This year I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend to recieve formalized training this year. Training is expensive, ammo is expensive, and travel is expensive. People have to pick and choose where they want to invest their time and money. Training and constant evaluation as a shooter is imperative. Shooting is a perishable skill set by nature. So, we hve to take advantage of training when we can. AHT provides a course that is worth your hard earned cash.
Training & Tactics|Training & Assessment
By Drew Bryant
December 28th, 2022, theloadoutblog.com
Hello, everyone, and welcome to my first training and assessment article. I don’t know what the final form and shape of this series will take. The purpose of this series isn’t to review or grade a training group or instructor. This is because I can’t set any hard baselines for assessing training that can be applied completely to all classes and instructors. That would be the desired goal of a review process of a training event. Since this is an inherently subjective process due to personalities and the unique ways people learn, I will keep it as an assessment of the course.
This course assessment will cover: a summary of the course, training drills, and the learning environment at the course. At, the end I will give my overall thoughts and opinions on the course.
I have two goals for this assessment. First, to give you a breakdown and summary of the course. It’s not here to give you a play-by-play breakdown like John Madden. Second, this assessment is also meant to be a resource to the community to help people spend their money wisely. Training is expensive, ammo is expensive, and travel is expensive. People have to pick and choose where they want to invest their time and money. So, giving a good assessment is not only critical but, vital to the consumer. The goal is for this assessment to inspire you to take the class and go train.
Ohio Range Day 2022
Back in late August, I was selected to attend Ohio Range Day 2022(ORD-2022) hosted by Achilles Heel Tactical. The purpose of ORD is an annual training event that allows students to get instruction from some of the top instructors within our industry. ORD is a two-day training event for attendees. Each day students train with the instructor of their choice. Selected attendees of ORD get to choose from five instructors to take a class while at the event. On the application for ORD, the potential attendees select their top choices for instructors who will be teaching at the event. One is the highest priority and five is the least, when selecting an instructor. This allows potential attendees to have a choice of who they train with. While also giving the attendees unique opportunities to get instruction from two of the top instructors in the industry. There is a lot of time, effort, and energy put into ORD by Achilles Heel Tactical. A result is an amazing event from start to finish.
It’s Been A While
I am thankful for the opportunity that I was selected to attend ORD-2022. The two-day event allowed me to receive formalized training for the first time since departing the military. Training and constant evaluation as a shooter is imperative. Shooting is a perishable skill set by nature. At the same time, training and tactics are evolving. As student you have to be training and evolving with the times. I do my best on my end to dry fire, go to the range, and learn new skills. Yet, having the opportunity to receive instruction from a subject matter expert can’t be denied. I was excited to receive formalized training from two outstanding instructors during my time at ORD-2022.
AHT’s Vehicle Tactics Class
My first assessment of training will be on the Vehicle Tactics Class from AHT. The class is taught by Head Instructor Rick Crawley with help from his cadre. The Vehicle Tactics Class from AHT is normally a two-day, 16-hour course. At ORD it is a one-day, 8-hour course. That 8-hour course includes nighttime instruction as well. You are taking a truncated version of the this class. Rick encourages students to take the full vehicle class to get the full benefit of it.
Since we have all the housekeeping material out of the way let’s dive into this assessment. During this assessment I will cover a summary of the course, training drills, and the learning environment at the course.
Safety Brief & Introduction
To start our day, Rick introduced himself to the class. At this time he informed us of his background as an instructor and previous operational experience. Next, the students introduce themselves to the class and also what looked to learn from the class. After the introduction, we were given a range safety brief and an overview of the range and its lateral limits.
A Case Study of Vehicle Tactics
The Vehicle Tactics Class by Rick was presented as a case study on vehicle tactics. A case study is defined as an in-depth examination of a particular case or (cases) within a real-world context. This information can be applied to well-trained civilians looking to protect their loved ones in the face of danger or law enforcement personnel on duty caught in a violent encounter in or around their vehicle. In the course, Rick covers the study of ammunition’s terminal ballistics on vehicles, understanding how to move inside and outside a vehicle, and shooting techniques for when your shooting around a vehicle.
Investigating Terminal Ballistics On A Vehicle
On the first part of the case study we investigated with Rick was the terminal ballistics of different types of ammunition on a vehicle. Before mayhem was unleashed upon the vehicle Rick discussed the overall structure of the car.
During this portion of the vehicle study, Rick went in-depth into how cars and SUVs are built. He discussed the anatomy of a car, car pillars, and what can be used on a car as cover, concealment, or as both. During this time he asked for questions from the class. It wasn’t a one-way street of questions. He also asked us questions about what we had seen thus far. Allowing him to get a feel of where our minds were tactically when gathering these new data points.
In the next part of the case study, we investigated the terminal ballistics of various ammunition on different parts of a vehicle. Rick used a GMC Envoy to demonstrate the effectiveness of a car’s pillar as a form of cover. He did this by shooting through the passenger-side door with an ISPC target standing on the driver’s side. From there he shoots various calibers of ammunition through the door. All rounds penetrate the target or shrapnel from the car hits the target. Next, he moved the target and shot at the different pillars of the car. What we observed was no pass-through of the ammunition through any of the pillars. During this part of the case study, Rick also discussed how car tires combined with their axles can work as a form of cover and concealment.
The next part of the case study we sunk our teeth into was window porting. This is the most interesting part of the class for me. One, because I’ve always wanted to shoot through a window. Two, I’ve wanted to learn how to properly port a car window. Third, I wanted to see how shooting through a window affected the trajectory of that round fired.
Rick and a member of his cadre demonstrated to us how the terminal ballistics of a round would behave being shot through a car window. A target was placed on the opposite side of the car. First, Rick would describe the potential effects the window would have on the ammunition. Next, after the description, a member of his cadre would shoot through the window. Finally, we would go cold and observe the effects on the target. This method was used for the rear window and small rear window in the back of medium to small sedans.
It was amazing to witness how rounds would behave going through a simple barrier of glass it is crazy how it deviates so much from your point of aim to point of impact. You hand to understand how that round is going to function with that barrier in play and adjust your point of aim accordingly.
After investigating the terminal effects of ammunition on windows we moved to port a window. Porting a window is a very in-depth process. A lot has to be taken into consideration when effectively porting a window. Such as the caliber your using, the point of aim on the target when porting, and much more. I will not go over specifics in the way to properly port a window. It is a very in-depth process and Rick and his cadre do an excellent job teaching and demonstrating it. In this portion of the class, we trained on how to properly port a window, how to exit a car after porting the window, proper breathing mechanics when porting, and much more. This was a treasure trove of information that I learned during this period, which I enjoyed.
Training & Drills
Movement Outside Of A Vehicle
In the afternoon portion of the course, we focused on our movement outside and inside a vehicle. During this portion of the case study, Rick discussed the different shooting positions you could utilize when inside and outside a vehicle. While discussing the different positions members of his cadre were demonstrating the movement for us in real-time. This is the part of the day that was drill-heavy. Again, I won’t go into heavy detail but, I will give highlights.
First, we learned how to work outside the vehicles and how to use the car pillars and axles as cover and concealment. During this time we were introduced to standing, crouching, kneeling, and urban prone shooting positions. We practice those shooting positions around those pillars I mentioned before. Not all shooting positions apply to all areas of the vehicle. That will depend on what pillar of the car you are on and your sight line to that target. Rick showed us all the shooting options available to us and allowed us to be thinkers on the spot and use the best shooting position accordingly.
Also, during this time he showed us how to manipulate our rifles and pistols safely in a tight environment while outside a vehicle with shooters next to us. Safe weapon manipulation in tight environments like this is necessary. At this time we also worked movement around to different pillars and safe manipulation of the weapon systems as we did it.
After this instruction/demonstration, we conducted drills and exercises outside of the vehicles. First, we did drills pistols only. Next, rifle only drills. Finally, rifle and pistol together.
Moving From Inside To Outside
Next, we learned how to move from the inside of a vehicle to the outside of a vehicle. We took the knowledge from porting the window earlier and applied it here. On top of that, Rick instructed while his cadre demonstrated in real time again. Allow us to see everything in motion.
