AAR The Defensive Carbine and Movement, 10-32 Solutions/Milwaukee COPS 10/27/13; RCLRC

AAR 10-32 Solutions/Milwaukee COPS The Defensive Carbine and Movement 10/27/13; RCLRC

10-32 Solutions and Milwaukee COPS again combined efforts for this class. TDCM started life as addressing training needs for a group, and then was opened up to test the waters to see if it would be a viable future option. Class goals were to refresh and fine tune some carbine skills that are beyond the level of a basic class, and work with a module of instruction of beginning and basic skills required to work together with a 2-man team in a fighting situation. With only a day to work with, we knew that class content on movement was going to be a starting point for students.

Weather was cool in the lower 40’s to start with a high in the low 50’s. We didn’t have the wind from the previous day and the sun poked out more. We were dry, which is what was important next to Lake Michigan. Sixteen shooters trusted us with their time and funds, and experience levels ranged from very experienced professionals who’s primary assignment is to go through doors to that of Citizens just starting the road to learning how to use their carbine. We had a very eclectic assortment of weapons. We had again three different piston AR platforms, an Israeli Tavor bullpup, a Sig 556 Classic, a Romanian 7.62×39 AK platform, and a mixture of DI AR’s by BCm, Spike’s, and others. I saw a lot of various Aimpoint optics, with the most common being the PRO. There were also a lot of Eotech’s on location, with one 512/552 and the rest various CR123 battery models. From experience, I am used to EoTech’s failing at some point, so I generally do not have a positive opinion of them. With that said, we saw minimal issues over the two days any were present, and anything that was an issue was operator error versus the fault of the optic.

One student was having issues with Troy magazines intermittently failing to lock in his Superior Arms kit lower. I say intermittent because he wasn’t sure if the same magazine was causing the problem or not. He took it out of service for now, but it helps to number magazines so that way you can see that if you are always having your malfunctions with, say, mag #4, you can remove it from service quicker. The lower was also a kit built, so there could be variables with that as well, but I will pay attention to see if I hear of any other issues with those mags.

The goal of any carbine operations course is to increase the students competency, proficiency, and efficiency in the use of that weapon for whatever purpose they have. One of those points of knowledge that students learn is to turn the brightness of their optic down as low as possible so they can still see it for increased accuracy during zeroing purposes. Then there is the make ready process. There is a set checklist procedure to follow to ready oneself for a reason, and to ensure nothing is forgotten. One student learned that he needs to increase the brightness on the optic to make sure he can actually acquire it in a sufficient manner to engage threats. This could have been avoided not only by some of the increased awareness you build as you progress in training, but also during the make ready procedure.

Most modern handguns have at minimum three different internal safeties that prevent them from firing unless the trigger is pulled. The use of striker-fired pistol like Glocks where people think that just their trigger finger is enough to be safe I think creates a false mindset of whats needed for a safe weapon. While handguns have multiple internal safeties, long guns like the AK, AR, 12 gauge pump shotgun, all of them only have a sear holding back spring pressure on the hammer. The safeties need to be manipulated, and US Military and LE training has reflected the movement away from relying only on a trigger finger as a safety for just causes. One such possibility is the grasping reflex one makes when falling and holding the grip of a weapon. It can be difficult for many to keep the trigger finger outside and off the trigger in that event. Designs have become more and more ergonomic, and options exist with how to do this. One student had extremely short fingers and was unable to take the safety off his Sig 556 without shifting the entire weapon, much like the old MP5 days. He was shown a technique to use his index finger to disengage the safety and make it work for him. If he can make it work, I think anyone should be able to.

Another point I wish to re-emphasize is the use of the safety prior to movement. Kevin and I saw that with a few of the students they would experience the tunnel vision of a little stress and forget to put the safety back on when the threat was over or they were going to move. This can be corrected with additional time and repetitions, and we did see improvement in those having difficulty with that mindset, but it still needs work and I think for a two day class there will be some additional time spent on this. To re-emphasize, the safety comes OFF when a threat requiring deadly force is present and you are going to fire. The safety gets switched back ON when you have come to low ready, and are satisfied the threat no longer exists in from of you. It also goes ON PRIOR to any movement.

