Vicker's Shooting Clinic Notes [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Big Bird
09-30-2012, 21:29
Took a Vicker's Shooting Method Carbine class today and thought I'd share some thoughts about the class.

We went for about 8 hours total and fired about 300 rounds +/-

I used a home built gun with a Noveski 13.8" NSR rail, Troy BUIS, and an Aimpoint T1 with a Larue tall QD mount. The gun is built on a Noveski N4 upper and lower and a Spike's 14.5 light profile barrel. I had a Vicker's sling and used Lancer L5 AWM mags. and took a case of Federal XM193. The gun was flawless (except for the self induced double feed for the malfunction drills). BTW, the Lancer mags were perfect.

First, fifty yard zero. You shoot a 10 shot group at 50 yards. Not 2, not 5. TEN If you get a nice round group you KNOW where your center is. Shot from the prone and I managed about a 2" 10 shot zero.

Second, learning about mechanical offset and shooting at 25 yards and under was a revelation to say the least. Too much to explain. Suffice it to say that if you want a center of mass head shot at 7 yards (and have a 50 yard zero) you better aim at the top of the head. Same with a center of mass chest hit...aim about 5-6 inches high all the way out to 25. Don't take my word for it or argue with me. Just go try it yourself. I was in the Army 10 years and never saw that taught.

Third, if you shoot a red dot your BUIS should be up all the time. Inside of 25 yards you have no time to put your sights up if your red dot goes down. So keep em up with a lower 1/3 cowitness and you never see them anyhow until you need to transition to them. And at under 25 yards your need them right NOW. If you run the gun dry at 25 and under you should transition to your handgun--NOT reload the carbine. Same with BUIS. I ran another gun with a Daniel Defense 1.5 BUIS that stays up all the time. That's what I'm going to and will get rid of my Troy flip ups. It just makes more sense.

Fourth. I ran all the guns in the course and everyone got to shoot my gun. A couple of observations by most folks in the group: Thin rails like the Daniel Defense, Troy VTAC and Novseki NSR were almost universally preferred to the heavier and bulkier quad rails on some guns. The vast majority of shooter in the class agreed you can drive a gun with a skinny fore-end easier than a big thick quad rail.
There were a couple of piston guns in the class and most people commented they were WAY too heavy and bulky. One of the shooters brought an AK with an optic that was WAY too high to shoot well. Forget the mechanical offset you couldn't keep your cheek on the stock and see the dot. High mounts don't work. Carbine length fore-ends suck especially if you have standard handguards or MOE handguards. There is just not enough real-estate and its too close to your body to drive the gun well. Mid-length was the way to go. Those were general observations expressed by most people. There were a few outliers on those opinions in every category.

Kind of the standard was 5 shots in under 2 seconds from the low ready into the black (about 6" circle) on a Vickers silhouette target at 7 yards. Cadence shooting... Some guys were VERY good and VERY fast. I did OK and got my times down to around 2.6 seconds. The head shot standard was from 2 yards and 7 yards into a one inch black square in the center of the head--under a second (again, you have to aim at the top of the head)

Learned a lot. Aggressively drive the gun. Accurate shooting can be quickly done.

Malfunction, reloading, handgun transition and switch shoulder drills require a LOT of practice and will not be mastered in a day long course. But you learn the movement. The Malfunction drill on a double feed is a bee-otch.

Be sure your handgun skills are up to snuff before you go to a carbine course. I was a little rusty but managed OK. But you need to know the basic draw stroke and handgun reload and malfunction drills as well. We were expected to complete each shooting sequence even if our carbines went down or went dry with our handguns. Mine came out a half a dozen times.

Open your ammo boxes and pour all your ammo in a can or box the night before you go. Also, bring a dump pouch and put it on the back of your belt/vest etc to stash some loose ammo empty magazines.

Bring a small bottle of gun oil. After 200 rounds or so your gun will need it.

Overall, great experience, money well spent, got to play with other people's hardware. Now that I've shot one I know I never want a HK piston gun--ever:supergrin: Keep an open mind and go to learn. I learned a lot and know I need to practice some things a lot more like the malfunction and transition to handgun drills.

DJ Niner
09-30-2012, 21:38
Great recap, lots of interesting info. :thumbsup:

Cole125
09-30-2012, 21:47
Cool, thanks for sharing. I agree I like thin rails like the Troy VTAC over anything else.

