For many of us attending a structured course in some discipline associated with firearms use is often out of reach. Availability, cost, time and other factors often make the “do-it-yourself” training mode of skill progression the only viable choice. I know the majority of my training has been that way since I retired from the Army National Guard in 2008 and I rely on whatever resource I can find to provide the learning points for training I do right in my own basement and at local ranges. The internet is a wealth of information on the subject of firearms training, both good and bad. Deciding which advice or techniques to apply to your training is something that is often hit or miss. For someone just getting into firearms many of the names some of us “veterans” recognize as reliable choices mean nothing to a “guNoob”.
Now the name “US Army”…that means something to most people. The Army has been around for quite a long while and has a reputation for being pretty damn good at what it does…even if it sometimes lacks the political support to accomplish all of its missions to their fullest potential. The Army has a dedicated marksmanship training unit located amongst the pine forests and red clay dirt of Ft. Benning, Georgia. Aside from keeping all of those Infantry trainees, airborne students and Ranger cadre and candidates company they actually do a pretty decent job on promoting marksmanship throughout the service and are one of the principal forces behind the Army’s Sniper School also co-located with it at Ft. Benning. They host a 5 day course on Close Quarters Marksmanship that teaches the student all of the skills necessary to make them a capable combatant on the street of Baghdah or villages of Afghanistan. It’s a pretty nifty course, unfortunately in order to attend you need to volunteer to enlist, serve a few years until you are at least an E5 (or E4 in a leadership slot) and do a bunch of other stuff associated with joining the Army. Been there, done that, got both the shirt AND the hat to prove it. Luckily for the rest of us “civvies” they produce an instructional DVD that covers most of the basic weapons portions of the resident course in one nice little package. This DVD is available through the CMP eStore for the incredibly low price of just $6.95!.
This DVD is not perfect nor is it really similar in some respects to other such training materials available on the web. For starters, the US Army produced it which means the production values, while high, are a bit devoid of flash and “pop” in the presentation of the materials. The instructors speak in understandable language for most to understand, which is good because in a few places in the DVD you will simply sit as a “virtual student” in a class as an instructor tells you about the topic at hand. In addition, again because it is the Army, the M4 carbine in its most basic form is used along with the M9 pistol (Beretta 92) so certain teaching points are particularly structured for those two systems.
The pluses are, in addition to the cost, are that the range sequences are nicely done, there are some very good step-by-step instructions on certain manual of arms tasks and the demonstrator does a very good job on each task he shows in the video.
Overall, for us “do-it-ourselvers” this is a good tool to have in our training toolbox. No, its not as flashy as watching Chris Costa in a Magpul DVD (which I do have by the way), but then again its still solid material and costs about 1/8th the cost of that series.