By Mark Williams:
Thank you to all of our students who attended the sold out April 11 - 13 CE Class. This was such a great class with a great group of folks from different walks of life. From Career United States Marine Staff NCO's to Educational staff, this class had a wide spread of skill sets that we had the pleasure to work with. During this class we experienced some pretty big weather on Day 3 that all of our students had to deal with. 20 degree real temp. with a wind chill of about 10 degrees and 10 - 30 mph winds made this a unique challenge. During these times, we must (and did) make the most of the training which allows for valuable take-a-way's even though we emotionally may not be having a good time. It is not very often one can be exposed to these weather conditions and be presented with a high level of training along with a positive mental attitude that continues to foster a great environment to learn in.
Instructor feed back: From all of the instructors: We were very happy to see our students have such a great mindset during the course. From day 1, this class had exceptional safety regarding muzzle awareness and safety manipulation. We apologize we did not get the scores of the Navy seal qual. on day. We felt day 3 did not create an environment to score this properly. We will requal on the Alumni outing on May 31st.
During day two, much of the class excelled in the manual of arms and manipulation, reloads and function drills. We noticed the biggest pitfall across the board was trigger control. Slapping the trigger was a continual work in progress. (A surprise break is needed to ensure a well aimed shot.) Another focus area was on correct posture. It is incredibly important to keep your eyes, gun and chest up on target as you conduct reloads and manipulations. Lowering the gun to the deck is a sign of fatigue and/or bad habit. Keep the gun and eyes up all of the time. (This goes for pistol too!)
On day three, we were exposed to some crazy weather. With that being said, movements, manipulations and drills were slowed to a crawl. This is to be expected even by law and military units in cold conditions. With the weather at hand, we couldn't have asked for a better day. We will take the Alumni outing on May 31st and add that feedback to this blog when it comes around.
Homework: The Carbine skillset is very erodible and can be daunting when trying to remember specific drills and techniques that will enable you to grow as a shooter. Below I will list several of the drills we conducted and you can continue to do at home, on the range or during our Alumni outings:
Safety: Many times, safety (manipulation) is looked at as a mundane rule and often times people write it off as a misnomer. This is completely incorrect. Safety on a static range when you are in your comfort level is not the same as being out of your element, extremely fatigued, stressed and possibly wounded. This is what we have to train to...Safety manipulation has to be spot on during basic training and manual of arms so it is wired into your combat mindset during a real gun fight or high stress competition.
Safety Manipulation: Remember, the safety is on ALL of the time. The only time we take the safety off is during live fire. The actual press of the trigger initiates the safety selector to the fire position.
During speed/combat/tactical reloads, the safety should also be turned on when doing the reload. This is even more important when on the move or taking cover in an unorthodox fashion.
Time/Space: Depending on the distance, space and area of a given area, you need to make the determination if the safety should remain on fire or be switched to "safe" when transitioning to another target. Chances are, if the target is close to the other it is advised to remain on fire. If the target requires a change in body position, or their is a potential for a civilian or by-stander in the area, it should be turned on safe.
Scan and assess: Scan and assess is a mechanical action taken to break a persons mindset of tunnel vision. The scan and assess is to be done after every dry fire, live fire or drill conducted. Remember our verbal command: "Front, left, front, right, front, rear, front". This 360 scan will ensure you have mitigated and threats or targets in the area, checked for family and loved ones, and have ensured the scene is safe.
Dust Cover: This is simple - The dust cover does two things: It keeps the action clean and clear. Two, it is your confirmation you are ready for the following drill, gun fight, or action. My closing the dust cover, you have ensured your firearm is ready to go, your area is clear, you are free of mental baggage and are ready to engage.
Trigger Control: Your trigger generally has 5 stages: Prep, creep, break, over-travel and reset. We teach to shoot to the reset on a carbine. The textile and audible click of the reset indicates you have fairly good trigger control. We do not want to "Slap or Jerk" the trigger. A smooth, surgical, controlled trigger press is what we are looking for.
Drills: Below is a list of drills you can complete to continue your carbine mastery.
1x5 drill: With 5 mags stored on person, load each to one round. Start with 1 magazine loaded into the carbine, weapon on safe, dust cover closed. On command, fire one round. This should lock the bold to the rear. Conduct a speed reload to the command of " Tap, tug, roll, rack". This drill will be done 4 times until you are our of magazines to reload. If you have a shot clock, work on increasing speed and accuracy on your own.
