Training Class Primer

Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Aug 23, 2005
Messages
7,521
Likes
262
Location
Jacksonville, FL (AKA a free state)
First off, I got permission from the author to repost his post here, and was very happy to have it posted to help people out looking into taking classes.

Mods, I am posting this here in Gen. Discussion because its a great article and would benefit everyone. But if you feel it belongs in the Training thread please move it.

Though this is titled for Magpul Dynamics, it can hold true for all classes.

Magpul Dynamics Class Primer by Magsz from M4C.net

I recently finished up my fifth Magpul Dynamics class down here in sunny, sweaty, swamptastic Miami Florida and figured i would change things up a bit from my normal AAR duties. Ive noticed lately that alot of people are getting ready to take their first class or are gearing up to learn from the MD crew. Ive always attempted to write detailed AAR's but ive never really listed any lessons learned or detailed the things that have facilitated an easier learning experience for myself.

My past AAR's have always centered around course curriculum and what Chris, Travis, Mike, and the rest of the MD instructors have to offer the students. This article is being written from the perspective of someone who has been through the classes and wants to pass along some of the info they have gleaned and how they have applied that to their own independent learning and also how they made it through the classes. This article will cover gear selection, gear preparation, weapons configuration, weapons preparation, travel, other necessities such as food and water and mindset.

Lets start with the basic necessities.

For my classes i brought the following:

1. WATER and Snacks. This is the most important thing you can bring to any class. You need to keep your body hydrated period, end of story. If you dont have to urinate you better drink more until you do. Muscle fatigue will set in far sooner if you are not hydrating properly. Per day i was drinking about two to three gallons of water and about a gallon of gatorade. Gatorade is great for replacing the salts you're losing through sweating but you NEED to drink water in conjunction with the hatorade. Long story short, bring more than you need as there may be some other students who run out. Its also a good idea to bring your lunch. The shorter the lunch break the more you get to shoot. If people have to drive off the range to get food the lunch breaks usually extend a bit longer than they need to be. The MD guys are pretty good at herding the cats, ie us shooters to ensure that we dont run over the allotted lunch time. I dont know about you guys but i dont go to these classes to enjoy a nice subway sandwich. Im there to learn and to shoot. The quicker we are out on the range the happier i am.

2. Proper clothing to suit your environment. Im not one to talk as i was sporting jeans AND a jacket over my t-shirt for my last two classes, advanced carbine and advanced Handgun. I wore these types of clothing to keep things real so to speak. I wanted to mimic the motion of sweeping clothing out of the way to access my secondary and also to retain muscle memory while reloading. I suffered because of it. It was seriously hot down here, 90+ degrees and the humidity was about three billion percent. Still, at the end of the day i was happy that i hadnt deviated from my original plan. If your range is in particularly bad condition a set of knee and elbow pads is never a bad idea so long as those accoutrements wont get in your way.

If you're going to be taking the class in a cold environment bring the necessary gear. A softshell jacket of some type over insulating layer is always a good idea. This type of setup is less bulky than say a down jacket and will still allow the user to access belt mounted pouches if they're running that kind of setup. Most modern softshells are also water resistant so if it rains or snows you should be protected from getting drenched for at least most of the class. Someone with more experience in cold environments can probably add to this if they so choose. I havent seen snow in seven years. No members only jackets guys!

Footwear is equally important if not one of the most important things to consider before attending a class. Keep in mind that as a student you will be on your feet for 8+ hours. There is very little time to sit down and relax during these classes so be prepared with some comfortable shoes. Most students are either rocking good quality hiking boots or a 9 inch combat boot. Pick whichever is more comfortable for you and run it. I would suggest that if you do pick a pair of hiking boots make sure they've got great ankle support. The various positions that you will find yourself in during the classes lend themselves to sprained ankles and god knows what else if you slip or plant your foot in the wrong position.

Buy a good, rigid, COMFORTABLE belt. You will thank me later when your pants arent around your ankles and your secondary isnt dragging in the muck. I wear Eagle riggers belts but there are a ton of other awesome manufacturers out there so pick whats comfortable to you and is sturdy enough to do the job and do it well.

3. The idea here when it comes to load bearing equipment is to keep everything simple so that you're not fighting with your gear the entire weekend.

Im going to break this down a little further. It seems as though there are two camps currently attending carbine classes. There is the belt crowd and the chest rig/vest crowd. Pick whichever load bearing system is applicable to your daily life or occupation and run it without a second thought. For the pistol classes its fairly self explanatory. Everyone runs belt rigs. For the carbine classes you generally see a 50/50 divide. I personally run my go to magazines on my belt and feed my go to mags, ie my belt from a simple eagle Paul Howe chest rig. Again, muscle memory is retained by always going to the belt whether its for my carbine or my pistol. Pick what works for you and stick with it. You dont need 30000 dollars worth of gear to get through one of these classes. Just make sure that when you do purchase gear you purchase it with a specific intent. These classes are a great time to try out new things but always remember that if you come with a new piece of gear and no backup and it doesnt work you're going to be stuck with it. Problem solving is a huge part of these classes that engages the student and forces them to adapt. Its all part of the learning process but if you dont give yourself an out, ie an alternative piece of gear to that new widget and you find that you dont like it, you're screwed.

