AAR: 16 May 2020 Basic Carbine with Kyle Gentry of Combat Absolute - Boise, ID

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Spent Saturday May 16 with Kyle Gentry/Combat Absolute at a Basic Carbine class.

https://www.combatabsolute.com/bookings-checkout/carbine-ar-15-basic-2

Prior to this I took his basic pistol class, where you can read the view here: https://primaryandsecondary.com/for...tol-with-kyle-gentry-of-combat-absolute.7634/ I wrote about the instructor and class structure in my last review so I'm going to write this AAR differently

I ran a Colt CM762-16S https://www.colt.com/detail-page/colt-cm762-16s-308win-161-20rd-blk with a Leupold CQBSS https://www.leupold.com/scopes/rifle-scopes/mark-8-1-1-8x24mm-cqbss-m5b1-front-focal using Magpul 20 round mags.

Ancillary gear: Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling with a pair of Universal Wire Loops and a Velocity Systems Mayflower 7.62 Hybrid Chest Rig (now out of production)

Something I've come to understand is that classes are not direct coaching (an expectation from my smallbore days where I and other teammates were individually coached on what we were doing that prevented us from getting that perfect pinwheel). It's a class where you are taught how to manipulate a firearm, shown some drills, then expected to go home and practice. The class is a learning lab, NOT "performance day" so it's helpful to keep that in mind - keep that ego in check, note where you're lagging and work on it. It's easy to beat yourself up for not doing as well as others, but as a student you're there to learn - not preform. That comes later (if you do your due diligence).

We started the day with a battle sight zero at 50 yards from prone. Moved in to 5 yards to practice manipulations, malfunction clearances, up drills, and cadence. Running cadence and other drills with a 308 was difficult and I was dropping shots outside the black trying to keep cadence. I'd heard Chuck Pressburg talk about 5.56 v 7.62
and not having any experience I was like "Hmm, I see" but now I understand.

Worked on a lot of movement. We didn't do any moving AND shooting, but a lot of manipulations while moving. I've never done a rifle class nor had I practiced with my gear. It was difficult getting the mag pouches out of my chest rig and I realized that I was grabbing mags inefficiently. I was not using the beer can grip, but grabbing the baseplate and holding it pinched between my fingers and palm. I think this led to poor performance with moving and reloading, often I couldn't complete a reload until I'd gotten to the second location and stopped moving. I'd have the mag up to the magwell but the bobbing and weaving made it very hard to actually line it up and get it IN there. A proper grip on the mag would've been steadier.

Wrapped up the day with position shooting (kneeling and sitting) and a movement drill called "off line of attack". The first half of the day was done at 5 yards, and after lunch drills were run from between 10 and 60 yards.

There was A LOT covered and the drills we did really showed me what I need to work on. I liked how what Kyle teaches shows you your weaknesses but still keeps it fun so you're not beating up on yourself. Another cool thing is how Kyle doesn't strictly stick with his training program, but will modify it depending on the level of the shooters. If everyone's pretty squared away, you're not stuck doing a basic level course that a complete beginner would need.

There was a student in class that you could've considered as being "that guy" (I considered him that, anyway). Kyle was really good at treating the student the same as everyone else whereas I (and possibly the other students too) were less receptive - walking away if it looked like he was approaching, minimizing interactions, etc.

On my equipment:
The 308 is a hard gun to run quickly. I ran my Dad's Colt AR 5.56 for a part of one drill and noticed a HUGE difference. 5.56 is more of a vertical recoil path where a 308 was like a "Z". Switching to the 5.56 there was an immediate difference in weight, even though the chest rig I had (Spiritus Systems Bank Robber rig) held +1 with 60 more rounds on hand.

I was constantly topping up my 308 mags. The center pouch on the mayflower rig is great for holding loose rounds to top up mags while Kyle was instructing. I did not try a belt-style rig, but I get the impression it might be easier to use.

Dealing with the weight of the rifle/optic was fatiguing. I'm not sore today but I was definitely more tired after the rifle class than I was with the pistol class.

My Dad's AR has a red dot sight and while I like them on a pistol, I wasn't much a fan of it on a rifle. My astigmatism makes it hard to see a crisp dot. I liked the ability to crank up the scope to 8 power when we were working position shooting. I would like to try the course again with something like an EO Tech or maybe an LVPO with a dot (like a Khales K6i).

Figuring out how to use the sling was a long process. Initially I ran it around my back and on the inside of my elbow, which helped stabilize the gun but was very difficult to do manipulations with. Eventually I just ran it slung around my neck, running it across my back if I wasn't shooting. I did, however, appreciate that set up when I was doing the position shooting.

So am I going to stick with the 308? I think that being able to run a 308 might make you really good with the 5.56 but the question is... do I want to put in the time, money, and effort? And I think for me, the answer to that is no.