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Posted: 1/19/2006 8:19:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/20/2006 5:18:13 AM EDT by Hagakure]
I was reading over some different courses form various schools and was reflecting on my own experiences. Approx. two years ago I had wanted to take a rifle/carbine class to supplement my training. The only issue at the time was that I was in the middle of my AR transition phase.(meaning none at all) My only rifle at the time was my vepr in 5.45 and I was not sure which schools were AK friendly.

Due to variations in training doctrine some seem a bit squeamish about students bringing any type of AK variant. I had placed a call to Storm Mountain Training Center and spoke to the owner and lead instructor, R. Ryan. Mr. Ryan was open to the idea and had no problem with me bringing my "bastard child". Due to past training I was able to bypass his carbine 1 class and get on board with carbine 2(CQB prep). I will dispense with a review of the course itself but focus on the pro's and cons of my particular setup and how it faired in comparison.

This will not be a knock against any type of weapon system. Just my observations. In fact to be quite honest I really don't favor any particular system. I also have my own AR platform and feel very confident with it. I view weapons as tools, the way one would look at two different types of hammers. Each one for me fills a particular role and need.


For starters the class demographics was broken down as follows in terms of personnel. #1-Me(State Police), #2 and 3-Local Sheriffs, #4-Dept. Of Homeland security,#5-Vehicle mechanic,#6-Real estate Broker,#7-Practicing MD, #8-Retired Doctor. Most if not all had taken numerous firearms classes and for the exception of one seemed fairly competent. The one exception I would classify as a "gear queer" and had more kit than most SF operators. If fact I thought the guy was some sort of Tac Medic until I saw how he handled himself.


All accept myself were utilizing some type of AR platform. I believe all but two were Colts. One being a BM and the other a DPMS. I don't recall all the gear that was thrown onto the AR's but for a few the $$ spent was quite high. Again, yours truly would be utilizing my VEPR with a PK-AS and wolf ammo. The only other modification was a SWIFT lever from Blackjack buffers. (This helped out immensely during all the timed drills)


First observation- Weight: Big negative here. I'm no lightweight but after three days of hard shooting my VEPR was beating me up.(quite the foul mistress) The first day was the hardest with the amount of time we spent on the line with such a small class. There were moments when I was extremely jealous of the other students and coveted their M-4orgeries.


Second observation- Weight: Also a big plus. Even though the weight was killing me it also helped me stay on target through all our strings. Very little perceived movement even looking down my sight. Weather it be double-taps or strings of six or more shots it made no difference. Rock solid.


Third observation-Trigger pull- Another big plus. Unlike other kits and the poor quality FCG's that seem to end up in many AK's the wonderful stock VEPR trigger did not suffer from this. In fact I had some of the best drill times out of the entire class. I had the fastest double tap drill from a lower ready. Which was .42sec.(don't recall my split) If anyone has timed themselves you will know how fast this is. The six shot string from a lowered ready for me came in around 1.75. One person with a match trigger edged me out slightly.


Fourth observation-Mag changes-BIG negative. Drill- Two shots, dump mag, reload, two shots. Even when things were going smooth I could only manage a 5-6 sec time. Most of the time was wasted trying to get the right angle to seat the mag. I also noticed that my metal mags loaded alot smoother than my polymer ones. It was as if the metal ones gave me a better "feel" and feedback when trying to seat them. Being under stress did not help this either. Also, due to the fact that with most AK type mags (we all know quite well) that running out of ammo and the inevitable click that come with it one must be versed in transition drills. This is especially true of any type of CQB


Fifth observation-Reliability-You knew I could not resist. Now after 1,500 rds of "crappy" Wolf with minimal cleaning I had suffered no malfunctions. All but one class gun had numerous FTF and a host of mysterious problems which I did not concern myself with. And I'll give you a guess who had the most problems.(Thats right, the gear queer) The other aspect of reliability worth noting occurred during some of the shoot and move drills. Mr. Ryan has a nasty habit of bringing along a broken broom handle to the range. He tends to walk beside you all the while screaming at/pushing you to try to induce some sort of brain fart . He then takes the broom handle and attempts to inject same into your ejection port and jam up your bolt operation. He also uses said handle to depress your mag button and loose said mag onto Terra fir-ma. Try as hard as he could he admitted he had no luck with inducing any type of malfunction on mine. After a few drills he simply gave up on Mr. VEPR.


All in all the Vep gave a solid performance and showing. I would comment on accuracy but most of the distances were 40 yrds and under.(this was a CQB type class)


Now I'm sure I had cause some to fall asleep at their keyboards but I am really more interested in other peoples experiences than my own. I would like to hear your thoughts and observations. Thanks all!