Also, a quick tip for new shooters. Keep everything in the same place whether its a pistol class or a carbine class. Just because you're utilizing a different weapons platform does not mean its a good idea to put all of your belt mounted pouches in different places. As an example, for pistol classes i run two bladetech single pistol pouches on my left hip. I space them about seven inches apart. This setup allows me to throw a bladetech single M4 mag pouch on my left hip in between the pistol mags. I can still access everything with my normal movements. As mentioned before, i feed these pouches from my chest rig when i have time and opportunity. Tactical reloads are all performed from the chest rig for the carbine and if i have enough time from my rearmost Bladetech pistol mag pouch.

Another tip for the new shooter. For my first carbine class i owned 12 pmags. I loaded 8 mags and ran 8 mags through the class. For my second and third carbine classes i ran 40 loaded pmags. Running this type of setup allows me to spend less time loading and more time relaxing when other people are jamming mags. The only issue with this type of setup is that its very hard to keep track of magazines. When im out there flinging mags during reloads and dropping them into the muck at the range i some times would find myself short one magazine when i went back to the staging area. Im pretty i left each class sans one magazine but whatever, they're consumables. The other way to handle the mag situation is to run four to six magazines and continually jam them. Jamming six mags is really not all that time consuming so dont worry that you wont have time to fully load up. By running a consolidated amount of magazines if you find yourself with five you KNOW you're short one and you can go find it. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have at least an additional five magazines in your gear bag just in case. You never know when one of your mags might get stepped on, shot, or eaten by the range Gremlins. Its really personal preference what you want to do as far as magazines. Pick a method, find what works for you and again, run with it.

4. Weapons setup. Every student should have a light on their carbine. It is widely regarded here and on other forums that no defensive handgun or pistol should be without a light. I do agree wholeheartedly. Run your gun as you are going to fight. In my first carbine class i ran my light only at night and realized i was doing myself a disservice. In my second and third carbine course i ran my light all day and into the night just to keep things consistent. Bring a handheld light for low light and night time drills. Bring spare batteries and bulbs but dont think you need a case of CR123's and a truckload of lamp assemblies. Buy a quality weaponlight and backup light, pick up four to six spare CR123A's and a spare lamp assembly for each light and you will be good to go. If you dont have the coin for spare lamp assemblies dont sweat it. If your light happens to break you've learned a lesson and your life is not over. The lesson is you either need to upgrade that light to a better unit or again, you need a spare lamp assembly. I run G2's exclusively as i cannot afford anything better and honestly, for my needs these lights work fine. I have both the incandescent versions and the LED versions. Ive found that i like the incandescent versions better as weapon lights because the light is a bit softer. It tends to illuminate targets better for me. I carry LED handhelds because i believe they are a better defensive tool. The light is harsher and can be used better offensively. These are only my own observations after asking my girlfriend to shine both kinds of lights in my eyes at 10 feet. Not exactly a scientific test but to me, the LED's were actually painful whereas the incandescent's were blinding but not as distracting. This could also have something to do with the differing lumen count but i dont really want to get too in depth with this.

Weapon configuration is largely a personal thing. Some people like a long length of pull, others like it short. Some people like 16 inch barrels, some like seven and a half. If you're going to run a short barrel thats absolutely fine, just make sure it works. The same goes for a sixteen inch barrel. A carbine class is not the most opportune time to install your brand new turbo nicknack of +10 accuracy. If that little doodad doesnt work you better make sure you've got a replacement on hand so that you can get your carbine running. Again, carbine classes ARE a good time to try new things but as stated before, ensure that you have a backup just in case something goes south.

What i will say is make sure you've got quality components. Running Chinese crap or some other less than stellar manufacturers gear could very well ruin your day. The first time you have to mortar your rifle to clear a stuck round and your stock breaks you're going to be one very unhappy camper. I personally love my magpul CTR's and find the curvature of the stock and the rubber buttpad to be a lifesaver. Also, the fact that its never broken on me despite being slammed around like a crash test dummy makes me love it even more. I like to think that i will fail before my gear does.

