AAR: Defensive Concepts Basic Carbine Sept 19 2009
My frame of reference does not include an extensive amount of courses for comparison. Quite the opposite. Other than an introduction to firearms course, CHL class, and an appleseed shoot, this was my first "real" class. I am not an operator. I do not kick down doors or wear a badge for a living. I just wanted some training that would further my knowledge and enjoyment of my hobby as well as provide useful information for life or death scenarios and range practice. I could not afford a longer course, and truthfully was not interested in a longer course for a variety of reasons. I work best when I can master a smaller amount of information.
Class began promptly at a nice facility. The equipment requirements were well defined and although the students brought varying levels of equipment, we were all worked with equally and taught to use it properly. I ran one of the less elaborate set ups with just two bladetech mag pouches and no sidearm, while some guys ran full war belts, chest rigs, etc... The nice thing for me is that I wasn't required to have that sort of gear. I'd never use it, and its expensive.
We learned a lot of things such as shot placement, shooting on the move, reloading, various drills and malfunction clearance while touching on real life scenarios and such when they were appropriate. Some students had presented a "teaching moment" which the instructors took advantage of to talk about "sympathetic fire".
Overall, the class is a bargain. It gets you a solid base of knowledge and does this in one day without breaking the bank. A lot of people either cannot dedicate two or three full days or longer, or just plain can't take the pain of a second day on the range doing things their bodies aren't used to. The instructors do work you hard, but they are very observant and back off when appropriate. It appeared to me that they would modify plans on the fly to suit our needs, rather than have a rigid and inflexible curriculum. The instructors were friendly and approachable, and made the class a fun experience. I personally didn't need a door kicker level of instruction, I liked how the class was run. It was safe at all times, without being overbearing or approaching a full metal jacket style of rigid demands. The instructors will tell you several ways to accomplish a goal, and invite you do use the way that works best for you. They will give both schools of thought on a given method, rather than just tell you "this is the only way to do it".
I got exactly what I wanted from the class and would strongly recommend it to most anyone. We had military, we had people that had already taken more advanced courses, and we had a few noobs. We all took away something, and I think everyone had a great time. I feel I could better survive a hostile situation, and I learned a number of things to put in to my "toolbox".
I have to add that I watched the magpul dynamics videos a lot before attending. I feel they helped me know what to expect out of a class, but actually having an instructor there to help you and give you feedback is invaluable. They say practice makes perfect, but that isn't true. Perfect practice makes perfect. If you practice doing something the wrong way, then you will never learn to do it more efficiently or properly. Having that feedback from a real live instructor is something that no video can provide. As arfcom says "get both!"