Let's try this again.
Basic Tactical Carbine
Introductory Level - 3 Days
May 22 - 23 - 24, 2010
Sat - Sun - Mon
Daily starting time is 10am
5 Slots Available
Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen's Club
This course is intended to provide first-level instruction on the handling and operation of a carbine, particularly carbines based upon the M-16/AR-15 design*, when employed as a fighting tool (as distinct from sporting or recreational uses of the weapon). As such, this is a course on the use of deadly force. The course is designed for those who own or are entrusted with the operation of an autoloading carbine, and who wish to have formal instruction on how to handle and operate these particular rifles. It will be held at the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen's Club, 25 min. east of Pittsburgh in North Versailles Township. It is our hope that students in the course will achieve the following:
Have fun. Although the subject of this course is serious, this is neither a boot camp nor a test of manhood. We have worked to design a course which will be relaxed and enjoyable, in addition to being informative, with safety as our first priority.
Obtain a fuller appreciation of the gravity of the decision to fire a deadly weapon. We teach (and adhere to) the principle of accountability for each round sent down range. An attorney will provide you with up-to-date information on Pennsylvania law governing the use of deadly force, as well as lawful transport of your rifle.
Achieve an informed understanding of the mechanical components of common autoloading carbines. This includes an understanding of why the controls are placed where they are, and how they are designed to be worked. Students will be instructed on how to drill on proper handling of the rifle, such that the use of the controls will eventually become second nature, require no conscious thought, and therefore not be a distraction when using the rifle. This includes proper ("eyes off") procedure for loading, unloading, checking weapon status, clearing jams and stoppages and proper location of the rifle and spare ammunition on the person. Cleaning and maintenance (below armorer level) will also be covered.
Receive instruction on marksmanship skills specifically appropriate to a tactical carbine. This is not target shooting or "action rifle," and AR-15/M-4's do not shoot the same as hunting or target rifles. Participants will be given the tools to practice and improve their skills with their particular weapon.
Be informed with respect to certain unique characteristics of the AR-15 type rifles and the .223/5.56 cartridge. This will include a brief review of the results of studies and ballistic data on some .223 cartridges commonly in use today, and a comparison to the 7.62 x 39 and .30 carbine cartridges.
Be assisted in determining what accessories, equipment and personal gear are practical and functional. It is expected the course will improve students' ability to evaluate the functional worth of after-market accessories and personal gear (some of which is useful, most of which is a waste of money, and some of which is dangerous).
Learn correct fighting stance and basic firing positions useful when employing a carbine. The limited recoil of these "intermediate cartridges" makes it possible to use a variety of positions to tactical advantage.
Be introduced to principles and methods of threat assessment, target identification, and tactical movement. Although this is not a tactics course, these principles are introduced in order that students will appreciate the advantages of a light, powerful rifle in a close-quarters fight, and the value to be realized from further training and development of tactical skills.
This course is designed only as a first step. It would be impossible to treat the subject of tactical carbine in depth in only three days. We can demonstrate proper gun handling procedures, introduce students to movement in a structured way, and afford each rifleman an opportunity to confront and solve prescribed tactical problems under experienced supervision and in a controlled environment. This will, we hope, prove how much positive difference even a short course can make toward a student's competent use and enjoyment of these rifles. We want this experience to serve as incentive for students to later enroll in more complete courses offered by one of many established instructors or firearms training schools.
Prerequisites and Level of Experience: As this is a first-level course, there are no training prerequisites. It is assumed, however, that students have experience in handling and firing rifles.
Methods of Instruction: The methods are straightforward explanations, accompanied by demonstration of the techniques, after which students are led through live-fire exercises to immediately employ the techniques. The course is roughly 20% lecture and demonstrations, and 80% life fire exercises, with discussion of the principles and exercises among participants encouraged. The great majority of the course occurs on the range, and for almost all of the course the range is "hot" (meaning weapons are loaded at all times). A package of written materials is distributed. Among the written materials are articles, tables and ballistic data, which limits the need to discuss technical information at length during the course.
For those who intend to take the information and methods back to a police department and themselves instruct, the Rangemaster will be available to discuss the objectives and design of the course as a whole and specific exercises.
Weather permitting, there will be a tactical simulator run on the third day of the course. This is to allow students to put new skills to the test. There is also a square-range qualification course, which is a timed test. The test is for the students' information only. There is no "grading" and scores are not compared.
