Review: Defensive Concealed Handgun December 9, 10 - 'Pinky'
It has been more than 5 years since I have taken a pistol class and I have been carrying in public “THINKING” I had it all covered. I could not have been more wrong and I did not realize it until I took the class. Scott was the instructor and did an excellent job of mixing practical information, drills, and connecting all of the above to situations most of us have read about in the news (Orlando Nightclub shooting, Paris concerts shooting, Dallas shooting, etc, etc). He also made sure to emphasize the necessary mindset about making the decision to carry.
We started with a chalk-talk session (in our case, a huddle around a fire since it was barely above 20 degrees) that covered holsters, belts, and other places to carry your gun, magazines, flashlights, medical gear, etc. We moved into basic mechanics around drawing and reloading from concealment to single hand, strong and weak side, dealing with malfunctions. A full day of making sure we had sound fundamentals. Corrections were provided in a firm yet positive manner.
This to me was the most revealing, “lightbulb” time of the class. We covered the various techniques and then were given time to determine which worked best for us. We got to shoot in low light, headlight, flashing light, and then get a taste of 1000 lumens to better understand what a CRITICAL TOOL the flashlight can be for those that carry and those that don’t/won’t or cannot. I highly, highly recommend taking this as part of the class.
We started with a refresh of Day 1 (mechanics, etc) and then moved on to learning about distances bad guys can cover, getting off the “X” in a threatening situation . We then covered many “normal” situations (sitting, carrying bags, etc). Worked in between all drills was a constant focus on marksmanship (think small targets, numbers, shapes, etc).
I left the two day class confirming that pistol marksmanship is a rapidly perishable skill and that there is a lot of “you don’t know what you don’t know” present in my head. I learned that everyone should always carry a flashlight and a second mag (I never did), and that you can get out of more bad situations with your head and feet than with a gun. I highly recommend the class and kudos to Scott for being a great instructor.
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics, November 2017 – RS
Note: For 2018, Combat Team Tactics is now a 4 day class, Hostile Environment Advanced Tactics 1 (HEAT 1).
First, I would just like to open this up with a little background about myself…..I am just a regular guy that is concerned about what he sees around him and how these things may eventually jeopardize the safety of his family. I have been through a couple of pistol training courses and do scenario shoots pretty often to stay skilled. Sure, I served in the Army (Electronics/Communications/
I really think that what sets the Max Velocity Tactical training apart from others can be summarized by: A strict focus on safety, the layered and direct instructional approach, the cadre and then finally the other students.
From a safety perspective I have to tell you that I never ever felt that I or any of the other students were put in a dangerous situation. Yes the training involved live ammunition, but Max and Scott had things very well under control at all times and gave the appropriate direction and reinforcement at exactly the right times to ensure strict control was maintained and that safety was always the top concern and focus.
The instructional approach was very effective. The approach was simple and made the information very consumable to all the students. A concept was described in detail along with the execution, it was then reinforced as many times as needed, then demonstrated and finally it was executed with an exercise followed up by clear and constructive feedback. This was completed again and again to where your team was doing some complex team movements at the end of the course. In addition, the environment at the Romney facility added an extra dimension to applying the course content and realism of the exercises. It really has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Max and Scott were excellent and very hard working instructors. From what I observed, just doing the planning and setup each day was exhausting work. Both had some serious experience and they did an excellent job of communicating and leveraging that background to ensure exercises were safe, well managed and effective. One thing that I appreciated was the directness of the communication. If you are looking to go someplace to get your ego stroked, this is probably not for you. If you are looking to learn and don’t have a problem with no bullshit honesty, then you will not be disappointed with these guys.
Finally, one of the things that I really enjoyed was the group of other students. These folks were of like mind, honorable, hard working and dedicated. The group included doctors, folks from the medical device community, coal industry and railroad among others. It was truly a great experience to train with these gentlemen.
In summary, because of the focus on safety, the instructional approach, the cadre and the other students, I will be taking another course from MVT (and so will my two friends). I feel that the value of the content and experience far outweighed the cost.
Review: Close Quarter Battle Course & Long Range Marksmanship Course: Chris
Due to my time constraints and I am going to combine two testimonials in to one. Both of these classes were run by John who is absolutely outstanding. John has first-hand knowledgeable and holds the bar high. True understanding does come with a first time pass and John works with the students to gain the understanding necessary to make great advances more quickly. He is patient yet firm when necessary and I greatly appreciate his first-hand experience and his sharing to pass along the knowledge which was obviously hard fought to gain. Fantastic instructor. I will be signing up for other classes with John.
2017.05 CQB: This is a must take class. Everyone lives in a house and almost everyone works in or around a structure. The ability to clear or escape a structure with an active shooter or threat is unfortunately all too real a situation. As with any mastery, the fundamentals are essential and John and cadre were fantastic at ensuring the building blocks were obtained while progressing to more advanced principles and theories over the class’s progression. CQB is not an individual action. It is always team based and while each team member will have its strong and weak points, we continuously built on increasing performance with each evolution. Also it should be noted, that CQB is also fluid and not a “only my way” action. The class allowed me to expand on my fundamental knowledge and tactics learned, while allowing me to experiment with numerous situations and use creativity which was exercised in the force on force scenarios. Evolutions involving no targets, to stationary targets to Force on Force scenarios built on each other perfectly and drove home the tactics learned of angles and slicing the pie, dynamic and deliberate entry, speed and footwork, teamwork and elevation changes.
This was my first CQB training and I learned more in that weekend than the vast majority of my officer and agent friends currently know. In fact, I trained with a SWAT team the following week and I was confident in my own performance and fit right in, not letting down my team members as an operator with far less experience in that realm. Another double thumbs up was John’s cadre of Ben and Kang. Both of these guys were there to help and teach, and their time with John on his team kicking down doors in theater showed, as they demonstrated how a professional team should work together. They were extremely complementary to John’s lead.
(Sorry Ben for a shot or two as I came in the door while you were filming but your camo looked like everyone else’s and my lenses were fogged from the rain. I thank you.) Ben and Kang’s help and insight were incredibly valuable and I appreciate the extra time in discussion and coaching. Their ability to see things from other angles in addition to John’s supervision really allowed me to have a greater understanding of the concepts taught. (As an aside, Vortex is good on their promise to replace sights as I took a UTM round dead center of my Strike II shattering the lens.) In summary, I have suggested to every person I know who is tactically oriented to take this class as the tactics learned are extremely valuable to the art of CQB. Fantastic class.
2017.09 LRMC: This was my 5th MVT class and I signed up specifically because of John and my experience with his instruction in my last CQB class. Well John took it to a whole other level with long range. I had just taken a long range class a month earlier and I didn’t get near as much as I did at the MVT LRMC. Long range precision is an art and John is a master at it. He certainly taught the basics and was patient with the questions as there is a LOT to digest. Just getting started, his ability to jump back and forth between platforms, optics and ballistics was just shy of amazing. There is so much to know but things were conveyed in a way I could clearly understand and consume them. On the second day, I had never chrono’d bullets before and it was a real lesson to see how the ballistic values stated on the box and actual velocities differed with each shot and the variance that existed. Even with Hornady ELD Match (300 WMag) there was a significant variance in velocity per shot. I now understand the need for loading your own cartridges.
As we got out on the range, it was great experience to work through the challenges that the range presented. The various winds between the peaks make the shots a great learning experience. John patiently worked with each shooter till success. You could have full 5-10 mph wind in your face with zero at the target. We were taught how to build out our DOPE charts and work our optics for proper compensation of distance and wind. John spent a LOT of time behind that spotting scope with one eye watching our shots and calling wind. I appreciate the sacrifice as eye strain I am sure set in but he never let up.
Perhaps it was the time of year or the range but we were able to see the effects of temperature on that ridge which was educational in how the various parameters can really make a difference in your shot accuracy. John is clearly is a professional and my ability to reach out and touch someone has improved, that being said my understanding of the art has increased significantly.
NOTE: Be sure you read the instructions before you go to LRMC. The right gear for precision shots makes a difference. Being unprepared will suck and leave you frustrated. You need to do your homework before you go and I would ask someone who really knows their stuff about gun, ammo and optics selection prior to investing in a platform and going to class.
MVT Note: See THIS POST for comment on spring / summer 2018 scheduling. We will be working with John on his availability for upcoming CQBC and LRMC classes.
CTT/DA Review, Georgia Mobile Class by TC
Training with Max Velocity Tactical has been a true privilege. Where else can one go from learning basic weapons manipulation to conducting organized ambushes and raids in the span of only five days? Where else can armed citizens safely practice teamwork, communication, and strategy using actual military standard operating procedures? Unlike other more "tacticool" classes that focus on flashy minutiae that fall short in the real world, what MVT teaches consists of simple, practical, and battle-tested techniques that work.
So during the 5-Day Combat Team Tactics / Direct Action class, as part of TacGun, some of what was taught included weapons manipulation, clearing malfunctions, shooting controlled pairs and hammer pairs, turning via head-body-weapon, RTR drills (return fire, take cover, return appropriate fire), bounding in buddy pairs and 4-man teams, moving via bounding over-watch, basic patrol formations, assaulting through an enemy position, searching the bodies of downed targets, rallying and withdrawing, and conducting ambushes and raids using 12-man teams. Direct Action is a cut down version of Combat Patrol but dovetails logically with Combat Team Tactics. Due to the nuances and gotchas discovered by attending class, you learn things you just can't by reading a book.
For me, the biggest takeaway from class is that you cannot simply expect to gather your family, friends, or neighbors into an impromptu fighting team and expect to have "power in numbers." Without the kind of training MVT offers, you are liable to end up with confusion, chaos, accidents, and being flanked and rolled up by a better organized force. There is a certain level of choreography, assignment of roles, discipline, safety awareness, and communication needed to turn a group of people into something more than just a frightened mob. It took a whole day just to train the dozen of us to conduct an ambush properly, not because it was super complicated, but because the more people there are, the more things can go wrong, and in the heat of the moment it's easy to get confused and forget little things that end up throwing everything else off. It takes repetition and correction by a competent instructor to get it right.
Next, a word on the awesome Georgia facility run by Robert of JRH Enterprises. I live in south Florida and driving to the Velocity Training Center in West Virginia takes sixteen hours. Going to Georgia for the mobile class only takes six and a half hours, which was a real treat. The facility there had everything needed for CTT/DA, minus the punishing hills of West Virginia. It consists of 5-10 acres of flat ground and gentle hills, a mix of pine forest and open ground with built up berms. There is a sixteen lane gravel square range with various barricades, a roofed teaching hut with white board, covered rifle rack, trails leading into the woods from which we conducted the the ambushes and raids, and a large grassy lot to practice bounding and assault-throughs. For targets we had paper targets, stick-in polymer Ivan targets, remote-controlled pop-up targets that react when hit, and mannequins. (MVT Note: this is the MVT target / range equipment that is used for mobile classes.) There was also a minivan with dummies inside and that we shot up during the raid and ambush. Anyone in the Southeast, you owe it to yourselves to attend the next Georgia mobile class for the sheer convenience of the location. (MVT Note: we do not know when this will be. The only mobile class currently planned for 2018 is Texas in February. MVT is going to concentrate on classes at the VTC. We may run a GA class late 2018/2019 simply because Robert is a good guy and has a good training site. But don't hold your breath and fail to train at the VTC in the meantime).
Lastly, anyone worried about the types of people you might meet at class, have no fear. I have attended two classes so far and everyone has been courteous, intelligent, considerate, and cool. I've met some wonderful and inspiring people. So you're not just "taking a class" but you're also meeting potential friends. And with the mobile classes being regional, you also get to evaluate potential members of your CUTT (Citizen Unconventional Training Team).
As for Max the instructor, I found his teaching style extremely methodical, streamlined, and clear. Pacing of the class was perfect, a good mix of theory, rehearsal, and execution with enough repetition to get the point and sufficient breaks to recover and reload. He's strict on safety and doesn't suffer fools, which is a good thing. Like a tactical Gordon Ramsay, he knows what's needed to get the job done and bring the best out of everyone.
Folks, bottom line is that you have a rare opportunity here to get valuable training you just can't get anywhere else. Don't miss out!
Review of Georgia Combat Team Tactics & Direct Action 5 Day Mobile Class: Preacher
This won't be a short review but hopefully a good one. I'm writing this for folks like me that have to be pretty careful with their time and money and attending a class like this is a real kitchen table decision. I hope this helps in your decision making.
ABOUT ME - I have a chosen profession that places a lot of demands on my time and attention. The finances are adequate but not overflowing. It is also an occupation that has put me in danger of interpersonal violence more often than I care to tally up. Occasionally my wife and children have been in danger too. These experiences have given us a visceral appreciation for how unpleasant people can be even when the lights are still on, the cops are a call a way, and bellies are full. These things have led my wife and I to prioritize training and practices that help us avoid and deal with interpersonal violence.
I have had very little formal training with a rifle, but I have been concerned about what our threat situation could look like if the general circumstances of our environment or our country degraded even a little bit. One of my best friends is ex-Special Forces and teaches me what he can when time permits, but there is a lot you can't learn regarding small unit tactics when there are only two guys.
Before signing up for Max's class I did a ton of research. I know there is an overwhelming number of people in the martial world who are full of $@%#. Well meaning sometimes, but dangerous all the same, and I take that very seriously. Keeping the people I care about safe from violence isn't imaginary or theoretical to me, it's real and I take that very seriously. I was not looking for a hobby, a recreational activity, or a feel-good experience. I was looking for someone to help teach me to get the job done in a bad situation. Also, my time and financial constraints means that I can't afford to take different people's classes and make the call from there, so I did my homework. I watched people's videos. I read people's blogs and class reviews from multiple sites. As I began honing in on Max I also read all of his books and passed some of his stuff on to my ex-SF friend to see if he thought he was legit. The professionalism and clear instruction that I saw in Max's teaching videos was the icing on the cake.
I made my decision and when a class in my state was posted, it made the decision even easier. I booked it immediately with four goals in mind:
- To not hurt anyone else or get myself hurt or killed
- To learn to be a better teacher and leader of the people I care about in a bad situation.
- To learn at least ten things I was doing wrong or didn't know
- To hopefully spend some time with some people who didn't think my concerns about the world and my willingness to do something about them was crazy and taboo.
THE LOCATION - The location was amazing. All of the directions and instructions were crystal clear. The drive in and out every day was beautiful. Our host's whole family had worked hard for weeks to get the place ready for us and didn't ask for a thing from anyone for all of their effort. They also got up early every morning to make sure everyone found their way okay and stayed late every evening to get things reset for the next day. Our host also played the First Sergeant role most of the week, offering the insight from a second pair of eyes and individual instruction when needed. I can't say it any more plainly than that our location and hosts were incredible.
Max Notes: The training location was provided / hosted by Robert of JRH Enterprises. My go-to guy for night vision and body armor needs.
THE PEOPLE - I didn't realize how cautious I was of the people who were taking this course until I got there. Socially, the only frame of reference I had for anything like this was going to a gun show twice in my life (once as a child and once as an adult) and internet posters. These limited experiences would give anyone concerns that they might have signed up to spend five days with a bunch of reckless, swaggering, slack-jawed Cletuses - with guns. This was an unconscious concern, but I found myself hanging back on the first day at the rifle range trying to keep an eye on everyone to see what they were like - and if they were safe to be around with a rifle.
My concerns couldn't have been more unfounded. The quality of people that attended this class is impressive. By trade they are engineers, medical professionals, active and former military, former alphabet agency employees and government contractors. They had worked hard to be there. Several of them had lost a ton of weight in preparation for the class. Many of them had taken multiple classes with Max already. They are overwhelmingly analytical thinkers whose assessment of the world has left them concerned about the future and aren't put off by the hard work and sacrifice required to do something about those concerns.
They were careful with their rifles, free with their encouragement, helpful with their advice, and a ton of fun to be around.
If these people are the type of crazies I fit in with, I'll consider myself in good company.
THE INSTRUCTOR - I had already put a ton of effort into vetting Max as a subject matter expert and competent instructor before I came, so I'll start by briefly giving you the highlights on this.
Max is a career soldier who had around a decade of real world combat leadership experience before our American forces and their allies got into the Global War on Terror. Through his own expertise and on his own dime he set up a world class training facility in West Virginia where civilians get to come and train in the same space and under the same instructors that are sought out by our active duty Special Operations Forces units.
You can read more about his background elsewhere, but those two things alone should make the comparison part of any evaluation pretty simple and clear.
Not everyone who is an expert in a particular field is also a good teacher. Max is both.
From the very first packet of instructions you receive after registration, his communications are clear and well organized. His teachings in the field are thorough, in depth, and easy to understand. It is clear that he has put a lot of work into his teaching plan and that it is something he continually works to improve. His plan of instruction and the pace of the class balances really well the reality of the "drinking from a fire hose" experience that inherently comes with trying to squeeze the lofty course objectives into a five-day class without overwhelming the students.
I particularly love that he knows all the stupid things his students are going to do before they do them and works this into his instruction. This is the kind of insight that can only be gained through tons of experience as an instructor. His insights on this are particularly helpful in making sure the training is conducted in a safe manner. While doing something inherently dangerous for five days with a group of people I'd never met, I never felt like I was in danger.
I don't think you can understand Max's demeanor if you don't understand the difference between "niceness" and "kindness." When a friend of mine had the job of being a gunner on top of a Humvee in Iraq, he was supposed to shoot anyone that got too close to the vehicle (man, woman, or child) because they might be placing an IED on or under the vehicle and kill everyone. So my friend kept a case of empty 50 caliber casings next to him and threw them at people and cussed at them if they weren't paying attention or in danger of getting too close. He wasn't being nice at all, but he was trying to save their lives. He was being kind. Nice would have been smiling and waving at the people as they stepped into the kill zone. The distinction is critical.
Max isn't always nice, but he is kind, and that is exactly how you want it to be. In fact, if after an exercise, Max told our team that we performed like majestic death machines, I would have immediately packed up my stuff and left, thoroughly convinced that Max is a complete jerk that doesn't care a thing about the people he's teaching. I know I'm not good at this and don't know what I'm doing - it's why I took the class. In fact, I already had it in my mind that if I didn't walk away from this class with at least ten things I was doing wrong or would do wrong, it wasn't worth it. This set me up to be grateful for Max's feedback and not feel deflated. I was getting what I came for - which was way more than ten things.
The motives of a leader matter. They shape everything the leader touches. As an organizational leader myself, I can tell that after all the time and resources required to pull off this course is tallied up Max isn't making much if anything off of these courses and could make better money doing almost anything else. Two minutes with Max and you can tell that he also isn't doing it for the cool-guy ego stroking that so obviously motivates some people. The only motives this leaves are that he just really believes in what he is doing and that he cares about the people he is teaching. My guess is that it is some mix of both.
INSTRUCTION - If you know anything about the training progression in the military, then you know that the idea of moving a group of people from basic rifle skills to conducting squad level ambushes and raids in five days is just stupefying, but MVT pulls it off.
Neither the group, nor any individual were proficient subject matter experts at the end but we had successfully moved from "unconscious unskilled" to "conscious unskilled." In other words, we could get the job done, while being vividly aware of how much more time and work we would need to put in to become truly good at this.
Anyone who expects more from a shorter period of time really needs to get some training because they have no idea what all is involved in this. Professional soldiers, like any other field, put years of constant practice and training in before they are able to perform at a level where things seem to come naturally to them ("unconscious competence").
The idea that someone can gain proficiency or even competency in this field or any other by reading a few books or watching a few YouTube videos is delusional. Until you do it, you don't know what happens to your mind and body and the mind and body of the people around you when you are in an unfamiliar situation, charged with a very important but unfamiliar task, and then twelve rifles start exploding all around you - and you need to get it right and make sure the people around you get it right. You can't get that from books and YouTube videos or even time on the square range.
Max successfully leveraged his past teaching and soldiering experiences, great teaching aids (pop up targets, dummies, etc.) and a carefully prepared location to move people through a course of instruction as fast as they could go without falling apart.
CRITIQUE - The only critique I have of the class is that the ammo requirements changed after I had ordered a case for the class. I ordered a case of XM193 the same day I registered for the class. I think I got the notice from Max a day or two later (this notice was about six months before the class started). I'm not sure how this could be realistically avoided, but just verify ammo requirements before you order if having more ammo than money is a concern for you.
