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AAR: Tactical Shooting and CQB LE ONLY Course, AMTAC / Bill Rapier, August 10-12 (2016), Undisclosed Location SE of Boston, MA.

"Shoot, Assess, Move."

This is the second formal training class I attended taught by Bill Rapier, the first was the Responsible Armed Citizen Class which I will refer to throughout this AAR.  This class covered LE specific pistol and rifle implementation with an emphasis on rifle CQB tactics.  Bill's attention to detail and ability to explain the fundamentals to his students is excellent in application.  This class provides LEOs with a solid base of core skill sets ranging from pistol to rifle to CQB covering topics such as combatives, edged weapons and manifesting mindset into practical application.  I only got to stay for three days due to prior work related obligations and missed out on the 13-14 Integrated Combatives class, it was reviewed by a student, check out the link from the AMTAC site.

A photo posted by voodoo_man (@vdmsr) on

I wore the above photographed Lumtec Bronze Combat-B18 throughout the class.
Mix of Fiocchi and WWB 115gr 9mm
PMC Bronze 55gr .223 ammo

I did not bring a rifle with me because I had to travel through ban states and I do not own a rifle which is legal to transport through any of those states.  I borrowed a SIG516 Patrol rifle from one of the LEO's who attended the class, it had a Trijicon 1.5x optic and I used an SOB sling which I brought with me.

Half Day (Pre-Class Pistol Familiarization)
We all met up at a local watering hole and hit traveled to a local private range.  Bill finished up his coffee as he went over the mornings safety brief and covered what we were going to be doing for half the day.  This was an LE-only pistol familiarization class for K9 officers from local departments.  Everyone, except for me, was running an OWB duty rig, including Bill.

We put targets up and Bill demonstrated what he wanted to see everyone do, which is a slow course of fire at the number one target to get a base line to see where everyone is.  

Once everyone got some rounds on target Bill went by and checked each target.  This allows all the students to see what is going on, what works, what does not and represents 100% round accountability, just like on the street.  

Before the class began to run further drills Bill explained the circle of awareness which he assimilated into his training methodology from his time jumping out of airplanes.  It is his adaptation of scanning and situational awareness.

Bill goes over the method he prefers to use for charging a pistol, point on target.

Bill goes on to demonstrate various methods of press checks.

Including his preferred method, one which I posted a video of in my previous review of his class.

He also explains why tapping the back of the pistol you just press checked is important, just like it is on your rifle.

Bill goes on to demonstrate all these skill sets in live fire for the students.

As time and opportunity arise, a tac-mag reload should be done.  Since we are on the range, time and opportunity are plentiful and burning good reps develops the skill set.

Bill explained natural point of aim.

Then the students practiced developing their natural point of aim.  Getting all the fundamentals of shooting right is very important, you have to learn to burn good reps and that starts with accepting good instruction.

Students running a few drills.

Between each drill Bill goes over each target and corrects as needed.  Her bill is referring to the "three amigos" which are your three lower fingers, causing shots to be off a bit.

Bill explains his Strike Ready position and why it is important, not just for pistol implementation but for force contacts.

Students were expected to perform all the above instruction during the live fire drills, any questions were explained thoroughly by Bill.  

Bill showing a student the importance of not locking out arms while firing as well as proximity contact.

A good bit of rain came in and we took a quick break to put some rain gear on.  I threw on a Kuhl Gortex Jacket and put my Canon DSLR away, using my Nexus 5X cellphone for the below photos and video.

We got right back on the line and Bill start explaining proper grip of the pistol.

Bill demonstrates various aspects of the Strike Ready position.

A video posted by voodoo_man (@vdmsr) on

Bill talks about his experience with trigger reset and what he has found to work the best in real world applications.

Students went through several live fire drill iterations in order to get positive reps of the above concepts.

Bill was keeping a very close watch on what was going on and what students needed what instruction.  He did not hesitate to provide the proper level of correction for those who needed it.

Since the class was full of LEO's with OWB duty rig's, Bill explained proper deployment from a retention holster, most carrier an overt Safariland retention holster.

Bill demonstrating the beginning of a draw stroke.

Bill demonstrating a touch point pertaining to a draw stroke.

Once the rain subsided and we able to get dried off by the sun, the growing sound of stomachs growling became loud enough for us to call it around 1pm.

The First Half (Day One)
The next day we met back up at the local watering hole and a mostly different group of LEOs arrived to start the two day pistol/rifle and CQB course.  We headed back over to the private range and Bill went over the safety brief again as well as what the students should expect from the two days of instruction of the LE only class.  All students had overt duty rigs with retention holsters, except for me since I will always train the harder system, some were more specialized than others.

