Absolutely awesome back brief!
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This past weekend I completed the conduct of a HK Pro member only MP5 and UMP Operator Course. I have to say, this was a huge success, even surpassing my own expectations. For all of those out there who, for whatever reason, wanted to join us, but couldn’t, and for those who even missed the notification that this was even happening, here is a roll up on the course. I’m confident that those members who participated will add their own comments and information to this thread.
First of all, I have to thank those HK Pro members in attendance, many of whom traveled long distances to be a part of this training, Miguel, Rich, Bobby, Jason and Brent. Your motivation to train was clearly evident and I appreciated you “picking up everything I was laying down”, with an open mind. That receptiveness to learning new things made my job as the instructor much easier than having to argue with a student who thinks he can do no wrong and doesn’t want to listen to something new or counter to his own experience. Beyond being “sponge-like” students, soaking up the knowledge, history and drills, it was wonderful to be around like-minded HK fans who also happened to be downright good guys. It truly was a pleasure to get to work with all of you.
Special thanks also goes out to my old friend, Ben. Though not an HK owner (this training, I’m confident made him a convert), he was instrumental in coordinating this event, as well as serving as the main host. I could not have pulled it off without his support and friendship. As such, I can overlook the fact that he shot my MP5-N all weekend and then handed it back to me to clean.
And of course, I’d be woefully remiss if I did not thank Paul, the owner of Frontline Defense, and his staff, Dale and Tommy. Receptive and supportive of my concept from the beginning and providing us all not just access to our own section of that excellent range complex, but also all of the training support we needed there was simply outstanding. From one veteran-owned company to another, many thanks, Ranger!
The concept behind this course, like my own company, is to enhance the HK ownership experience. Unfortunately, many HK owners spend lots of money purchasing HK weapons, but then fail to acquire the knowledge, training and experience to get the full potential out of those weapons. Of course that is not always the fault of the owner. The large majority of ranges confine you to a telephone booth-sized space, won’t even allow you to draw from the holster or fire rapid fire, much less shoot and move in full auto. There are also very few instructors out there with the experience base to train to the specifics of the HK submachine guns (which have some unique requirements which vary from a typical carbine course). Even if you can find such training, it can often be cost prohibitive or only available to Mil/LE.
With all of that clear in my mind, I figured that offering a condensed and combined MP5 and UMP Operator Course with a small amount of Armorer training would be a big draw for the guys on the forum. Somewhat surprising to me and the rest of the members who signed up, we ended up only being half full. No worries, “their loss” and we pressed on, allowing me to have a much preferred instructor to student ratio.
We met on Saturday morning and after introductions, jumped right into the classroom instruction, covering the scheme of maneuver and basic fundamentals that would set up us for success over the next two days. Special focus during this initial training was placed on BZO and stance (body position and grip of the weapon). These two issues are often confusing topics that can negatively affect everything else you do in shooting if done incorrectly, so we made sure to break them down to a very common sense approach. With BZO, we covered the design history of the sights, the proper tooling and procedures, with easy to remember acronyms.
For the stance, we focused on body mechanics and removing as much stress from the body as possible. Breaking training scars like crouching with your ass out or “chicken winging” became much easier to accomplish when the students viewed each part of the body position separately, from a common sense approach to body mechanics and then building into a holistic view. As an instructor, I personally enjoyed watching the “light come on” as one by one they would have a realization that what they had been doing for years was just plain wrong and that simply by listening to what their body was telling them, they could become a more efficient and proficient shooter through a more relaxed body position. I have to thank Travis Haley for helping me with this same realization.
From there we moved on to the range. After a quick WREC brief, we quickly got set up for the BZO. Paul had provided us our own section of his range complex, a 25m flat range with a covered area for staging gear and jamming magazines. He also gave us target stands and cardboard backings for which to attach our targets. Starting close at the 5m line and them moving back to the 25m line, we demonstrated the variation of POA and POI associated with the difference between the height of the sights over the barrel. At the 25m line, utilizing the sight adjustment tools, we dialed in and locked out BZOs for the weapons.
From there, we dove right into our first of many drills. Getting started with a 30 round full auto mag dump is always a crowd pleaser and helped get the students comfortable with how easy the MP5 series weapons are to control. Everything that followed was designed as a purpose-built set of drills, each building upon the lessons of the first. Though we maneuvered up and down the length of the 25m range, we spent the majority of time up close, utilizing legacy HK ITD targets and focusing on accuracy on small target points, then gradually progressing to increasing the speed while maintaining the accuracy we wanted.