RECOMMENDATIONS - If gaining competence in this area is important for you and your resources are limited, I would hyper focus on getting to training. Buy a quality rifle, ten to twelve magazines, a case of ammo, and a couple gallons of water. Borrow a chest rig or just use your pockets if you have to, but prioritize training. You don't know what you don't know. I'd rather stand beside someone fighting in jeans and a t-shirt who had good training than someone who had all the best gear but no, or poor, training.
Getting someone to help you work on your weapons handling beforehand would be really helpful. There is a lot of moving parts when fighting as a team and being able to operate your weapon without thinking about it clears up some much needed head space.
Also, get in the best shape that you can. There was a range of physical fitness levels within the class, but this is a very physical activity and the better shape you're in, the less distracting your body is going to be to you as you work on performing various tasks.
I'm incredibly grateful for these five days, the training I received, and the people I got a chance to know. I hope this is helpful to someone out there.
Review: Combat Rifle Skills August 2017: Tim
Review of the Combat Rifle Skills that was held at MVT Romney on August 19-20, 2017. As with the Defensive Concealed Handgun class that I attended in May 2017, I was greatly encouraged and motivated by the class. Again, thank you for what you do!
I attended the Defensive Concealed Handgun class at MVT Romney on May 13-14, 2017 and greatly benefited from the well thought-out, deliberate and detailed training I received at that class. One of the attendees of that class had attended the Combat Rifle Skills that had been held earlier in 2017 and he was quite enthusiastic in his evaluation of the training he received. I determined then and there to figure out a way to take the Combat Rifle Skills class in 2017, particularly as it was taught by the same instructor (Scott David) who taught the Defensive Concealed Handgun class, and the training I received there was exceptional.
I had little experience with a battle rifle, other than occasional trips to the range to punch holes in paper targets, so I appreciated the “layered” instructional approach, i.e. beginning with the fundamentals, subsequent skills are built upon those previously covered and practiced. Scott started Day One with a thorough safety brief, after which he gave us a detailed lecture of how the AR platform functions, including a history of the weapon and a complete field disassembly and reassembly of his AR-15 right in front of us as he clearly explained how the AR functions, how each part works, how to clean it and how to reassemble it. I brought an AK-47 to class; he field stripped it as well and gave me, and the other members of the class, the same clear explanation of function, cleaning and reassembly. He also provided invaluable information on what to look for when obtaining a battle rifle. After a further safety brief, we moved to the range and where Scott taught us how to zero our rifles and spent the time necessary to confirm zero on everybody’s rifle. He then introduced us to shooting positions (standing, kneeling, prone), how/when to go to those positions, combat reloads, tactical reloads, what malfunctions we were likely to face and how to clear them. This instruction was reinforced by numerous drills that had all of us correctly learning the tactile skills needed to perform these actions.
Day Two started with a brief review of Day One and a reminder that we were now responsible for keeping our rifle fed and running. Scott then taught us the basics of combat shooting and reacting to contact. We learned and practiced how to react to contact when facing left, right and rear, using controlled pairs and hammer pairs. Movement toward the target was introduced and well as drills simulating the use of cover and concealment. The use of cover and concealment, as well as the difference between the two, was discussed at length, and we finished up Day Two with drills in stream fire, “buddy pair” fire and movement skills. These final drills drove home the absolute necessity for clear and effective communication under stress, paying attention to everything that is going on around you and the need to practice your weapons manipulation skills so they become instinctive.
Just as the first class I took at MVT was excellent, so was this one. You would do well to study the MVT Forum before you purchase your gear for this class. The information provided there will certainly help to set you up for success. Max has also written several articles on the MVT Blog that provide the information you need to know to select the proper gear.
Review: Long Range Marksmanship Course (LRMC): JohnnyMac
This was my first foray into long range shooting. Prior to taking this class taught by John, I had only fired out to 100yds or used the Army’s 25m qual targets. I knew going into this class I would be entering personally uncharted waters. Luckily for me, beforehand I was able to get great advice from experienced shooters and John on the MVT forum for what to buy in preparation for this class. If you don’t belong to the MVT Forum, I would highly suggest joining. You will be able to get truly expert advice without the BS found on open forums around the internet. The advice allowed me to show up to class with a quality (yet affordable) precision rifle that was easy to use out to 1000yds.
Anyway, onto the class itself. We began by spending the morning in a lecture going over the fundamentals of marksmanship in great detail. When shooting at extended ranges, a great deal of consistency is required for hits on target. With M4/AR15s it’s often point/shoot with application of fire in some circumstances, but there are many more specifics for precision rifle that John took us through. These specifics truly made a difference in my ability when it came time to shoot. Throughout the lecture, John worked through our questions or confusion so that we were all growing our knowledge base. One thing that I really like about John’s style of instruction is his ability to divert into a specific topic- usually things that you would never think of/learn about otherwise. At many times during the course, I had what we like to call “you-don’t-know-what-you-don’t-know” moments. I knew coming into the course that precision rifle shooting was a deep subject, but over the 2 days, I learned there were truly fathoms of depth I had never considered. Luckily, John was patient enough to guide us through the material, reiterating or re-explaining information until we got it.
After the morning classroom session, we zeroed our rifles and chronographed muzzle velocities. Getting actual data on YOUR rifle with YOUR ammo was a truly priceless piece of this course. Having real data meant our elevation calls could be much more accurate when it came time to shoot at long range, saving us time and ammo. After chrono’ing we headed back to the classroom to talk about ballistics. John again did a thorough job of explaining formulas, both MOA and MIL and even went into detail about some of the most common reticles. The detailed information I got on my reticle (mildot) was incredibly useful for me when it came time to shoot at distance and was a “hidden gem” for me personally. The knowledge made my ability to mil targets and precisely hold for wind much much better! The next day, when we first got to the long range shooting position, I practiced milling targets with my scope and was within 10m of the 550m targets! Not bad for a first timer. Those results are PURELY because of John’s instruction the previous day. If you take this course in the future, make sure you take really good notes during the classroom portions. I frequently referenced them while on the range and they were great for having next to me so that I could answer quite a bit of my own questions.
We spent the entirety of the second day on the long range, shooting at targets from 250yds out to 960yds. Every single shooter got personal attention from John, usually shooting one at a time so that John could make wind calls, watch trace/splash and make corrections. There were also quite a few times John had to coach shooters (myself included) through correcting mistakes they made when dialing their scope. This individualized attention made for a very special experience. Being such a new shooter, without it, I think many of us would have been fumbling. John’s guidance honestly made it easy to make hits at the longer ranges. There was a moment of truth for me when he gave us a chance to free fire, without his spotting, at whatever targets we wanted to try for. What resulted was my hit percentages being roughly cut in half (down to 0% at 950yds)! I knew spotting was important, but that exercise really drove home that 1) good calls are vital and 2) how easy John made it seem. The range is extremely tricky because at the furthest targets, you are shooting across two valleys. Usually, the wind was doing two very different things. As a newbie, I was mystified by how John was able to know what was going on and make some seriously accurate wind calls. Something else that amazed me was how he was able to switch up from student to student without skipping a beat, given the VASTLY different setups we each had (different calibers, scopes, etc.). He was able to get everyone on target at 950yds, with some truly crazy holds. I think everyone left on a high note.
This class was super valuable from my perspective and the results I was able to get in such a short time of practice/instruction was pretty surprising to me. I was able to pretty reliably get hits on my own at the “midrange” targets with only 2 days of instruction. That’s a big win for me! Thank you to John for his instruction and thank you to Max and those who labored in clearing the range to make this course happen. I would highly recommend taking this course the next time it’s offered.
PS The 6.5 creedmore is a perfect caliber for a new precision rifle shooter, combining great ballistics with manageable recoil. I’m really glad I was using this caliber for my first long range rifle.
Review: Combat Rifle Skills – August 2017: 'Boot'
I attended the Combat Rifle Skills class at VTC Romney on the weekend of 19-20 August 2017. The class consisted of five shooters, including the four from my group, as well as one MVT pistol class alum. Skill levels varied from shooters who have barely put 100 rounds through an AR platform to intermediate rifle shooters with some tactical training and competition experience. The weather was incredible on both days, and the small class size allowed the instructor, Scott, to give individual attention to each attendee. While the class is centered around the AR platform, and students will get the most out of the class with an AR, other tactical platforms are welcome. One student used an AK throughout the class with success.
The class began on Saturday morning with a safety brief and an extensive lecture on the AR platform. From its inception, adoption, to modern modifications, Scott did an excellent job explaining why the AR platform is the most popular rifle in America. The historical context, as well as technical explanations of moving parts, gave those new to the platform a better understanding of what makes the rifle work and what to look out for when obtaining a new rifle, which helped guide several students after the class was over.
After the lecture portion of the class, Scott ran the class through confirming zero on all rifles, then moved on to the meat of the course. Using the crawl, walk, run method, Scott introduced the shooters to “combat” reloads, “tactical” reloads, and malfunction clearance to round out day one.
After review, day two started by building on what was learned the day before. Since students were now accustomed to clearing malfunctions and performing reloads, keeping the rifle fed and running fell on the students themselves. Scott took the class through facing movements, including left, right, and rear, then introduced movement. Shooters were taught the basics of reacting to contact, as well as when to perform certain tasks, such as reloads. The use of cover and concealment, as well as the difference between the two, was discussed, and day two finished with buddy pair fire and movement drills. The culminating drills drove home the necessity for effective communication as well as subconscious weapons manipulation to all students within the class.
This class was an excellent experience, especially for shooters who are new to the AR platform, or those who want the “why” behind everything in weapons manipulation. New shooters should not feel any hesitation about taking this class, since the POI is very heavy in making sure students have full understanding of the fundamentals before moving forward. While the gear list may look extensive to some, the required gear is more than enough to set a student up for success. If you are unsure where to start with gear, contact the MVT staff for help. While a chest rig or plate carrier capable of holding four mags is a great place to start, a few belt mounted AR mag pouches will certainly do the job for students unsure of where to start. Pouches like the G-code softshell scorpion or blue force gear ten-speed belt mounted pouches will get the job done without breaking the bank. I would recommend that, if you are new to tactical training, come to class with just enough gear to get the job done, that way you can see what works for you, as well as what works for others, in order to help you make a more informed decision when it is time to upgrade. Other than the required gear, a good pair of gloves is all you NEED. The parking lot is on site at the range, so do not worry about humping all your gear around for the day. Finally, bring as many mags and as much ammo as possible. Scott likes to stay at or under 800 rounds for the course, but it never hurts to have extra.
Review: Combat Patrol August 2017: Dimitri
Combat Patrol: where planning, combat team tactics, effective noisy/silent communication, personal fitness, attention to detail, commitment to success, all come together to solidify the understanding of what it actually takes for the team/family, to have a realistic chance at keeping the perimeter secure. For the most of us, the “perimeter” contains our families within it. The skill and the ability to keep the danger out, or find the danger before it finds you, is invaluable and must be mastered.
My personal progression has been Combat Team Tactics, followed by the CQB intro, Force-on-Force, and Combat Patrol.
Each class which I have taken prior to the CP, builds upon the other, like the pieces of a puzzle, the full picture becomes visible and will come together after participation in various classes offered at MVT. During the CTT classes, individuals and teams learn about the reactive and proactive maneuvers for the situations where contact with the enemy has been or will be made. CTT has showed me over and over, that it is not about me out there, it is about the situational awareness and my team around me. The communication between team members has to be clear, decisive, and timely.
During the Force-on-Force class, the teams actually get to apply the CTT and CP curriculum to the scenarios designed for the FoF class.
This class was a major eye opener for me in various ways: actual application of the team tactics, how to communicate the intent of our actions between the team members, what it actually takes to advance into contact undetected by the enemy, the importance of each fire team and how to use each team properly, the importance of cover, dangers of being stuck in one place, dangers of not paying attention to the rear or flanks, understanding that the enemy has a vote also.
Combat Patrol class for me personally, helped me to understand better the appropriate application of the combat team tactics, multiple teams advancing or breaking contact, support by fire and its purpose, reconnaissance of the objective, the importance of the available logistics, proper planning for the patrol and its activities, proper ambush set up and its execution. With the teams becoming more competent, a realistic curve ball was thrown at the teams to simulate the unpredictability of, and to demonstrate the difficulty of a casualty evacuation under contact. Cadre all said many times prior, the casualty evacuation under contact is one of the most difficult tasks to complete, after going through the “casualty” scenario during the ambush day, now I understand why that is.
Each drive home from Romney, I have time to reflect on the class and the weekend. One of the reoccurring conclusions after each class, is the realization of the importance of continuation of training, and the need of taking different classes at MVT. As stated above, each class brings a new layer of knowledge and skill which can be applied to the lessons learned from previous classes. Combination of this knowledge and skill will come together for each individual who is serious about their reason for being at MVT.
Review: Combat Rifle Skills (CRS), August 2017, VTC Romney: Roger
I was invited by my brother to attend the Combat Rifle Skills course in Romney, WV on August 19-20. Our instructor was Scott. My experience level consisted of a borrowed AR-15 with a total of 6 rounds shot in my brother’s back yard. Needless to say, I was very inexperienced with a rifle and had no idea what to expect with this type of class. I came prepared to take notes and learn as much as possible about handling a rifle.
We started the class with a basic introduction of all of the participants so we could get to know each on some level, rather than just being a bunch of strangers. We quickly progressed into learning about the history of the AR-15 platform and where it is today. Not knowing anything about the AR-15, this time was valuable to me to understand what “AR” really stands for (NOT ASSAULT RIFLE AS THE MEDIA WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE). We then when into how to breakdown the AR-15 and learn intimate details about each one of the major components of the rifle. Scott couldn’t stress enough the need of having spare parts available and ready to go. As he says, “Murphy does get a vote”. Cleaning the rifle was covered as well with all of the major lube points covered. This was invaluable information to keep the rifle up and running in top condition. Tactical gear and its practical application was covered extensively. We had a wide variety of tactical gear in our class and Scott stressed that this class is where you will figure out what gear works and what doesn’t work. That was definitely proven during our class time on the firing range.
After our discussion and all questions were answered, we proceeded to the firing range to “zero” our rifles. I had never done this before, but Scott’s expertise in this area really helped me understand how and why this is done and why it is so important to get it right. I can’t say enough about how much safety was stressed at all times when we were around our rifles. Scott was in complete control of every situation where the rifles were in our hands and I felt completely comfortable in this environment. We learn several types of weapon reloads and practiced them to help them become second nature. We were starting to lay a foundation that we would build upon during this two day training.
Malfunction drills were by far the most challenging individual element of this training. However, it can also turn out to be the most rewarding. Scott couldn’t stress enough to just stop and think about the malfunction before attempting any type of clearing maneuver. Not knowing what type of malfunction you are clearing might cause you to make the situation worse. As Scott said over and over again, “The ejection port tells you everything you need to know about the rifle”. You will also hear Scott say over and over, “This is a thinking man’s game”. Man is he right. Communication with your classmates is also something that is taken very seriously in this training. As Scott says, “It’s not about you, it’s about the other guy right next to you”. We are a team and are expected to work as a team and put others on the team before yourself. As we progressed into shooting drills, whenever you run empty, you are expected to yell “Stoppage” to let your team know you are out of the fight. When you have reloaded and confirmed you’re up and running again, you yell “Back In” to let your team know. Sometimes in the heat of battle you will forget to do this, but don’t worry, you will be reminded that it’s not about you, it’s about the other guy. This does become second nature after a while.
Day2 started with a short comprehensive review of Day 1 activities. We then progressed into many different types of shooting drills that built on each other. We learned the “patrol ready” position that stressed having the muzzle down. Scott constantly reminded everyone to be completely aware of your muzzle location at all times with your finger riding the safety in the on position. I never felt threatened by other team members with their rifles, as safety and muzzle position was stressed constantly. We learned how to maneuver with the rifle using the “head, body, weapon” mentality. This allows you to square up your body to the threat before engaging. This is also part of the safety regimen we practiced during each drill. We learned that the standard response to any threat is a controlled pair of rounds. This was used during most of the drills that we learned. We also learned what acceptable “cover” is and what it is not. This is something that you might not think about, but this knowledge can and will save your life. We learned to proper way to shoot around cover from the strong and support side. Taking your time was stressed when shooting from the support side, as this can be quite awkward the first time.
Building on what was already taught, we progressed to shooting on the move. Scott taught from his experiences about shooting, moving, reloading, and taking cover. These drills have real world application and were done repeatedly to ingrain the movements necessary to survive. The final drill involved shooting and moving in pairs. If you have never had a bullet fire from behind you, get ready for this. Scott explained this thoroughly and was right there with every move we made. This was by far the most enjoyable drill we did. Everything we had learned from the first day came into practical application all at once. What an awesome experience that was.
Scott and MVT do an outstanding job of providing the right training to help learn the correct way to train and help you survive. This training has given me the confidence that I did not have when it comes to knowing and executing with the AR platform. Scott’s personal insight and guidance has been invaluable to me. If you are looking for professional training done right, then I strongly encourage you to attend a class at Max Velocity Tactical. You will not regret it. I am looking forward to attending more training classes in the future at Max Velocity Tactical.
Review: CQBC August 2017: 'HelloKitty'
Instructors: John and Max
3 day course
Day 1- live fire range day. Dialed in rifles. Then worked on facing drills, shooting and moving, and barricade drills. In afternoon, worked on door entry and room clearance in 2 and 4 man teams. Dry fire of course.
Day 2- issued UTM bolts and ammo. Trained at the CQB huts. Entire day was focused on Door entry and room clearance in 2, 3, 4 man teams using UTM on targets. Target discrimination was reinforced. Many many reps done. Also had a timed competition of 2 man teams consisting of running 100 yds and then clearing entire structures with targets. Ended day with learning to move through hallways with T and 4 way intersections in 4 man teams.
Day 3- started the day learning shotgun breaching. Then went into UTM force on force with OPFOR in buildings. Many reps done. Afternoon we started working in 4 and 5 man teams against 4-5 man OPFOR.
Overall, an excellent course. Not my first CQB course but it was hands down the most advanced course I have ever seen or heard of for civilians. You will learn how to clear buildings in 2-4 man teams. However, you will also realize that to be good at CQB you need to practice and practice and repeat.
Review: Intro to CQB / Force on Force Team Tactics June 2017: ‘Virgil Kane’
This was my first tactical training of any kind. I’m a 49 year old Civil Engineer, PE. I drive a desk; sometime 80 hours a week (one excuse for not going to MVT sooner). I was not in the military. I’ve owned guns and hunted most of my life. I’ve been playing with and building AR15’s since shortly after 9/11.
I prep, but I don’t live it 100%. I have at least a year’s supply of food for my family of five along with water storage, med supplies, etc… I have rifles and handguns for the family plus some loaners for our grasshopper friends. The problem is that I don’t know how to use them on a two-way range. My local range and Appleseed haven’t trained me to do anything other than leisurely insert a mag, chamber a round, flip off the safety and fire a few rounds then leisurely stroll down to the target and assess my handiwork. All of this in the shade and dry of the shooting shelter at a time of my choosing.
I’ve thought that the training would be handy, but how hard can it really be to flip off the safety and fire a few rounds? Max has written on the MVT Forum, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I now understand that statement and I have a much better idea of what I don’t know.
In June, I attended the Intro to CQB Force-On-Force (1 day) and Team Force-On-Force (2 days). We used UTM Man Marker rounds in our AR15’s. We replaced the bolt with a special bolt that will only work with the UTM rounds and used our own GI mags. This allowed me to use my chest rig and try out my gear. We had to wear paintball type gear to protect our faces and especially eyes. They can leave a bruise through clothing and bring blood to exposed skin, but nothing permanent. Nobody lost an eye, and it was fun.
After three days of sending and receiving UTM rounds, I know that the list of what I don’t know is long. One thing we all know is that the safety has to be off to fire, but more than once, in the shoot house, I was face to face with OPFOR and pulling a stuck trigger, because the safety was still on. I was caught up in the action and didn’t have the function ingrained in my muscle memory and things were happening fast. I also had not been trained on what to do in case of a stoppage, which is essentially what I had. So, I stood there and got shot while my teammate went past me as he was supposed to do and also got shot, because I didn’t do my job. In the real world, with real ammo, that could have been a family member or a good friend that I failed.
CQB was a slow progression from instruction with Max and First Sergeant walking through the maneuver to drilling with empty weapons to entering a room and facing OPFOR with UTM rounds flying. My main takeaway is that if you’re faced with CQB, your shit’s weak, but it’s better to have the training and know how to diminish the room and where you and your teammates need to be once in there and increase your chances of walking back. It was eye opening and well worth it.
