This is a reveiw of a one day “Advanced Tactical Concepts” class taught by Phil Rapagna of Tactical Response Systems. The class was hosted at Burrow Canyon in southern California. The class was a bargain at $85.00 for a full day of instruction. Plus some guys I have trained with in the past at 10-8 Consulting and YVFA were going, so I signed up. The class description was as follows:
Join us for a fast-paced day of shooting and moving. You will have the opportunity to use your various weapons during the day’s training scenarios and challenge yourself on solo and team exercises, using skills you have built up from other training days.
· Engaging Moving Targets
· Hogan’s Alley (reactionary scenarios)
· Basic Room Combat
· Live-Fire O-Course
· One and Two Vehicle Counter Ambush Drills
· Door Breaching with clearing scenarios
Battle rifle, shotgun, handgun, with slings and holsters, eye/ear protection, water, outdoor clothing, sunscreen, snacks, knee pads.
400 rounds handgun, 400 rounds rifle, 100 rounds 00-Buck, 50 slug.
However after I signed up I received an email notification that the recommended gear list had been modified. The round count for rifle was increased to 500 and handgun was decreased to 300. The shotgun was now optional. The instructor also asked us to bring our body armor and ballistic helmets. I decided not to bring an 870 since I do not have a dedicated breaching shotgun.
Based on the course description and follow up emails I decided to take the following.
Bushmaster 14.5” 1:9 M4
(7) DSG FDE Mags
SA M1A3 (1986) Ammo (496)
Blade-Tech single mag pouch
Gen I Glock 17
(8) G17 Magazines
Glock Mag loader
Blade-tech double mag pouch
Wilderness 5 stitch instructors belt
Eagle Industries DEP Dump pouch
Federal 115Gn lead free training ammo (320)
Knee & Elbow Pads
First aid kit
Water & Iced Tea
The Carbine I decided to bring had not been used in a class before. But it did have 1,100 trouble free rounds through it without a single stoppage and was a clone to my primary training carbine. My only concern was what ranges we would be shooting at. The 14.5” carbine with aimpoint and 23-year old surplus ammo isn’t exactly a tack driver out past 200. I had never trained before at TRS and didn’t really know what to expect.
On the day of the class It looked like there were about 15 students, most of which were running M4 clones with dot sights. There was one Mini-14, one M1A and one post ban California compliant build with a “bullet button” mag lock.
Phil warned us that this was the most physical of his classes. We started the day with some stretching then went on a ¼ mile run with all our gear and rifles to get the blood flowing. The class didn’t lend well to note taking so the rest is from memory only.
We shot rifle only at close range from standing, kneeling, prone and from our backs. Then handgun only, then transitions, then we incorporated lateral movement and finally tactical reloads. Each building on the other until you were doing all of the prior as needed.
We ran wind sprints with rifles. Running from the firing line to the rear admin area and back to the firing line, shooting targets each time we returned to the firing line. We partnered up and had to fireman’s-carry our “injured” partners from the firing line to the rear.
We practiced shooting on the move, forward and backwards engaging targets at 12 o‘clock. We practiced shooting on the move, foreward and backwards engaging targets between 7 and 11 o’clock. We did the same drills as two man teams also.
The last drill of the morning was the obstacle course. It had stairs, a wall, balance beam, a tunnel and belly busters. You engaged targets as you cleared each obstacle. You ran it as a two person team, and the best part….you did it carrying a third “wounded” team member. This was my first experience shooting a live fire O course carrying another person through the O course. Lots of fun!
That was it for the mornings instruction.
After lunch we practiced vehicle ambushes. This was the first exposure for some of the students to shooting a Carbine or Shotgun from inside a passenger car. Shooting weak hand with a carbine out the windows of a small sedan is tight. Then we included a second car and did extractions of the first team including carrying out the wounded while others provided cover fire.
We moved to the shoot house and did several dry runs of room entries in two man teams. Then we added a third man. Once everyone was up to speed we did live fire entries in 3-4 man teams with moving targets and shoot/no-shoot targets.
We practiced breaching doors with battering rams and haligan tools followed up with live fire team entries.
Last drill of the day was breaching with a 12Ga shotgun with breaching ammo. The instructor generously provided the specialized breaching shells.
Overall it was a great class. Phil covered an incredible amount of material in one day of instruction. The students were mostly law enforcement officers, EMT's, trainers, industry reps....everyone had their gear and weapons squared away right from the start. Going for a run, the fireman’s carry, wind sprints and a live fire O course will show you pretty quick if you need to change your sling, body armor or gun belt setup!
I didnt have many equipment issues. My carbine ran perfect. No stoppages of any kind. I did find tactical reloads using the push/pull method difficult when the mags were loaded to 28 Rounds. L-Plates and magpul followers dont leave much extra room in the mags for compression when inserting on a closed bolt. Additionally after the class i noticed my brl nut had shot loose slightly. I had one misfire with my lead free frangible handgun training ammo which is a known problem with lead free primers. That's why the boxes are marked "training use only." I’m sunburned and sore, my quads are killing me and my shoulder has a huge knot in it, but I would do it again in a second. Next time I just have to remember to wear a long sleeved shirt and hat for more protection from the sun.
If anyone has a chance to take a class at TRS jump on it. I have paid much more for classes that were no where near as educational or fun as this one was.