Feedback From the Vuurwapen/Deliberate Dynamics AR-15 Course

Last weekend was the first of what will hopefully be many firearm training courses taught by myself and Jim Staley of Deliberate Dynamics. Writing about it wholly from my perspective would be a bit self-serving, so I’ll share some photos/video and the feedback I solicited from the 14 students who attended the course. If you’re interested in attending our next course, scheduled for July 27/28, you may sign up here.

As one student said, “Judging by the type of people that attended, its clear that your blog and other work has attracted a levelheaded and intelligent group of followers. Everyone was courteous and I didn’t see any clashing of egos.”

I asked for their honest opinions, and will summarize/compile them here in the interests of brevity. If any students wish to comment on this post, they are welcome to do so (some already have).

The stuff everyone liked:

– Taking high speed video of each student on the range and reviewing it in front of the whole class back at the lodge really helped everyone improve their manipulation and understanding of the firearm. Here’s a sample of most of the group, although each student was filmed individually as well.

– Chronographing each rifle/ammo combination, as well as taking photos of the muzzle flash of each, was educational/useful/enlightening.

BattleComp claims that their muzzle devices produce flash comparable to that of the A2. This is untrue.

– Many students had no idea that they were capable of shooting as far as they ended up doing so (depending on rifle, ammo, and shooter, 500 to 900 yards). Everyone was shooting an AR-15 in 5.56/.223.
– Shooter/spotter drills with the target unknown until the timer buzzed were very useful.
– Reloading and target transition portions of the course greatly improved the shooters’ efficiency with the firearm.
– Everyone seemed to love the range and the lodge.
– The group was great and everyone got along swimmingly.

Students gained experience not only from shooting, but from spotting.

The recommendations for improvement:

– There was a lot of downtime, especially on the first day. Some of this couldn’t be helped, as we only had one high speed video camera and one chronograph. However, we’ll definitely be cutting down on this in the future, organizing the curriculum so that there are multiple training evolutions occurring at once.
– Including items such as a shooting mat or binoculars on the recommended gear list would be nice.

The gravel wasn’t so bad…well…

– Incorporate a more rigorous final test/drill/competition/exam/feedback. This was originally planned, but would have resulted in a lot more downtime as our planned course could only have been used by one shooter at a time. We will, however, be incorporating this into the curriculum in the future.
– We had some technical difficulties with vehicles, although they did not present a major obstacle to the course or to the shooters getting range time.

Riding in the back of pickup trucks wasn’t so bad…well…

If I may, here are a few accolades from students:

– “I felt like it was a good use of my time, I learned a LOT and I enjoyed myself.”
– “Overall I know I learned a lot more about myself as a shooter. And your high speed video definitely helped everyone diagnose issues they wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Nice job.”
– “I want to say thanks for putting on such a great course. I’ve been through a good number of schools and classes in the military that were just miserable. Yours was a good balance of seriousness and relaxation to make it very enjoyable.”
– “I had a great time shooting with you guys. The drive was long as all hell, but I loved the location and learned that my shooting platform while standing sucks and my reloads are inefficient and full of fail.”
– “They gave us practical information throughout the course, with explanations of the positive and negative of why something is done. Both Jim and Andrew have a wealth of knowledge and an ability to teach.”
– “(I) learned an enormous amount in a very short period of time.”
– “I really enjoyed the class. ร‚ย I thought you guys did a great job especially for it being the first time you put this together. It was educational, challenging, and it was also a good time.”

19 thoughts on “Feedback From the Vuurwapen/Deliberate Dynamics AR-15 Course”

  1. Something that came to mind about the course after was that there wasn’t a whole lot that explicitly felt like it couldn’t be applied to other weapon systems.

    Also was that “PRIVATE ROAD: KEEP OUT” sign always there?

    1. Yes, I had a similar thought although I may be adjusting that in the future. Even so, the fundamentals will be useful to anyone who uses a carbine.

      Oh yeah, meant to tell you, we were trespassing the whole time ๐Ÿ˜‰ just kidding. I think that was there to scare people off.

    1. No, there were several new shooters and they didn’t seem to be lagging behind. The curriculum will have something for everyone and we’ll break into smaller groups from time to time to focus on specific skills.

    2. I’m the chubby Asian kid in the middle who is reloading with all the rapidity of turtles fucking. I can assure you that this class is newbie friendly.

      That said you have to go in with a positive attitude and a willingness to take and use criticism. The slow-mo video is especially painful because it highlights EVERY SINGLE MISTAKE you make. Since you’re just starting out you will feel bad about how uncoordinated/slow/silly you look as you flail around trying to stuff a magazine into a mag well.

      But if you can get over being self-conscience it is an incredible learning experience because you are seeing exactly what you’re doing wrong and have a couple of experienced people explaining how you could do it better. Both Andrew and Jim are excellent instructors and really approachable and knowledgeable.