We didn’t do any pistol work on Day 1 of the Basic class because we really wanted students to just focus on the carbine. As the material for Day 2’s TDCM class was more advanced, we felt students needed to have transitions to handguns included in the material. Handguns, like the carbines, were across the board. M&P’s, Glock, a DA/SA Beretta Cougar, and a DA/SA FN were represented. As pistol use was just limited to the transitions, there was very little to report with them. However, the ability to have a sidearm to transition to became an issue during scenarios that some students got to experience.

Many of the students had excellent accuracy with both the cardboard IPSC and the 3D Reactive targets. Several students were told to speed up their drills in an effort to push them more. If we had more time with them, this is an area we definitely would have done some more work with as well as done some more trigger manipulation drills. This and shooting on the move is also where the rimfires can come in very handy for additional training.

Speaking of shooting on the move, Kevin and I had incorporated shooting while moving drills into the outline, as well as some drills involving multiple target engagement. There just wasn’t enough time, and it weighs into our desire to make this a two day class.

The afternoon had the partners and movement section. Information presented was based on standard Small Unit Tactics doctrine, experience gained over two decades of LE working generally with partners in structures, and lessons learned between 2-man and 4+-man tactical team operations. Partners are a natural occurring element in our society, and I believe it benefits many of us to develop skills in working with a partner to maintain an advantage in a fight. If we had my property to work with, we could set up lots of courses where partners could practice the movement techniques discussed. On this particular range, we were restricted to the dimensions of the square range. We developed some scenarios to allow the class to go through and watch other teams to encourage dialogue and learning. The scenarios started with basic skills to build communication and a degree of familiarity with each other. Scenarios progressed with learning goals including movement, decision making, and target discrimination skills. We also added complexities in the reactive targets that meant students needed to know their weapons, their point of aim/point of impact, and possibly height over bore. We also wanted students to make sure they understood two to the chest doesn’t necessarily mean a threat is stopped. Following the target to the ground became evident when students saw the targets actually needed to fall to the ground. I tried to make the scenarios as absolutely relevant to Citizen use as possible, although they tended to sometimes have a more rural slant than urban as rural areas are obviously where carbines become easier to justify having close at hand. These scenarios would have worked just as well if we had only focused on handguns.

We were unable to do the final scenario because of increasing winds. We had an active shooter scenario designed in an industrial area with an extended LE response that is common to a lot of Wisconsin’s rural areas. We intended to have some very good situational problems for the students to solve, including what to do after the threat has ended, including a phone call to a simulated dispatcher. Unfortunately, the winds wouldn’t allow the walls we needed for the design to be put up, and the drill wasn’t going to work without the physical creation of an environment. Scenario #3 involving the OMG gang fight in the parking lot with your wife and kids trapped behind a car took way more rounds to solve for many teams than we anticipated. Technical failures with shifting balloons and strings getting hung up in a flap that shouldn’t have been used caused some of the targets to not fall as intended.

I wish to thank LF’rs Polymorpheus, dustyvarmint, and Dan Easterday for acting as go-fers and reset teams. They busted their butts for us as work hours for their club, and did an excellent job with anything we needed from before the crack of dawn and throughout a long day of training.

I enjoyed teaching this course, as I think it has a lot of practical value. We always train on a range with weapons, but rarely add working with someone or any forms of problem solving. I hope to continue to work with Kevin and Milwaukee COPS to develop this further and return again to where Wisconsin has “Bubblers” for more courses.

AAR 10-32 Solutions/ Milwaukee COPS Basic Carbine Operations, RCLRC 10/26/2013

10-32 Solutions/Milwaukee COPS

Basic Carbine Operations 10/26/2013, Racine County Line Rifle Club

Fourteen shooters entrusted us with their funds and time to attend our Basic Defensive Carbine course. We started at 0700 in order to have enough time to complete what we wanted to teach, as we only get the space until 1600. Admin stuff was thus done while it was still dark, and students had to confirm their zeros while staring into the sunrise.

Weather on Lake Michigan, especially in the fall months, can prove to be quite unpredictable. We were quite relieved to have a dry forecast and temps in the 40’s, although we dealt with up to 30 mph winds at times.

