Vickers Tactical 2 Day Carbine. Dec. 19-20, 2011 Louisville KY
Location: Knob Creek Gun range.
Range conditions: Muddy as F*#K
Class Size: 18 Students +2 AIs.
I have done a number of VSM classes, many of them with the shooters at this class. However this is the first time that we had actually had a class with LAV as the instructor.
I would say it was like trying to drink from a fire hose. But that doesn’t quite go far enough.
We started off the first day making sure everyone had a good Zero at 50 yards. Larry also discussed the benefits (or lack thereof) of various Zeroing ranges.
Thankfully after we had all zeroed our guns we moved to an area that less resemble a swamp without trees. Once settled in we started with some basic drills. First with single shots then moving onto longer strings of shots at ranges from 5 yards back to 25. Unlike a lot of the classes I have been too LAV didn’t’ spend a lot of time going over holdover and other basics. If it had been needed I have no doubt he would have but most of the shooters were pretty squared away with these basics.
Most of the morning of the first day was spent doing similar drills to make sure everyone was squared away. Overall the morning went pretty smoothly although I had ongoing problems with my gun that eventually led to me switching out to my 14.5” Noveske.
After lunch we moved on to transitions. And there is where it all went wrong. A lot of us kind of fell apart during transitions. A number of us would nail the Rifle shot but then throw the 1st and 2nd pistol shot. Thankfully none of us threw them too badly but we had to really bear down and get it together.
The rest of day one was comprised of various similar drills focused on the fundamentals of shooting carbine. I felt that the drills themselves were almost secondary to the information LAV presented along with them. His knowledge and experience really are second to none.
At the start of the day we had broken down into 3 teams. After every drill, each team would run through it on the clock. This added another angle to the skills and no small bit of pressure. If you are just doing a drill on your own it is easy to convince yourself that you can move slower than you should or that a minor mistake is ok. But when your entire team is relying on you to not only do it right but do it fast it ratchets it up a notch or three.
I felt this was a very important aspect of the class and really added to the experience.
The second day started off with a quick review of what we did the day before. This gave everyone a chance to warm up which given the fact it had gotten colder I think a number of us needed it in more ways than one.
This day had a number of more advanced skills. Shoulder switching being the one I hate the most. I still haven’t mastered being able to shoot with my weak hand eye without squinting my strong side eye.
The afternoon was mainly shooting on the move. Some of us did better than others. One friend of mine can do this better than he shoots on a flat range. But I had issues with it. It seems to be the way I walk. I really need to work on keeping my feet strait when I am moving. By not doing that I have way to much bounce in my movement and throw shots all over the place.
We finished up with malfunction clearance drills. Normally these are done earlier but we were worried about the weather and it turned out this was a good thing. Near the end of the day we started getting rain showers. Nothing to big but enough to screw with us.
I could go into a lot more detail on the drills but I feel they are secondary in importance to the way the information is presented. I have heard stories about Larry. Enough to be intimidated before the class. But his way of presenting the information and passing it on to his students is amazing. I am sure it helped that every shooter in the class was pretty well put together. We have all trained together before and some of us have as many as 10+ VSM classes under our belt.
I feel that this was the perfect way to end a year of training. Next year I hope to start taking more advanced classes. In some ways this was almost like a graduation. After speaking with some of the other attendees that I have trained with a lot I think they feel the same way about themselves.
Hopefully the other students will add some of the details I have missed. I will also get some photos up soon.