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.