This is the 2nd time I've hosted Pat for a 3 day Carbine Operator's
Course and my 2nd time taking the course.
First time I trained with Pat Rogers was in May of 2007. If you
want my opinion of Pat as an instructor and his training curriculum,
I am working on bringing Pat back to Pueblo West in May of 2009.
In 2008 I had planned on changing up a few things (guns and gear
related). I don't change things for the sake of change, I change
things based on performance. If it helps me be faster, more
accurate, more efficient, etc. then I will embrace change. If it
looks cool but doesn't help me perform better, I don't waste my time
The three main things that I wanted to try in 2008 was:
1) Run my guns (at work, in training, and competition) for a
complete year without a vertical foregrip. The reason for this is I
have been shooting run and gun competition with out a vertical
foregrip and I have been using a vertical foregrip on my work gun.
I wanted to see if there was an advantage to not using a vertical
foregrip at CQB distances.
2) Replace the Glock 9mm's that I have been using for close to a
decade with the S&W M&P 9mm. I have shot the M&P's and I prefer the
Glock, but I felt in order to give the M&P a fair shake, I needed to
run it for a year (at work, training classes, competition, etc).
3) Try running a lower profile rig for those times when I don't
need my Eagle CIRAS or don't have time to don it (ie. robbery /
shooting / or other high in progress priority call). This may not
get me any extra points in the "Chicks Dig It" category, but I
wanted something easy to don / doff, that was fairly light weight,
low profile, minimalist, comfortable, and incorporated ease of
mobility into the design.
For the last several years at work and training I had been carrying
14.5" M4 carbine's with LaRue 7.0 rail systems. This worked fine
for me when running a vertical foregrip. Due to the manner in which
I like to hold my hand on the forend when not using a vertical
foregrip, I found that the 7.0 was too short.
So in 2008 I had planned on going to a 16" carbine with a mid-length
gas system and a LaRue 9.0 rail system. This would give me the real
estate needed to hold the handguard in the manner in which I prefer
(thumb over the 12 o'clock rail, index finger on the 9 o'clock rail
pointed in the same direction as the muzzle, and my other three
fingers wrapped around the bottom of the handguard...illustrated in
the pic below, index finger is straight along the 9 o'clock rail
pointing the same direction as the muzzle):
The 16" mid-length upper was finished in December, the same month
that I ordered the lower for this project. By mid-March I hadn't
received the lower from the vendor that I ordered it from, so I
ordered a Noveske N4 low profile carbine (I finally received the
lower for the 16" mid-length in April).
I ordered two S&W M&P 9mm's in December, I was going to use one in
class and another student was going to use the other. As of this
date I still haven't received the M&P's.
My plans for my 2008 test bed products were off to a slow start as
we entered the 2nd quarter of the year I just getting my carbine on
line, and hadn't heard any word on the pistols.
Several months ago I contacted Mike Dizmuke (Diz) owner / operator
of U/W Gear Waxhaw, NC. Diz and I have several long on line
discussions on various message boards over the years. My idea was
to have a custom rig similar to the Tactical Tailor 2 piece MAV with
X-Harness and Hydro pouch that I used several years ago. Diz and I
spec'ed out two rigs. One black for work, and a very similar rig in
Coyote Brown for training (with the training rig we omitted the
radio pouch which was not needed for training).
So I ran the following gear the entire class (with the exception of
running Pat's BAE RBAV vest for Training Day 2).
Rifle - Noveske N4 low profile 14.5" carbine with permanently
attached Surfire 556k flash hider. Blue Force Gear padded VCAS
sling, Surefire Scout light in LaRue Tactical mount, Aimpoint M4S in
a LaRue Tactical mount, Magpul XT rail panels, Magpul MIAD pistol
grip, Magpul UBR buttstock, and Magpul P-MAGs.
Pistol - Because I have been waiting on the S&W M&P 9mm's, I
ran the same pistol that I run for my dedicated SWAT pistol (and the
same set up that I ran for Pat's May 2007 class). Glock 17, Heinie
Slant Pro sights, Surefire x300 light, in a modified Safariland 6004
Gear - I ran the custom chest rig that Diz made for me (pics
below) on Training Day 1 and Training Day 3. Pat and I are the same
size and he asked me if I would be interested in wearing BAE
Systems' new RBAV to get a broad base of feedback. So for the
entire day of Training Day 2, I wore Pat's RBAV with soft armor and
Diz's Custom Rig:
Training Day 1 - Decent sized class, (24 students including me),
Pat, and Assistant Instructor Mike H.
