High Intensity Learning--YFA's HITT Class

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El Tejon

Dec 24, 2002
Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
3 days with the Master are worth 3 years practice alone--Chinese boxing axiom.

August 9th through 11th I had the opportunity to attend High Intensity Tactical Training course taught by Louis Awerbuck of YFA which featured pistols and carbine. The class was held at the Boone County Sheriff's Department in Lebanon, Indiana.

Accompanying me was my good friend Lone Ranger. Lone and I have attended several classes together and work well together. He crashed at the Fashionable Bachelor Pad after we went for bison meat and microbrews on Thursday night. We then drove the 25 minutes south in the morning.

Our host for the class was the affable, witty and all-around swell egg Ken Campbell. Ken is an associate professor at Gunsite, the head of the FTU at BCSD, and candidate for Sheriff of Boone County. Ken is a wonderful host and a true asset of the gun culture. He has been hosting Awerbuck for 12 years now. He has the logistics down cold.

The first day began with pistol drills. Shooting from static positions and then moving. Louis, with hawk-like eyes, saw everything. "Herrre's a clue for you. I'm not letting you get away with anything, gentlemen."

I had changed my tac load procedure in that I stow the old mag in the shooting hand so that I have a better grip on the new mag. Louis was not impressed--too much movement (except he used a two-part word, Afrikaans I believe, that starts with "f-ing" and then "s"). When in Lebanon, do as the instructor tells you--I changed back to the first way I learned.

After lunch on Friday we broke out the carbines. We zeroed at 25. Several out of the class of 10 needed multiple shots to zero. They had zeroed off a bench instead of prone and the difference became apparent.

After zeroing it was time to learn the most oft repeated lessons of the class: 1. It's only a .22; 2. boreline/sightline. We moved up close to learn these lessons via personal experience.

In most rifle shooting, one is in a static position, relaxed and controling his breathing as in meditation/qigong. Fighting with the carbine at pistol ranges entails a different approach. One must understand that the .223 at the ranges involved may be fired from moving positions, advancing, withdrawing, laterally. I have even monkey stepped while shooting at my home ranges (did not do this in the class as I had to keep even with my fellow students).

The .223 may be shot quickly. Like a "hammer" in pistol shooting, multiple shots off the first sight verification.

In addition, one must understand the difference between boreline and sightline at the ranges involved. Moreover, that this difference changes as the targets change angles.

While moving and grooving, I noticed a couple of things that I share here (the following are El Tejon's personal opinions [i.e. they are probably wrong] not a recognized trainer such as Louis Awerbuck I offer these as they work for me and not as criticism of anything or anyone). First, I noticed my fellow students kept their rear foot "in a bucket" in that the rear foot was at 90 degrees to the target. IME/IMHO I find it easier to keep the rear foot at 30 to 45 degrees. This allows me faster advancing, withdrawals, laterally and prevent crossing of the legs.

Second, from what I saw as I checked my flanks, a couple of guys had their mouths open, even their tongues sticking out. IME/IMHO I keep my mouth shut so I do not bite off my tongue or break teeth when I get hit or have to hit the ground. Try active breathing like in boxing in that the tongue acts as a valve: suck air in, tongue curls up; push air out, the tongue curls down. Try it and see if it helps you.

In gun nut stuff, Louis also spoke of the EBR which was used in Iraq and the new 6.8mm cartridge. He expressed a reserved opinion on both. Being from SuidVestAfrika, where 6mm was prohibited for 90 pound Springbok, he was dismayed that the U.S. militree believed that this was the right cartridge to replace the .223 in '05.

Saturday we were back on the carbines. Manipulation drills, one-man box drills, transition drills, and a great drill which I called "hide and seek." In this drill, Louis numbered the targets and then mixed them up and arranged them in a rough elliptical shape. One shooter at a time was called to the front of the class. He was to find his assigned target and stop it without hitting any other targets! Fantastic drill to get the juices flowing.

We then did a daylight drill upon Louis' "mover" target, aka "Louis' computer." The mover is 3 3-D targets--a hostage up front, the BG in the middle and an innocent bystander in the background. As Louis moves the target, a team of 2 shooters is tasked to neutralized the BG with one shot a piece.

Lone and I decided upon a hammer and anvil approach. I lined up right as the hammer and Lone on the left as the anvil. On "Go" I moved laterally 5 yards right as Lone took one step right. The BG broke to my side. Having a clear shot I drilled Mr. BG under the left eye as Lone gave him a big dental bill. Car Ramrod (you're Ramathorn, I'm Rod) triumphs again.

