Aug 8 & 9, 2015
Boone County Sheriff Dept.
This was my 2nd full EAG class, but I have attended a few partial classes over the years due to lack of time off and other factors. My first EAG class was in 2007 and was also at Boone County. I have attend a lot of training at Boone County over the years and highly recommend anyone within a day drive make the trip over. There are plenty of hotels, the normal food places and great trainers.
I chose to take Carbine 1 over Carbine Operator as I needed to get back to basics with the carbine due to minimal training over the last few years on the carbine. I try and stay up on my training on my own, but it is always better to be watched a professional who is happy to point out your faults and errors. Another deciding factor was the AARs I have read on the Carbine 1 class. Every AAR on the class has stated that the format changed based on the student base and it held true in this class. No matter your experience with the carbine, this class is an excellent course.
I work at a very small department, so we are dependent on a local department for our firearms training. Due to the ammo shortages and the fact they have an entire department to get through firearms training, rifle training was limited to one 8 hour day a year in the past. Over the last year they have added the carbine into our regular pistol shooting, but that course of fire is limited to two magazine with limited rounds in the rifle. This course allowed me focus on the rifle and work on the skills I had, but had not used for some time.
Personally I believe that working for a small department means you need to be on top of your game and have the ability to save yourself and others without relying on other officers as backup. In my particular area I am in the corner of two other counties, but both counties and my own county have a limited number of deputies. Backup is typically 15 minutes away on a good day and 30 minutes on a bad day. This means you are it for some time when you arrive on a call. This is a major reason I seek out training above and beyond what is required by the state and my department. My department covered the cost of this class and ammo, but I have paid for several classes on my own over the years also.
Weather on TD1 was awesome for Indiana in August. Light breeze, overcast and low humidity.
Weather on TD2 was humid, hazy, cloud cover, light rain and no wind. We had one shower but it hit during lunch.
For the class I used the following gear that is a combination of personal gear and department issued. My department will buy some equipment for me if I explain the reason why I need it, other equipment I know I need and purchase it make life easier.
My rifle was my department issued rifle, but I built the rifle myself. This rifle was obtained through a rifle grant through Defensive Edge. Sully has a program where departments in need of rifle can apply for a grant to obtain them. When the grant is awarded the department not only gets a rifle, but a member of the department attends the Defensive Edge Armorer School and builds at least one of the rifles they receive. The link to original post can be found below in reference to the rifle and grant program. As you will see I have changed the rifle since receiving it to better suit my needs. The upper was replaced by me out of pocket after I made an error while installing a flash hider on the original upper. Due to skipping a step, that I knew better not to skip, I damaged the index pin in the Melonite barrel and damaged the upper and barrel. I rebuilt the upper with a Bravo Company 12” barrel and “blemished” upper and bought the rail out of my pocket.
SLR 15 Grant Post: http://www.lightfighter.net/topic/slr-15-grant-rifle-with-a-12-melonite-qpq-finished-barrel-pic-heavy
Rifle: Defensive Edge SLR-15 Lower with SLR-15 lower parts kit
· MagPul Grip
· DRMO B5 SOPMOD stock
· Mil-Spec Receiver Extension
Upper is Bravo Company 12”
· Standard A2 flash hider,
· LaRue 11” free float rail
· DRMO PEQ-15 LAM
· DRMO Aimpoint M2 in a LaRue LT-150 mount
· LaRue Rail Clips
· Streamlight ProTac HL in a VTac light mount
· MagPul vertical grip,
· Daniel Defense fixed rear sight
· PRI collapsible front sight
· BCM Charging Handle Medium
Armor: Diamondback Tactical Plate carrier with add on cummerbund
· DBT Mag pouches, Hydration Pouch & Dump Pouch
· CamelBak hydration bladder
· Mil-Surplus IFAK filled with items of my choosing
· Level III Plates
· PACA Level 3 Soft Armor added behind the plates
Gloves: Mechanix M-Pact Covert Gloves
Hearing Protection: DRMO MSA Sordins with mic
Mags: MagPul, Tango Down, Bravo Company, Brownells, Lancer
Shooting Glasses: Oakley
Ammo: Fiocchi 223A 55 gr FMJ BT & PMC Bronze 223A 55 gr FMJ
This year I decided to stay in Lebanon instead of driving back and forth the 1 hr. drive to the range. Due to currently construction and road closures in my area, Indy and Boone Co traffic was horrible everywhere and travel times would be easily extended. It was a weekend, but there were events at the Indy Speedway which seems to always cause traffic issues everywhere. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and requested the training rate, as all Boone Co students are advised to do. The attendant was not aware of a training rate but was aware of a government rate, your mileage with another clerk may vary.
This year I decided to preload magazines, which I will do for now on. All my gear was already staged in my patrol car where it normally is, so origination was not an issue. From taking classes over the years I have learned to take my own chair. Picnic benches are not fun or comfortable as the day goes on. I carry one in my patrol car for the same reason. It was nice to seat in a chair and relax in between time on the range.