High temp for the day was approximately 80 degrees.
For a frame of reference we had (2) Purple Heart recipients, a
Doctor, a Judge, a Scientist, a Federal Agent, a Tattoo Artist, an
Engineer or two, a college student, a part time custom gear
manufacturer, an unemployed dude, a Contractor, a Detective / SWAT
cop, an Air Force LtCol, a H&K Law Enforcement Rep, and some other
gainfully employed folks.
Training Day 1 started off with sign in, intros, and briefing. Pat
then started off the day with a lecture covering several different
subjects, all relative to what we would be doing over the next 3
After the lecture we headed to the 50 yard line to ensure everyone
had a proper zero on their rifle.
On the line, Pat had 3 LWRC rifles lent out to students, another
student had a personally owned 10.5" LWRC carbine, a Sig 556 (with
Leupold CQT), Jerod (H&K rep) used a MP5 on TD1 and a MP7 (4.6x30)
on TD2, an AK74, a 14.5" H&K 416 (and Pat's 10.5" H&K 416 when he
was on the line), and several different AR15 based platforms.
I was using my Aimpoint 3x Magnifier in a LaRue Tactical Flip mount
to zero my rifle. I was wearing a boonie hat and the arms of my
Oakley glasses interfer with the hat about 1/2" behind my ears,
which can get painful after wearing the hat / Oakleys for a short
period of time. So I wore a pair of Nike sunglasses that have
shorter arms and the arms curve behind the ear and don't interfere
with the boonie hat.
While zeroing I could see 2 dots through the magnifier. This isn't
the first time I have learned the lessons of quality eyewear first
hand. When I started using the Oakley glasses, I no longer saw two
separate dots through the magnifier.
In other classes I have been to in the past, the instructor has had
all the students on line at the same time. Pat runs his classes in
two relays. Half the class is on the line shooting, the other half
of the class is behind the line hydrating, urinating (which goes
hand in hand with hydrating), jamming mags, and addressing any admin
issues they may have. A 2 relay system makes the class run much
Through out the day we covered offset, trigger reset, engagement
(high, pairs, failure, and NSR), intermediate shooting positions,
reloads, rapid possition assumption, malfunction drills, and
Modified Navy Qual.
Due to the various different levels of shooting skills encountered
in an open enrollment class, things start off slow and the pace pics
up as the class continues.
But something I noticed is that everyone was on the same sheet of
music in a very short period of time.
I noticed that many of the shooter were getting sluggish after
lunch. Assistant Instructor Mike Hueser addressed this problem as
many of the shooters were not properly hydrating.
Locally, this spring has been unseasonably cool and the week prior
to the class high temps fluctuated between the 40's - 60's. I think
the 80 degree weather caught some of the Colorado guys off guard.
And I think the altitude (5,000') combined with the heat caught some
of the guys from out of state off guard.
Mike H. drilled the importance of staying hydrated throughout the
High temp for the day was approximately 85 degrees.
On this day I wore Pat's BAE Systems RBAV. I had to take care of
some Admin / Host issues near the parking area, and was about 75
yards behind the rest of the class heading down to hang targets.
I ran the distance to catch up with the rest of the class. After I
caught up, it dawned on me how light the RBAV was (containing both
soft armor and hard armor plates).
Pat's BAE Systems RBAV that I wore on TD2:
After hanging targets we headed back to the 50 yard line and
re-confirmed zeros. After we reconfirmed zero's at 50 yards we
moved onto transition to pistol, static turns, dynamic turns,
shooting on the move, multiple target engagement, and Modified Navy
The shooter next to me on line, Bob (a OIF vet and Purple Heart
recipient) had his gun go down at the end of Training Day 1 or at
the beginning of Training Day 2. After the first drill of the day,
I lent my SBR to Bob. This is the same gun that I ran in Pat's 2007
Pueblo West class.
The SBR has a 11.5" Bravo Company Barrel in a LaRue Tactical Stealth
upper (lower and bolt carrier group is LMT). The gun has run 100%
since day 1. Bob ran the SBR for almost all of TD2 and the entire
day of TD3, using Wolf ammo. The gun didn't have a single
malfunction. I used this same gun in a slightly different
configuration during Pat's 2007 Carbine Operator's Course:
I shot the entire day using the RPAV. The system was extremely
comfortable. I was impressed with it enough that I will be
purchasing one out of pocket for work.