For FOF, I was teamed with MVT Alumni (I was the only newbie in the class) who had been through other team classes. We spent the first couple of hours on Saturday going over team movement and then moved on to team FOF. All simple concepts, but I later learned that when it’s 95 degrees and you’re goggles are fogged and your eyes are full of sweat and you’re breathing hard from running up a West Virginia mountain those simple concepts get difficult when the shooting and yelling start. That’s where the training and practice comes into play. Instinctively knowing which way to move and communicating with the team isn’t something you will figure out on the fly.
Both the CQB and Team FOF were well worth the money and the time. I drove 9.5 hours each way from Georgia to Romney, WV and I will do it again. I will be at the class in Georgia in October, to learn more of what I don’t know.
Who trains at MVT?
Well, I’m a licensed professional engineer and small business owner. We had several IT professionals and one guy that owns a few media companies. There were fed gov employees and local and state gov employees. We had a college history professor. There was an EMT and two MD’s. Several were licensed HAM operators.
The age range was 15 to 55 years old with the majority seeming to be in their 40’s. All male, except a 15yo girl that came with her father. They came from Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts; from small towns and big cities.
There were no beer-belly, militia colonels. There was no talk of conspiracy theories or overthrowing the fed gov. There were no idiots or loudmouths. It was just a good group of patriotic American citizens. A group that realizes that, Heaven forbid, if our world were turned upside down, we might need to defend our family and property and community from looting gangs and having the tools in the toolbox is better than being caught flatfooted. We also realize that these skills could be crucial in a more likely situation such as a home invasion or other event where the police are nowhere around.
Besides, we ALL know that shooting is fun and shooting stuff is more fun and better than any day in the office.
Before writing this review, I went back to look at my review of FoF from last October to see how my thoughts on the experience had changed with my skill development over the past 8 months. It turns out, I didn’t actually write one! For all of you MVT alumni, I strongly encourage you to write a review of each class you take. It forces you to reflect on your experience, further cementing lessons learned during class time and will be valuable to look back on in the future.
Even though I didn’t have a previous review to look through, the difference between my abilities ONLY 8 months ago is crazy! It is fully attributed to the additional MVT classes I’ve taken and the work I put in on my own time to practice what I learn. For those of you who have attended a CTT class and think you’ve “got it”, this is your wake up call. As Max says, you might have a clue, but not much more. The complete collection of classes that MVT offers is holistic and utterly unrivalled. Sign up for them, be professional and apply yourself both during and after classes, and you can expect to be “truly dangerous”.
Force on Force is really where the rubber meets the road. In both FoF and the real world, “the enemy always gets a vote”. Until you are thrown into an experience where you DON’T know what’s going to happen (or even know what is going on RIGHT NOW, i.e. fog of war), you are only one step above academic. Processing and continuing to fight through situations that can only be experienced in FoF is a skill in itself. Things like: your friends, who were supposed to get the bad guys, just got annihilated; not knowing if your leader is still alive as you call out to him, receiving only silence in return; or feeling your stomach lurch as you start taking fire from an unprotected flank. Even at a basic level, aiming and firing at people (and getting shot at) is something many people need to overcome when first experiencing it- even in UTM FoF. Some people complain about the cost of UTM, but it provides us the ability to experience these things, and learn lessons that otherwise would be paid for in blood. If you have not experienced FoF, there is an entire world of skill you’re utterly ignorant of.
Another huge benefit to this class is that everyone can, and will, learn- no matter the skill level. FoF tests all the skills you’ve gained (or haven’t) up to this point. Things like fitness, marksmanship, application of fire, weapon manipulation, use of cover/concealment, communication, tactics, leadership, etc are all going to come into play on EVERY iteration. Depending on your skill, you will be working on different things. Although I would not recommend this for someone who has literally never even fired an AR15, if you at least know how to basically operate a carbine, this is a very approachable class. Your more experienced teammates will help you out. Remember, they want to be successful and so, they need you to be successful. Likewise, even if you’re an elite SOF jedi, you will still get value out of this.
I could give you a rundown of each day, but you can probably piece that together with other FoF reviews. Instead I want to share with you some helpful hints or lessons I learned this past weekend, in no particular order:
-When doing squad rehearsals, don’t gloss over anything and be rigorous in practicing. Next time around, it would be worthwhile getting the team into the tree line so that there’s coaching on, not only team movements and communication, but also individual skills like proper spacing, use of cover, sectors, etc. Train like you fight, right?
-As leader, strike a balance between decisive speed and tactical patience. Hesitation (both from the leader and at an individual level) can get you killed, but at the same time, you need to be able to take a pause long enough to think through what needs to happen next, in order to be successful.
-Camo/earth tones in general work, movement and sound is what will give you away. You would be surprised how close you can allow OPFOR to get to your hasty ambush before they notice you. Breaking up the outline of a helmet with some simple scrim helps a lot.
-Walking stealthily through the woods is a skill you need to practice. Fitness will make it easier for you to do so.
-As always, physical conditioning. If you aren’t in decent shape, you’re going to pay for it. If you’re in bad shape, you might be a liability to yourself and your team. Whatever gear you decide to use, make sure you can run around in it. Stop making excuses and invest some sweat equity into yourself. Likewise, as a leader, know the physical capabilities of your team and plan accordingly.
-Armor plates don’t really cover as much as you might think. I wore mine the entire weekend and I don’t think they ever “saved” me.
-Things happen incredibly quickly. Within seconds an element could be rolled up. With that said, UTM has less range (50m), less accuracy, and broadens the definition of cover in comparison to 5.56. Engagements with 5.56 will go down even faster, at longer ranges, with less cover.
-Target identification is critical, and much harder than “the internet” thinks. In the beginning, there were multiple friendly fire incidents- despite one team having blue tape on both arms!
-Be comfortable being uncomfortable. In our case it was hot and humid, and occasionally wet. Electrolyte replacement was critical. Don’t worry about the weather beyond its effect on the mission.
-Communication is one of the most important and difficult skills to grasp.
-You need to be periodically looking in towards your teammates and leaders. How else will you receive silent communication?
-No one used radios the entire weekend. The only time we wish we had radios was when two elements were out of sight of each other and there needed to be a change of plans. Being able to communicate with hand/arm signals and yelling, once things go loud, is a critical skill- a skill that needs to come before radio use.
-When you’re being told to do something by the leader, LISTEN! In many cases, people were just out of RAM and couldn’t process everything that was going on. But if you do hear your leader, respond/comply.
-Going rogue/ being random doesn’t work very well in SUT. There’s a fine line between intelligently taking the initiative and screwing things up. You might get lucky sometimes, but overall it’s probably going to get you or your team killed. You need to be a team player, always.
-After each iteration, there will be a debrief. Stow away your ego, shut up (no excuses), and try to absorb the feedback the cadre are giving. This includes learning from the mistakes of others, don’t just space off because they aren’t addressing YOU specifically.
-Every man is a sensor/linkman. Your leader can’t see everything, if you see “new information” you have to get that information to them. Likewise, if someone isn’t getting a message and you can relay it, do so.
-Being defensive/wary can give you a tactical advantage, but it’s going to cost you time. Sometimes significant amounts of time.
-Have at least one TQ, preferably more. There were a few preventable “deaths” this weekend.
-Although taking the high ground is often the right answer, there are perfectly good reasons not to (cover/concealment, speed, surprise, etc).
-I missed out on the optional intro to CQB day but would strongly recommend taking it if you have the time/funds. CQB is such a highly technical and perishable skill. The number one take away from those who did take it was, “I never want to have to do CQB in real life.” Having taken the full 3 day CQB course last month, I echo that sentiment. It’s particularly scary when you take into account the average 2×4 and dry wall home construction. If you’re able to, sign up for the optional day, it will be time well spent!
In summary, FoF training gives you the opportunity to face an intelligent, unpredictable, moving enemy under the watchful eye of cadre who will give feedback so that you learn from your mistakes. You cannot get this elsewhere. The skills you gain on the square range, or even in live fire team drills, will serve you well, but until you get experience actually fighting, you haven’t fully grasped what’s required to win. I would highly recommend this class, no matter your skill level, and suggest you retake it periodically to further hone your abilities. It is courses like this that make you “truly dangerous to your enemies”.
What an awesome way to spend Father’s day weekend- whacking people with UTM training rounds with your son at your side! We even rode to Valhalla on a flying dinosaur that shot flames out it’s butt after that! Just kidding, at least the last part!
This was my fourth time taking that class, I think I’ve attended every one Max has offered in West Virginia. I can’t wait to go again.
“Robert are you serious, you paid good money for the same class FOUR TIMES?”
You’re damn right I did and I would do it again real soon! Not only that, I brought my son for his second iteration of Force on Force Team Tactics. I first brought him in October and it was his introduction to MVT training. He had recently turned 16 and enjoyed the class quite a bit. He had trained with me doing similar training with live weapons since he was 12 years old. However it’s quite a bit different working with 6-8 people at a time doing this sort of thing, versus 18 people, with half of them acting as your enemy. Paper and steel targets don’t have a brain, they stay right where you put them. They don’t maneuver on you. The enemy has a say in how these things play out.
The UTM training ammo is a marking round projectile that travels at 370 FPS. It is loaded via rounds that are .223 sized and have a colored marking tip. They are put in standard AR15 magazines, with the regular AR bolt carrier being removed and a special UTM only bolt being put in its place. In short, you can’t screw this up and somehow fire a live round. Not that you would get a live round to the area where training takes place- we are all checked over before each class. Even if that happened, the UTM bolts will NOT fire live rounds. So in short, it’s the safest way to practice small unit tactics. It’s also a great way to get folks into tactical training that may be concerned about safety.
You’re loading the UTM rounds into AR magazines and shooting them through real rifles (if you could call an AR a “real rifle” LOL. A little AK afficionado’s pun there!!!) so it will show your weapons manipulation skills as well- under pressure. Standing behind a bench, with all the time in the world, under shade, taking your sweet arse time shooting is a good bit different than what this entails. Several students were admonished to get their weapons up quickly and get rounds on targets quicker. Some were shot in circumstances wherein they should have easily whacked the other party. I can attest to this having to have to bound across a large open area to secure a flank. I was thinking the whole time I was going to get clipped right here. But the other side was firing slowly and not adjusting well. They got rolled up, six of them, by largely just two guys. Morale of the story- this isn’t Appleseed, or bench shooting where you fire one round, eat a donut, smoke a cig and then fire another round. This is more combat application of fire. The ones who did not apply that were hit, the ones that did, usually prevailed.
Max gives both teams a chance to rehearse dry drills Saturday morning. This helps bring everyone up to speed as well as gives newer folks a chance to play a little catch up if they haven’t trained in a while or at all. It also tends to give the squad leader and team leaders a chance to get a handle on what they have to work with, before the “games” get started.
Here I should prefice that while they are “games”, this isn’t any paintball or airsoft BS. In four times taking this class the only time I saw someone run off on their own doing crazy “paintball” type stuff he was chastised for it- and rightly so. This class is about working with a TEAM, hence the name TEAM TACTICS. If not, it would be called “Force on force, do whateverthehell you want” class LOL. This isn’t about just having superfun time out there, it’s about LEARNING these skills and APPLYING them.
About half of the “games” are team against team capture their base/flag type of deals and about half of it is scripted scenarios. This includes iterations where a number of people are tasked to just be defenders of a handful of “bunkers” and 12 or 13 are tasked with attacking them. Two iterations were done wherein several defenders stayed at and defended the CQB training buildings and the others were tasked with making a covert infiltration and then attacking and clearing the CQB buildings. (Max Adds: There is an optional CQB Intro Day on the Friday, to give you a head’s up on CQB. There is also a full 3 Day CQBC, next class in August with 2 spots only remaining).
The cadre are there and one moves with each team to observe. They typically will not help a team with mission planning but sometimes there are gentle nudges if a plan is really out of whack. After that iteration is over, a thorough debrief is done, with cadre commenting on what was done right, what was done wrong, what could have been done differently, etc. While it’s largely a student led class, Cadre are always there to help if need be and the debriefs are some of the best learning in the class.
“But FOUR times Robert? WTH over?”
Yes, four times and probably at least four times more.
This isn’t a square range pew pew pew pew class, although I’ve done literally hundreds of them. This class is truly about application of what you have learned.
Doing combatives for about a decade now, I can tell you that you can come in, hit a bag, practice your ground work with a compliant partner, etc. and that it is NOT the same as fighting someone in a match or real life. My first couple matches I participated in I had tunnel vision, auditory exclusion and was doing well to keep my head above water. The first time I took a good hit to the face that rang my bell I just walked off the mats, a little disoriented to what had just happened. Over time, learning to control the psyche, breathe properly, etc. this all changed and my psyche (for lack of a better term) rarely gets elevated on the mats any more. Things become more of a chess match than an “oh crap, what’s happening?” always behind the curve event.
I’ve noticed that same phenomenom with some folks doing force on force for the first time. I believe this is why we are seeing people having to be told to fire their weapons, to take cover and other things that- to the casual observer or the internet “monday morning quarterback” (read, the guy that never does this sort of thing so doesn’t know) it seems obvious that they should be doing it. I can watch a UFC fight and be yelling “there is a triangle, do it!” but being in the fight and doing that when the split second recognition of it comes up is a much different thing.
So the real value of doing the class multiple times is in both seeing the improvement of skills (or you should be improving anyways) but also in getting more “used” to the circumstances of the fight. We cannot control every aspect of the fight- the enemy has a say, your team mates may do some stupid crap you cannot control, you may vary from the plan and do stupid crap yourself, you will take casaulties, etc. “The fight will be what the fight will be.” And just like a combatives fight, it is not scripted and will not always go the way you want it to. Best laid plans of men and mice.
Learning the “flow” of the battle and learning to sense and “feel” (for lack of a better term) the fight are invaluable skills and are only gained through repetition. You cannot read an online post about them, or read a book about that. And you likely will not learn it bench shooting ten rounds while eating a dozen glazed either.
Getting used to the fight by doing multiple iterations of the class was shown to me by the way my son had drastically improved since taking the class with me last fall. Last October, I really felt like I had to “direct” him more- “move up here”, “watch that flank” etc. Every time I thought to say something like that to him this go around, he was usually already doing it. He learned to take the initiative himself and became an valuable team mate to me. Seeing his improvement was the best Father’s Day gift a survivalist could get!
And we will be back again at some point to do it again.
- Incredible facility that combines challenging and varied terrain from valleys to steep inclines and meadows to bunkers and CQB buildings. These elements add a difficulty factor which is invaluable towards building a skill set that can help survive a real conflict regardless of your AO. PT comes into play here as it should.
- The UTM technology is seamless with your existing AR with a simple bolt change being all that’s necessary. The rounds are pricey for sure. But the training value of being able to employ your personal weapon system against an opposition that isn’t tacked to a target stand is priceless. Do they hurt? Enough to let you know you’re hit, no more in my opinion. At first I thought the UTM effective range of <50 yards was a training limitation. In open terrain, for sure. But in the woods or around buildings, it made it harder to “kill” your opponents making movement and angles that much more important. Less is more in this case.
- When you attend square range training, the other attendees aren’t an asset – they’re usually in the way of you getting more attention from the instructor. At FOF, the participants are obviously necessary but they are also an incredible asset to the training. You’ll have a mix of experience for sure and in our case the teams were pretty well evenly matched. You’ll learn from teammates who have more experience and you’ll have the chance to help others along too.
- Be willing to follow as much, if not more so, as leading. If someone else is leading, be the end of the hammer – let them swing it.
- Communicate – explicitly and firmly whether silent or verbal
- PT – specifically cardio and legs
- Goggles you pretest for fogging/condensation. Go stand in a hot shower with them or something. Bring anti-fog wipes. Remove the thin layer of foam around the frame to let them breathe better. If it’s uber hot (as it was for us) wear an absorbent head wrap under your helmet. I cut a strip from a camp towel and it worked. This will help keep the sweat from running down your forehead and across the inside of your lenses. Seriously. If you can’t see you aren’t any use in a fight.
- Bring lots of water but you don’t need to camelback it on you – drink between runs, it saves weight.
- Mesh face shield. Ask Wang why.
For the detail on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Force on Force (UTM ammunition), click the link below:
Review: Combat Rifle Skills June 2017: ‘Holger Danske’
Review: Close Quarter Battle Course: May 2017: TC
After a sixteen hour drive from Florida, camping in the rain, five hours of sleep, and never having taken a tactical class before, I nevertheless found the MVT CQB class eminently doable. Not because it was watered down and easy, but because the course was so effectively designed and taught by John and his assistants Kang and Phil. I was impressed by their focused, dedicated, pragmatic, and no-ego approaches. They were professional but friendly and gave constructive feedback where needed.There was zero superfluous Hollywood tacticool ninja stuff. Everything taught was tuned for maximum efficiency and impact, honed by years of experience. Everything served a purpose, building upon itself hour upon hour, day upon day. Given the time constraint of three full days, I think John did an excellent job of pacing the material and breaking it down.
To illustrate, during the first morning, practicing hammer and controlled pairs, target discrimination, and shooting while moving were essential for the second and third days whereby one does not simply walk into a room and stand still at the first sight of a threat and start engaging; that would mean blocking your team-mates from entering, losing momentum, and then everyone dies. We learned how to move to one’s designated “point of domination” in the room, cover your designated sector of fire, discriminate your targets, and fire in hammer pairs while moving. All while being mindful of your footwork, communicating what you see, picking up another buddy’s role when they go down, and slowing down enough to allow for correct timing and spacing between team members.
When Force on Force training began on day three, I found out just how valid the CQB principles of speed, surprise, and violence of action were. Many times I got shot because I didn’t expect it, fell for a distraction tactic (thanks Jack!), didn’t react in time, or failed to maintain momentum. The rest of the time it was because I wasn’t mindful of overlapping fatal funnels from multiple doorways or windows, staying out of one but ignoring another and getting hit from that direction. And of course, the first man to enter a room to an expectant threat hiding in the corner will go down more often than not, and it is through self-sacrifice that he can shield his teammates so that they can press on and finish the job. As for the principle of speed, measured swiftness would be more accurate, as in efficiency of movement, coordination of timing, and smoothness of flow.
Despite the high casualty rate, there were certain students and teams that consistently came out on top; several had prior security, military, or law enforcement experience and it showed. This class was less of a learning curve for them. To me, they were proof that CQB is not some crap shoot meat grinder where it’s a coin flip as to who lives or dies. Rather, if you employ sound principles, think ahead, think on your feet, think outside the box, know your roles and objectives, expect the unexpected, and employ tactical patience and timing, you will have the upper hand. Teamwork and communication is the glue of it all. This is something that comes with practice.
Regarding UTM rounds, the blue ones we used were a bit overkill for closer quarters and lower velocity rounds are planned for the future. We did our best to avoid head shots and anything under 1 meter distance, but with 16″ barrels and close confines there were occasional exceptions. Take the advice and wear a field jacket as an outer layer. I wore a grid fleece sweater and some rounds went through. Combat shirts with the thin torso material, likewise. Cardboard in an abdominal flap apparently works as expedient armor; I stuffed a baseball cap down my pants and that worked great. I also wore a 556 Patrol chest rig (so awesome) but had I worn a plate carrier I’d have survived 10 shots out of ~35 total. I got shot in the sides twice, so side plates would have prevented those. Another 7 shots were in hands and arms, 3 in the face, none on my helmet or backside, and the remaining dozen were in abdominal/waist/groin/thigh region.
It’s worth noting that, according to the opinion of several MVT alumni there, this class is comparable to CTT in terms of overall effort required, only that it’s more mentally intensive than physically so, while CTT is the opposite. So if you’ve taken CTT, you can do the CQBC. In fact, on the last day with 7 BLUEFOR against 4 OPFOR, we employed some CTT tactics in approaching and attacking the megahouse from the woodline. I hadn’t officially taken CTT yet but Jeff and JohnnyMac waved me through it. Once you stack up on a building and enter, though, it’s CQB time and CTT is no substitute. That’s why this class is a “must have”, because it fills in a gap in the MVT curriculum.
John took time for class feedback at the end of the third day and was humbly open to constructive criticism. This being the 2nd CQBC event taught at VTC, it was already an improvement based on feedback from the first class. So I can only imagine how even more effective future classes will be. In hindsight, here are a couple more more suggestions. First, maybe include a word on the best ways to defend a structure. Sure, one can deduce some of that from CQB principles and the experience of playing OPFOR in the huts, but it would be good to get an “official” word on best practices if there are any. Second, include a commentary on the use of weapon lights. John did address this when asked on the side, but I’m not sure everyone was there to hear it. And third, if there are any other tricks or unconventional tactics one can do in CQBC that fall under the category of “thinking outside the box.”
