to get training based more in real-life. Much as I hate to say it, some of the “cult of personality” that goes along with the usual tactical training actually ended up making me less inclined to attend, so the search for something realistic, yet still at my skill level turned into something of a wild goose chase.
Anyway, to make a long story short, having stumbled across WRSA’s blog a year or so back, and having read over material by folks like Mosby and LizardFarmer, it was an eye-opener to how much you’re missing in the mainstream tactical shooting community. I was like “I've got to find some way to do stuff like this!”, and lo and behold, Max shows up with a training program right in my backyard.
I put off signing up for a long time, not just because ammo is bloody expensive right now, (not to mention gas…), but because at my skill and fitness level, I had some serious reservations about my ability to attend. However, after reading over every AAR about ten times apiece I decided f*** it, I’m going. So there I was on October 12 standing in the rain with 12 other attendees….
Overall, the class was exactly what I expected- a real f***ing reality check. Seriously.
Everyone talking about fending off the “cannibalistic sanfranciscans” or “fighting tyranny” with their group of buddies they’re never trained with, or gear they've never used or think that they’ll simply “sling up and pick them off” and that “that’s all you need to know” are Fubar’d. If you've just read an FM or watched a DVD- it’s so simple until you get out into the open.
In fact, there’s a little song from band of brothers will probably start running through your head about halfway through day 1…. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMU5x3--h4E)
I don’t mean that in a defeatist way- I just really don’t think people in the shooting/patriot community (myself included) realize exactly what it would take to actually be effective (or at least not get completely massacred in the first 30 seconds) in a real-life engagement. Once you get out there by yourself on the Jungle Walk portion for example, and realize that as you were looking the other way “Ivan” popped up and had all the time in the world to line you up and shoot you before you finally looked over, spotted him and actually started firing back (not to mention getting “off the X”), any delusions of tactical ninjary you may have had will go right out the window… And of course if you listened to Max’s explanation of how a well-prepped ambush would go down, or realized that in real life you’ll probably be taking fire from more than one enemy from more than one direction and that what you thought was good cover really sucks…. Well, you get the idea.
Anyway, enough soap-boxing-
Some things I took away from the class;
1) It rained a lot both days. However, even though I was initially a little annoyed, it was great value added. Because in real life it’s always going to be clear and sunny when s*** happens, right? No- it’s going to be wet, muddy, and miserable and you’re going to slipping and tripping all over everything. If it ain't raining, we ain't training! Having trained in rain and snow before, it wasn't that big of a deal, and once you get into it, it’s actually more fun this way too.
For the folks getting a frowny face here, even though there were plenty of spills, there weren't any safety issues- if it got too hairy, either the drill was paused, or people were moved during the drill to a correct position.
3) Targets; One thing the rain did was mess with the target electronics, so sometimes they wouldn't pop up and down. Frankly, I didn't see this as an issue as it was relatively intermittent, and since you never knew when one would pop up and stay up, it was a good exercise to break out of the “one shot and it’s down” cycle when suddenly you've shot it six times and it’s still staring at you.
One thing I had a small personal issue with is that sometimes if your buddy pair is providing suppressive fire on the target, if you’re both firing at it rapidly and/or simultaneously sometimes you can’t tell if you’re hitting the target or the other guy is - so something I tried to do if this happened was to alternate shots with my buddy – it wasn't something we planned, just something I did if I was having hard time spotting where my rounds were hitting. It also helps keep your fire rate down to an applicable level, if you find yourself laying on the trigger to much.
4) Knee pads- some folks in other AARs have mentioned this, and I’m going to second it. My knee pads were worth their weight in gold this weekend, as you’re always on your knees or on your belly.
5) F*** fixed rear sights. I attempted to use mine with my face this weekend- it didn’t work out to well. If you have an optic, get a folding rear sight. Speaking of which, if you have the means, get a decent optic and put your rifle under it. Due to monetary difficulties, I’ve spent the last couple years shooting irons only- the increased speed and visual clarity you get with a good optic like an Aimpoint is worth every penny you will spend on it.
6) Communication- this is KEY to successfully executing the drills. If you don’t communicate with your buddy/team the result is chaos and confusion- I can think of at least one drill that I participated in that was a complete cluster because of this issue. This was made even more evident (along with the need for TL/ATL persons in your group) during the final bunker assault exercise- if you don’t have good comms there, the nice fellows in the bunker won’t need to shoot you….
Thankfully, I ended up buddy’d with a previous attendee who helped carry things along when I forgot what I was supposed to be doing. Thanks bro!
7) On day 1 I noticed a strange phenomenon for a shooting oriented class of this type- there was a female attendee! I’m sure some folks reading this may be offended, but given the current crop of women who in situations such as this weekend complain about it being to cold and to wet and their rifle being to loud or the gear to heavy, or how they broke a nail and therefore just can’t go on, and yet soapbox about “empowering women” on the way home, I was prepared to NOT be impressed.
I was wrong.
This female attendee not only ran through the mud and rain with her rifle and gear with everyone else and operated competently without a single complaint for both days, but also camped on site overnight while I scuttled back to the hotel. I was like ‘what is this rarity?’
For any other potential female preppers/patriots- here’s your bar.
8)Fitness. This is super important, and something I need to really work on. Running up and down the hills all day long will really kick your ass if you aren’t in shape- and I wasn’t even wearing plates or a pack. At least I have a high thrust to weight ratio (sarcasm)… .. Even though this is a class that you can tailor to your own speed, you will KNOW when you’re dragging.
Anyway, I think everyone here gets this so, onward….
9) Keep your movements short- the “3 second rush” rule and all that. I found myself over-moving at times to get to “better” cover behind a big tree or such, which of course isn’t really cover anyway…. This is a bad habit from other sports I’ve played where you can literally outrun the projectiles coming at you. Obviously you can’t outrun bullets….
Speaking of movement, something to think about is, if this is your first course, slow down. Many folks (myself included) were trying to go too fast with the drills, and it caused some clusters. There’s a lot of info being covered in only two days, and simply moving faster isn’t going to make your team any ‘slicker’.
10) Gear- I’ll soapbox about this later in my own space, just because I’m nit picky about certain things, but a couple related thoughts;
If possible, use active ear pro, so you can hear better- I just used foam plugs, and while I can hear conversation nearby, sometimes when there’s multiple guns firing and people trying to yell over them, you just can’t make it out clearly.
I’ve found it helps to set up your gear so you have a “go to” mag or two for quick reloads, before you have to dig into a pouch. Really helps to get back to shooting quickly if you run dry or have a malfunction in the first few seconds of a drill.
You’re not going to make it far in real life if you only have two or three mags on your gear like some people like to run these days- you can never have to much ammo, and once you apply the timing of a “Rapid” rate of fire of 1 shot every 2 or 3 seconds, you start to understand how finite what you’re carrying on your gear is. Resupply/cache point, anyone?
11) If you’re a civi who’s new to team tactics, as some other folks have mentioned you need to take this class more than once- you won’t get it all the first time through. It’s also not something you and your buddies can attend once or twice and then go home and be like “yeah, we know this s*** now”. It needs to keep being practiced together as much as possible. If you’re like me and don’t have a “group”, it’s going to be difficult to keep fresh on everything.
And on that note, this course will also show you the importance of having a team to work with. You can’t be or watch everywhere at once by yourself.
Overall- Take this course. Time is getting short (maybe shorter than we think)- get here while you still can. It’s well worth the money and expenditure of ammo. As I said before, it WILL change your mind about many things. The company was great as well- It was good to meet other like minded folks and hear their POVs on various topics.
BTW Max, is there an award for longest AAR ever? :D
Oct 12/13 2013 – JL
October 12/13 Max Velocity Tactical CRCD - AAR
What a weekend! 24 hours round trip from Florida to West Virginia. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
The day started with a safety brief. After the brief, Max outlined the day. the cornerstone to the weekend was RTR:
Return Appropriate Fire
Every contact began with the RTR concept. So learn it well.
The first set of drills were individual on Range #1. Max uses this to gauge your proficiency with a rifle. He also uses this time to make sure you followed the safety brief given at the beginning of the day. Even if you're doing everything right, you will hear "Apply safety catch and finger off the trigger" from Max as a friendly reminder. Max watches over the students very carefully. He expects students to be responsible. After all, we are preparing for SHTF, not a picnic so be serious when it comes to weapon manipulation.
Midway through the first day we began working in a buddy pair. In my case, my buddy was my dad. He was running an AK while I ran my AR. We probably shot around 300-330 rounds a day.
The buddy drills consisted of offensive movement toward an enemy position and breaking contact with an enemy position. Again, RTR was the foundation for every drill.
Remember, the lower you are the better. Also, communication is key. I made the mistake numerous times to simply yell my "moving" reply to the "move" command from my buddy or team leader without looking for them or projecting my voice in that direction. You must yell towards the buddy or team. If you don't project towards your team, you might as well not say anything because it is loud and you must be heard above the noise. It is the key to survival for your team.
We cycled through buddy drills; Contact front, left, and right. Break contact front. Then we worked for a short time on peeling when faced with contact left and right. We finished the day in a 4 man team doing the same drills as we did in buddy pairs.
Keep one thing in mind - Max's drills are simple. That's the beauty of this course.
Day two picked up where day 1 left off except we moved to range #2. Range #2 is much larger and more complex than range 1. That becomes apparent rather quickly when you're out of shape like I am. The day progressed with buddy pair drills and team drills. The distances at which targets were engaged was increased. I think the greatest distance was around 75 meters. The day culminated with a squad attack on a fixed position - the bunker. This was the best way to illustrate offensive movements on a larger scale. It was quite satisfying knowing we killed Ivan.
What Did I Learn?
- I am woefully unfit. This became apparent on range #2. Thankfully, that is going to change. I have begun setting goals for becoming an asset to my group rather than a liability.
- Single point slings are very good at allowing the muzzle of my rifle to fill with mud. It was better to un-clip the sling to maneuver with the rifle during drills.
- It pays to have a handgun ready to go. During a drill, the muzzle of my rifle filled with mud and I had to transition to my handgun and engage the target to provide cover for my buddy while he fixed his stoppage.
- I got better about putting spent mags in my dump pouch as the weekend progressed. So work on that.
- You can actually load 31 rounds of 5.56 in both PMAGs and aluminum mags causing them to seat properly. It pays to count.
- I had to change my super cool gear set-up because it was not as functional as I wanted. But my gear does work very well. My rifle ran flawlessly. I couldn't have been happier with it. My optic though bit the dust. I guess that's a good enough excuse to spend money on a better piece of equipment.
- PT PT PT PT
The course was full. 12 students total. Our backgrounds ranged from sales to IT and from truck driver to former military and even a couple government workers. Read his books to get a jump start on the concepts.
Patriot Dawn : The Resistance Rises
Contact! A Tactical manual for Post Collapse Survival
It was great to be together with like-minded patriots training for the eventual collapse of our once great nation. It will be our duty to restore the Republic when that time comes. Max is the man to prepare you for such a time.
I will be back for another course once I drop weight. The middle of next year is what I'm shooting for.
Max - Thank you for all of your time and devotion. You ability to communicate tactics and relay constructive criticism after each drill was greatly appreciated. You always gave us something to improve upon.
See you again soon. -JL
Sep 14/15 2013 - DH
WHAT: Combat Rifle /Contact Drills Class
WHERE: West Virginia mountains.
-Instructor-Max Velocity. The consummate professional soldier and excellent instructor who is also a gracious host.
-Students-12 Patriots with ages ranging from early 30's to early 60's (including one woman). Some were prior military, most were not.
-Me- 40 year Army Reserve officer. 66H MOS (Registered Nurse). Multiple shooting classes and John Mosby's Small Unit Tactics Class.
WHY: The primary reason I took this class was to continue to improve my knowledge and application of small unit tactics in case of SHTF and to be able to pass this knowledge on. Secondarily, to familiarize myself with using an ACOG.
Day one began with introductions and a lecture on safety. Throughout the weekend, safety was reinforced and enforced. You can look at Max's course descriptionhttp://www.maxvelocitytactical.com/Consultancy.html to find out specifically what was covered. I'll not give a verbatim recording of what we did but I will make some comments on the course of instruction.
Max began every point of instruction (POI) by starting off with a lecture on what we were going to do, how we were going to do it and why we were doing it. We began individually working on fire and movement techniques. Max introduced RTR: Return fire, Take cover, Return appropriate fire. This was the foundation for everything we did over the weekend. We began doing this drill individually as we walked along the range and waiting for a popup target. Then we did it again as buddy teams practicing contact front, left and right. When you contact front, you move forward by bounds. One element laying down suppressive fire, while the other maneuvers forward (or backwards in break contact). When contact is left or right, you peel to the side until you have the angle to consider contact front and then you get on line and bound back.
Day two began with the jungle walk in which we walked down a new range and awaited to receive contact from one of the popups. Then we did it again in pairs and eventually by the end of the day working our way up to two four man teams. The culmination was the assault on the bunker with two four man teams. On receiving contact from a bunker, the fire element layed down suppressive fire while the maneuver element flanked and assaulted the bunker.
Some of these things I knew before, but they were reinforced in this class.
