Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On The Range #81: Way of the Gun Intro to Performance Carbine

This past Sunday I attended my first rifle/carbine training course in Anniston, AL.  The course, titled Intro to Performance Carbine, was put on by Frank Proctor of Way of the Gun.

  My favorite kind of classroom.

As a result of the latest run on ammunition there were only five students in attendance.  This gave each of us a lot more one on one time with Frank as he led us through the day's training.

The course was in many respects a facsimile of the Intro to Performance Pistol course I took a few months back, though very much more tailored to the carbine.  All of the fundamentals of shooting were the same, as one might expect.  

Frank's philosophy is that whether shooting for competition or shooting to defend yourself the person who scores the most points fastest wins, therefore the focus of the course was on fast and accurate shooting.  Frank pushed us to operate our carbines as fast as we were able to make accurate hits.  

We worked a number of drills that were new to me.  I plan to incorporate a couple into my practice at home (including the reload drill I learned in the pistol course).  

One of the drills was the VTAC 1-5 Drill:

As I said before the small class size gave each of us a lot of one on one time with Frank.  I found this very helpful as he gave me some tips to improve my shooting with the carbine and pointed out some bad habits I'd picked up.

About to make some steel sing!

Probably the best shooter in the class is in the photo above.  His speed and accuracy were really amazing, especially since the rifle he was using was brand new and only zeroed that day.  He's a competitive pistol shooter and you could really see that skill cross over onto the carbine.  

At $180 I feel like I got my money's worth out of this course.  The instruction and atmosphere was great.  Frank is a really excellent shooter who wants to pass on what he's learned to others.  He has a very positive, approachable attitude and has no problem leaving his ego out of it.  As much as he's there to teach he's also willing to learn from others as well.  

We finished up the day doing some shooting at steel targets set up at 60, 100, and 140 yards (roughly).  I was able to hit the reduced size IPSC tagets at all distances, but struggled with smaller stuff past 100 yards.  Still, it was nice hitting anything even at that range.  

I took the opportunity to test a few pieces of gear I've picked up.  I have a Condor MA1 Tactical MOLLE Drop Leg Platform - OD Green
 set up to hold rifle mags that I used for a while.  I've used it before and while I like the idea I'm just not a fan of having things on my legs.  It's not comfortable and just feels like it's weighing me down.  I also used a BladeTech belt mount single mag holder.  I found this a MUCH better method for quickly retrieving a mag and much more comfortable.

My Lucid HD7 red dot held up fairly well.  Under 50 yards it's great, and it works at distance well.  The battery held up all day with no need to replace it.  I'm pretty impressed with the batter life.  The sight has an auto off after being on for two hours which works like a charm.  The only issue I had with it was one of my own making.  After almost six hundred rounds it had come loose from the rail.  I figure this was result of me not having it tight enough.  That's something I'll be sure to keep a check on.

My AR held up very well.  I had zero malfunctions related to the gun, and one related to a magazine.  The magazine issue was a result of overloading my PMag.  PMags will hold 31 rounds but they will usually not lock into the mag well with the bolt forward.  Other than this, no issues.

I'd recently started using Slipstream Weapon Lubricant
 on my AR.  My gun stayed slick all day even though I was shooting dirty Monarch brand steel case ammo.  I did a thorough cleaning, including bolt dis-assembly  and relubed with the Slipstream.  This stuff will be going on my Glock and 1911 for further testing.

I hope to get some more training from Frank Proctor in the future, and I recommend him to anyone who is looking to get some formal instruction without breaking the bank.  I feel like I learned quite a bit that will help my on the past to becoming a better shooter.