CSAT Tactical Rifle Instructor Course “After Action Report”By: David Bailey (email@example.com)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009.
Within 2 hours of arriving at the range I removed most of the “gadgets” off of my rifle and ended up shooting a stripped down rifle with iron sights and later on a Trijicon ACOG TA45-2 1.5×24.
We started off the day zeroing our weapons systems. Paul uses a process he calls the “Battlefield Zero”. Basically it’s a zero at 7 yards and then another zero at 100 yards. http://www.combatshootingandtactics….20Pictures.pdf (Large file – takes some time to download.)
After we zeroed our weapons systems, we went through the “standards” that are required to pass the instructor course. All standards require that you hit a special CSAT target within the kill zone as well as meet a maximum time limit for each standard. CSAT targets have a kill zone rectangle that is approximately 6” wide and about 13” tall over the spinal area and then a 6” x 6” square box that represents a head shot.
All standards are timed from the sound of the electronic timer until the last shot is fired. All positions are started standing in low ready position (rifle muzzle pointed down about 45 degrees below your beltline.)
Standard #1 (20 seconds max): Starting standing in a low ready position you have to hit the ground, get in prone position and fire 5 rounds into center mass in the kill zone. Sounds easy doesn’t it?
Standard #2 (20 seconds): Move to the 75 yard line and you have 20 seconds from a standing low ready position to get into a kneeling position and fire 5 rounds on target. This is the position that gives most people the hardest time.
Standard #3 (20 seconds): Move to the 50 yard line and repeat Standard #2.
Standard #4 (8 seconds): Move to the 25 yard line, start in the low ready position and shoot 5 shots from the standing position in 8 seconds.
Standard #5 (1 second): Move to the 7 yard line and shoot 1 shot from a low ready position in 1 second, yes I said 1 second.
Standard #6 (1.5 seconds): Stay on the 7 yard line and shoot and from the low ready position you raise your rifle and shoot 2 rounds, on target, in 1.5 seconds.
Standard #7 (3 seconds): Still from the 7 yard line, fire 2 rounds on 2 targets, for a total of 4 rounds in 3 seconds.
Standard #8 (3 seconds): Still from the 7 yard line, fire 5 rounds to center mass and 1 shot to the head in 3.5 seconds.
Standard #9 (3.25 seconds): Final standard from the 7 yard line. You setup your rifle with 1 round in it. The standard is to fire 1 round from your rifle and then transition to your handgun and fire 1 additional shot to the head all in 3.5 seconds.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009.
Today we started out the morning running through the standards several times and then moved to the 200 yard and 300 yard range (“Sniper Hill” also has 400 yard and 500 yard targets) where we shot from the prone position at paper CSAT targets. We worked with shot placement from long distances and learned about each person’s sights and how to make adjustments according to each person’s own setup.
We also ran the “Scrambler” for the first time. This is an exercise that allows you to shoot under physical stress. A lot of fun, but if you really push yourself you will be ready to throw up by the time you are finished. The goal is to shoot each target from each of 10 positions as fast as possible. You have up to 5 shots at each target/position but once you hit the target you move to the next position. You are allowed 2 x 28 round rifle magazines and 20 pistol rounds. Starting on top of “Sniper Hill”, in the prone position, we delivered shots at steel targets at both 200 yards and 300 yards. Shooters run to the next position and deliver their shots to steel targets at 200 yards and 240 yards. Shooters run to the next position and shoot both rifle and pistol. All in all there are 10 positions with 2 shooting requirements from each position, mostly rifle with some transition to pistol. The last is at 100 yards, after a run back up the hill, where you take a prone position and shoot a steel target at 100 yards, a very fun and demanding exercise.
(Just for the record, I finished the course in just over 11 minutes having used less than 1 magazine of rifle rounds and 1 8 round magazine of pistol rounds.)
Thursday, February 19, 2009.
Today was the final round of testing on all of the standards. Instructors are required to pass 8 out of 9 standards in a row. Every instructor passed every standard drill, but not always in a row. That means that if you pass 6 of the standards and miss 3 of them you have to start from the beginning and pass all the standards again. You can accumulate scores. If you happen to have a bad run at the standards, then you have to start all over and you do that as many times as it takes to pass. Bottom line is that between Wednesday and Thursday, everyone in our class passed, but this isn’t the case in all classes.