Shoot, Move, Communicate is easier said than done. It is very easy to get tunnel vision and lose sight of the overall picture. Tunnel vision also interferes with the ability to detect targets from more than one angle. Even if you have done this before, it is still good to this on a regular basis to keep yourself frosty. Each time this type of class is repeated, it allows a person to focus on a different area that needs work. If all you have ever done is shot on a square range, then shooting after diving for cover while trying to stay under cover will be a new experience for you.
I didn't suck at this quite as bad as I did in my last class so some of it is beginning to sink in. No matter your experience level, this needs to be practiced. As evidenced by two OEF/OIF formerly active Marines doing this class. The physical requirements of doing even minimal small unit tactics is enormous.
NOTES TO FUTURE STUDENTS:
I read AARs of classes before I go to know what I need to know before I go. So I would say to future students the following: Bring a teachable attitude. Don't sweat the equipment. As long as you have the minimal recommended equipment, then don't worry about impressing anyone. PT, good for you, good for me. Even if you are not in the best shape, you can still participate in this class although you may surprised at what it takes to shoot, move and communicate while carrying even minimal gear. Typically when I take a class similar to this, the gear begins to be shed by the end of the first day. I would encourage all potential students to show up in whatever they call battle rattle. It will be an educational experience.
NOTES ON EQUIPMENT:
ACOG- As stated, one of the things I wanted to do was familiarize myself with the ACOG. I found that on the first day, I was very slow to acquire the target. Most of this was because I had gotten sloppy while using red dots since they don't require good sight alignment. The ACOG is not as forgiving. Once I improved my alignment, using the ACOG was faster. For use on targets less then 25 meters, I still believe the ACOG is slower; however, training will minimize this. I am going to attach a mini red dot to the top of the ACOG as is commonly done in the military to help overcome this.
AMMO- I used reloaded ammo during this course. I had one stoppage of my rifle which I suspect was from the ammo as I deformed the neck on some of these cases when reloading them.
KNEEPADS- I used soft inserts in my ACU pants as I have done in all my previous courses. This was woefully inadequate for this terrain. I have had problems keeping kneepads in place historically, but I will resume my search.
Sep 14/15 2013 - John
MVT Training Review – September 14/15 2013
I completed my second training course with Max on the weekend of September 14/15. I attended my first training course in July and knew then I’d be back for more. After initially reading Max's Contact book earlier this year, his training seemed like the logical next step, so I signed up for the July class. The hundreds of hours I've spent at square ranges over the years provided the basic skills and created a solid base to expand upon. Prior to July, I had no tactical experience or training. I’ve been a hunter/shooter for 30+ years and have always wanted to try a tactical course. I looked at a number of sites offering such training, however most seemed to be more LE/MIL/Contractor focused and as a beginner I was concerned that these sites may not be a good fit for me. After reading reviews from students who had completed Max’s course I decided to give his course a try. I made the right choice.
Max has made a number of improvements to his training site since I was there in July. The parking area is larger, he’s built a larger and permanent pavilion for classroom instruction, additional targets have been added and one of the course lanes has been lengthened. Obviously, Max is committed to investing in and improving his site and raising the level of training his students receive. He’s not done either. More improvements are planned and I look forward to seeing those next time I train with him.
At no point, in either class I have attended, did I feel unsafe. I was a bit apprehensive initially, considering this is live fire, with other students whom I don't know and don't know what their skills or capabilities are. The safety and health of each student is priority #1 with Max. He was constantly monitoring our fluid intake, reminding us to drink and watching for any signs of fatigue or injury. During the drills, Max is always very close by, monitoring each student and ensuring we were safe. Before and after each drill, weapons were loaded/unloaded and checked/double checked before we proceed on or off the lanes. I’ve been at a public square ranges where I was more concerned about my safety.
As other students have stated in their reviews, Max uses a progression method of teaching. Crawl, walk, run. Single man, pairs, four man and eight man. Max outlines the theory of the drill on a white board in a classroom setting, provides time for questions and answers, goes over it again and then it's time to practice on the course. Max provides feedback to each student/team at the end of each practice drill. Each drill builds upon the skills learned in the previous drill, expanding in scope and complexity. His teaching skills are excellent and he explains things clearly without getting overly technical or complicated.
That said, you -really- need to be experienced and proficient with your chosen weapon before you attend this training. It should be zeroed and functionally tested and ready for battle. Additionally, you should be able to quickly reload, clear jams and know how to do all of that safely.
I've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and most of it has just collected dust. Showing up with a chest rig or plate carrier at my local public square range would guarantee a face-to-face with the Range Officer and with today's environment, who knows what else. Most of the students brought a lot of gear; chest rigs, loaded plate carriers, battle belts, side arms, day packs, camelbacks, etc. Max has no restrictions on what you wear or bring to train in. You can change gear and try different loads/kits too. Many students did this. Obviously, different situations have their own set of needs and requirements and prevailing weather conditions may dictate some changes as well but this is the perfect setting to put your gear to the test, refine what you carry and ensure you and your gear can hold up in these conditions. As an example, in the July class I used a chest rig and had an inexpensive red dot optic. Half way through the first day the glass in the red dot broke while taking cover and the chest rig was difficult to deal with when reloading while prone. In the September class I used a battle belt and a better quality optic and this worked out very well for me.
The course is physically demanding but not overly demanding. The wooded terrain, your gear, your level of fitness and weather conditions will have an impact on your performance. There is time to rest and hydrate between each drill as the other students take their turn on the course. Personally, I don't do gyms and I don't work out. I'm in good shape and I had no problems with any of the training. I'm even a light smoker! After the July class I started hiking and plan to add additional cardio elements to my lifestyle.
I highly recommend that you bring and use a good quality set of knee pads. Find a set that will stay in place while walking, running and crawling, doesn’t limit your movement too much and has good shock absorbing qualities. If you do what Max tells you, your knees can take a beating and you should invest in a good quality set.
I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm a professional guy who spends 10 hours a day at a desk, has a family, friends, a rural homestead and had no formal tactical training. I’m just your average, normal guy who is concerned about the future. I was worried that I would be too "regular", not "fit in", not in good enough shape and be treated as a "grunt". My concerns were unfounded. The other students were from all walks of life, were like minded and shared similar views, outlooks and concerns for ourselves, our families/friends and our country’s future. Max is "one of us" and we're lucky that he's willing to share his skills with us. Quickly I knew I was among friends and felt very comfortable. This was the case in both of the classes I have attended thus far.
Sign up and take the course. If you're like me, not quite sure, have some reservations/concerns, whatever, it's okay. I'm sure all the other students had the same thoughts and concerns initially too.
Read his books first ( Patriot Dawn and Contact ) and take the course, you'll have no regrets. If you have a team/group of friends, go together and train together. If your friends can’t make it, go anyway, you’ll make new friends just as I did. I'm already looking forward to the next class, possibly taking a small group of friends and hopefully joining up with the friends I've made along the way.
Perhaps I'll see you there!
Sep 14/15 2013 - BD
I attended the September 14/15 session of Max’s CRCD course.
Of the 12 participants, almost all were career civilians like myself with a few military veterans. It was a good group that was motivated to learn.
We all had a similar focus – to prepare ourselves to protect our families from danger.
I came in with a fair amount of “precision shooting” experience and absolutely no tactical training beyond reading manuals, blog posts and watching video.
All my shooting had been on a square range with my target conveniently labeled with a big number and at an exact range. I always had time to prepare for shots and did well hitting the targets.
I am in decent shape for a 48 year old man. I used to rock climb and play hockey, but that’s been a while. I work a desk job, eat decent food and fit in exercise wherever I can.
Out in the hills, carrying a full battle belt and engaging targets as they appeared was a bit of a wakeup call. Marksmanship is important. It is not a cure-all.
It is vitally important to learn contact drills. Owning a bunch of rifles and a pile of ammunition won’t automatically keep you safe.
In the real world, bad guys don’t make themselves available at 500 yards and allow you to take them down.
It’s more devious than that. You can go from a “normal” day to being attacked in a split second. You also have to be able to control the area around your house.
If you come under fire, you need to be able to immediately react to it properly, without thinking or discussing anything. You may not get a second chance.
One of the veteran guys put it this way – reacting to contact should be done with as much thought as using a turn signal when you’re driving. It has to be automatic for you and your team.
Max did an outstanding job taking everyone from simple drills and into two and four man contact drills.
The class really is ego-free. Nobody was trying to impress anybody. It wasn’t a contest. It’s all about learning what needs to be learned.
Max’s recent comments about fitness and gear are spot on. All the preps in the world will be useless if you’re not in shape.
I’d recommend leaving body armor at home and pare down the gear you carry if you need to. West Virginia is still uphill everywhere you go, as we used to say.
That said, don’t let fitness stop you from attending as soon as possible. He will adjust for you and you will learn. You will head home with new knowledge and a new hobby – getting in shape.
Start simple - Do some stretches and pushups every morning when you first wake up. Eat real food. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Cut your own grass. Chop and stack your own firewood. Park at the far end of the lot. Turn off the TV and walk somewhere, then run.
That kind of thing got me thru the first course OK. Now I need to get serious. This is not a drill.
I highly recommend taking the course. I was by myself this time. I plan to return with my friends to work on the teamwork.
Sep 14/15 2013 - JB
Course: CRCD Combat Rifle/ Contact Drill
Background: 55 y/o civilian with no .mil experience. I took the class to expand my experiences with my AR beyond the square range and to become more comfortable with the possibility of needing to use the firearm properly and with effect in a bad situation.
AAR: You have a ton of other after action reports on the experience. They all are true. What I "got out of it" could best be described in the following summary:
1. Incredible respect for the power of good small team tactics. The drills progressed to a final day of 2 and 4 man drills in both a break contact and attack on an enemy. Poor Max dealt with a group of older, clueless civilians and after day one, I could see the stress on his face. "Have I gotten through to them"? was written all over the poor blokes demeanor the first night. Speed and execution were choppy at best with most of us, and it seemed that we were fumbling about with the execution for the first day. The second day brought a much better result on the execution. But the speed was lacking! This brings me to the next thing learned:
2. PT, PT, PT, PT........ physical training. I had lost 20 pounds prior to the course in response to reading Max and John Mosby at mountain guerrilla. Being fat and out of shape makes you nothing but a big target that will do nothing but provide cover fire for your mates when you get shot and they use your corpulent butt as a shield. I have 35 more to go, but towards the end of day one and day two, I am sure I looked like I was walking in quicksand. IT sure felt like it. That 35 can't come off fast enough.
3. I feel that I now have a chance to survive any shitstorm that comes my family's way. I am in no way suggesting that I am anything but a rank amatuer. I need a ton more training but need a team here in my AO. Next trip with the family or others I trust.
Please look in your heart and realize that unless you have experience with the violence of a team attacking a position, and understanding the possible shitstorm that they bring, you will NEVER be prepared to properly defend your family. It takes a courageous person to step out of their comfort zone and understand how little you know, and what kind of work you need to do to make yourself better. Your family and loved ones around you deserve nothing less. Your constitution and country deserve nothing less. I may never be a front line warrior, my age and lack of experience with violence may make that difficult. But damn it, I will be as ready as I can be. Whatever my duties and wherever they take me. If not me, then who?
And Max.... I promise that wherever I end up, it won't be with a Ruger 10/22 :-)
Thank you friend, I will see you again soon, and in better shape and even more deserving of your training. You are making a difference.
Aug 31/Sep 1 2013 - Skittles
As second course student I will give a short and concise review of the benefits of taking the course multiple times. Other students did a fantastic job of detailing the multiple benefits of a new student and I feel there is little I can add to what they said.
On the second time running the course I got to focus on my deficiencies that I noticed on the first time. Communications, hard targeting, better dispersal between fire team members, and fire team leading and accountability were my focus this time. I stated this to Max upon arrival and he made sure to focus on those areas with me. Needless to say at the end of the course those areas were vastly improved. Much beyond what I learned in the military. Max also threw some tougher scenarios into the mix for my team. My team mate was also a return student. The extra thing that Max taught me was how to handle SNAFU situations while under fire. Be it weapon stoppages or team members unable to hear commands due to the noise of battle.
I thought the first course was excellent and a major learning experience even though I was already experienced. The second course solidified the previous courses knowledge and developed the finer points. I would highly recommend taking this course at least twice.
Aug 31/Sep 1 2013 - QuietMan
Rather than write another AAR that says the same things as others have said, read this from WRSA 6 and get there to Max. Now.
Why this training is important, from an old Infantry officer’s point of view.
You’re probably going to be stuck in your region when things go pear shaped. It’s best to be on the same training plan as others. That’s why I ended up at Max’s, as opposed to Mosby’s or Treaded’s training. Are those trainers worthwhile? Absolutely. But I’m coming home, so I wanted to have a common training base with those around me. Given that Max will soon be cranking out about a battalion’s worth of folks per year, the likelihood of running into some of them gets higher every month. It’s a lot easier to get that common operating system in place, now, than to figure it out on the run. Max also does an excellent job of tailoring his program to fit the physical environment in the East, which is radically different from the Midwest and the intermountain West. If you can only afford one course, stick to your region.
