Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DARC LECTC Overview Part 2

DARC LECTC Lessons Learned Part 2

Yes, a M1 Garand and angle headed flashlight will work  - millions of dead Nazi’s can’t be wrong. This is a big thing to remember, especially as it is easier to talk gear than it is to actually do work. M1 Garand’s are not a joke; if you don’t doubt it, follow the M1 Garand shooter over at garandthumb.com.

Understanding that equipment is not the make or break of this class, it can be “easier” if you have good equipment you know how to use. This allows you to spend time focusing on learning the SOP’s.

So what equipment worked for me?

1. Fire Clean and Acetone/Finger Nail Polish Remover.
Force on Force ammunition (Simmunitions, UTM or the standard of Speer FOF) will make your gun dirty. Standard advice for running a AR rifle is to make it wet. The barrel and bolt being too wet will cause the FOF ammo to have issues though.

With FOF ammo, you need to clean the barrel of plastic and paint from the FOF ammo every time it’s used (or after every run). I would pour some Acetone down the barrel then clean the chamber and bolt face with a Q-tip laced in Acetone. Next I would run a bore snake down the barrel twice. It would have a couple drops of Fire Clean on it applied at the start of each day. I also put a drop on each rail of the bolt the first part of the week and half way through. No issues as a result of this cleaning method. I ran about 800-900 rounds of 5.56 FOF ammo through the gun during the week. Also did about 75 rounds of 9mm thanks to a round blowing up in the barrel of my AR at the start of a couple runs.

2. Dump Pouches.
I ran a Tyr Tactical dump pouch at about 8-9 O’clock on my first line and a Blue Force Gear OSS Dump Pouch off my plate carrier at about 10:30-11 O’clock. The Tyr was used for dumping empty or tactical reload mags (when retention was possible) and the OSS pouch for Chemlights.

3. Princeton Tec Charge MPLS helmet light.
The button was big enough to easily manipulate with gloves on. The blue light was a must when working on a casualty as you can see blood under it. Fortunately no real blood was shed on ops, but being able to see what I was doing to access a casualty and ensure all medical protocols taught were followed, big success.

4. Weapon Mounted Light
I ran a Surefire P2X Fury modded to work like a EAG model. This was mounted in a Larue Tactical Offset mount. I was able to activate the light how and when I wanted to without issue. I only went through 2 sets of batteries for the class, and both sets were replaced before the light went dead so I’m not sure but I might have been able to run through the class with 1 set of batteries. Better safe than sorry though.

5. Laser Devices DBAL-I2.
If you’re LE, get a IR/Vis laser on your fighting weapon now. It’s a game changer. Only thing I wish I had was the PEQ-15 as it had a IR Illuminator built in and that was definitely needed at times. I won’t go into this more than that.

6. Quality Two Point Sling.
I run 2-point adjustable slings – usually a Blue Force Gear VCAS, and ran a VCAS for this class. The adjustable portion of the sling was only useful when I was moving a casualty and therefore my rifle was not needed (hopefully) and needed to be cinched down tight so I could move a casualty. I saw all the common 2-point slings (Blue Force Gear, VTAC and Way of the Gun) there except a SOB-B sling and all worked fine. The 1-point slings caused issues when people tried to put them on under stress, not to mention were horrible to control if you were moving a casualty.

7. Rehydration/Hydration
I had a Camelback attached to my protective mask. It kept me hydrated on the runs. I also followed a pre hydration regimen with 1 liter of water before I went to bed and 1 liter when I woke up. During the day, 2 liters of water, 1 liter of Vitalyte. Vitalyte is the best Electrolyte supplement on the market. I feel a “sugar sick” when I drink Gatorade or Powerade, even in a diluted state. Vitalyte works, without magnets or other smoke and mirrors based nonsense. A couple guys ran the Camelbak Elixir with good reviews as well.

8. SBR
A 10.5” barrel (or similar 10.3-11.5) is a must for when you go FISH’ing. Allows you to move in the compact spaces of a building and the cramped quarters of a team in that building. Also a big help when moving in and out of a vehicle. Lighter is better when you have to hold the gun up. Remember that mission drives the gear train.

If you can take a class at DARC, DO SO IMMEDIATELY!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DARC LECTC Overview Part 1

DARC LECTC Lessons Learned Part 1

1: PT
2: Weapons Skills down pat
3: Kit familiarity down pat
4: Mindset

Yes, those are paint marks all over my helmet. 

1 PT:
This course is long – 96 hours in 6 days. You will be wearing a Gas mask for every single run. If you are not familiar with gas masks, they restrict your breathing big time. I started doing moderate cardio in my mask months back in prep. Burpees and short sprint intervals were great. I’d also do a WOD or two a week in my mask, just to get more accustomed to it.

In real life, you won’t have time to get in shape for the fight. It will happen when it wants to, on its terms. You have to be prepared for it. Train now and be ready at all times. This is specific to any fight – from the physical fight for your life as a result of a traffic accident, to a gun fight against battle hardened motivated trained terrorists.

2 Weapons Skills:
Take your “basic” weapons manipulations skills. Grip. Presentation. Magazine reloads (emergency and tactical). Malfunction clearances. Transitions. Practice them. And again. And again. And again. Now turn off the lights. Do it where you can’t see what your doing. Can you ID the malfunction by what you feel? Click? Mush? Bolt not go back all the way?

Practice presenting the weapon from your standard movement position – High Port/Muzzle Up. At DARC you will do this 99% of the time. If you practice presenting the gun into a sight picture repeatedly the gun will generally fall into the same spot all the time. This helps speed up your first shot on target. This will also help at the close distances where sights are more or less there, but not necessarily in use.

Being able to do this, paid off when the lights went out and Rob Zombie started blasting while the bee’s paid a visit.

3 Kit Familiarity:
I practiced magazine reloads from every single mag pouch on my kit. First without a helmet/mask in the day. Then with helmet and mask in the day. Then at night with helmet and mask. This paid off as on a few runs I did end up on my last 1-2 magazines. Knowing where and how to reload out of every mag pouch is key, especially if you have a mix of type of pouches – open top, closed top, double mag closed top, etc.

Know where your TQ is placed as well. Make sure it’s very clearly marked and visible to others, while secure. I carried 2 TQ’s on me this class. One run I lost the secondary TQ as I was being moved into a casualty collection point. The guy performing buddy aid located my second TQ and quickly applied it.

We had a mixture of TQ’s in the class, and it paid off to know how to use them all. I applied or saw applied all three types.

4 Mindset:
This is something that you can’t fake, but can develop and will help make up for a shortcoming in any of the above areas to an extent.

Being able to flip the “Mr. Friendly” switch to “I’m gonna make them pay for that” is a must. Being able to fight your way through the stressors of full kit, gas mask (reduced Oxygen input to the brain), and loud chaotic situation with no light and finish the objective is a must. You must be ready to win, and be aggressive enough to win.

Accept that you will get shot in a gunfight, so it doesn’t surprise you if you do. Its better to be surprised that you didn’t get shot.