We broke for dinner and came back when darkish (full moon that night). We did more moving and grooving at night, transitions and hide and seek. Then back to the mover.

I used a Bushmaster with an ACOG. I was having trouble seeing the sight with all the backwash at night (closing one eye did help) and decided to transition. As I readied myself for the mover, the kind and wise Ken Campbell gave me these sound words of encouragement to clear my mind and approach wu-hsin bliss, "Kirk, don't f*** up." Gee, thanks, Ken.:rolleyes:

On "Go" Lone and I kept the same hammer and anvil plan. As I moved I transitioned to my pistol and shot BG through the squawk box at a 45. I think I would have gotten the juglar, but should have hit higher. The BG then slid to my side and Lone shot him twice through the eye (beautiful shots, right on top of each other).

The third day was distance shooting after more close in drills. After "long range" (50, 75 and 100) shooting to focus our minds at a steel plate. Hard for me, I shot a shadow at 75 yards and got chewed out, deservedly so. However, Ken Campbell did decide that I now have a cool SEEL Team 37.5 nickname, "Shadow Killer." Thanks again, Ken.:scrutiny:

While we were apparently scheduled to go to the SD's shoot house, Louis thought we could stand more training on counterambushes from a vehicle. So, Ken purchased a Buick Somerset for $100 and had it towed to the range.

From the Buick we practiced front and side ambushes, dry, then live. On the side ambush I did something REALLY stupid which I share so no one repeats it.

On the driver's side on a side ambush, we (I was driving and Lone was passenger seat) were to shoot twice from the carbine, and then transition to the pistol. We performed the drill and Lone beat me to the stop plate. Lone called clear and I then called clear.

However, I called "clear" as my pistol was still downrange and just beginning to move away. If Lone had popped up out of the passenger seat, a #2 violation could have transpired. Even though my finger was straight, I was not focused on 2 or 3 moves ahead and I should have been. Fortunately Louis was at my elbow and hurried my pistol out of the line of fire.

No matter, how much I think I know, I still know nothing. The more I train, the less I know. I am truly grateful to Louis Awerbuck for coming here and helping us.

Many thanks should go to Ken Campbell who at the end of class invited us all back and encourage us to spread the word. Amid all the bleating in the popular culture and media, we are very fortunate here to have such a person.

Gun nut stuff: I went untertactical this time out. I shot a 20" Bushmaster with an ACOG (stop being so shocked, you have to test stuff) and a Les Baer TRS as a pistol. Support gear was an East German gas mask bag that I used as a drop pouch and to carry extra mags and Milt Sparks holster and extra mag pouch. I used Surefire E2 torches. Lone showed me his Surefire Aviator--great light! I'll pick one up next gun show.

I loaded my mags with individual rounds from rounds carried in my pocket (rifle in top pocket of cargos, pistol in thigh pocket). Some guys brought a rail car full of mags and reloaded at night.

I had one failure to fire because of a dead cartridge during a car drill. Louis thought I had failed to ensure my weapon was loaded--me, screw up?!?! The cartridge was a Remington/UMC "yellow box" round. Louis said that all manufacturers (exception being my friends at Black Hills) are having problems. Mr. White of THR can testify as to that.

If you can, take an Awerbuck class. It is worth many, many times the time and money.
El Tejon,

Thanks for the great review. Which ACOG were you using? There are so many in their catalog and they are all ACOGs....

Louis mentioned ammuntion problems during Stage 1 shotgun.

PS, Mr. White was my father. It's Jeff around here....:cool:

Nice review, Kir...uh, El T.
Louis Awerbuck, Pat Rogers and a few others, IMO, are in the elite handful of instructors who deserve the title of Range Master.

Great review, El Tejon. I know what you mean about LA seeing everything. I took his HI Shotgun class and vivdly recall his being just about everywhere and missing nothing. Hope he comes within 4 or 5 hundred miles of me again - don't really care what class it is.

You going to TR's end-of-summer series? The Hill Country in August should be refreshing. :D

Now that you hit on one of the weaknesses of the tritium illuminated sights, any thoughts about going to a powered sight?

We had the same problem with the Trijicon Reflexes we tested for the PD. I have a TAO-1 on one of my ARs. It's a great sight...clear and almost indestructable, but I have Aimpoints for the CQB stuff.

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