Not only in the small unit sense, but also across units and cultures. As WRSA 6 noted, there were .mil and civilians mixed together. Tactically, issues were quickly worked out internally but culturally there were some interesting moments. One gentleman asked if someone had any “ancids.” I looked at him and asked, “Why in the world would he have an Automated Net Control Device (ANCD)?” What he meant was NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). I was joking with him, but it turns out to be an adequate example.
The point here is groups need to be able to communicate across existing cultural boundaries. FM 7-8, 7-10, and the Ranger Handbook are canon here. You former officers, who take your oaths seriously, unto death, need to step up. Our retirement is swirling the drain already. Make them work to take it away.
Max’s drills are fantastic. Practiced until they can’t be done wrong, then rehearsed before the mission greatly reduces the need for verbal comms and subsequent misunderstandings.
One of the issues we discussed this weekend was link up of individuals and units if it all goes worse. Specifically, do we have link up points, events that trigger link ups without comms, and missions (Complete with task and purpose.) to execute should it come to that?
The short answer, under the fine new pavilion, was “No.” OK: At least we know where to start. Individual and small unit training is vital, but we need to know how to link up and what to do next, sans interwebz. This leaderless resistance nonsense is, well, nonsense. Somebody is going to have to get this rolling, coordinate, deconflict, etc. No, I am not attempting to take over. Yes, I will be glad to help. Stay tuned for more.
Plan to stay on site. The friendships, team building, war stories, and informal coordination are worth putting up a hootch.
Max, and others, is doing the community a tremendous service. Please take advantage of it.
Just do it. You don’t need to be able to do a 300 meter shuttle run in 30 seconds with a truck on your back to complete this course, but it would help. You can’t be in good enough shape for combat. Jogging and gym ratting doesn’t cut it.
Get a kettlebell and use it. Surf over to Tactical Athlete, then read and heed.
And for the gear oriented folks:
Know how to run your rifle when you arrive. Safety, sling, mag changes. You will get better but if you show up with a rifle that’s covered in packing grease, you’re going to have problems. Dry fire and manipulation drills will suffice. You don’t need to look like a MagPul training video, but you’d better not look like a third world policeman either.
This was the first time I used the Millet 1-4x ring dot on my M4. It rocks. I left it on one power and turned on the red reticle for most of the drills. The final exercise was a squad attack on the bunker.* I ran it up to 3x for that and was able to see into the interior and place shots as precisely as an old man gasping for breath could.
(*As noted elsewhere by Matt Bracken, attacking a bunker should be avoided, at least in the beginning. Max uses it as a culmination exercise to demonstrate skills and it is a fine vehicle for that. From individual movement techniques to squad collective training in one weekend. Good stuff.)
The Daniels 13.25” rail is excellent. It held my VITAL aiming laser and Sure Fire well, with room left over for another CAT (tourniquet). It free floats the barrel and is money well spent if you have long arms.
My M4 hates HK mags. I’m glad I didn’t pay for them. They’ll be getting a shot of blue paint and then tossed in the training bag.
Grease doesn’t work on an M4. Parts are too small and too closely fitted. Use oil and lots of it.
War belts work. I ran mine with two HSGI kidney pouches (canteen cup and stove, heat tabs, PVS14, assorted junk) HSGI suspenders, a large trauma kit, 6 mags, and a grenade pouch with lensatic compass and cut down signal panel. Everything stayed in place and in the HSGI pouches. I can drop my plate carrier on with no changes to the belt; carry my MOLLE ruck, etc. with no problems. Old school with improved pouches and comfort.
(Attribution: QuietMan is the nom de guerre of a career US Army Infantry officer turned contractor. He had planned to retire to the mountains to worship God, play with grandchildren, and fish. He is quite irritated that politicians are interfering with that plan. He may be reached here.)
Aug 31/Sep 1 2013 – WRSA
En route back from a terrific weekend with Max and a group of other patriots at his WV training facility. AAR follows:
1) Safety: The first consideration anyone attending any sort of non-square-range live-fire shooting class must resolve is safety. You are, after all, trusting a group of likely strangers – that is, every single one of your fellow students and your instructor(s) – not to get you hurt or killed during repeated dynamic small-unit movement exercises – all using live ammo.
Max’s handling of this issue was impeccable. He said during the initial brief that his primary job on day 1 was to observe, and if necessary, correct potential safety issues as the students began their training. Corrections, when needed, were made in a professional way and followed by the students. All attendees were cleared by Max for the more involved exercises on day 2. My personal take was that while everyone (including me) started as completely unknown safety risks to each other at first exercise, that issue was settled without any reservations at all by halfway through day 1.
2) Required Level Of Physical Fitness: Max says on his blog that:
…Tactical training requires a basic level of mobility. Instructors will tailor the level of physical intensity to the capabilities of the trainees and rest will be incorporated into the training day. A moderate level of physical activity will be involved with the training. You will be required to walk over rough wooded terrain carrying your rifle and battle load; fire your rifle from the standing, kneeling and prone positions; make short rushes and get up and down from standing to kneeling and prone positions. You will be exposed to the prevailing weather conditions at the training site and there is no air conditioning and limited shelter…
Our group ranged in age from 65 to 29, and in general fitness level from very good to “needs work”. While realistic tactical training requires stepping out of the comfort zone of the typical 21st-century American, at no time was anyone pushed beyond what they were willing to do. Max was very attentive to everyone’s hydration, rest, and cooling needs, and the few minor injuries that occurred (minor facial contusions due to the intersection of gravitational forces, inexperience in assuming reactive prone positions, and various AR components) were swiftly assessed by Max and treated appropriately. Pretty sweet to have not only your instructor cross-trained as a combat medical trainer, but also have any back-up available, if needed, by an experienced paramedic/fellow student.
3) Fellow students: A great mix of former .mil and non-former-military types, each of whom contributed in material ways to the other students’ understanding and experience. Simply put, the class was a group of modest, personable Americans – all with grave concerns for our country, our families, and our futures – who spent the weekend working together to learn more about helping ourselves and our loved ones in the event of calamity.
Don’t let for a minute your lack of previous non-square-range or military experience keep you away from these classes.
You will be treated well, regardless of your background. Just bring your teachable mindset.
4) Instructor evaluation: My primary objective in attending this weekend’s class was to meet Max and assess him as a potential future trainer for tribemembers.
Not to sound like a shill, but Max is a genuinely decent and humble guy, who knows a boatload about individual and small-unit tactics but who is also willing to listen to, evaluate, and where appropriate, incorporate student feedback as part of the lessons. He was patient, passionate, and persistent, especially in his insistence that one must learn and then practice the basics of simple team movements repeatedly before progressing to more complex maneuvers. His subject matter knowledge, combined with his presentation skills, got all students immersed in the classroom sections, and his use of the “crawl/walk/run” model allowed veterans to utilize their prior training while at the same time permitting new students to progress at a more elementary pace.
In short: A born teacher. I’ll be back with others asap.
5) Subject matter evaluation: As someone who has done only the slightest bit of live-ammo fire and movement drills in the past, I can tell you that this class was far superior to the “read the FM and/or book and then try to emulate same without killing anyone” model in my prior experience. Mosby says it, Max says it, and I have lived it:
You cannot learn this stuff adequately on your own.
Learning and then doing the building blocks of small-unit movement, repeatedly, as explained and demonstrated by an experienced, competent instructor is simply the most efficient (i.e., the quantity of time/money/ammo spent to attain a given skill level) way to get this essential education now while mistakes can be made, corrected, and redeemed without casualties and the resultant heartbreak.
Please note that I am NOT saying don’t read the canon (e.g., FM 7-8, Ranger manual, etc.).
I am saying just the opposite, in fact:
- Read and re-read the manuals (even if all you get out of them is some of the nomenclature), AND
- Also get as many days of practical training from competent folks as you can beg, borrow, or sell/trade guns/ammo/other stuff while you still can.
Or you can simply do OTJ training trying to get your family out of post-Collapse New Jo’burg and see how that works out. Good luck with that.
6) Facilities: More than adequate; think early-stage G camp in permissive area. Latrine is open-roofed but side-secluded and well-maintained/situated; brand-new open-air training pavilion with tables and benches is quite nice; ground is steep and filled with lots of good micro-terrain for exploitation; tent/hammock camping area is small but sufficient; the pop-up firing courses (with potential targets front, left, and center) on two distinct ranges rock; transport, water, and other support from Max is hospitable and friendly.
7) Personal lessons learned:
- Leave enough time for the approach drive; insufficient rest is not a study aid
- Have not only plenty of water, but also salts/electrolytes for rehydration and small snacks/”pogey bait” for energy; you will be moving a lot
- FLIR works well in daylight
- Read, understand, and follow Max’s recommendations regarding the physical training environment; there’s lots of minor but still potentially ‘ouchy’ hazards such as rocks, tree stumps, etc.
- Kneepads. Kneepads. Kneepads!
- NSAIDs work well if you take them in the original prescription dosages
- Experiment with your gear and sling combo before class by doing fast reactive assumptions of both kneeling and prone positions on irregular ground; don’t be afraid to adjust, modify, or even toss your sling into a pocket
- Make sure you know where both your small and large sight apertures hit at 100, 50, and 25 yards
- Red dot. Red dot. Red dot!
- Pop-up targets rock!
- PT escalations including more aerobic non-impact work, “I’m up – he sees me – I’m down” sprints with weight vest, and much more leg/lower back/core strength training
7) Final admonition: Let’s be candid – the kind of training offered byMax, Mosby, Defensive Training Group LLC, and Mason-Dixon Tactical is not going to be around forever.
Unless you are a no-shit Ranger ninja right now with a squad or more of trained-up Gs, you need this kind of hands-on education. Be smart and get in contact with trainers closest to your geographic area of interest.
Your lifespan in the increasingly-probable event of North American hostilities depends on it.
Your family’s survival depends on it.
Sell a gun. Sell some ammo. Sell some useless consumer krep that is meaningless as Darkness falls.
Raise the money for tuition, ammo, and travel expenses.
Get hands-on, non-square-range, no BS training.
For both you and your likely teammates.
While you still can.
Tempus freaking fugit.
PS: Easterners, get in touch with Max here. For most of you, it is less than six hours away.
How much is your life worth?
You won’t regret it.
Aug 3/4 2013 – Tim
In regards to Max’s basic contact drill training, of the weekend of August 3rd and 4th, I’d like to offer some comments. This perspective comes from an old Navy veteran with time in the field with Marines during peace time.
These comments have less to do with what we did and more to do with how Max taught.
Max is a leader. His manner is calm, confident and easy going. He goes about his business with a keen sense of purpose, yet he smiles, laughs and appears to be enjoying his work. This makes for a relaxed atmosphere in a serious training environment. His approach facilitates learning. I was surprised at the level of camaraderie and cooperation in a class with a wide range of age and background and believe Max was largely responsible.
Max offers the contact drills in a steady progression of length and complexity. This is no qualification course, and the intensity of the individual drill is determined by the trainee. In other words, once you learn what to do, the question is, how quickly can you SAFELY do it. In that sense it is a self-paced course.
I found the course informative, challenging, fun and well worth the money. I expect to attend more of Max’s classes.
Aug 3/4 2013 – Sideburns McFree
Greetings from West Virginia, home of Max Velocity's training site. On the weekend of August 3/4, twelve students arrived at the meet up location. Max arrived and led us to the parking area and then to the staging area for a safety briefing. The students were from seven states and different economic backgrounds. Some had prior military experience, most did not. All were ready to transition from the square range to Max's dynamic training ranges.
Max is a proponent of the crawl, walk, run training philosophy. We students learned to engage targets from unknown distances and directions. We progressed from individual drills to pairs, four man teams, and eight man squads. We learned covering fire, team communication, and maneuver including assaulting to clear positions and retreating under covering fire. The second day culminated in an eight man squad assault of a bunker. All of these drills were done with live fire. When Max says "Well done Lads", you know you are on the right track. Sunday evening I left knowing twelve new friends, great guys all. I left with priceless skills for my toolbox and the pride of having a world class training site in my home state.
East coast patriots, if you show up at your square range in full battle rattle, belly crawl to the 25m target berm and engage targets at 100m you will be asked to leave. Combat doesn't happen on a square range and neither should your training. You are one days drive from excellent training. Sign up for a class now before they are filled to capacity. West Virginians, our state motto is Montani Semper Liberi, Mountaineers Are Always Free. This is true only so long as we are ready to defend our state and our liberty. Put down the soup beans and cornbread and join me at the next Max Velocity Combat Rifle class.
-Sideburns McFree, WV
Aug 3/4 2013 - Dave
After Action Review
Max Velocity Tactical
Combat Rifle/Contact Drills
03/04 Aug 2013
1. Course was conducted in eastern West Virginia. Terrain is a wooded, 100 acre area, with hilly, rocky, features. Firing ranges are located in draws and small valleys. A small, tarped classroom area is located at the AA to conduct chalkboard rehearsals, ammo resupply, and lunch breaks.
2. Weather was warm and humid with temps in the 80's. Rain also added to the mix late in the first day. Daylight training only.
3. Beware the speed traps! Obey WV carry laws! If you carry in the vehicle it must be in plain sight and your rifles may not be loaded. (MV: Not entirely true, see bottom of this post for detailed info on this).
