CCJA One Day Tactical Carbine Course
I recently attended Tom Perroni’s One-Day Tactical Carbine Course in Fredricksburg, VA. AAR/Impressions are as follows.
Initially, I did not know what to expect from a one-day course. It was labeled as a “basic” course and the price was very reasonable, so some of my shooting buddies and I decided to give it upon the recommendation of another friend who attended the previous course. Our group consisted of two noobs [never had any formal “fighting”courses or training], and four non-noobs [two former military gents, and two regular civvies, including myself; we have all had a decent amount of training from other reputable instructors… some more than others].
I am by no means an “expert” shooter; I have only really been seriously working up my carbine skills in the last 3-4 years, though I have been shooting for more than 15 years. The following is my experience as well as opinion, so please take it with a grain of salt. I am not a ninja, nor do I play one on TV. I have no military or police experience [I am the diametric opposite of HSLD…more like HDLS]; I am just a guy who enjoys learning and getting more competent with my weapon system.
Tom Perroni was the lead instructor. His creds are on his website, so there is no need to list them here. IMO, Tom is a very professional, knowledgeable and seasoned. He had command of his material and he knew is business; he is also very well-versed in the aspect of law, which is always good.
Ed was the assisting instructor; he is a current PMC. He is also one very switched on individual: extremely professional, and extremely knowledgeable as well. I spent quite some time on his relay, so I was very impressed with his abilities as an instructor. He was very insightful and helpful.
I will say that both instructors were outstanding teachers. Patient and professional almost to a fault, they kept the class in line and had a very good mix of humor, encouragement and discipline on the line. As the class progressed and folks got more comfortable with the drills, the pace would ratchet up. One thing that I must say about Tom and Ed is that I felt every student got immediate feedback during the “conga line” drill [very similar to a walk back drill]: what you did wrong, what you did correctly, what you need to do to fix something that went wrong, etc. More importantly, they were able to vet out who knew why they missed vs. who needed to be told why they missed. That was an excellent method and it worked well for me.
While I fully expected to be a little bored by this section, I actually enjoyed a good part of the lecture. While a good bit of info is nothing new to seasoned shooters [field stripping, maintenance, nomenclature, etc.], this class is intended as a basic class… even though I was very familiar with much of the material, it always helps to have a refresher every now and again. It was also an opportunity to make sure the weapon was sorted before the shooting started, as it were. Covering things like the OODA loop, the startle response and how it relates to fighting with a firearm, getting off the “X,” when engaging a threat with a firearm why one must always M.O.V.E [Motionless Operators Ventilate Easily], etc. These are concepts that are not necessarily new [and Tom gives credit where credit is due]. These are well-known fundamentals and he reiterates them as they apply to fighting with a rifle.
:: Range Drills
[to the best of my memory, so the order may be out of whack]
The range was run hot, 360 degrees. IMO, this is the only way to run a fighting rifle course. If you are carrying a rifle in the open, then you are expecting trouble. Don’t confront trouble with a very expensive club.
Zero Check w/ Shoot-N-C targets.
That got everyone pretty much sorted out with their POA/POI. Ed + Tom evaluated everyone and pretty much got everyone on the same page so drills could be performed effectively and accurately.
Conga Line/Walk Back:
starting @ 25 m, [at the range command], each student engaged a steel plate with two rounds, then performeda fundamental follow through, scan and assess. We worked our way back to the 100 yd. marker, two relays running concurrently.
at 20-25 m, fire two shots, transition to secondary weapon system. My transition-fu was really in the shitter. No excuses, but getting to know an unfamiliar holster was poor judgement on my part.
at 25 M+, with a partially loaded magazine, run weapon until empty, then go to immediate action reload and get back into the fight.
engage threat; at a “lull” in the action, expel the partially fired mag and top off with a fresh mag [from behind cover].
using four 50-gal. drums as obstacles, weave in and out while engaging targets on the move. Work forward, then execute backwards, using the “Groucho” walk to move forward and the “Zombie” shuffle [coined by Ed] to move backwards. If the primary weapon ran dry during the drill, transition to pistol. Instructor would provide covering fire while the student made his way back to cover, excecuted an immediate action reload, then got back into the fight and re-engaged and completed the drill.
very similar to the Magpul Stressfire drill [Vol. 1]. At command, run 15 yards forward to cover, engage target #1 from left side of barrier, then transition to right side and engage same target [one shot] before moving from cover. Move across gap to parked Suburban while engaging target #2. From the cover of the vehicle, continue to engage target #2, using the engine/front axle as cover; move to driver’s side window and engage target #3, move to passenger window + engage target #4, move to rear of vehicle and engage target #5.
from cover, engage target standing [x2].; move to kneeling position, engage target again [x2].; go prone, and engage target [x2].