      I think this class is a pretty good starting point to jump into learning the AR. You just have to focus on making yourself better rather than worrying about why you can’t shoot as fast or as well as more experienced shooters.

      The other upshot from a newbie perspective is that there’s a wide variety of ARs and gear available to try. I got to shoot with iron sights, an ACOG, Eotech and an Aimpoint under a variety of lighting conditions and situations. I now know that I love shooting with an ACOG because the magnification helps me pick out targets but that you can actually shoot accurately out to 500 yards with a simple red dot that’s properly zeroed.

      So yeah, highly recommend it for new shooters although I think you’ll get the most out of this class provided you know the basics of weapon manipulation and weapon safety.

      1. I’m up for any feedback I can get, I’m sure I could greatly benefit from it. I do like the idea of being able to try out different gear and ARs, I really like the setup I have from the very few times I’ve gotten to shot it, but I’m sure I could get ideas to improve it.

        1. Yep. You’re going find out if your kit is awesome, if there are some things you can make better, or if it’s trash and you need to rethink your life.

      1. Dang. That was going to be the next upgrade. Other than the muzzle flash issue. What else did you not like about it?

        What do you recommend instead?

        1. It forces the muzzle down instead of keeping it in place. This has the effect of pushing the muzzle off target. Down or up, it’s still off target.

          For range/competition use, the PWS FSC556; it will be comparable in flash performance to the battlecomp but keep the muzzle flat. XTC works well for that too. For everyday/all purpose use, the A2. For dedicated flash suppression in the field, the Vortex or Blackout.

          Or the can mount of your choice.

    1. I like them, but there is no such thing as magic….everything comes at a cost and there are cheaper options as well. But overall I think they are pretty nice to shoot, look good, and are not super big or heavy.

  2. I’m the tacti-cool fool in the very front of the slow-mo video. Apologies for not forwarding my feedback earlier, I kinda had to hit the ground running when I got back from the course.

    Some takeaways were:
    -You could be an active-duty Marine of 6 years like me, with experience on countless ranges and actually (ineffectually) fire your TO weapon “downrange in the sandbox while stepping over friends’ bodies” at angry Fighting Age Guys–but you can still underperform compared to the kid with a simple carbine and minimal training but a lot of focus that day. I believe Andrew has an article on here discussing how a lot of ranges concentrate on number of rounds fired, bringing in the classic quality vs quantity argument. This course was quality.
    -The lodge was an excellent place to stay at. Not only was it a good facility overall, but it puts artificial size limits on classes as well–a good thing. You also could not ask for a more attractive locale to go shooting at, either. Okay, except maybe Colorado.
    -As previously discussed, slow-mo stuff is highly effective at making you realize everything you do during a reload is wrong. Unfortunately, my SD card was fried, so the saved movies I was going to take home were lost. BTW Andrew if you have them still I’ll humbly ask they be sent to my email.
    -The backgrounds for the shooters was pretty diverse, though by the second day it appeared that everyone was rockin at a similar level. Everyone expressed a positive mental attitude and there was a minimum of nut-flexing (real gangster-ass n-words know they got ’em). Sure, there wasn’t much time to see negative personality traits come into play, but the main group of fellas I was with (Paul, David, Ando, the Joseph Gordan-Levitt lookalike bucking for OCS) all fed off one another in terms of getting into the learning mindset.
    -Jim and Andrew themselves both provided some good, pragmatic gouge on a range of topics with no melodrama.
    -No one else seemed to mention this, but there was a big table full of expensive gear and clothing for participants to try out. If nothing else, this gave a lot of us ideas for future buys. I didn’t use any of the gear on the range (military guys tend to break literally EVERYTHING they touch), though I ended up purchasing Kydex magazine holders at the discount offered to all students.
    -I had a bunch of other items in my draft and a good list of lessons learned, but alas I am at work right now. Overall it was an excellent class and I think everone involved had an extremely good time. Also Colt 20 round mags.

    Shugg, for reducing muzzle flash, the humble A2 flash-hider was found to be the best. I had a Dynacomp (pretty much the same idea as the BattleComp, several of the students were rocking them at the course) on one of my old rifles. I felt it did a good job reducing muzzle rise, but as we saw in the slow-mo, it also significantly forced the barrel down, which the students had to correct for. The noise from these type of muzzle brakes is also quite pronounced, to the annoyance to any shooters around you. I was using a Rainier Arms XTC, which does a great job of controlling recoil, but it emits an AK-74 brake-style flash. I noticed my barrel did not “whip” nearly as much, but I think that is more likely from the composition of my barrel (Walther Lothar LW50-grade, which is their proprietary “stainless” steel of hardness sufficient enough to infuriate even experienced gunsmiths).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *