LECTC-1 2016


So I have thought more and more about writing an AAR for my recent trip to DARC for LECTC-1. Many on P&S were involved in my scramble to prepare for the opportunity. What I have concluded is me writing about TD1-TD6 will be nearly identical to anyone else who has done so in the past. Mostly vague statements that insinuate if you are a cop or .mil you need to be there. Those things are TRUE. I just don't think the web needs any more verification on it.

DARC will benefit everyone from the patrol cop to the department administrator. The class targets all aspects of a critical incident, something that from my understanding is extremely unique (and obviously critical).

A bit on my background. I am a street cop outside of a metro city. I previously worked in the city for a small agency, and was temporarily assigned to the city agency while there. All street cop/ crime suppression work. My knowledge of tactical experience was... non-existent outside of active shooter training. I have friends at several large agencies on their tac teams, had always talked shop, but never been exposed to it. I am an avid gun dude, but nothing to write home about.

So how I found DARC.... P&S. The modcasts have become somewhat of an addiction, and the DARC discussions and interviews with Rich definitely brought me from 6 to 12 with a whole lot of 'Merica. I thought it was some form of training I should pursue as I continued to develop my professional skill set. I think my initial question asked in regards to me preparing to a 2018 class. Don't tell Rich Mason that... next thing you know you are learning about all these terms you hear in Modcasts first hand.

So what DARC was for me as a street cop. Eye-opening would be one way to describe it. I was exposed to both the HOWS and the WHYS things are done in the tactical world. Rich uses what I would describe as a building block approach to instruction. Each day adds components to the previous day's lesson. That allows for constant re-enforcements of the basics as you add different things.

I would also describe it as challenging. I had really let my physical conditioning slack in the past several months. Had broken back into it about two weeks before I knew I was going, but that isn't enough time to be truly prepared for the course physically. Cardio and strength training play roles. Up front, it was some of the most intense (and fun) training I have ever had. Even after feeling like a giant suck, I remember looking at Rich and grinning saying "it's fun every time". Pushing your performance is a rewarding experience.

Yada Yada Yada, you will work, sweat, and bleed. You will feel tired, stressed, and accomplished. Thats about all I can say on that. So what I will chase down are the things I can talk about to maybe help you prepare the gear side of it more. I find this important because the less you are focusing on equipment the more you are paying attention to the lessons you are being taught.

What I used:

Avon C50- This was my first time under a mask. I think this was a good choice for needing a mask that was conducive to ground operations and still cost effective. I enjoy mask's a lot more now than I did my first day.

Neck pro- borrowed two different things from work. One was basically a neoprene neck gaiter. The other was a hockey style neck guard that had a semicircle style hard protection that covers the thoracic cavity area. I wore both on every op. No pain in my neck.

Clothing- I tried to be somewhat similar to the guys in the class. Was wearing tru-spec BDU's the whole time. They seemed to do fine. I would love to rock some Crye G3's sometime, but whatevs. I also always wore a loose fitting underarmour shirt. I had Underarmour compression shorts for the cup, worked fine with no chaffing.

Boots- Found my old 5.11's in the garage, they worked fine.

Carrier- At work I had previously worn a Mayflower APC. I knew with my heavy ass plates that for a long period of time I didn't find it overly comfortable. Prior to the class I picked up a velocity scarab with the zip on back panel. I use AMI TAC3S plates (like 7lb's per). This carrier was stupid comforable. It still has the internal retaining strap to fit a multitude of different plates.

I actually broke a zipper on the back panel the first day. Velocity shipped me a new one out to my hotel while I was still at the class, great service.

I used a velocity quad mag placard (like Mike from AT Armor), It fit all I needed ( Spare TQ, Smoke, and some admin stuff). I also kept a double M4 10-speed pouch mounted on my support side. Part of the time it was empty, and at certain times I had mags in it. On the carrier I kept another TQ in a BFG TQ now pouch.

For a belt Jimmy from F3 came to the rescue. I used a Velocity Molle belt (maybe called the assaulter or something) with a HSGI inner cobra belt. I used my Velcro belt from work for an inner belt. On the belt I ran a 3x KYWI glock mag pouch, two ITW FAST MAGS, a DARK med pouch, and a Safariland holster (ALS) dropped down the with UBL and a stolen single leg strap from a buddies rig.