Optics are a touchy subject. Most people in these classes run red dots of varying manufacturers. I prefer Aimpoint simply because my first T1 has been left in the on position since early 2008. My Eotech 512 broke after six months of airsoft and 6 months of plinking...nuff said right there. If you as a student want to run a magnified optic go for it. The instructors are not there to bag on your gear choices. They will make suggestions that potentially could speed you up as a shooter but again, they will not ride you for your gear choices..at least not until you start crying. I know ive come close.

Various weapon accessories, doodadds and upgrades are all well and good but since im relatively new to the carbine, been shooting for 1 year in July i will say that the best piece of advice i can reiterate is to ensure that your carbine works and it works well prior to attending the class. All three carbines that ive run in these classes have all run with boring regularity. To date, out of the approximate six thousand rounds ive run in these classes ive had two malfunctions. One double feed that was induced by a shit reload and one failure to fire which i didnt stop to investigate. Tap rack and bang.

One accessory that i will comment on will be the Magpul ASAP plate. Every single one of my carbines has one of these on there and im even working on fabricating something similar on my AK74. These plates are the bees knees and EVERYONE that fights or trains with a carbine should have one. This plate is by far the easiest solution to transition from weapon to reaction shoulders bar none. My transitions in my third carbine class were infinitely faster than when i was running my MI endplates. Ive run the noveske and DD endplates with the QD swivels and the asap is a far more elegant solution in my eyes. There is literally no resistance when transitioning and the sling will not bind if properly set up. It is my favorite piece of gear and one of my greatest additions to my carbine. Thanks Magpul for releasing such a badass product.

There are lots of other articles on these boards by people far more qualified than i that speak about weapon setup. Read those and take what you can from it and apply it to your own shooting style.

Bottom line. You just shelled out alot of money as an investment in yourself. Running cheap gear that could potentially sideline you during your investment is not a wise move. Buy right or buy twice. You will be much happier in the long run.
 
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Aug 23, 2005
Messages
7,521
Likes
262
Location
Jacksonville, FL (AKA a free state)
Cont.

5. Weapons preparation. This is relatively simple and straight forward. Lube the snot out of your carbine prior to shooting on TD1 and TD2. Choose a good quality lube and dont think twice about it. Ive run two of the classes with nothing more than CLP and one class with slip 2000. Both lubes worked as advertised and worked great. Some people run motor oil, if it works for you, awesome, run it. Some people like grease and thats just fine. Just be sure that your chosen lubing method works and it will continue to work. A certain oil or oiling/greasing technique might be awesome for 60 rounds at the range in a static environment but when you start introducing dirt, debris, carbon fouling and god knows what else into the weapon you may run into issues. Keep lube out of your chamber. It does nothing more than cause excess smoke when you return to the range after a fresh oil job. As a general rule at these classes i oil my gun up the night before and generally wont re oil until the night shoot on TD1 or at lunch. I do not clean my weapon at lunch time. If you want to, thats fine, im just lazy and i know my guns will run. For a good lubing guide pick up The Art of the Tactical Carbine and watch the last disk. You can also read the Pat Rogers article titled "Keep It Running" for a good idea of what you need to lube and why.

Keep a round count. If you have 6k rounds on one particular bolt it might be a good idea to have a spare. I advocate keeping at least a spare bolt/extractor and firing pin/cotter pin on hand. You never know when those are going to go. If you can afford it, having a backup carbine is always a great idea but again, not everyone has that kind of dosh to lob out just to have a "spare". Having said all of this, buying from a reputable manufacturer will also go a long way towards ensuring reliability but the bottom line here is that anything made by man can and will break.

Attempt to at least get a rough zero on the carbine before attending the class. If you have NO idea how to do this dont sweat it. The instructors will help you get your carbine zeroed and ready to rock. Still, for those of us that DO know how to zero our carbines (im still learning myself) having a rough zero will allow the instructors to spend less time on you and more time on the dudes that really need the help. The classes are generally zeroed at 50 yards but this may be range dependent.

Zero your irons first and then your optic. Generally there is only enough time in the class to zero your chosen aiming method, ie either zero your irons or zero your optic.

Locktite anything with a screw. Seriously. I installed a doodadd consisting of a 1 and a quarter inch section of rail and a KAC handstop onto a set of midlength plastic heatshields and halfway through the first hour of the first day my jury rigged little rail section fell off. I found i didnt need it and shot the rest of the two days without it. This includes, Iron Sights, Optic Mounts, Flash light mounts, (my flashlight fell off my carbine in my second class at the end of the second day despite locktight, which brings me to another point, TORQUE your shit down.) or anything with a screw on it. If it can be loosened by vibration it needs a little help to stay put. Make sure you do this two days or at least the night before, not the day of so that the locktite can set. Make sure you use enough without slathering it on. During my second Carbine course my Larue T1 mount came loose due to not enough locktite on the screws that interface with the optic. I was wondering why i couldnt zero and then found my optic rattling around on its mount. :p

