AAR: Defensive Carbine Weekend (February 4-5, 2017, Las Vegas, NV)

/ / After Action Report (AAR)

What a weekend in Las Vegas at the beautiful Clark County Shooting Park!  We enjoyed perfect weather for a weekend full of shooting sports, history, and civic engagement with a great group of students and coaches.

Saturday started off with a “cold bore” warmup featuring scaled target silhouettes representing targets at various distances mirroring the traditional M1 carbine targets placed at 100, 200 and 300 yards.  Of our eight students, a few weren’t on paper at all, a handful had consistent hits on the largest target, and two were doing well with hits on the smaller targets.  Clearly there was work to be done!  Our instructors dove in with gusto and we taught the pillars of basic rifle marksmanship:  the prone position, natural point of aim, and “ABCs” to firing each shot (perfect aiming, breathing, concentration, and of course, a squeeze of the trigger).  Hasty sling usage was covered.  We wrapped up the shooting portion with some basic discussion on inches, minutes clicks and got everyone a solid 50 yard carbine zero.

Ready on the right? Ready on the left? All ready on the line… FIRE!

Saturday afternoon was an NRA Refuse to be a Victim seminar in the classroom led by Heather.  She covered the official NRA curriculum and also provided some safety and crime statistics tailored to Las Vegas.  The seminar set our  students up with the tools to consider a comprehensive personal security strategy with a focus on home security and mental preparedness.

Sunday began bright and early back on the range.  We warmed up with a very similar drill to Saturday morning, except this time we were able to stretch out on the hundred yard bay and shoot at longer distances.  The results of Saturday’s focus on the fundamentals were dramatic:  everyone was consistently getting hits on our largest target, and a majority of the group was now hitting the small targets.  After this warm-up which doubled as zero confirmation, we got up off the dirt and began to build standing positions.  Once standing we layered in all the introductory carbine skills:  ABCs for short range marksmanship, scanning drills and situational awareness, basic gun handling to include reloads and malfunctions, transitions to kneeling, shot placement, and a few other odds and ends.

Just before lunch on Sunday we’d taught enough to run the classic WW2 M1 Carbine Qualifier.  Nobody was able to qualify as a sharpshooter, and it was eye opening to realize what previous generations of Americans were capable of doing with a rifle that has a ballistic trajectory shaped like a rainbow, basic iron sights, and a complete lack of Keymod rails and designer two-stage triggers.  To really top it off, one of our volunteers brought his M1 Carbine as a living history demonstration piece.

One of our volunteers brought out an M1 carbine to demonstrate this vintage firearm’s capabilities on the M1 qualification course.

After lunch we got into our modern carbine qualifier, which mixes elements of the WW2 course of fire with more modern techniques.  Ultimately after two runs we had one “MASTER” shooter who cleared the course (great job, James!), one expert, two sharpshooters and a markskman.  GREAT SHOOTING!  This is not an easy course of fire — to earn a coveted patch with a score of sharpshooter or better you need 17 out of 20 shots to be hits.  The shooter has to have a firm grasp on all the skills needed from 7-100 yards in multiple positions under time pressure.

One of our students working on a qualification attempt for our modern carbine challenge!

After wrapping up the formal portion of the event in time for some students to head off  to Super Bowl parties we did a bit more shooting to include a run of our M1 Garand WW2 rifle qualifier at “mini known distance,” using scaled targets placed at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards.  This was an eye-opening experience about the precision these rifles are capable of.  One of our instructors scored “EXPERT” with a service-rifle legal optic on a non-accurized AR-15 carbine using regular ball ammo, showing that we do indeed “walk the walk,” and students got a taste of what we do at our Rifle 125 events and what previous generations accomplished with M1 Garands.

Throughout the weekend we wove in the story of April 19.  Thanks to our instructors who stepped up to share this story from the heart.  Some of the  students asked where they could read more — check out our library of books suggested by our volunteers!

Additionally, we were happy to be joined by the NV Firearms Coalition education director.  Russ swung by to visit and told the students about NVFAC and how to get involved.  The NVFAC Southern NV Assistant was also present and discussed civic engagement efforts in the state of Nevada.  Thanks to NVFAC for providing some education for our students!

I would like to particularly thank our volunteers for coming out to help:  Dann, Dan, Charlie, and Heather were essential to success of this event.  In particular, Charlie rode to the rescue on Saturday to ensure we had sufficient coaches and line safety officers for our students — THANKS for everyone for sharing their passion and skills.

I’d also like to thank our students for making the choice to come out and join us to learn about shooting sports, American history, and civic engagement.  We know that you can choose to spend your time in many ways and appreciate you choosing to spend it with us.

Check out upcoming carbine events nationwide, or check for upcoming events in Nevada — we hope to see you soon!

See more photos from the event below!