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Thread: AAR-Larry Vickers/ATS Tactical - Pistol & Carbine - Nov 14 - 16 Altha, FL

  1. #1
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    AAR-Larry Vickers/ATS Tactical - Pistol & Carbine - Nov 14 - 16 Altha, FL

    "I am not here to give you what you want, I am here to give you what you need."

    Larry stated this to the small class before the first hour of the training was complete.
    The class was very small. At the outset, there were seven students in all. Most, admittedly, had very little experience with either the pistol or the carbine. For many it was the first formal training they had received. Larry took this in stride and quickly tailored the class to fit the needs of his student base. Although I had trained with Larry twice before and had a little experience with training of this type, I was VERY aware that I needed a trip back "the basics" as much as anyone.

    We started day one off with a quick safety brief and went into the subject of Trigger Control. This is the single most important aspect of shooting in his opinion. I don't think any one will argue.
    On the range, we began with dry fire drills with the pistol. This consisted of a partner assisted exercise where your buddy places a spent cartridge case on top of your front sight. The shooter, taking a good sight picture, must squeeze the trigger as not to allow the case to fall off the sight. We continued with 3 different types of ball and dummy drills.
    After attempting to extract the "El Snatcho" virus from our system, we proceeded to the trigger reset drill, which is also buddy assisted, and then then to multiple shots. We conducted this drill from different distances which culminated in a sort of "walk back" drill on the bulls eye targets.
    After a grouping drill, it was off the dreaded "don't walk back" drill. This is a Larry favorite where the shooters, following Larry's lead, engage a B/C zone steel target. They back up until one shooter is left. For myself, I was able to make it back back further then I had ever made it in previous classes. I'd make it even further the next day. (then, of course, I'd petered out...)

    The morning of TD2 was a condensed version of EVERYTHING we covered on day one. We did all drills over again. There was a marked and obvious improvement noted for all. In the afternoon, we started on the carbine. Larry is a big believer that since the carbine is not an MP5, a more aggressive blade, or fighters stance should be used. He demonstrated this. Some had to fight through this. It was followed by presentation drills and multiple shots at different distances.
    We culminated the carbine portion of day 2 with a 4 position aggregate. (I had a different name for this)This was a drill that was taught in his old unit. It was based on the desire to be able to get head shots with the carbine from 100 yards in. Even though we only had about 90yds to work with, we learned that it is VERY possible to hit the 5.5 inch bull at that distance. It becomes easier when you begin to move closer. (funny how that works). Then, of course, another walk back, but this time with long guns.
    That night, we had a low light shoot primer. We used a slightly different "point shooting" shooting TTP with our sights taped if equipped with tritium. This was also conducted on bulls eye centers. Using Larry's technique, it was very easy to maintain good hits. We also shot with our night sights and white lights utilizing his "flash bulb" technique. After yet another walk back drill, this time using white light, we called it a evening.

    TD3 began with an even more condensed review of what had been cover. He added turns to the mix with both rifle and pistol. We covered malfunctions (Larry's take on this is a little different the others)transitions and shooting on the move. Added to this, we shot on the move using traffic cones and moved in figure 8's both forward, backward and laterally with both pistol and carbine. After a last walk back drill, this time a "transition" walk back, we were misson complete.
    Random points of interest;
    o Larry likes the 5.5inch bull centers put over a E-type target. You still have the "human" form to aim at when you make your presentations, but the aim small miss small technique is in full effect.
    o You will not "get your blaze on" during his class. You will not do anything you might think is "high speed". "High speed" is executing the basics very well, every time. As Larry puts it "if you can't put every round in your mag into the bull at 10 yards, you shouldn't be concerned with shooting under a car yet."
    o This was noted by LFer Doc Wes; "Larry is like broccoli." He provides a lot of needed goodness to help you get better. This is great for your personal development. He may not be pleasant, or at some times, not even fun. But in the end, you will be more than happy that you included him in your training diet. Like your vegetables, a good dose of Larry is mandatory.
    o Larry's James Brown imitation is a must see!

    Thanks Larry!! By all rights he could and should have canceled the class due to the size. Instead, he drove over 9 hours, for a class that was smaller the half of the "bare minimum" just so we could get our recommended daily allowance of what we ABSOLUTELY NEEDED. Gee, I guess he isn't an "arrogant elitist" like stated on another fly by night forum. beer

    Pics to follow.
    Last edited by Matt Edwards; 11-17-08 at 10:42.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2007
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    Thumbs up AAR-Larry Vickers/ATS Tactical - Pistol & Carbine - Nov 14 - 16 Altha, FL

    Hello Gentlemen,

    I just got back late last night and my first LAV course. My back ground: I'm a retired army officer (11B,15C/35D) and airline pilot. Earlier in my life, I was a precision rifle guy (Match grade .22's and M1A1's) and not too bad as a pistol shooter. This is my hobby so...

