Urban Tactical Rifle
July 17-18, 2010
Trigger Time- Carthage, NC
This was my 5th course with Bennie over the last 3 years and I continue to learn and get better.
This class was a bit unusual in that all the shooters came with solid skill sets and great attitudes. Background for the students ran the gamut of PMC, Millitary, LE and Civilians. Half the guys were local to North Carolina and the rest came from as far away as Hawaii and Seattle to attend the class.
Due to some last minute range changes the first day involved a bit of adaptation. Trigger Time was able to bring out enough steel targets for the class and Sgt Chris P. of the Holly Springs PD was able to get his personal VTAC barricades out for Day 2.
We started with confirming zeros and Bennie emphasized to the class how important is to start your training sessions with this since it’s an opportunity to check your equipment (mounts, rails, optics) before you start shooting. Otherwise you can psyche yourself out by trying to figure out why you’re not hitting when it could be something as simple as your zero being off. I experienced this first hand halfway through TD1; my gas piston upper died (more on this later) so I swapped carbines and I also switched ammo so I was shooting consistently high over the target. I didn’t think it would have that much effect since we were shooting A/C Zone steel targets but I started second guessing myself, the optic (Eotech) and the gun/ammo. I was able to shoot a lot better on TD2 once I figured out my hold on the target.
Bennie runs a lot of drills requiring the shooter to fire one round and then switch positions and fire another round. Lots of transitions between right and left shoulders, lots of repetitions involving elevation changes, e.g., support side standing to right side kneeling to support side kneeling to strong side standing. He does this because to shoot a target a second time once your sights are already on target, safety is off and finger is on the trigger is too easy. He’s already seen the shooters hit steel at 80 yds with no pressure so the area for improvement is not to shoot faster but to get to the shot faster by being efficient with movement and fluid with acquiring sight picture, working the safety and prepping the trigger.
That took up most of TD1 along with carbine disarmament techniques; the key is to know that it can be done to you and Bennie would later cover ways to defeat disarm attempts. Some man vs. man and team vs. team competition drills were also introduced since the way to test how ingrained your skills are is to put the shooters under some pressure to see what you revert to.
TD2 allowed us to work the barricades and Bennie demonstrated how to make the most use of the barricade for support and how to manipulate the weapon to transition from position to position.
He’s not a fan of SBR’s because he doesn’t think the tradeoff in ballistics is worth it to have a shorter gun, his preference is to have barrels 14.5” or longer and to spend more time training to negate the perceived advantages of having a shorter barrel in close quarters.
Mixed in between the shooting there were lectures on malfunctions, equipment selection and mindset. The overhead cover was much appreciated especially when the rain started pouring down. Grey Group usually had 2 folks on site to attend to any needs as well as bringing out a couple of coolers.
TD2 had us shooting multiple targets, shooting on the move forward and laterally and working the Buttstock Shoulder Roll. We finished the class with a man vs. man drill on the barricades with the last man standing getting a $100 coupon from Tango Down/Grey Group.
Many shooters had either the JP/VTAC forend or the newer Troy/VTAC forend with most of the guns being built for tactical purposes rather than for competition. Optics were generally newer Aimpoint Micros or Eotechs. One shooter did use about 5 different SBR uppers in 2 days…
A couple of Georgia cops were in class to learn as much about the AR as possible since their dept. is making the switch from Sig 552 Commandos in the near future. No issues other than the C-Products mags they had caused them numerous problems over 2 days.
Another shooter had his receiver extension shoot loose, John (18B) from Grey Group got him squared away and he was able to continue training.
There were at least 2 piston uppers in class (not sure if the guy with 5 had any that were piston) one from Osprey that worked fine and mine which had the carrier key screws shear. It manifested itself as a Type I so executed an IA and got another click. Ended up taking the upper apart and having a bunch of pieces fall out I emailed the manufacturer yesterday and am waiting to hear back.
Round count for both days was about 900 rounds and no pistol.
Thanks to all the hard work from Bennie, Grey Group (Paul, John, Ryan) , Trigger Time and my fellow students. It was great to meet you and hope to shoot with you guys again.
Thanks to Tango Down for providing the certificate.