John said that this course is could easily be six weeks long; all that material has been condensed into three days, meaning everything is shown but there’s only just enough repetition on each move/drill/principle to start implementing them in FoF. One could definitely benefit from practicing them at home and taking the class again, multiple times. Thankfully, John provided us a written outline afterward, which helped clear up any major points I missed or misunderstood. I asked Kang and Phil how much of their total CQB knowledge was included in this course; they said a good deal, about 70%, with the remainder being some extra nuances, moving around furniture, advanced breaching (we did unlocked door breaching and a live shotgun breach), hand-to-hand combat, etc. If there’s an Advanced CQBC, I will definitely sign up.
Review: Combat Rifle Skills: Phil
Close Quarter Battle (CQBC) Review May 26-28: Alex
I returned to the Velocity Training Center (VTC), Romney, WV, this May to take the Close Quarters Battle Course after having taken Combat Team Tactics and Combat Rifle Skills in the past. I will not rehash the events of each day of training as the other recent posts do an excellent job of describing what to expect and the great practical training that was provided. Instead, I would like to give you a review of the CQB instructors and a few of my personal take-aways from the class.
In my humble opinion, the CQB course Max offers is a “must have”. I believe close quarters combat is the most common threat any of us will face in our everyday lives. From a home invasion to coming home from work and finding your front door kicked in, this CQB course will provide you with tools to assess the threat and give you a fighting chance to secure your home or protect your family members.
When I first took CTT a few years ago I was new to the AR Platform. In just a few days I was moderately proficient with my rifle and received lots of great training to take home and continue on my own. I tell you this only to stress the importance of frequent realistic training. I HAD NOT done enough. While doing “battle” with little orange pie plates during the DAY 2 “stress shoot” I had a weapon malfunction. The stress of the situation, combined with lack of muscle memory “tap-rack-bang” potentially left me down a priceless 4-5 rounds still in my magazine that was now lying in the dirt. My battle buddy pushed me out of the doorway to keep the simulated enemy from continuing to dump countless rounds into my now probably lifeless body. I was reloading while completely exposing myself to the enemy. My goal of this story is not to bash myself, but to stress the importance of continuing your training. Muscle memory which is developed during frequent, realistic training is the only way to perform at a high level during stressful, ever changing situations. While the CQB course may not be feasible to take on a “frequent” basis, it provides realistic training that would be hard to come by anywhere else.
A few thoughts for those of you thinking about taking this class:
- Do it. Stop thinking about it. Stop talking about it with your friends. Take the class. If your “man cave” battle buddies won’t take it with you, go by yourself. Make some new friends at class and tell your buddies at home what they missed out on. If your family/wife/children don’t understand why you want to go “play GI Joe in the woods” tell them. This class is fundamentally about being able to protect your family and their way of life.
- You don’t have to have the most expensive gun/optics/accessories. I run an ACOG with RMR sight. It only got in my way. This class taught me (actually I kind of stumbled across it on my own) that I could shoot without the use of optics, or even irons sights for that matter at very close distances.
- Have your rifle “zeroed” or have it close. Anything that you can do to be prepared for this class will allow you to get the absolute most out of class, and allow it to progress quickly. You took the class to lean CQB not how to zero your rifle.
- Leave your ego at home. Luckily we did not have any problems with this. Everyone had a professional mindset and was ready to go to work without any hesitation. I struggle with this at times when I “fail” during training. Offer encouragement and be willing to “do it again”.
To a couple of my classmates, Jack and Chris: Your weapon manipulation was awesome. Your dedication to frequent training was obvious. Jack: Your constant drive to improve after each scenario was a motivating factor for me. Chris: Your barbeque eating ability was both impressive and revolting.
The instructors we had were not just great instructors but a great group of guys who genuinely wanted to be there. In fact, I would say they were as excited as us to be there, if not more. There were no condescending remarks towards students; only praise, encouragement, and constructive criticism. The three instructors that we had were brothers in arms. That brotherhood and camaraderie was evident from day one. They all provided a slightly different point of view but never contradicted each other.
John: The lead instructor was “driven”. That’s the first word that comes to mind for me. Even while showing us techniques, he was constantly critiquing himself when he did not perform a maneuver perfectly. He has a warrior’s mentality. Correction, he is a warrior. He has spent a large portion of his life honing his craft and has a drive to share that with others. Many of us “civilians” are spending our time trying to improve our training and develop our own “warrior mentality” but it was very humbling for me personally to be around not just John but Kang, Phillip, and also classmate Barry who have spent so much of their lives in defense of our great country. Thank You For Your Service.
Kang: Soft spoken and deadly. Most likely to give you hug, unless you were unfortunate enough to be on the business end of his rifle. His footwork was amazing. He moved through the CQB techniques as if he was dancing. Kang gave out a lot of praise, but with that was always advice for improvement. “Good” is ok when training. “Good enough” is not. Thanks buddy.
Phillip: Another great asset to training. He provided a third point of view. It was always in the right context, without any contradictory information. Phil was goofy, in the best kind of way. A little comic relief to sooth even the most painful of UTM rounds. Phil was fearless, braving countless UTM rounds during scenarios just to get a little camera footage.
Barry: I add you in here even though you were a classmate. You were a kind of impromptu instructor. Your military and law enforcement background gave us a wealth of experience to learn from.
As we say in the Fire Service, “You don’t know what you don’t know”. This class is a prime example of that. Close Quarters Combat is an extremely perilous endeavor even for highly trained fighters. This class really opened my eyes to what I need to do to protect my family. I wouldn’t have known if I had not taken this class. Now that I “know what I didn’t know,” I can get started training.
Úlfhédnar No Mercy Only Violence!
Of the classes I have taken at MVT, I think the Close Quarters Battle Course (CQBC) comes closest to that statement. As John our instructor said, you need at least two of the three tenets of CQBC, speed, surprise and violence of action and you might get through unscathed in a real life and death situation in the close confines of your typical American structure — but it is better to have all three.
BUT those three tenets only work if you have the training and no training could be better than to be taught by John and his two AI’s, three men who “have been there and done that” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Others have written about what the three days of CQBC entailed and the progression in our training but in the end the training was ALL geared to focus the those three tenets (speed, surprise and violence of action) in such a way that you would stand a reasonable chance of surviving and completing your mission in a CQB environment.
SPEED — In the close confines of CQB (1-5 meters) the time once you cross over the threshold is not just measured in seconds it is measured in tenths of a second if you don’t have the tenet of surprise things can go hell very quickly. When the time between living and dying in a real CQB event is that fast you need to move and not with just speed but with momentum through the structure until all areas are clear.
HOWEVER, one thing you will find is that with speed comes the possibility that you could commit a very grievous mistake and shoot an innocent maybe a family member or teammate, this very real possibility is discussed in another post on Practicing Positive Target Identification (PID). Rushing to your death or inflicting it on innocents is not the kind of speed you want.
SURPRISE — With surprise you can go slower but still keep momentum on the objective with less of a possibility of a blue on blue incident. Think outside the box but gain the advantage with surprise whether coming in when the bad guys are asleep or a rock through a window to draw their attention elsewhere but if at all possible gain the advantage of surprise.
Yes, when it comes to the element of surprise LE/Military have the advantage with the items at their disposal so you need to look around your house and find those things that might give you that edge.
VIOLENCE OF ACTION — When it comes to this tenet there can be NO hesitation there can be no weak kneed response it must be swift and decisive so shoot till they are down and you know that there is no chance that they will be getting up to hurt you or anyone else again.
In this day of increasing home invasions, this class is MUST for anyone who values their life and the lives of their loved ones because in the end YOU are the first responder because when or if the police arrive it may be too late. And yes I did mean to say IF they arrive because the courts including the Supreme Court have ruled that the police are under no obligation to come to your aid.
The skills that John teaches in this CQBC will give you a better chance of survival but like all skills, they must be practiced and practiced repeatedly to even give yourself a fighting chance. The next class is in August, many that were here in May will be back, and we are looking forward to a possibly advanced CQBC in the future.
So the question for those of you that are reading this are YOU making plans to attend or are you coming up with excuses for not attending; when the time comes will you use the phrase that started this AAR “No Mercy Only Violence” against those that would do you and yours harm or will they use it against you and yours?
Don’t become confused over ‘speed.’ CQB is a thinking and problem solving game. People start to die when they get out of control speed and start to run ahead into rooms and forget the drills and mutual support of the team. It is a problem solving game of angles, and must be thought through. Sometimes you are moving fast, and for example hesitation between the first and second man can be fatal, but mostly your speed is momentum created by correct application of the drills, and thinking through the problem. Actual speed is a variable because the type of drill and the speed it is conducted can vary. Once you lose surprise inside the structure this becomes even more important, and you have to think how you will breach and clear each room. Too much resistance? Back off and think it through again. Can you regain some tactical surprise? Alternative breach point? Angles? The idea is not to rush to your death!
MVT Student Review Idaho 2017: Mark
I had the opportunity to attend four classes this year while MVT was in Idaho. This is a long review, so if you don’t want to hear from one of the kool-aid drinking Disneyland wannabes, don’t read any further. But, if you’re a regular guy or gal trying to decide if this type of training is for you and your family, I encourage you to explore further.
I consider myself a regular kind of guy. I have no military background, nor do I pretend to be a wannabe special forces operator. I’m a husband, father, full time Emergency Medicine physician, medical director, etc…you get the point. I have a career and life other than prepping/training. However, I do consider myself a prepper and see the utility in tactical training for myself and family. As part of my life’s mantra, I am continually trying to improve upon myself. You can never know everything, be the expert on any given subject, the fastest or strongest, the best shot, etc…but you can compete with yourself, pushing further each day. That is why I train. My father in law wrote a guest piece on why we train; I encourage you to take the time to read it:
As with anything, you get what you pay for. I ran a Sig Sauer 516 whilst my wife, who also did CRS/CTT, ran a Colt 6920. They performed flawlessly. I witnessed several “Frankengun” failures ranging from gas blocks coming loose to bolts shearing in half. If you don’t have a mil-spec rifle, invest in one. If you have a spare, bring it to class with you. You’d be surprised at how many back up rifles were in use. Optics is a larger discussion and there are lots of opinions out there. I personally run vortex which can go from 1-6 power and doesn’t require a battery. Again, it’s all about functionality for the end game. Get knee pads and elbow pads or clothing with them built in…they will save your joints. Check the local weather and make sure you have appropriate rain gear. Insect repellent for us was huge with all the ticks. Treat your gear with permethrin or at the very least have DEET. I also ran plates (4.7 lbs each) with a battle belt through all three classes (CLS had no live fire component). I invested quite a bit and have now run the same plate carrier and battle belt for two years with no issues. I also believe training in what I would wear in the SHTF scenario is critical. You’d be surprised how many pouches get moved around during the break. The point of all this is that you get what you pay for when it comes to gear. Don’t let the first time you put your gear on or use your black gun be in class or even a worse situation. The MVT forum has a great gear section; I suggest you check it out.
This is an interesting topic. I ran the CTT portion in full gear with plates doing each iteration twice due to an odd class number. I’ll be honest; you get way more out of class if your fitness level is in high gear. Since taking MVT in 2016, I haven’t stopped training. I hike with a pack, run, weight train, burpees, etc. pretty much every other day. I’m in no way a marathon runner, body builder, but I can hold my own. You will be exhausted both mentally and physically by the end of this training, but it is well worth it. Now with that said, you can show up in whatever shape you’re currently in. Max will not push you past your limit. But you get way more out of the training by preparing.
The subject of safety always comes up when I discuss this type of training with folks. This is live fire training, and there is some inherent danger solely on that. Now, if you want to be a square range Rambo, good on you. However, if you want to learn how to shoot, move and communicate dynamically as part of a team, there is some risk. There are several safety measures in place to prevent accidents. This includes daily safety briefs before weapons are loaded, active muzzle awareness, and safety angles. At NO time in my MVT class history including CTT/Mobility/CP in 2016 as well as CLS/CTT/DA/FoF/CQB this year did I feel unsafe.
CLS (1 day)
Why would an ER physician take a basic combat lifesaver course? That’s actually very easy to explain. In the ER, I have some control over the chaos, surrounded by trained staff to assist when all hell’s breaking loose. I have the tools and the backup when I need them for pretty much any scenario. In essence, it’s my world and what I’ve been trained to do. CLS is not. Learning the basics of self care under fire, buddy care, MARCH, communicating extraction were great tools to add to what I already know. IFAK contents and tourniquets are always great to check out and practice applying. As with all gear, you really don’t want the first time you try it out is when you or someone you know has been shot. If you don’t have any first aid training or an actual IFAK, I encourage you to invest in real gear and take a course on how to actually use it.
CTT (2 day)
As I’ve already stated, this was my second CTT. I was amazed by how much I had absorbed from the first time, and how much I had forgotten. It is a perishable skill and needs to be practiced with your tribe. This year I had the pleasure of doing the course with my wife and her sister. They are savage!!! The course focuses on the basics of small unit movement, engagement and communication. Practice the drill…not the scenario. It gives you the basic knowledge of how to shoot, move and communicate effectively as a team. By the end of the course, our family unit was very efficient. It gave us all the ability to use the same language and tactics which we can now drill. In the end, it’s up to you and your tribe on how to apply it based on your bug out scenario.
Direct Action (3 day)
Direct Action is a new evolution of Combat Patrol. I’ll be honest, I did miss the night recce, however this year’s Direct Action was great. I would describe this as graduate level CTT. It covers advanced tactics such as ambush, hasty attacks and raids. There is advanced squad movement and requires a higher level of thought, but in the end…it’s just more application of the basic drills. I had the honor or burden of being nominated squad leader by the rest of the trainees. By the end of the course we were completely student led with Max acting as RO/Safety and providing feedback. The amount of progression and level of improvement by our class was outstanding! If you have the energy or the opportunity to take Direct Action, I strongly encourage it.
FoF/CQB (2 day)
This was NOT paintball. Our first day was out in the field with lots of concealment. Our family team started off strong, but quickly got beat down on day one before lunch. After a change in mindset (got back to basics), we quickly dominated the second portion of the day. The first day of Force on Force truly highlighted the necessity of having leadership, communication, movement under cover fire, and the ability to think dynamically based on the change in situation. It was a great progression. Day 2 was purely CQB. This was eye opening. It is amazing how quickly things will go sideways with folks running around no longer communicating or performing the trained drills when fire is coming in. It was stressful and definitely required more dynamic thinking and application of tactics based on the developing scenario. In the end, application of the fundamental drills, dynamic thinking, and active communication are key.
- You can’t train enough. Make the time and find the money to invest in it. Make the best of your training environment. You get out of it what you put in.
- You need to train as a team or tribe. This year was a huge team building experience for our family. Now, it’s up to us to continue the momentum. These are perishable skills and need to be rehearsed and drilled.
- You can always be in better shape, PT!!! This is not only great for training, but lifestyle in general. There are several opinions, training regiments, but in the end, find what works for you and make the time.
- Max is a GREAT instructor. He takes a group of people in various states of physical shape, age, and walks of life and by the end of class has them operating as a small unit with precision. He has an inordinate amount of patience, but don’t expect him to sugarcoat his feedback. Does he yell? Yes, but only if you deserve it and at no point does he strip you down or belittle you in any way. The whole point is to build you up and increase your knowledge and skill level.
Well, if you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this. Hopefully if you were on the fence about taking an MVT course it helped with your decision. I’m just a regular guy trying to improve upon himself for the benefit of his family and tribe.
Review: Idaho 5 Day Combat Team / Convoy Tactics May 2017: Derek
I attended the (5 Day) Combat Team Tactics/ Mobility Training in Idaho in May 2017 with Max Velocity Tactical. My background consists of over a decade in the Active Duty Army with a few deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and Private Security Government Contracting. I have been through countless training iterations between the Army and the PSS world and to be honest, was skeptical at first glance about this training. However, once getting on site with Max and going through the training I quickly realized much of the things someone sees in the video are just training-isms that teach people with little to no background of tactical knowledge to learn basic skills and to conduct them safely with live ammunition. The adaptation of the PSS scenarios that are used downrange with armored vehicles to the “collapse” scenarios are done very well and most of all very safely. Being prior military, I was pretty concerned about shooting and moving with civilians who are unfamiliar with doing so (except on square ranges) but the steps that Max takes to ensure no injuries are impressive.
The Combat Team Tactics training was a lot of fun but definitely brought a lot of people back to reality at how much their PT is struggling. The terrain in Idaho is great for training and is challenging enough to give you some fits but potential students should be prepared to give it their all (you get out what you put in). The basic movements that Max teaches are a great base for people to get a taste of how to function as a team and communicate during movement under fire and how to react to it.
The Mobility Training was a great adaptation of the PSS/ Contracting world to civilian bug-out situations. Max gave some potential ideas on how to outfit a civilian vehicle to be able to take a little more damage in a situation where they may come under fire. Giving basic vehicle movement techniques and how to react to contact while on patrol are valuable skills to have. The training highlighted the necessity of communication especially in a vehicle patrol scenario.
The training was excellent and would highly recommend for people wanting to gain valuable knowledge of basic movement techniques integrated into a team concept because chances are you will not be bugging out alone if the situation arises. Keep in mind that the training is just a platform on which to build knowledge and the drills are just that, drills. In a four or five-day course, it is utterly impossible to train for every possible scenario that may be thrown at you in a combat situation. Being able to critically think and adapt the movement techniques to your specific situation is up to you and your imagination so don’t expect Max to draw up SOP’s for you and your specific AO.
Come to the training physically fit, ready to listen, and with thick skin and you will enjoy yourself and learn something. Come with an ego, hard headed, and thinking you know more than everyone there and you will have wasted your time and money.
Review: Max Velocity Tactical Training, Idaho 2017.
I just completed another course with Max Velocity Training here in my own state of Idaho. My experience with MVT was so good the first time, I signed up for some more. The fact that Max was willing to come out to Idaho, so I could train with my cadre, in my own home environment, was the icing on the cake. The training Max provides is exceptional, regardless of an individual’s level of experience and previous training.
I realize that some out there are critical of what Max does and of those who take his training courses. I recently read some critical remarks posted in response to a video uploaded on You Tube and the Western Rifle Shooters Association website. This is something I cannot understand, unless it is from pure ignorance or a misunderstanding of those of us who do this. So let me explain my perspective.
I am a “quiet professional” with a normal job, a family I love, and a community that I care about. I do not plan to move my family out to the middle of nowhere in preparation for WTSHTF. I hope that it never happens, and I can continue to live my quiet, normal life. But, because I love my family, my home, and my community, I believe in being prepared in all aspects of my life. Yes…I am an Eagle Scout. I also believe that as part of a community, I am obligated to contribute, my time, talents, energy, and resources to care for my family, my country, and my community.
Not so long ago, I was discussing with an acquaintance (Bill) why I have food storage – including my belief that I should be able to care for my family and help others as well. Bill said, “Mac, you don’t have ANY food storage.” I was confused…because I do indeed have food stores. Bill then said, “Mac…you don’t have any guns…the people with guns are going to come and take your food stores and leave your family to starve!” It was my “wake-up” moment. I want to be able to take care of my family while also helping others. I will share what I have. But I refuse to allow some bad guy to come into my home and community and TAKE everything away from my family, leaving us to perish! Thus, began my quest to prepare to defend those I love and the resources I need to take care of them.
Until I took my first MVT class, I was mostly self-trained. But, as others have said, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” I now realize, I will not be able to stand in my doorway with a shotgun and protect hearth and home by myself. It will require a team effort. As others have said, “it takes a village.” This not only applies to raising a family…but also to protecting them. This is why Max Velocity Training is invaluable. Besides individual Combat Rifle Skills, he teaches Combat Team Tactics, Direct Action, Close Quarters Battle, and Force on Force training options – among other courses.
Some, out there trolling the Internet, watch the MVT videos on YouTube and say, this is all just “Disneyland for wanna-be’s.” Am I just a “wanna be?” HELL YEAH! I “wanna be” prepared to protect and defend my beloved family and community!!! And I guarantee, this is NOT Disneyland. I am not playing…and neither is Max. These MVT classes are tough and they are comprehensive. I suggest a significant amount of physical training in preparation for these classes. But that is another discussion for another time.
