Overall a good course. Lots of good information for beginners as well as people with some experience.
First thing we went over our Zero and reverified that everyone could hit the target with whatever sights they were using at 25 yards. I saw a good mix of Aimpoints and EOTech's with a few people using plain old Iron sights.
After everyone was comfortable with hitting the target we moved up until our muzzles were about 1-2 yards from the targets and then attempted headshots.
Needless to say we got to see what the difference between where were aiming and where the bullet hit at conversational distances. Aiming for the center of the head I hit the neck. After a few shots I found that if I placed the EOtechs ring on the forehead I'd hit the center of the head. I also figured at that range I didn't need to use the sights just kind point the barrel at the target and shoot. It was just as accurate and easier to boot.
We then shot from the kneeling and "scuba prone" the kneeling is pretty self explanatory, although a more accurate term would be supported kneeling, the "scuba prone" is a low prone with the weapon canted to the side so you can fire from the lowest possible position while laying on your stomach. I was hoping they would cover firing from your side while in the prone position but it wasn't mentioned.
We then fired shots while sidestepping , and moving forwards and backwards, after we had movement down they covered "Cover & Concealment" and "slicing the pie". We did a few drills using cover and slicing the pie.
Next up was engaging targets while moving laterally, we engaged 6 targets spread 3-5 yards apart from a range of about 7 yards starting at the leftmost target and moving rightward, then repeating the drill from the other direction. First we did it at a slow walk, and the second time through we were moving a pretty good clip. They wanted us to keep our hips oriented on the targets and not our direction of travel which was hard at first and only got a bit easier with practice. But like Mr. Harris pointed out , if you don't practice and train constantly nothing will come easy. The biggest point they would make is if your hips were too far out of alignment they would tell you to freeze, and then attempt to reengage a target you had already passed without moving your feet.
Our Final drill was where the Instructor would give you directions covering the drills you had performed while engageing targets downrange, so you would move forwards, left, right, back, kneeling, prone ect. all the while shooting and reloading.
Oh did I forget to mention reloading?
Yeah we reloaded. We reloaded a lot. The only drill we didn't reload is confirming our zero.
I must have reloaded 200 times, and only a couple of times did I reload because my mag was empty. The instructors would just randomly call out "reload" sometimes they would call out "target" and have us engage in the middle of a reload. The rapid pace of "reload" caused a couple of people some stress during the day, mostly due to trying to reload, fire, and replace the 'old' mags all at once. The rule was if it hit the ground it stayed there until the end of the drill. I had an issue with this when my EOTech fell off during a reload on the moving forward and back drill, I just flipped up my BUIS and finished my shooting, but I had to leave it on the ground until we were done so I did the remainder of the drill wishing I had a wider aperture on my rear sight.
I used my Carbine (The EFDER) , everyone had DI AR's. Saw all brands, some with rails, some without. No one had any malfunctions relating to their weapons that I saw. When we took a break I was the only person who even bothered to field strip and wipe down their weapon. I did discover a couple of small things about my weapon,
First I needed to take a file to the leading edge of my adjustable stock. the charging handle was catching on it causing me to not be able to lock the bolt to the rear correctly a couple of times.
Second I was the only person there with no sort of brake or flashider on their weapon, as such the recoil was causing my follow up shots to be a bit slower than some of the others.
Thirdly , My EOTech came off in the middle of a drill. This being training its no harm no foul, however, if this had been real life I woulda been screwed. So Lesson Learned :"Make sure all your shit is tight, and dummy corded, unless you don't want to keep it anymore."
I used three USGI mags with Magpul Rebuild kits and Ranger plates, and a Lancer L5 30 round magazine. I also took some H&K high reliability mags but didn't need to use any. Some people were using P-Mags , windowed and Non, others were using standard mags, and one student was using all Lancer Mags.
AFAIK noone had any magazine issues, but I wasn't asking either.
- Seating a fully loaded magazine is not as easy as you may think it is. Early on several people, including me, had a magazine (or two) drop out of their weapons when they thought it was seated properly, after the instructors went over why that was happening and suggested loading to 28 rounds the issue went away. The only Mag I would load to 30 rounds was the mag I knew I would load my weapon with at the start of the drill.
- The clear Lancer mags are Nice. There were many times during the day I would glance atthe lancer while removing it from my weapon during a reload and notice it only had one or two rounds left. I would then make sure I didn't grab that mag for any of the consecutive reloads. The only bad thing about the Lancers is they don't make Ranger plates for them.
- Ranger Plates. I've used all sorts of magazine pulls. I've used 550 cord ones, duct tape tabs, ect. Of all these the Ranger plates are the best I think. Several times I would do a reload and the only way I could grab the mag out of my dump pouch was with a finger through the loop.
I used my Battle Belt (See Below), a couple of people used mag carriers on thier pants belt, a few had chest rigs and one or two had full on vests. A couple of people remarked they needed to get dump pouches because loading a mag back into a mag pouch was difficult under stress during the many reloads.
Not once did I notice my G23 on the belt even throughout the moving, kneeling, proning (sic). It didn't come out of the Bladetech, it didn't bounce, it was exactly what it supposed to be, a backup weapon that was there but not in the way.
I did find an instance during the day where I found an expended cartridge in my mag pouch, because there are no drain holes or anything in them, the round landed in there during a course of fire and I later inserted a mag in on top of it. While nothing happened here, I can imagine the expended cartridge loading itself into a mag and finding its way to my weapon.
I saw several types of slings, even someone who had the same basic sling setup as I did. They two guys with the BFG slings seemed to me to be constantly adjusting them to tighten and loosen them depending on what we were doing. I understand thats how it's designed, but it seemed a lot of effort to me. Mine stayed adjusted exactly where I put it all day long. It didn't swing around, it didn't catch, it just did what I needed which is the important part. As long as you are happy with your gear, and it does what you need it to do then use it.
Just thought I would throw this out there. I used Georgia Arms 'canned heat' and out of over 500 rounds expended not one issue.
Overall it was a fun and educational day. I started out a bit rusty and stiff but as the day wore on I warmed up and got smoother and a bit more accurate. I learned a lot, and came away with a few new skills. Now I just need to remember to Practice them.I did get a bit of a sunburn so I would suggest sunscreen, but I really should have thought of that anyways...