AAR for SHTF Carbine class May 5-7, 2023
SETG Range near Alma, GA
10 students from all over the East coast met up for SHTF Carbine on May 5th hosted at the Southeastern Training Group (SETG) range near Alma, GA.
We began Friday at 2pm in order to get a short night shoot in later on training day 1.
Starting with the fundamentals of marksmanship we checked zero at 25 yards and then again at 100 yards. Some minor corrections in body positioning, trigger application and natural point of aim were corrected and we moved on to greater distances.
Students progressed to shooting prone, kneeling and standing at steel targets ranging from 100 to just over 400 yards. This particular group of students was averaging 80% or more hits on these ranges so as we like to do, we “turned it up” a bit. We added in some drills requiring quick follow up shots, alternating between the distance targets rapidly and some other drills that you’ll just have to come to class to experience ??
While kudos certainly go to those that were using magnified optics, EVERYONE in the class including the 3-4 students that simply had red dots were making solid hits at 400 yards by the end of the first day, everyone period. I’m pretty happy with that!!
We had a short break waiting for it to get dark enough for a night shoot. These are a rare thing at our training, we don’t normally take 1 hour dinner breaks. Since we are always trying to maximize training time, students eat between turns on drills. With the combination of low class prices and then doing everything we can to maximize time actually training, students have told us we have created a great value for the training dollar.
Once it got dark enough we spent a few minutes talking about some general aspects of working at night with a carbine, ammo management tips, tips for utilizing your eyes at night, etc. To be clear, this was specifically covering NOT using a night vision device, but instead a worst case scenario where all you have are iron sights. No illumination of any kind, no lit up fancy electronic sight, etc. We placed IDPA silhouettes in a shadowy area of the range and students had to shoot those- again, with no illumination and iron sights. Old skewl baby!!!
And as one student said “the name of the course is STHF carbine, not everything is going well carbine! So I approached that as the batteries are dead in my sight, my flashlight stopped working, I lost my NODs and I have to engage with iron sights.”
Students realized how far this “old skewl” way of night shooting is, but all made hits and the hit percentage averaged what I’ve seen over 30 years of practicing these techniques. We also offer NV shooting classes and most of these students had attended some of those, so they got to see the “other side of the coin” where things aren’t so easy.
Day 2 began at 10am in order to give everyone a little extra sleep after the long night. Day 2 was all about close quarters and rifle manipulation.
Scanning was introduced and was from then on including in every drill. We don’t just pay lip service to that, but have developed a few ways to really bring home the concept of TRULY SCANNING, not just quick glances or memorizing placement of targets on a rack, etc.
Reload drills, both combat reload and admin or tactical mag changes were covered and also integrated into each drill randomly. The concept of workspace and why that’s important was demonstrated and reinforced by various means during drills involving a tactical mag change. If your head was down because you were being lazy with your mag change, you missed the indicator of which target to shoot.
In every class we do we spend a lot of time on ambidextrous gun handling. Shoulder transfer methods are taught and brought into drills involving position changes, reloads, clearing jams, etc. You get a chance to learn and work on those things no one usually works on.
Some basic movement drills followed and students scanned, detected and engaged targets while on the move in various directions from both shoulders. Follow up actions to include a 360 degree scan was taught and added into the movement drills as well.
Use of cover was up next. We looked at the use of space and how angles come into play in buildings. Using red guns students got a chance to play the “peek a bo” drill on the barricades, helping each other to see mistakes in body positioning in regards to angles, as well as working slicing the pie and drop outs.
After all the dry work, we went to live fire against targets while working cover while slicing the pie and doing drop outs.
We ended Day 2 with transition to pistol drills. We have in the past shown 7 different options but have narrowed it down to the most popular 5. Demonstrations and dry work was first and students did all these techniques with an unloaded AND CHECKED rifle for safety.
We began Day 3 with some stretching on the ground. After two days of non stop training there was some minor groaning as we got on to the mats on the gravel. We began first without a rifle and we looked at some basic ground movements and positions to shoot from without the weapon on us. The key point stressed was to keep the body as low as possible. Most likely we either got to the ground with a rifle two ways, we either ended up there without our consent (perhaps getting shot) or we went there with our consent in order to get a lower platform to work from. This could be for shooting under a car, making us a smaller target, etc. So the focus should be on being and moving as low as possible
while working to be able to engage targets in a 360 degree world.