Edit to avoid Dyslexia in fellow members. Thanks Yekimak!
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 9:42:35 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 9:51:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Hagakure:
For starters the class demographics was broken down as follows in terms of personnel. #1-Me(State Police), #2-Local Sheriffs, #4-Dept. Of Homeland security,#5-Vehicle mechanic,#6-Real estate Broker,#7-Practicing MD, #8-Retired Doctor. Most if not all had taken numerous firearms classes and for the exception of one seemed fairly competent. The one exception I would classify as a "gear queer" and had more kit than most SF operators. If fact I thought the guys was some sort of Tac Medic until I saw how he handled himself.



Wich one wasn't competant? Just curios.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 10:23:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dragunov:
Oh man...a lot of words there...



Yeah, but worth the time & effort to read...
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 11:27:42 PM EDT
I hear there's a school in the Nevada mountains called HDSOC (High Desert) and they include AK's in their carbine class. I believe they train folks to go overseas. . . . . . . . But they may have more class offerings in the future. . . . . . .
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 11:43:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 11:44:41 PM EDT by yekimak]
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Originally Posted By Hagakure:
I was reading over some different courses form various schools and was reflecting on my own experiences. Approx. two years ago I had wanted to take a rifle/carbine class to supplement my training. The only issue at the time was that I was in the middle of my AR transition phase.(meaning none at all) My only rifle at the time was my vepr in 5.45 and I was not sure which schools were AK friendly.

Due to variations in training doctrine some seem a bit squeamish about students bringing any type of AK variant. I had placed a call to Storm Mountain Training Center and spoke to the owner and lead instructor, R. Ryan. Mr. Ryan was open to the idea and had no problem with me bringing my "bastard child". Due to past training I was able to bypass his carbine 1 class and get on board with carbine 2(CQB prep). I will dispense with a review of the course itself but focus on the pro's and cons of my particular setup and how it faired in comparison.

This will not be a knock against any type of weapon system. Just my observations. In fact to be quite honest I really don't favor any particular system. I also have my own AR platform and feel very confident with it. I view weapons as tools, the way one would look at two different types of hammers. Each one for me fills a particular role and need.

For starters the class demographics was broken down as follows in terms of personnel. #1-Me(State Police), #2-Local Sheriffs, #4-Dept. Of Homeland security,#5-Vehicle mechanic,#6-Real estate Broker,#7-Practicing MD, #8-Retired Doctor. Most if not all had taken numerous firearms classes and for the exception of one seemed fairly competent. The one exception I would classify as a "gear queer" and had more kit than most SF operators. If fact I thought the guys was some sort of Tac Medic until I saw how he handled himself.


All accept myself were utilizing some type of AR platform. I believe all but two were Colts. One being a BM and the other a DPMS. I don't recall all the gear that was thrown onto the AR's but for a few the $$ spent was quite high. Again, yours truly would be utilizing my VEPR with a PK-AS and wolf ammo. The only other modification was a SWIFT lever from Blackjack buffers. (This helped out immensely during all the timed drills)

First observation- Weight: Big negative here. I'm no lightweight but after three days of hard shooting my VEPR was beating me up.(quite the foul mistress) The first day was the hardest with the amount of time we spent on the line with such a small class. There were moments when I was extremely jealous of the other students and coveted their M-4orgeries.

Second observation- Weight: Also a big plus. Even though the weight was killing me it also helped me stay on target through all our strings. Very little perceived movement even looking down my sight. Weather it be double-taps or strings of six or more shots it made no difference. Rock solid.

Third observation-Trigger pull- Another big plus. Unlike other kits and the poor quality FCG's that seem to end up in many AK's the wonderful stock VEPR trigger did not suffer from this. In fact I had some of the best drill times out of the entire class. I had the fastest double tap drill from a lower ready. Which was .42sec.(don't recall my split) If anyone has timed themselves you will know how fast this is. The six shot string from a lowered ready for me came in around 1.75. One person with a match trigger edged me out slightly.

Fourth observation-Mag changes-BIG negative. Drill- Two shots, dump mag, reload, two shots. Even when things were going smooth I could only manage a 5-6 sec time. Most of the time was wasted trying to get the right angle to seat the mag. I also noticed that my metal mags loaded alot smoother than my polymer ones. It was as if the metal ones gave me a better "feel" and feedback when trying to seat them. Being under stress did not help this either. Also, due to the fact that with most AK type mags (we all know quite well) that running out of ammo and the inevitable click that come with it one must be versed in transition drills. This is especially true of any type of CQB

Fifth observation-Reliability-You knew I could not resist. Now after 1,500 rds of "crappy" Wolf with minimal cleaning I had suffered no malfunctions. All but one class gun had numerous FTF and a host of mysterious problems which I did not concern myself with. And I'll give you a guess who had the most problems.(Thats right, the gear queer) The other aspect of reliability worth noting occurred during some of the shoot and move drills.