Training Day 3
High temp for the day was just over 90 degrees.
As we did the two days prior we started off the day at 50 yards
re-confirming zeros. We then moved onto warm up drills, Modified
Navy Qual (graded), Qual x2.
Unfortunately on Training Day 3, we lost 3 shooters. Jerod (HK
Rep), the Air Force LT Col, and the Mad Scientist had to pop smoke
(for work, family, or health related reasons) and were unable to
attend the last day of class.
The day was hot and the training was outstanding.
Observations and Lessons learned:
-The Noveske N4 low profile was extremely reliable. Not a single
malfunction before, after, or during the class. Round count is
approximately 1,500 rounds at the time of this AAR.
-I was extremely impressed with the Aimpoint M4S in the LaRue
Tactical Comp M4 mount. I have both the M4 and the M4S. I prefer
the lower profile of the M4S. I've been running Aimpoints
exclusively since the late 90's.
-Magpul P-MAGs: The high mountain desert sand and dust got into
everything. I didn't witness or hear of anyone having a problem
with the Magpul P-MAGS.
I have been running P-MAGs exclusively since I first received a few
in a training class last Sept. 2007.
I have used nothing but P-MAGs in the class and they were all
numbered. I tried to run #1 - #6 as much as possible to see if I
could get them to develop problems. I ran P-MAGs #1 - #6 for
approximately 90% of the class and didn't have a problem with any of
the mags. The P-MAGs were constantly being dropped in the fine sand
(reloads, etc), they were stepped on, and abused. I was impressed
by the performance of the P-MAGs. As I was unloading my gear on
Monday night at the end of class, I could hear dirt and debris that
is still inside some of the mags:
-Blue Force Gear Vickers (VCAS) sling (padded version). I have been
running the VCAS slings for just over 2 years. Awesome design.
Initially I didn't think there was much utility in a padded version,
but after using one for the last couple months, I'm in the process
of upgrading all my VCAS slings to the padded version.
-Magpul UBR. I was a big fan of the Magpul MSS (M93) even before it
was a firing prototype. Richard Fitzpatrick and the crew at Magpul
took the lessons learned from the M93 and developed the UBR. The
stock was delivered on Saturday (TD1) while I was in class, and Mike
O. and I installed in that night (we had some other gun plumbing
projects to take care of, so we installed the UBR on the N4). I ran
the UBR on TD2 and TD3. I was very impressed at the ergonomics and
features of the UBR. I had zero issues with dirt, dust, and debris
effecting the functioning of the stock. Top shelf product, I'll
definitely be getting a few more.
-Diz's custom made rig. Worked perfectly. I had zero issues with
Diz's rig. Well thought out, well executed, quality gear from a
quality individual. What more can be said:
-Pat Rogers and Assistant Instructor Michael Hueser. Good dudes,
very knowledgeable, very professional, outstanding instructors.
Can't say enough good things about them.
-I didn't shoot as well this year as I did last year (2nd high
shooter in the class in 2007).
I did fair, just not up to my usual standard.
I don't know what to attribute this to. Maybe I shoot better at
closer distances with the vertical foregrip, maybe my game wasn't
on, who knows...it's too early to tell. As I stated earlier, 2008
is a year that I'm changing things up and see what does and what
doesn't work for me. As I train more, I'll figure out if dumping
the vertical foregrip was a good idea or not.
As the host of this class I would like to start off by giving a big
THANKS to Rich Fitzpatrick, Drake Clark, and the awesome crew at
Magpul Corp. Each student was given a free Magpul P-MAG.
I would also like to thank LaRue Tactical, Bravo Company USA,
Primary Weapons (PWS), Vicking Tactics, Tango Down, Sprinco,
Camelbak, and Blue Force Gear for supporting the class and providing
products that were awarded to high shooters in different events.
We had a great group of shooters.
Some pictures from the class:
Pat getting some trigger time in with relay 1
Mike working the LMT 10.5" with PWS comp:
Letting brass fly, while another shooter looks on
in the background:
Rob layin' down some pain from the prone:
Gettin' busy from position Monica:
Doc Jay without the RX pad:
Darrin efficiently changing mags on an inferior
platform....but he ran it well:
Jeromy layin down the law with some German
Me working out the Novekse N4 low profile carbine
and trying to give Mike (behind the camera) a brass shower:
If this AAR has done anything, I hope that it has motivated a few
people who read it to get out and train. Never be afraid to get out
and try something new.