The Mayberry Carbine Clinic
My good friend Bill Prudden primarily organized the Mayberry Carbine Clinic, with some help from myself, to offer an affordable carbine class for new and experienced shooters that focused on the basics. A special thanks goes to Steve Bechtel for helping to the secure the range at Mayberry and helping as an RO during the course in addition to the other Steve from the Mayberry range and Marc Hinther.
The course was only four hours long and was set up to hammer home some fundamentals and show students techniques that they could take away and practice on their own or use in other aspects of shooting. We tried to cover as much as we could in the short amount of time that we had to do it in and wanted to focus on the following skills:
Proper Stance and Manual of Arms
Shooting at close distance from the standing position
Shooting from barricades
Shooting in the kneeling position
Shooting in the prone
The range we utilized at Mayberry allowed us to shoot at targets from CQB distance to 600 yards using both paper and steel targets. We wanted all of the students to show up and ready to go, however if they wanted to check their zero we had the ability to do so at 25, 50, and 100 yards depending on their personal preferences and optics set up. In preparation for the course I made up drop charts and hold over diagrams for the some of the common types of ammunition and optics that might show up at the carbine course. I was very happy to hear that most of the data was dead on for the ranges that the targets were engaged at. In addition to providing some inputs for the course of fire I also had the responsibility of teaching the reloading techniques, what to do if you have a malfunction, and the kneeling position portions of the course.
I approached the reloading and malfunction portions of the course with the mindset of focusing on the basics of these skills and trying not to get too technical or complicated. I tried to teach the kneeling position with the same mindset by focusing on the fundamentals of marksmanship to generate a stable shooting platform, maintain a steady breathing cycle, exercise good trigger control, and maintain a proper sight picture. It was more than satisfying to my ears to hear the steel target placed at 200 yards ringing constantly from the steady hits guys were getting using the kneeling position. Many of them were using iron sights or red dot sights to stretch a bit further out to the 500 yard target if they could make it out against the snow.
Below is an AAR of the course from glock_forty5 / JT from MDShooter.com.
Carbine Clinic AAR
The weather was sunny and cold, low 30s and the ground was a muddy snowy mess. Cold weather clothing was the rule of the day.
The Clinic covered long distance shooting, positions, reloading, malfunction drills, natural point of aim, and sight height over bore.
Long Distance Shooting – We started from the bench and confirmed our zero. I was running a 50 yard BZO and an Eotech. I was provided with a clip board with a data sheet and a neat graphic showing the hold-overs from 50-600 yards with the Eotech reticle. Because of the snow on the ground, it was hard to see the steel at 400 on out. The hold-over chart was spot on and I was getting good hits out to 500 yards with my Eotech! From prone I was able to hit the 600 yard 12 by 12 steel, but was only able to hit it 4 out of 18 rounds or about 20 percent. RussD did great and had a hit ratio of 30 percent also with an Eotech. We were measuring the hits by percentage not groups due to the range and steel targets, not a precise measure but useful data none the less. Some magnification would have been nice but I wanted to see what I could do with a dot sight.
Positions – Most of this was a refresher for me. How ever I was able to dial in my kneeling position to enable easy hits at 200 and a couple at 500. Get set in a good position, muscle on bone, extend your support hand out, and controlled breathing got me the sight picture I needed to get long distance hits.
Reloading – An excellent lesson, well taught. Again a refresher but it is always good to train the fundamentals in a controlled environment. Two types of reloads were done, I do not remember the terminology used at the clinic so I will go with the tried and true administrative and immediate action reload. The drills were done dry but this did not take away from the lesson.
Malfunction Drill – This drill was also done dry. The student was taught a variation of Tap Rack Bang called Tap Rack Ready. I liked this as the shooter must determine if he still needs to send rounds on target or not, hence Tap Rack Ready. Note: I have the Magpul BAD installed on my rifle and in both the reloading and malfunction drill it made the weapons manipulation much easier and quicker. The BAD is also very intuitive to use, I needed very little seat time to be proficient with it.
Natural Point of Aim – Great fundamental skill that does not get the attention and training time it deserves. Stance is a luxury in the real word but when standing the shooter should be able to square up to a threat and bring his carbine up and be on target at close range. I will not go in to the lesson details as it is something that needs to be taught to fully appreciate. I will say that Bill did an excellent job teaching this evolution.
Height Over Bore – This was the opposite end of the spectrum for the day. The shooter was about six feet from the silhouette and needed to put 2 rounds in to the center of the target’s head. The sight on the carbine is 2.5 or so inches above the bore and at that range the POA needs to be 2.5 (or so) inches higher than the POI in order to get good hits. This is a very basic concept that is lost on many. The drill made it crystal clear as to why you need to know your close in hold overs too.
Instruction – Bill and crew delivered. In 3.5 hours I went through 200+ quality rounds. The RO ratio was 2 to 1. Great information, good utilization of the facility, and we finished on time! Job well done. I would recommend this clinic to both novice and experienced shooter and would take it again, if they let me. LOL
Because of the cold not many people were too worried about taking out the camera and snapping pictures, myself included. However, I was able to scrounge up a couple and I'd like to thank Russ D. for taking them.
Shooter is engaging targets from the standing barricade position.
Shooter is engaging targets from the prone.
From all of the feedback we received from those that attended the course, it was a big success and we are looking forward to doing another one in the near future. I think nearly everyone was able to take something away from the course that would help make them better, safer shooters. I know I learned some things as well in regards to teaching, equipment selection, and the limitations of that equipment in certain situations. The snow accumulation that we had on the ground really hampered the guys that were using iron sights or non-magnified optics and pretty limited their effective engagement ranges to about 300 yards. The guys with optics like the ACOG or low powered variable scopes were able to push that distance a little farther out to about 500 yards or more and still get good, consistent hits on steel. All in all I think it was a great learning experience for everyone involved and I look forward to the next one.