Shooters were from a variety of backgrounds, about half were former high-power rifle shooters, and we had one grandfather/grandson combination. Everyone had the same motivation of wanting the new challenge of seeing what they could do with carbine platforms. In the classes I’ve either attended or taught, students largely shot the direct-impingement AR platform, and some classes tended to have a specific manufacturer or two dominate the carbine types. This class is the first one I have ever been involved with where the DI AR/M4 was in the minority. There were 6 DI guns, three blowback Spike’s Rimfire conversions and one Colt brand rimfire, 3 different brand of piston AR’s, and one SCAR. The Pistons were a LWRC that the owner has run for quite a few years, a Sig Sauer 516, and a Huldra upper. Optics and equipment were varied, and we saw optics that ranged from inexpensive red dots to Aimpoints. There are quite a few Aimpoint PRO’s that are showing up, and this is one of the best dot optics you can buy for the money.

One of the challenges with this range is it faces due east. Confirming our zero was done into the sunrise, which meant some had some difficulties with their zero. A common occurrence was groups that were higher than normal, and the former military and high-power guys were reminded of back in the day of the phrase “Lights Up/Sights up”, meaning adjust your sights higher if facing into the light (Let me know if I misstated the phrase.). Everyone was told to confirm and ready their zero prior to class so that we could spend a minimum of time getting people dialed in, but some who had zeroed months ago under different lighting and weather conditions and thought they were zeroed in discovered that they were a lot further off than they thought. Every twenty-degrees of temperature change can lead to a change in your point of impact. Confirming your zero is something I would recommend doing at least quarterly for the citizen using their carbine for defense or practical or action competition.

There were very few malfunctions observed that were set up as part of the class. The LWRC had a Magpul magazine become so wedged in the magwell that it had to be very forcibly extracted. Nothing obvious jumped out as to the cause, but I am attributing it to the possible accumulation of dust between the well used mag and inside the carbine that just reached a point. The Sig 516 needed to be mortared at one point providing a good demonstration of the proper technique, but the cause was from the malfunction drills that we were inducing, and it required a little extra. The only other obvious malfunction was with one of the Spike’s conversions. The nose of the cartridge was catching on the feed ramp after a few hours of shooting. .22 LR’s are notoriously finicky and fickle at times with ammunition. Rather than waste time trying to diagnose the problem, I loaned him my S&W M&P 15/22 to allow him to continue training. To my knowledge, he didn’t have a single malfunction the remainder of the day.

Rimfires are excellent training tools. One of the students commented that for what he would have spent in ammunition, he got a rimfire trainer gun out of the deal. There is a lot to be said for using rimfires for various aspects of carbine training. I am very much an advocate, and have a SWAT article published on the testing I did of the M261 conversion kits. My experiences with those conversions, which I saw the students using the rimfire conversion kits and one other brand of rimfire carbine experience, are what led me to purchase one of the best investments I ever made with the S&W. The other brands and conversions have slight differences in the manual of arms and the manipulations those shooters had to do. They did not have bolt hold opens, or if they did lock back on the follower of the empty magazine, the bolt closed once the magazine was removed. We were unable to perform the double feed drills with those shooters, and double feed manipulations are at least something that can still be worked through to build familiarity with the M&P 1522. The other rimfire carbine was a Colt brand, and I was told it was a 2nd Generation. I saw that the safety is like a standard AR and no longer has to be manipulated 180-degrees to take off safe. However, it still needed an empty magazine to hold the bolt open, as the bolt catch/release was not functional.

The High-power shooters got exposed to some of the different stances and weapon placement that practical and defensive carbine shooting require. While High-power rifle and hunting stances emphasize bladed stances and sometimes positions that use contorted limbs for bone support and sling tension, we teach stances that square up to provide recoil management, movement efficiency, and maximum use of armor. Everyone was a fast learner, and I was surprised as shooters that have shot a certain way for many years sometimes have difficulty adjusting and remembering these ways. It was a good bunch of guys, with good senses of humor, who listened and had open minds. There were no “That Guy’s” attending, and as I mentioned during the introductions these are the sorts of people that I love to teach. I told them that teaching law enforcement can be challenging, because a lot of cops will not come unless they are told to, paid, given what they need, and they still might have attitudes about being there. People like the students in our class wanted to be there, they had a motivation and attention, and it definitely showed in their continued progress during the day and weekend. It was actually a lot of fun to do and to watch the learning occur.

To close, I also want to mention Jacob #5. He was the 15-year old that attended with his grandfather. We continually razzed him by asking what number his target was after he accidently shot on the one next to his during zeroing. As a young man, he listened and did well, and it was great to see someone his age take part and have the maturity and mindset needed to handle carbines safely in this manner. I felt privileged to take part in providing proper foundations in training for one of our youth, and I hope he does well from here on out.