May 30, 2017 at 12:26 pm #44919JohnnyMacParticipant
The CQBC course was probably the most exciting, fun and mentally challenging tactical course I have ever taken. Fresh out of training, I’m truly ecstatic by the level of personal development gained through this course. First and foremost, I give huge props to John, the primary instructor for the course along with his two assistant instructors (AI’s please come back!). The course was well thought out, the instruction was skilled and professional, and the facility spectacular as always. The real world context and stories John and his team were able to share with us gave the TTPs meaning and applicability that were honestly invaluable. Understanding the *why* behind something working or not working made it much easier to generalize a concept from a learning perspective. I think we were all humbled by the sheer depth of knowledge and skill required to be successful in CQB, but John was able to serve it up in bite size pieces that we could digest.
The course began on the square range with live fire. We were able to skip over zeroing rifles because everyone was already zeroed. I think this was a big time saver, allowing us to focus more on actually training and might be a good standard for follow on classes. Although there aren’t any prereqs to take this course, having solid weapon manipulation skills is going to allow you to focus on the important stuff instead of running your rifle (see the very good Rifle Skills Course for that). We started with basic firing drills, mostly on color/shape targets. This allowed us to start practicing target discrimination right at the beginning- which is critical in real life. I’ve found PID to be one of the most important and neglected skills taught in ‘the industry’. We finished the morning by progressing to more and more advanced drills, mostly centered around shooting on the move at close range, again, setting us up for success later in the course. We spent the rest of the day learning the footwork and basics of entering and clearing a room, dry. Footwork and efficient movement is key and the very detailed instruction and practice we got on movement really set us up for success. We started as individuals, under the watchful eye of the instructors, and then progressed to student pairs. By the end of the day we were executing drills as four man teams, getting coached every step of the way, on every rep. Getting feedback and points for improvement is where the magic happens with any sort of physical training. I encourage you to not just accept it (Ego) but go one step further and constantly seek it in any training course you take.
Day 2 we moved to the CQB huts and started with dry runs, getting ourselves warmed up before moving to force-on-target room clearing. As we did the drills, a multitude of photorealistic targets were used- both threat, and non-threat. It forced us to try to process what we were seeing, not just robotically shooting anything in sight. We also got the opportunity to learn different types of breaching, and practice shotgun breaching. For me, breaching was the most exciting part of the course and I would personally love to take a course just devoted to that task.
Day 3 we moved to force-on-force. We started with pairs and then worked up to 7/8 person teams clearing “megahouse” by the end of the day. Something that was really valuable was the use of both hard and soft walls. In the real world, this simulates dry wall and hard masonry walls. After some experience, it’s pretty scary to think that all our houses are made of 2×4 and dry wall- and all the implications associated with penetration. We’ve all heard about it, but experiencing it, it’s pretty unnerving.
A quick note on gear: When it came to force on force in CQB, it was sometimes hard to avoid very close shots. This sometimes led to minor cuts and bruises from the rounds. John talked about moving to the reduced velocity rounds, but also gear played a role. The hanging groin protector and rubber armored gloves I used were absolutely clutch. If you’ve never experienced FoF CQB, you frequently take rounds to the hands. I would strongly suggest wearing some tough gloves to protect them. Ironically, the one shot that actually sucked for me was on an unarmored area of my glove. For me, the mesh face mask and goggles worked well, for some other students, they felt it inadequate and wanted more protection. I appreciate the leeway we’re given (Big boy rules), it’s up to you, so go with whatever level you feel comfortable with. Also bringing a few different options with you might be prudent.
A few general takeaways from the class:
When things are happening so quickly in a CQB environment, it’s pretty difficult to process everything that’s happening, especially for a new student. A recurring theme throughout training was to “slow it down”. This is both so that you can process the situation but also so that your team can have the flow/momentum it needs. I could give you countless examples where going too fast got people killed or led to mission failure. At the same time, I could give you countless examples where going too slow also got someone killed. Most tactical questions come down to “it depends on the situation”, but it’s even more so in CQB. Literally one wrong step could result in failure, just looking the wrong way for a split second could result in failure (yes, it happened to us). One of the biggest takeaways is that CQB is one of the most technical and flat out dangerous things you can ever do. We learned that you can mitigate some risk with good intel but, most of all, SURPRISE is a huge advantage. The difference in casualties taken between surprising an unprepared enemy and a well-trained enemy with his gun pointed on the entry point was substantial. I think we also saw that each team worked slightly differently. They communicated slightly differently, reacted to things slightly differently, etc. As we worked together, we really meshed in terms of tempo and started to be able to anticipate each other a bit. This is absolutely essential in becoming proficient. Max has said many times that you can’t grab some people and expect to be tactically successful- and just like everything else I’ve mentioned, it’s even more so in CQB. We went through hundreds of repetitions over the three days but I think it really takes thousands of repetitions to be really good at this, which brings me to my last point. I CAN’T WAIT TO TAKE THIS CLASS AGAIN. I want to devour everything CQB- because it’s such a valuable, complex, and perishable skill set. (Advanced CQBC Max and John?!) If able to, I might just sign up for every MVT CQBC course for the foreseeable future- it’s THAT good. The lessons that I’ve been able to share with you are only like 1% of what I learned. This is a multi-week military course transformed into a 3 day course for civilians. I was astonished by how well John was able to boil it down to the nuts and bolts so that we could see significant progress and be successful in such little time. I never felt overwhelmed in the training progression, which is a testament to how good this course is. Most of us spend the majority of our time in buildings, if you want to learn how to fight in them, you NEED to take this course.
