Monday, June 09, 2014

Reflection on the carbine class

One of the first things that I noticed is that there is no comparison between tuned and massaged three-gun competition AR rifles with twenty inch compensated barrels, specially lightened bolts and springs, match triggers and optics designed for the sport, and my own humble carbine with it's 14.5 inch barrel, stock trigger and duty-quality optics in the form of an Aimpoint Comp ML 3 and an ancient ACOG TA01 4x. ( I swapped them several times thanks to the excellent LaRue Tactical quick-detach mounts that I'd put on each.) I was behind the curve equipment-wise all weekend without even taking into account the sub-optimal training ammo I was using that shut my rifle down countless times when it got hot and dirty. But that was good too, because I really had to press myself and fall back on my shooting fundamentals if I wanted to even stay in the game, and that also meant that I really paid attention and gleaned tips and techniques from the instructors and other shooters much more than I likely would have done had I felt that I was on par with the rest of the group. Also, since I was so far removed from any chance of scoring high on any of the timed stages, I was able to just slow down and focus on what worked for me, and build my own skill-set, even to the point of turning off my red dot sight and making a run through the shoot house using just my BUIS (back-up iron sights) to see how I'd do. It added twelve seconds to my last run with the red dot, but I shot it clean, with no missed targets and now I have more confidence in my BUIS and my rifle as a whole, although the next time I go to any shooting event, I will be bringing decent ammunition and new Mag-Pul magazines instead of just grabbing a bunch of old aluminum 30-rounders out of reserve storage. A couple of those magazines were not my friends this week-end, to add to all of my other equipment issues. But again,min the bright side, I got a ton of practice on emergency action procedures as I suffered ammo or magazine related stoppages constantly during the class. Rather than get upset, I just made it part of MY training and I have to say that I got pretty slick at getting that rifle running again on the go and still finishing most of the stages without holding anyone else up too much. So the lesson to take away there is that even if a class isn't really geared to what you want or need, you can still take a lot away from it if you change the way that you look at it and make it work for you. These three-gun folks are fast and smooth in their courses but in real life, you don't get to walk through an active-shooter situation several times and learn where each bad guy is going to be in advance before you run in to deal with them. Still, a lot of the techniques that they develop and hone are adaptable to real-world situations, and I picked up plenty of stuff that I can use. I'm definitely glad that I came out for this class and if any of you have a chance to take a similar one or try three-gun, I recommend it. 

Kudos to the instructors as well. Both were incredibly skilled and great instructors. Ron Avery and Keith Garcia are both the real deal.

Oh, and a note on training with prosthetic legs:

I deliberately didn't tell them about my prosthetic leg going into the class because I didn't want any special treatment or exclusion. I finally did tell Keith Garcia about half way through the first day but only because he was trying to get me to use a technique that my leg just could not do due to it's rigid foot and lack of an ankle. He helped me come up with a work-around that was perfect. Ron Avery didn't know about it until the end of the last day when Keith finally told him, and he said that he would never have known from the way that I was running the courses, which made me happy as it's always a goal of mine that people around me not be able to tell. I mean, I feel bad enough for mortals who have to get by on two natural legs already, so why show my fancy store-bought leg off and rub it in? 

It was a good weekend, and now I'm off to explore Utah and the West for a while. Stay tuned for more adventures.


  1. Congrats on all counts!

  2. Safe exploring my friend! Have fun.

  3. Anonymous3:18 PM

    outstanding. You can always take something from any class if your attitude is like yours and you don't get stuck in the "We do it this way" mentality. The first time I interacted with someone with a fake Lev was at a trauma conference, I had tons of questions and ended with "Do the really work that well" whereupon the rep lifted his pants leg to show me his. I had no clue.

  4. Glad it went well, and you learned, THAT Is what counts... You're practicing for real world, not gaming...

  5. Hey Murphy;

    Thanks for the posting, we really enjoyed reading what you had gleaned from the training and you did train for real world. That is very good. because when/if SHTF you will do well and account for yourself in any situation. Enjoy your vacation and know that your hamsters will be waiting for you when you return.

  6. Great review, and great way to change the thinking on malfunctions. I just did a class and I was one of the few with zero equipment issues. One of the main goals for me was to gain confidence in my equipment, and that was a plus. I remember the fatigue and doubt I would have welcomed a bunch of ammo and magazine issues. Good job!

    1. Now food for thought.

      What would have happened if you used those crappy mags IN A REAL FIGHT?

      See now since the class is over you know just what you need to upgrade. That is good!

      Easy range time tends to make one think their equipment will do the deed, but not necessarily so! Same goes for skills. Easy shooting tends to lull one in thinking they are good to go in a go in a fight when all they are good at is punching paper.

    2. Oh I have plenty of new PMags loaded with quality ammunition already set up in bandolier sang mag carriers back at the lair. I just decided to put this weekend's beating on the old aluminum mags that I have milk crates full of and use for range work. They're reserve mags for a reason but next class, I'll take the better ones AND better ammunition.