Once the class is done, it’s time for cleanup and it’s not a light clean up. We fired somewhere in the ballpark of 70,000 simuntion rounds during the week, both officers and OpFor, and yes ass hat, 70k not 6k, it wasn’t a typo. Being familiar with Force on Force orderings and usage, I can confidently say that is more rounds used than all of the Houston Area uses COMBINED in one year for standard training. Its impressive, even more impressive than that is the floor of the shoothouse after a week.
Below I’m going to list in no particular order things I learned from a week with so many gun fights and seeing how humans act under stress:
- Tac Reloads ARE a thing. A lot of people say there is no such thing as a lull in the gunfight, but when you are fighting motivated individuals, there can and will be lulls. I was actively holding security against 3 or 4 opfor at time and doing Tac Reloads. With that being said, more times than not I did NOT retain the mag, I let it simply drop. I worked off my gut instinct on when to do them and it worked out well, because my mags were marked, so when we went through to pick up our mags after scenarios I could evaluate them and at no time did I ever drop a mag with more than 5 rounds in it. I did not count rounds by any stretch of the imagination, but knew after a lil pow wow with OpFor that I was less than optimal, which to me is 30 rounds. Therefore I plus’d up given the opportunity. There is however a fine line however of tac reloading to much and just wasting ammo
- There is something to be said about Predictable Human Behavior. The role players that Rich uses are regular ass dudes with minimal tactical experience. One dude I think made business cards for a living, another had a family resort he worked at. They enjoyed coming out and participating in the betterment of LE. With that said, you watched a lot of them work off natural intuitive responses when going against us. You learned how they worked and operated when you weren’t doing a run, but rather watching them from the catwalk. You could watch how they reacted to light from officers lights as they moved through the structure and how they loved predictable behavior on the officer’s part.
- Strobing is not an effective method. It is still predictable and the opfor can read it. However spontaneous bursts of light in an unpredictable manner were effective. I found that when contact came I went to a constant on state and held there, because I wanted to take in as much as I could. Some other students still strobe and I believe Rich was cool with either way, so YMMV. I think each situation dictates and there is no absolute technique, however certain techniques at certain times are less than ideal.
- There are some things you should be practicing that you’re not, and I was in the same boat. A couple examples include reloading a rifle one handed while holding active security or even clearing a malfunction under the same circumstances. This is a skill set many do not have. The reason for this is because you may have a rifle go down in the middle of you doing the Lord’s work and don’t have time or the opportunity to fix it with two hands or devote your sole attention to it. Hell, you may have trouble shifting your focal plane from “down range” to your rifle to ID what is wrong with it. You’d be shocked how easily OpFor can read you, no matter how “tactical” you’re being. I watched time and time again OpFor come out in droves when officers went to do mag changes, them bitches had spidey senses. Another skill set is putting your NODs back on when it’s dark. Sounds simple enough, til you try and actually do it.
- VERY few teams and/or agencies are prepared. You will learn how vulnerable you are and the sad part is, a lot of those vulnerabilities can be easily fixed, but admins aren’t willing.
Now I know what some of you are thinking that don’t know me…….aww that’s cute, he learned a lot, I remember my first training class. Not quite….Ive trained with Mike Pannone, Pat McNamara, William Petty, Aaron Cowan, Paul Howe, Kerry Davis, Jeff Gonzales, Steve Fisher, Mike Lamb and the list goes on. I’ve averaged 15-20 classes a year for the last 3 years. I could trump a lot of people on training hours easily on any given year….and better yet have real life experience to mix into it, between LE and .mil. I say this not to brag or self-boast, but rather lay ground work for understanding the importance of this course and just how much I learned. There is a WORLD of difference between being a badass on the flat range and a badass in real life and Force on Force training will bring you as close to real life as possible. Furthermore, I have done hundreds of evolutions of Force on Force/Sim training, so this isn’t my first rodeo at this either, but never at this magnitude. DARC also does some other stuff during the course to up the stress and add more on your plate, buttttt your gonna have to wait and go to find out what it is they do. These tips, tricks, and realizations are something I’ve never picked up on the flat range. That coupled with the extremely high amount of rounds fired during this course and the amount of gun fights you get in are what shed light on this information.