AAR Advance Patrol Tactics Instructor

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Mar 17, 2005
Austin, TX
Name of Course: Advance Patrol Tactics Instructor
Training Org: Combat Shooting and Tactics
Location: San Marcos TX
Lead Instructor: Steve Claggett
Assistant Instructor: David Burns
Date: Nov 17 2008 – Nov 21 2008
Weather Conditions: Cold mornings warming to gorgeous afternoons

Note: Several topics covered during this course are operational security issues, additionally a lot of this material is specific to CSAT. Feel free to PM me for further details, I won’t discuss tactics here in the forum beyond a very general public knowledge level.

The course was put on by the Texas Tactical Peace Officers Association, and Combat Shooting and Tactics. The course was held at the ALERRT training facility located in San Marcos TX (you can check out www.ALERRT.com for more info on their mission and courses). The facility has a covered 25 yd pistol range, a soon to be completed breaching façade with 20+ entry/breach points on it’s own range, a 300 yd rifle range, and a live fire shoot house with reconfigurable walls. All ranges have berms on three sides, and the range itself has a good safety fan down range on all sides.

The class started at 0800 with introductions of both the instructors and the students. Steve Claggett for those not familiar is a former Dallas SWAT team leader, with a long career on the tactical side of the LE profession, and the former lead LE instructor for Triple Canopy. David Burns is a Lt. and SWAT team leader for a local agency. The class was a mix of different agencies, and the officers present ranged from patrol officers, to range masters and firearms instructors, to SWAT team members and team leaders. Also present were two five-man flights from two different USAF Security Forces squadrons from two different bases. Lastly we had a student who is a LEO from a foreign country whose native language was not English. Overall the class had 27 students, the class was broken into 5 teams.

The first item covered was the safety brief. As this was an instructor class a higher standard of accountability was expected both for ourselves personally, but also in recognizing and correcting things we saw on our own.

Day 1 in the morning consisted mainly of administrative details, introductions and the safety brief.

From there we moved to the pistol range. Shooting was done at the 7 yd line. The main focus of the day was the introduction of several different ready positions, and the Sul position to those not familiar with it.

The first major difference from other training classes appeared almost immediately. The drills are not done to gain skill mastery, rather they are to provide the student the ability to run the drill as an instructor, the rationale behind the drill, and learning objectives of the drill. Rather then shooting copious amounts of ammunition gaining mastery, short runs through the drills are the norm. Steve advocates a stair step approach, of simple to complex, which I agree with. The range was run cold, until several drills had been finished with no safety issues, then the range went hot. This was done to give us an idea of how to integrate this into our own training in a stair step fashion.

The drills worked up from basic gun handling to moving and shooting around other students. This would serve as the foundation for the drills run during the rest of the week.

After lunch we moved to the rifle range. Steve briefly discussed different zero’s and recommends a 100 yd zero. We checked our zero’s and holds from 7, 25, 50, and 100 yds. Being a mix of military and LE folks, there of course developed a bit of a rivalry on who was the better shot. By and large us LE folks J During this process we again went through the range being cold to hot to show us how to do it with long arms.

Once everyone’s zero was on, we moved back down to the 7 to work on rifle drills. Some tactical and equipment issues were discussed as we ran the different drills. The day ended with an introduction to dynamic moving drills you can run on a flat range.

Day 2 was all about vehicles. Fighting from them, around them, vehicular assaults, and downed officer rescue. Class room instruction was brief, as Steve far prefers explaining on the range to power point. Bullet deflection through glass and cars was covered, as well as some tactical options for different scenarios.

The range time provided and opportunity for the patrol officers and military guys to shoot through glass and through the cars. Multiple drills were again covered with each being very open ended and easily expandable. The downed officer rescue block was particularly good with each team being given the option to work the drill with different numbers of officers, and other factors.

Day 3 was CQB day. Class room time was slightly lengthier with a good safety brief, and lots of good information on CQB. The shoot house was run dry. using simunitions in place of live fire, and force on force. Students were required to setup scenarios with specific self chosen learning objectives (pie’ing corners, good secondary searches, etc.) and run their class mates through them. This extended into the force on force area as well.

Safety was stressed throughout the day as it’s a vital part of training in the shoot house. Various tips and suggestions were given out as the day progressed from dry, to sims, to force on force. Creating and running scenarios was probably the most challenging section of the day, as the question of “what would happen if someone shot from here” became our nemesis. Planning for all that could go wrong in a 360 degree shooting environment takes some practice. By the end of the day however everyone was planning, setting up, and executing scenarios with good learning objectives.

Day 4 consisted of fire and maneuver tactics and a brief medical block. Classroom coverage was evenly split between the two. The medical block was shorter then I’ve seen in tactical course before. However as your average patrol officers is going to be lucky to have anything beyond a basic first aide kit there’s not a lot of instruction to give. I’d have preferred some time spent on how to make your own GSW kit though.

Range time consisted of several bounding over watch drills, and suggestions of how to implement them into other training. After lunch the class came back together for some additional CQB work, and finally the hard part of the class.

Each team was asked to present a block of instruction going over one of the blocks we had covered. The team was tasked with creating an instructional plan, organizing and deploying resources, and teaching the block. All this had to be done without just rehashing the material, a twist or new info from our experience needed to be presented. Day 4 ended with everyone working to get as much work down that afternoon on their training site as possible.

Day 5 started at 0800 with the first groups training evolution. With less then 24 hours to prepare and teach the block it was hectic, but also a valuable learning experience. Each group proved that it could instruct a safe and informational block of instruction without just reading someone else’s power point.

Overall the class was a very good experience. Students were constantly required to step up and run drills after the initial dry run or first run through had been completed. We were required to be safety officers for the drills as well, giving us an even better understanding of the drill as well as what could go wrong. Creating scenarios to teach specific objectives in the shoot house prepared us for the final exercise, as well as served to share knowledge between the different teams. The final exercise was probably one of the best training experiences I’ve had. Other training no matter how hard you try is a simulation of what your training for, you never actually put real rounds on real bad guys with real fire coming back. Running a group of students through a training course you designed is exactly what you have been training to do.

The round count for the course was only moderate, I’d estimate about 400 rifle, and 400 pistol, with probably 50 sim rounds. Shooting after the first day was minimal, mainly used to give people a chance to work the drill as a safety officer in live fire. However as noted the purpose of the course was not skill mastery, only one or two runs through a drill is needed to understand it and be able to teach it.

The course covered a lot of good information, but I would recommend one of CSAT’s other courses if you’re looking for skill training in an area. For those who are instructors or looking to be instructors this is a great class. Even if you’re not though, knowing how to setup your own drills to develop your own skills will make your own training much more effective.

As a brief aside I have to say our foreign student impressed the heck out of me. I can’t imagine spending a month and halves pay to get to the US and take a training course. I also can’t imagine taking a tactical training course in a language I don’t speak natively. I’m a fairly fluent Spanish speaker, but there is no way I could take a tactical course in Spanish. On top of that this gentleman was shooting a gun in a caliber he’d never fired before, and running a borrowed rifle he hadn’t had a chance to zero for himself. Oh he also out shoot most of us. Hat’s off to you my friend.

Final recommendation: Well worth the money.

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