2" drill: At 25 yards, take 5 well aimed shots at the same point of aim. The goal is to have 5 shots through 1 hole. To do this drill properly, remember: Trigger control (surprised break, trigger reset, follow though) must all be perfect. Each shot must be mastered to create an accurate group.
Failure drill: At any distance: From the ready position, move to the "Up" position. Discharge a hammer cadence of 2, 3 or 4 shots into the upper chest area of a target. Transition to the head "T Box" or Pelvic girdle and engage a well aimed "Stopping" shot at the head or pelvis. Remember, this should include a defined break in rhythm to create a well aimed shot.
Once again, thanks to all students who attended the April CE course. We look forward to seeing you at the end of the month.
By: Mark Williams
"Fire Control" is by far one of the most important things we teach at the Carbine Essentials class and also the hardest to understand. Simply put, it is the marrying of the shooters strong hand (usually right) to the pistol grip. As Instructor Trevor M. states "Fire control is like your foot on the gas pedal and your non dominant hand is the steering wheel". Having your strong hand on the pistol grip all of the time ensures the carbine can be manipulated, controlled, put on/off safe and of course fired. Any time we take our fire control off of the carbine, we loss the ability to do all of those things. Although this seems like common sense, it is much harder to do then it looks.
We usually see students leave fire control when loading and unloading the carbine, operating the charging handle or trying to manipulate another piece of gear. For bench rest shooters, this may suffice. For competitive and real world carbine users this can be down right dangerous. Additionally , we see many beginning carbine shooters go off fire control when looking for magazines on their kit. Understand, it is up the shooter to learn his or her gear so when the reload comes, it becomes muscle movement to those magazine pouches with the non-dominant/non- fire control hand.
Fire Control also has one big benefactor, safety! T3 is harsh on students about safety control. An M4 Carbine platform is inherently dangerous and is easy to cause an negligent discharge (ND). Military and Law have been dealing with these problems for over 50 years and all of us instructors have seen it happen in real world circumstances and on the training range. You need to understand your safety cannot ever be used enough. It should be on 99.9 percent of the time your are using your gun. As we teach during the CE course, the only time you switch off safe is that 1/10th of second before you pull the trigger.
We usually see near misses and negligent discharges happen when shooters are on the move. For instance; shooter fires his carbine with a control pair, walks forward five steps and then puts his foot in a rut. The shooter stumbles and because he forgot to safety his firearm, unconsciously squeezes his fingers into a fist when he falls and the firearm is discharged. It is important to remember if their is no immediate threat that you are actively firing on, the firearm should be on safe, whether in the alert, ready or gun position.
If your still confused, check out this video. Watch as the instructor never leaves fire control. Before the drill when he does his press check and slams the forward assist, his right hand stays on the pistol grip. Notice how during the entire drill, the safety is turned on and off every time the shooter moves from position to position. Try to see the safety being turned on during the speed reload and then off on the next engagement. This is proper fire control and safety management.
Their is only a couple of times we suggest taking your hand off fire control. Although their are several other reasons, these are the most realistic and most reoccurring reasons:
1.) To conduct an immediate action to a type II or III stoppage. (Double feed and brass over bolt)
2.) To administratively lock your bolt to the rear.
3.) To conduct a strong side to weak side transition (Obviously)
With that being said, take a look at your carbine and your gear and identify any accessories you may have which require your to operate them with your fire control hand. Lights, Lasers, PEQs, DBALS,NODS (Night optic devices) Tape switches. They all need to be positioned so they can either be operated ambidextrously or on your dominant side.
Fire control and safety management is a boring aspect of carbine training . In fact its like OSHA compliance and sexual harassment training in the workplace. The issue is, without fire control and safety management, you cant continue to do the technical skills without this incredibly important discipline. Attend the Carbine Essentials class by Trigger Time Training in Longmont, Colorado and we will give you the tools needed to get it done right.
If you have any questions or comments please comment below or message the instructors!
Mark is the Chief trainer at TTGC and T3. With over 8 years in the security industry as a US Marine, Professional Instructor and constant student, Mark has a passion for assisting others with Training and Equipment. We hope to hear from you here on the T3 blog and look forward to some good conversations.
Trigger Time Gun Club L.L.C, All rights reserved
3575 Stagecoach Rd. Longmont, Colorado 80504