Written by guest writer Steve Husband
With the 2012/2013 winter in Alaska seemingly dragging on, Jason Falla with Redback One came to Alaska yet again to instruct the 2-Day Combat Carbine course and was met with 2-3 inches of accumulated snow on the ground and freezing temperatures. Training day one was May 18th.
As typical with courses like this we had present a variety of rifles ranging from factory Noveske, Colt, Daniel Defense and several ‘combination’ type rifles. As varied as the rifles, so were the students. Civilians, active duty military, retired military, and at least one LEO joined the ranks and battled terrible roads to get to Birchwood Shooting and Recreation Park in Chugiak, Alaska. Many passed ditched vehicles and even a few rollovers as they carefully made their way on the very slick roadways.
The class linked up at the classroom shortly before 0800. Once there, Jason took care of the required administrative actions which included liability release waivers, emergency contact information should the unfortunate occur, and tidied up the general information needed prior to commencing training such as this.
Jason then discussed his background in the Australian military (more information can be found HERE) as well as his extensive training experience stateside since relocating to the U.S. He then discussed range safety expectations and gave a thorough explanation of potential consequences should a student violate safety expectations resulting in either a “minor” or “major” safety violation.
Jason did a quick review of the seven shooting fundamentals, promised more to come on those, then launched into a discussion on exterior and terminal ballistics as well as appropriate zeroing distances for the 5.56 platform. Jason then laid on performance expectations for the class and talked briefly about Redback One’s shooting and training methodology. NOTE- This class was not a beginner level class, and required prior instruction for rifle and pistol. Having attended the Basic Pistol Class the two days previous to this class, I was greatly impressed with Jason’s safety brief in the basic course. It is by far the most comprehensive safety brief I have observed, and it would start someone off on the right path.
We then rallied at the range where approximately half the class needed to either zero or confirm their rifle’s zero. After zeroing, Jason’s first instructional block included offset, relation of sights to axis of the rifle’s bore, and transition drills from primary to secondary weapon systems. He then introduced us to his IDP (Individual Protection Drill) which allows a shooter to be capable of scanning/engaging threats with their secondary weapon system while recovering and addressing their rifle’s stoppage. Jason then had the class conduct a team relay type drill inducing elevated cardio and driving home the point of “patience on the sights” as well as not overrunning one’s cardio capabilities.
The next blocks of instruction surrounded recoil management (one of his passionate topics) emphasizing the need for appropriate “sight package” and aggressive grip and stance. During this block, Jason introduced the class to “counting” one’s shots out loud when conducting recoil management/rhythm drills. This technique greatly aided me in decreasing split times significantly. Jason also mentioned acceptable time limits, with an emphasis of not accelerating beyond “combat speed”.
The next area of instruction focused around malfunction clearance drills with a good lecture on “cycle of operation”. Prior to this block a couple of students had rifle stoppages, for various reasons, and struggled with reducing them. After the instruction on the cycle of operation (which greatly helped in identifying the types of stoppages you might encounter), and lots of practice, the stoppages were dealt with more smoothly, even under the stress of added relay type events.
Training day one concluded with a brief on TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) principals with a strong emphasis on TQ (tourniquet) preparation (prior to deployment), TQ placement, achieving appropriate constriction effect, and the construction and use of improvised tourniquets. The class was given an improvised TQ assignment, as homework, we conducted a quick debrief of the day’s training, and were released for the day at approximately 1900.
Jason, along with many of the students who attended multiple courses while he was present in Alaska, faced really poor weather for the previous courses so the blue skies that greeted us at the beginning of training day two were a much welcomed sight. Even at temperatures in the low to mid forties, we knew it would warm up quickly.
Instruction on day two began around engaging masked threats along with cover/concealment work from the strong side shoulder only, around both strong and support side cover. Jason then covered his methodology for transferring the rifle from strong side to support side in order to utilize the most out of one’s cover. Jason discussed the tactical/technical pros and cons to each method, making it clear that these techniques are shooter and situationally driven. The class then conducted a “conga” line drill laterally prior to individual/timed runs with strong/support side rifle usage with rifle stoppages, and clearances mixed in, with some students electing to add profanity in the steps when getting the drill out of sequence.
Near the lunch break, Jason gave a continuance of the previous day’s trauma block focusing on TQ usage (appropriate constriction), placement (high and tight), and Jason gave a demo of field expedient TQ usage from items he scrounged from behind the line.
The class then moved back to the barricades to work rifle transitions from strong shoulder to support shoulder in conjunction with strong side/support side cover, as well as unconventional positions to include rollover prone and junkyard prone, while focusing on safe individual movement, safety catch placement, conducting threat scans prior to moving , and negotiating sight/bore offset issues.
The class then broke into a team barricade (over distance) drill, with a search for items each team was to secure and return to the FOB for times; prior to Jason ending the second day by having each two person team apply a TQ to their partner from the “home made” materials (homework assignment) they were supposed to secure. My partner’s was great, mine sucked and did not work as planned, which was a good eye opener as to what might work in the future and how I might do things differently.
We then conducted a debrief and Jason dispensed some goodies from the tactical goody bag for top shooters/teams in certain drills, as well as an award for most improved shooter. The class was debriefed, Jason thanked us for taking the time to attend his training, and the class was released at approximately 1800.
Jason is a personable instructor who does an excellent job of conveying information and breaking it down component by component. He’s got a great sense of humor and can take “jabs” as well as he gives them. I bent his ear on a couple of sidebar topics and he was patient, confident, and did not give any universal/vague answers. Jason demonstrated his highly competent ability to teach to different levels; basic pistol course two days previous to more seasoned shooters over the last two. As such, we were penalized for misses, incorrectly setting up a drill, or dropped equipment (which you might need later), with “penalty laps”. Jason discussed physical conditioning throughout the course, and gave examples of various exercises and their relevancy to improving one’s shooting.
If you’re interested in receiving training from a Tier 1 level Operator who has been down range, can demonstrate excellent command of the fundamentals and tactical expertise, and if you like to be out of your comfort zone, then Red Back One should be on your hit list for training providers. If you like to run, you’ll really like it!
Many thanks to Kyle and Chris for working with RB1 and setting up the training, great shooting fellas!!!