Physical requirements: There is a moderate level of physical exertion, primarily involved in repeatedly assuming and getting out of various shooting positions. It is expected that anyone with a physical condition which would make a particular exercise difficult or present a risk of injury (e.g., a bad knee which impairs one's ability to kneel) will tell the Rangemaster, and not participate in that exercise (the Rangemaster for this class is himself aging and decrepit, and understands these things).
Time commitment: The course runs from 10:00 a.m. to about 6:00 p.m. on the first two days, and from 10:30 a.m. to about 6:00 p.m. on the third day. On those ranges located in a jurisdiction which permits shooting during evening hours (after 9:00 p.m. in the summer), there will be a night session of approximately three hours duration the evening of the second day. In that case, the schedule for the second day will be adjusted.
Students are asked to report to the range by 9:45 a.m. on the first and second days. There is a one hour lunch break each day, with periodic breaks throughout. In our view, this is the minimum amount of time necessary to cover the material outlined above. Classes start promptly, and we insist that students be on time.
Cost: Tuition is $395.00 for all courses in 2010. It must be paid in full at the time of enrollment. (There is a $25 discount for members of any host club.) This covers instruction, range fees, targets, range supplies and handouts. This does not cover ammunition, meals or personal gear. Tuition becomes non-refundable 30 days prior to the first day of the course, with two exceptions. As noted above, if the course itself is canceled all tuition is refunded, and if a student violates range safety rules and is asked to leave the course and his or her tuition will be refunded.
Credentialing process: The sponsors and organizers of this program believe strongly that adult citizens have the right to arm themselves against the predations of others, and cannot legally or morally be forced to relegate the entire responsibility for their personal safety to political institutions or to the agents of government. History and common experience establish beyond rational dispute that governments are not always responsible or accountable, and even well-intended and dedicated public officials are often not around in an emergency. On any given occasion those officials may be incompetent, indifferent to one's plight, or even hostile.
On the other hand, the right to be armed, like any right, is subject to forfeit by those who would abuse it. It is not our intention to instruct those who have demonstrated they are not responsible citizens, including individuals with histories of violence or criminal behavior. Therefore, in order to enroll in this course, a student is required to demonstrate he or she has no criminal history.
The required proof can be certification of active duty in a branch of the military or with a law enforcement agency. It can also be a current carry permit, or evidence of current licensure or certification as a member of a profession which is regulated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and with respect to which conviction of a crime would result in revocation of a license or certification (e.g., attorneys, medical doctors, security personnel). For those not included in any of the above categories, your local police will provide you with a certificate that you have no record of criminal activity. (Fingerprints are NOT required.) There is generally no charge or only a nominal charge for this certification. Instructions on how to obtain such a certificate are on the reverse side of the application form. You should start now, however, as this process usually takes some time. Specific credentialing instructions and information can be found here.
Course format: Lectures (approximately 5 hrs.), and live-fire exercises (approximately 18 hrs.). There will be one exercise through an outdoor tactical simulator and one objective skills test at the conclusion of the course. Each student will need a minimum of 650 rounds of ammunition. Certificate of completion for those who pass.
The Course proceeds rain or shine: We have heard rumors that gun fights have sometimes occurred during bad weather. One of the course objectives is to have students experience for themselves what gear functions well and what needs improvement, including what works in bad weather. A few hours coping with fogged lenses, slippery grips and a flashlight that does not work in the rain will provide valuable lessons, and may save your life later. Although we certainly hope for no more than a few hours of rain, we do proceed rain or shine. Bring rain gear.
Participant safety: This is an overriding consideration. There are certain principles of safety which will be stressed from the very beginning of the course. In addition, there are range rules you must follow. These safety rules are included in these materials. Please read them. They will be strictly enforced by the instructors, as well as by management and employees of the host club. Any observed violations of general principles of firearms safety or specific range rules will be called to the attention of the violator. If there is any indication the violator is indifferent to a safety violation, or if a violation is repeated, the responsible party will be discreetly asked to leave the course, with a full refund of tuition. Deliberate or calculated disregard of the rules will result in ejection from the premises without refund. We take the safety rules very seriously, and will not compromise on matters of safety.
Instructor: Rangemaster The Rangemaster (primary instructor) will be Peter Georgiades. Mr. Georgiades, currently a practicing attorney, is a graduate of the Gunsite Training Academy Law Enforcement Carbine Instructor Certification Course, Marksman's Enterprise (Jim Crews) 3 day instructor courses for both carbine and pistol, the Contact Defense, LLC (Steve Tarani) "Contact Weapons Defense Instructor" program, Giles Stock's 3-day instructor seminars, and a number of instructor-specific carbine training courses. He is certified to instruct by the NRA (rifle, pistol, shotgun and personal protection) and the State of Arizona (CCW Instructor - Certificate No. 8769268), and is a member of the International Ass'n. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). Mr. Georgiades has trained extensively under some of the foremost firearms instructors in the U.S., and has been teaching carbine and personal defense tactics since 1996. Full biographical information may be found at www.fireinstitute.org under "instructors bios." Range assistance will be provided by other trained and experienced range officers.
