VSM: 1 day basic carbine class.
February 19th 2011
Instructor: Joe Barnsfather
Range: Knob Creek
Total in attendance: 8 + Mr. Barnsfather
Before I get into anything else I must say this. WHAT A DAY FOR A CLASS. After all the other classes where it has been either 5 or 105 Degrees, it was nice to attend a class where the weather was nice.
Alright enough of that.
This class was different from the others I have attended for a couple of reasons. First off the class size was much smaller. Instead of 12-13 people we only had 8. It allowed for a different dynamic and a more personalized feel.
Most of the people attending were professionals. Of the 8 in attendance i believe 4 were local police and 2 were military. I was very interested to see what impact their previous training would have on the class and how they learned. But I will get to that later.
Gear was also very interesting to me. I am used to seeing some pretty tricked out carbines in these classes. This class however had a number of very basic carbines. I think only about half of us had RDS optics of any type. And weapons were a mix ranging from Noveske all the way down to Doublestar.
This was not a high round count class so no weapon really got strained. There was only 1 (unplanned) malfunction and it was while we were zeoring. One gentleman was using some suspect reloads and the weapon locked up tight. It was a great chance for us all to see how to mortar an AR.
In the morning we started off with the normal safety briefing. Which consisted of the basic rules and a good dose of common sense. We would be working with hot guns the entire day and pointing them at someone else with our finger on the bang switch would be bad. Simple enough!
We moved to sighting in our weapons at this point. We went prone at 50 yards and used 10 shot groups (not 3 shot zumbo groups) get out Zero. This was when things started to go sideways for me! I used this weapons a month ago at the last class. It was Zeroes perfectly. Nothing has chanced. It hasn't been moved, it hasn't been bumped, It has just ridden around in my car with me. However I was about 3 inches low and 1 inch left.
Honestly I am still at a loss as to why I was so far off. Opinions?
After everyone was Zeroed, we moved on to weapon manipulations. Even with a more experienced class roster, Mr Barsfather went over the basics. I think we all appreciate how thorough he is in covering these topics. Everyone, no matter how skilled can always use a refresher.
Our first real shooting was slow and to the point. Single shots, followed by very short strings. A lot of emphasis was put on the following:
- Proper weapon manipulation
- Scanning out our zone after firing
I will be honest I have trouble with remembering to do a search and assess after every engagement. This is BAD. I know it is. And I am sure it is one reason we do this exact drill.
I won't cover every step but from here we moved on to add more steps. Reloads, etc. And it is amazing how adding even a minor step to the process can make you forget other things. A few of us had issues with accuracy or remember to scan out our area when another step was thrown in. As the day progressed we all did much better but started out a little rough.
As always my favorite drills were malfunction clearance and Battlefield pickup.
Malfunction clearance drills always make me feel like I should at least be buying my rifle dinner before we start. I somehow always manage to screw mine up worse than everyone else. Misfeeds are no a huge deal but there is nothing worse than that sound the gun makes when you send the bolt home with two rounds in there during a double-feed drill.
As someone who shall remain unnamed said. It is like a bad porn when you see that!
A couple of the guys with military experience seemed to want to fall back on the S.P.O.R.T.S. drill. However the way we were taught is faster and seems much more efficient and they quickly were able to transition over.
We did a number of other drills including the ever popular 1-5 drill and my personal favorite, The Test.
The class as a whole performed well I thought. None of us were perfect shooters. But none of us expected to be.
I would even go as far as to say that to 99% of the people out there, every person in attendance to this class was an excellent shooter. But we are not there to be an excellent shooter to 99% of the people out there. We are there to be an excellent shooter by OUR standards. And our standards are a lot higher than what everyone else would expect from us.
As always it was an honor and a privilege to learn from Mr. Barnsfather. He is a man of character and an amazing shooter that we should all aim to emulate. Mr. Vickers choose very well in selecting him as an instructor.
After the class he spoke to me and told me he felt my shooting was really improving but that I still had a long way to go. He expects me to shoot some good clean targets from here on out. I took it as a compliment of the highest order and a challenge I intend to meet.
Photos to come soon guys!