My range/training beater - nothing special, just a BCM upper (16" ELW BHF w/15" KMR....this was in the era before the -A variant: I specifically went this way for weight considerations - I'm not that big up top, and I like to take training classes, so I wanted a gun that I didn't have to deadlift on every "Up" drill 😅 ) on a Battle Arms Development forged LW lower.
April of 2017 - Practically Tactical
Partners' Shoothouse Weekend: my virgin shoot-house experience.
What a great way to bust one's cherry....It was awesome: the APD staff, AIs, and the Practically Tactical
trio all took me and other beginners under their wings and provided us the guidance, support, and occasional humiliation needed to spur our learning. I had loads of fun, and the experience humbled me completely as the pressure of being in The House forced my marksmanship to fall off the very tight standards set by Chief Instructor Joe Weyer and his team during the weekend.
The saying that "....we default to the level of our mastery" was found true, and I was lacking.
Following 2 images courtesy of Practically Tactical
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Griffin Armament M4SD Flash Comp w/Blast Shield (both first-generation, this was back in 2017, with the gun built mainly in 2015-16). Arisaka finger-stops, RailScales G10 scales and Karve, along with BCM panels. First-generation (again, remember the time-frame of the build) Vortex PST 1-4x on Larue SPR-E LT139, Magpul Pro BUIS. Radian CH. Battle Arms Development ambi safeties, magazine release, and enhanced take-down pins. Troy ambi mag release. Geissele SSA-E. BCM furniture. Inside is a BCM FDE-IB BCG, and at the time, the everyday light was an Arisaka 300-series (first picture) which got swapped out with a Malkoff Hound-Dog (Neutral/18650)/XM tail for the night-monster, both using Surefire's SR07 tape, with Ranger Bands and Larue's Indexing Clips for cordage control. Sling is a TAB Gear 2-point Carbine Sling, with a SKD-Tactical PIG Universal Sling Pad.
Well, all that fancy couldn't make up for the fact that I couldn't shoot.....
So I made a promise to Joe and his crew to retrurn later that year for more, as he ever so kindly patted me on the back with the encouragement of being the class's "Best Improved" during the debrief.
True to my word, I remediated by attending the Alliance Police Department's staffed "Basic Carbine" course that same summer -
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.....and got lucky by paying only $100 for a full 8-hour day with John "Chappy" Chapman!
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No sidearm on a war-belt this time - this was a pure basic-carbine class. Just a TQ, medkit (BFG MicroTKN), and dump-pouch.
The charging handle had changed to a Geissele SCH, and the bolt-catch became a Geissele Maritime.
The gentleman in the green checkered shirt was a much
more advanced shooter than me, and he challenged my thinking that day by asking what I was doing with the additional two hand-stops (Arisaka finger-stops) I had on my handguard at the time. I responded that it was so that I could lock-in better for recoil management, to which he simply winked a "Really?" at me. I took him up on the challenge and removed those pieces for the duration of the class, and, yup, found out that I could save those ounces (and the sometimes awkward interface that they presented) and still run the gun faster, simply by bettering my technique.
That was really The Year of the Carbine for me, as I again proned-out behind the gun later that same summer, this time with the phenomenal Andrew Blubaugh of Apex Shooting and Tactics -
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And I even worked a few gun-ups, which paid off when I decided to shoot the day's opening Up/mechanical offset drills with my Atlas bipod still attached.....😁
I have a section of aluminum rail at the forward-most section, 6-o'clock of the handguard. This is actually a common setup on all of my ARs, as I really prefer to zero off of the bipod, due to my need for corrective eyewear.
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This class quickly accelerated, and sometime later that morning, we were shooting from underneath a junked vehicle at a reactive target on the other side - a 1" stake which simulated the shin-bone of a threat, which, when shot, would cause a IDPA cardboard to fall, at which point we'd engage center-mass.
You can see in the following picture that the additional handstops are gone, and the Karve has been replaced with an Anchor.
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I was able to get in a couple of other small carbine seminars for the remainder of 2017, but injury knocked me out of training for the 2018 year, and for 2019, that was followed with a job change which caused me to not be able to get out on the range nearly as much.
Still, I did manage to get in behind the gun again just before the close of 2019, with a class hosted by the excellent folks at Commence Firearms Training, also up here in northeast-Ohio.
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^ Oh, and yes, I did mention that my BCG in this gun is that blingy BCM IB-FDE. It looks black here because....er.....I pretty much never clean my range/training beaters? 😁 I promise that my defensive/EDC guns are much cleaner!
Shapes and numbers are always fun, but some contortion is even better!
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You can see that by this date, I'd moved on to the Modlite WML system. On-gun is the PLH (5K)/18350 setup on an Arisaka inline, with Surefire DS-SR07 tail. The night-monster is now an OKW/18650, also on an Arisaka mount, which I will swap-in as-needed.
I hope to get in more training in 2020!