In this part of the study, we learned how to port the window, properly breathe, how to exit, and how to use your A-pillar to your advantage. Drills here we ran as two-man teams. Just as before we ran pistol, then rifle, and finally both together. One of the scenarios had us driving forward and an assailant who opens fire upon us. The students had to put vehicle in park, engage the targets, and then evacuate to the back of the vehicle behind our respective pillars. This scenario was a good culminating event to test the skills we had learned. During this time curveballs were thrown our way to see how we would adapt under add stress.
By this time dinner had rolled around. We took an hour or so break. It gave us a chance to relax and discuss the training with our peer group. Getting a chance to see what you learned or things you might have missed along the way.
The night training was taking the skills and principles we learned during the day and applying them to a nighttime setting. This was broken into two different groups. People who had night vision and people who had white light. I was a part of the white light gang but good training was had either way.
During this time we worked from the inside of the vehicle to the outside of vehicle. We did drills from the outside of the vehicle as well. We drove in convoys and took contact from the driver’s side of the vehicle. From there we had to engage targets and exit the vehicle safely and continue engaging targets. We drove up to the targets as two-man teams as we did earlier in the day.
Working in low-light to no-light conditions makes you take your time to learn how to assess yourself, your environment, and your teammates. It gives such diversity to the training and how to take a moment to think and effectively use what you learned and engage your targets down range. All in all the night portion was a blast.
A final thought about the night training. I believe you can get a little more from the night training if you have night vision. It just adds another level of skill that you have to take into consideration which I enjoy. One day I will be a big baller and can take it with nods.
The last thing I want to touch on is the learning environment during the course. A good learning environment is important to have when taking an course like this. Having a class full of students who have a I-know-it-all attitude or come with egos are detrimental to the class. This type of mentality is a straight-up vibe killer for the whole class.
But, if you have people in there ready to learn and grow it will be an amazing class. There were no vibe killers in the class. From the beginning, Rick was all about creating an atmosphere for learning. He advised students to leave their egos at the door and be ready to learn. Everyone came with a thirst to learn and was ready to push their skill sets. That drives me to push myself to do better and to have fun.
Instruction by Rick and his cadre was informative, concise, and insightful. Rick was articulate and thoughtful the entire time teaching. He used analogies and concepts that everyone in the class could understand. His teaching and instruction were excellent. Rick would always teach and demonstrate everything for the class. Either he would teach the material and demonstrate immediately after or he would be teaching while his cadre demonstrated. Which engages the audio and visual learning aspects of our brains. Then, he reinforces it with the kinesthetic learner in all of us. Creating a solid foundation for the information. Instruction was top-notch by Rick and his cadre.
During the training, Rick stresses accountability. Being held accountable for your rounds down range, your weapons systems, and yourself. It is all about 100% owning up to your mistakes that occur and working to fix them. At the end of the day, it’s your life, your partner’s life, or your loved one’s life that is on the line if you’re not 100% accountable.
Performance > Promise
This is one of the core tenets of AHT performance is greater than a promise. Rick and his cadre don’t want you to just talk about the promise of your skill set. They want you to show up and prove your skill set. They want to see your skills and watch you perform. AHT cadre is looking to see you grow as a shooter during their class. Rick and his cadre will test the skills that you should have acquired during the class. Performance and accountability are core tenets at AHT.
The Vehicle Tactics class taught by AHT is excellent. The case study of vehicle tactics and terminal ballistics on a vehicle is informative, well taught, and gives you Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) that can be applied immediately. It’s information that law enforcement can take back to their departments and apply immediately. It’s knowledge that a civilian taking this class can pass on to their friends and family. It’s the knowledge that is applicable in all settings. If you have the opportunity to take this class, please do. I highly recommend this class due to its instruction, the knowledge being provided, and it’s immediate use for the student. I plan on investing and hopefully taking the two-day vehicle course sometime this year.
Thanks For Reading
Thank you for reading. If you enjoy this article hit that like button and subscribe to the newsletter. Feel free to drop a comment in the comment section below. Be Humble. Train until only savagery remains. Remember to stay deadly ladies and gents.