4. The class was full with twelve students. After a delayed assembly and brief intro, Max conducted the initial brief discussing admin, environmental and safety issues. One of our teammates suffered a rather serious laceration to his hand that allowed us all to observe a field expedient medical procedure, directed by the victim who happened to be a physician. The wound was deep and required sutures that were administered by a former Navy corpsman who did an excellent job for someone who had been out of that business for twenty years! GO NAVY! (MV: This wound was a self inflicted accidental laceration with a pocket knife that happened at the parking area, not as a result of training!)
5. Max briefed the first event that was very much a crawl/walk/run approach that seemed designed to evaluate student ability to train to proficiency.
6. “Shoot, move and communicate,” was the foundation of the weekend. Return fire, Take cover, Return appropriate fire (RTR). This was gradually expanded to include work in buddy pairs, then fire team and culminated in a squad sized exercise.
7. The use of remote controlled, hit sensitive, pop-up targets allowed for increased realism and safety. These sufficiently simulated OPFOR action and allowed students to safely engage targets at varying ranges, azimuths and elevations.
8. The target system malfunctioned after a period of moderate rain. We were still able to train with these targets despite this. When the rain stopped and the sensors dried out a bit they seemed to work as required. (MV: it was a humidity problem with the hit sensors. It has been researched and fixed - better watertight tape attachment of the sensors to the back of the target facers).
9. The course was able to accommodate students with various levels of fitness into the same exercise.
10. As a group, everyone was well prepared with gear. Personally, I made the decision to ditch my side plates in favor of greater mobility. In the future, I might replace them, depending on the threat. One of the strengths of the unorganized militia is that each citizen is free to choose their own gear and what works for them. That being said, if operating with a team, I would suggest coming to a decision about which ammunition is standard. (Obviously this choice is a luxury.)Between numerous stoppages, usually for ammo, I could imagine that using a 7.62mm platform when the rest of your team is running 5.56mm ARs could work against you during a prolonged engagement. Cross training with various platforms is critical, When planning for Mission, Enemy, Terrain and Troops (METT) in a SHTF scenario will you get resupply or will your buddy happen to have a spare mag of 7.62? A beloved 7.62mm EBR might have to be abandoned if your ammo is low and your team has just “liberated” a few hundred rounds of 5.56mm and an M-4. Oh well.
11. Stoppages. We were encouraged to practice these throughout the course and many of us short loaded one or more mags for this purpose. We learned that when operating as part of a team or pair that your buddies needed to keep up the rate of fire to ensure the enemy was suppressed while you un-fucked yourself. There were serious stoppages too: failure to feed, magazine drops (due to a faulty catch), clogged barrels and a damaged casing that left the weapon unsafe, all occurred without any additional encouragement. I didn't run a pistol on this course although most others did. We never used them, however I am reconsidering this in light of what happened. SGM Lamb advocates rubber banding a cleaning rod to your rifle. I think you really need to in light of what I saw. (See, Green Eyes, Black Rifles). At a minimum, ensure your cleaning kit with a rod is handy, not back at the AA.
12. Be ready to fight. I went on a scenario late in day two, with my Aimpoint switched off and the covers still on. Yes, I felt like a dumbass because some part of me was too tired and sweaty to remember to turn it back on. This resulted in me failing to engage the first target in a timely manner with accurate fire. The battery lasts 50,000 hours, jerky! Make this a part of your routine every time you pick up your weapon or chamber a round. Buddy checks were something we practiced when unloading, but not prior to a scenario. We should have. Your team should always check each other BEFORE you go outside the wire.
13. Some guys ran suppressors. They really do help, especially when trying to communicate to the rest of your team. What was amusing was the suppressed guys fighting next to the HK-91 clone guy. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM, versus pop, pop, pop. On a real patrol, you will probably NOT wear earpro, something else to consider. Eyepro in the rain? Maybe someone will invent some with wipers and defog. For targets in low visibility around the 75-100m plus mark, I doubt you will take the risk of missing him in favor of it.
14. Rally points. After a “break contact,” your team will need a rally point to consolidate and redistribute ammo (see common platform pitch above). There are several ways to do this. The guys we had who had actually been in combat before knew how to do this very well. We learned to set up a hasty ambush as part of this technique, with three guns facing toward the known enemy and the fourth facing the rear.
15. When breaking contact, don't try to walk or run backwards! I tried it, contrary to Max's direction and confirmed it does not work well, especially on rough ground. If a stump takes you out, you are still out. Don't be “That Guy.” (Max, get that patch made!)
16. Max has succeeded in distilling relevant portions of both British and American military doctrine into a training course that allows motivated, liberty-loving Americans to defend their family's lives and homes in many scenarios using basic infantry skills.
17. Camaraderie. I know that I left the course with a deep appreciation for my fellow patriots who attended. They brought a range of skills and personalities, different gear, etc., but we all shared a deep love of liberty and had wide discussions on the future and our ideas of good governance. “Hey you, out there all alone,... can you hear me??” Bottom line: Get some training! Meet like minded Americans and learn how to fight. Your brothers and sisters need you to lead. You are not alone. Build tribe now. Meatspace is real. Use it. Nothing like a solo “jungle walk” with a 360 degree threat to drive that home. Max has done an excellent job with this course and it will only get better. I'll be going again and bringing future warriors with me.
Carry Laws in WV:
From the West Virginia State Police FAQ Page:
Q. Is it lawful to carry weapons (e.g. rifles, shotguns, and pistols) in my vehicle when I travel in West Virginia?
A. Individuals who possess a valid concealed carry permit may carry a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle for purpose of self-defense only. West Virginia permits anyone who can lawfully possess a handgun to carry an unconcealed handgun. If you choose to carry an unconcealed handgun in your vehicle and are stopped by a law-enforcement officer, you must understand that that the weapon will immediately attract the attention of the police officer. The presence of the weapon may lead to action by the officer to ensure his or her safety such as the drawing of his or her weapon, ordering you from the vehicle, and/or performing a pat-down search. Weapons intended for hunting must be unloaded and in a case when transported in a vehicle.
It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.
Open Carry (Without A Valid Permit/License)
Open Carry is legal. In a vehicle the defensive handgun must be in plain view. Places as listed in the “Places Off Limits” above apply to those who open carry. When open carrying, be prepared for Police Officers to question you as open carrying firearm gets their attention.
The state preempts all firearm laws in the state and local authorities can’t have Laws/Ordinances against
open carry. Charleston, South Charleston, Martinsburg and Dunbar had firearms laws that were
grandfathered and may ban open carry. Starting on or about July 10, 2013 Home Rule cities can ban open
carry on all their property. Remember that if you enter any property and the owner/responsible person ask
you to leave you must leave. Failure to leave can result in Trespass Charges. The Minimum age for Open
Carry is 18
Aug 3/4 2013 - Brian
Welcome to the 360 Degree Range. Uniforms aren't an assumption. Fights are chaotic, fast and in your face. In 4th generation warfare a small unit is your best hope of success and survival. To that, a fire-team is the foundation of the fighting unit and of maneuver warfare.
We don't have to draw up a "Road Warrior" scenario to make the point that, someday, you'll have to secure a perimeter or track down a band of marauders. You need to learn how.
Because they're selected and trained as cadre team-builders, SF guys tend to make excellent teachers. Max is true to form, with a focused and well-paced delivery that will connect with beginner and military veteran alike. You WILL learn. (Note: SF (Special Forces) is a U.S. Military Unit, which I was never in - it's a terminology thing, but just to be clear)
The instruction alternates between short classes at the white board and staging for and executing the drills. The drills were scenario-based; a nice touch. I really got the sense that Max had so much more he wanted to teach, and this class could have been a week long and remained engaging.
As with every firearms course the first order of business was the safety brief. However, live-fire team drills are obviously more hazardous. Max instructed we'd be moving muzzles down and safeties-on. Turns out that everyone was proficient and cautious.
The course has no stated pre-requisites. However, I really recommend at least a Fighting Carbine course. That is where you'll learn to run your rifle, perform magazine-changes and immediate action (for malfunctions), and move and transition. Also, that's where you'll shake out most of your basic gear issues.
Summary: Attend this class. There are few instructors teaching fire-team movement to civilians. You will learn the basics of patrolling and learn to perceive yourself as part of a whole. Max teaches this remarkably well, and takes you through "what to do" right to the doorstep of "how to think". Which wins fights.
Aug 3/4 2013 - Brian
AAR: Max Velocity Tactical Combat Rifle/Contact Drills
3-4 Aug 2013
Location: West Virginia Mountains
(This was also posted on AR15.com HERE)
If you are a newcomer to tactical shooting like me, your experience is probably limited to punching paper at 100 yards on a linear range. Or maybe you’ve taken a tactical carbine course where you did a little buddy pair fire and movement, shot behind simulated barriers and killed more paper targets on said range. That’s pretty good stuff for learning gunfighting but it doesn’t realistically train a sure-enough team to react to 360 degree contact.
Max’s course opened my eyes to this reality. His combat rifle course is three-dimensionally realistic in that he uses a 360 degree range in the woods, over rough and uneven terrain with multiple pop-up targets to the front, left and right. There aren’t many places a civvie can get this type of training. Max uses this range and his experience to effectively train the student in react-to-contact and fire and movement tactics.
Day 1 starts out on the shorter range at the individual level with react to contact drills. Max uses a straightforward, no-nonsense teaching style to convey the importance of reacting, taking cover and then returning accurate fire. After starting with contact front, the student moves on to running this drill with contact left and contact right.
The training day smoothly progresses to fire and movement tactics with buddy pairs and four-man teams. Here, the student learns movement in bounds with one man delivering fire support while the other man either moves to break contact or advance on the position. This gets real fun at the four-man team level where buddy pairs peel from left or right contact, even working on getting back on line as the attack angle becomes acute.
While max doesn’t come across as a drill instructor, he certainly reinforces the need to communicate during fire and movement. By the end of the day, when the moving team member heard “STOPPAGE!”, you better bet he learned to hit the dirt mid-stride and find cover.
Day 2 takes off where the first training day ends. With sound tactics learned, drills are ran on a longer, wider and deeper range to drive the lessons home. On this range, contact comes during a “jungle walk” type patrol. Humping your gear up a slight hill as you advance to the contact area elevates your heart rate and respiratory cycle, adding another element of realism when fire and movement begins.
With the buddy and four-man teams, the jungle walk is where the rubber meets the road. It takes communication to relay target location – at times multiple targets in unknown locations. You quickly learn to get your tail to cover, locate and engage the “enemy” so your team can get off the X. You really start to appreciate the idea of frequent practice with your team so you can learn their individual habits during movement and communication. Wow, good stuff.
After an instructional period, the day was topped off with an eight-man team bunker assault. A four-man team remained in fire support while the second team flanked and cleared the bunker. Awesome!
Build a team and train, train, train. You can’t do it alone.
Communicate. Clearly. Target location, “move”, “moving”, “get on line”, etc.
No movement without fire support (and make sure your rifle fires before telling your buddy to move)
This course offers practical training in the application of contact and fire and movement tactics. The skills learned are simply something you cannot acquire by shooting paper targets on a linear range. It certainly helps to be trained by someone who’s been there and done it. We had tactical newbies and veterans alike and they all seemed to learn new skills and re-hone old ones. If you have thoughts of training with your pals as a team, you gotta get them to this course. I’m looking forward to advanced classes in the near future.
Brian from Georgia
Aug 3/4 2013 - Pat
The Combat Rifle / Contact Drill course that Max put on this past weekend was excellent. As a former Marine Infantryman I was very suprised at the amount I learned and revisons to my own SOP. Max has a very mild and easy going approach to his training which creates a fantastic learning enviroment for anyone at any level of experience. His non-dogmatic approach to what works versus what doesnt is very enlightening. He cuts out all the gimmicks and trains what works. A lot of what I learned was how to make things much more simple and therefore much more effecient. Team commands and communications for me were broken down and remade into a much better form through his course. My personal opinion of Max and what drives him is simple: passion to train people. To help them. He is a calm professional and has a passion to teach. There is no ego trip behind his desire to train.
As for any negative comments about Max's course, I can honestly say I have none. The training was as realistic as possible without someone shooting back. The terrain is rugged and the enviroment is challenging. The course was very well done and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to further their training and get beyond the Square Range drills.
July 20/21 2013 - James
After Action Report - Max Velocity Tactical Combat Rifle / Contact Drills
July 20-21, 2013
Vicinity of Romney, WV
Excellent course. Would certainly recommend to a friend, neighbor or fellow prepper, looking for a class that moves them beyond a static, square range. Plan to attend AGAIN in the future.
Long winded write-up:
I had the opportunity to attend Max’s Combat Rifle / Contact Drills class last weekend.