Just like you cannot learn how to swim by reading about it in a book, you cannot learn how to do this stuff by simply reading about it in a book or on a blog site. You have to DO IT, and then do it again and again. Training and practice are preached abundantly. Max tells us, then shows us, then leads us in drills, and eventually he has us running drills in a variety of scenarios until we can perform effectively as buddy pairs, teams and units. Am I trying to be some Army Ranger or Special Forces operative? NO – of course not. I am no longer a 21-year-old football player. Those days…and that body are gone forever. It is a reality of mortality. So I am doing what I can. And I can prepare, and plan, and train, and practice. But I need some help building a foundation of knowledge and skills. That is what Max has provided. This is a base to build on with good, solid, strategic, building blocks.
I am not going to give up my normal life, my normal job, or my place in my normal, quiet, community. But times are changing and society is disintegrating. I hope it never happens. But, if or when a group of thugs comes into my community with bad intentions toward my family – they will not only face me and my rifle, but my cadre of armed and trained companions, who will know how to fire and maneuver, communicate and move, react and attack with violence and aggression, using effective tactics, including the ability to break contact with covering fire. We know how set up a hasty ambush if pursued. We have learned about group security when moving or while staying in place. We have learned how to move in vehicular convoy through or away from danger. And we now know how to give aid under fire, as well how to provide tactical combat casualty care within the limits of our abilities.
If ever required, we know how to assault a fixed position with support by fire, using communication, tactical movement, and aggressive, overwhelming violence. We have been taught how to plan and execute an ambush, a raid, and an assault, with both small and larger groups. Leadership is an inherent part of these training courses, as well as how to think and act for the benefit and welfare of the group.
In all the MVT courses I have attended, I have trained with young, fit, athletic, warriors, as well as older, Idaho, family-men, all with varying degrees of fitness, skill and training. Some have served in various branches of the military. Max is able to adapt the training so that all involved are able to benefit, progress, and advance in their abilities. Instead of criticizing him, Max should be thanked for what he is doing to help us “quiet professionals” who are merely a bunch of “wanna-be’s,” to prepare ourselves to protect and defend our families and communities in the event that it becomes necessary. And after watching these guys run live ammunition fire drills and running force on force with UTM…I am glad I am on their side! Thanks MVT!
Idaho May 2018 is already on the calendar, and the Idaho 2018 page is currency under construction, to be published shortly.
Review: May 26-28 CQBC: Jack
The first day of class had us shooting on the move, point shooting, and working on our footwork using glass houses on the square range. Every student was already zeroed which saved a tremendous amount of time. We all learned how to get our dumb side to move similar to a tank turret. My mind was blown by how much you could see into a room using the diminishing return peek before cutting the pie, and moving on to the quicker step center, button hook technique. The tactics were simple and repeatable even under stress.
John, Kang, and Phil each coached us using real world experiences and lessons learned. They gave the reason not just the answer. They also stressed that the techniques they were showing us was a way not the way. It was great to have more than one instructor because each group of four students received feedback after every repetition from an instructor. The instructors listened patiently and never seemed rushed even when students got long winded during coaching.
Day two introduced us to the UTM bolts and ammo, while reinforcing the importance of identifying threats and friendlies. We got multiple repetitions that allowed us to work on the new footwork that we learned on day one and the importance of maintaining our sector while not flagging your teammates. We wore all the safety gear that was required to get a feel for what it would be like on day three. The instructors had us rotate positions so that we gained experience as every number of the two man and four man teams. The instructors quickly changed out targets to keep us from gaming the rooms and even added some surprises to the rooms to keep us on our toes.
Day three brought everything taught so far together so that it would all go out the window as soon as one man was down in the doorway. The more teammates got killed the worse the tactics got. It was only when we performed the tactics that we were taught that we would succeed. Surprise, Speed, and Violence of Action had to coexist in order to dominate the room and not have any casualties. If a team lost surprise, then usually one man would die and there would be a one for one in the room. Watching some of the helmet cam footage, I realized that usually when multiple teammates got hit, it was because I did not do a sharp enough button hook, or exposed my barrel in the doorway. It was also hard to keep moving once hit. Looking back many times it seems that if I would have just plated off after being hit, that my teammates would survive and finish the room. the instructors setup Mega House which added a hallway to connect the two shoot houses. The tarp walls brought the realization of shooting through false cover (dry wall) vs thick concrete. I experienced being shot at and hit through the walls and never stood a chance. We got to experience a dug in enemy in the rooms and the lemming effect. Windows were opened up which added another option instead of being stuck going through the fatal funnel door ways. Three corners of a room could be cleared from a window while holding security on a lengthy hallway. That was an eye opener for me. At times because of the chaos in a room, it was easy to lose track of the other team that you were working with resulting in friendly fire incidents. Running as the Opposing Force was helpful to see what worked and did not work. For anyone worried about the pain penalty, it felt like bee stings, but kept you honest. There is no other training out there like this for civilians.
- Bring a case of water, hydrate often
- Take every opportunity to defog your goggles
- During breaks check your barrel for UTM squib loads
- Do not camp, it distracts you from giving the class your full attention while providing minimum sleep.
- Draw a floor plan of your home and bring it to class, instructors will coach you on a good strategy for clearing your home during breaks.
For the detail on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Force on Force (UTM ammunition), click the link below:
AAR Idaho Combat Lifesaver. May 10, 2017
BLUF: If you are not an experienced combat medic, you need to take this course. You are more likely to be a hero by saving someone’s life than you are taking someone’s life and this course is a hands-on fundamentals course on how to deal with traumatic injury. Specifically gunshot wounds, but applicable to car accidents et. al.
WHO: The class consisted of students with no prior medical experience and also included two ER physicians, respiratory therapist, nurses.
Me: Registered Nurse since 1994 currently working on an MSN to become a Nurse Practitioner. While I did critical care and worked in an ER some for 2 years right out of school, the last time I did any trauma training was when I went to Army Medical Department Officer’s Basic in 2012 when I commissioned.
WHAT: A 1 day course consisting of classroom instruction on the Army’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care protocols and a hands-on, scenario based practical application. Nobody was actually shot, we took turn practicing our scenarios on our buddy. Most of time was spent practicing the MARCH protocol.
Hypothermia (and by extension head).
Time was also spent discussing care under fire, tactical field care and as an addendum care after TFC.
So, to sum it up MARCH addresses the 3 preventable causes of death on the battlefield: Massive hemorrhage, tension pneumothorax and airway obstruction. All of these are addressable by a minimally trained person using the contents of a standard IFAK. During the Care Under Fire stage, the only thing that is addressed is massive hemorrhage using a tourniquet either by self care or buddy care. Once you are no longer receiving fire then you have time to go through the entire MARCH protocol which also includes packing extremity wounds, sealing sucking chest wounds, releasing tension pneumothorax with a needle/angiocath and maintaining the airway.
What I particularly liked about this was the hands on practice. This gave us the opportunity to practice perishable skills like tourniquet application, head to toe assessment and getting items out of the IFAK.
WHERE: An undisclosed location in the vicinity of Midvale, ID. Not a lot of hotels in the area, but we stayed at Mundo Hot Springs hostel (Bring your own bed linen). It consisted of 2 bunk beds, a rollaway and a claw foot bathtub plumbed with hot spring water.
WHY: I have already explained the reason why I attended, the real question you need to be asking your self is why someone with my experience (including 15+ tactical training classes) would interrupt a cross country vacation, drive 10 hrs from Colorado to attend a 1 day class and then in turn drive 12 hrs back to Cody, WY? And I had even had a preview of this class in the Rifleman Challenge. It’s not because I am a Max groupie, it’s because it is good training and I take every opportunity I have to get training.
Max stated in his class that this class is his least offered class because there is just no demand for it. This I fail to understand. If you carry a gun, train with guns and plan to defend yourself you should be training on how to deal with getting shot. It’s not just gunshots either. This training is applicable to many traumatic events such as chainsaw accidents, car accidents and mass casualty events. Think Boston Marathon bombing. If you know the principles of MARCH and are confident in your ability to use them, you realize that you don’t necessarily need the equipment (although it is best to have them) because you are surrounded by field expedient TQs and chest seals.
Some takeaways from the class.
- Have an IFAK.
- Know how to use the contents of your IFAK. Buy 2-3 and learn through practice how to use the contents. Max has a list of items that need to go into an IFAK. Max and I discussed the possibility of having a Team Coyote approved IFAK, but it may take some time to work out the details. In the meantime, the contents on the list should be purchasable through Chinook Medical or other sites.
- Everyone on your team needs an IFAK and it needs to be standardized located in the same place.
- The contents of the IFAK are for use on YOU and not anyone else. You may not know how to use the 14 gauge needle to decompress the pneumothorax, but it is for use on you and someone on your team may know how.
- The IFAK is for traumatic injury only and should not be mixed in with Tylenol and boo boo supplies.
- Tech is always changing and improving. The SOFTT-W Generation 4 tourniquet is a vast improvement over the CAT tourniquet and I will be buying some.
CQBC is a “must have” course
For the detail on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Force on Force (UTM ammunition), click the link below:
Review: Close Quarter Battle Course May 26 – 28: JohnnyMac
The CQBC course was probably the most exciting, fun and mentally challenging tactical course I have ever taken. Fresh out of training, I’m truly ecstatic by the level of personal development gained through this course. First and foremost, I give huge props to John, the primary instructor for the course along with his two assistant instructors (AI’s please come back!). The course was well thought out, the instruction was skilled and professional, and the facility spectacular as always. The real world context and stories John and his team were able to share with us gave the TTPs meaning and applicability that were honestly invaluable. Understanding the *why* behind something working or not working made it much easier to generalize a concept from a learning perspective. I think we were all humbled by the sheer depth of knowledge and skill required to be successful in CQB, but John was able to serve it up in bite size pieces that we could digest.
The course began on the square range with live fire. We were able to skip over zeroing rifles because everyone was already zeroed. I think this was a big time saver, allowing us to focus more on actually training and might be a good standard for follow on classes. Although there aren’t any prereqs to take this course, having solid weapon manipulation skills is going to allow you to focus on the important stuff instead of running your rifle (see the very good Combat Rifle Skills Course for that). We started with basic firing drills, mostly on color/shape targets. This allowed us to start practicing target discrimination right at the beginning- which is critical in real life. I’ve found PID to be one of the most important and neglected skills taught in ‘the industry’. We finished the morning by progressing to more and more advanced drills, mostly centered around shooting on the move at close range, again, setting us up for success later in the course. We spent the rest of the day learning the footwork and basics of entering and clearing a room, dry. Footwork and efficient movement is key and the very detailed instruction and practice we got on movement really set us up for success. We started as individuals, under the watchful eye of the instructors, and then progressed to student pairs. By the end of the day we were executing drills as four man teams, getting coached every step of the way, on every rep. Getting feedback and points for improvement is where the magic happens with any sort of physical training. I encourage you to not just accept it (Ego) but go one step further and constantly seek it in any training course you take.
Day 2 we moved to the CQB huts and started with dry runs, getting ourselves warmed up before moving to force-on-target room clearing. As we did the drills, a multitude of photorealistic targets were used- both threat, and non-threat. It forced us to try to process what we were seeing, not just robotically shooting anything in sight. We also got the opportunity to learn different types of breaching, and practice shotgun breaching. For me, breaching was the most exciting part of the course and I would personally love to take a course just devoted to that task.
Day 3 we moved to force-on-force. We started with pairs and then worked up to 7/8 person teams clearing “megahouse” by the end of the day. Something that was really valuable was the use of both hard and soft walls. In the real world, this simulates dry wall and hard masonry walls. After some experience, it’s pretty scary to think that all our houses are made of 2×4 and dry wall- and all the implications associated with penetration. We’ve all heard about it, but experiencing it, it’s pretty unnerving.
A few general takeaways from the class:
When things are happening so quickly in a CQB environment, it’s pretty difficult to process everything that’s happening, especially for a new student. A recurring theme throughout training was to “slow it down”. This is both so that you can process the situation but also so that your team can have the flow/momentum it needs. I could give you countless examples where going too fast got people killed or led to mission failure. At the same time, I could give you countless examples where going too slow also got someone killed. Most tactical questions come down to “it depends on the situation”, but it’s even more so in CQB. Literally one wrong step could result in failure, just looking the wrong way for a split second could result in failure (yes, it happened to us). One of the biggest takeaways is that CQB is one of the most technical and flat out dangerous things you can ever do. We learned that you can mitigate some risk with good Intel but, most of all, SURPRISE is a huge advantage. The difference in casualties taken between surprising an unprepared enemy and a well-trained enemy with his gun pointed on the entry point was substantial. I think we also saw that each team worked slightly differently. They communicated slightly differently, reacted to things slightly differently, etc. As we worked together, we really meshed in terms of tempo and started to be able to anticipate each other a bit. This is absolutely essential in becoming proficient. Max has said many times that you can’t grab some people and expect to be tactically successful- and just like everything else I’ve mentioned, it’s even more so in CQB. We went through hundreds of repetitions over the three days but I think it really takes thousands of repetitions to be really good at this, which brings me to my last point. I CAN’T WAIT TO TAKE THIS CLASS AGAIN. I want to devour everything CQB- because it’s such a valuable, complex, and perishable skill set. (Advanced CQBC Max and John?!) If able to, I might just sign up for every MVT CQBC course for the foreseeable future- it’s THAT good. The lessons that I’ve been able to share with you are only like 1% of what I learned. This is a multi-week military course transformed into a 3 day course for civilians. I was astonished by how well John was able to boil it down to the nuts and bolts so that we could see significant progress and be successful in such little time. I never felt overwhelmed in the training progression, which is a testament to how good this course is. Most of us spend the majority of our time in buildings, if you want to learn how to fight in them, you NEED to take this course.
Thanks again to John, his AI’s, Max and, of course, my fellow students. It was a pleasure.
Review: Close Quarter Battle Course May 26 – 28: Barry
Max Notes: Barry wrote the following article which can be found on the MVT Forum: ‘Close Quarter Battle Training and Tactics in the United States.‘ (You need to be a forum member to view this). Barry was a Ranger Company officer in Vietnam, at least one tour, and Purple Heart recipient. He worked in Law Enforcement and spent 10 years as a SWAT Team Leader. He finished his career as an elected Chief of Police. Barry trained at MVT, Combat Team Tactics, 67 years old at his first attendance. He is still attending and training MVT Close Quarter Battle Classes.
CLOSE QUARTER BATTLE COURSE (CQBC) – MAX VELOCITY TRAINING CENTER – MAY 26-28 2017
I recently returned from another great training session conducted at the Max Velocity Training Center located near Romney West Virginia. Before I get to the AAR, I want to compliment my fellow students. What a great group of Americans! Besides the excellent instruction and first rate facilities, the enthusiasm and good feelings that are generated during these classes raise my morale and remind me that I am not alone in my views and beliefs. I have yet to meet “that guy” at any training conducted at Max Velocity Tactical.
Instructor. John and his two Assistant Instructors were well qualified to present the material taught during this course. John is a multi-tour light infantry combat veteran with firsthand experience conducting close quarter battle in both Iraq and Afghanistan. John presented the material in a very professional manner. He demonstrated a complete grasp of the subject matter and, more importantly he is able to communicate the information in a manner that even the most basic student would be able to understand. Safety was continually emphasized throughout the course. He patiently answered all questions. Training was organized and started on time. John obviously enjoys instructing and watching students grow.
His two Assistant Instructors are combat veterans that served with John on one or more of these tours. They worked well together and had the same view of the doctrine. They provided useful advice and coaching to the students and continually hustled to stay one or two steps ahead of us in preparing the facility for the next evolution.
Max Notes: From the MVT CADRE PAGE:
Day 1. On the first day, we spent the morning on the flat range conduction various drills utilizing ball ammunition. All students arrived with zeroed weapons. This was my first indication that I was not dealing with people that were not serious. Basic weapon handling was reviewed and I am sure that John was assessing our ability and safety as well in order to determine where to start with us and how fast we could progress once we began the CQB training in the shooting house structures. After lunch we began learning the basics on the flat range by utilizing door frames and taped off rooms. John calls them “glass houses.” These drills were done dry. Emphasis on learning the points of domination and safety, i.e. don’t “flag your buddy.” For most of the students, this is the first time they have moved in pairs, into tactically tight spaces. There is a learning curve here as most are not used to having a rifle and another person so close to them while rapidly moving. It’s a lot of information to process while being aware of others in the room and the potential for a “blue on blue” if you make the wrong choice.
Day 2. The second day started with a safety brief and the explanation of the use of Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM) training equipment. A UTM bolt replaces the standard bolt in the M-4 rifle. This bolt is rim fire only and will not fire live ammunition. UTM ammunition consists of an aluminum cartridge with a non-lethal “marking projectile.” This technology represents a quantum leap over simunitions and other types of training ammunition. These rounds will definitely sting you and will leave a welt or bruise. A pain penalty forces realism into the training/tactics cycle. Eye pro and protective gear MUST be worn and safety rules rigidly enforced. The weapon functions normally with recoil and is accurate out to about 50 meters. Teams and tactics can be taught and assessed in a realistic manner. This is first rate professional equipment and not to be confused with paint ball or airsoft toys!
We began dry evolutions with one and two man entries with paper targets placed in every room. The 3 instructors demonstrated, walked thru and corrected our entry techniques. They rotated often to ensure each team got their point of view. In between rainstorms John presented a lecture on CQB with story boards. As we progressed we began using the UTM rounds on paper targets. Learning to trust each other and flow into the rooms. The targets were somewhat realistic depictions of persons armed and unarmed. Paper plates were also used.
Once John felt we had the basics down and were not flagging each other, we progressed to force on force training. We had 3 teams and two “CQB” huts. One team functioned as the opposing force and the other two teams cleared the two facilities. We rotated responsibilities. Our drills were primarily 2 and 4 man teams.
On Day 2 we spent some time on mechanical and shotgun breaching skills. John has built a unique method of teaching this skill. He uses a standard door frame with a wooden bolt designed to function as a deadbolt. This is cheap and you can rapidly change out your “wooden lock” to allow each student the opportunity to breach the lock.
With constant emphasis on safety we continued to progress and learn the angles, corner drills and playing off each other’s mistakes.
Day 3 we began exercising the same principles we had learned the first day, only at a faster pace. Teams rotated quickly and some evolutions were 7 on 3, etc. This was challenging for defenders as well as the assault team elements. We also began patrolling in to the objective from the wood line. We used basic patrolling formations in the woods and then moved quickly into the stack to enter. The exercise became more challenging when John opened the windows, forcing us to plan various routes to escape observation. By the afternoon John put the “mega house” together. Using large plywood/landscape barriers as walls, the house was enlarged with more rooms, another entry point and a hallway. As a learning point, we were allowed and encouraged to shoot thru the soft walls. This was to remind the students that the soft walls in most dwellings in American will not stop rounds. This is a great teaching point for anyone that might have to clear their own house. Day 3 ended with a very good critiques and summary of training. It was obvious to all of us that John wanted feedback to improve the course. I was glad to see a warrior without ego or a feeling that what he does/teaches is the “only way.”
- CQB is a skill that requires constant training in order for anyone to be successful.
- Everyone has to understand the principles of domination and where to be in a room in order to support his teammates, avoid hostile fire and to avoid moving into another shooters zones of fire.
- You must move at a “careful hurry.” Not moving uncontrolled into space you don’t own, just moving fast enough to clear the door, identify hostile targets and accurately return fire.
- Momentum not out and out “speed” is the key to success. If you allow your opponent to “reset and think” you are going to lose.
Recommendations for students attending this course:
- Be in reasonably good physical condition. This is not a physically intense course. However, you will be putting in 3 full 8-9 hour days, mostly standing on your feet. WV is a state built on a hill. It seems no matter where you are standing your only choice in movement is uphill.
- Remember to continue to hydrate. Getting de hydrated will cause you to lose focus.
- Plan on carrying a medium size ruck sack. Put everything you need for a day’s activities, food, water, etc. in the ruck. You will be operating away from your POV. This will save you time.
- Have a cleaning rod and cleaning material with you.
- Make sure you have adequate PPE. Follow the guidance Max puts out to the letter. (Max Adds: a follow on guidance / clarification post o FoF/CQB PPE will follow).
- Anyone who has graduated from one of Max’s courses can do this.
I have had some experience in teaching, mentoring and performing CQB while operating as a SWAT team leader and a Chief of Police. This class was simply outstanding, from the facilities, the instructors and my fellow students. Sign me up for the advanced class!