    Logistics: Camp Ares:. It is a nice training facility that looks like a camp ground with 4 man cabins, Class room/building, and a Team Room where we BS'd, ate, watched TV and talked shop. It would be considered a little spartan for folks that are used to staying in 4 star hotels, but very functional. (The locals think it's a CIA training facility. I was pulled over by the local cop around 2AM because I had stopped on the road, checking my GARMIN and Looking up the Address for the place, and when I said I was misoriented, and attending training at ATS, his eyes got kinda big and said "Hey sir, NO PROBLEM SIR, ATS is right up the road around the curve. NO problem sir. Everything is cool, staying well back to my 7:00 position. Have a good night sir!)

    ATS Personnel: Brian Payne (ATS Facility Manager/Training Coord) did an excellent job getting us what we needed, providing excellent chow and really cool/nice guy. His humor was on par with the rest of us former army types there. Matt Edwards (Training Director with ATS and former army guy) was in the class. Hell of a nice guy, very knowledgeable and excellent shot.

    Attendees: There were 6 of us (1 no-show). 2 young inexperienced guys from New England, Matt E., Doc A (Wes)(Mil), Doc B (Sol)(Civ) and myself. Glad we had 2 MD's in the class. This was the smallest class I have been in for any training I've attended. We were all glad that the class was so small so we could reap the benefits (and LAV's Rath) and very fortunate that Larry didn't out right cancel it. No tool bags were in attendance.


    LAV: Colt 6920 (using M855) and some custom .45 (not his build).

    Matt E. : Colt 6920 (using PMC) and G19

    DOC A: Noveske N4 (M855/PMC) and G19

    DOC B: DPMS (Wolf Black Box 55gr HP/Brown Bear (Laquered) 62gr FMJ) G19 and HK P30

    NE guy (That Guy)(Matt): DPMS (Wolf BB of some type)and I think a Kimber warrior commander.

    Other NE guy: 6.8 and HK USP 40 (using Wolf)

    Myself: Colt 6920 (Wolf Black Box 62gr FMJ), M&P40 (Winchester ammo)

    FYI, After Larry's Lube session, there were NO malfunctions due to the ammo being used.

    TD1 (Pistol):
    We spent most of the morning doing Case Drills, Ball and Dummy and Wall drills. When we did fire with ball & dummy, you could really tell where yourself and others were jerking and snatching the trigger. The other half of the day was spent performing shooting from the ready position with critique from your partner and LAV. We did a couple of "Walk Back" drills, of which LAV won of course, but a great confidence builder. Matt (NE guy/That Guy) had a AD/ND right behind me as we were getting on line. I thought "F--K!" as I assessed whether I was shot or not. Larry kept his cool, but the kid was having all kinds of trigger finger, and handling issues, while changing mags all day, which prompted me to take a step back. He had several malfunctions due to limp wristing and accuracy issues. The "Man GUN" as Matt E. likes to say, was too much gun for him. Larry, pulled him off line and worked with him. I think that since both guys on Team New England only had 100 rounds though there rifles and a couple of boxes through there pistols, Larry, being very gracious and magnanimous, decided to work with him, let him stay. Which caused me to keep him in my peripheral vision all day since I was right next to him. We continued to shoot at various distances. We couldn't progress to shooting on the move because of "That Guy" needing all of the attention. Later that night, while eating dinner, I told the guy "No ND's tomorrow OK?"

    Overall, I felt TD1 was worth the price of tuition. I thought I had pretty good pistol skills, but LAV's in depth knowledge and attention to detail, increased all of our pistol skills dramatically.

    TD2:Pistol and Carbine Condensed version of TD1 in the morning and Carbine zero (RDS and Irons) at various distances in the afternoon. I was helping "That guy" on rifle marksmanship, explaining BRASS and various shooting/breathing techniques. "That Guy's" friend broke his extractor on his DPMS 6.8, but during the carbine walk back drill, you could easily tell that weapon had quite a bit on power over the 5.56 shooting steel. We just got back from checking the targets and those still needing to fine tune their zero got into position, when BANG...another AD/ND from "That guy" in the prone position, shooting the dirt 2 feet in front of him. Matt E. and I look at each other. (I was behind the line this time since I was done) and yells "What just happened? Brian witnessed it and pointed at the divit in front of "That guy". I saw him adjusting his firing position and when the rifle fired, I saw his finger on the trigger. Larry sent us down to check and hang new targets while Matt E., Brian and LAV hung back. As we walked down, I told the guy, they are discussing your fate. I said "Dude, I think your going home. You have to learn to keep your finger off the trigger and the weapon on safe until you're ready to fire." He was feeling pretty crappy at that point. LAV tossed the guy but Brian decided to take him on another range on the other side of the compound to work with him to at least give the kid some training value. I thought that was a very gracious and kind act on Brian's part. We could now get into shooting on the move and practice other skills that we could not do with "That Guy" being on line.

