Operation: Chrysalis August 2nd, 2003
A new form of fun training hell....
We arrived slightly behind schedule on Saturday morning to find lots of assembled militia folks sighting in and bagging some valuable range time. Even an hour or so on the range is worth the trip. Don't wait until you actually need to make a shot, and then curse yourself for not shooting as much as you should have...
With the field medical unit being set up, we tried a couple of new drills. These were designed to evaluate our ability to shoot from various positions, and under varied stress levels.
First, the shooters shot one string of ten rounds each at four separate targets, for a total of forty rounds. This was all done from 100 yards. Ten rounds were fired from the standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone positions. This was done to determine from which position each shooter would be the most accurate. Mostly, the prone position proved to be the best. (I have been saying this for years.) The standing position provided a degree of difficulty, because it is the least stable position to shoot from, and the sitting position is rarely used, so it provided some degree of hassle. Please notice that we did not include any bench shooting in this drill.
Then, we did the same thing but under somewhat more stressful conditions. Before the first ten round group of shots, everyone cleared their weapon, and then ran all the way downrange and back. This covered 200 yards, and was enough to measurably elevate everyone's heart rate and breathing. When (and ONLY when) the last person had returned, everyone was clear to lock and load and engage the first target from the first (standing) position. After the last shooter finished, every weapon was open and empty, and we then ran down range to the twenty five yard mark, covering 75 yards there and 75 yards back, for a delightful total of 150 yards of running. When (and ONLY when) the last runner had returned, the second target was engaged, from the kneeling position. When everyone had finished their string of ten rounds, we cleared the weapons and ran down to the fifty yard mark and back, for a total of 100 yards. The third target was then engaged, again from the sitting position. Lastly, we ran down to the 75 yard mark and back, covering a mere fifty yards total, and engaged the final target from the prone position.
This drill was done with at least Level One gear, with most people carrying a bit more. It was more humid than hot, but running 500 yards with gear on can make you drip sweat even under the most pleasant conditions. Sweat dripping into shooters' eyes may have added to the problems as well.
This was a good drill. Most of our shooting (except for the four pin drill) is done under virtually stress free situations. Looking at it realistically, though, if you ever, ever had to shoot your way out of a nasty situation, your heart WOULD be beating faster, and you WOULD be breathing harder. We need to know how we can shoot, and function under stressful conditions. I hope that none of us ever ends up in such a situation, but it is good to know your abilities, and it is important to develop the necessary confidence you will need to get out of such a situation. As for the four dedicated militia folks who participated (endured is more like it) in this drill, they shot well enough to make me feel more confident in their abilities.
If you did not come out and do this, fret not, my Patriotical brethren, for this is one to be repeated. Bwah ha ha!!!
We did a gear check, paying most particular attention to the two newer folks who were trying to qualify Level One. Everyone's gear checked out, except for a minor first-aid item, which we had on hand to issue. (Note: We tend to have several odds and ends as far as gear goes, especially first aid stuff, so if you are short a few rounds or a triangular bandage or something, we can fill in the gap for you. Also, if you come across something that you can pick up, like battle dressings or triangular bandages, feel free to donate some of these for the above mentioned purpose.)
The Level One qualifying people headed out on their timed march, and the rest of us did a slower tactical one-mile walk to include some (but not enough) hand and arm signals, and a search of two conspicuously parked vehicles. Also, do not even think about eating grapes that are not fully ripe, no matter how good they look, they are sour and nasty. Included in this walk were several "stop-and-listen" stops. We are thinking about doing a tactical walk instead of a timed walk for folks that are already Level or higher. This will probably be a more productive use of our time. Maybe a timed two or three miler every third time out or something, we will see.
The Chuck Wagon was also present with grilled almost burgers, onions, and garlic beans. I was glad to not be sleeping in bag that night, for sure.
There was more sighting in and range practice whilst we burgered up. Two needed to qualify, and they went to work on that.
Meanwhile, since we had an amazing confluence of good weather, dry roads, a four wheel drive truck, and enough bodies, we were able at long last to take down the big tent that sat in the back for far too long. With five guys and a truck, it came down in under 30 minutes (Yes, it was timed. Why? I have no idea...)
Bishop ran the range in the meantime and not only saw Bob from Bay City qualify, but also showed him some more detailed breakdown of the bolt assembly for his (ahhh, yes...) AR15. JJ came close, with several frustrating 7 out of 10 shot groups, but we have been advised of his recent new rifle acquisition, and think he will have it without problems next time.
I also had the pleasure of shooting a "Big Daddy" handgun. I gotta tell ya, this thing looks more intimidating than it really is. The fact that it is a double barreled weapon should not deter brave souls from getting one.....
There was a bit of good free-range time, and except for the part about the chicken that wanted a piece of me, everything went well.
Next time out: The September training will be on Saturday, September 6th, at 10:00AM. We will do some work with shotguns this time. Early arrivals are encouraged to show up and gear up, and maybe set up some shotgun worthy targets.
Also, pending the arrival of a dump truck, plan on bringing out a fifty pound bag of crushed gravel every time out. This shouldn't cost more than three or four bucks, and every little bit helps. Besides, if ten people bring out fifty pounds each, that will give us 500 pounds of gravel to start with. It won't be the gross tonnage that we need, but over time, it may add up.
Keep your powder (and your hardtack) dry.