We finished the training by saying good byes to each other in a very hard down pour. Our team photo will probably more closely resemble drowned rats that human beings!
Student Review: Combat Team Tactics/Mobility, Idaho, May 17-21, 2017: Dmitriy
I am a 45-y.o. software developer. No military or LE background/training. I took a CRS (Combat Rifle Skills) class at MVT West in November 2016.
Max has a unique teaching style.
Not only is he a real expert in what he teaches, but he has a perfect method of delivering his knowledge to a diverse group of people who have varying backgrounds, skillsets and PT levels.
Most of the time, he is all-business: explaining the theory and its practical applications, drawing schemas on the whiteboard and explaining in detail all the important do’s and don’t’s, so that few if any questions remain. Just at the right moments, he inserts jokes to keep the class both focused and relaxed as needed. After each exercise, he does an AAR for the team which performed the exercise and for the rest of the group. And if someone makes a mistake, he certainly knows how to make sure that the mistake is properly noticed, analyzed, and not repeated again: ask me how I know… 😉
As Max said: We take a 45-year old computer programmer, and in 3 days we teach him combat team tactics; how cool is that?!..
Yes, Max, this is insanely cool. Why do you think so many of us keep coming back for more of your classes?.. [Note to the reader: almost half of all students in this class were MVT alumni.]
People who attended this class are absolutely amazing!
I would be honored to be close friends with any of them. It’s a shame we live so far apart… This was the best group I was ever a member of, and I do not say this lightly.
Special thanks to C. and D. (a father-son team) and S. (another team’s leader) who shared their knowledge, tips and advice and helped me get through this training course. I greatly appreciate your help.
Day 1: Combat Rifle Skills
This was a (normally, 2-day) course condensed into 1 day.
As an MVT alumni, I could have skipped this day. I am glad that I did not. The exercises that we performed on Day 1 logically flowed into – and became the basis of – the exercises of the following days.
I would describe this MVT course simply like this: when my wife and I came to an equivalent (2-day) CRS course last November, it was the first time my wife had ever fired a rifle. When we were leaving, she already had the basic react-to-contact skills, and she could quickly identify and fix the common rifle malfunctions.
Days 2 & 3: Combat Team Tactics
I would very strongly recommend that everyone who is serious about prepping/survival, reads about Dunning-Kruger Effect (you can start with a Wikipedia article). In a nutshell: you don’t know what you don’t know.
Having been a frequent visitor to local shooting ranges for a number of years, I met a lot of people who are absolutely, 100% sure that they are perfectly squared away in terms of self-defense skills…
… and they couldn’t be more wrong.
Imagine this example scenario: after a societal collapse (it does not matter what caused it), you are moving on foot with your family to a safer location. Maybe, you live in a city or suburbs, and you are bugging out to a country house. If you are lucky, you might have a relative who lives a hundred miles away, and the damn big city traffic is terrible even on a good day, so after the collapse the stalled vehicles block the roads, and the only way for you to get to your destination is to walk there. You are walking, and suddenly you are getting shot at from somewhere on the left. Your wife starts screaming in horror and does not respond to any verbal commands (that is, if you know what commands to yell…), your son rushes forward, and your daughter runs like hell in the opposite direction. You are frantically trying to figure out what the f*** you should do, aaaand… you’re all dead.
Ain’t that grand that you went on that very desirable ocean vacation and bragged about it to your friends, instead of taking a combat team tactics class?!..
Oh, and by the way: your daughter has survived. The gang that wiped out the rest of your family really appreciates her.
I hope you take this story for what it really is: I am NOT trying to sound holier-than-thou. In fact, I myself have just started to learn how I can really defend my family, beyond learning and perfecting the square range fundamentals. My point is still the same: we don’t know what we don’t know. Until and unless you attend one of these classes, you never will learn what you need to know. For your loved ones’ sake, please start learning tactical skills from experts. [Hint: 99.999% of “experts” on the Internet are anything but.]
Days 4 & 5: mobility
- This 5-days course was designed as a perfect progression from simple elements and drills to more complex combinations of those elements, to (Day 5) complex scenarios to be solved by the class. Some drills which purpose was a bit hazy to me at the beginning of the course, started making perfect sense in the context of more realistic exercises and scenarios.
- By the way: when some keyboard commandos watch MVT videos on YouTube and criticize the tactics, they truly don’t know what they don’t know. Every tactical exercise that we did makes perfect sense in its own context. Also, safety considerations, available terrain specifics, and numerous other factors have to be taken into account. [When armchair commandos try to criticize what they have not practiced themselves, and have no understanding of, it makes them sound as pathetic losers.]
- Not only Max himself, but another student in our class as well, have had an extensive practical experience with mobile convoys in Iraq, as well as executive protection. The fraction of their knowledge that I learned in this training course may help my family live through potential bugout scenarios.
Lessons Learned: Equipment
Just like this entire AAR, the following list represents my personal opinions.
- Although kneepads are listed as “optional” pre-requisites to this class, I firmly believe that they should be mandatory: given the specific terrain features, I can only imagine how many injured were avoided simply because everyone in the class used kneepads.
- I found out that for me personally, the best pants are the ones with built-in kneepads: when doing a lot of kneeling, by the end of the first day the back of my knees hurt from Velcro fasteners pushing through fabric. This stopped when I switched to wearing pants with built-in kneepads.
- I am prone to getting really bad sunburns. A shemagh proved to be far more useful for protecting my neck than sunscreen.
- Bring either the 2nd rifle or at least spare parts for the primary rifle.
- Murphy (of the Murphy’s Law) was strong with me and my teammates… Expect – and prepare for – the following:
- Everything that is loose and can unscrew, will unscrew and get lost in tall grass.
- Not only unmarked magazines, but also the magazines marked with bright red or yellow or orange tape, will not be seen in the grass and be lost. Next time, my mags will be neon-red, and because a 2-inch wide stripe was not always sufficient, I will have my mags painted or taped all over their surface.
- A single-point sling is not suitable for this class, at least not for me: it is barely usable when carrying a casualty, and it is entirely useless when I myself am a casualty. I am going to buy, install and practice with a 2-point sling.
- What works well for a several hours-long trip to a shooting place in a nearby National Forest, will not necessarily work for a 5-day, full-day long, course. It turned out that after a while, my load-bearing vest started hurting my neck. Luckily, a shemagh was used successfully to protect my neck not only from the sun, but also from the vest’s rough edges.
- On my load-bearing vest, I had 8 magazines inside 4 double mag pouches, but I did not have anything on the back as a counterweight. This was exactly the opposite of the type of load that I am used to in my PT training (which is a backpack) and created some minor pain in the lower back. I need to rethink and adjust my load bearing equipment.
- Bring a tourniquet. Even though the entire class was extremely safe, and we never needed one for real, we used tourniquets on pretend “casualties” who were evacuated from the field. [In the video you can hear me screaming in Russian how “it f***ing hurts!!!” I am not an actor, but I did my best. 🙂 ]
- In addition to a BOK (Blow-Out Kit), have a reasonably useful BBK (Boo-Boo-Kit). I used a band-aid on a scraped finger, and I used triple-antibiotics cream on my sunburnt nose, which brings me to…
- … make sure you have sunscreen.
- There are some ticks in the grass. Use an anti-tick clothing treatment that actually works.
- Bring whatever medication you regularly use (if any).
- You might need moleskin or sports tape or something like that, in case you get blisters.
PT (Physical Training)
- Max repeatedly advises in his books, articles, forum posts, and in person, to work on PT, which you can never have too much of. I had a chance to learn from my own experience that this advice should be taken very seriously. If your PT level sucks, you will still be able to finish the course, but you will have gained less than 100% from it, and you will feel bad about being not the oldest, yet the least fit guy in the class. [Again: ask me how I know…]
- , who is a medical professional, shared his advice: he and his team work out on a StairMaster while wearing a weight vest which is a perfectly socially-acceptable item in any gym, unlike a camo plate carrier with mag pouches.
- I prepared for the class using one of Max’ PT programs. I am even more committed now to finish the level that I started with and continue to the next one. I know I need it.
- After this class, I decided that I am going to do a lot more dry-fire with my rifle, if only for the sole purpose of getting used to its weight. Believe me: there is a world of a difference between leisurely handling your rifle for a couple of hours at a range and carrying and shooting it for 8 hours straight for 5 days. My deltoids and back muscles were not sufficiently prepared. For extra weight, I will fill one of my rifle magazines with pennies. [Needless to say, there should be no loaded mags anywhere nearby when you do dry-fire exercises.]
- I hate running. I suck at running. I must be able to run like a pro. Max’ training program emphasizes it, but I kind of… minimized it… I regret it now. No more “cutting corners” in my training. ‘Nuff said.
- Kneeling and going prone. If you follow one of Max’ training programs, you will be OK with going down to and getting up from kneeling and prone. I was OK.
- One exercise enhancement that I am going to add to my training program: I will practice going prone and standing back up WITH A RIFLE (unloaded for safety, of course).
Believe me: I had all kinds of excuses for why I should not attend this class. When you live in a bubble, surrounded by people with all kinds of wrong ideas and false preconceptions, you can (and probably, are) mistaken in your analysis of not only all things tactical, but – on a much more basic level – in your analysis of what you are capable of.
The only “cure” to these kinds of issues is to realize that you are… that you MAY BE… wrong, and just get out there and be trained by those who actually know what they are doing and what they are talking about.
I realize that it’s just a start. But all things are relative. You should have seen the faces of my coworkers when I showed them the video that Max made. “Did you do that WITH REAL GUNS!!!???” Oh, the shock… Priceless!.. 😉
I don’t think it’s worth mentioning that the kind of training that you get in these classes can one day save your loved ones’ lives. It’s a given.
As I hinted above: I could have joined my family for an ocean resort vacation, or I could have come to a Combat Team Tactics & Mobility class…
What a choice…
No, I am not reconsidering my options. I am just pausing for a dramatic effect… 🙂
For a middle-aged, suburban-dwelling, work-at-my-boring-job, soccer-dad type family guy such as myself: this was…
Review of Defensive Concealed Handgun – May 13-14, 2017
Defensive Concealed Handgun Class – May 13-14, 2017
Student Review: Defensive Concealed Handgun May 13 – 14: Tim B
I am 58 years old and have been carrying a concealed handgun on and off since 1990 and consistently every day for the last six (6) years. I have read a number of books by Massad Ayoob, John Farnum, Jeff Cooper and others, studied a number of instructional DVD’s and practiced what I thought were the correct ways to draw and shoot, and had thought through the reasons behind why I carried a concealed weapon. But I had a nagging fear that I couldn’t shake that I’d missed something or things weren’t as they seemed. On April 20, 2017 as I read SurvivalBlog.com (SB) like I do almost every day, I read the editor’s post suggesting the reader check out the upcoming training events that Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) had scheduled for May and June. I went to the MVT website via the SB link, was impressed with what I saw and read on the MVT website and immediately registered for the Defensive Concealed Handgun class that was scheduled for May 13-14, 2017.
The first couple of hours on the first day (Saturday) was a presentation / discussion that covered safety, holsters, belts, magazine carriers, “dressing around the gun”, etc.; topics that I’d read a lot about and had worked to incorporate into my daily routine. Though I was impressed by the depth of Scott’s (the instructor) knowledge and his delivery, I began to think that I’d been doing things right and that I was in a “good place”. I couldn’t have been more wrong…..
We moved to the range, and after additional cautions about this being a “hot range”, Scott evaluated each of the class members’ choice of handgun and their “skills” in handling their weapon. Though it was a small class of five (5) attendees there was a wide range of skills and proficiency and mine weren’t anywhere near where I thought they were. After the initial evaluation, Scott informed me privately that I had developed a number of bad training habits (scars) that could potentially get me and others badly hurt or killed, but that, if I was willing, he would help me “cut off those scars”. He stressed that it wouldn’t be pleasant for me but that those habits needed to change now, and he asked me if I was up to making the changes needed. I asked him to correct me as he saw fit, and he did. I am personally grateful that Scott practiced of the concept of “criticize in private, praise in public”, and I know the others in class were as well. We were all the recipients of a great deal of individualized instruction from someone I came to realize was not only a highly skilled professional but also one who is truly a teacher, one who could coach and re-train others to remove bad habits and form new ones. And I know that this combination is rare indeed.
We learned to correctly and safely perform all of the skills listed in the class outline and the drills and scenarios practiced on the second day were eye-opening to say the least. A week later, I am still processing what I learned and writing down details that I don’t want to forget. I no longer have that “nagging” doubt that something isn’t quite right; I now have the skills I need and I know the right way to practice I am immensely grateful for Scott and MVT for what they do and how they do it and I will definitely be back for more training at MVT. If you are considering signing up for training, please do so. As far as I am concerned, MVT is the only place to go.
Student Review: Idaho Combat Team Tactics: MikeH
AAR Combat Team Tactics Idaho May 13th-14th(alumni 2 Day):
Attended my first “mobile” MVT class outside of West Virginia. It was a long haul from home (1500 miles) but the trip was well worth it. There was an issue getting my vehicle into the training area and the hosts were great in getting me set up off site and in transport into the area.
Different terrain than WV but none the less physically challenging. I completely the 8 week “prepare for MVT class” plan with a sore shoulder at completion but running thru the two days was exhausting for myself. Ground was soft and lots of concealed rocks (or at least I kept finding them). I turned 56 a couple of weeks ago and sadly I have to slow the training( PT) down and also reduce the load I carry.
I see some of the comments on WRSA related to the video Max posted. The fact no one was prone was a big discussion point there. When I first arrived Saturday morning I decided that I wouldn’t go prone…thought at first glance the grass was too long to see anyway. Also wanted to conserve energy throughout the weekend. I shed some layers on Sunday afternoon and on the last assault cut down my load out for the final assault.
Round count was approx. 720 for two days. First day had some afternoon jams due to improper cycle. Gas rings were shot and I didn’t have any spares. I inserted an Anderson BCG my wife bought a couple of years ago and used the rifle without jams all day Sunday. One of the other students had a major bolt issue and I lent him my spare rifle. He reported that it ran fine. Rifles- Rock River LAR15 primary, APF Econo Carbine backup.
I shot a mixed bag of training ammo. I had PMC bronze, Perfecta .223, some Winchester 55g training stuff, and some IMI .223….no problem. Used a variety of mags also without issue.
Max had the drills we ran through fresh and challenging. Ran the final squad assault twice (first time I had done that) in both suppression and assault modes.
Lecture, Rehearsal, and the actual drill; Max has always followed this process in the classes I have attended. Also a “debrief” follows each drill. Safety is paramount in MVT classes as always and the ranges were safe.
In summary , great weekend of training and I met a great group of people. If you haven’t been to a MVT class ….sign up. Well worth the trip. Look forward to my next class.
Tip of the cap to Max….a true “Road Warrior”. Max, Safe trip home…that’s quite a haul!
Review: Combat Leader Course (CLC) April 2017: Jason
Being an alumni of Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) and having taken Land Navigation, Rifle Skills, Combat Team Tactics and Combat Patrol, I was quite familiar and aware of the style and quality of instruction offered at MVT. Bottom line, what is offered at MVT is quite possibly the best real world training in small unit / infantry / weapons tactics that is available to the civilian market. So when Max began discussing a possible leadership course distilling all the major disciplines of his course curriculum into one big class I was immediately sold on the idea. For a comprehensive breakdown of the class please look at the excellent AAR’s by JohnnyMac, Tango and HelloKitty. These three men were standouts in the class and I really look up to their skills, knowledge, preparation and generosity in sharing those attributes.
I came away from this class with some valuable lessons learned and some previous lessons strongly reinforced.
1. Leadership skills, especially under combat conditions, must be practiced under stress to find the failure points and weaknesses that most certainly exist. You must be tested to know what you are capable of. This class allowed us to “die” many times to learn some really hard lessons. The fact that I am still breathing to say this too you is of incalculable value.
2. Effective communication will save your life and that of your team and squad. Please watch Max talk session 3 and 4 (Links: Max Talk 3, Max Talk 4) I had a basic intellectual understanding of this but you have to take it beyond head knowledge and apply it to a combat scenario to truly understand what it means.
3. Planning, writing and delivering an Op Order to a squad was harder than I thought. Inspiring confidence in your squad and giving them the best chance of success starts right here.
4. DO YOUR JOB! Everyone has a part to play in the squad. Everyone must do the job assigned to them. Many of us died on the objective because of this breakdown. Max describes staying in the “bubble” which I feel is integral to this idea. Don’t be random, do your job and everyone has a chance at staying alive. Once again, this class allowed me to “die” many times to learn this lesson.
5. Work your cover and put rounds on the enemy. Max quickly caught this as a weakness in me and “properly” encouraged me during missions to correct my mistake. I had a few excuses in my own mind for why I was struggling with this but they all sound lame when I try to explain them. Bottom line, I must improve this weakness or die in combat.
6. Rain, hail and cold really suck, but they are you friend during missions. Some of the missions downright sucked, but once you embrace the bad weather and understand the advantages it gives you, you can then press on and do your job. Plus, it actually gives you advantages in dry, loud foliage like we had at the MVT site.
7. It’s hard to be told you are combat ineffective and that you should strongly consider not engaging in combat operations. As a squad and me personally I needed to hear that to jar me out of my lethargy and complacency to fully understand the consequences of my performance. We are not training to play some sport that we can walk away from. We are training to kill people who have already made the choice to kill us and our family and friends. This is winner take all, no rules, no second chances. Do your job!
8. FITNESS, FITNESS, FITNESS. You can’t be combat effective if your not in shape. This can’t be said enough.
9. I decided to buy some cheap ACU camo. I knew it wasn’t optimal but I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. I might as well have been wearing bright neon green. It’s easy to find me in the class pictures of course. Needless to say I’ve gone on a spending spree after class to add a bunch of multi cam and coyote brown clothing to my wardrobe. I’m hoping it at least helps me escape the wrath of Max next class when I’m not working my cover properly.
This class has truly opened my eyes to the possibilities of a well trained team of men and women who want to protect their clan. I have a much better understanding of what it takes to develop the skills necessary to make a successful team. This knowledge is absolutely critical. Let me repeat that . . . this knowledge is absolutely critical. This is the best class Max offers and it is a class I feel should be offered numerous times a year. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone in the first class showed up for the next one. I want to be fair to the rest of the alumni and give you guys a chance to sign up for the next one, but if you wait to long, I’m taking your spot. Bottom line, it’s worth every penny I spent!
Max Adds: Let me distill a number of the issues down to two main ones:
- Many people do not train, do not see the need for training, and ‘don’t know what they don’t know.’ Dunning-Kruger, all that, which is ground we have been over many times to little effect. So we focus on those with the strength of will and purpose to get off the couch and train.
- Of those that do train, many do not realize what it takes to actually become effective. Showing up for one total weekend will give you a clue, but not make you effective. Alumni can testify to this. We have a number of live fire SUT classes that will set you on the road to progression, Insert Force on Force to that, and CQB, and then something like the CLC. You might finally get to a point where you can effectively shoot, move and COMMUNICATE as part of a team; where you can put your ego aside and DO YOUR JOB effectively in order to help the team succeed.
Review: Combat Leader Course (CLC) April 2017: Craig ‘Hello Kitty’
Class Review of Combat Leader Course (CLC) April 2017-
Description of class:
Course length: 7 days, Sunday thru Sunday. Lived in a simulated FOB during class. We stayed in tents on site in as much comfort as you cared to bring. I recommend a large tent so you could do administrative tasks out of weather.
We used UTM rounds in our AR-15 rifles for the entire course. No live ammo.
Per class page. Camo clothing is necessary for types of missions run. You typically carry enough for a 12 hour mission. So 8 mags, water for 12 hours, some food, rain gear, protection gear per class page, etc. You are issued 1000 reds of UTM ammo. I used just under all of it. Bring some extra cash in case you have a heavy trigger finger. 1000 is a good average but some were under and some over.
Day 1 Sunday- arrive by 1500. Admin and check in. Terrain Model construction. We improved several times during week.
Day 2 Monday- lecture on Op Orders in morning. After lunch, First Warno for afternoon mission. Appointed squad leader (SL) planned mission, gave Op Order, (Max critiques Op Order after presentation), then on to rehearsals and then do it live. There were 4 OPFOR we fought against each mission all week. After mission, we debriefed. Returned to FOB. Did admin and then eat and sleep.