    That evening, we went back out to do night firing. While out there, "That Guy's" friend, came out and thanked LAV and the rest of us for the shooting experience, but he said he would have felt really bad if he progressed through training and his friend didn't. They both left that night. LAV then introduced us to point shooting and his "Flash Bulb" Technique. Larry asked me to T&E his .45 and I said "Sure Larry, no problem" (Reality check, since my M&P didn't have Night Sites yet, Larry graciously loaned me his weapon). Afterwards, Doc A suggested a night "Walk Back drill" using our own flash lights. It was a great impromptu training idea. The shooting was not as effective as the day drills, but it was effective, depending on what light you had and your shooting skills, out to 25 yards for some, on a black steel target .

    Over all, excellent instruction given and training conducted.

    TD3 Pistol and Carbine: . Transition drills, movement/patrol drills, figure 8 (forward and back, lateral move & shoot) with both weapons while weaving between the orange traffic cones. Also one carbine walk back and Doc A suggesting a "Transition" walk back. Another excellent idea. (I won both by the way. ) Oh and no AD/ND's today. It was an excellent culmination of the previous training days.

    Larry Vickers: I'm sure I'm speaking to the choir, and Not to crank too hard on the man's wang, but he is a tremendous wealth of information. Very laid back, a passionate trainer, subject matter expert on shooting, period. His "Matter of Fact" manner and approachability, was truly refreshing in this PC world. There was 3 of us who were former army (LAV, Matt E. myself and one active duty guy "Doc A" in attendance and I felt truly at ease. Great banter between us and the others in the class. I did give the great "Wizard" some shit while briefing us, like, "But Larry, so and so says this about that", just to hear him go off on a tirade. The man is hysterical! LAV: "I'm Arrogant & Elitist, but I can f--kin shoot!" Definitely T- shirt worthy. I laughed my ass off on numerous occasion while trying to convince him to put on a class in Central Florida. Doc A, called Larry another T-Shirt worthy name, "The Tactical Broccoli", being a food no one likes but good for you. "Larry doesn't give you what you want, he gives you get what you need". Doc A just finished another carbine course and said they did a lot of shooting but didn't learn a lot. He felt he learned more in this course on TD1 than he did his entire 3 days at the other trainers high volume shooting course. This was a awesome training experience and look forward to taking more of his classes.

    FYI, I will try to update this thread with pics this evening.


    LAV instructing Doc B (Sol) performing Case Drill

    Team New England performing Case Drill

    Me performing Ball and Dummy Drill

    Performing Carbine Malfunction Drills

    Performing Malfunction Drills again

    Transition Drills

    Figure 8 Shooting drill. You weave between the cones. While in the weave you fire 4 rounds moving forward, then backwards.

    Me performing the Lateral Fig 8 drill

    Doc A shooting the Carbine Walk Back Drill. Matt in the back ground.

    Matt shooting the walk back drill.

    LAV shooting the Walk Back

    Me shooting the Walk Back

    Me zeroing the Iron Sights

    Last edited by RogerinTPA; 11-18-08 at 11:50. Reason: Add photos
    For God and the soldier we adore, In time of danger, not before! The danger passed, and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted." - Rudyard Kipling

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Great AARs guys. Since you both started a thread I went ahead and merged them into one.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2006
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    Wow....two ND's.....


    On the bright side,

    Doc A just finished another carbine course and said they did a lot of shooting but didn't learn a lot. He felt he learned more in this course on TD1 than he did his entire 3 days at the other trainers high volume shooting course.
    ...is a common sentiment among Vickers alumni.
    Last edited by John_Wayne777; 11-17-08 at 11:34.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2006
    Eastern PA
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    Good AAR guys. Nice to see you pop up on the radar Matt! Hope things are well.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2006
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    Great AAR.

    Too bad about the NE crew, but it seems like it was handled well.

    Hopefully, the guy can get his stuff together and attend another class once he's up to speed a little more.

    We keep saying that LAV needs a stand up routine.....it's well worth the price of admission.
    Employee of colonialshooting.com

  7. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    Thanks, for sharing. Very good AAR!
    What can one man do? You never know until you try.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2008
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    "Doc A" here. I registered to comment so the statement from rharris2163 is not miscontrued and does not negatively impact any other instructor that I have trained with. I am reserve status currently (not active) and consider myself a very new shooter. I have trained with several groups over the last number of years, but lately have been limited to annual qualifications and do not consider myself proficient. In attempting to learn the "puzzle" of firearms training, I have picked up different pieces from each of those past instructors. Where Larry has been different from other instructors and most beneficial for me, is he was able to diagnose specific problems that I have, and teach me to correct those problems with certain drills. This meaning trigger control issues which is the demon that most of us as shooters face. This was by far the lowest round count course that I have attended, and it was well worth the cost. I was able to walk away knowing what I have been messing up AND how to correct it. My mistakes had been compounded by bad habits, that have multiplied with each uncorrected round that went downrange. I now have the knowledge to change that poor pattern and use the pieces of the puzzle that my previous instructors have also taught me so that I may become a more precise and proficient shooter.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2008
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    sorry to hear about the ND's.

    long way to travel just to turn around and head back to colder climes.
    Doing my part to keep malls safe

  10. #10
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    Jul 2008
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    What no pictures?

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