Spring Guns & Ammo monthly Defensive Rifle course


Aug 16, 2020
The Woodlands
One Tuesday a month, Spring Guns & Ammo does a Defensive Rifle course. It's $35, last two hours, and consists of 100 rounds fired in different drills. I haven't seen any talk of this class before, and I did it this Tuesday and enjoyed it, so figured I'd write a bit about it here.

You start off with some basic chat & discussion in a classroom. This part is really not structured, and is more a Q&A and conversation as the class is forming. We talked about optics, building a consistent cheek weld, the *$# NFA and pistol braces, fun stuff like that. There were 8 folks in the class. Experience level was varied, as was the equipment.

After everyone shows up, you take a walk over to the range & begin the hands-on portion of the class. Here are drills we did in, in order.
- Start off in lanes behind the bench. 1 ten round mag. 4 shots to make sure you hit what you're aiming at (check zero), then three separate double tap drills. Clear weapon.
- Instructor sets up the targets. We used paper the whole time, on the lane carriers.
- From inside the bench (downrange), we did a 3 target drill. Two mags of six. Instructor calls out a target number 1 to 3, you double tap. Three targets, reload, do it again.
- Next drill were to the same targets, but you had to move from right to left and forward, and then left to right and forward while shooting at targets. Two mags of 9, each target got a double tap center mass & a head shot as you moved across the targets.
- Shooting from cover. We used a paper target as cover. Two mags of 7. Shoot right of the cover, drop back and reload, then left of the cover.
- 2x ladder drill. 15 round mag. We used three targets, shooting from left to right and back to left. 1 shot, 2 shots, 3 shots, 4 shots, 5 shots per target in order.
- Moving target & rapid reload. Two 8 round mags. Start with a target at the back of the range, and it moves toward you as you shoot, reload, and finish shooting. This is in a straight line, so it's really about having some pressure to do the reload.

And there's your 100 rounds.

What did I learn and observe?

- People are bad at reloads, especially under some pressure. People rush and can't find the mag release and can't manipulate the weapon consistently. Once the mag was finally out, people fumbled getting to the next mag & didn't have any sort of repeatable grip on the mag, nor any sort of control of where the magwell was. Once the mag was out, finding the magwell & getting the mag in gave tons of problems. And once the mag was in, people had a hell of a time actually hitting the slide release to get the weapon back into action. The most successful people here were used to using their trigger hand to drop a mag, used their trigger hand to keep the weapon in a muzzle-up orientation with the magwell pointed toward them, grabbed the mag with their left hand with their thumb leading up the edge, and used their thumb to guide the mag home & drop the bolt in one movement. Several people tried slapping the bolt & just missed due to a cupped hand.

- Sling management. This is a thing. The sling gets in the way when people reload, and you need to know how to swim out of it in the case of two-point sling for shoulder transitions. I never work on this, and while I got my left arm out of the sling with no issues, it was still around my neck & "chokey" when I was shooting left-handed around cover.

- Weak side shooting. Nearly everyone had trouble with their cheekweld & optics picture.

- Safety management. Remember to come back off safe post reload. I practice this a lot on the range, and still fucked it up once while in a drill. Nearly everyone tried to pull the trigger and it didn't go boom at least once in the class.

- Also as a note, a good gun belt or battle belt is nearly necessary to mount your mag pouch to. Everyone with casual belts struggled all class with reloads. Mag wasn't in the same place, the pouch moved up and down a ton when holstering & drawing the mags, etc etc. A chest rig is also a good solution to this. Nobody in the class wore plates, but it wouldn't have been out of place either.

My personal takeaways:

- I learned that I'm bad weak side and transitioning. This didn't surprise me, as I never practice it, but was surprised that I need to train "sling management", if that makes sense.

- I learned that while my reload technique is solid, I need lots and lots of reps to be bulletproof. My observation is that smooth is fast. People who went faster than they were able always fumbled, missed, and had to do it once again. Economy of motion really matters in repeatability & speed of reloads.
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