AAR: Presscheck Consulting Intermediate Rifle Course Dec. 15-16, 2019

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Notes before getting started: I couldn't find any AARs from this course when deciding to sign-up. Chuck mentioned during the class that it was only the third one that he has taught. Future students can expect an evolving curriculum. That said, I would not expect the focus of the course to change.

Equipment:

* 16" AR with Centurion chrome lined barrel on an LMT lower with KAC two-stage installed
*Ammo: Winchester 62 Open Tip Swedish overrun (great ammo, btw)
*Optic: Nightforce ATACR 1-8 with no backup red dot or irons
*One belt-mounted AR mag pouch and a Spiritus Systems (setup as triple shingle) rig for drills requiring ALL THE AMMO! The combination allowed for a total of four mags on the body.
*Drag Bag/ Shooting Mat
*Magpul Bipod
*Blue Force Gear VCAS Sling
*Shooting bags

Prior Experience/ Training:

16 year LEO with the majority of that time spent at a primarily investigative agency. Corollary duties include firearms and defensive tactics training in addition to SWAT entry/ marksman team member. In addition to general firearms instructor certification, I am certified by my agency to conduct in-house training for new carbine operators.

Regarding open enrollment classes, most that I have attended were handgun based, such as Rogers Shooting School and Pannone Hybrid Pistol. I have previously taken a Larry Vickers carbine/ handgun course. It is safe to say, most of my prior carbine and rifle training was provided by my employer.

Range:

This course was taught on the rifle range at the Ancient City Shooting Range located in St. Augustine, Florida. Being somewhat spartan, target stands were needed for each shooter and setup prior to class each day. The range does offer working restrooms and/or porta-johns. It is just off of SR 16 near it's intersection with I-95 in St. Augustine, which makes travel to the range convenient. There are numerous hotels and some (not many) restaurants nearby. The rifle range offers 300 or so yards, but we did not shoot past 200.

Host:

Neil from Gun Gallery in Jacksonville hosted the course.

Class Demographics:

9 students total. In addition to myself, there was one other LEO. All but one student had attended the No Fail Pistol course offered immediately prior to Intermediate Rifle. For at least some of the students, it was their first rifle course.

All students shot an AR variant of some sort with most having various LPVOs, such as the Razor 1-6. One student shot a Mark 8 CQBSS. Two to three students shot red dot optics with magnifiers mounted.

Course Overview:

Like No Fail Pistol, this course is accuracy oriented and every shot is accounted for. Most strings of fire and drills are shot on B8 bullseye targets, though steel targets were also used on Day 2. I am not going to go into detail regarding the POI. I will, however, give an overview for future prospective students to have an idea of the course.

Day 1:

Students formed at the range entrance starting at 0800. There was some confusion about where to go as the location was different than the prior No Fail Pistol. Chuck asked everyone to give the class an idea of their equipment and training backdrop prior to getting started. Chuck talked about the class for a bit and discussed what he felt was the need for the specific POI and how it differed from instruction provided by others. Markers were setup on each side of the firing line at 50, 75, 100, 150, and 200 yards.

Chuck discussed his preference for a 200 yard zero instead of the 100 yard zero. He feels that it gives patrol officers less to think about as the holds are simplified in comparison to the 100 yard zero. That said, Chuck did not make anyone change their zero. Some shooters chose to stay with a 100 yard zero throughout the course.

Shooting first began at the 50 yard line to see how the students did, and to get them in the ballpark. Shooting moved back from there hitting the 100 yard line for those needing to verify zero and ultimately ending up at the 200 yard line to adjust and verify 200 yard zeros.

Zeroing was done on B8 targets.

After zeroing, we shot at the B8 targets from different ranges in order to understand our holdovers/ holdunders. Ultimately, our goal was to always keep our shots in the black out to 200 by knowing where they would hit.

Chuck spent a fair amount of time discussing shooting with the rifle oriented 90 degrees. He stressed the importance of knowing where to hold on the target in order to get your rounds on target. He had everyone shoot their targets at 50 yards aiming in the center in order to demonstrate the effect of tilting the rifle 90 degrees. Then we shot again using holds in order to put our rounds into the black B8 center.

On day one, no shooting took place closer than 25 yards. The day ended with some drills involving quickly turning to shoot and jogging/ running to the next firing line to get in a hasty standing position.

There was no formal lunch break during Day 1. Breaks were just long enough to stuff mags and grab a few bites of food.

Day 2:

We began setting up the range on Day 2 at 7:30 AM. The day started with teaching shooting positions from standing, kneeling, and sitting. Chuck gave some hints and tips that I had not seen nor heard of before. Students were given ample time to try the positions dry prior to firing from them. Sling support was also covered in detail by Chuck.

Once position shooting was covered, some more active drills were conducted which allowed for some competition amongst the class. Several drills were conducted involving students getting into and out of various positions quickly. Targets used were various sizes of steel torsos. Some were minis; quite a bit smaller than the usual A/C steel. To make the targets more difficult, orange paint was sprayed on the bodies or heads of various targets in order to force shooters to focus on the remaining, now smaller, white areas.

Shooting with the rifle tilted 90 degrees was done again as a refresher for the students. All students shot with their rifle 90 degrees port up and port down attempting to put their rounds in the center of the B8.

The day ended with Chuck's 200 point aggregate shot at the 200, 150, 100, and 50 yard lines.

Takeaways:

* A LPVO is not needed for this course. You will be fine with your Eotech or Aimpoint even without a magnifier. If you run nothing but a RDS on your patrol rifle, don't be afraid to attend with it as is.
* For most of the course, two magazines at a time is enough. For some of the drills, you will need a method to carry as many as four. Cargo/ back pockets can be utilized.
* You don't need SMK 77s for this course. A good quality FMJ such as PMC Bronze or M855 will be fine.
* Know your equipment before hand. It is definitely a good idea to bring a pre-zeroed rifle.
*Chuck prefers an open or non-captive sling due to the wide range of adjustment. Some of the sling-supported drills were difficult with the VCAS I was running.
*You don't need to bring a bipod. You'll get more out of this class working on your shooting positions and sling support if you aren't using a bipod.

Final Thoughts:

This is probably the rifle course you need, not necessarily the course you want. If you want to know how to use your rifle to hit into the black of a B8 out to 200, this course is for you. Like No Fail Pistol, Chuck doesn't go into detail about reloads, malfunctions, manipulations, etc. Likewise, you will not be at the 7 to 10 yard line blasting rounds into cardboard targets. This course is intended to teach you how to use your carbine like a carbine. As Chuck reminded us, it is not intended to be "sniper light" or a DMR-style course. The course utilizes the same accuracy-mindedness and throttle control of No Fail Pistol, only it is done with a rifle. We didn't fire a single handgun round during the two days of Intermediate Rifle.

This is not a high round-count course. I started with a 900 round case and ended with 360 or so rounds remaining. Just like No Fail Pistol, every round is accounted for.

Bottom line, it is some great instruction that you won't regret. If you are a student of the rifle, you will definitely leave with some tips and tricks.