Pro Tips: Being Ready for a Training Class

Hmm…this rifle is NOT squared away. Not only was it not sighted in, the flash hider was on upside down.

I had the pleasure of getting away this past weekend to attend the Viking Tactics Street Fighter course, which we’ll be discussing at length in my upcoming posts.  I wanted to start out with a few thoughts not specific to the course, but rather relevant to attending training classes in general.

Have your gear squared away.  Don’t show up to the class with a new gun, new holster, new anything that you have not wrung out on your own in practice.  Sure, the class is a great format to put your gear to the test, but if untested gear fails you, you lose training time.  Keep in mind that you have spent a ton of money on tuition, travel, lodging, and ammunition, and wasted time equals wasted money.

If you are attending a carbine course, sight in your rifle with the ammunition you are using in class.  The first hour or more of any carbine class is inevitably used for sight in, and it is better to be chasing 3-4 clicks of fine tuning than sweating to get on paper at 50m.  The Street Fighter course required students to have attended the comprehensive 3 day Carbine 1.5, yet 2 of 24 students came with guns that didn’t print near the target at 50m and required the other 22 students to stand and wait while those two guns got unscrewed.  Unacceptable.

Know your physical capabilities.  You don’t need to be the star of your Crossfit gym to take a class, but many carbine classes teach position shooting which can become quite physical.  If you can’t get in and out of positions, it can slow the progress of your learning and just make you miserable.  With that in mind, consider bringing elbow and knee pads to help mitigate joint pain issues.

Shooting around cars is pretty hazardous, and everyone in class ended up finding little sharp edges and broken glass bits by the end of the class.  I planned ahead and brought long sleeve shirts, knee pads, and gloves.  Bringing your own first aid kit is a good idea too.  The host facility should (hopefully) have a trauma kit for serious injuries as well as a first aid kit for smaller boo boos, but it is nice to have your own stuff too.  My personal kit was lacking a few items I wanted, and I will be adding to it before I head out to the next class.

On day one of our class it was 90 degrees and sunny, like it is most of the year in Florida.  Proper hydration is obviously key for survival, but lots of folks were under hydrated during longer evolutions, and one fellow fell out shortly after lunch.  A Camelbak hydration system is a great asset, and I was one of only two students wearing one at the class.  Not having to run back for water let me get a few more runs in while others ran to their coolers.  Lacking a Camelbak, consider just stuffing a bottle of water into a cargo pocket or dump pouch.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on training and the AAR on the course.

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About Hilton Yam

Hilton Yam is the founder of 10-8 Performance, LLC. He is a full time law enforcement officer in Florida with extensive experience working robbery and violent fugitives. He is currently assigned to firearms training and SWAT. He is a team leader as well as the lead instructor for his team, responsible for providing training in firearms, CQB, rappelling, defensive tactics, and team tactics. Hilton is also responsible for RDT&E of equipment. He has carried a 1911 extensively on duty, and has spent a great deal of time examining what makes the guns succeed and fail.

6 thoughts on “Pro Tips: Being Ready for a Training Class

  1. A quality medical forceps/hemostat type instrument or splinter tweezers will aid in removing metal and glass shards that get under your skin. Or you can buck up and just let some SF guy use the pliers on his Leatherman tool. (Looks cool).

  2. From personal experiences… this is actually more the norm when it comes to training classes. I can always count on 1 or 2 guys coming to a class with a brand new something, and having it fall apart on them cause it wasn’t tested correctly first. I once saw a guy unbox a brand new Aimpoint at his car and mounting it on his primary, minutes before roll-call… *facepalm*. But not as bad as a guy that showed up with a brand new Glock to find that he somehow got a G22 and brought 9mm for the class.


  3. Great advice. We lose countless instructional or drilling hours shaking out kit and it is disheartening.

    I did have a student with an upside down flash hider in a class a couple years back. His response…”That is the way you’re supposed to have it when you do a lot of night fighting.”

  4. I send my students a very detailed required equipment list and recommendations prior to class. And yet some still show up without gear or gear that’s not squared away.
    I had a student show up at a carbine course and after several instructions to everyone to load their magazines for both pistol and carbine, he stepped up to the line and on the first load and make ready command, stood there and looked at me with a blank look on his face. When asked why he wasn’t loading and making ready? He replied that he didn’t know he was supposed to load them…. Eleven other students understood….

  5. To hand out a pre class list is a great way to make sure everyone has the kit and gear they need for the days of training,also having a short overview session to make sure of what and should be on the line of fire when need be helps with time wasted.

  6. I know that preferences and fit will vary, but would it be possible for the authors of MSW to provide a list of some of the basic gear that have proven to be highly functional and durable?

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