I brought snacks consisting of trail mix, granola bars, mixed nuts and Power Aid to drink. If you are looking to save money on these types of snacks, buy the Dollar General brand at their stores. They around $2 for a box of the bars, $1 for the mixed nuts and Power Aids are under $1. This year also brought along a Bubba brand thermos I bring to work with water every night. The Bubba thermos is black metal, insulated and has a built in straw. I have been impressed with this thermos over the last year as it keeps water cold with only a few ice cubes for up to 20 hrs. in a patrol car and 8 hrs. outside. I used the thermos to drink from between time on the range so to keep my Camelbac full for time on the range. I never touched the Power Aid due to the Camelbac Elixir that Pat hands out to every student. I had my doubts about the stuff prior to class, but kept hearing great stuff about it. I am a believer if not a cult follower of the stuff now. I used half a tablet each time I filled the thermos and a full tablet in my Camelbak each time I filled it. I have about a half tube left and it will be put to use.
TD one started with the safety brief, waivers and introductions. We only had 6 guys total in the class, so it was like having a private EAG class. Pat covered a new concept that morning, something called push / pull. The flow of the class was covered and the fact that the flow will change based on our performance. Goodie bags were handed out from Bravo Company, LaRue, MagPul and Slip 2000. Each student got brand new mags from Bravo Company, MagPul and Tango down to supplement what we had brought. No issues to report with my rifle and the mags handed out. As usual from these companies the mags were top notch.
Each student also got a magazine loader from Bravo Company. This is great for student who did not bring their own and it is always better to have another way of loading mags. This helps the class also to keep moving as students can load their mags faster during down time.
The first order of business was to zero the rifles as 50 yards. It took about 3 rotations to get everyone sighted in. Only a two click adjustment to the left was needed for my DRMO Aimpoint M2 that is who knows how old and rides next to me in the rack between my seats every day at work.
Next we moved to the 3, 5, 7, and 15 yard line to work on offset. No matter how much you shoot the AR, offset is always something to work on. I still have training scars pop up when shooting targets such as Pat’s from too many years shooting at B-5 silhouettes for score. As with any “qualification” you have to be worried about what you score instead of where the hits should be going. Our state required qualifications require a certain score to pass, so I rarely have the option to aim where the bullets should be going. I kept finding myself shooting too low on the target and Pat made sure I was aware of my mistake. This is something I need to work on.
We moved to 25 yards to work on kneeling. We cycle through Speed, Braced, Monica and the Left and Right lean while in kneeling.
After lunch we worked on malfunctions at the 25 yard line. While working through malfunctions I had my original Tango Down mag start inducing malfunctions. The mag was seated, but the bolt would lock to the rear between shots. A quick tap on the mag would cause the bolt to go forward and load a round into the chamber. This mag is a few years old and purchased when they first came out. Mags are disposable and this one met the trash can when I got home. It caused this malfunction throughout the two days.
Next we shot drills requiring a reload to get everyone use to working through the mags on their person.
At the end the day we moved back to 50 yards and had to shoot 5 in the brain box. We then moved up to 5 yards for NSRs and Failure Drills.
No rifle or equipment issues to report other than the Tango Down mag. I did not clean the rifle or lube it other than at the beginning of class with the Slip2000 EWL provided to each student. I have only used Slip 2000 since my first EAG class in 2007 and it has yet to fail. Round count for TD 1 was 371. I ran through 22 mags, all held 30 rounds. Each mag had between 4 and 17 rounds left in the mag. I did not want to run dry during any of the drills.
The day started out with checking zeros at 50 yards x3, no one had to make any major adjustments. We worked on standing to kneeling drills at the 50 with mag changes then set up steel targets. All shooting prior to this had been on the EAG paper target.
We moved back to 100 yards to prove we could hit what we were aiming at, even at 100 yards. The targets were approximately the C zone of an IPSC target. The paint can had walked off at the range house, so we could not paint the targets when we set them up. From a 100 this caused the lead colored targets to blend into the range due to the grass backdrop. Of the 6 targets, 3 had color left. We quickly determined we needed paint. Pat’s AI Jay Tuttle ran to get paint while we worked on standing, kneeling and mag changes at 100. Steel is fun to shoot, but you get into making hits instead of hitting a certain spot on the target. We were all making hits in no time, even with red dots. I had no issues at 100 with a 4 MOA dot making repeated hits on the target. Once Jay returned with the paint we were all making 95-98% of our hits on the steel.
Next we moved to 50 and ran a Rolling Thunder drill on the steel. This is an ammo intensive drill that requires you to not only move through the targets, but keep tracks of the number of shots needed on each target and to keep in mind when magazines changes are needed. To say we heated the guns up is an understatement. The smoke rolling off the guns from the oil in the barrels and the heat rising off the barrels distorted your sight picture. What compounded the issue was the humidity as it caused your glasses to fog. I lost the target several times not due to the heat waves or the smoke, but to the fact my glasses were covered with condensation and oil. I had to start shooting with both eyes open to pick the target and dot back up. Even with both eyes open, by the 4th rotation it was almost impossible to ID the targets. I had done this drill in the past with shotguns during Louis Awerbuck’s shotgun classes but only one time before with a rifle, also in Louis’ class. To let the rifles cool down we made condition 4 carbines, unloaded and locked the bolt to the rear, and laid them in the grass. While we were at lunch it rained cooling the guns the rest of the way down.
