The Rockwell Tactical Carbine 201 Course was exceptional in every aspect. Rockwell Tactical had everything organized, on schedule and as needed they slowed down to assist and make sure everyone got knowledge and their moneys worth. At this Rockwell Tactical Carbine 201 Course we went over truths in firearm manipulation, shooting on the move, advanced shooting positions and barriers/barricades. These were two very hot and humid days in Pennsylvania. Rockwell Tactical made sure everyone was hydrated and offered water many, many times. It is the small things that can set apart training companies usually. Rockwell Tactical is a company that thanks its students for coming to training and becoming proficient. They see people as Minutemen, as do I. Using the flight that did not hit it’s target on 9/11 as an example of how ordinary people were the ones who had to face evil and referencing that it could be anyone. The lead instructor Jared Ross is a highly skilled and trained individual. He is a Green Beret, but he never once gave any impression to be any more a person than anyone else. This is one thing I noticed with all the instructors. They were all humble and helpful.
Day one started out in the classroom with Jared going over safety, his background and a brief schedule of events for each day. We headed out to the range and got too it. Zeroing rifles if needed and then foundation drills to baseline skill level. The one difference in how I train and how they instruct was they taught hold overs. While I understand this, I always am a 50 yard zero and hold center mass and shoot. So at times my muscle memory would auto go to how I have trained for so long. But there are situations where hold overs are a necessity, so it was good to work my brain in that way. During these initial drills Jared and Red were constantly reminding people not to have perfect groups. They wanted to see some spread in the groups, so that people would reach limits, get instruction and then move past those limits during the weekend. We then finished up with a half and half drill, where during the 2.5 second drill I was so amped up I missed the safety and then had to make a dramatic recovery to get them in under 2.5 seconds! We then moved into the instruction of moving and shooting. You picked a buddy and stuck with them the whole weekend. Mine was a gentleman from New Jersey who knew how to buy gun gear as he had a Gripstop Mod2!
The movement based instruction was methodical, which I liked. During all drills the instructors were making sure everyone was clear and safe when doing dry fire drills and that when live fire were over that again everyone was clear and safe. While I am skilled at shooting, in this type of setting where not many people know each others skills I was very appreciative and accepting of this practice and attention to safety. We started with shooting 7 targets from the right and left side on the move. Key emphasis was on walking straight with heel to toe and using your upper body as a turret so as to not disrupt your movement. But most importantly initial identification of the target prior to engagement. This was drilled into everyone all weekend. Identify, acquire target, sight picture, fire. No sight picture, no fire. We did this drill a few times and then moved onto moving forward at low ready with the instructor yelling either shoot or failure to stop. When failure to stop was said you shoot 3 shots center of mass, 2 to the head and 2 to the groin. With the Rockwell Tactical RTG targets it is easy to practice this and grade your accuracy. We again did this dry fire and then live fire. The range was rearranged and we split up into two groups. One group did some more moving and shooting controlled pairs, while the other group did moving and shooting a VTAC 1-5 drill. The thing emphasized here was while you can do thing standing still, in the real world in a gunfight things will not be standing still. So they make you move for most everything throughout the weekend, which is great. After everyone went through each of the drills a few times we wrapped up day one. I was frankly exhausted after day one. Not only are you mentally but much so physically. Shooting is a mental and physical thing, unlike say chess. But I was very pleased with what I learned and all the instruction I received.
Day two started off with the same drills as the previous day to gauge increased proficiency. I can say that I was pushing myself in these drills more than day one and had less of a spread on my groupings. I certainly was a better shooter day two and had more confidence due to the attention to detail that Jared and Red laid on the students. After the warm up drills were completed we were introduced to barriers. Jared discussed how to pie a corner and foot movement and placement to the most stability and best base for accurate shots. Here again, Jared discussed his way and the reasoning behind it all the while being open to questions and discussion on it. We ran through left and right side standing and kneeling as well as crouched dry fire and then live fire. This is where the instruction began to talk about muzzle, sights and barrier heights. While your sights is clear, not always is your muzzle clear and you could shoot through the barrier, etc. if your muzzle is not go for launch. After these drills we put some barriers up that had about 8-10 different positions to shoot from on each. Jared instructed us on shooting with your rifle on it’s side, jammed against or on top of something, under cars or low clearance barriers, behind a curb and from behind a tire. This took some time, including myself, as with most range restrictions this is not something people can train on all the time. Most of these positions I have really never live fire trained. So I personally had some questions on positioning. You find out how flexible you are though! With each position Jared talked about where you have to aim to hit what you want to hit, because once your gun gets in certain positions where you aim is not where you hit. We did this live fire a few times and Jared always encourages people to do it as much as they need to so they increase their comfortableness with new things.
Then we moved into some buddy drills with the range setup with an obstacle course. Everything you learned over the two days came into play here. You started crouched behind cover, both you and your buddy start shooting, then one moves to the next barrier on their side and as they move you lay down suppressive fire. Once they are in place and shooting you move and on and on. You move to 3 different barriers and at the last one when you are told to move you shoot on the move 8 targets with controlled pairs and dump the remaining into the last target. This is really where magazine reloads came into play, both combat and tactical reloads. You never want your buddy moving and you lay down suppressive fire and for your gun to go click when they are moving. We did this twice, each side so you got to work on right and left handed manipulation. After a break it was time for the competition! Basically you run the course and at the end you do a failure to stop drill on a target. Person with best time and accuracy on the failure to stop drill wins. If you did not map out what you were going to do prior to the run you probably failed. I failed as I did not seat my magazine in all the way on a reload and lost some time, but I had 6 of 7 shots in the kill zone on the failure to stop drill. After running 40 yards and doing a few positions up and down by the time you get to the failure to stop drill you have a good amount of stress going on and your heart rate is super high. So it really gives you a feeling of how you perform under stress/pressure. The other thing is if you forgot your hold overs you missed you shots. Again, got to remember what you learned the whole weekend.The final thing was to do the samurai drill. One shot on a target you pick until you hit it perfectly, then once you get a perfect shot your done. Ending on a positive.
Things I walked away with were a deep appreciation for the respect, knowledge and instruction that Jared and his team provided all of the students. I like when instructors are able to explain why they are teaching something a certain way. Jared and his team did this the whole weekend. They have been there and done that and the methods they taught were solid. Results do not lie, and everyone had better results by the end of the weekend. I fully approve and recommend Rockwell Tactical. They certainly impressed me with professionalism, skill, knowledge and their humble down to earth approach.