In Part 1 of my Viking Tactics Street Fighter AAR, I covered the general layout of the class. Classes are a great way to shake out gear setups, assuming that the gear itself has been tested on your own time so that it won’t fail miserably at the class.
I have long used full time iron sights on my rifles, and with that setup I prefer the larger field of view of the Aimpoint M4 or PRO. The T1 on the Centurion Arms 12.5″ really didn’t appeal to me until after really running it hard at this class. With the Magpul MBUS sights flipped down, the T1′s smaller field of view was not an issue even in unusual shooting positions. For distance shots, I would flip up the front sight to help alleviate parallax issues brought on my misalignment of the dot in the optic.
The vertical foregrip (VFG) is not just a fashion accessory. In the Viking Tactics classes you will learn how absolutely critical it is to your success when shooting in a variety of positions. I prefer a full length foregrip on my 16″ guns, but this SBR got a Tango Down stubby to keep the weight down and the profile lean. With experience, the short VFG proved to be sufficient for most of the shooting positions, though I won’t be abandoning the full size one on my larger guns.
It is fairly well accepted that an adjustable two point sling is the way to go for versatility and stability. Not much to add here, though students at the VTAC classes will get their PhD in two point sling deployment. If you go to a VTAC class, bring a VTAC sling. You’ll learn everything there is to know about it.
SBRs (Short Barrel Rifles) are not for everyone, with too short a barrel you can reach past the muzzle or have it pointed at your own body parts when you are in unusual positions. Many taller shooters would have been fine with a traditional 14.5-16″ barreled gun. A muzzle brake on a 10.5-11.5″ gun is just plain rude to bring to class. These guns were unbearable to be around on the line, and their blast when shooting near cover and underneath the cars was just outrageous. If you want to run a brake, run it on a full sized gun.
The M&P, with its large trigger guard, was easy to shoot with gloves on. I leave my triggers set up with ample pretravel so that I have plenty of room for error when prepping the trigger with gloves on. The last thing you want is to have such short trigger travel that you crank one off when your gloved finger lands on the trigger. Make sure you can run your pistol with gloves on if that is how you typically roll. Do you know if you can reach your holstered pistol with either hand? How about when you are in your armor? Get all that figured out before you show up at class.
Speaking of gloves, shooting carbines is hot work for your hands, and all the sharp edges on carbines will wear out your hands over a 3 day class. Get some gloves, any gloves, so that you can concentrate on the shooting. Our class had additional hazards of broken glass and cut metal, so it made it even more critical to have some hand protection.
Bring knee pads to a carbine class, your knees will thank you no matter how healthy they normally are. See above regarding cut metal and glass. I wore some early production Arcteryx kneecaps all three days.
There has been some discussion that non LE/Mil users showing up to class with tactical holsters, chest rigs, padded MOLLE belts, etc. is not very relevant to their typical use pattern. There is validity to the argument, but to be candid, the documented instances of non LE/Mil users being in shootouts with carbines is quite low in general. With that in mind, I do not object to students just using what will help them get through the class. A simple chest rig that holds 3 mags and/or a belt rig for 1-2 mags with a dump pouch will certainly make life easier than having those same 3-5 mags stuffed into your cargo pockets.
For more information on classes, contact Viking Tactics at www.vikingtactics.com. I can’t recommend them highly enough.