Though the students may not have noticed how quickly they were advancing in their ability levels, I sure did. So, to reinforce the basic fundamentals we had been drilling on that morning, during a break in the rain that had ran off all the shooters that previously occupied the adjacent 100m range, I took the students up there and beginning at the 25m line and shooting at a steel silhouette, we progressively moved back all the way to the 100m line. To surprised grins from all of them, they were all “ringing the steel” at 100m with either their first or second shots, all from standard open sights (no optics). Most impressive to me was Jason, who with the change in ATF ruling on “braces” showed up with a pistol variant MP5 clone. I loaned him my HK bungee sling, originally designed for the MP5K, demonstrated him the SAS technique to utilize that sling and he took to it like a “pig in ****”. He proved how incredibly effective he could be with that technique, even at what many would think would be an unrealistic range.
And here is a photo of me and another of Paul joining in at the 100m line too.
As for the rest of the students, Brent was the only student running a UMP variant, a wild camouflage-patterned conversion from Tom Bostic with an AAC Tirant suppressor. Miguel had a MP5 build SBR assembled from an HK parts kit, while Rich ran a POF that had been SBR’d. Bobby brought a Volmer MP5 with a full auto SEF trigger group, a B&T side folding stock and slick angled vertical grip. Pistols were a wide range of HK goodness from USP, P30, HK45, VP9 and an Expert. I represented the “old guy club” well with a P7M13 and brought my MP5-N (which Ben hogged for the majority of the course), MP5SD-N and UMP 9mm.
By the end of the first day, we had progressed from sighting to finishing, working in two man teams. Though tired and wet, I could see in everyone’s eyes that they were ready for more and excited about the following day.
Taking advantage of the opportunity that night, we gathered for dinner and after using my Jedi mind powers on the hostess at a crowded Carolina Ale House, we secured a table and finally had time to answer all those “why” and “how” questions that had all been saved up, on a wide range of HK topics.; again, wonderful to be around like-minded HK fans. The fun had to be cut short though, as the guys all wanted to make a run to Gander Mountain before they closed that night to buy more ammo (as a security blanket) for the next day. Thanks to Jason and his fat wallet for picking up the tab!
With the range not opening for us until 1100 the next morning, that provided the perfect opportunity to fit in the limited HK history and Armorer training for the course. It was great that Greg (GMthecoolguy) and Mark (Crashmc) could join us for this portion of the training and get to meet the other guys. Best of luck to Greg as he prepares to head off for a year-long tour with the Air Force in Korea. Poor guy can’t take his HKs with him.
In the Armorer training, we covered the history and development behind the MP5 series and UMP and then through the use of slides, graphics and training models, discussed the cycle of operation, the advantages and disadvantages of each system, common issues for malfunctions, culminating with a demo on limited disassembly and reassembly.
Back at the range, we were greeted by warmer weather and clear, blue skies. With the change in weather came a mass of other shooters visiting the range complex and I enjoyed watching them croon their necks to see all the fun we were having on our range.
For the second day, we began with malfunction drills by incorporating stoppages that forced each student to first transition to their back up weapon, a trusty HK pistol of choice, and then demonstrate proper clearance procedures to get their primary weapon back in action. Introducing firing on the move the previous day, students now covered the same, but incorporating transition to their back up weapons. We then added more steel targets and progressed to the challenges associated with lateral and angled movement as well as the difficult task of moving backward and around obstacles/barriers, all while focusing on speed and accuracy on target.
My personal favorite drill of the day though, was the prone firing. Obviously, none of these guys had ever attempted to fire their weapons from their backs or sides and though with practice they performed exceptionally well, watching them try and get up and down (I can’t lie) was pretty funny.
We even had time to throw in some timed, skill drills utilizing the steel before culminating with a movement under fire drill which incorporated skills learned through the entire course. Paul manned his forklift and dropped a car on the side of the range and we moved a couple of barriers in place. After a quick demonstration, the students were let loose. Shooting and moving from all types of positions and engaging steel of varying sizes, as a proud instructor, I watched (along with many other shooter visiting the range that day) our guys hit the steel targets with impressive regularity, especially with burst fire from the MP5s.
When it was all said and done, we gathered for a group photo, where the guys surprised me with a gift for my efforts. Clearly they know me pretty well and the MP5 X-ray cut out plaque will find a place on the wall amongst my other HK frames shortly.
We wrapped up with a brief after action, where I asked each of them to provide me with a “sustain” and “improve” for the course/entire experience. Thankfully, there were many sustains and few improves and I appreciated their honesty and insight, as it helps me continue to focus on improvements and efficiencies for future training.