6. Mindset is something that will vary from person to person. Throughout the last couple of classes ive been to we have had several active military and law enforcement personnel attending. The overall goal of everyone at the class was safety first since safety is paramount. The LE guys and the serving Military members however most likely take these classes with an offensive mindset . Afterall, the job of our Military is to protect this great country whether it be through force or diplomacy. One particular Marine stands out when i say that he came with an offensive mindset. He was there to learn everything he possibly could to keep himself and his troops alive if he ever needed to call on the skills that he learned at these classes. I commend him for that and thought it was really quite amazing how his offensive mindset blended in so well with my defensive civilian mindset and the other defensive mindsets of the other civilians in the class. The goal here is to take what you're being taught and apply it to however you think you may need to use it much like the discussion about gear in the beginning of this article. Pick whatever works for you and again, run with it.

Mindset has more to do with how you are going to apply the skills that you've learned. It has to do with your willingness to learn and how receptive you are to being taken out of your comfort zone. No one likes to be thrust before an audience with their pants down. Hell, i dont even like being in front of an audience let alone doing so while bare assed! These classes will break you down and build you back up provided you are there to learn and you are humble about your own weaknesses. Throughout five MD classes ive learned a veritable lifetime worth of information about myself, how i run my weapons and how i react when my body is stressed or my mind is stressed. To me, these situations are priceless and they are made all the more valuable by the fact that i walk into each class knowing im nothing and that i want to improve. If you have a desire to improve and your ego takes the back seat and merely comes along for the ride you can do wondrous things.

Mindset also has to do with your level of preparedness for the classes. Get your shit organized and packed and ready to go the night before. Make sure you have your primary, your spares, your spares for your spares and everything that you need to ensure that while you're on the range you're learning and not fretting about your gear. I was late on TD1 for my second carbine class because i was up all night working and my alarms never went off after i passed out 30 minutes prior to their set time. To make things worse i had two flat tires in the morning. Do NOT be late! This goes back to the other point i made about ensuring that your crap is ready to go the night before. Check your tire pressure. Get a good nights sleep, seriously, i cannot stress this enough. For my third carbine class i walked into that one having not slept in two days due to a ridiculous self imposed work schedule. By the middle of TD1 i thought i was going to die. I was dehydrated, tired as hell and my mind was somewhere else. None of these feelings are conducive to a healthy learning environment. Not to beat a dead horse and sound like everyones mother but eat a good breakfast too. Without fuel for your body and your mind you're going to find yourself very tired and your mindset is going to suffer and your resolve is going to waver.

These classes are an investment of time money and body. I personally want to ensure that every dollar that i spend on course entry fee, ammo, gear, food and water is well spent and i get as much as i can out of the two days. Mindset and preparedness is everything. Get your shit in order, get your mind ready to absorb incredible amounts of information that may save your life and be prepared to suck all of that up like a shamwow. You will walk away from these classes with as much as you put in. Chris, Travis and the rest of the MD crew cannot make you a good shooter. They can hand you the tools to better yourself but you have to take them and apply them.

I hope this writeup helps anyone thats interested in potentially taking a Magpul Class or any other training class out there. Particularly in regards to the MD offerings, i think you will be ridiculously pleased.

Get on out there and TRAIN!
 
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Aug 23, 2005
Messages
7,521
Likes
262
Location
Jacksonville, FL (AKA a free state)
And about Ammo:

Hrm, thats one thing i forgot to touch on. The thought was in my head but i just never got around to putting it down on "paper."

As with anything in these classes having spares and extra's is always a good idea.

Round count is amazingly enough ALWAYS within 200-300 rounds of the target limit, ie 1500 rounds for rifle or pistol depending on the class. The drills are designed so that the instructions can keep an eye on exactly how many rounds are being expended. There is quite a bit of thought put into the curriculum so that the students dont have to worry about pacing themselves.

Round count may be under or over depending on how conservative the shooter is. At certain times you might find Chris hovering over you watching you problem solve a malfunction and then all of a sudden hear a call for five rounds on target. These are the times when you will deviate from the round count tempo and you may go over but again, you dont need three thousand rounds to get through one of these classes.

I would say for a rifle class bringing 2k rounds would be more than enough, same goes for pistol.

For your secondary depending on the class bringing the listed amount of ammo usually suffices but again, class proficiency and pace as decided by the instructors will dictate how often you're going to that secondary. With proper tactical reloads i only transitioned twice in my last advanced carbine when we were not specifically working on transitions.

The nice thing about handgun ammunition is that another 100-200 rounds wont break the bank and will go a long way towards easing your mind while ensuring you have enough ammo.

Good luck, i hope you enjoy the heck out of the class and walk away as satisfied as myself and many other students.
 
Top Bottom