It’s been two weeks now, the aches and pains of the weekend had all subsided within a week. Some of them were from bumps and bangs as a result of running, ducking, dropping to a knee and diving to the ground in the woods. But a lot of the aches and pains were indicators of areas to improve in my workout routine. I am a professional e-mail jockey, most of my day is spent with butt firmly planted in a chair, eyes focused on a monitor. I try to get 45-60 minutes of circuit style weight training in place of a typical lunch break on weekdays. Yard work and around the house manual labor on the weekends. Definitely not good enough for the performance level I wanted to exert during the class. I think I managed to move through the drills with a reasonable pace, but was certainly out of breath afterwards (and it was hot). What really got me was the muscle soreness in my ankles and legs the first couple days following the class. Running, turning and walking on the uneven, angled terrain had me struggling a few days later on stairs and through the office. I am sure I would have had to slow my pace on Max’s range during, hypothetical, days 3 & 4 of a longer class. Short sprints, added to my workout routine, on hills and with gear, or equivalent weight, may improve this.
Course Content -
Just about everything that Max taught during the weekend can be read in his book, Contact, in a collection of articles on his blog or as a fictional narrative in Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises. But the experience of doing is invaluable and worth the investment. Max’s class runs you from the individual exercise, to working in a buddy pair, team and then squad. It becomes readily apparent that the concepts and techniques which make fluid movement in a buddy pair scale as the unit size grows. I recommend you get the book(s) and attend the class.
In a few cases, the wording Max uses in his book is verbatim what he said during the class, this is certainly not a bad thing, the reinforcement of his repetition is good. It also makes the point, that Max is intentional in the words he writes and uses in class.
Course Instruction -
The instruction method works well. Saturday started with a quick and effective safety brief under a tarp around some picnic tables, then moved on to an overview of the weekends events. A discussion of ‘RTR’ and how it might vary in a situation and we were off to the ‘small’ range for individual RTR practice from Contact Front/Left/Right. A brief break and then Max introduced RTR as a buddy pair on patrol. As Saturday progressed, the course built up to advancing, breaking contact and peeling in buddy pairs. This first range is arranged in a way that allows everyone in class to view the current student and learn even when you are not the one shooting. Max continually shares points and advice with the group as it comes up during the exercises.
On Sunday we moved to the longer range, starting with an individual jungle walk to refresh the RTR reaction, use of and breaking of cover. Then back to pairs again and up to teams. Sunday culminated in a live-fire, but orchestrated, squad assault. All in all, it was a very effective increase in the pace of the course.
On Sunday, mid-afternoon, the team I was part of had an opportunity to execute a contact left, peel and break contact just as the West Virginia sky opened up and dumped rain down. No one thought twice as we continued through the exercise, increasing distance with the first target when a second contact occurred. The team continued to place effective fire on target while communicating and peeling in buddy pairs back to a rally and running back towards the shelter of the tarp. We were all drenched, out of breathe and smiling. In my mind, just one of the highlights for the class.
A few words on Max -
Max is intense and his commitment will exceed that of even the most energetic students in class. There were a few occasions during the two days, as I sat during a break, catching my breath and a bite to eat, when I noticed Max had hustled off to check targets, set up for the next lesson, make sure the target pits were draining correctly during the deluge of rain on Sunday or some other endeavor. Then it would occur to me that for every iteration through a scenario I did, Max accompanied me AND the other buddy pairs and/or team, for every iteration. The guy went ALL day, moving more and faster than everyone in the class and maintained the ability to coherently lecture (in the good, educational sense) before the next exercise. The few moments where he was still were after he pulled a thermos of hot tea from his bag, yelled for everyone to “Drink water, stay hydrated!”, poured a small cup and sat back. But then he was up and going again. I think it is obvious to someone who takes Max’s class that he does this out of a desire to share his knowledge with those looking to learn and because he really enjoys it.
If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, one weekend, a few easy hours drive, a few hundred dollars and as many rounds of ammo, this class is definitely worth your time and investment. If you are willing to travel from further out or will be in the area, don’t hesitate, you are in for some great training.
July 20/21 2013 - Aaron
My dad and I just completed the Combat Rifle course with Max Velocity Tactical last weekend. Let me start off by saying that this was an amazing eye-opening experience that was truly a blast. Max is a true professional and an excellent instructor. I'm active duty military and the training I received with Max this past weekend was on a completely different level than anything I have done on Active Duty. He teaches you in a crawl, walk, run format to ensure you are ready and comfortable with the lesson/objectives before you fire your first shot. You learn the fundamentals in a relaxed classroom environment then execute the lessons on the range. If you are considering taking this class I would HIGHLY recommend it. I don't know how I can return to a square-range after taking this course. I usually don't write testimonials for anything, but this experience was AWESOME and I believe you owe it to yourself to sign up for this class. You won't be disappointed!
July 20/21 2013 - Rob
Company: Max Velocity Tactical
Course: Combat Rifle / Contact Drills
Location: Romney, WV
Dates: July 20-21
I recently attended Max’s Combat Rifle class in West Virginia with 7 other patriots. The class was a representation of what makes this country great. Ages of the participants ranged from late 20s to early 60s, and professions were just as varied (everything from active military, IT, small business owners, and engineers). I’ve had the privilege of attending several carbine classes in the past, but this was my 1st class away from the square range. Given that, I’m not sure I want to go back to the square range for training (I do understand that the square range has its place for training, it’s a great place to learn shooting fundamentals and firearm manipulation, both of which you should have an understanding of before attending a class like this).
The class definitely followed the crawl, walk, run methodology. Max does a great job of getting you thinking about real world encounters. All too often we work on the square range punching holes in paper with no reaction from the paper (like a boxer who only hits a heavy bag, but never spars with an opponent). While that is great for building skills via repetition, it’s just not realistic and not something I would want to replicate in a real fight. From the very first reaction drills, you understand the need to Return Fire, Take Cover, and then Return Appropriate Fire.
The class progressed from Reaction Drills, to Fire and Movement Drills, to Contact and Break Contact Drills. These were done as an individual, in pairs, and then as small teams. Running through these drills was a complete eye opener. These types of drills will keep you alive in a fight. For all of the drills I have run on the square range, none of them come close to this type of training and coordination with other team members. The class finale was executing a flanking maneuver with 2 teams (fire support and flanking team) and taking out a bunker.
Thoughts, Ramblings, Learning:
1. The training site is fantastic, Max has 2 “lanes” to run these drills and they are both different to vary the training experience.
2. The use of pop-up targets really made the training experience more realistic. Even when you know where the targets are, and which target is going to show itself, the anticipation adds to the training experience and execution of the drill (similar to being timed on the square range).
3. Ammo Usage – this is a class where you can burn as much or as little ammo as you want. I’d guestimate 300 rounds on the low end, the sky is the limit on the high end. I used ~500 rounds, but you could go much higher than that depending on how much return and suppressive fire you want to throw down range. The pop up targets are reactive and have a “rhythm” to them (1 shot every 3 seconds to knock the target down and have it pop back up so you can shoot it again)... but feel free to double or triple tap away at the target, that is your call.
4. Physical Fitness – This is a class where you will work physically. Both of the lanes face up the mountain, so get ready to fight up and down the mountain. You can always move at your own pace, but you will be breathing heavy on several of the exercises. The drills are spaced out so you can catch your breath, but get ready for 5-10 mins of “fighting,” followed by recovery while the other teams go (repeat all day long).
5. Another thought on PT... especially on day 2. There are several drills where you have to patrol up the lane before you even start the drill. By the time you reach the contact point you are already breathing heavy and the anticipation of the contact just adds to the experience. Don’t let the physicality of the course scare you away from training, it was well worth it, and if anything, will help you identify where you need to work to improve. I’m going to change a few things in my PT as a result of taking the course. (MV Comment: Rob is a physically fit guy and worked hard. Others are less physically fit and are still able to complete the training, just at a slower and steadier pace).
6. Common Range Mistakes take on a whole new meaning during this type of training:
Example 1 – Ammo Management. Several times I called for a my teammate to move, only to run out of ammo as soon as my teammate broke cover, got up, and started to move. Knowing I just told my partner to move without appropriate cover fire was an eye opener.
Example 2 – Not seating the mag in the mag well correctly (push / pull dammit!). After lock and load I always eject the mag and look to see that that the 1st round was stripped in to the chamber, then I re-insert the mag. Twice I had not reseated the mag correctly only to walk all the way up the lane, make contact with a target, take cover, fire 1 round, and have the magazine fall out of the gun... all while that damn target is flapping up and down and I’m “taking fire.” It was an eye opener for me and I hope the lesson was finally learned (insert mag, push/pull).
Max has a real passion for this training, you can feel that passion in his blog postings and his teachings. I personally will be looking for 1 more training weekend with Max before the year is through.
July 20/21 2013 – Sam
“I am never going to give up. I will not bend knee to these people.”
Eight students were sitting around two tables shaded by a tarp as Max Velocity’s voice competed against the pouring rain. We all listened intently as Max gave one of the most forceful and convincing talks on resistance to tyranny that I’ve ever heard. He offered to end his tirade as we all looked around at each other, eyes wide in amazement that anyone would want him to stop. As if we needed any further proof, Max is balls to the wall on Liberty, understands the Constitution, and is willing to fight and die (and teach) for both.
We all arrived on the first day at the meeting point around 0745 and had a few minutes to introduce ourselves. After introductions, we loaded up into our trucks and followed Max down a winding dirt road through backwoods West Virginia.
Once we all unloaded our gear at the training site, we received the safety brief and range orientation. Max has a really great set up back there; three ranges, each serving a different purpose. On the first range we practiced reaction drills as we engaged reactive pop-up targets. After ensuring that each student had the fundamentals to engage the targets timely and accurately, we went down to the drawing board.
Max used the white dry erase board to explain the basics of fire and maneuver: cover, suppressive fire, bounding, and the three to five second rush. After the instruction, we went back to the range to practice live fire and maneuver in pairs. At no time during live fire exercises did I feel unsafe, and Max stayed nearby to observe movements, maintain safety, and call a cease fire if conditions became unsafe. After each team achieved the standard, we went back to the white board for a lunch break and then to learn the next drill.
After lunch and some good conversation, Max explained the React to Contact drill. Although the training shared the same style and content as military combat training, the context of the training was more realistic of homestead defense, irregular warfare, or other post-SHTF scenarios – in short, really useful drills. Max walked us through the buddy “peel” before we went back to the range and practiced it with live fire. Max was quick to answer any questions and ensured that each student understood the drill before being expected to perform it.
Sometime after 1700, we convened back at the drawing board for an end of training day brief. The students decided to all meet up at a local Italian restaurant after some time to clean up. Two students camped out on site, and Max brought them solar showers. During dinner we talked about the reasons why were all there, the myriad of blogs and websites each student followed, and where the future might lead all of us. Dinner was good, the camaraderie was great, and, after a tiring day running uphill in the heat and multi-cam uni’s, that night of sleep was even better.
Day Two started in the same manner as Day One. After an explanation of the Jungle Walk, we went to a different range where each student walked up individually and engaged the different pop-up targets. We again practiced the “RTR” drill that we had learned the day before. Max pointed out any deviations from the correct course of action after contact, which most often seemed to include an immediate return of fire followed by seeking solid cover. Next came the Jungle Walk in buddy pairs where we were given the scenario that the two of us had been cut off from the patrol after a TIC, and had to make our way back to the rendezvous point. My teammate and I patrolled up the Jungle Walk and engaged each reactive pop up target using all the fundamentals of React to Contact that we previously learned.
Next we moved to the third, larger range where we practiced React to Contact drills with a team (two sets of buddy pairs). By this time we were all winded and tired from fighting up hill for the past day and a half (where the idea of defensible terrain was solidly reinforced) and Max ensured that we were keeping hydrated and still safe to continue. We ran though a few iterations of live fire buddy pairs and teams where we practiced both breaking contact and assaulting through the objective. Max explained when a pair or team would assault through an objective, and when we would want to break contact and just haul ass away from the enemy to live and fight another day.
Just as we were finishing up team drills, we noticed the heat moving out and the clouds moving in as thunder boomed in the distance. Within a few minutes it was raining cats and dogs, and the group met up again under the tarp. After seeing that the storm wasn’t letting up anytime soon, we began pelting Max with questions about various aspects of training, his experience, and theoretical scenarios. At some point, Max opened up and let us know what he really thinks. You should ask him sometime. I knew that Max was a Patriot before I showed up but after his impromptu speech of Liberty, tyranny, and the safety of his family, I knew that he had a commanding grasp of what the promise of Liberty and the threat of tyranny represent, and that his feelings toward the two are authentic. I really just wish that everyone in our community could have heard it.
After the rain subsided, Max walked us through the squad assault on a fixed position. Max gave us a foundational understanding of the eventual if not immediate folly of the fixed position, and then we kitted up for the final assault, most of the crew still wet from the rain. Max acted as the squad leader and led each fire element through their roles and responsibilities, from the first element as the base of fire, to the maneuver element as the intimate fire support and bunker assault team. We assaulted through the bunker twice and had the opportunity to be on different teams. Mission accomplished.
We finished up with an AAR and then some more discussion. After the training, each of us had an understanding of the drills and their purpose, and their employment in a post-SHTF situation. Many of the drills and doctrine are explained in Max’s several books. I don’t read a lot of fiction but I’ll soon be reading his fictional novel Patriot Dawn, as well as his two others, Contact and Rapid Fire. I’ll finish up this AAR with one universal truth and then two other takeaways.
