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Thread: Times change, do you?

  1. #1
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    Times change, do you?

    I had a spark after sifting through numerous old posts on a recent topic here. It really dawned on me how fast things can change, either to an individual or as collective/institutional knowledge.

    I forgot that it was only a few years ago that I was using three-point slings, VFGs almost touching the mag-well, 12 HK magazines stuck to my armor, and a white-light mounted at 6 o'clock. All while knowing that I was on top of the whole business. I had gone to some dangerous places and prevailed in bad circumstances. I was a good shooter and trusted instructor. I had learned from some of the best around. But that doesn't change the fact that techniques, items, and skills evolved away from what I was doing/using then.

    Not all things have drastically changed, some of it is pretty subtle, such as my grip on a pistol, or shoulder transitions and how I have my sling set-up. In fact, I would say that most skills have simply been tweaked and honed, not completely revised. Some of the big things are with gear. Things that we thought were great turned out to be mediocre (HK mags) and some things that were under-stated turned into the killer app (Aimpoint Micro).

    Maybe I am just lucky in that I am exposed to a lot of different people, organizations, and nations. Maybe I am just lucky in that I have a job that lets me play with guns and shoot a lot to develop and hone technique and skill. While I think that those are aspects that have enabled the process I would have to say that the single thing that I has most promoted progress is willingness. I am willing to listen to what others have to say, see what they do, and try it.

    One nice thing is that I have a steady supply of students to experiment with little tweaks and watch how they perform, with a database for comparison.

    I have also gained a tremendous amount of information as far as civilian spec AR platfroms (and FALs ) go. I didn't know until about three years ago how very different they are from the guns in our armories. Hell, I can even remember a time I recommended that a buddy get a DPMS because, "ARs are ARs, and parts is parts!" Wow. How much we have learned, how far we have come.

    So how are the rest of you doing? Where have you trained? What have you learned? What have you changed? How has your knowledge changed your gear or your interaction with it? What are your goals and how do you intend on reaching them and setting new goals?
    Jack Leuba
    Director, Military and Government Sales
    Knight's Armament Company
    jleuba@knightarmco.com

  2. #2
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    My training came to me over the last 20 years from the US Army, I enlisted when I was 17 and then went on to serve with the US Navy (assigned to Marine Corps units), I am a medic by training.

    The tactical training that medics undergo has changed drastically, especially in the last 4-5 years.

    My weapons had completely changed from the M16A1 and an ancient 1911, to the M16A2, M9 and the last weapons I was assigned was an M4.

    I am medically retired due to injuries, but my current personal weapons reflect a lifetime of training and I am always learning new things about the platforms and add ons to gain the tactical advantage.

    Im my civilian life I have trained with our State Police, FBI HRT, and local agency special operations teams.

  3. #3
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    What have you learned?
    There really isn't enough space to detail all of it. I'll break it up into three basic sets of knowledge:

    - Gear

    I've never considered myself a guy who was really knowledgeable about gear. Hanging out here has pretty much proven that I'm not a gear guy. I marvel at the level of knowledge some of the guys around here have about weapons and gear. I can barely tell AK clones apart, but there are guys here (Like Templar and TheKatar) who can tell you what riveter was working in the factory when they were produced. It's unreal. So there I've learned the depth of my ignorance and who I can get a straight answer from. That's come from reading the threads here and from spending time around some of the people behind the screen names.

    - Skills

    After one class with Vickers I realized that my skillset was nowhere near what I thought it was. I basically had to throw out everything I thought I knew and I had to start again from scratch. After several courses and a lot of practice I'm just now beginning to think that I've got a grasp on the basics.

    - Mindset

    In the last couple of years I've had the opportunity to spend time listening to people like Larry and Ken Hackathorn in courses where they share their considerable wisdom and experience. My thinking on a number of matters has either changed considerably or been refined significantly by digesting what they had to say. That's part of the reason I write out those absurdly long AAR's, mainly as a means to document what I extracted from the experience. Dave Pennington's Concealed Carry class was also beneficial in helping me figure some things out.

    The discussions here have been useful as well. I can't accurately count how many times I've looked through a discussion on this site and thought "Gee...I never looked at it that way before." The input from our SME's and IP's here is of inestimable value to those smart enough to pay attention to it.

    What have you changed?
    My carry guns, my carry gear, the way I practice, the way I think, you name it.

    What are your goals and how do you intend on reaching them and setting new goals?
    My main goal is improvement. In my mind I have a lot of room for improvement in my proficiency with a firearm, especially when it comes to handguns. I want to be faster, smoother, and more accurate. To that end I'm pursuing further training opportunities. In August I'm (hopefully) going to be training with Todd. I'm looking to train more with LAV and Ken Hackathorn. Sooner or later I'm going to find my way into a course with Travis and Chris.

    I'd also like to work on my driving and DT skillsets.

  4. #4
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    I have learned the difference between stupidity and ignorance, in this realm. I used to be stupid, and now am just ignorant. I now know what I do not know, and have yet to learn. Previously, I was one of the window-lickers that thought they had it all down, since I was a former grunt.

    Tactics, techniques and equipment have advanced greatly from the muskets and pikes we used to carry when I was on active duty.

    I have learned to keep my cakehole closed, and to STFU and take copious notes when someone takes the time and effort to teach me something. And I try and tear it apart a dozen different ways, to see how I can best use it. And then I sincerely thank them for their time and efforts.

