by Jason J. Brown - Tuesday, June 13, 2017
For years now, the AR-15 has been the most popular rifle in the United States. Its versatility, ease of use and maintenance, and modularity make it the perfect compromise for the sporting everyman and utilitarian. From recreational plinking to hunting, and home defense to competition, the AR-15 can fit a variety of roles.
As increasing numbers of Americans have adopted the AR-15 platform, more users are looking for training to hone their skills and build proficiency. No organization in history has provided a higher standard of firearms training to law-abiding gun owners than the NRA, and NRA Outdoors is taking tactical carbine training to the next level.
NRA Outdoors’ Tactical Carbine Course Presented by Sig Sauer is a comprehensive training curriculum that teaches students how to employ, maintain and succeed with the AR-15 rifle platform. Shooting training encompasses tactical rifle basics through advanced maneuvers and techniques, including self-defense tactics. The students do plenty of shooting, with each firing more than 900 rounds over two days.
In addition to using the rifle, other topics taught in the course span firearm safety, a detailed technical overview of the rifle’s components and how they work, maintenance, use of accessories, types of ammunition, and beyond.
Gary Melton, a Green Beret veteran who served in the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Group among other special operations assignments and deployments, is the lead instructor for the NRA Outdoors Tactical Carbine Course. Melton joins a cadre of supporting instructors, most of which are military and police veterans and all of whom are experienced professional instructors for military and law enforcement agencies with Federal Law Enforcement Accredited certification and training.
The all-inclusive course that provides ammunition, a firearm, and all training gear needed for the two days of training – even lunch is included. Sig Sauer has generously donated all the firearms and optics for this school, and every student is issued a Sig 516 Patrol with a Tango4 optic to use during the course. Students are only asked to bring their own eye and electronic hearing protection if they prefer to use their own.
“This makes travel much easier, and provides an opportunity for people that are just getting into shooting to be educated on firearms along with learning what their personal preferences are before they make substantial investments on firearms and other equipment,” Melton explained.
Unlike large-scale courses that seek to process as many students as possible, NRA Outdoors Tactical Carbine Courses are tailored to provide the personal attention and time needed to help each trainee safely and fully grasp concepts and excel in their training objectives. Each class can accommodate up to 14 students, and there is always a minimum of three instructors.
“Our experienced instructors understand that individual attention is the key to successful training, so they ensure our the student to instructor ratio in our Tactical Carbine schools never exceed one instructor to every five students, and is usually closer to one-to-three,” said Melton. “We believe this is critical to ensure that every student receives individual attention, and that they are challenged based on their individual abilities. A very low student-to-instructor ratio also ensures a safe and fun learning environment that guarantees every person leaves having learned more and being able to shoot better than they ever expected.“
The firearms safety and marksmanship fundamentals training delivered in the Tactical Carbine course are applicable to all shooting disciplines, so every student will leave a more educated, safer, and proficient shooter. But at the core of this training, Melton said, is how to operate and make good decisions under stress with or without a firearm. Instructors cover topics that are relevant to self-defense and lethal encounters, including the importance of target discrimination and understanding the difference between cover and concealment.
While some of the training is focused on building specific skills, students will learn principles that can be applied to all walks of everyday life. As such, Melton said courses attract students from all backgrounds, and provide an opportunity for a great family-friendly adventure. In a recent course, Melton trained three generations from one family -- the youngest participant just 12 years old.
The Tactical Carbine Classes Presented by Sig Sauer are offered in two levels; a basic Level I world-class introduction to defensive tactical shooting, and the Level II advanced course, open to graduate of Level I and introducing higher levels of technical shooting and understanding of ballistics.
The next Level I class is scheduled for July 15-16, while the next Level II class is open Sept. 9-10. Each course is taught in Paw Paw, West Virginia, just 90 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport. Click here to learn more or register for the Level I course, or click here to learn more or register for the Level II course.