When I checked Bushido Tactical’s calendar of upcoming classes, I noticed that they had a Level 2 Defensive Rifle/Carbine (http://bushidotactical.com/defensiverifleL2_bushidotactical.html
) coming up in Sarasota, Florida, which is about a 3-hour drive from me. Naturally, I was curious as I’m always looking for an opportunity to get out to train, and of course, put rounds downrange. Well, for whatever reason, I was simply unable to find AARs of Bushido Tactical’s Level 2 Rifle/Carbine class. I had NO difficulty in finding reports of their Level 1 Defensive Rifle/Carbine class, however.
Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to speak with a student who had taken classes with Bushido Tactical and, based on his positive feedback, I subsequently signed up for this 2-day class.
On day 1, my fellow students and I met up with Wade Rorich, the head honcho of Bushido Tactical at the range (Manatee Gun Club
) Like all good instructors, Wade briefed us very thoroughly on emergency medical procedures, and on what to do/who to call in case of mishap. Now, as I set out to write this, I realized that I could never do this class any justice with mere words, and any attempt on my part to write a “comprehensive” AAR will simply end in dismal failure. And as those of you who have taken training classes know, reading about a class and watching videos is really no substitution for attending the class itself. As such, I will do my best to provide some insight into this class, and what I got out of it.
From a training experience standpoint, I have taken courses at the SIG-Sauer Academy in New Hampshire, Firearms Academy of Seattle in Washington State, as well as several Magpul Dynamics classes that were hosted locally. My philosophy has always been to approach every learning experience with an open mind. I found that my learning philosophy was a fine match with Wade’s teaching philosophy, in which, he shows you ways to resolve issues – solutions to problems. It’s never “his way or the highway,” but “here’s a method – use it if it works for you.” As an instructor, Wade is open-minded as well, always asking his students if we knew of, or were taught a different method that the rest of us could try, and perhaps, benefit from. A good teacher is always in the pursuit of knowledge himself.
Part of Wade’s instruction is the emphasis on efficiency. That is, getting the task done smoothly and safely, via the minimum of motion, and the minimum of fuss. And through the elimination of extraneous and unnecessary motion, comes speed. Practicing Wade’s drills really did help me become smoother.
Wade also doesn’t believe that a shooter should have a “strong” side or a “weak” side. Sure, you may be right-hand dominant or left-hand dominant, but Wade’s drills will help you strengthen your shooting abilities of your “non-dominant” side. In other words, Wade wants you to be equally capable and adept on either side of your body. As such, you’ll be performing quite a bit of shoulder transitions during the drills.
And if you think you’re taking a shooting class with Wade, you’ll be mistaken as Wade conducts gunfighting classes. He was always reminding us to maintain an alert gunfighter’s mindset throughout the entire 2-day duration of the class, such as maintaining a high vigilance (scanning and assessing) while retrieving our magazines, and with one hand always on fire control.
Another aspect that my fellow students and I appreciated was how Wade’s training aids really helped enhance the learning experience. He brought numerous barricades of various configurations and heights, six steel targets, and even 3-dimensional paper targets – the ones that require you to wear those special glasses in order to get the 3-D effect, such as the ones seen here - LE Targets
. It was a nice touch and we had fun with the targets.
Wade also brought along a large selection of “blue” guns – more than enough for every student in the class. The blue guns were helpful, and allowed us to first practice many of the drills safely, before we progressed onto our real guns for the live fire drills. Since this class emphasized two-person drills, we were partnered up. Throughout most of the class, we were always moving and shooting with our partner, and oftentimes, this required us to be physically very close to one another. The blue guns allowed us to get the motions and the drills down under the ever-watchful eye of Wade to make sure that we were doing things right, and had gained sufficient confidence before switching to our real rifles.
A partner drill in motion.
The two-person drills also emphasized the importance of communication. Shooting with a partner poses additional challenges – you now need to be cognizant of what your partner is doing and vice versa. Hence, the necessity for verbal and even non-verbal communication. Since my partner and I had never shot together before, we spend some time agreeing on the code words that we would use to communicate with each other. As stated earlier, we first practiced with the blue guns to get the drills down before we transitioned to live fire. Wade shadowed us the entire time we were moving and shooting, making sure that we were safe, as well as providing pointers along the way. Wade also reminded us that it was “our drill,” and we moved at the speed that we were comfortable with. And as our confidence grew, our speed picked up as well – a natural progression.
Running another partner drill.
We had a night shoot that ended at 10:00 PM the first day. The night shoot was quite unlike others I have experienced. We had three vehicles set up, numerous barricades that Wade brought with him, as well as paper targets set up downrange. We started out with blue guns and our lights at first, working with our partner to “search and destroy.” To make things more interesting, Wade had a couple of our fellow students hide out in the dark to play the role of the aggressors. As the “good guys” proceeded to move out, they had to use the vehicles and barricades for cover, while searching for the bad guys as well. If we exposed too much of ourselves, we would get “shot” by the bad guys who would light us up with their own lights and blue guns. Granted, this may not be as realistic as using Simunitions, but since this class is/was not a force-on-force class, this approach was the next best thing. It created a certain degree of tension as there were now live opponents who would “shoot” back at us.
Night shoot in progress.
For the live-fire portion of the night shoot, we worked in two-man teams, moving downrange and using the vehicles and barricades for cover. All the time, working collaboratively and communicating with our partner. Targets were called out and engaged when we could see them, while doing our best to maintain cover at all times. Again, Wade shadowed each two-man team as we moved, coaching us along the way.
Wade Rorich, our omnipresent instructor, joining in the fun.
On the second day, in addition to additional partner drills engaging paper and steel targets, Wade demonstrated “man down” scenarios and taught us a variety of techniques to carry/drag a wounded/immobile person to safety. A few students played “dead” while the others took turns playing the role of the “rescuer.” This segment of the class could be considered optional as no one was forced to actively-participate, but those of us who wanted to try out the techniques ourselves were given the opportunity to do so. We wrapped up at 5 PM on the second day as everyone pitched in to help clean-up. During the wrap-up, Wade presented us with our certificates and we did a recap on lessons learned as well as provided feedback on the class.
I shot about 750 rifle rounds and about 300 pistol rounds in this class. The round count may not appear high for a Level 2 Carbine class, but this is largely attributed to the extensive use of the blue guns. Again, the use of the blue guns allowed us to run drills numerous times in order to get the procedures down safely and surely, before transitioning to live fire. During the breaks/rest periods, Wade was always engaging us students to find out how we were doing and if we had any questions. If we did, Wade never hesitated to provide additional one-on-one coaching. Wade’s personal attention will make you feel as if you’re the ONLY person in the class.
Putting shots downrange - just love this pic with the two spent casings caught in mid-air.
Wade runs a very safe range, and his concern for his students’ safety extends to making sure we were always hydrated throughout the class. Even though I had brought my own supply of Gatorade, Wade also provided a seemingly endless supply of ice-cold water in a giant cooler to any of us who wanted it.
In closing, Wade is an extremely competent and professional instructor, a man seemingly devoid of ego, but highly-capable. All the other students in the class (with me being the only exception) were repeat students of Wade’s. After taking this class, I can clearly see why. Since this class, I’ve also taken Bushido Tactical’s Defensive Carbine 1 class, and the AAR of that class, written by my buddy Ruertar, can be seen here:- http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=9&f=19&t=228495
nice post. i was going to take that class and had to go oout of town on business. I am definitely taking the next one!!