Day 3-7 Tuesday thru Sunday-
This would be our routine throughout the week. Max would give WARNO to the 2 new SL for next day the evening before. One SL presented OP ORDER at 8am. 2nd SL presented at 1pm. We ran 2 missions each day using same routine. This repetition gave us opportunity to learn how to plan and write Operation Orders, then present them, rehearse them and then lead the mission.
Max did allow some folks to stay in hotels due to logistics, but preference was to stay in FOB. We were able to make supply runs in town if needed. We also ate on Friday night as a class in town. And Saturday night we cooked burgers for all students and OPFOR.
First, this is the only class that I know of that teaches how to plan and execute a mission using the Military Planning model. Although, you may attend a course that presents this in a general way, this class teaches it and makes you do it, over and over. Which is the only way to learn it. Now understand, you will learn it but you need a lot more repetitions to get good at it. A LOT.
Second, this class really provided an excellent medium to learn leadership and follower skills in a stressful environment. Some students had trouble leading, some had trouble following. We were presented with so many learning opportunities that you will fail and learn. This is not an easy class. It will take you out of your comfort zone and you will learn from it. I found being a follower harder than a leader. It is something I have identified to work on going forward. Which is the beauty of this class.
Finally, communication was the real difficulty for everyone. We improved as the week went on. However, It wasn’t until the last day that it clicked for me that listening is just as important in communicating. This may seem counter to what you learn at CTT but if you practice and get decent at moving by bounds in pairs, you don’t have to keep yelling to move. Just do it silently unless you have to yell. It makes it easier to hear commands from Team Leader (TL) and SL. Another lesson on listening. As a TL, it is easy to get wrapped up in your own team, moving and fighting your guys, to the point where you are not listening for commands from the SL. It’s kinda like over focusing on IVAN or you sights. As a TL, you need to give short LOUD commands to team but be quiet so you can hear your SL. Speaking/yelling is only half of communication.
There is a misconception that if you learn basic Fire and Movement at CTT that you are good to go. That is so far from the truth. CTT teaches you a tool so you can function in a team, but it is just the basics. We have a lot to learn. And the CLC class is the next logical step in your learning progression.
Google “leadership” and it will net you 787,000,000 results. Search Amazon for “leadership book” and it will net you 206,850 results. Merriam Webster defines leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” – about as broad of a definition as you can get. Suffice to say the topic of leadership is not a finite concept. Also suffice to say that with that much interest everybody has realized how important and relevant the skill of leadership is to their lives.
If you’re looking at this class and think “Combat Leadership” means this only applies to combat, you would be sorely mistaken. Leadership is a universal skill – whether you’re in the board room, raising children, flying a plane, directing a symphony, or fighting a fire. We can all recognize who the leader is in any given situation. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone looked around and knew that person was you?
That last line played to your ego a bit. Truth is, you will never be a leader if you don’t believe you can do so – the ego is a requirement. Also true, you will be an awful tyrant if you believe you are entitled to do so – the ego is a detriment. That’s a part of the constant dichotomy. Leadership requires unparalleled levels of discipline, restraint, exertion, tone, content, timing, and delivery. Correctly applying all 7 of those ideas simultaneously is an infinite struggle. It is immediately apparent when one extends too far on any one of those levels, and all are aware. Not all have the ability to perform as a great leader but all have the ability to discern a poor one.
Also part of the dichotomy of leadership is followership. In this class you will only receive 1 out of 12 chances to prepare a plan and lead a team. That means 92% of the available time will be spent as a follower. Take heed. Absolutely do not discount the impact of being a follower on not only team effectiveness but your own ability to lead.
As a testament to the universality of this skill and Max’s format, just 3 days after taking this class I was tasked with solving an issue at work. It required me to work with another department that will provide the labor to implement my idea/plan. Immediately I offered to put together a package to describe what I want, how it should be accomplished, and imagery to convey the idea visually. What just happened was a WARNO, the act of asking for an pre-planning the problem solving, an OPORD, the act and format of presenting my plan, and imagery much akin to a terrain model. At the end I will be supervising the implementation on the area of the company I am responsible for. ROI in less than 1 week?!
Whatever environment you may be living in leadership is vital to your success. There are no prerequisites for this class for good reason. The tactics are only a vehicle to your leadership development. We can (and did) get complete newbies tactically functional within the squad in a short period of time. Leadership on the other hand is a lifelong pursuit.
Situation: 1 week class, Sunday to Sunday, learning how to develop an idea into a clear mission brief and ultimately lead a team to execution.
Mission: Convey the idea for your plan clearly with as much detail as possible in order to develop a functional team capable of competently executing your plan.
Enemy: OPFOR will be a 4-6 man unit that is well trained, well armed, and well lead. They get their ammo for free and have roofs over their heads so expect their morale to be high.
Friendly: You are a 12-13 man squad that is well trained (or so you think ;)), well armed, and hopefully well lead (that’s what you’re here to learn). You are glamping (glamour camping) at Velocity Training Center (VTC) with comfortable tents, cots, fires, hot food, and plenty of friends.
Intent: You will be conducting Raids, Ambushes, Advances to Contact, and CQB operations in order to destroy NT14 elements in the area and facilitate friendly operations.
Support: Earth tone clothing, Small arms, body armor, Load Bearing Equipment, 8 rifle mags, IFAKs, 12-24hr small patrol bags.
That sort of step-by-step logical progression of thought and planning is a portion of what you will be learning in this class. This format helps facilitate your performance in rapid decision making, high stress communication, instilling motivation, and clear/concise conveyance of ideas.
You will be provided an outline for how to write a Warning Order (WARNO) and an Operations Order (OPORD) with the culmination being your presentation to the whole squad. Each person gets a chance to come up with their own plan, write a WARNO, write and present an OPORD, and act as Squad Leader for their respective mission. Note: Max has allowed riflemen only attendees if this feels intimidating. Max has made some changes to the class format after our experience. You will most likely be given a demonstration on how to deliver an OPORD prior to your attempt. This will help make it clearer what is expected and some visceral hints as to what works. Max has also taken our AAR points into consideration that even though one person is giving the OPORD it may be beneficial for multiple students to come up with a basic plan in parallel (homework), for extra practice, on their own prerogative. Keep an eye out for Max’s comments on other AAR’s and the class page.
Tempo will be 2 OPORDS and 2 full Squad Attacks per day. Anyone from Combat Team Tactics or Combat Patrol will be familiar with the squad attack format. It was the ending portion of your class where the whole class participated in the single iteration. Support by fire, assault team, flank team, shift fire, assault through, sound familiar? Two of those per day – only difference is they are planned by you. There is time to eat, drink, shave, shower, call the kids, etc. You will be busy but not slaving.
Now even though you have given an amazing brief and you have a fool proof plan prior to stepping off it still needs to be brought to fruition. Needless to say, there’s an endless supply of lessons to be learned in how to apply leadership and ensure your squad executes properly. What you say, how you say it, when you say it, what you do, how you do it, and when you do it are a continiously randomized vortex of targets you are trying to hit. Somebody will say “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” which you will learn is only true if you give up on first contact. No plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it can stay mostly in tact (quote credit Mike Q).
Just because you are a squad leader does not mean you are the only one executing the plan. Attempting to do so is a serious mistake. Whether you like it or not, these are the 12 other people you have to work with. You will need all 12 of those people to believe in your plan and WANT to get it done if you are to succeed. Instilling motivation in someone who has few reasons to follow you and infinite reasons to leave is a priceless skill.
Dichotomy again – Even if you could convince the whole world to follow you, if your idea is too complicated it will never come to fruition. Taking the idea from your head and putting it into many others’ means it needs to be universally understood. A basic calculus problem might seem basic to you but calculus is literally a foreign language to the art student. Tracking?
Of course, we all love the gear. After this class there is no doubt you can consider your kit field tested. To take this class you will be wearing and fighting in what you bring for an entire week. If you have not sorted out your boots, clothes, LBE, and rifle you will find out very quickly something is wrong. Chafing, blisters, broken kit, or broken rifles will seriously immobilize you. Amazingly, this class did not have any significant gear failures, injuries, or frankenrifle issues. Everybody on this class was squared away. UTM equipment/munitions were extremely reliable with only a couple instances of rounds stuck in barrels requiring cleaning rods. For further discussion on gear I have started a new thread on the forum (link: https://forum.maxvelocitytactical.com/forums/topic/mvt-class-what-we-wore/) for everyone to discuss what they wear to any and all MVT classes, what worked, what didn’t, and what changes may be made.
My Personal Takeaways:
– 92% rule
– Write, read, and re-read your OPORD. You missed details the first time, every time.
– It is surprisingly easy to survive an ambush.
– Bowline Knot
– Proof that leadership is contagious and it trickles down
– “Pelvic Thrust” is not an acceptable signal for Ambush Set
– The boss is not always right, but he is always the boss.
– CQB is an extra cruel mistress.
– XMRE meals are surprisingly palatable.
– Yeah, I could live like this.
– There were completely new-to-MVT students here. In 2 days the squad had mentored our maneuvers and nomenclature into adoption. No factor.
– Camping is not mandatory, although highly encouraged. Keyword here is immersion. Almost this entire class luxury camped the entire week with proper tents, cots, stoves, showers, etc. The social aspect of this class is not to be discounted. The comradery was great as well as learning how to talk to eachother. Knowing which words to use and how to use them with each individual student makes leading much more effective by the end of the week.
– There were no ruck marches or planned squad overnight patrols at all on this class. There was only a single small volunteer night recon patrol and they were back by midnight. Essentially identical to those who have done the Close Target Recce from Combat Patrol with rifles, LBE, and patrol packs.
– Food: You will only need 2 full meals per day with snacks. Double up Gatorade purchases. I personally brought XMREs, Mountain House, and some home-made meal kits. It was nice to have options but I brought way more than necessary. Undoubtedly you will eat out or somebody brings food, and you are free to leave for grocery runs, so don’t go crazy on the meal prep.
– PT: Be aware that you will be wearing your full kit and walking to your objective to fight twice per day. There is always a spectrum of fitness levels, as is to be expected, but make sure you are not the one holding your team back. Your cognitive ability drops as your exertion levels go up.
– Weather: We saw temperatures from 28°F-78°F, up to 40mph winds, hail, rain, snow, thunder, and lightning. Be prepared to fight in all conditions.
– Ammo expenditure: I personally used about 1250 rounds. The spread of the class was total 850-1250 rounds consumed per person. My personal recommendation would be to bring some extra cash with you in case you need more ammo. Don’t let it be the limiting factor in your experience.
– PPE: By the end of the week almost everyone was wearing some form of face cover (gaiter, balaclava), goggles, and head covering (boonie, helment) for patrol operations. CQB stuff we broke out the mesh masks for sure. The gaiter/balaclava and hat is enough for long distance shots and almost eliminates goggle fogging while the mesh mask and helmet keeps contact shots off your head. All of the snake oil solutions on goggles, fans, and infinite genius solutions could not 100% prevent goggle fogging. It will happen, learn to fight through it. Body armor is not required, approx 4 of 12 students wore it consistently.
– The amount of freedom you will have in this class is unparallelled in comparison to Max’s other classes. You will be given enough rope to hang yourself with. Proceed wisely.
– Based on a mix of Max’s feedback and our own this class is not likely to happen more frequently than once per year.
The majority of the students partaking in this class are active on the forum so feel free to ask us any questions you may have.
GET AFTER IT.
I was one of the lucky four members to fight (and more often die) as the OPFOR (Opposing Force) team.
Review: Combat Leader Course April 2017: JohnnyMac
Combat Leader Class AAR – JohnnyMac
I want to be very direct: there is no other place in the world in which a civilian can receive this sort of training. This is, for all intents and purposes, the apex of tactical training from the civilian perspective. In general we can think of a training progression that looks something like: weapon manipulation, individual fire and movement, buddy fire and movement, team fire and movement, team battle drills and, finally, leading teams through sequencing in battle. The combat leader’s class, at the zenith of this progression, was educational, challenging and revelatory. It’s important to note that any gaps in your personal performance at any of the lower levels can/will have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness and survival of your combat team. Bluntly, your screw-up could get you and your buddies killed.
The purpose of the class was to develop the ability to receive a mission, plan it, and lead it. The amount of onus/freedom placed on students was quite large. If you were in command, you had to make sure your team knew precisely what needed to happen, when, where and how to do it- no hand holding from cadre. The cadre would step in if you were on a collision course as a leader, but otherwise, they left the squad leader to plan/supervise the execution of the mission. The class is roughly 20% planning, 80% execution. This is both in terms time and importance. There is the often quoted maxim, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy” but until you live it, I’m not sure you can really understand the chaos and confusion of battle.
The afternoon of arrival was spent in-processing and getting the FOB set up. The students were also challenged to make a terrain model of our AO. Our initial attempt was kind of feeble, so Max stepped in to point out errors and discuss construction techniques. After some revision (and lots of dirt!) we had something that resembled the terrain of the MVT training facility. If you haven’t ever created a terrain model, it is an art. From a practical standpoint, an accurate terrain model really helps your team understand your mission plan and where they need to be. At the same time, even if you could make the world’s greatest terrain model, crappy leadership or execution is going to mean mission failure.
Monday morning was classroom time around the terrain model going over Max’s tactical check notes and the basics of running a mission. We were then thrown to the wolves for our first mission Monday afternoon. MVT training usually follows a walk, crawl, run methodology and I think for many of us we felt like it went from walk to run. It’s a tough problem because there isn’t as much time as you might think over the course of a week to get everyone through a command appointment. No matter how it’s approached though, the first day or two is going to feel like drinking from a fire hose.
One of the things I learned quickly was that details need to be worked out to a level of detail much greater than I expected going into it. Some of the really small details can be worked out in the rehearsals but, as a leader, you really need to have a firm handle on exactly how everything should unfold (and contingencies that you can clearly articulate ahead of time, for when the situation/plan changes).
Over the course of the ensuing days, the class became conditioned to the routine of mission planning, prep, rehearsals and execution. It was particularly evident in the OPORDs, which slowly began to follow the standard format being taught. Although I wish I had more than one command appointment, we were all able to learn during the debriefs that occurred after each mission. During the debriefs, we were able to learn from not only our own mistakes, but also mistakes of others. Now, there was yelling in some debriefs, but I would say we deserved it after making the same mistakes for multiple missions. Honestly, if you’re too sensitive to be yelled at, you’re probably too sensitive for armed conflict. On a few occasions, Max went around and individually pointed out opportunities for improvement. I think that was super helpful as a student.
To a certain extent, some of the most valuable lessons had to be learned the hard way. The value of this training, and its use of UTM, cannot be overstated. When I say ‘the hard way’, many of the lessons we learned, both individually and as a team, caused the “death” of usually multiple team members. Very few people are lucky enough to get a second chance at life like we are given when training with UTM. In the real world, most lessons are paid in blood, but with UTM, we can learn some of those lessons with only the cost of a bee sting and maybe a bruised ego.
The tactical lessons learned were so numerous I’ll have to list them, but make no mistake, reading these bullets points will not cement them into your mind. You might not even understand them without enough training. Heck, I was THERE and still feel the need to take the class again to really internalize all the lessons. No matter what skill level we as students came into the class with, I think we all left with the feeling we have a lot of work to do.
Onto the stream-of-thought lessons list:
-You’re not nearly as good as you think you are. Check your ego at the door.
-Good communication is both VITAL and difficult.
-“Any given Sunday” …even with a tactical advantage things can go south quickly. In less time than it takes you to read this sentence, an entire team can be wiped out, even if they have numbers or terrain on their side.
-Indecision or freezing up can end up getting everyone killed.
-Even with a good plan, things can go south. With a bad plan, you might be doomed from the outset.
-As a leader you need to “grip” your team. Sometimes that means telling someone to STFU.
-A leader needs good followers- do what you’re told!
-Every man is a link man.
-You need a deep, booming voice to be heard on the battlefield. For me personally, developing a better command voice over the course of the week was one of my bigger personal achievements (and hurdles).
-Don’t get sucked into your own little bubble, stay aware and keep communication brief so you can hear incoming communication.
-The larger the team, the more difficult it is to function efficiently. (OODA Loop)
-You better be in good shape if you plan to do any direct action. Even more so if in mountainous terrain. Your lack of fitness could get yourself or a teammate killed. And if you think, ‘oh, I’ll use my vehicle’ (or some other excuse)….you’re wrong. Without fitness you might die.
-If you don’t want to be seen, stay low and don’t move when they’re looking in your direction.
-Turn your head slowly, not fast.
-Look in to your leaders and teammates periodically.
-Without proper use of cover, you’re going to die.
-Moving without suppressing the enemy, you’re going to die.
-Always bring as much ammo as you can, without it you’ll die.
-No one cares how fast you can burn through a mag, you’re going to run out….and die.
-Failure to ensure everyone understands and can execute the plan will probably mean you die.
-Keep a headcount, leaving someone behind will mean they probably die.
-Never underestimate the power of a flanking attack.
-Never position friendlies where they could cross fire into each other, even if shooting down into a valley. (Bullets do crazy things)
-Ambushes need walls of lead….and surprise.
-Jumping around when describing your plan will confuse people.
-There is a direct correlation to how well-developed your plan is and how many questions you get after laying it out.
-Keep your plan as simple as possible but don’t skip the key details.
-The tactical skills of the individual can make or break the team.
-Trust in your teammates is vital.
-Be an aggressive savage towards your enemies.
-When you’re given feedback, keep your mouth shut and take time to digest what was said.
-Dress for the mission so that you’re a little cold at the start, you’ll heat up when moving on foot.
-Dry leaves are super noisy, go for moss/dirt/rock.
-There is an art to staying perfectly still for long periods of time and remaining tolerably comfortable.
-Accept that you’ll be uncomfortable and try to stay positive.
-Being helpful to your teammates and leaders goes a long way.
-You need to move quickly.
-You’ll never have all the information you’d like to have.
-Adapt the plan to the situation, don’t try to jam the plan into the situation. (Don’t go towards the light)
-Buildings can be death traps, don’t try to clear a building if you don’t have to.
-A leader needs to know both where they are and where they’re going.
-When you face plant, recover as quickly as possible.
-A warm drink can do wonders to warm you up.
-Communicate both specified AND implied tasks to subordinates so they’re ready to perform.
-If you think you’ll be able to throw a tactical team together ad hoc, you’re sorely mistaken.
-Just because you’re good at X, Y or Z, doesn’t mean you’re good at combat. Either accept it step out of the way or seek to improve your abilities.
-Gear might not make or break a mission, but it sure helps. A few things that were either clutch or that I wish I had: a bore snake and cleaning kit to care for your rifle (especially with UTM), goggles that don’t fog and have both tinted and clear lenses (Revision Wolf Spiders never fogged on me), a solid daypack, a drybag and rain gear, a good fleece jacket, a magnified optic for PID (debatable), multiple TQs in easy to reach places, a sleep system warm enough for the weather conditions, extra clothing/socks/footwear, pain reliever, a litter for casualties, lightweight ballistic plates, HELMET SCRIM ( or camo boonie hat), an easy way to clean a pot/cup, a multitool, open mag pouches (MVT, taco, esstac, etc), GOOD KNEE PADS
-You might need more than 1000 rounds of UTM to get through the week.
Overall I thought the class went quite well and it will only evolve into an even better class the next time around. The knowledge I gained through the class was enormous, more than I ever expected. I will definitely attend the class again, especially because the learning curve is rather steep for the first few days. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who feels they have the basics down pretty well (or feels confident they can learn quickly). The immersive environment through camping at the FOB was great, allowing the students to help each other out, have our own informal debriefs and get to know each other better. Although not required, I would encourage future CLC students to stay on site.
To my fellow students, it was a pleasure learning and fighting alongside you.
Max Adds: There is only room, and it is tight, for a single squad leader appointment on the class. Students are able to get multiple team leader appointments. We will make some tweaks for next time to allow students to plan more than their own mission, voluntarily, as homework each night. This would only vary if we got more students who were there to be ‘rifleman only’ and did not want the squad leader appointment. The battle rhythm was, after we ran the first mission Monday PM, two missions per day, with those nominated as squad leader having the night before to plan and write their mission briefs.
I just posted some comment here: ‘Video: Combat Leader Class (CLC) April 2017.‘ Copied from that:
I am going to schedule another of these for April 2018. I am also interested in knowing if there is sufficient interest in running another CLC in the fall. We could fit one in late October / early November. The training value of the class is priceless. I realize that it is a chunk of time, but well invested, at 8 days Sunday – Sunday. The way I run enrollment, is that we need 12 – 13 students to make the class work. I take deposits with the understanding that if the class does not make the numbers, students agree to transfer to deposits to another MVT class of their choosing. So you commit to train either way.