I’m definitely not in the best shape I can be. Running a couple times a week is altogether insufficient training for sprinting during an uphill assault with gear and a weapon on defensible terrain. By the second day my legs weren’t as strong as Day One and my in-training performance suffered as a result. “Train how you fight” is the standard mantra for many units so I need to begin all-terrain hiking, running, and sprinting in kit and/or ruck. Period. (And cut back on beer.)
Too much square range.
“After this, I’m never going back to square range training,” one of the students said. I agree. The bench is great for developing good shooting fundamentals but nothing takes the place of shooting on uneven ground, in unfamiliar positions, behind cover, and out of breath. It’s much more realistic of on-the-ground conditions when you can expect to shoot for your life. The harder we train, the easier the fight will be.
We did some of the same drills and were taught some of the same doctrine in Army training. That knowledge, like shooting, is perishable. For the uninitiated, those who are only starting to train, or for others for whom this type of training is now relatively ancient, we all need to learn and practice under supervision of a qualified instructor like Max. The only thing worse than getting killed is killing your buddy, and post-SHTF fire and maneuver is a good way to experience both. If your wife is your teammate, if your brother-in-law, or cousin, or father is your battle buddy, then you should be training with that individual. Each teammate should have an intimate knowledge of team SOP and have the same training under the same conditions so you operate as a team instead of just being on the same theoretical list.
My advice after experiencing Max Velocity Tactical’s Combat Rifle/Contract Drills is to take the course for yourself. If you live in the mid-Atlantic/Appalachia or Ohio Valley area, then go. Max is a prolific blogger and writer, and you can learn so much from his blog. Max is a super nice guy, an adept trainer, and is authentic in his desire to train Patriots in the skills that will save their lives or the lives of someone they know. Do yourself a favor: read his books and take his training. I did and I’m a better gunfighter for it. Max Velocity Tactical.
June 22/23 2013 - Doc
AAR June 22/23
If I had to choose one word to describe the experience I had with Max and the knowledge I received at his hands it would be this: MANDATORY! If you own a battle rifle or any type of firearm and do not possess the knowledge to use it safely and tactically, then why do you have it!
I have owned weapons and hunted all my life. I regret having never served in our nation’s military – thank you to those who have – I mean that sincerely. The weekend with Max was a huge eye opener for me. It’s all well and good to sit back with your buddies and talk about how you would react when TEOTWAWKI happens, but what will you actually be able to do with all the cool gear and weapons that you have? I trained with open sights this weekend. I figured that if I could do the course with iron sights I sure would be able to do it with anything else as well. I love technology, but hate relying on it alone. Skills trumps stuff any day.
Max was an incredible host, well prepared, knowledgeable and able to communicate the material professionally and practically no matter the skill level of the participant in my group. He was patient and ever mindful of our abilities and was sensitive to our tolerances. He never pushed anyone further than they could go, but encouraged everyone to do their best – remember that this training could save the lives of you and your loved ones.
To say the range was very cool would be an understatement. I’ve never been in the woods, simulating contact drills with live ammo and reactive target systems. Although no one was firing back at me, the adrenaline was pumping and it was very realistic. Having a working knowledge of my gear and weapons system was paramount to getting the most out of this weekend. Max also gave me some tips for caring for my weapon and taught me some practical pointers that I wouldn’t have gotten from the local gun store or Bass Pro Shop.
I plan on returning to Max and his range for continued training and preparation. A sincere Thank You to you and your family Max for helping me take the next step in my training. Peace.
“Doc” in North Carolina
June 22/23 2013 - Ben
I signed up for Max’s two day training course on the recommendation of a friend. I have been a firearms collector and shooter for several years but had never taken any type of formal training. My friend and I traveled from Upstate New York, which was around a seven hour drive. We decided to camp for the weekend and were met by Max on Friday evening. The camping area was very nice with plenty of space for tenting, a fire pit and a latrine. Max went above and beyond in making sure that we were comfortable: ensuring we had enough water, even providing us with coffee and breakfast burritos each morning! On Saturday evening he also supplied us with hot solar showers, which was a godsend after running around in the summer heat (West Virginia gets HOT!).
The course was very informative; Max would give a short briefing on what we would be practicing, and made sure everyone understood what we would be practicing before proceeding to the range for live fire. Max had a keen eye for safety, ensuring that weapons were loaded/unloaded in a very regimented fashion, and ensured that at no time did anyone cross into another’s lane of fire. He also made a point to ensure that everyone was staying hydrated throughout the entire course.
The range was very different than any I had ever been to. Do not expect to be training on a square range practicing ninja moves; instead plan on moving rapidly from cover to cover among the many trees and hills that make up this one-of-a-kind training facility.
The fellow attendees were a great group; everyone was very friendly and courteous. The communication and insight between one another was incredible and I never once doubted the safety of anyone.
Overall, this course was amazing. Max’s level of professionalism combined with the unique facility and great communication between fellow students provided a fantastic training opportunity unlike any other. I would highly recommend this course to others seeking the most practical, real-world training available. Looking forward to training with Max in the future!
Thanks Max! Ben Syracuse, NY
June 22/23 2013 – Helen & Joe
Hi all, Helen & Joe here.
We have just taken Max Velocity's Combat Rifle/Contact Drills course for the second time. Here are our observations, in a stream of consciousness format.
1. We focused less on weapon issues and more on communicating with one another(and weight of kit- see below). Including more wife/husband tiffs! ARRRGH!! DON"T PUSH ME!! There was a LOT more talking/shouting (to be heard, not anger) this time. We also knew the drills, so upon hearing support fire, we knew we could/should move. We felt more fluid.
2. Static paper targets for contact right/left, have been replaced with popup targets. Much-mo-better!
3. We predominantly used prone positions for cover which led to significant muscle soreness on Monday. More PT.
4. Weapon reloads:
This time we short loaded mags to force reloads during the drills. We had tac reloaded during our first course with Max to limit the variables, read minimize brain farts. Prone reloads are NOT executed the same as standing or kneeling. Practice prone reloads.
5. Weight of kit:
Our battle belt (BB)with 8 rifle mags, 2 pistol mags, IFAK, dump, 9mm M&P/G17 pistol w/ Tlr-1s white light=== 19 lbs(5.56), 24 lbs(7.62S)
A plate carrier (PC)with 2 plates, 4 pistol mags, leatherman, folder knife, tourniquet, flashlight, ranging compact binocs, Motorola DT650 radio, Camelback 3L(CB)===29 lbs (w/lite plates) , 36 lbs (w full size plates)
Sig 556 w/ Eotech 552 & 3x magnifier, buis, IR & white light flashlight, full mag 5.56, sling === 13 lbs
Sig 556R w/Eotech 552 & 3x magnifie, buis, white light flashlight, full mag 7.62 Short, sling, DBAL IR/Vis === 14 lbs
Camelback 3l(CB)===8 lbs
So Sat am, Helen was carrying 19 + 29 + 13 = 61 lbs with no food, spares, sleeping kit, foul weather gear, extra clothes or extra ammo.
I am carrying 24 + 36 + 14 = 74 lbs again, no food, sleeping kit, foul weather gear, extra clothes or extra ammo.
We lasted through the morning... At lunch we ditched the PC and just ran the BB, CB and rifle. Helen carried 40 lbs, me 46 lbs. Ditching 21 and 28 lbs respectively. I am continually amazed by Helen's pluck. She never bitched, just sucked it up and drove on. As a percentage of body weight she out carried me by 18 lbs. I really need to improve my conditioning so I don't let her down.
A tarp/ poncho, poncho liner, extra socks, pants, shirt, food, extra ammo ~ 10- 20 lbs. depending on sleep comfort and duration.
So the big question: Can you be effective, by any metric, carrying an extra 80 to 100 lbs? Right now? When?
6. Assault on Bunker:
You GOTTA do this!!
The coordination of support team suppressive fire and flanking maneuvers Max taught will put your game up a significant level. Probably the same level of effectiveness improvement as you experienced with buddy team fire and movement coordination beyond the individual
Smoke grenades for cover in a small unit context are game changers, probably life savers. Problems: How big, how many, how many pounds?
7. The notion of scalability of forces, individual to buddy team to pairs of buddy teams,..,vehicles,... really started to make sense. Fire and Movement.
8. TC3, Man down and Squad leader tactical command and control courses will come if more people return for training! We all need the training and Max is the man to guide us.
9. I am still crawling, but I have also had a few halting periods of walking. I am anxious to start walking easily with periods of running. To do that I need more of you guys to come back so we can develop a core competency that Max and we all are comfortable with.
10. You don't rise to the occasion. You fall back to your last level of training.
11. The character of the people we have trained with these past two times is remarkable! Good people, salt of the earth people, trustworthy people, confident people, people who make a difference!
Helen & Joe AKA Wanna-be-West Virginians
June 22/13 2013 - Helen
I have taken Combat Rifle/Contact Drills twice now with my best friend, my husband. I am writing this from a woman's perspective to hopefully convince other women who may be undecided that they will be welcome, that they can do it, that they will have fun and learn a lot and that they will be glad they trained.
We were all greeted by Max with a sincere, thank you for coming, "I am really glad you came." He led our car caravan to the trail head where we unloaded our gear into his 4 wheel Polaris for a short drive to the outdoor classroom. Since our first visit, he installed a four sided, camo latrine. So if you aren't a backpacker and would be uncomfortable hiding behind a tree, have no worries. Toilet paper and baby wipes and hand sanitizer were provided.
We sat around the classroom picnic tables under a tarp for a short lecture/briefing. After it was clear that we knew what would be happening next, we donned our gear and went to the first trail with four pop up targets. We went through, first as individuals, and later as teams of two. Max provides clear guidance and a quick critique after each run. He is not a loud drill master. His positive attitude conveys that he really wants you to keep improving with each exercise. Our fellow students watched and gave encouraging feedback when we got back from each exercise, learning from each other too.
We then broke for lunch back at the outdoor classroom where we had time to get to know each other. The one thing I kept hearing was, I wish my wife had come too. I have been very impressed with the people who came for training. Excellent, really good people you would want to spend the weekend with. Everyone had good muzzle and trigger finger control and was safety conscious.
At no time did I feel rushed or was too tired ( I am 55 ). Max kept the sessions just long enough and made us go back to rest, get another lecture/briefing and made sure we were drinking enough water. I was getting over a knee injury and still was able to patrol with my heavy Sig 556, mags, pistol and water. Rapid fire and taking a knee or going prone in cover for precise fire was repeated with every exercise. Communication and moving with your two or four man team was practiced with multiple targets fighting forward or fighting back (retreating). Contact front, left, right and rear drills moving one at a time or as teams of two and four.
At the end of day two we had the choice of participating in the bunker buster drill or not if we were too tired. It was way cool with flanking to the left down into the dry stream bank, having the cover of a smoke grenade and then trying to crawl up the stream bank. My husband had to push my butt forward to keep me from falling back. I was the shortest in the class... Then I crawled with my Sig up to the bunker, and let the two targets have it, as my husband provided depth cover.
Since my knee was better this time, I tried more prone position in cover. I was not the fastest getting up and moving briskly to the next position, but I kept going safely. I think our communication and movement really improved this second time around and I look forward to training with other husband and wife couples next time. This is not just for guys. You have a responsibility to your partner to train and back him up.
Helen ---ARRRGH! Left the safety on again!!!!
June 22/23 2013 - MIke
About The Area:
Romney WV being the closest town to the training area, I found it to be a quaint little town that actually sleeps at night, but with some surprising conveniences. Oh, and a great little diner, of which the name escapes me, but good food....Great People!
About The Instructor:
If you envision getting off the bus at Paris Island, or Ft. Jackson to an awaiting "IN YOUR FACE" DI, sorry, your in the wrong place. From the moment you meet Max, you cannot help but like him. He is very friendly and courteous. To use an old American term, 'he's a regular Joe'. His experience is never flaunted but is apparent.He will not push you to go farther. (you will push yourself) If these are your worries, You've run out of excuses to attend.
About The Training Course:
Max gives each attendee the benefit of doubt that they are generally competent with their weapons and gear, but be assured, safety is paramount, as it should be. As Max will tell you, the training, it's all basic, but putting it to practice will be very telling in a number of areas: Things like:
a) your ability to put accurate fire on targets with the flow of adrenaline and a bit of tunnel vision.
b) how well your gear holds up, and how well your load-out works for you. (my gear held up well, but I found changes that I will make.(or add)
c) your PT may not be up to standard. (I intend to up grade and return) d)"TEAMWORK" is all-important.
Expect to ramp it up every-time you go up range with the need for more teamwork and communication. You will feel the need for speed.
Ammo is expensive now. So is gas. Time is valuable. It's also short!
Spend the money, take the time, it's worth both. A confidence booster, and an ego slayer at the same time.
Thanks Max! Until next time. An old army tanker Mike N.C.
June 22/23 2013 - S
AAR on June Training Session
Having no military experience I jumped at the chance to attend Max's 2 day training session in June. I drove from a couple of states away and I must say that I was NOT disappointed in the class. First of all, Max is a very friendly, approachable and engaging Patriot. Secondly, he runs a very well organized session. Thirdly, he runs a very SAFE class. Safety is a primary concern with Max and it shows. From the lecture on gun safety to the well-timed rest/water breaks he puts his students first and that is commendable. His training is very real-world and that starts with his amazing location deep in the hills. His "been there, done that" experience level gave me an angle I'd never heard before. We finished up on the second day with a little extra time so Max graciously did an excellent 45 minute lecture on TC3. I look forward to taking other classes from Max Velocity in the future and highly recommend them to others.