    I chose my screen name for a reason. I want to be a serious student of what will hopefully never again be a life-saving skill.

    My best regards to all those that I have learned from. This place is a storehouse of riches.

  5. #5
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    To echo F2S, I have learned the value of willingness. It is sometimes hard for me to overcome my stereotypes, but I am finally overcoming that. After a long hatred of glocks, the accolades given to them on this forum were enough for me to try one out. I recently replaced my 1911 for a G19, and I have found that I shoot it better and I can carry it concealed much more easily. I have upgraded from inferior gear, from my ARs to the slings that carry them. It's too bad some of my unit's SOPs have also changed contradictory to what I feel is best, but I just have to adapt and overcome this. I guess, I have taken a more "no compromise" attitude towards gear, TTPs, training and learning. Willingness and not compromising are now interdependent ideas, as I continually seek to find the best solution for a given situation.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by subzero View Post
    I've learned I don't want a job in the gun industry.
    you said a mouthful there!

    If I won the lottery tomorrow I'd still open a gun shop, but only because my mortgage and car payments wouldn't be reliant on same. Peeling back the curtain just the tiniest bit, and seeing what I've seen since I started writing, shows me that I would never want my family's well being to be dependent on that industry. Even the writing is something that I'm happy to get paid for, but wouldn't want to (and frankly couldn't) live off of.

    I know I'd be happiest in the gun business, but only if I didn't have to rely on it to eat.

  7. #7
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    I learn new things about the guns, gear and shooting everyday.

    With an open mind I look at how I'm doing things. I look at newer way to do things and try the newer things and if they work continue to use them.

    I'm constantly looking at efficiency of motion looking to see where time is being wasted. Trying to figure out if I should change how my guns and gear are set up. This is a never ending evolution.

    I've trained under Greg Wodack, Phil Strader, SDI (Travis Haley), BlackwaterUSA, Vickers Tactical and Magpul Dynamics.

    I consider myself a never ending student.
    Last edited by Robb Jensen; 06-29-09 at 08:58.
    Chief Armorer for Elite Shooting Sports in Manassas VA
    Chief Armorer for Corp Arms (FFL 07-08/SOT 02)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s View Post

    Finally, even though I am still training with it and mucking around with it, I've come to the conclusion that carbine is a waste of time for 99% of us. It's enjoyable because it's flashy and easy (or at least easier) and there's more to do in terms of bolt-ons and support gear, but the carbine is not my primary. For virtually everyone outside the military they should be focusing on the handgun, and their carry handgun at that. Practicing with a 5" 1911 and carrying a S&W snubbie isn't much better than wasting a lot of time with the carbine. This isn't to say that the carbine is totally useless, or that one shouldn't train with it, but I see a trend where people spend 90% of their training time and dollars on carbine ant 10% on handgun, when IMHO that ratio should be inverted.
    I definitely agree with you here. At the beginning of this year, I thought it would great to get proficient with different firearms ... AK, AR, 1911, other Semi pistols, long range precision, etc etc. I got more to reading here on M4C and decided that I would never reach my goals trying to master so many different types of weapons, plus how costly it would be to get training on so many different platforms. What really pushed me over the edge was realizing all the different training elements available through different instructors. I've then dwindled my 15+ firearms to only 6.

    16in AR
    10.5in AR
    Glock 17
    Glock 19
    Kimber TLE/RL II
    AI AE .308

    I only carry the Glock 19 for CCW. I have the Glock 17 because the Police departments I applied to carry the Glock 17. I plan to use the G17 for competition. After reading this thread, I've decided to push myself to take ToddG's course here in VA this upcoming August if there is still room. This will be my very first class and I'm very excited. Like Rob has said, I plan to take 1 carbine class to every 2-3 pistol classes since I'm more to use the pistol versus carbine.

  9. #9
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    I've learned that "advanced" is just a mastery of the basics.

    I've learned that all instructors/schools are not equal.

    I've learned that I don't really need a huge carbine skill set.

    I've learned I need to focus on my CCW handgun, and 100 rounds of really good practice is priceless compared to aimlessly blasting with a carbine.

    I've learned that if I shoot the civilian target to just call them collaborators.

    M_P

  10. #10
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    In a very general sense, I have learned how much I don't know. The more training I acquire, the more it seems I want/need to know. This has also highlighted the importance of having someone outside of myself (the instructor) watching what I do. I always seem to progress more quickly under the watchful eye of a skilled instructor than I ever can running my own drills.

    I am also learning to lean more on what I do know as a BS filter. Now when I am training and I hear some new info or technique, it is easier to pass it through the filter of what I know to work. It makes it much easier to separate the peppercorns from the rabbit turds.

    Some more specific item would be that I have changed how I grip a handgun. I used to do a sort of modified thumbs tucked grip on my Glocks in order to avoid contacting the slide stop. Recently I have been using a more traditional thumbs forward grip. I was having difficulty progressing past a certain level with the old grip but the new grip is already paying dividends (at least on the shot timer).

    I also took the time to reacquaint myself with vertical grips. When I was new to this stuff, I had them on all my rifles because they were cool. I used those things like handlebars on a bike to steer my rifle and ended up muscling shots all over the place. I ended up taking them off after day 1 of a 3 day course. That was about 6 years ago. Recently, I have been reading about more effective ways to deploy them - gripping it like the support hand grips a handgun and using it to pull the carbine into the shoulder. The results have been phenomenal. I am seeing real gains in shot to shot speed.

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