Combat Focus Carbine AAR Course- Combat Focus Carbine Company- Cedar Valley Outfitters Primary Instructor- Mike McElmeel There were two AIs present though I didn’t catch their names. Location- North Linn Fish & Game Club 1547 Game Club Rd. Central City, Iowa Weather- Cloudy and cold (started out around 23 degrees) Student Body- About a dozen individuals, mostly civilians with one or two police and one military (myself). Course Description: The Combat Focus® Carbine Course is designed to expose students to an efficient method of defending themselves with a semi-automatic rifle during a dynamic critical incident. All of the principles and fundamentals of the Combat Focus® Shooting program are applied to the carbine and the following topics are covered: Sunday, October 29, 2017 9am-5:30pm Cost: $200 *Four Points of Contact with a rifle and Intuitive Shooting Fundamentals *The Balance of Speed & Precision with a carbine *Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Aiming Methods *Combat Accuracy *Volume of Fire *Critical Incident Reloads & Efficient Carbine Handling *Transitioning to a Pistol *Counter Ambush Response with a Slung Rifle *Shooting while Standing, Squatting, Kneeling & Seated *Shooting around Cover & in Unorthodox Shooting Positions *Fundamental Carbine Malfunction Clearing The CFC Program is a physically challenging course with a lot of activity and high round count. Students will fire 700 rounds of ammunition- 600 rifle and 100 pistol. Requirements: -Eye and ear protection -sturdy belt -handgun & 2-3 mags -holster & mag pouch -rifle & 2-3 mags -sling -ammo (600 rifle and 100 pistol) -lunch or money for lunch -lots of drinks for the day -you may want to bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses ------------End Course Description-------------------------- My background / skill level: I am an intermediate level rifle and pistol shooter. I am currently an Army POG trying to maintain or slightly improve my skill level of moving and shooting. Equipment for Class- Rifle- SOLGW 14.5” SBR, Razor 1-6x JM-1 reticle, Omega Suppressor, MS3 sling S&W M&P 2.0 9mm w/ TLR-1HL Safariland holster HSGI battle belt and pistol / rifle TACOs, IFAK, Velocity systems Low Vis Carrier with small front and back Crye Ballistic plates Round Count- 600 rounds WOLF Gold 55gr FMJ Personal Training objectives: Improve basic rifle handling skills, marksmanship, malfunction drills, and transitioning to sidearm through the introduction of varying Relevant doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs): What Happened?: Basic timeline as follows: 0900- Discussed basic tenets of the Combat Focus philosophy, safety and range brief 0930-Hit the range, discussed basic grip techniques 1000- Conducted a 50 yard sitting zero (confirmed zeroes) 1015- Controlled pairs at approximately, single shot on 2” circles at 5, 7, 10, 15 yards. 1100- warm up break, 10 minute lecture on conscious versus unconscious competence. Ambush theory – If you train the skills necessary to defeat an “ambush situation” (chaotic, threatening, unexpected), what I would classify doctrinally as the enemies most dangerous course of action, then your skillset for more simple situations (enemies most likely course of action), are already mastered. 1115- Continued target ID drills- controlled pairs, shooting numbered target and position change drills (sitting, kneeling, squatting, standing). Introduced the lateral one step to the side before shooting while firing from standing. 1200- Lunch 1300- Rotating and then firing, forward and backward movement and firing. (No shooting while moving) 1430- Shooting around cover and unorthodox shooting positions 1450- Figure eight drill with target ID commands to engage. 1600- Range goes cold and debrief Discussion of key issues: Range constrictions included no high ready, no muzzle orientation above 95 degrees, included reloading with muzzle oriented down. We were instructed to only use the charging handle in lieu of bolt catch for every reload. The reasoning behind this was that it is more efficient. I completely disagree with this statement, and when combined with the range restrictions and my sling set-up, my reload times were around two to three times slower than when using a muzzle-up, bolt catch reload. I feel very misled by the course description. I will expound in order- *Four Points of Contact with a rifle and Intuitive Shooting Fundamentals- completed to standard *The Balance of Speed & Precision with a carbine- completed to standard *Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Aiming Methods- Not sure what this is referring to. I used my Razor reticle the entire time if it’s referring to optics. *Combat Accuracy- Completed to standard (2” circles, upper chest “A zone” boxes). *Volume of Fire- Completed to standard 2-3 round engagements on the upper chest box when instructed to engage. *Critical Incident Reloads & Efficient Carbine Handling- Discussed my issue with the instruction on reloading. *Transitioning to a Pistol- Did not cover. *Counter Ambush Response with a Slung Rifle- Completed, I assume this refers to the figure eight drill. *Shooting while Standing, Squatting, Kneeling & Seated- completed to standard *Shooting around Cover & in Unorthodox Shooting Positions- We did one repetition of each and the “cover” was a target stand. Not acceptable in my opinion when a blue storage barrel can be found on any range that runs competitive shooting sports. *Fundamental Carbine Malfunction Clearing- Did not cover. 5. I had planned on attending a course from 0900-1730. We had an hour break for lunch, the lecture portions were kept to a minimum, and I fired my last round around 1510. I was reloaded and ready to continue training. I had even started knocking out push-ups while I was waiting for the rest of the class to finish their figure eight drill. After the last student completed the drill around 1600 the instructor called the brief cold and we went to conduct a short AAR. 6. The course is geared to short range engagements with a carbine (SBR/Rifle/AR Pistol). The entire course, with the exception of the zero was conducted at less than 25 yards. 7. Instructor Quality- Mike instructed clearly and effectively, but I feel like the course material really held him back. He didn’t live fire instruct any of the drills the entire course, however, which always plants the seed of doubt in my mind as to the level of his pistol and rifle proficiency. Improves: Adherence to published course description in regards to time and content. In my opinion, the combat focus doctrine is outdated and poorly executed. Training location (no upward orientation of muzzles causes the trainee to use less than desirable adjustments to their basic techniques.) Training aids- Some shooting sport plastic mesh “walls” or plastic barrels would have been extremely useful in teaching shooting around cover. Cover a technique in entirety rather than playing lip service to it by doing a single repetition of a drill. Sustains: I asked the course instructor right at the beginning if I could use my plate carrier and battle belt throughout the course so I could train with equipment analogous to my duty set-up. He agreed and it increased the difficulty and value of the training for me personally. The date of the class being late in the year and cold weather added training value for me by allowing me to test out equipment and my proficiency in rifle a cold weather environment, which is something I hadn’t done in years. Overall Critique: Overall I cannot recommend this course to anyone. I think the pistol version of the course would have some decent training value for a novice civilian shooter looking to improve their self-defense skills, but as a military professional, the course was not worth the tuition. I learned no new techniques, nor any better or more efficient ways to handle my rifle in the course. For me the course was not physically nor ability challenging in almost any way.