The afternoon was focused on barricade drills and tactical reloads, malfunction drills and long range pistol shots. I’m not going to get into the details of Paul’s tactical approach, for security reasons, but I will say that it’s not what is taught in most police academies and is now my preferred method for barricade shooting. Throughout the class it is quite obvious that Paul teaches from his years of practical experience. These are not just theories, but proven urban battle techniques.
We also ran the “100-7” drill which is a speed drill that consists of most of the standards. You start on the 100 yard line and run standards #1 through #4, then run to the 7 yard line and deliver 5 shots to the head of the target and then run back to the 100 yard line. This is timed and you are sprinting from 1 marker to the next. The idea is to get your heart rate up and learn to control it between shooting locations.
The rest of the afternoon was spent learning how to properly run a range (safety, timing, scoring, etc.).
At the end of the day we took a “little” hike with Paul through his property looking for wild pigs. We didn’t find any, but got a good workout.
Friday, February 20, 2009.
The morning started out at the barricades again, going over and practicing barricade shooting, tactical reloads and malfunction drills. Again, while a little different from standard training, much more effective at landing your bullet, or as Paul would say, “servicing” the enemy.
We also brought a lot of what we have learned to do “surgical drills”. Paul has developed another great target that is named after his daughter, who happens to be the hostage on this particular target. We ran this drill with both rifle and pistol and it’s amazing what you can do with a little practice. (All of Paul’s targets are available through www.LETargets.com)
The rest of today was spent going over, practicing and presenting training techniques, methods and verbal instructions to Paul. Once everyone presented an acceptable set of instructions to Paul we hit the various ranges to set them up for the weekend training of Tactical Rifle students. Everyone was much more relaxed this afternoon as we had all passed our practical and verbal testing required to obtain the ranking of “CSAT Tactical Rifle Instructor”.
After we left the range, back at the “hooch”, we got a lesson in cleaning and maintaining your weapon system. I won’t go into details, I’ll just say, don’t be afraid to lubricate your weapon system until it’s dripping oil and grease. “A happy rifle is a wet rifle.”
A great day indeed!
Saturday, February 21, 2009.
Today was the first morning for the 2-day Tactical Rifle Course (and a rainy day). We were at the range at 0700 to make sure everything was set up and ready for the new students. The first day for the new students included the following instruction:
Sunday, February 22, 2009.
The 2nd and final day of the 2-day course and it included the following instruction:
200 yard and 300 yard targets.
Final times on standards.
Weapon system cleaning.
Here’s a quick video of Paul demonstrating the 100-7 drill:
In summary, I have to say that at the end of the week I was sore, tired, bruised, cut and scratched, but this was one of the most applicable training courses I have ever participated in. As good as you may be, CSAT will be a humbling experience. Paul Howe is a class act with no ego, but a clear command of tactics to survive on the streets. I trained with a lot of highly skilled “operators” from Federal and local agencies as well as some on their way to the Middle East. (They skill level of those around me made me just that much better.)
I have eliminated a lot details in this summary on purpose, as some of the tactics should only be confirmed to “operators” in the field (whether it be law enforcement, security or military).
A few terms to remember; “point of aim, point of impact”, “if you can’t hit your target, don’t take the shot”, “service your enemy”, “5 magazines is never enough”, “never give back the street you’ve already taken” and there are a few more that I will share with LE/Military only. Finally, as Paul says “it’s all good” and “you’re doing great things”!
If you take any of CSAT’s 2-day courses or instructor courses, I’d highly recommend staying at the CSAT bunk house. You can stay the whole week for the cost of 1 night at a hotel and everything is there; comfortable beds, washer and dryer, 4 showers, 3 bathrooms, 2 refrigerators, kitchen, etc. and if you don’t stay there you will miss hours of camaraderie, tactical discussions as well as just a lot of fun.
Check out all details of Combat Shooting and Tactics at their website: www.combatshootingandtactics.com.