First we looked at some ways to fall to mitigate some of the shock of falling and students got chances to work all of this dry. Then we looked at some supine shooting positions and "alternate" aiming methods that do not involve getting a standard sight picture- we later demonstrated this with two shots touching each other with no visual input on sights. From the supine position we looked at methods to move the body to address targets at the right, left and behind- and we practiced all of those dry.
Finally, we gave students several options to be able to learn to get up with the rifle in hand safely while keeping the rifle in the fight. As we always do, we showed some material for those with a little more "core" to work with as well as some options for folks that lacked that.
As often happens with our classes, we often end up adding in more material than the course description lists. This usually happens when a student asks a "what if"
type of question or a discussion morphs past the current teaching point and we feel like this particular group of students can go a little farther. So we added in some work addressing targets at a 180 from kneeling and how to do it in a safe manner without sweeping anyone else around.
After students had a lot of time to try these techniques dry, we went live individually. That's the only way to safely practice this type of ground movement with a live weapon. So I took each student individually and stayed right there on them and moved with them while they got to shoot through all these various positions and ground movements.
Doing it individually like this takes a little longer, but shooting supine can be dangerous and I don't believe in having 10 people doing it on a line all at once. Also, we couldn't have safely added in the movement and addressing 360 degree threats if more than one person was on the line at a time. Safety is always the #1 priority versus stacking students in a line to rush through a drill.
After the ground work module was finished we began the final exercises and "round Robin" of the day.
Two final practical exercises were set up that focused on both FINDING and engaging small camoflaged targets. One was a jungle lane exercise involving movement through a wooded area and another was a spot and shoot exercise involving defending a static position against threats ranging from 50 to 400 yards.
We explained the scenarios and gave some pointers for spotting the targets on both exercises. Due to the proximity of the jungle lane to the elevated position the spot and shoot was being done from, we used gas airsoft ARs for the jungle lane, as it would not have been safe to use live guns for that portion. Students placed their real rifles near the spot and shoot position and carried identical AR gas airsofts for the jungle lane exercise.
The jungle lane exercise involved movement along a trail in a wooded area and detecting and engaging small camoflaged targets hidden in brush. These did not pop up, we use our pop up targets for other shooting exercises. All of these are static, well hidden targets, making the exercise a little harder than if pop up targets were utilized.
If a student missed a target by walking completely past one, we told them to stop and walk back 10 or so yards and gave them a little hint as to what indicator (shape, shine, silhouette, etc) gave away the particular target they missed. Then they went forward with the opportunity to find that target again.
Students ended the jungle lane right next to the elevated position we did the spot and shoot exercise from and waited near there for their partner in order to do the final exercise.
The final exercise was a spot and shoot exercise simulating the defense of a static position. This was done in pairs so once two people were done on the jungle lane they picked up their real rifles and climbed the perch for the spot and shoot. We explained the scenario to them and gave them a quick minute or so to build a shooting position, discuss things with their partners and perhaps do a quick sector sketch. On command weapons were loaded and then not long after that, the command fight was given.
The pic shows one angle/lane of the spot and shoot exercise. While you can see the white steel targets easily at 200, 300 etc. what isn't so easy to see is the six or so tiny camoflaged steel and "Ivan" targets hidden in the view as well. And the pop up targets are not up in this pic also.
Once the exercise started students worked in pairs to detect, range and engage these targets which ranged from 50 to 400 yards. Pop up targets were dropped and raised randomly throughout the exercise to reinforce the constant need to scan and not just think "we covered that area".
The spot and shoot exercise was the last event of the day and we concluded with an AAR from all the students. The final exercises were very well received and students could see the value in these practical applications of these skill sets.
We have some other pics and short videos of the class on our Instagram page-IG page
SHTF Carbine class will be offered once a year in the fall or spring. It's a 3 day class and with the early bird registration discount the price is just $500. for all three days of training. We look forward to seeing you in class. For updates on new classes, go to the JRH Enterprises website below and join the email list to get notifications of upcoming classes. JRH Enterprises