30 July 2012

Carbine Classes

I just realized that except for mentioning that my gutter trash "hobby" AR's survived I have not posted about my experiences with carbine classes.

I suppose I should start with what I did not learn at the class.  Basic rifle marksmanship.  Sadly the instructors spent entirely too much time HAVING to teach it to people who apparently bought their first gun ever and signed up for the class on the way home from the gun shop.

It is however wonderful for the ego!  I was a gigantic fish in a teeny tiny pond.

What I brought to the first class was Sabrina.  11.5" barrel, iron sights, 1:9 rifling.  This compared to the nearly ubiquitous 16" M4 profile flat-top.  I was the only person without some sort of aftermarket stock, handguard or pistol grip.  I was also the only person without an optic.

Gratuitous Pic of Sabrina

Next was attire.  I dressed in jeans, t-shirt, Chuck Taylors, with an old boonie hat.  I carried my mags in the old-fashioned 3-mag ALICE pouches with a genuine USGI canteen for "hydration".  Hydration is important because plants crave electrolytes or something.  My hat and web gear were generous donations of the United States Army who neglected to ask for them back and refused to take them because they weren't on my ETS turn-in sheet.

The rest of the class was in at least $500 worth of MOLLE and camouflage.  It was like a 5.11 bomb had gone off or something.

The instructors asked if everyone was comfortable and could move.  We did some stretching exercise type things to show the class that no, they could not.  Most had put their stuff together wrong and we all learned that we'd placed our pouches wrong.  The Army in 1987 taught me wrong, go figure.

First we zeroed our rifles.  That took me a whopping five rounds because I'd already done this step before signing up for the class.  Some people burned through 40 rounds!

Then we almost started the class when one of the instructors remembered that the back-up iron sights needed to be zeroed as well.  This took even longer.

Then we started in on the real thing and we were stymied at every turn by the people who should have been at a "the bullets come out this end really fast" level class.

I got told, repeatedly, to "square up" my stance.  "Why?" I kept asking.  They didn't like me questioning their expertise, but I figured I paid for the theory as well as the application.  Eventually I got told this was so my body armor would be facing the enemy.  "Armor I'm not wearing, don't own and won't ever buy?"  "Uh..."  "The old fashioned rotated way gives a smaller unarmored target, don't you think?"

The square up thing also brought my gimpy right leg into play.  Doing it "right" hurt.  A lot.  So I ignored them and did it my way.  This was the only thing I actively resisted the instructors on.

What I learned was how to get the sights on target quickly and accurately while moving.  It was great fun!  I did not learn how to relate what I learned to others in the form of writing.

I watched others learn that holding onto a rifle as far forward as you can reach will get your hand on the gas block and that the gas block gets very warm after a few rounds.

My fellow classmates were actively hostile at the end of the day because I clearly a better shot and I was the only one who seemed to be having fun.  Like I didn't understand how SERIOUS this was and should not be enjoying it.

My main purpose was to see if my gun would survive the mythical carbine course that fells so many other "lesser tier" guns.  I shot a lot of rounds and the carbine survived nicely.

Oh yeah, Brownells USGI type magazines did just fine.  As did the almost universal PMAG.  This added to my amusement because there was some sneering about "metal mags" from some.

I should also mention that the sneering and hostility was never when an instructor could see it.  No matter how old I get, it seems that I cannot leave high school behind.


  1. This is an entertaining account, but I didn't even know you'd taken a class. Perhaps a little intro/background would be in order?

  2. Um... I don't know what you don't know so I don't know where to start...

  3. ""The old fashioned rotated way gives a smaller unarmored target, don't you think?""

    True. It also ensures that a hit will get bot kidneys or lungs or whatever. ;) Everything has tradeoffs, I reckon.

    Sorry you had such an underwhelming class experience. :( Mind emailing me who it was?

  4. My neighbor is a recent Police academy grad, and he was taught to always square his shoulder to the threat so his armor was presented to the threat. A bladed weaver stance exposes the unarmored flank of the officer.

    Of course I'm not likely to be wearing armor, so a smaller vital zone picture to the threat is best for me.

  5. The first class was with an outfit that curled up and died when their gun company went bankrupt. Anvil Arms.

    The second two were bought and paid for by the friends so I don't even have a receipt to look at. They rented a range south of Orlando for the class if that helps you figure out who they are.

    I'd love to take a "real" class someday, but as age encroaches, I admit my infantry days are long gone.


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