After lunch we worked on turns. I have had issues with turns in the past by overthinking them. Pat took us through turns step by step and by the numbers with dry carbines until we had them. Next we went live and completed several turns from the left and right. We did not work on advising such as in the Operator course, but we got the turns down.
The last positions we worked on were what I would call the combat prone positions. Supine, Urban and SBU. We do not train on these position at all during our regular training and it was great to work on them here. We were reminded that our offset moves from the top to the side when using these positions, then we practiced dry. I found that wearing a hydration bladder on the back of a plate carrier causes some issues with this position. I had to roll over to my right to get my head on the ground. I had no issues with getting a sight picture. After one integration on paper we moved to the steel at 25 yards. The steel was great prone as we could get immediate feedback on our hits from the different positions. After one additional run in Supine on steel we switched to Urban.
Urban is difficult as your butt ends up in the air if you have anything on the front of your plate carrier or you have a gun belt with anything at the centerline. I was able to get into a rock solid position, but all the items on the front of my vest plus my arm between me and the ground made for a fairly high profile position. Some questions were raised in reference to brass bouncing back into the chamber while shooting and causing a malfunction, we did not see any malfunctions while in this position.
Next was SBU. I had heard of the SBU position but had not used it. I ask Pat prior to using the position which eye to use when sighting in this position as the rifle is positioned so the ejection port is pointed up. Pat advised to use whatever eye you have available. Once on the ground I pushed the rifle away from me gain tension on the sling, brought the recoil pad into my bicep then pushed the rifle forend away from me with my left hand. This locked the rifle into position and it did not move. I obtained a sight picture and fired the required 5 rounds. I was surprised to say the least when the rifle didn’t move and the impacts were all in the same area on the steel. I fired 5 more with the same results.
This was the last training rotation of the day. We stored our gear and met back under the roof of the range house to go over the last two days. Pat ask each day what we gained from the training day and what we found we need to improve on. I learned that I need to keep working on the basics to keep them fresh and pay more attention as more than once I missed the round count required for the course of fire. I also need to work on my malfunction clearances as I often cut corners when the malfunction solves itself. For example I fail to lock the bolt to the rear when performing redial action drills. Not an issue until it causes an issue or I miss the round causing the issue.
Other Observations During the Class:
When getting out of these positions I found that Velcro on the front flap of my plate carrier was barely staying attached when I stoop up due to the weight of the mags in the pouches. As I stood I had to make a habit of remembering to make sure they were secure. The flap on my vest has buttons to secure it down, but they are hard to find after you get the vest on. I may see if someone can make an extension for the snaps that will make it easier to attach once I am wearing it. This was the only issue I had with my vest during the class.
The vest was comfortable even though I do not wear it often. One location where there was some discomfort was were the top of the plate meets my chest just below my clavicles. I was only wearing a t-shirt under the vest during the class, compared to when working I would have my concealed level III vest plus a uniform shirt between me and the vest. I have not noticed any issues when wearing the vest while working.
I had three magazines fail during the class, which was the main reason I took every mag I had. The original Tango Down mag I spoke of earlier and two Brownells mags I have had in a Mag-Cinch Coupler for over 10 years. The Brownells springs had finally weaken enough that the top round in the left magazine was walking forward during firing of the rifle. The round had moved far enough forward I had to swipe the top round out of the mag on my leg prior to loading the magazine. After empting the right mag and loading the left into the rifle the follower stopped advising causing the rifle to not load the top round. I dumped the mags and went to a standard mag to complete the firing string. The other set of Brownell mags I have Mag-Cinched ran fine. I have received information stating that coupled mags are too heavy for the gun and will damage it and I have been told it causes no issues at all. When I coupled my mags I took time to verify they did not interfere with the dust cover and tightened the straps as tight as they could possibly go. I also cut the excess and burned the ends. I do run two MagPul Pmags in a MagPul coupler on my work rifle. I made the decision to do this as I do not always have time to grab a second mag when exiting the car, I do not have a location on my uniform or duty belt to carry a second mag and I cannot use a stock mounted mag pouch. After the issues this weekend I will be ending the practice of running coupled mags on my rifle. I believe the only real solution currently available would be a Surefire 60rd mag.
I want to say thank you again to Pat and Jay for a great class. Learning occurred and we got to shoot guns for an entire weekend. I have known Pat and Jay for several years through training and recommend them both. I have learned a lot from Pat and he is the guy to go to for Carbine. I recommend him both my professional and friend circles when people ask where to obtain training. Jay taught my first Carbine class after I was accepted as a Reserve with my current department and was my range mentor at the Academy when I was hired part-time at my current department. I have been full time for a few years now.
Everyone in class was great and everyone got along without issue. Some even earned new nicknames. Even Fireman and Cops were together on the range together without any major issues. To say the least it was impressive to watch those with no formal training at the start of class become rock solid shooters by the end.
Thank You to the following companies for supporting EAG and Pat in passing on the knowledge and for helping students get some quality gear and swag.
Blue Force Gear
Peters Custom Holsters