May 25/26 2013 - James
Max Velocity Tactical
Combat Rifle & Contact Drills - 25/26 May 2013
I am 33 years old I have been shooting since I was 15 years old and received a bulk of my rifle training through the military. I served as a Combat Engineer in the Army National Guard and been shooting the AR15 for all of my shooting career. I also spend a lot of my time on the range while training others as an NRA certified instructor. I consider myself in very good shape, I cycle about 150 miles a week in addition to running. I live in Northern Virginia and when I learned Max was offering training not even 2 hours away from me, I jumped all over the opportunity.
Regardless of your fitness level, it is up to you the individual to push yourself as hard as you want to in Max's course. He is not a raving lunatic drill instructor but a passionate teacher who wants you to learn and learn well. I really got my heart rate up as I was moving at 100% whenever I was on on the range shooting along side my fellow students. A course like this gives you a dose of reality on how that gear really works and feels when you actually use it in an applied setting.
My equipment for the course consisted of AR500 steel plates in a Banshee plate carrier holding an EGL Monkey Stomper mag pouch, and an ITW fastmag. I built my rifle off of a stripped M&P lower with a BCM 16" Mid-length upper using the VTAC handguard and topped off with an Aimpoint CompM2 sight. I also carried my 1911 in a safariland holster.
"Tactical" vs Tactical
While over the past few years there have been a lot of 'tactical' courses offered out there, I have never taken an interest in them. I can sum it up in two words to explain why: Square Range.
There is only so much that can be done on the square range. I cannot completely blame instructors as there is a fear of lawsuits and a lot of facilities are not setup for this level of training. I have noticed within the gun community (especially online) is the thought that attending these courses, or even a lot of them, transforms a shooter into an individual that can operate in the field as a soldier. I'm not saying that this is explicitly stated, but there is are a lot of implications made by those who attend courses and feel they are 'all set.'
The square range can be good to teach fundamentals and get a shooter familiar with his weapon. Short of that, if you want to train in how to use your weapon in combat, you need to replicate that environment as close as possible. Jumping around the range, walking around barrels and shooting 1,000 or even 2,000 rounds in a weekend just creates noise and shreds paper. I think I expended at most 300 rounds of ammunition in his course. You are putting down accurate fire, not spraying rounds on rapid fire, marksmanship counts.
If you want to have any chance of surviving an exchange of gunfire you need a team. Not only do you need a team, you need a team that has been trained and knows what it is doing. It is certainly exemplified in Max's course.
Max stepped up to the plate and in an incredibly short period of time put together a great environment for his training. We trained on two separate courses of fire over the course of the weekend. Max utilized the crawl, walk, run style of teaching. On all his ranges he has invested in great pop-up targets that can be remotely controlled.
The first range was used to introduce students to the mechanics of RTR drills, reacting to targets front, left and right and then built upon that to working with a partner. The second range is the 'Jungle Walk' where there is a loosely defined path to patrol in but you can be 'ambushed' by popup targets to the sides or directly in front. This was a very challenging course because of contrasting light and shadows from the foliage. Even a black and white paper target can be hard to detect moving among the foliage. We continued building our skills in working in a team till the conclusion of the course on Sunday where we operated as a 4 man group. Max definitely threw some curve balls at us too. When we were rallying after breaking contact and set up a hasty ambush he flipped up another pop-up target. Lucky for all of us by this point, all the students were really dialed in and successfully engaged without hesitation.
The jungle walk also illustrated a good lesson, people can get too caught up and spend a lot on the latest and greatest camouflage patterns. Just black and white moving targets were hard to detect in the woods. Good natural tones that match your surroundings can help you blend a great deal. I used my old army issue woodland BDUs along with an olive drab plate carrier and I think that pattern works quite well for the Virginia area.
Max is a great instructor and my two days with him surpassed the quality of a lot of my training I experienced in the Army. I truly cannot stress that enough. Through reading Max's book, "Contact!", his blog postings and now training with him in person I can say he is an incredibly experienced, accomplished and thoughtful professional. He is also a class act, enjoying a proper cup of PG Tips during the breaks and treats everyone as equals and professionals.
I highly recommend Max's instruction without any reservation and encourage anyone reading this to attend. The knowledge and experience is truly priceless.
You need a team, teamwork wins, individuals lose.
Keep your head on a swivel, you not only need to scan for potential threats, but also where you're going to dive to cover when engaging.
When making contact, return fire and TAKE COVER!
When you have a stoppage, don't fiddle around and be a target, take cover!
Make sure you communicate with your team. During the solo runs on Range 1, I had to keep reminding myself to communicate and not get sucked into tunnel vision/thinking with shooting.
Do as much PT as you can. When you think you've done enough, do more. The coolest kit in the world cannot make up for lack of PT.
Loudoun County, VA
May 25/26 2013 – Team Georgia
Max Velocity Tactical
Combat Rifle & Contact Drills - May 25th/26th
Team Georgia was made up of four good friends from the state of Georgia, as you would expect, who have been training together for about five years. All of our ‘tactical’ training had been in the realm of Airsoft Mil-Sims, Appleseed shoots, and 3-gun/IDPA type events. Our ages ran from late twenties to early fifties with each decade represented. We were in decent physical shape, but are by no means athletes. There were a lot of unknowns for us going into the class mostly centered around how well our ad-hoc training would translate into ‘real world’ training. Three of us ran AR-15s (PSA, Stag Arms, Bravo Company) with plate carriers and steel plates; the last ran a Yugo AK under folder with a Beez chest rig.
We met up at 0800 and followed Max to the training site’s parking area; Max provided transportation for people and gear for the final 800m to those who wanted it.
The first half of the morning was spent on safety rules and shooting techniques. Though these things are a necessary part of ‘Introduction To’ type classes and always a good reminder, it is still mental Ambien for those who have heard it many many times before. What made the whole segment enjoyable were Max’s British accent and his ability to go off on very informative tangents.
The second half of the morning Max covered reaction drills; this was where things started to get interesting. The tactics that my friends and I use are a result of an amalgamation of diverse sources. Luckily we were pointed toward Max’s books Contact and Rapid Fire which we added to our resource pool. Everything Max covers in his class is covered in his books, so we were pleased that what we knew in principle was easy to follow when explained on a dry-erase board.
We noticed that Max used different verbal commands from what we were using. During our lunch we decided to adopt some, but retain others and see what happens.
After lunch we began the crawl/walk/run approach to contact drills with individual dry fire then live fire which led to buddy team dry and live fire. Max did a great job with the field training and we were impressed with his ability to tailor his individual instruction to individual needs. He was eager to answer questions, spent time with those who needed extra attention, and didn’t over explain ideas to those who exhibited a good understanding.
The individual dry fire drills on Range A, a mostly open area with good visibility, were the first real chance to get to know the other attendees. We were impressed by the commitment that each one exhibited as patriots and we were reassured in that there still are so many dedicated Americans. A good cross section of ability was represented. For some, this was their first time really giving their kits a work out or first time not on a square range. As far as we know there was not a single negligent discharged during the entire course.
The adrenaline started pumping during the individual live fire drills. Max made sure everyone proceeded at a pace they were comfortable with and one that kept safety in mind. He made sure that we paid attention to the ‘T’ in the RTR drills and gave great feedback after each run. The pop-up targets were the icing on the cake.
Next came buddy team dry fire contact drills, since Team Georgia had trained together before picking a buddy was easy. What was beautiful to see is how easily the individuals were able to pair up. Having seen how professionally each individual conducted themselves during the singles drills added a level of trust that would not have been there otherwise. The buddy dry drills went off without a hitch with contact showing up on either the front, left, or right.
The buddy team live fire drills were where Max’s experience and professionalism really shined. He kept full control over each run and made sure to reiterate safety rules. This drill is also where we were impressed with Max’s level of understanding. Earlier in the day we were instruct to call out ‘stoppage’ when we have a malfunction or need to reload. Our team has always called out ‘reloading’ for reloads, ‘malfunction’ for malfunctions, and continued to do so during the course without a comment from Max. It may seem like a small thing, but it shows that Max is more concerned with results than us following him verbatim.
Everyone really brought their ‘A’ game to the class which allowed us to run a four man contact drill. As normal, we started with a dry fire drill where muzzle awareness and safety was again drilled into us. We then got the opportunity to do a four man live fire drill.
The end of Day 1 ended with a short talk on TC3 which was requested by the class and Max was gracious enough to teach.
Day two started like the previous with movement to the training site and a review of the safety guidelines. Everyone was looking eager and seemed no worse for wear.
Each buddy pair made another live fire run on Range A. One of the things we appreciated is Max’s ability to expound on the ‘whys’ to all that we were doing. It is easier to understand and adopt an SOP when you can see the idea behind it.
After a short break we all headed up to Range B for the much anticipated ‘Jungle Walk’ which consisted of multiple pop-up targets in partially concealed positions in a nicely wooded area. As opposed to the drills on Range A, Max did not call out contact directions for the shooters unless the shooter had already walked past the popped-up target. Another nice addition to the ‘walks’ was the scenarios for each walk that Max gave us.
We started with individual live fire drills. The Jungle Walk scenarios created what was essentially a 360 degree battle space. The terrain was wooded hills with a pretty clear trail for the ‘Walk’. Having to move relatively quickly while keeping an eye out for Ivan was tricky, but nerve rackingly fun.
After everyone was done we broke for lunch. It was at this point the members of the team from Georgia really started to ‘feel’ it. We were amazed in how all the aches and pains disappear when you hear someone yell “Contact!”
We then headed back to Range B after lunch for the buddy team live fire Jungle Walk. This is where the 360 degree space truly shined and hearing “Contact Rear!” in an unnerving experience. As always Max was there to make sure we followed safety procedures as well as tell us what we did right and explained what we could have done better.
The final run consisted of four-man live fire Jungle Walks and we really want to thank Max for this. The piece of mind knowing we were able to perform together at such a level was priceless and has deepened the trust that we have for each other.
As a final point, Max knew that everyone was getting fatigued at the end of the second day so he made sure to let us know to be extra aware of safety and our surroundings.
The lessons we learned were not expected in that things that seemed irrelevant on paper end up being really important in practice and we were happily relieved that our gear continued to perform as it had in the past.
Max provided a top shelf tactical training package and I highly recommend it to those of all experience levels. Team Georgia will be returning to West Virginia as soon as we can.
Thanks for having us Max!
Team Georgia: Ed & Eric & Richard & Jim
May 25/26 2013 – MC
AAR report Combat Rifle/Contact Drills May 25th-26th Hampshire County, WV
I signed up for the course because of proximity. It’s nice to sleep at my own place.
Of the half-dozen firearms courses I attended over the years this one was the best. It was the combination of instructor, facilities and students that made it so. Max is an excellent instructor – patient, low-key and willing to work with the student. The facilities were realistic – this isn’t square range training. It’s hills, trees, sunlight and shadows. You know, the kind of stuff that you might encounter post SHTF. The students were an interesting group from up and down the East Coast. All had good weapons skills, good gear and most importantly a good attitude.
What did I learn from this course?
Four riflemen/women are better than two are better than one. It was an eye opener to see how much difference the extra firepower made. Blame it on my misspent youth ‘cause most squids don’t get exposed to small unit tactics. Find some like-minded friends to practice with and get some training as a team.
Fitness isn’t optional. It’s critical to survival. I did some exercise (mainly walking) prior to class but those West Virginia hills kicked my butt. Plan to spend a lot of time walking, dashing to cover, falling to the ground and levering yourself back up. Don’t let this scare you off! I’m 59, an overweight desk jockey with bad knees to boot. If I can do it, you can too.
Gear-wise 99% of my stuff worked. The only problem I encountered was losing pistol mags from my double decker Taco. Easily fixable with some retention cordage over the top. Didn’t have that problem on the square range but realistic training allowed me to discover a problem before it became critical.
Max’s ammo requirement is was spot-on for me - I shot about 300 rounds over two days. That’s a low round count compared to some classes I attended but then again I wasn’t standing in line with twelve other students blasting targets all day.
More courses with Max are in my future. Hope that I see some of my fellow alumni there also!
From the wilds of West-by-God-Virginia
May 25/26 2013 – Helen & Joe
AAR of 2 day Combat Rifle/Contact Drills 25,26MAY13 Somewhere Outside Romney, WV
Helen & Joe, wife and husband, attended Max Velocity's training facility outside of Romney, WV for a 2 day Combat Rifle/Contact Drills training course. Neither of us have any military experience, but we have had some previous firearms/ tactics training:
Storm Mountain: Long Range Rifle I, II, III
Handgun I, II, III
Mason Dixon Tactical: Rural Team Tactics A1, A2, B1, B2
I am a 58 year old, 210# engineer turned farmer in fair aerobic condition. Helen is "39" and actively training in Krav Maga, in good aerobic condition and working on her strength conditioning. We were the only husband & wife team in the 11 participants, and Helen is Max's first female participant. The other 9 participants quickly demonstrated their weapons proficiency and trigger finger and muzzle awareness, which in addition to Max's vigilant safety consciousness, had us feeling very comfortable be around and working with these men with weapons on live fire ranges. Over the two days of the course a real camaraderie developed between all of us. It is a true disappointment that our AOs are so distant from one another.
