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Thread: AAR: Cumberland Tactics Indoor Tactics, Lakeland FL, 14-15SEP2019

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    AAR: Cumberland Tactics Indoor Tactics, Lakeland FL, 14-15SEP2019

    Cumberland Tactics
    Indoor Tactics

    14-15 September 2019
    Southern Exposure Training Center, Kathleen, Florida
    Instructor: Randy Cain
    Class Size: 8
    Instructor to Student Ratio: 1:8
    Ammunition Requirement: 500 rounds
    Actual Rounds Fired: 547
    Tuition: $450 (+ $30 in range fees)


    Introduction & Training Background
    This was my ninth Cumberland Tactics course. Iíve taken about a dozen classes since I started taking training seriously in 2012. Most of my firearms training has been under Randyís tutelage (Iíve repeated his Handgun 1 and 2 several times, along with one carbine course). Iíve also taken TRICON Pistol 2, Pannoneís Covert Carry, Langdonís Tactical Pistol Skills, and ShivWorks ECQC. Since 2011, my practice regimen has consisted of range trips two to three times each month and an average of 9,000 rounds fired annually. I work in security management and I ride a desk, so my reason for taking this class was purely to further my proficiency for self-defense, as I currently do not carry a gun on the job.

    This class was made up entirely of average earth people: a welder, IT guy, engineer, florist, etc.


    Location
    The class was hosted at Southern Exposure, north of Lakeland. This is one of my favorite places to train, as itís private and only open for training classes taught by vetted instructors. With a pair of 25-yard pistol bays, a 200+ yard rifle range, and a shoothouse, Southern is well-equipped to handle a variety of classes. Being the only group on the range is truly a treasure, as there are no distractions to worry about.


    Gear
    I shot from concealment for this course, which I prefer to do for pistol courses. Iíve carried IWB at the 3:30 for about nine years, and started the transition to AIWB in July 2019 with the purchase of a Phlster Floodlight, upgraded with Discreet Carry Concepts clips and a flat muzzle pad from V Development Group. These days I only carry a single spare magazine, which I ran in a JM Custom AIWB carrier. This holster and mag carrier combined with a Graith Specialist AI belt (and some weight loss) has me concealing a duty-size gun and weapon-mounted light with relative ease. Iím quite pleased with this setup, and I donít think Iíll ever voluntarily return to behind-the-hip carry for concealment.

    I shot my dedicated range beater VP9, which at the start of class had just over 18,000 rounds fired. Sheís been upgraded with a Gray Guns Striker-Fired Action Package and grip work by the now-defunct Sweaty Muddy Bloody. In August 2019, I sent the slide off to Primary Machine for RMR milling and refinishing in black nitride, as well as installation of Dawson suppressor-height iron sights.

    Iím relatively new to pistol-mounted optics. I briefly owned a milled G19 but sold it when I transitioned to HK in early 2016. Leading up to class, I was able to put around 1,600 rounds through the RMRíd VP9 over the course of five range trips, which was just enough to gain some basic proficiency with it. Still lots of work to be done to get up to speed, but I am loving the accuracy, target focus, and most of all the ability to more easily self-diagnose when I flub a trigger press. My RMR is an early 2013 model, and it worked flawlessly during the course, but started to experience some issues with randomly adjusting brightness levels in November 2019, so itís currently back at Trijicon for warranty service.



    The VP9 was set up with a Streamlight TLR-1 HL. I go back and forth between Streamlight and SureFire. I like the higher output of the X300U, but also prefer the shorter length of the TLR1 when carried in the Floodlight. The profile of that holster is more comfortable for me when seated as compared to the X300U version of the Floodlight. I wonít get into a debate about whether a WML is necessary for the average citizen carrying concealed. All I will say on the topic is that I shoot far better with two hands on the gun than with one hand on the gun, so if there is no negative impact to concealment or comfort, I prefer having that capability over needing to use a handheld light.
    Magazines were all OEM HK 15-rounders coated in NP3+ by Robar and upgraded with Wolff +10% springs. Ammunition was PMC Bronze 115gr. I did not experience any weapon-related issues during the course.
    Apparel for the course was the same as my everyday attireóshorts and fishing shirts. PPE consisted of TCI DEHP muffs upgraded with NoiseFighters gel seals over EAR Inc. custom-molded plugs and Rudy Project Tralyx Slim glasses with ImpactX-2 photochromic lenses.

    I didnít have any significant gear-related issues.


    Course Description
    From the Cumberland Tactics website: ďThis is the class where you are taught to search or clear buildings, Ďslice the pieí on corners, work through doors, negotiate confined spaces such as narrow hallways, stairs, closets, and more. The course is an in depth look at Ďtactical residential architectureí and how you can utilize these principles to defend your own home.Ē


    Course Summary
    Rather than give an hour-by-hour breakdown, Iíll cover some of the notable takeaways from class. Many of these may seem like common sense, but Iím writing this as someone with no formal training on indoor tactics before this class.

