After signing up for the Defensive Pistol II clinic I took recently, I had contacted Green Ops about the possibility of doing some private or semi-private instruction afterwards. I had a new rifle I had built that needed to be put through its paces, and I needed to knock off some rust in preparation for getting back to some multi-gun matches. I offered to share the time with another student to knock some of the cost off, and I think that turned out well.
One of the neat things about private instruction is that it gives you the chance to focus on the things you want to focus on. My fellow student was interested in transitions; I wanted to put a little time into splits and distance shooting. We got everything done plus a bit more!
I had recently rebuilt my multi-gun AR-15 into what I like to think of as “the katana”. It’s got a Criterion 18″ barrel with a VG6 Gamma on the end, backed by adjustable gas, a lightened BCG, and an A5H0 buffer, with a Vortex Razor Gen3 1-10x (MOA reticle) riding on top. It also has a Hipertouch Eclipse trigger, which is an amazingly sweet trigger. Luckily, I assembled it correctly, and it ran like a top without further adjusting the gas. It is probably the smoothest shooting rifle I’ve ever had, with very little recoil and minimal muzzle movement. In fact, if anything, there is a slight bias downwards when shooting it, which was a new experience. Anybody who tells you that those fancy multi-gun rifles don’t have any real performance advantages over a standard M4 has clearly never used one. You’re sacrificing reliability and ammo flexibility, but if you can keep it clean and keep using the same ammo, it’s pretty amazing.
Josh put a quick 50yd zero into my rifle while I jammed mags. I admit that I was taking advantage of him to some extent, but it was probably faster for everyone for him to zero it. Josh was our instructor, but Chris hung around for a bit, especially while we were doing the walkback and barricade drills. (Who can blame him? Walkbacks are always fun.)
We started off with a bill drill into a backstop. This was to give us a sense for just how fast we could run our rifles. It was much, much faster than I remembered. We then did some close range bill drills and transition drills into some USPSA targets (A-zone). We did all this on a timer, and it was good to get repeated feedback on how we were doing – I had trouble driving my gun as fast as I could (.4-.5 transitions), but was getting sub-.2 splits. While this may sound like basic stuff, I have next to no experience going full-speed with a rifle on an up-close target array; understanding just how fast I could shoot outside of a match context provides me an idea of how fast I can shoot in one.
After that, we did a really substantial walk-back drill. We shot at 50, 100, 200, and 300yds. Quite a lot of this was at 1x – not because we needed to do so (my shooting partner had an Accupower 1-8x), but because it was good training for mastering fundamentals. I’ve never shot past 100 before with an LPVO, so this was a huge deal for me. I found it interesting to do this with an FFP scope, because unlike with an SFP scope, I had the option of not dialing all the way to max magnification to make those 300yd shots. It was interesting to experiment with doing it on 5x or even 4x – I just needed to be able to see enough of the reticle to pick out the 300yd holdover. From a prepared position, it was boringly reliable, which was a big confidence booster. I did some work from prone, which was easier than I remembered – perhaps the Razor’s generous eyebox was working for me. I came out feeling much more ready to tackle longer distance multi-gun stages.
Our last drill of the day was running the VTAC barricade ports with our rifles. This was a very valuable experience, since trying to maneuver your rifle around these small ports was even trickier than with a pistol. I got hung up on the last port when I couldn’t get low enough due to my 30rd mag getting stuck up on a support; if I been thinking, I would have just switched sides, but I got caught up in the whole exercise. I could probably spend two hours just working barricades – there’s so much to learn – and maybe I’ll do that next time. I have to say I was totally wiped out from a full day of running around and shooting, so I don’t know how many more barricade runs I could have done anyways.
I have to say that I felt like I got more than my money’s worth – one, because of the really useful instruction and drills, and two, because we went a bit longer than we paid for, because Josh and Chris were just that dedicated. I know people look at private instruction as being a bit expensive, but the reality is that you’re paying for just the stuff you want to work on. Green Ops provides some really good private instruction, and I recommend it to anyone who’s got the time and money. I’ve already started thinking about what I’d want to focus on next time I did it.