After Action Review by “JEHalloranIV” and “BillPete” who attended the class and were partnered for the course.
EAG conducted a Shoot House/ Combat Life Saver Course at the Alliance, OH Police Department facility from 10 to 13 April, 2013.
This is the first of four EAG Shoot House classes scheduled to take place in Alliance this year.
This AAR will be in the Issue, Discussion, Recommendation format…but we’ll discuss gear first:
Reviewer J’s Kit:
MSA high cut helmet w/ MSA rails, Sordin Comtac II ear protection, Oakley M2 eye protection.
o LBT 6094 plate carrier with various and assorted ATS Tactical/Blue Force Gear/GAG/Emdom/First Spear pouches…AND the First Spear 6/12 tubes cummerbund conversion…makes this armor perfect. Armor consisted of Ceradyne LVL IV triple curves with CAT backers
o VTAC BROKOS battle belt w/ ATS cobra riggers inner belt, Safariland holster for pistol, Eagle/Emdom/EAG pouches
o RFI ACS shirt, Crye G3 combat pants, old ass Oakley assault boots…(wear gear you’ve used and are comfortable with)…(oh, and buy once Crye once)
o Various layers of SPEAR gear silkies, PCU jacket, black fleece, etc, etc…the ability to adjust up and down depending on the WX and the level at which you are jocked up is exceedingly important…yeah it was rainy and crappy some days, but I was never uncomfortable.
o My name is Joe and I own a Bushmaster…although the only thing that’s Bushmaster on there is the roll mark on the lower receiver. This is the same gun I’ve run in every one of EAG’s classes, and has been boringly reliable. I run it with the standard set up of Aimpoint T1 in Larue mount, PEQ, Daniel Defense rifle length rail, and the new addition is the Surefire Fury in Larue Tactical mount. [editor’s note: JEH’s rifle is fairly old, from the days when Colts were impossible to come by and BCM wasn’t making rifles yet]
o Glock 17 w/ Surefire X300U. Bring a pistol that works and hang a shitload of light off it.
o MSA high cut helmet w/ MSA rails, Peltor ear protection, Oakley eye protection
o Crye JPC plate carrier with various Blue Force Gear and EGL pouches.
o ATS Tactical Warbelt with Safariland holster, EAG Dump pouch and various Blue Force Gear and Tactical Tailor pouches.
o Crye, USGI and SKD uniform clothing. All worked well.
o Like J, B had various levels of snivel gear available which included PCU Level 5 Jacket, USGI Black fleece, neck gaiter, Outdoor Research beanie.
o BCM Kino upper on a Stag Arms lower. Aimpoint T-1 red dot sight, DBAL laser, Surefire Fury, Gemtech HALO suppressor. Doesn’t get any easier than this. Many people asked about the silicon sleeve on my HALO, and it is from US Tactical Supply. Well worth it, as there was one time I had to transition to the pistol after emptying the rifle (there were that many threats—not to mention my shooting) and I could feel the heat from the can, but it was not a burning sensation as the sleeve did its job.
o Pistol was a Glock 17 borrowed from Joe. No issues.
Issue: Visible lasers
Discussion: Bottom line is they work…when you need to point something out to your partner, cut through obscurants (think: smoke, even just from firing indoors) and stick a laser dot on a target you can’t get a good look at, talk friendlies in from hall/outside to where you are, they work. Proper boresighting and zeroing is key, but once set up, they proved valuable in prosecuting targets.
Recommendation: If you can get your meat hooks on one, get one. DBAL is readily available (but spendy) and the Insight CIVL should hit the streets soon (???…maybe) at a somewhat affordable price (or so the interweb tells us).
Discussion: Bill and I chattered at each other like monkeys last year, fixed it, and sustained clear/concise communication this year. Oddly enough, we were able to pass that along to some other teams. The key point here is COMMUNICATING…not talking. Is it critical to say what you are about to say? Can you handle the issue yourself? If so…go fucking do it. If not, get your partners attention, communicate what you or he/she needs to do…then fucking execute. Stop talking about the color of the door, the fabric of the drapes, etc.…that’s talking. Communicate.
Also, communications also assists with the other function that is important—breathing. You have to breathe to talk, and even simple communications ensures you won’t vapor lock.
Recommendation: Be brief, be brilliant and be gone.
Discussion: Breathing is essential to life; that whole oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange is kinda cool. Tied to the above, if you’re communicating to your partner…you’re also breathing. Bill and I would work a door/shape, process what needed processing, move to the next portal take a DEEP breath, then punch in. It seemed to work.
Issue: Shapes VS. Furniture/hallways
Discussion: Chappy (one of the instructors) blasted us with this on Training Day 2…and while it seems like a blinding flash of the obvious, man does that shit work. Life exists in a couple simple shapes; the L, the T, the 4 way…when you start processing the angles and shapes in that context, the paisley pattern on the sofa and the cool wicker cabinet goes away. When you process the shape and the problem associated with it, you’re much more effective.