Squeezing what easily could have been a weeklong course into two days required planning and organization and this surely could not have been pulled off without the outstanding support of all involved. Before I wrap up and allow those who participated to share their comments with you all about the training, I once again pass on my thanks for allowing me to pass on this knowledge and training with them. I congratulate those who participated for the great performance that they demonstrated, clearly surpassing your own personal expectations and goals. And I look forward to training with you all again in the future.
Absolutely awesome back brief!
Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Gun totin' Reverend, Certified Gunsmith, Event Manager, Backyard BBQ Specialist, Owner of the Interwebz, All-around-nice-guy
USP40, VP9, P2000sk, 45C , VP9sk, Ruger P85 MKII, Heritage .22lr 6" revolver (for killing snakes in the garden), Ruger American Predator .308, AR-10, Model 1895 30-40 Krag, .50 cal Black powder, Marlin 80
I absolutely hated having to back out - but turns out it was the right decision because I would've been a hurting unit this weekend. Looks and sounds like everyone had a fantastic time and learned a ton.
I think now the folks have seen what it's about, have plenty of time to arrange for their Form 20's for travel and such - 10 spots will easily fill next time around. If not, they're certainly missing out. I know I'll be the first to sign up again once I'm back to fighting condition.
01 / 03
It can not be said how much this is appreciated by us in this H&K community' while many of us would love to train and learn with you it does come down to time which is difficult at times to simply impossible....24 hours I'll find time to sleep somewhere in there.
Your offer to the community can not be thanked enough and with time hopefully many others will be able to come to your courses....Yes we'll pay because your Proficiency & Professionalism on H&K and other trait's you've learned concerning 21 century battlefield tactics will be something that we all look forward too.
I can't wait to hear from others concerning this course.
Not much else to say except a sincere Thank You for allowing us to attend such high quality training. This class has motivated me in so many ways, I don't know where to start. The "light coming on" is a complete understatement, I really don't know what else to say, it was an excellent class, presented by an excellent Instructor, with excellent fellow students and an excellent location, it does not get any better than that.
I'll be back for certain in the future, but this time taking two days to drive it! :)
Thank You, James, for everything
NRA Chief Range Safety Officer
"In einer Welt aus Kompromissen, einige Männer machen keine".
"We bleed hk red!"
I caught the tail end of this... If held next year I will attend! Given I am in NC.
Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least
capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded
with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.
Speedballing....that's slamming Benadryl right? Source: SudS aka Kevin
HK...The most addictive drug known to man.
Looks fantastic! Well done
To start off James just add me for the next class, if it's on my daughters birthday I'll tell her she was born a week earlier. For those that was on the fence, stay there. This class I could not ask anything more, the class moved from one challenge to another, it was a small enough class that it was no big deal if we took an extra 10 to work on something. James had the whole class planned then tailored it towards what we as the class wanted to do, it seemed to work out perfectly cause we the class was just interested and excited to see what he was going to have us do next. The amount of info I took from this class is incredible. A whole lot of keep it simple stupid hit home. The first day was instructing basic drills and for james to evaluate are skills. The progression of working on one skill to another flowed at a very pleasing pace. (No time for a cigar while on range) I consistently went from shooting to reloading, take a drink, piss, back out to shoot again. I went to class as a blank page with no formal training, few bad tendencies. I came home as a very wealthy man in knowledge gained on these platforms. I'd like to thank bobby d, I was the only ump there and only one running 45, when it came to the full auto portions he just handed me rifle,mags, and ammoand did it with a smile. Not a peep out of himas the round count went higher and higher. Thank you sir. Barfly that was awesome you picked up dinner .thank you sir. This group as a whole was a great group to spend a weekend with. James thank you again for putting this together for us HKpro members. Since this is a post class write up and as they say pics or it didn't happen.
HK's make me smile!
Just to echo what these guys already said, it was a great weekend. James is a great instructor and his knowledge and passion of everything HK is very impressive. We came hungry for knowledge and to be challenged - and I think we all got what we came for and then some. Building us up from a baseline, James had us doing run-n-gun type movement drills at the end and every minute was a blast. I would do another course with James if he offered it hands down! From Day 1 he (and Bobby D) handed over their full auto's and let the rest of us enjoy some full auto and burst practice. I enjoyed doing things that most ranges wouldn't allow - so another thanks goes to FrontLine Defense in NC for hosting the event. I enjoyed meeting everyone and thanks Barfly for dinner!
Yes, I was remiss, (and wiped out) but Thank you Barfly for dinner, that was excellent!
Very much appreciated!
NRA Chief Range Safety Officer
"In einer Welt aus Kompromissen, einige Männer machen keine".
"We bleed hk red!"