AAR: Vickers Tactical 3-Day Level II Pistol/Carbine Class - Oct 23-25, 2009
Executive Brief – a great class! Heavy focus on accuracy. That is accuracy over high round count.
This was a 3 day class with some of the familiar faces as well as some new folks from Connecticut, New York and quite a LEO contingent from PA. Templar and D90King were missed, but thanks for not sharing the H1N1 virus.
Day 1 – All pistol. Glocks, HKs, M&Ps, XDs, Sigs, and 1911s(even a Nighthawk Vickers!)
Beautiful partly cloudy day that had to have peaked out in mid 70s. Training started out with some shot accuracy and assessments that quickly led to dry firing then ball and dummy drills. LAV preached to the importance of trigger control and need to replace/remove bad habits with good ones. Removal of “El-Snacheroo.” Also the fact that putting lots of rounds down range does you no good without landing on target, in fact, “there is a lawyer at the end of every bullet” makes that clear. We continued to focus on accuracy again with shot placement drills. The trademark Walkbacks were applied to lets us put the fundamentals we just learned into action. Sprinkled in was strong/weak hand shooting, reloading, shooting on the move team competitions, etc. Class drills and events were well orchestrated and this kept everyone’s attention. Overall LAV insists the pistol is the hardest to master but once mastered, translates to improved carbine skills.
Day 2 – Extended Day with Carbine emphasis and Night Fire. Some franken guns but lots of shorties. I counted 4 10.5” rifles at one time. One being a rare HK piston. One FN2000! All rifles had either Aimpoints and Eotechs. Day started cloudy but still great temps just below 70.
We started the day by verifying our zeros at 25 then 50 yards. On a personal note – I quickly went from a 10.5” upper to a 16” LWRC – great decision on my part considering the emphasis on accuracy. LAV discussed effective ranges of carbines, slings, scopes, different zero ranges and why you would have to tailor this to your needs. We quickly went into different shooting positions with “where and why” you would want to apply them. Accuracy drills and many competitions ensured with Larry providing slings and Glock mag releases for prizes. Naturally a Walkback again was applied.
Then the rain started. Would not be a good training weekend in South Hill without it. We continued with transitions to weak side, transition to pistol, shooting on the move. The weak side Walkback was a bear. Some remedial pistol drills were exercised when Larry noticed El Snatcheroo returning. More team drills and a break for dinner just to come back for night fire.
Night fire was very good and educational. Discussion of the different types of lights, different mounting methods and lasers. LAV taught the flash-bulbing technique we executed this with carbines. This was repeated for pistols – more emphasis on the different techniques and pros/cons of each. After the drills a demonstration of the different types of flashes from ammo(pistol and carbine) and effects of muzzle breaks vs flash hiders. We capped off the demos with a Surefire vs M4-2000 suppressors for flash reduction. Lots of good discussion on techniques for light usage with house clearing, etc.
Day 3 – Culmination of Carbine/Pistol with shooting on the move. Partly cloudy and temps nicely in the 60s.
Other folks have to fill in on the beginning of the day, but focus started with shooting on the move. The class then split with two completion/drills, one timed, moving from barrier to barrier having to hit all three metal plates from each barrier from 200 yards to about 150 yards. Using different firing positions each time. The second event was a timed 50 yard accuracy drill that had you firing standing, kneeling and from the prone with a reload. More transition competitions – modified El Presidente and a humbling pistol drill that had many names but I can only remember “The Crucifier.”
In conclusion, a great class with great folks. To not take with you these drills to practice and make yourself a better shooter would be ridiculous. Larry stresses the need to continue to reinforce these techniques and make them part of your tool chest. Thanks Larry and his AIs Dave and Paul.
I got to do 4 days with Larry this summer -
Real down to earth guy, very practical, and we all had a great time!
And I will be there for next years class -
Larry it was good to see you again after…24 years. You have done well. Still wish it had turned out that you were my brother-in-law and not that hairy biker.
The course was all that I expected and more. Being titled “Level II” can sometimes be misleading but it was pulled off well. The level of training was where it needed to be and those who were a little behind the power curve at first applied themselves and were shooting with the best by Day Three. That fact is a tribute to LAV’s skill and vast experience as an instructor in motivation style, explanation of the “why” behind things and quality of the drills he ran. All one needs to do to become a better and effective combat shooter is listen to and follow his instructions.
I liked the fact that LAV demoed everything, something that you don’t see often in the firearms instructional courses today. He certainly can both “Talk the talk and walk the walk”. Very few instructors out there can pull off so effectively the “Do as I say AND do as I do” as well as LAV does.
The round count was low in numbers but it didn’t seem that way when we were shooting. LAV’s policy of holding you accountable for every round fired (as it should be) had us concentrating more on the delivery of every shot, even when the pace got blazing fast, your mind was locked onto the requirements needed for that next shot to make it into the bull.
You guys were great and I look forward to seeing you again. And next time I hope there are more “real” fighting carbines in the course…FS2000’s. :)
If you liked the mag pouches I had on my vest here is the link to the website.