Bill went directly into his explanation the circle of awareness and how it relates to situational awareness.

Bill then continued into explaining his Strike Ready position and how it will form the base for most of the skill sets which the students will be developing.

Bill continued with the explanation of natural point of aim and how it applies to accuracy.

Students shot live fire drills for accuracy while applying the principles Bill taught.

Bill began to expound on the Strike Ready position.

Physical contact is sometimes required to effectively allow students to obtain a proper position for force confrontations.

Learning has occurred.

Students varied in duty setups depending on their duty assignments.

Bill explains the wrong area to be focusing on when your weapon is in front of your face.

As the class progresses if/when Bill sees an issue he covers it so that there is no second guessing on a particular skill.  Bill took the opportunity to cover proper magazine in hand position for reloading and then proper reloading protocol.  Always seat and tug.

Yes, even when there is one hole from a .40 longslide with an RMR RDS on a target there is still room for learning.

Bill explains each students target and reminds everyone that there should be 100% round accountability.  Aim small miss small.

The "three amigos" strike again!  Bill explains why and how to overcome them.

Bill explains his method of using your toes as "claws" for proper stance which provides the student with the ability to shift from target to target, eyes first, for faster target acquisition and transition.

Students followed Bill's demonstration with live fire drills.

Bill continues to explain why the Strike Ready position is an excellent choice in force contacts, demonstrating various combative-styled strikes and blade deployments.  The training blade bill is demonstrating with a Warrior's Way Kryptos.

Students run live fire drills and continue to burn good reps of the skill sets Bill demonstrated.

Bill makes sure to observe each student and focus on making sure they are able to effectively reproduce each skill set during live fire repetition.

Time and opportunity.

Circle of Awareness.

Bill makes sure he is getting all the details of each students repetition.

Minor corrections as needed.

Slide racking, point on target.

Bill demonstrating a course of fire.

Seeing custom duty guns is always a good step forward, there is hope yet.

Bill getting into the mix with the students before a demonstration of recoil management.

Bill demonstrates improper recoil management, you can see how he is forced back, nearly standing straight up after a mag dump.

Contrasted against a proper stance and proper recoil management.

Do not forget that 360 scan.

After the demonstration on recoil management Bill watches the students conduct the same drill making sure each student adds in every skill set learned thus far.

Accuracy is still important and Bill makes sure it is maintained.

Lots of reload reps.

The last part of the first half was building the draw stroke from an OWB overt duty rig with retention.  Then we had an on the range quick lunch and got right back into it.

The Second Half (Day One)
The second half started off with AR15 rifle instruction.

Bill demonstrates his preferred method of magazine grip.

Always properly seat the magazine with this method.

Bill shows other methods of magazine deployment for reloads and reasons why they are not as solid as his preferred method.

Always tug to make sure the mag is properly seated.

Bill demonstrates how to properly charge an AR15 rifle.  Think its pretty simple right? Well he showed a method which I have never seen before, a snap of the other strong hand trigger finger off the charging handle to make sure you are not riding it.

Physical press check, because you should learn how to do it in the dark, on NODS, and only being able to feel the round.

The upper has a forward assist for a reason.

Bill demonstrates proper rifle position and shooting.

Bill demonstrates Strike Ready with a rifle while he scans after  life fire.

Bill took a look at each students rifle and how it was setup throughout the course, providing suggestions from experience to facilitate proper application.  There were several key points Bill mentioned each rifle should have - a good optic like a 1-6 Vortex HD, the stock should be all the way out or all the way out and one click in, a well made barrel, the sling should be attached permanently to the rifle in one of a few specific ways, he suggested tape and not metal on metal and absolutely no compensators, only flash hiders like a Smith Vortex or the like.

Bill demonstrated improper / telegraphing muzzle strike, you should never let the enemy see setting up.

Bill went over proper stance and deployment.

Proper cheek weld.

Running the rifle left and rifle handed should be seemless, switching between the two should be easy and your setup should support this.

Scanning while in high port/muzzle up.

Students running drill while Bill watches and makes corrections as needed.

We finished up at the range at around 3pm and headed over to Alpha Canis K9 head quarters to do a CQB primer and intro to room entries with rifles.  Bill went over the history of CQB, where it started, what he has learned in terms of developments and the reasoning behind it.  To understand the concept and application is important, Bill knows the reasons why certain things are done specific ways and that experience alone is worth the price of admission to this type of class.

If you are a K9 guy and you do not know about Alpha Canis Advanced K9 Training you are way behind the curve.

The First Half (Day Two)
Started off the morning around 845am where we left off, rifle!