    Each day started with a warmup on the flat range. The focus on day one was to ensure we could shoot with an acceptable degree of accuracy. While the house is contained within a berm, the walls themselves are not ballistic, so it was preferable to keep oneís rounds inside the movable bullet traps to avoid damage to the house. Because most of the runs were done one-on-one with Randy, this would have left most of the class twiddling their thumbs waiting for their turn. Fortunately, Randy was able to get longtime student Steve Feltus to AI the class. Steve kept the flat range going while Randy was in the house, which allowed us time to tune up on the fundamentals in between runs. This was value-added, and something I hope continues in future classes. Steve kept things interesting with a variety of drills, some timed, on paper, steel, using barricades, etc.

    By far the biggest lesson I learned is that I do not ever want to attempt to clear a structure by myself unless there is absolutely no other option. I live alone and I have a solid home defense plan, which means I am unlikely to have to move through my house during a home invasion scenario. That said, there are scenarios that might require me to move through a structure (like trying to get to safety during an active shooter event). Clearing an unknown layout is hard. My first run through the shoothouse was the first time I ever set foot in it, and by the end of what was maybe a 15-minute evolution, I was soaked in sweat, and not just because of the temperature.

    Doors. Many lessons learned here. Donít crowd the door if you donít have to, and donít stand in front of an open doorway. If thereís enough space, open the door and quickly back away to minimize your exposure, then start working the corner.

    Movement. Use the step-and-slide method to feel out possible trip hazards. Donít outrun your headlights. Movement should be deliberate and slow enough to allow you to see everything you need to see. Folks have a tendency to rush through the house the first time, which results in moving faster than you can mentally process.

    Use whatís available. Reflective surfaces can be your friend, or your enemy. They may allow you to see into a room before exposing yourself to danger. They may also allow you to be seen.

    Lighting. When standing in a well-lit room, it may be difficult or impossible to see into an adjacent dark room, whereas being in a dark room and looking into a well-lit room, you may have concealment while the bad guy is backlit by lights or windows. The shoothouse at Southern has several areas where there is plenty of natural light, but there are also some enclosed rooms with very poor lighting, so having a WML came in handy. The brighter the light, the better, especially when dealing with photonic barriers. I had one particularly difficult shot that was maybe 10 yards, but the target was in a dim room, with a very brightly lit room between me and the target. Using the WML, at that distance it didnít punch through the natural light enough for me to positively identify the target as a threatóI had to get closer to be sure before taking the shot. Granted, this being a paper target, I assume it is more difficult to identify than a three-dimensional target probably would be. It would have been interesting to see the X300U side by side with the TLR-1 to determine whether the jump from 800 to 1,000lm would have made a perceptible difference. Iíd also note that the lens of the TLR-1 may have been a little cloudy at that point from practice on the flat range (all my WMLs have Thyrm CLENS protectors on them, but I wasnít swapping them out before each run through the house).

    Intersections. L-shaped intersections are relatively simple, but T-shaped intersections are dangerous for a single man. Approaching a T, zigzagging allows you to see as much as you can around each corner before breaking the plane of the hallway. When you do break the plane, youíre pretty much flipping a coin and hoping for the best while looking one way and then quickly turning around to clear the other direction. Be cautious of flagging your position by leading around a corner with a gun fully extended and exposed long before your eyes can see around the corner. Not everything is an L or a T. At a certain point you must commit and go somewhere even if doing so exposed you to danger from another direction. I donít want to give this one away, but suffice it to say one of the layouts in the house at Southern is impossible to do safely by yourself. Yet more reinforcement that solo-CQB is a terrible idea.

    Clear everything. Charles Manson was found concealed in a cabinet under a bathroom sink. Closets, cabinets, attics, basements, under bedsóthere are a ton of hiding spots and theyíre not all immediately obvious.

    Donít clear everything. Some things simply cannot be safely cleared by yourself. This one, you need to learn by taking the class.

    Target identification. Not everyone you encounter needs to be shot. In a civilian context, the opposite is usually true. Without giving away specifics, each run through the house got progressively more difficult, both in terms of the layout and the targets. Fortunately, I didnít shoot any definite no-shoot targets, though I did engage one target that was arguably not a threat based on how far away it was. Use verbal commands if you encounter something questionable.

    Maintain your fundamentals. During the debriefs at the end of the first day, Randy identified that for most of the class, fundamentals went out the window once they stepped into the shoothouse. People were shooting faster than they could see, barely staying on paper, forgetting to top off, etc. For the most part, I managed to maintain my accuracy, though I did need some prompting to remember to tac-load (a training scar of almost always running to empty when Iím on the range). The more time spent on the square range, the better prepared you are for a 360į environment, keeping in mind that the square range is not the ultimate goal. The hundreds of hours of practice and thousands of rounds fired over the past decade allowed me to focus on the problems in front of me while the gunhandling and marksmanship programs ran pretty much subconsciously. Trying to clear a building while also having to consciously think through trigger manipulation and sight picture would be a nightmare, and I can understand why some of the students were overloaded by the situation and all but abandoned their fundamentals.

