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.