Low light drill:
at command, identify target, engage [x2], then lights out and move to the right. Use the light as judiciously as possible to ID the target, engage, then get off the X as quickly as possible.
:: Positive Marks
This was an excellent class that exceeded my expectations. I actually found the classroom portion very informative. Most of the material was very familiar, but there were a few tangents that made for an interesting and practical lecture.
I must also restate that Tom and Ed are excellent instructors that blend their experience and competency with excellent [teaching] technique to facilitate a pleasant learning experience for most all students. While it was obvious they were squared away shooters, what really shined was their instruction. I stress that their individual attention to each student’s needs was outstanding. While it may have proved to make some evolutions move slower, it was most beneficial to each individual and I think most all those who attended would agree. They were also very attentive to each individual, keeping the safety factor high, particularly when muzzles began to swing.
The drills themselves were excellent [more than a couple were new to me] that challenged each student to go through the technique demonstrated and [more importantly] execute. I know I was brought out of my comfort zone more than once, but I never felt out of control. Again, Tom + Ed provided the right blend of encouragement, stress and, ahem, “dynamic” instruction [when called for] to keep each student focused and executing properly and safely. Some of the techniques taught were new to me, but very adaptable in different situations. The amount of moving + shooting was excellent; though still in a square range environment, I know a lot of folks don’t have the benefit of being able to practice shooting on the move. Every movement drill is a valuable tool to put in the tool box [see M.O.V.E. above].
On the range, things were clearly explained and Tom and Ed had no problems addressing any questions brought up at any time. The also had no problem stopping live fire to address issues right then and there. They were extremely approachable and helped each student individually if they needed it. One thing that I always listen for with instructors is when they iterate that, “This is A way, not THE way.” That is a good measure of what kind of instructor you are getting, and Tom [and Ed] was definitely one of the good guys.
No class experience is perfect, and Tom was extremely open to suggestions and improvements, which is greatly appreciated. He was actively asking students what they liked and more importantly, what they disliked. I wanted to take a day or so to think about what I would do to improve the experience, but this should all be taken with a grain of salt, as I am not a high-speed ninja operator.
This class was labeled as a basic carbine class. Though I concur with that nomenclature, it is NOT an introductory class. IMO, I assumed that one should be familiar with the weapon system as well as well-versed in basic gun safety at the minimum. With one notable exception, most folks were fairly switched on. But there were muzzle checks going on during the day, which were pretty much eliminated by the end of the class. In the beginning, some people were a little casual about their muzzle discipline; that pissed me off, particularly when you called someone on a muzzle check and they gave you some cheeky attitude about it. Some of it was no surprise given the level of experience among the class, but it was of great concern to me. Tom and Ed were quick to correct problems, but they can’t keep eyes on 13 muzzles [in two different relays] all at once. Some of the more experienced classmates were able to keep eyes on some of the noobs in order to keep the class well-policed and safe.
That being said, I would have to say that there was probably one person that should not have been there. Though he was doing the right thing by seeking training [and this was labeled as a basic class], there was a laundry list of problems he brought with him, from lack of basic safety and situational awareness to not following the gear requirements. I had major reservations with him on the line, as did most of the students. He should have been removed from the class; he got worse before he got better. I will credit Tom with doing his best to give the guy a fair shake, but he was a walking CF and should not have been there. This gentleman needed to go to a First Steps class and not a basic carbine class. Perhaps a checklist should be sent out to every enrollee to make sure they meet a minimum training standard so that everyone is on the same page. When you don’t know what ammunition goes in your fucking gun, you have some serious training barriers going on and you need fixing.
I was not really keen on the way we ran the transition drill with a full mag. I would have rather ran it as a true transition drill [i.e., load 1-3 rounds in a mag, shoot until dry, then transition to the sidearm]. IMHO, I will never transition to my secondary weapon system unless there is a damn good reason to [i.e., damage to the primary weapon, malfunction, misfeed, empty, etc.]. If any of those things happen, engaging the safety is a moot point + takes valuable time [esp. in CQB environments]. Again, this is merely my opinion and a matter of training philosphy… I had no problem running the drill as it was demonstrated [aside from my ham-fisted pistol shooting].
Though the range facility is good, some improvements could be made. Understandably, this is a new deal, so I know it is still in development. But some overhead cover would be a nice touch, as well as the ability to drive to the staging area, drop off kit and then drive back up the hill… a gravel road, perhaps? I know I am fat, slow and lazy, but humping all that shit up the hill after an exhausting day of shooting is a real bummer. Not really a crit of the class/teaching, just a niggle re: logistics.