    Everything is better with a partner. The final run on the second day was with a partner. Working in pairs adds some complexity in terms of safety, but pays off overall, because those spots where you canít see in two directions at the same time are now much more manageable with a friend watching your back. Communication is hugeótell your partner when you see something he cannot. Make brief halts to formulate plans for going through doors. Whoís opening the door and whoís moving in first, and what direction is he going? Let your partner know when you need to fix a malfunction or tac load so he can provide cover. I was fortunate to be paired up with another long-time Cumberland student named Matt, and we quickly fell into a rhythm of using Randyís red/green verbalization from previous handgun classes to communicate who is up and who is loading. Announce your engagements so your partner stops moving until youíve finished shooting, especially in a confined area where the partner may walk in front of your muzzle if you plant and shoot while he is still moving.

    There are many more minute details that Iím deliberately omitting. To paraphrase the late Pat Rogers, learning only occurs after repeated, demoralizing failure, and who am I to take away your chance to experience that firsthand? If you carry a gun, you will benefit from this class. This class will not make you in a CAG assaulter. What it will do is educate you enough to have a fighting chance if youíre forced into a situation where you have no choice but to move through a structure by yourself.

  2. #2
    Great review. Did the RMR dot ever washout in the various lighting conditions?

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    Member Casey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheap Shot View Post
    Great review. Did the RMR dot ever washout in the various lighting conditions?
    Thanks. No issues with brightness. I had it cranked pretty high for Florida daylight conditions and just left it at that setting when I went indoors. Caused little bit of bloom being brighter than necessary inside, but not enough to cause problems.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    [B] The brighter the light, the better, especially when dealing with photonic barriers. I had one particularly difficult shot that was maybe 10 yards, but the target was in a dim room, with a very brightly lit room between me and the target. Using the WML, at that distance it didnít punch through the natural light enough for me to positively identify the target as a threatóI had to get closer to be sure before taking the shot. Granted, this being a paper target, I assume it is more difficult to identify than a three-dimensional target probably would be. It would have been interesting to see the X300U side by side with the TLR-1 to determine whether the jump from 800 to 1,000lm would have made a perceptible difference.
    Just a quick comment to help, er... ďilluminateĒ your question about 800 vs 1000 lumens- in my experience, the higher lumen light (B series SF X300/1000 lumen) has a wider spill and gives you a bigger picture vice the older A series X300 at 600 lumen.

    The 600 lumen SF actually has bit brighter area within the hot spot, but the 1000 lumen model lights up a lot more of the surroundings, and in my examples, also has a much whiter color temperature.

    So at the center of the beam, the 600 lumen light appears to push a bit more candela within the hotspot, but the total available light area with the 1000 lumen light is much greater, which I feel has some significant advantages.

    (And both are blown away by my Fury DFT handheld at 1500 lumens. Those things are a blowtorch by comparison.)

  5. #5
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    Great way to start off 2021.

    Dynamite review.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your training experience and thoughts re your gear choices. That is profoundly helpful to students of the art and may save somebody a whole lot of time/talent/treasure.

    Be safe and well.
    I am not your attorney. I am not giving legal advice. Any and all opinions expressed are personal and my own and are not those of any employer-past, present or future.

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    Member Casey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer1440 View Post
    Just a quick comment to help, er... ďilluminateĒ your question about 800 vs 1000 lumens- in my experience, the higher lumen light (B series SF X300/1000 lumen) has a wider spill and gives you a bigger picture vice the older A series X300 at 600 lumen.

    The 600 lumen SF actually has bit brighter area within the hot spot, but the 1000 lumen model lights up a lot more of the surroundings, and in my examples, also has a much whiter color temperature.

    So at the center of the beam, the 600 lumen light appears to push a bit more candela within the hotspot, but the total available light area with the 1000 lumen light is much greater, which I feel has some significant advantages.

    (And both are blown away by my Fury DFT handheld at 1500 lumens. Those things are a blowtorch by comparison.)
    I retook this class in September 2020 using a 1,000lm X300U. I don't think this exact shot was replicated, so I don't have an apples to apples comparison, but in the situations where I did use the light, I had no issues this time around. The X300U has been on my EDC pistol for a little over a year and I've since divested myself of TLR-1s. I'm eagerly awaiting release of the Modlite pistol light, which will almost certainly blow the X300U out of the water.

  7. #7
    Wag more, Bark less RJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcdgrips View Post
    Great way to start off 2021.

    Dynamite review.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your training experience and thoughts re your gear choices. That is profoundly helpful to students of the art and may save somebody a whole lot of time/talent/treasure.

    Be safe and well.
    Glad you topped this thread, I'd forgotten about Randy and the opportunity to train with him locally. This range is within easy driving distance for me.
    Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.
    ó J. C. Watts

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