This course is for people who understand and have practiced rifle marksmanship skills on flat square ranges and know that won't be enough in any real defensive conflict. Max's individualized instruction is THE necessary next step beyond the flat square range basic marksmanship skills. Fire and movement on uneven up and down trails in the dappled lighting conditions of the wooded hills of West Virginia challenges your visual scanning, your footwork and your aerobic conditioning like no other training. You will resolve to increase your PT!
Max follows the "crawl, walk, run" method of training, beginning with individuals operating singly on the two ranges, then two person teams, ending with four person teams. Targets consisted primarily of pop-up targets that are dropped when you suppress them with effective rifle fire, accessory static paper targets were used as well. Max had set the sensitivity of the pop-up targets to drop if hit by a .22lr. So training with less expensive .22lr rounds is doable. We used .22lr for day 1 and transitioned to 5.56 for day 2. We used ~ 200 .22lr and about 200 5.56 each, for day 1 and day 2 respectively.
Max takes each individual, each two person, each four person team separately through the course of fire and provides an individualized critique of every run. When you are not online you are watching and learning from others successes and their corrections as well as getting to know each other. This is instruction you will not get on a firing line of 12 simultaneous shooters engaging a static target, no matter how many times you press the trigger.
Men get your wives involved. Who better to have your 6? Helen would be happy to converse with any wives that have questions. Talk to Max and we can work out the contact details.
Max is the Real McCoy, a True Patriot!
Thank you Max Velocity!
Helen & Joe
Pennsylvania (A.K.A. Wanna-be West Virginians)
May 25/26 2013 - Sandman
Max Velocity Tactical- 2 Day Combat Rifle/ Contact Drill Course
Compiled: Sandman, callsign Wolfhound.
After Action Report: May 25th-26th
Location:*Redacted*, Hampshire County, WV
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 60-70 degrees, moderate humidity, gusty winds.
cc: OVM-Staff, WRSA, Max V.
Background: This AAR will be non-standard and include personal details that will not violate OPSEC/PERSEC for OVM-CVM. Any shared data will be already accessible in the public domain.
I was not sure what to expect after signing up for this course. By way of background, I am a 52 year old smoker. I work long hours as a desk jockey, and have about 8-10 extra pounds on the old belt-line. (blame that on my wife's great cooking). I have no military background and have never done any competitive shooting or athletics.
On the flip side, I do have 35 years of shooting and firearms experience. I have worked with the AR, AK, G3 and SKS platforms at varying levels. I exercise weekly and am in better shape that 80% of the guys my age (or so the wife tells me). I have 15 years of prepping experience with everything from building solar and water filtration systems to setting up defensive Homesteads. I have read voraciously throughout my life about Military theory, history, and practice. My collection includes works from Sun Tzu and Clausewitz up to Bracken and Max himself. I continue to remain humble and realistic though about my personal skill and knowledge level.
I also happen to be the Elected CO of our local Militia. I think the folks elected me for my organizational skills, leadership style, and the fact that no one else wanted the job. Our unit spans four counties in the Appalachians along the Ohio River Valley. My teams are made up of blue-collar folks, who are dedicated to protecting their families and homes from whatever threats may arise, whether man-made or natural. We have some veterans, but no combat vets. We train monthly in SUT, rifle drills, movement drills and all the TTPs of an irregular fighter. Most of this knowledge comes to me by way of the Ranger Handbook (my bible) and other manuals of common tasks. We also get our families involved and focus on prepping too.
So, I approached this course with dual motives. I wanted to validate what I have been teaching my folks, and I wanted to test my skills in a challenging environment. As a father, husband and Militia Commander I owed it to my tribe to give it my best shot.
Preparation: After signing up for the course and sending my deposit to Max I began a basic run down on his equipment list. Most of the gear required was already loaded on my LBV and battle-belt. I did make some modifications, such as removing an E&E kit from my belt, and adding a dump pouch. I also stripped my ruck down to bare essentials, cleaning kit, spare parts etc. Once I felt my gear was good, I spent thirty days (exactly one month) with basic cardio/calisthenics. Pushups, situps, crunches, light weights and such. Mainly I wanted to up my endurance a bit and try to prepare physically for some exertion.
Road trip, Accommodations, and local observations:
I had an uneventful four and half hour drive. None of my unit members or staff could make the trip at this time due to family and work commitments. I stay at the South Branch Inn in Romney WV. It was a bit dated, but clean. The staff was helpful and not too weirded out by my kit and cammo. Local stores and restaurants were good and people were friendly. One thing I did notice was prevalent LEO activity. There must be a State Police and Sheriff's Office close by because I saw a lot of both. No problems with them, just be aware of local speed laws. (some 25 mph zones) If I made a right turn out of the hotel parking lot it was a straight shot to the meeting spot. (about 10 minutes back through town and out the other side).
I arrived about 15 minutes early and most participants were already waiting at the roadside. We had a good mix of folks; One team of four guys from Georgia, a married couple from up North, Four gentlemen of varying ages and abilities and myself. After a few minutes I gauged all as patriots, and most very competent with prepping and weapon skills. (amazing how us patriot types can size each other up in short order). Shortly after introductions, Max arrived and we moved on to the training site. The road was rough, but any vehicle with moderate clearance should not have a problem. In wet weather I would recommend four wheel drive. Parking at the site was a rough lot with room for plenty of vehicles. We actually ran about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, which was okay as it gave folks a chance to make last minute gear adjustments. I also passed out some contact cards and III Precenter.com RESIST stickers.
The training itself was awesome, and that is not a word I use lightly (or even frequently). Max has a friendly style that can not hide his vast wealth of tactical knowledge. This guy has been there. He was firm but fair both in instruction and constructive criticism. I will include an agenda list below with notes I took. Otherwise It would be impossible to cover all the topics, side-topics and info we went over. It was an avalanche of pointers and skill-sets, but given in such a way that it did not feel like a chore to learn. Max did not talk down to anyone, nor did I see him at any time lose his temper or be disrespectful. My brain did go into overdrive quite a few times as I tried to sponge up the vast amount of instruction. It was like a week long course crammed into two days. But let me stress that while it was challenging, interesting and tiring, it was never overwhelming or boring. Some of the best moments were the interaction of the course participants. (Anyone need some 'my lil pony purple' tape?). Rest periods and class instruction were frequent but not distracting. Safety was top notch and I did not see any sweeping or mishandling as is common in some quarters of the Patriot community. Everyone was intelligent, knowledgeable and friendly. There was a competitive atmosphere without any pettiness. The following is a sort of stream of thought agenda based on my hastily scrawled notes, but it should give anyone a basic understanding or the depth of the course.
Safety Brief – standard stuff, reinforced throughout the weekend. Weapon carry, muzzle position, prone, kneeling, standing.
Combat shooting Principles- good basics- breathing, site picture, controlled pairing of shots, etc.
Combat shooting/Reaction Drills- Dry walk thru, then live fire. (Dash-Crawl-Observe-Sights-Fire)
Intro Fire & Movement- Dry. Great Instruction, easy to understand diagrams. S-P-O-R-T-S
RTR- Return fire, Take Cover, Return accurate fire. (in my head this translates as: Reaction fire, MOVE-Take Cover, Return aimed fire) This was stressed alot during the whole course, GET OFF THE X).
Fire & Movement: Individual and Pairs- Live. Small Range, static and pop-up targets. Practice RTR. Get to COVER. Concealment vs. Cover.
Reaction Drills/ Conact Drills- Don't get tunnel vision, stoppage= GET TO COVER. Don't assume target will stay down.
End of day- Debrief and coaching. Great session, lots of cross talk about what we learned/discovered.
Max took some extra time to do a basic TCC lecture covering HABC, tourniquets, celox, pressure bandages, etc. Very good basic info that most participants were familiar with.
Some folks went out to dinner, I was sweaty and beat. Back to hotel and crashed early.
Same rendezvous procedure, same time and place.
Day two was hard and fast. Lots of live fire and movement. Participants had really bonded by this point and saw a few high fives and fist bumps, after some heavy action. Day 2 was focused and we got a lot done. Safety was first and Max made sure everyone stayed hydrated and rested. Day two we focused on the “Jungle Walk” which was an uphill trail, with well hidden pop-ups and littered with debris and stumps. This forced people to watch their footing and the surrounding hillsides. Focusing on near/far target acquisition. It was very challenging since the target appearance was variable and the forest canopy lighting plays tricks on the eyes. It was a blast. ( for the record, I had no intention of having fun, it was a pure byproduct of successful training).
Contact Drills- Breaking Contact, pairs.
Offensive Action Drills- Individual/Pairs.
Contact Drills- Breaking Contact Pairs.
The drills covered 3 post SHTF scenarios, that were well thought out and realistic. I could easily put myself in the position Max had foreseen. Needless to say by now we were feeling the effects of adrenaline burn, uphill fighting, and frequent hasty ambushes and LACE checks. (Liquids, Ammo, Casualty, Equipment) but the lessons went well into the afternoon. Max even ran some four man patrols thru the course and that produced some learning moments and lively action.
This report is long enough and I just cannot say enough good things about this course. As a refresher for professionals, or as a hard core lesson for novices. Max can work it either way. He was Professional, patient, willing to work at the different paces that participants could manage. It was gritty, realistic and exhausting. I am happy to report that the training did show that much of what my Militia folks have trained for is still valid. (plenty of room for improvement) The course closed out around 5pm and folks made their farewells. Lots of new friends and contacts. The best contact was Max himself, a true Old Style Patriot. I am glad he chose to become an American and I am glad to have him in our AO.
Gear failure- I had one double feed on my S&W MP15. May have been due to bad mag lips. Will check after clean up. Had to ditch my battle belt after day 1, the cushion waist-pad shredded from the strain of diving and rolling on it. It was 50$ Condor pad. It will be replaced by Blackhawk or similar. Don't cut corners on gear, you get what you pay for. Rest of my gear worked as intended.
Tactical- COVER...The most important lessons were not even shooting related but survival related.Get to cover, stay low, use folds in the ground. Move to different firing positions, even it is just sideways prone wiggle. A few inches means his bullet may hit air instead of your head. Communicate with your team-mates. If you are getting low on ammo, let them know so they can cover you. It is a bad feeling to have multiple weapons go down at once. Watch your lanes, people tend to bunch up under stress, avoid moving near others. This presents the danger of blue on blue, as well as making you easier targets. There are just too many good points to get out, my head is still spinning. My best advice is to save your change, put off the vacation, sell some toys, BUT TAKE THIS COURSE.
CPT David C
Ohio Valley Minutemen
May 11/12 2013 Tony
I had an awesome weekend of Combat training with Max Velocity tactical this past weekend. It was well worth the 6 hour drive (each way). Max's wealth of knowledge is truly impressive. I have zero military background but have been an avid shooter and gun enthusiast for 20+ years. My main reason for taking the course was to see how I would be able to shoot under duress. Up until this past weekend all of my shooting experience has been standing at a bench and shooting at still targets in a static range environment. This was far from a static environment.
The site is in a beautiful densely wooded area and the range is built right into the natural environment which makes it very realistic. I can tell you for sure that shooting accurately while your heart is pumping out of your chest and your breathing is elevated is a whole different ball game. The pop-up targets scattered through out the woods were awesome. I'm carrying a few extra pounds these days and Max was aware of my physical limitations and never pushed me too far but still got the best out of me. I was a little intimidated going in because of my lack of military experience but the curriculum was very civilian friendly and Max is an excellent instructor. All in all it was an extremely informative weekend and I'm definitely looking forward to returning with some more friends who are anxiously awaiting this review.
This was also a great opportunity to field test all of my gear which was awesome in itself. My piece of advise to anyone planning on taking this course is pay attention to the list of suggested equipment/gear that Max provides prior to attending. You will be happy you brought everything on that list, especially the bug spray!
I stayed at the South Branch Inn, right in Romney. It was only about 10 minutes from the training site and I would recommend that hotel to anyone not planning on camping for the weekend.
May 11/12 2013 – Scott
I recently attended Max Velocity Tactical's first course on Combat Rifle/Contact Drills. Being it was the first run of the course I was expecting a few hiccups. I have attended early runs of courses in the past and have been an instructor of some first run courses (not related to shooting). I was surprised how smoothly everything ran! The rain did not hamper training, the physical short comings of the attendees (need more PT!) did not hamper training.
Having been in the military for 20+ years, I thought that this would be a refresher course, but was looking forward to putting down some rounds. There was some information that was refresher, but it had been a long time since I had done "shoot, move, communicate" with another person with live rounds.
The shooting area itself was great. There were two separate lanes which allowed for the "crawl and walk" style of training. I was very impressed to see pop up targets.
All in all it was a great weekend of training with a great instructor on an awesome training site! I would definitely give it five stars and recommend Max's training to my friends!