Recommendation: I’m taking this and putting it in my lexicon, recommend you do too.
Issue: Look For Work
Discussion: Working with two man team means there are only two of you (duh). What this means is that one of you may blow through the portal, dig your corner and get sucked in to working an unknown…leaving the rest of the room for your partner. Work the problem from big, to medium, to small. You or your partner may get pulled immediately to small (working an unknown), so the other team dude has to work all three pieces.
Recommendation: Determine what else needs doing and FUCKING DO IT.
Issue: Change your aspect angle
Discussion: We ended up engaging down the long hall a couple times, and we had some shoot/no shoot scenarios where standing squared to the target didn’t/wouldn’t work. Take a quick knee (as in drop straight down), reacquire, and engage…making all of the appropriate monkey noises when coming off the deck (standing/stand).
Recommendation: Don’t get stuck in the standing position.
Discussion: A couple times during some earlier runs in the house, we seemed to be running through the house…as in, two of the instructors said: “if I gotta run to catch up to you one more time, I’m going to kneecap you” (or words to that effect). Speed is OK as long as you maintain control, if you lose control while moving with a loaded weapon in close proximity to other humans and you may have an issue that cannot be recovered from.
Recommendation: Run at about 85% of your headlight beams (on high beam). This maintains some wiggle room and doesn’t let you get WAY out in front and back in the dark.
Discussion: Your light is an illumination tool, not an aiming tool.
Recommendation: Use that cool thing that you paid about $600 bucks for…it’s bolted to the top of your receiver, and probably sounds like Aimpoint. Don’t forget your sight’s offset either.
Discussion: Again, great training from Doc Spears, coming to this course and getting re-validated in all things CLS/TCCC is great for me.
Recommendation: Maintain this training, incorporate skills drills into personal, department/agency, or unit training, and stay current via www.health.mil . A small recommendation would be to include the rib/tissue work into the final live fire evaluation… it would add stress and ensure retention of technique.
Discussion: While Joe and I had the distinct advantage to work on the same team again this year, I watched others go into the house, shooting live rounds, after only working with their teammate for just a few hours. It is certainly a challenge, but can also replicate real life scenarios (1st two responders on the scene of an active shooter). If you know someone else going to the course, whether in real life or just on the internet forums, at least start talking before the course and have an idea of how the other person thinks, communicates, etc.
Recommendation: Attempt to socialize with as many course attendees prior to the course as possible.
Issue: Use of available time
Discussion: Oftentimes, due to the late hours in the house, the official start time would not be until late morning. However, since we are all Type A personalities, many would show up several hours ahead of time to rehearse, recon, prep the range and BS. Someone a lot smarter than me once said that “time spent in reconnaissance is time well spent” and the same thing that can be said for rehearsals. That was free time available to the students, at no cost (we had already paid for everything) and instructors were available to assist teams. Take advantage of those opportunities and fine tune your TTPs, etc.
Recommendation: Maximize the use of available time.
Issue: Reduction of overall costs of the courses
Discussion: As well all know well, the cost of EVERYTHING is going up: travel, gas, lodging, ammo, etc. I know for me, traveling to the course via air, taking leave, etc, puts the overall cost of the courses near $4k without getting creative. So how can you make the most of your training? Take advantage of incentives out there available to consumers. I am fortunate (or not) to travel a bit in my job. I try hard to fly on the same airline and stay in the same hotel as much as possible. As a USAA member, I also use their Eagle Rewards Card, which gives a mile for every dollar spent. Between the USAA card and my Holiday Rewards program, I was able to fly round trip from Helena, MT to Akron, OH for less than $150 (with no baggage fees) and J and I each paid $250 for 9 nights of lodging. Cannot complain too much about that. It does take time, and some opportunity to get to those levels, but every little bit helps.
Recommendation: Take advantage of consumer rewards to help offset some costs of training.
Finally, we did have a 40watt moment near the end of the course: Listen, Process, Practice, and Apply.
Listen: to the instruction, the directions, the situation, and AAR. There are things in their called “clues” which can help you better solve the problems that you will face.
Process: the information. Put it into a language you understand. Don’t get defensive in the AAR. Things are said for a reason.
Practice: what you have processed. Can it work on the next iteration? Physically rehearse if possible. If not, talk with your teammate about the upcoming event. When time is short, focus on the actions on the objective and key events.
Apply: what you have learned. As American military members, we often talk about “lessons learned”. At a JCAS Symposium a couple of years ago, an American officer was speaking about lessons learned from an OEF rotation, and a British officer commented along the lines of “you Americans are always talking about lessons learned. They are actually lessons OBSERVED, until you don’t do it again. Then it is learned”. Very valid in my opinion.
Special thanks to the industry pros that showered the class with knowledge and stuff…Team Trijicon , 11-10 (Bill), Raven Concealment and brother Greg Peters of Peters Holsters. It was great to meet/see everybody, the fact that you come out and drop knowledge is pretty damn cool.
Take a deep breath, and ratchet it back about 10%; the fight starts on the other side of that door…