If we do not run another CLC until April 2018, in the meantime we do run the 2 0r 3 day Force on Force Team Tactics / CQB intro classes. The next one is running June 16 – 18 and there is space. There is an opportunity for team and even squad leader roles, purely voluntary, on the scenarios we run as part of that class. It is a good intro if you are looking towards the CLC.
We have the next Combat Team Tactics (CTT), which is really the MVT ‘basic training’ class, July 6 – 9.
Review: Defensive Concealed Handgun, March 11-12: Melanie
I took the defensive concealed handgun training course taught by Scott this past weekend. I’m 24, a woman, and had shot a handgun about two or three times before the start of the class. I was definitely feeling a little out of my element when the rest of the class began introducing themselves as far more experienced shooters. However, Scott paced the course really well and started everyone with the basics. It was definitely a “crawl, walk, run” structure. By the end of day two I was completely comfortable using a handgun. I would definitely recommend this class to novice and intermediate handgun owners.
General Info / Links:
Review: Combat Team Tactics / Convoy Tactics Texas 2017: James
I attended this training after reading about Max’s teaching methodology on various websites as well as reading his books. I have been to numerous square range type trainings and while extremely useful for teaching and practicing weapons manipulation and tactical movements, there is only so much you can get out of these types of courses. Max’s training is a completely different animal and if you are serious about being able to protect your family and tribe no matter what may come.
Max’s curriculum for the CTT class was great, it started out with weapon manipulation and was very concise on proper weapon handling and malfunction clearance. I have been through various iterations of this type of training and it can be a grind with all of the repetitions, however at no point was Max’s class boring or un-useful. The majority of people attending the class were pretty much up to speed and serious about their training which is great because inevitably there will be that guy who is not up to speed and either causes delays or safety hazards.
The combat team tactics section of the training was definitely an eye opener as it is much more difficult to run your weapon, move, keep in sync with your buddy pair/team, and think about what you are doing than it is to shoot targets on a square range. All movements and exercises were strictly managed and overseen with an emphasis on safety and proper tactics, as well as weapon handling. Even with 14 other guys moving around at the same time I never felt like there was any safety risk. The biggest issue I think most had with this section of the training was slowing down and getting their head out of their weapon so they could see what was going on around them. By the end of the class everyones buddy teams were performing the set tasks with a minimum of randomness (insanity, fuckuppery). I took away from the training alot of ideas to run through with my family so that in an emergency we will be able to work together more efficiently.
Mobility/ Convoy tactics was a big part of the reason I attended this training. In the current times we live in we spend a lot of time travelling in vehicles and at some point in the future may face higher risks of road blocks, ambushes, travel through hostile areas, etc. Having the tools to approach these types problems will be extremely important to keeping your family/tribe safe.
Night vision Primer/ Night shooting was an extra that only some of the students chose to do. This was done after a full day of training so be prepared to be tired. It was amazing getting some basic instruction on the use of night vision and some drills to practice shooting at night. We also ran through a short night raid scenario, which really hammered in how important the use of night vision can be even though it’s not the be all end all and does not really allow you to “own the night”. You will use some additional ammunition for this so bring an extra 500 rounds or so. If you have the opportunity to add this on to a class you should do so, you will be glad you did.
A couple of additional things I really liked about the training were the team building and camaraderie that were part of staying at the (very comfortable) lodge with the other trainees. Also the context under which a lot of the training is done is useful as it applies to a collapse or WROL scenario rather than trying to make everyone a high speed tactical badass. While certainly a large chunk of money and time Max’s classes are by far the best (and best value!) I have attended. I learned a ton and look forward to repeating the training on a yearly basis so I can learn and practice even more. Thanks Max for a great experience!
James D. in Texas
Review CQBC, March 24-26, 2017: Arthur
I took the original MVT Citizen Close Combat (C3) in 2015. The new Close Quarter Battle Course (CQBC) is leaps and bounds beyond the original offering due to instruction, facility improvements and equipment enhancements such as the UTM’s. It is exactly as described at the MVT website (Class description HERE) where you can find out exactly what to expect. This is 3 days of straight forward excellent training that begins to give you the tools you need in the event you are faced with a CQB situation in your personal life.
TRAINING & FACILITY
CQBC is three days of intense training beginning with classroom discussion of CQB methods and theory, proper foot work and body movements, structure entry methods, breaching methods, room types, room clearing methods, sectors of fire and force on target. This covers the first 2 days and as noted earlier it is intense and mentally exhausting. The purpose of the first 2 days is to provide the knowledge and tools to execute the force on force drills on the 3rd day using the UTM rounds and the shoot houses constructed at the VTC, providing real time realistic training. It is one thing to run the drills using force on target, but a whole different world running force on force where the “target” is returning fire. Stress level is high, decision making is tested and the mistakes you make are accented with the incoming UTM fire.
The class was instructed by John (BIO Page) who brings his real life military experience to the class. He knows how to motivate, explain, correct, praise and criticize, remaining fair, objective and open to discussion of methods. This tells me that with the material taught and the free flow of information there is no set in stone dogma. Time and again we were told CQB involves continuous problem solving while on the move. This becomes evident during force on force when, for whatever reason, things go sideways and you and your team need to reassess under pressure of a closing opposition. The basic fundamentals you have been taught don’t change you need to adapt, adjust and reapply them under evolving conditions and intense pressure.
After each drill/iteration a complete debrief was done to close the circle on the learning experience.
Max has done a great job bringing John in to instruct and constructing this facility at the VTC. This is as real to life training as you can get, providing invaluable instruction of a skill that may have real relevance to your life.
Max adds: the next CQBC is in May, but it is currently full. John and I are talking about putting another CQBC on in late August, watch this space.
This course package was held at a ranch near Brady, Texas, 28 Feb through 5 Mar 2017. This was the third year MVT has come to Brady, and I can say without reservations that Max’s courses just get better every year! The course material itself is constantly evolving, (I assume) based on info Max gathers from active and recently active combat troops, as well as Max’s perception of what students are capable of and what they NEED to know. Speaking as a person who has been through more than a dozen courses with some of the biggest of the “big name” instructors, I can tell you that Max goes way above and beyond what most are willing to teach to “mere civilians”, and that Max is an EXCELLENT instructor who has an uncanny ability to evaluate students as individuals and as groups, and train them to their maximum potential.
Day 1 was a review of CTT, where we did several break-contact and assault drills to refresh our memories on how to effectively function as 4-man teams. Basically, this was a repeat of the last day of CTT – bounding forward, backward, peeling right and left as 4-man teams.
Day 2 started with classroom type lecture in the “lodge” describing squad movement techniques and tactics. Then it was off to “the goat pasture” where we did break contact front with a team in overwatch giving supporting fire, then simultaneous break contact front and right, simulating breaking out of an L-shaped ambush. The night of Day 2 was spent with 6-man teams doing night recce missions, with role-players performing activity that the recce teams were expected to report on in their debrief later that night. Lecture describing the hows and whys of recce missions preceded the field exercise.
Our Combat Patrol / Direct Action class was a little different from the Combat Patrol class last year, and I think it was quite an improvement. The main difference is that rather than spending 12+ hours doing a patrol, eating chow in a security position, moving into a patrol base, and swapping sentries all night, more time was spent working on setting up and executing the ambush, searching enemy “bodies” (mannequins), evacuating a casualty, etc. Last year, we left the patrol base in the pre-dawn darkness, moved into our ambush position, executed the ambush, then bugged out… all while half asleep. It was super cool, and the overnight patrol base was a great experience, but I think the 3 repetitions of the ambush this year were a lot better bang for the buck! We still did a daylight walk-through of setting up the patrol base, so it wasn’t bypassed entirely, but I think students got a much deeper understanding of how to conduct the ambush than we did last year, where we were basically just following orders and going through the motions.
I just touched on it above, but I have to point out that the hours of classroom type lecture in this course are invaluable. Max is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and this is an in-depth course where Max really gives you a great overall picture of how small unit tactics are actually applied in the real world and why they are applied the way they are. CP/DA is a 4-day course, but it is much more “brain intensive” and less “ammo intensive” than CTT. I shot maybe 600-700rds during the entire 4 days, and probably close to half of that was on Day 1. Even so, the level of understanding you get from all the explanation and background in the lectures gives you a much deeper understanding of the what, why, and how of all this stuff. It is a LOT of info, and I don’t claim to have absorbed all of it, but I am amazed at how much information Max can shovel at us in such a short time without making it feel overwhelming. It all makes sense, and it all flows logically from one aspect to the next.
CQB and Force-on-Force – Now THIS is where the rubber meets the road! The overwhelming take-away for me is that even though you have gotten really good at “running the drills” against static targets, that’s not enough! You must know how to adapt those drills to a rapidly changing environment when the targets are moving around and shooting back at you. I fully expected this UTM force-on-force phase to be a giant leap forward, a “lightbulb moment,” and I was not disappointed! I got shot in the face a couple of times without even seeing who shot me, and then the cartoon lightbulb over my head came on! All that stuff we hear about “keep your head on a swivel”, “I’m up – he sees me – I’m down,””look at your next cover, then go to it,” “maintain 360 degree security,” etc., all began to actually MEAN something. This was not a glorified game of paintball, but an awesome opportunity to learn to ebb and flow with the situation, use the terrain and available cover, and actually APPLY the tactics. It wasn’t always pretty… mostly not pretty… but it was where all this stuff really came together for me, and gave me some real context for all the drills. When “running the drills” now at home, my mind is in a totally different place than before I had UTM rounds hit me in the face. (Side note: Don’t be intimidated – UTM doesn’t really hurt. You know you’ve been hit, but it’s no big deal).
Footage From The Class:
Review: CRS/CTT Texas February 17-20: Andrew
Review: 17-20 February 2017 Texas 4 Day RS/CTT Class – ‘Brushpopper:’
First off I must admit, not having been to any type of class before other than shooting with friends, I was a little nervous. Whether it was from being afraid of looking dumb, or not being able to keep up physically (be in shape by the way), or any other number of self induced nervousness, I don’t know. That was all put to rest upon meeting up with the group the night before and meeting Max. Everyone, yes even Max, were down to earth people, all trying to learn or earnestly wanting to teach you (Max).
The first two days of Rifle Skills were great, honestly I didn’t think there would be enough to fill two days but there were, from zeroing to combat & tactical reloads, keeping your gun running in the fight by being able to think and look and discern why your gun stopped firing from failure to battery to bolt override and every other imaginable calamity in between, there was more than enough. This in turn let us roll right into Combat Team Tactics fairly seamlessly.
Rifle Skills was an eye opener, but Combat Team Tactics really opened my eyes, I was almost afraid that I would forget from day to day what to do, but by the time you get to your third and fourth day you have gone over these drills on the white board then in rehearsal and then live so many times it almost gets instinctive, albeit for me slowly instinctive (I know I could have moved a lot faster during our bounds and peels).
There was a mention of an on line discussion about Max’s yelling, first off yes there is yelling, not the screaming in your face deriding you of the nature of your breeding, but the kind of yelling that goes with having to talk over rifle fire trying to get your attention whether it be for your safety or your team mates safety, or to get you out of your sights to look around you to see what other danger may be in need of attention. There was some frivolous name calling, all jokingly of course, meant to also get your attention, I believe I was called a maniac (man I wish I could type in a British accent here) or a lunatic at one point for not being in the right position or for not being faster or running out of ammo, I cannot remember which, probably all of the above. It’s the kind of joking banter you would do with your buddies, giving them grief and hell over something they did type of banter, all while learning something.
(Max Adds: This became a bit of a topic because I brought it up at class and specifically asked for feedback on ‘yelling,’ and covered it / asked questions about it in the class AAR).
All in all, this definitely was worth saving up for and I plan on attending more of the Texas classes in the future. It is definitely an eye opener and makes you hungry for more!
AAR for 4 Day Combat Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics: ‘Wheelsee’
TX, Feb 17-20
This was my first class with Max Velocity tactical . With any new activity or endeavor, there may be some anxiety, whether from self-imposed or hearsay. I’ll explain later.
The training will take place on a ranch in excess of 3K acres (> 4 square miles). The housekeeping letter states to be at the gate by 4PM – this allows the host to lead us in to prevent getting lost and just wandering about. BE there by 4PM. Once we were led in, we were introduced to our temporary quarters, completed paperwork, received room arrangements, and paid range/lodging fees. This all took < 30 minutes, freeing us to go into town for food, last-minute supplies, next day lunch, etc. Again, be at the gate BY 4PM (being late just delays everyone else).
Days 1-2 were spent on the square range, Max gave a detailed safety brief and expectations for the class. We are dealing with deadly weapons and safety is paramount. The first step was sighting our firearms, from the prone position (the most stable field position). This should be done anyway with any new sighting system – RDS, scope, or BUIS. I do recommend having done this prior to coming. This should be done anyway with any new sighting system – RDS, scope, or BUIS. Once the sighting was completed, we started with our shooting drills. This was done in a crawl, walk, run format (for the CRS class – crawl, walk) with Max demonstrating each. The first was Contact Front drills, then Contact Left drills, followed by Contact Right drills, and lastly Contact Rear drills – all while stationary. Yes, you are pivoting to get on target, with your team members on either side, and this may cause some discomfort for some. Remember the safety briefing? Max teaches the method of head-body-weapon. It is immediately apparent how safely this can be done (gotta keep your head in the game). Remember this maneuver, you’ll be using it from now on. We then progressed to contact drills while walking (again, on the square range).
Stoppage drills were introduced (you’ll need to attend the class for this one) with Max making decision-making easy – is the bolt closed or open?? (again, you’ll need to attend the class for the answers). Suffice it to say, even an older person new to the AR platform can follow these basic moves. We were also introduced to controlled pairs, hammer fire, and stream fire. While the recommended ammunition allotment is 800 rounds, I recommend bringing 50% more. This is because a student’s definition and inexperience is going to lead to a higher rate of fire until the lessons are learned.
Days 3-4 we moved around the ranch learning Combat Team Tactics. Max was able to find terrain that reflected his scenarios further driving home learning points. Again following the crawl-walk-run method, Max would explain the movement (with rationales, expectations, and possibilities), then we would dry run it (without weapons), then live fire. Expect to do short bounds (<10 yards) from a kneeling position, so work on anaerobic exercises such as forward lunges (see Max for training plans). Read Contact! for the various maneuvers (won’t repeat here). The final scenario involves a squad attack (again, read Contact!).
- Be attentive, listen to the briefs and SLOW DOWN, THINK THE PROBLEM THROUGH. Max has already given the solutions but we have to identify the problem.
- HYDRATE!! I tried PowerAde Zero with good results – replenishes sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, $0.80/quart. I started with 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, then doubled that with good results.
- Bring spare batteries – AA, AAA, optics. I had batteries go out on my hearing protection, bought more that night at Walmart.
- If you think there is a problem when loading your weapon, FIX IT!! I didn’t and ended up with a stoppage at first contact. Again, FIX IT!!
- Magazine capacity – Mine are 30-round mags, had a couple of episodes of difficulty seating the mag, and 1 mag with 31 rounds that I couldn’t seat. Had a fellow student mention 29 or 28 rounds to fix problem. I went to 28 rounds per mag without any problems.
- To paraphrase Max – CTT ain’t about me, but about keeping my team alive. Think through the scenarios and do those things which help keep your team members alive.
- Ammunition – though each class lists the required amount, increase it by 50%, or even 100%. Doing the CRS, night-fire, and CTT class, I went through ~ 2500 rounds. Again, due to my own inexperience.
- Knee pads though not listed as required, I HIGHLY recommend. By the 3rd day, my right knee was so banged up just from the up-downs, it was painful just to get up from sitting. Very comfortable home-made ones can be made from a $7 blue camping mat from Walmart. Double-padded, for the last day, going down on my right knee was no problem.
- Yelling – yep, you’re going to do it. You HAVE to communicate with your team to keep everyone safe. And you’re going to receive it. Yes, Max yells too, its a loud environment, and he’s blunt. In all fairness, I receive much worse at work (not from co-workers).
- Teamwork – not only on the field but also in the lodge. Do what needs to be done and don’t hesitate to jump in. Check on one another, see #6.
- Respect each other. The people who are there want to be there. Keep it positive. See #6.
- Equipment – JOIN the forum. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. Ask for recommendations, listen to the responses and make your decision. Buy once, cry once. Expensive?? How much is your life worth?? How much would you have saved (in the long run) if you had bought quality to begin with?? (Max Adds: The MVT Forum is $25 per year subscription).
- PT – you knew this was coming, right?? Just from reading previous AARs, I chose to run/jog/walk the stairs at work (14-story building), stopping about every 4th floor to do push-ups. This seemed to work OK though I need to add more squats within the routine. Also, look at your day-to-day life – what can you do to become more physically fit?? See a doctor first to make sure no underlying problems, i.e. heart disease, COPD (smokers??), uncontrolled high blood pressure, etc.
- Grow the tribe – Tell your friends/family about MVT. You’ll know who is open to training and who is not, focus on those who are. See you in TX!
General Info / Links:
Review: Defensive Concealed Handgun Class: March 2017: WildBill
Will you be ready?
No, I’m not talking about the societal collapse that we can all see coming and for which we are reading this forum to gather information on how to prepare. Nor am I talking about the SUT classes teaching TTP, which many of us have decided to learn what we’ll be needed to help survive that collapse. All of that is great and needed but when the SHTF does happen, it will be most likely a slow downward spiral that will take days, weeks or maybe longer to become life threatening to you, your family and friends.
I’m talking about the more immediate threats like the 50 killed at the Orlando nightclub, 12 killed Aurora movie theater, 13 killed Fort Hood, 32 killed Blacksburg Virginia Tech., 23 killed Luby’s Cafeteria, 21 killed McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif. On the other hand, maybe it is a lone attack in parking garage, a park, a hiking trail, at mall or any one of the many attacks that never get mass media coverage but are just as devastating to the victims and their families.
These immediate acts of violence could happen to you or someone you love today or tomorrow so how do you prepare — books, YouTube videos?
Alternatively, why not take the time to be trained I mean really take some no bullshit training at a Defensive Concealed Handgun class. First Sergeant Scott’s class that I just completed this weekend is training that may very well keep you or your loved ones alive, whether or not when it comes to a pistol you are a beginner or experienced you will not be disappointed. Following other MVT classes Crawl, Walk, Run philosophy you start with a lecture on safety, equipment, legal and moral responsibilities involved in carrying a concealed handgun and are taught ways to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime.
Above: Scott (teaching Rifle here)
Moving on to the square range you learn the proper draw and re-holstering of your pistol and the first test of your marksmanship which you’ll find vastly improves after two days of drills and scenarios. Scott shows you a couple of great drills that you can use practice later that run through many of the techniques taught in the class using only a 50 round box of ammunition.
In addition, don’t forget the malfunction drills that if you don’t know how to clear could very well mean that you are holding a club instead of a functioning pistol. Then there’s strong hand only shooting and clearing malfunction drills and then support or “weak hand” only shooting and clearing malfunction drills that help round out the “don’t know what you don’t know”.
Where to sit in restaurants and how to extricate yourself from a seated position to shoot an assailant are discussed and practiced. Scott also demonstrates how that Tueller drill is not the end-all- be-all when it comes to keeping assailants at a distance and how if it is followed to the letter could get you killed.
Then come the scenarios set up by Scott and the other students forcing each student to think if this is a shoot or no shoot situation because in the end you are legally responsible for every round that leaves your pistol and shooting one of the many no shoot targets is a big no-no.
Even though not listed on the class handout a separate Night Fire session is available, which is well worth the extra money, where you learn the use of pistol and flashlight whether hand held or weapon mounted. You will also learn trough demonstration and drills how maybe just the use of a flashlight might be enough to deter a would be assailant. What you don’t think the Night Fire class is necessary then you must never go out at night — right. Take the class because you aren’t going to be able to practice these drills in the dark at your local indoor square range in all likelihood.
Add the Defensive Concealed Handgun class to your preparedness schedule for that day or night comes you are faced with having to defend yourself or a loved one when all you wanted was to pick something up at the store, grab a quick meal, visit a nightclub or go to the movies — it is money and time well spent.
General Info / Links:
Video Review: Combat Team Tactics / Convoy Tactics Texas 2017: Bob:
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