Thanks again to John, his AI’s, Max and, of course, my fellow students. It was a pleasure.May 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm #44920wheelseeParticipant
Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon
Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)
If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc
William, in The RepublicMay 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm #44921wildbillParticipant
A BIG YES to everything that @JohnnyMac said about the CQB class!
The instruction was fantastic from John and with his two-former military “battle buddies” having severed together for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan doing CQB along with multiple other missions they worked as a great team. With 12 students, we could divide up into buddy pairs and three four man teams with the three instructors rotating between us teaching, monitoring, critiquing our every move, nothing got past them and there could have been no better training experience.
As to equipment well @JohnnyMac pointed out a few things but I will add to that; the three-piece helmet, goggles and mesh mask worked well for some but did fail on a couple occasions for several reasons. The most dangerous being that gaps happened on several occasions leaving exposed skin around the head and most dangerous the eyes, which resulted in cut on the temple in one case and pieces of the UTM under the goggles in another case. Less of a problem but a hindrance was that with the rain/humidity/sweat which caused a few goggles to fog up which makes very PID difficult. Personally, I had purchased and tried out the three-piece setup prior to the class and was never happy with the setup and decided to purchase and also bring the one-piece helmet that left no possible gaps and did not fog at all and that is all I used for the class.
Also, another takeaway as far as equipment is concerned is groin protection, you will not like being shot there and since everyone is shooting at close range anywhere from as little as two to as “far” as 5 meters we tried to keep shoots low, no head shoots. And finally gloves, hard back gloves are a must unless you enjoy the pain of getting you knuckles smacked from UTM rounds and believe me NO you won’t.
@JohnnyMac great review and I’m with you this is a class that I will repeat in the future!
Western North Carolina ― LRMC-1 Sept. 2017, CQBC May 2017, DCH March 2017, RS & CTT October. 2016, CTT 1511, LN 1
“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” ― Archilochos
“I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence..." - GandhiMay 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm #44923JeffSagsParticipant
CRCD AUG 13, CRCD MAR 14, CP AUG 14, CR MAR 15, Shivworks ECQC, MVT RIFLEMAN, CTT AUG 16, CQBCMay 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm #44928Jack MosesParticipant
I am working of the video footage from the class. I am sorry to say that I did not get any Mega House footage. I did get Bloody Jeff and most of everything up until 200pm on Sunday. The audio is horrible, but that is what you get with a Go Pro knockoff.
CTT/ NODF April 2016 /CQB May 2017/ HEAT2 April 2018May 30, 2017 at 10:40 pm #44948MaxKeymaster
Jack Moses? Please do not publish any CQB footage. I need it to come through me. You are welcome / encouraged to send it to me.
JohnnyMac: what’s the deal with reviews goibg straight up here now? Good review, I will take it and work in the links etc and publish on the blog.
Just back from Idaho today after a 2500 mile drive.May 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm #44949MaxKeymaster
P.S. I have spoken to John and will be doing a blog post / page update on CQB PPE guidance.May 31, 2017 at 7:31 am #44951JohnnyMacParticipant
@Max Honestly, it was just a mental misstep. I didn’t even think about it until I just read your comment. Sorry about that.May 31, 2017 at 2:52 pm #44968Jack MosesParticipant
Max, I will email the footage to you when I finish cutting out all the down time. I have 58, 10 minute videos to sort through! I will not put anything on youtube.
CTT/ NODF April 2016 /CQB May 2017/ HEAT2 April 2018June 1, 2017 at 9:15 am #45002D CloseModerator
Luckily, all 10 dick shots on me went to the left. I hang to the right. You fuckers all missed. One side effect @JohnnyMac didn’t mention is that CQB apparently increases your appetite too. We cleaned out the BBQ joint. HungryChris ate so much they threw us free food.
BloodyJeff double-lunged me from the MegaHouse doorway from the prone. 360 security starts the minute you push out from the wire. Imagine your four man stack and assault plan after two guys get nailed before they even stack on a door.
Surprise is a relative term. They know you are there but they don’t know how or exactly when you’re coming. Speed is another major factor in CQB. Victory or death is measured in fractions of time. There are lots of things to work on here between classes.
There are no “acceptable losses” for our families. This will change how we approach CQB versus a military team.
Again, very impressed with the quality of students at MVT. Great bunch of guys who appreciate a good fight and like to win. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!
The only easy day was yesterday
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