Bill started off going over everything we went over the day before as a refresher so that the concepts and skill sets are properly installed.

Bill explains his grip methodology and reason for such implementation.

Bill demonstrates single handed rifle shooting and retention.

Bill shows proper forward hand grip on the rail, explaining various reasons why which grip is used and what he prefers.

A grip is supposed to work with both hands, either shoulder position and allow activation of rail devices light/laser.

Bill demonstrates a recoil management drill done incorrectly due to position of stock, then showed the proper stock position.

Then showed a power recoil management drill in the correct position.  Notice how in the first drill he was standing more straight up, leaning forward a bit helps with management.

Bill explained proper sling position, retention and its role in more detail.  The sling of your rifle needs to be properly setup in order to help facilitate proper implementation.

Bill went over various methods of tac-mag reloads, just like with the pistol, if time and opportunity allows it.

Another excellent experienced based nugget of wisdom which Bill presented is the concept of not looking at the pouch or holster when putting a magazine, pistol or edge weapon away, rather scanning and assessing your circle of awareness so that you always have situational awareness.  This is a perfect example the physical manifestation of proper mindset development.

"What about low ready/port?" Easy!  Bill explains that sometimes due to constantly changing variables in circumstances you may need to go low ready/port so Bill made sure to explain the concepts and demonstrated the application of that position.

Bill demonstrates various issues which may be presented in AR15 style rifle application, either through malfunctions, user induced issues or environmental issues.  Always strip the mag first before going to secondary mag if it does not drop free.

Another manifested mindset moment was when Bill explained the process for picking up a dropped mag, which may be full or required to be retained for protocol reasons.  Muzzle on target, scan and asses, retrieve.  Students followed Bill's lead and demonstrated competency by integrating the concepts into live fire drills.

Bill demonstrated transitions and recoil management with other strong side shooting.

Bill gave an overview of proper safety manipulation while in other strong side position.

Bill demonstrates live fire speed of transition and reholster procedure for pistol deployment when the rifle goes down.  Everything stays in Strike Ready position.

Since this has a lot of moving parts Bill demonstrates it slowly so that the students can see the finer details.

After the students had the opportunity to run transition drills, Bill moved on to barricade clearance.  Since this is an LE-only course Bill did not go over some of the smaller topics that would transition to clearing issues, he just jumped in and the students followed in kind.

Bill goes over proper barricade clearance strong side.

Switching shoulders.

Then proper other strong side clearance.

Each student takes their run at the barricade on each shoulder.

Bill provides guidance and instruction as needed.

Remember, using plastic barrels like those which are shot up in the photo above is important because you can still hit your target even though there may be a barricade.

We then made our way to an undisclosed facility and Bill began a very detailed instruction phase on proper CQB application facing various obstacles.

Bill covered various methods of door entries.

Weird angle problems were presented for the students to take turns solving.

Low light angle work.

Flashlight only cross clearing was presented, as well as numerous other concepts.

(First person video clip of clearing instructed by Bill)

I went into this class knowing a good portion of the topics which will be covered and was very surprised to learn new concepts, especially taught by someone who not only understands the reasons why they are employed but has seen first hand the results of proper implementation.  The pistol instruction was specifically designed for LE and a lot of minor things were glossed over because most LEOs understand the minor things, especially if they are coming to a class like this.  Time is very limited and needed to be spent covering specific topics which led from pistol to rifle.  Rifle is a very specific beast onto itself.  Setups always vary widely from person to person and Bill tries to make sure his students understand what the proper type of rifle is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to be deployed.  Bill made sure to inject proper mindset development into most skill sets he taught and this is extremely important for those who are seeing the methodology for the first time.  Actions and skill sets must support mindset, Bill allows this to occur seamlessly.  The CQB portion of the class is the cherry on top and worth attending just for that portion.  I have done days, and days, of CQB with Bill and every time he is in a position to teach it I want to be there to learn it from him since he not only knows his stuff but has all the answers while continuously developing new scenarios to challenge your ability.  CQB is also extremely necessary for LEO's, Bill's instruction and approach to the CQB problem is designed specifically for modern day LE and is decades ahead of things currently taught in most LE SWAT schools.  The concepts he refers to are even more ahead of the curve, and there is still more to it.  With this class Bill shows, yet again, that is not only capable of changing pace but instructing extremely complex topics to students in a proper way cultivating proper mindset through application, vetted through experience.  This class should be mandatory for any LEO interested in pistol/rifle and CQB tactics.

Big thank you to Ken Ballinger at Alpha Canis K9 Advanced training for the space and hospitality.