Kalashnikovs In Houston - Student's After Action Reports
Folks what a weekend!
A very informational, functional, and enlightening course. Coming away, much appreciation for what Suarez has been offering; past, present, and the future. Yes, bring the "fitness" and coming mentally & physically prepared.
First day started off with the ever great Texas weather in the morning with light rain that was no where near of the predicted forecast. Gabe has the fine integration of combining the instructions, methods, and physical strength. This is demonstrated first hand with Saturday's morning "circle". Whenever there was an opportunity, Gabe and the staff took every opportunity. After a set of instructions, demonstration, then by the rest of the class; was followed by another learning opportunity where questions were raised, answered, and any feedback was welcome by Gabe and the staff. Many thanks to Jon and Ryan for their assistance in the class.
They pointed out many details to me that I wouldn't have noticed. Especially my "shakes". Not only did they identify them; they reinforce it with necessary modifications & corrections. Gotta love those "teaching moments". This class showed what works, doesn't work, transitioning, different positions, and so much more. I won't say how many AK push-ups I accomplished, but I did managed a few. But that 's one of the eye-openers of this class. It's brings forward what you're good at and what you need to improve upon (homework!). You gotta be Ambi-dex ! I truly have a higher appreciation for this system and my confidence for the AK is significantly at a higher level. The online description of this class doesn't serve it justice. This class severely exceeded my expectations.
Our AK's were hitting steel from 100, 200, and 300 yards. Some with optics and others with irons! For me, this was accomplished with my WASR-10! With Ryan's insight, it became apparent that my stock was lose from the 100 yard mark in the beginning of this exercise. I was still able to hit my mark on all three distances. Many will try to point out the accuracy theory of the AK, it's just that...a theory. Those who were there, like many before me; we know the truth!
Anyone who hasn't taken S.I. classes, its an opportunity you can't afford to miss. Do it as soon as you can; for yourself and your loved ones. Don't believe me, make the judgment yourself and try it!
P.S. Glad to have taken this class with a great bunch of folks. Part of the success of this class was the composition of the class, and how much we all learn from each other. If I missed anything, I apologize as there was so much and words don't fully express how much we accomplished this weekend.
This was a great class. Gabe once again demonstrated that he is a phenomenal instructor. He had us doing dynamic movement drills, both dry-fire and live-fire, that would have shocked many firearms instructors, yet he did so in ways that maintained a high level of safety. This is one of the things that I really appreciate about SI classes. You get training that is much more advanced and applicable to real-world situations than what most instructors offer, without safety being compromised. Gabe also took advantage of every "teachable moment" that arose, but he never belittled anyone. His criticism was always right on target and constructive.
Ryan and Jon were very helpful to the class as well. They watched for flaws in what we were doing and provided good suggestions to help us improve. They also reinforced good performance.
The class involved everything from using the AK as an impact weapon, to CQB work to shooting at 300 yards. Once again, the myth that AKs are inherently inaccurate was debunked. Given a good shooting position, hits were achieved fairly consistently at 300 yards. Some guys were even doing that from a standing position with stock AK iron sights despite a breeze.
Gear was tested in the course as well. People learned about what works for them and what doesn't. It was a bit muddy on the first day, when we did most of the ground work, and that reinforced the importance of choosing equipment that can keep working when dirty. The range was rocky too, so gear (and joints) had to be durable.
It was a pleasure to meet and train with a great bunch of guys. I highly recommend Advanced Kalashnikov Rifle Gunfighting to anyone looking for top quality training.
I drove from Washington State with a friend and training partner to take all four days of AK training in Houston (basic and advanced). This was the first experience either of us had with Gabe and crew, although we've trained with some of the most recognized names in the industry. I won't list them here so that can of worms doesn't get opened, but it is a "who's who" list to be sure. I'm also in nuclear security, and get paid to carry a fighting rifle every day. There isn't much that surprises either of us anymore. We may see different variations of things we've seen before, and maybe new drills to incorporate into our training, but rarely anything truly new.
With Gabe, we both spent four days feeling like were were brand new to shooting. We were not the top of the class like we're used to. We certainly didn't embarrass ourselves, but we spent much of the four days outside our comfort zone and learning new things. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but was a very welcome surprise.
Where most classes spend 80% of the time shooting from stationary positions, and much of that standing up, Gabe's classes reversed that. We did a little of that just to keep fresh in our minds what good marksmanship fundamentals are.
Other than that, it was gunfighting.
Gunfighting is moving.
Gunfighting is using whatever position is best for the cover available.
Gunfighting is a 360 degree environment.
Gunfighting is not being able to call a time out if you or your kit can't keep up with the pace.
Gunfighting is stuffing rounds in your mags and getting water down your throat whenever there is the slightest lull in the action.
Gunfighting is making sure your partners do the same. This was the training we got in Houston.
I've often heard instructors say that if you or your gear are not up to the challenges, you may have to sit out at times. I've very rarely seen an instructor follow through. Gabe and his crew did. I never felt held back by other classmates issues. Gabe pushed hard, and shooters who couldn't keep up needed to step out for short periods of the most extreme drills. That said, the members of the class almost universally impressed me. The older members were generally in good mental and physical condition. The less in shape shooters dealt with sore muscles and joints with a good sense of humor. The inexperienced members learned very quickly. The guys with lower budgets learned to make due with more simple kit. These were some of the best people I've taken a class with. We had a three generation group from Houston in the class. The grandfather and father were both seasoned shooters who did well, and the grandson was lightning fast with all of his weapons manipulations. He made some impressive hits with iron sights out to 300 yards. He has all the natural talent to be an armed professional or competitive shooter in a few more years, and a great work ethic also. Kudos to him, and to his father and grandfather who are clearly raising him right.
I also appreciated the assistant instructors. Both were well rounded in their skills and knowledge, but each had areas that they excelled in. I learned a lot from Jon's technical knowledge about the inner working of an AK, and Ryan's extensive LE training background and humble assertiveness was great when learning new movement and positional skills and drills.
There are two things that I think made the class a true bargain. One is that Gabe always explained why a particular technique or tactic was being used, and what real world events led to him adopting them. The second is that he always explained how it could be practiced on our own. This gave us a context for everything, so it could be applied to other situations in the future. It also gave us the ability to train on our own to develop the skills that were were shown in class. That's the sign of a true teacher, and I'm personally very grateful for the experience.
I'm not sure what my next Suarez class will be, but these will not be the last.