:: Overall Impressions
I will also have to give a shout out to the MD Shooter’s Group… I didn’t even know you guys were actually allowed to shoot guns up there.
A good bunch of sorted-out individuals. It was a pleasure training with them. Plus, it’s always good to shoot with the locals, too… you know who you are.
This was a great class. It not only reinforced some good past training, I learned a few new nuggets of info to tuck into the tool box for the future. Tom runs a great class with excellent instruction; I would sign up for his advanced two-day class in a heartbeat. He and Ed are obviously accomplished instructors and the things I learned in one day are well worth the asking price. There are no secrets, but they are totally switched on; this class reinforces good, sound philosophy and technique for deploying a carbine.
If you are looking for group shooting or hyper-accurate slow fire rifle for record, this ain’t it. But if you want to learn to deploy your rifle, you need to check these guys out. It is a dynamic class that focuses on fighting with the rifle with combat accuracy. It also assumes that you have some experience operating a carbine on a hot range, so your attitude should follow accordingly. It also was a more tactic-oriented class that required the student to be able to perform dynamic movement with a loaded weapon.
A big thanks goes out to CCJA + Tom Perroni and Ed for putting on a great class with outstanding instruction. If you think you know how to fight with your rifle, I would highly recommend this class to you. If you are unsure about your abilities, speak to Tom and BE HONEST about what your experience. He is extremely approachable and since he is a great instructor, he will lead you in the right direction.
And I can’t forget to at least partially apologize for being in the group that had two guys add new A/C units to your Suburban. Though I am glad it was not me, they’ll be getting shit for that for quite some time. But I know they appreciated your candor + laid back demeanor to it all. Air Force Ninja will be chewing on that shit sandwich for YEARS [or at least until he graduates].
glad to do it. Tom + Ed are switched on and put on a great class. if you have only one day to give, this is a great way to learn a lot of material in a truncated time frame. i have no doubt the 2-day advanced course will be just as good, if not better.
BTW, how late were y'all out there for the Low-light stuff and how much time was spent on that?
What type of light setup did you have for your primary and secondary?
CCJA stand for what?
we were out there until 9.15 pm. unfortunately, we were only able to one drill [with several rotations + relays] for low light b/c of stafford co. noise ordnance. if it ever runs in fall or winter, there will be a lot more LL stuff to be had!
i was running a SF G2 LED w/ a viking tactics light mount on my LMT MRP [piston]. it worked very well for what we were doing.
no light on my secondary [yet… P30 light holsters are still a bit scarce]; i would have had to use a handheld light for that if we went to pistols.
not sure when his next class is running, but check the link above for the schedule. cost for the one-day class was $150.00, which i felt was an outstanding value for the training garnished.
Thanks for the write up! I love Tom's one day classes. Unfortunately I will not make another until the Fall.
I feel your pain on students who may need more remedial training before they take this course. If it is any consolation I have found this to be true at all classes I have attended, including the Magpul Advanced course. I have had muzzel disapline drilled in to my head from the age of 13 to present. That is not the case for many, as you found out.
I was in this same class with ron556 as part of the RRPC-TSG Mafia. I took it more as a way to get some well-needed practice under the watchful eyes of an Instructor. I was very much surprised by how much more I got out of it than I had expected.
Somewhere along the way, in the hundreds of hours of training I have received as a civilian, Volunteer LEO and Army Reservist there are techniques that I have consciously or unconsciously discarded. Tom and Ed got me re-acquainted to some of those techniques. The end results are that I verified that which techniques I still am not in favor of; I identified which techniques I should re-consider for my toolbox; and I re-discovered ones that I have forgotten about and should really try again.
In my limited experience, one of the most important reasons for taking a formal course is to receive negative, positive, and/or neutral feedback from its Instructors. This is the only way one can improve. Getting pushed to perform better each evolution is fine, but this goal will be hindered if the instructors do not provide you with constructive criticisms.
IMHO, this was the most important aspect of this class. This is especially so because Tom and Ed actually took the time to inform each student what they did correctly and incorrectly. And when applicable, they provided you with suggestions on how to improve or correct your technique.
I personally plan on re-taking this same class again (as long as Tom and Ed keeps teaching it
). Not only is it relatively local (to me), but the price of admission and the fact that it is only a 1-day class makes it financially viable for me. I highly recommend this class to even the most experienced shooters. At the very least, it is quality trigger time under the observation of two very good Instructors. JM2CW.
Good write-up. Thanks for the AAR on this course.
I am seriously looking into doing this next month w/ my brother.