Mr. Ryan has a nasty habit of bringing along a broken broom handle to the range. He tends to walk beside you all the while screaming at/pushing you to try to induce some sort of brain fart . He then takes the broom handle and attempts to inject same into your ejection port and jam up your bolt operation. He also uses said handle to depress your mag button and loose said mag onto Terra fir-ma. Try as hard as he could he admitted he had no luck with inducing any type of malfunction on mine. After a few drills he simply gave up on Mr. VEPR.

All in all the Vep gave a solid performance and showing. I would comment on accuracy but most of the distances were 40 yrds and under.(this was a CQB type class)

Now I'm sure I had cause some to fall asleep at their keyboards but I am really more interested in other peoples experiences than my own. I would like to hear your thoughts and observations. Thanks all!
___________________________________________________________________________

I had to reformat it a little to keep my dyslexia from acting up.

Good info, thank you for your time in posting this.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 11:56:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 11:56:20 PM EDT by Sixgun357]
That was a good review.

Those classes are worth thier weight in gold. I took a basic self defence pistol class 4 hours $75. We shot 200 rounds. I learned more in those four hours than if I just went and bought $75 in ammo and shot. I would like to take a another sort.
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 5:19:43 AM EDT
I've had several classes, law enforcement etc. I've never been to a class where the majority of the ARs didn't have functioning problems. I've always used a 9mm Colt. My favorite instructor is Louis Awerbuck. He is a HUGE fan of the AK system. He firmly belives toys don't mean shit if the rifle won't work. He had one class of gear heads with dolled up ARs and one "kid" With a FAL and three mags. Guess who came out on top at the end of the week. He also teaches you to use what you have. I've seen people in his pistol classes with .38 snubs because that is what they carry full time. I'm re-taking his carbine class in June and I can't figure out whether to use a 7.62 AK or 5.45. BUT I assure you it will be an AK.

Troy
Link Posted: 1/21/2006 11:53:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/21/2006 11:59:17 AM EDT by dragunov]
Link Posted: 1/21/2006 6:46:32 PM EDT
Thanks for the link Drag. Though I must say I was more fascinated with the comments on FS in general. Does not sound like my kind of school. She also had a link of a class she took with Goodale who is a class act.
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 3:22:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 5:44:24 AM EDT
Hagakure,

Thank you for your write-up, it was very informative and a positive contribution to the site.

Doesn't your handle mean "falling leaves" in Japanese?
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 9:00:28 AM EDT
Posted by Thekatar

__________________________________________________________________________________

Doesn't your handle mean "falling leaves" in Japanese?

__________________________________________________________________________________

A direct translation could mean either, "hidden leaves" or "hidden by the leaves", or "in the shadow of leaves". Dam Japanese
It is actually a book. The author is a one, Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Written on or about 1716. It is a book more or less of practical philosophy on Samurai code and behavior.

Thanks for all the kind words!
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 9:51:26 AM EDT
Very interesting -- I'm likely never going to get formal instruction in this area, but am a 'distant admirer' of the VEPR rifles.

I am wondering about this part:


First observation- Weight: Big negative here. I'm no lightweight but after three days of hard shooting my VEPR was beating me up.


Are you talking about recoil? Doesn't the extra weight help with recoil? I would think that any percieved 'heaviness' would slow movement -- or make your arms tired and sore.

Any unpleasant 'kick' could be helped with mods for the stock,cheekpiece, buffer, etc.

So is it heavy -- or does the 'kick' get to be annoying in a three day class? ( I think I would start feeling it)
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 10:42:51 AM EDT
Posted by Crowcreek

__________________________________________________________________________________

Very interesting -- I'm likely never going to get formal instruction in this area, but am a 'distant admirer' of the VEPR rifles.

__________________________________________________________________________________


Well, being in Washington you could check out Insights training center. I have heard good things about them.


__________________________________________________________________________________

Are you talking about recoil? Doesn't the extra weight help with recoil? I would think that any perceived 'heaviness' would slow movement -- or make your arms tired and sore.

Any unpleasant 'kick' could be helped with mods for the stock,cheekpiece, buffer, etc.

So is it heavy -- or does the 'kick' get to be annoying in a three day class? ( I think I would start feeling it)
__________________________________________________________________________________


Sorry for the miscommunication. No, recoil was not a problem. In fact with it being a 5.45 it was almost non-existent. The weight in general was what was "beating" me up. Tracking targets was not a real problem. We shot at some movers which were on some type of steel cable pulley system.(not manual) and had no problem tracking the target which was moving from left to right and back.
I hope this clarifies.
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