Sentinel Concepts Essential Carbine Employment AAR 3/11-12/2016. UPDATED

Andrew Y.

Regular Member
Sentinel Concepts Essential Carbine Employment AAR
Date: 3/12-3/13 2016Location: Waxahachie TexasInstructor: Steve Fisher

Course Description/Gear List:
Background: My dad and I had previously taken an introductory carbine course at Sig Academy 18 or so months ago. We occasionally practice with rifles, however without any real formal training or an idea of how to employ them, as civilians, rifles had always taken a backseat to handguns. With this in mind, we wanted to learn how to use rifles effectively and safely, not be high speed dudes playing operator. We drove from DSM, Iowa to Waxahachie on Friday 3/11, 10.5 hours of drive time so not terrible.

Day 1 was supposed to rain all day and be in the 80s, it ended up sprinkling a little bit in the morning and then being alternatively sunny and cloudy in the mid 70s the rest of the day, almost ideal training weather.
Day 2 was sunny and very very windy, target stands had to be weighted with rocks and range junk to keep them from tipping. However, the wind did keep it cool.

For rifle, I used my DDM4 V7, which has the older style MFR rail, not the new MLOK one that debuted at SHOT. Rifle has Magpul MOE+ grip, SL-K, MS1 Padded sling, Surefire P3X with IWC Radial Light mount at the 11.30, a Unity Tactical mini vertical foregrip, Aimpoint Pro, and a Ferfrans CRD muzzle device. Support gear on Day 1 was a gun belt with single EssTac KYWI pouch for M4 and a few mags in the pockets of my 5.11s. I did use a Vocr3 from EGL on day 2. Its not in my mission set to run a chest rig, but I wanted to try more efficient ammo management and I don't have the waist for a heavy war belt. Peltor ear pro, Oakley sunglasses. Clothes were Salomon boots, 5.11 pants, and a Arcteryx Beta SL for the predicted rain. I mention all this first because working with gear was a big part of Day 1 (at least for me). I will probably remove fore grip and just run a slick tube, and I plan to install a low power variable optic and move my Aimpoint to another gun.

Day 1 Lessons
We started the day with an introductory meeting and Steve went over his philosophies for rifles, at least as it relates to civilians. After moving to the range, we confirmed zero at 50 yards and started drills doing a walk back from 10yds to work mechanical offset. I surprised myself by not screwing this up and actually shooting decently. For the rest of the morning we worked on presenting the gun, recoil management, safety use age, and ready positions. After lunch we started work on reloads and malfunctions. Nothing here was ground breaking, as in I had heard/seen/practiced it before but it is always better to do so under the eye on an instructor and still good to learn/refresh. The one big thing for me and I think everybody was Steve is big on working the safety, every time you came off sights. It caused me a few mental stumbles when it came to emergency reloads, but I get his logic. Final drill of the day was a walk forward from 40ish yds to about 5 yards. doing a variety of different courses of fire, including reloads. We broke for the day about 16:45.Day 1 Notes
Having a small class of 9 total shooters is pretty nice.
In a home defense role, I won’t have any extra mags on me, but making the most of class time means efficiently managing ammo. Working from a limited belt set up worked but not ideal juggling mags out of pockets.
Don’t outshoot your sights, speed is great till it causes you to miss
The TX mud is incredibly sticky and heavy. Multiple pairs of boots is a must.
I prefer a contact ready, as in looking over the top of the optic to the threat. I am not consistent enough to work a high ready, but I see the utility and plan to work on it.
Steve’s point about missed shots not being a liability but wasted time where a bad guy can kill more people is new to me and spot on.

Day 2
We started the day shooting groups to reconfirm zero, followed by transitions between multiple targets that were next to each other and then spread apart with no-shoots, in the middle. Next we worked with shooting on the move, starting with moving forward and shooting as we went, then working on lateral movement in both directions, and then finally working on a move, stop, shoot while working forward. Steve explained that moving and shooting is probably unlikely unless we were assaulting something, or trapped in a linear zone like a aisle at a grocery store. He also explained how moving backwards is ill advised because the area is unknown, and you will probably end up on your back which is a bad place to be in a gunfight. We went over malfunctions, Steve isn’t a fan of chamber checks because it doesn’t work in low light and is faster to just clear it based on the manipulation you get Later we worked on shoulder transitions both maintaining dominant hand on the pistol grip and then with switching hands. Finally we went through two different drills, a variation of the 1-5 VTAC and then a cat and mouse game with barricades and 50 ish yard steel. We ended the day about 17.00 with a class debrief and awards.

Day 2 Lesson
-I really need to work on shooting on the move, I failed miserably
-I ran a VOCR3 all day, I don’t think that I will ever get the chance to use it in “real” life, but efficient ammo management keeps things from getting complicated and helps me learn, but is not a need
-Target transitions, driving the gun faster than you are ready to just means you need more time to find the dot and make the shot. -Slow down
-This was the most I had ever worked transitions to my weak side, I call it weak side because to me that’s what it is. I liked working it and can see the use, especially in a home defense scenario.
-Steve introduced reverse slinging as an option for switching shoulders, I like it well enough that I went the rest of the day that way and will probably continue to do so.
-I like the targets he uses, I should have taped more often to keep better accountability.
-Overall, pleased with my accuracy for the minimal work I put in prior to class and will continue to improve.
-I got to shoot Steve’s NightHawk RMR 9mm, I pleasantly surprised by my accuracy at 40 yards on reduced size steel.

Overall lessons- Need more sun screen, I would like a higher mount for my Aimpoint, and running the stock position one stop in from all the way out is best for me.
-Almost everyone in class was using a muzzle break, made for a pretty “blasty” line. My dad commented that it threw him off on some shots.
-Low-Power Variables are pretty handy, even at 15 yards, being able to crank it up to 2X to make a low percentage shot would be handy. This seemed especially true on targets that do not have clear “hit” zones, like people.
-Steve takes the time after every drill to check in with everyone and re cap and see whats up, its an awesome practice and more people should do it.
- I would have like to tape my target a little more frequently so I could better hold myself accountable for hits.

I may think of more and will post below but right now this sums it up, great class and I will probably take Essential Carbine 2 when he is local to me in July, and I think a handgun class would be awesome.

Any questions let me know.