The belt functioned great, the only thing I found was during certain activities I dumped at least one rifle mag (I had the two pouches stacked) and at least one pistol mag. This happened 2-3 times. I still had spares, and it could have been my technique. A single rifle mag may have been beneficial.

For my rifle, its a BCM 11.5 with CIVI DBAL A3 ( this was awesome, the visible green laser came into play quite a bit). I also used a 600U with SR07, this combo was awesome! I thought I had ordered UTM (what the rest of the class used) but inadvertently ended up with ATK FoF ammo. Long story short it never turned into an issue. I had one malfunction the entire class. My cleaning schedule involved running a bore brush and bore snake down the barrel and every run, then after any extended shooting wiping everything with acetone and re lubing locations that do not come in contact with the ammo. Handgun was borrowed from work, functioned fine (glock 17T).

I ran a TW ballistic exfil with Comtac 3's mounted to it. Worked great. Some nights I used a GO-PRO mounted to it, others had a INVG and PVS-14. In a class of dude's using some nicer stuff, I felt less efficient, but when comparing green screen to no screen, green wins every time. MAKE A BUTLER CREEK FOCUS CAP BEFORE CLASS. Rich has posted in places previously how to do this, it was worth its weight in gold. I also had a Princeton tech light on the side (red and white). The red became useful several times, though I kind of wish I had IR at some points.

Overall all of my equipment ran fine, especially for me not having used several of the major components before. Having training in similar setup's certainly helped.

CAT CRAP, that is all. My stuff got passed around hardcore, and it helped. Leaving your mask outside to acclimate to the weather also helped (like 15 minutes prior to doing work).

Notes- TAKE TONS. Perhaps my biggest regret was not bringing a smaller pad out when we were away from the class. Some lessons were not taught in the classroom, and being able to document them is critical. This typically involved me running inside and drawing/ jotting down notes. Though I know I missed a few things that I will need clarification on.

Expectations- I wouldn't go into a class with Rich with anything but an open mind. As I recommended in any class, if you are at someone else's house, do everything by their rules while you are there. If you don't like something, don't integrate it back home. There was some backdoor chatter about well " I would do it this way" kind of stuff. Always give it an honest effort as the instructor teaches, you never know what lessons you will miss if you don't. I went there expecting to be humbled (I ate 4 slices of humble pie before I even left for the class), I was, constantly.

Speaking of instructors. I am not really sure how you get so many bad ass dudes in one area, but I am guessing it has something to do with Rich has a pretty damn good idea about exactly what he is doing and why. Be it Rich or any other AIT/student instructor, the dudes know what's up.

Rich- I have a lot of thoughts about him. It's kind of hard to explain how impressed I was in words. A guy that doesn't sleep, does this for a living, but still gives everything he has simply to insure the student has what they need to stay alive. I know I have read it before, but I want to echo my experience. While Rich may do this for a living, I truly believe he only actually does it because he has a HUGE vested interest in the modern day warfighter/ street-warrior's safety. There is no way you would dedicate the time he (and his instructors) do if you didn't.

OPFOR- I remember that time when they jacked me up.... Very Well

Facility- Yep, shits pretty awesome!

Lessons learned- Lots!

I cut LEXAN lenses for optics and lights before the class. I had cut extra and ended up handing them out to several guys in the class. We lost countless expensive items to UTM hits. Just secure the lenses with tape. No one with a Lexan lense suffered damage.

Bring tons of food and water, eat and drink all day every day. I probably doubled my caloric intake and still lost 6 pounds in the class( I ate like a pig). Don't go into a DARC class with anything but an open-mind and ready to learn, you will not be disappointed.

As I decide on other things to write about I may add an update to this one day. But like I said, writing about the class itself isn't something I feel I can help anyone benefit from. All you need to know is that if you take your training and tactics seriously, whether you are a street cop or swat cop, you NEED to go to DARC. It will improve your weapons manipulation, tactics, accuracy, critical thinking, and overall comfort in a high stress CQB environment.

I no doubt have more opinions on what's needed for the class based on my sole experience, and am happy to offer an anecdotal piece of advice (with no guarantees). Don't hesitate.