Class size: Enrollment will be not less than six nor more than ten students. There will be at least two staff present on the range, giving a maximum student-to-staff ratio of no more than five-to-one. Last day to enroll is September 19th. In the event a course is canceled, any tuition paid by any student will be promptly refunded.
There is certain equipment which is REQUIRED in every course. One may not proceed in the course without the following:
Ear protection and Eye protection. Eye protection must be clear for the night shoot.
Cap or hat with baseball-style bill. This is to prevent ejected brass from another shooter's rifle from falling between your eyewear and your eye, burning you. It is important gear.
Firearm, clean and zeroed. Optics are optional; iron sights are fine. If you do use an optic, it should be of a low-power type (e.g., Red Dot or Leitz-Elcan 3.4 X). High magnification optics will not work well.
At least two magazines. We prefer you have three, in case one malfunctions during the course. For reasons which will become apparent during the course, 20-round magazines are preferable to 30-round magazines in non-military applications, but either will work fine in the course.
Knee and elbow pads. The inexpensive kind worn by skateboarders, or pads worn by carpenters and carpet layers are fine.
Magazine holster or pouch which is worn on your belt, on your support ("weak hand") side. BDU pockets do not work well.
650 Rounds of "Ball" Ammunition. We recommend students use one brand of ammunition throughout the course. Different brands and loads of ammunition will significantly affect the "zero" of AR15's, which will distract and confuse you in a course such as this. We also suggest students avoid the very cheapest ammunition and reloads. While "match grade" ammunition would be a waste of money, your investment in this course does justify the use of reasonably consistent ammunition. No incendiary, tracer or M855 ("penetrator") rounds are permitted.
A sling. We run a "hot" range, and rifles must be slung unless they are racked, grounded or in the shooter's hand on line. Any type sling which allows the rifle to be carried muzzle up or muzzle down is fine. No slings which hold the muzzle in a horizontal position while being carried (M60 style) are permitted.
There is other equipment that is not required, but which we know from experience will enhance your experience of the course. We therefore recommend you bring the following:
Soft drinks or water to drink while down on the range. There is no water on the range itself, and the Club house is too far to run back and forth. No alcohol of any kind is to be consumed within eight hours of the start of any course session or at any time during the course.
Back-up rifle. A second rifle is also a good idea, if you own or can borrow one. Firearms do break, and we cannot stop the course to make repairs. Even if we had time, parts may not be available, and many repairs cannot be accomplished in the field.
Complete bolt assembly. If you do not have a second rifle, a complete bolt assembly will enable you to swap bolts as a 60 second repair to most rifle malfunctions.
Binoculars, any size or power.
A ground cloth, shooting mat or other cover (such as an old blanket), to cover the ground or concrete shooting pads upon which you will be periodically sitting or lying.
Sight-adjustment tool for iron sights on your particular rifle (these are available at gun shows for about $4.00).
Gloves (either shooting gloves or light work gloves).
For reasons which will become apparent as the course progresses, the lighter your rifle the better. Therefore, if you have a choice, we recommend using the carbine configuration of an AR-15 type rifle (16-inch, lightweight barrel), as opposed to the full-size battle rifle configuration (20-inch barrel). Although full-sized rifles will work, as will rifles with heavy barrel "H-bar" configurations, they are harder to lift, hold and manipulate. Being light and handy is the essential characteristic of a tactical carbine.
Wear substantial shoes and "work clothes" or fatigues. You will be on the ground and get dusty or muddy. A side-arm may be worn if part of your normal duty gear, but it will not be used during the course. Do not carry any hand gun in any manner other than in a hip holster on your strong side (no "pocket pistols"). if you are one who feels it is incumbent upon you to disregard weapons bans of any kind, note this is not a ban. If you carry a weapon in any manner other than as specified herein, you will be ejected from the course without refund.
We do not recommend purchasing a lot of expensive accessories prior to this course. As noted above, one of the course objectives is to give participants an informed basis upon which to make purchasing decisions. What you think you "need" now is almost certainly not what you will want when the course is over.
Course is a "go" but we can handle a few more if anyone is interested.