Also I zero my red dots at 25 yards so the hold over at shorter distances is not as great.

bmoore
09-30-2012, 21:48
Thanks for taking the time to share that info, it makes sense.

mjkeat
09-30-2012, 21:57
Thanks for that. I think a lot of that important stuff gets left out in lue of shaing more of the "cooler" stuff. Well atleast I do.

One thing I learned from the last class I took was to bring some empty magazines. It's easier to load magazines to a certain capacity than peel rounds off in a rush while others wait. I stayed up late the night prior loading all my mags.

surf
09-30-2012, 23:11
Nice review and 99.9% of shooters who have never taken formal instruction from a quality source really don't understand what they do not understand. Even people who have been shooting 35+ years with thousands of rounds fired are usually astonished about learning from a quality instructor such as a Vickers SM course like you attended.

A few things to note....Offset of the height of the optic over bore on an M4/M16/AR15 is generally 2.5". So no matter the zero distance your offset at contact distance out to about 10 yards is 2.5". So to hit the person between the eyes in the snot box, your POA is about at the hairline of a normal 18 year old or 2.5". Also unless if he has changed it (which is quite possible), the circle size used to be 8" at 7 yards, which is the standard IDPA "A" zone of which Larry was a founding father of the sport.

WarEagle 1
10-01-2012, 02:16
Thanks!! Great review of the class.

TangoFoxtrot
10-01-2012, 04:09
Good notes big bird.

Hedo1
10-01-2012, 05:56
Good report. Lot's of good and important details.

Matthew Courtney
10-01-2012, 10:31
Great reiview! One thing I do not understand is 5-6 inches of hold over at 7 yards. Seems to me that it should be closer to 2.1 inches with the described zero.

plouffedaddy
10-01-2012, 11:48
Thanks for the AAR. Much appreciated.:wavey:

You stated that some guys were really fast.... Did you note whether those guys were running brakes/comps?

Big Bird
10-01-2012, 14:59
Thanks for the AAR. Much appreciated.:wavey:

You stated that some guys were really fast.... Did you note whether those guys were running brakes/comps?

Nope the one guy was running an A2 flash hider...:cool:

The equipment wasn't the difference. If I could have bought my way to proficiency with a carbine I'd have been champ of the world a long time ago...:supergrin:

13 shooters in the class and we only had one guy with a muzzle brake and we all hated him.:wavey: (too loud and obnoxious--the gun not the shooter)

Quickness is a 98% a function of technique.

Big Bird
10-01-2012, 15:34
Great reiview! One thing I do not understand is 5-6 inches of hold over at 7 yards. Seems to me that it should be closer to 2.1 inches with the described zero.

Matthew. I know I'm off on that. It just seemed like it was bigger than it really is. I recall measuring the offset with my fingers on the target and after measuring my hand sitting here at the desk its probably more like 4 inches. Its still a lot.

I was getting hits on the 1" dot in the middle of the head on the target and aiming at the top of the target.

Same with the black in the center of the chest. Aiming at the top of the black I shot out the center of the target and made a hole I could put my fist through.

plouffedaddy
10-01-2012, 16:14
Quickness is a 98% a function of technique.

I concur and the A2 is a good muzzle device; but some of those breaks really make the gun handle different.

Matthew Courtney
10-01-2012, 16:30
Matthew. I know I'm off on that. It just seemed like it was bigger than it really is. I recall measuring the offset with my fingers on the target and after measuring my hand sitting here at the desk its probably more like 4 inches. Its still a lot.

I was getting hits on the 1" dot in the middle of the head on the target and aiming at the top of the target.

Same with the black in the center of the chest. Aiming at the top of the black I shot out the center of the target and made a hole I could put my fist through.

Well, we all see the sights and handle our rifles differently. The numbers are just starting points on the path to learning what works for each individual and his rifle. Heck, my holdovers seem to change in different lighting conditions. Great to see folks enjoying quality training! Thanks for the report.

Big Bird
10-01-2012, 16:48
Well, we all see the sights and handle our rifles differently. The numbers are just starting points on the path to learning what works for each individual and his rifle. Heck, my holdovers seem to change in different lighting conditions. Great to see folks enjoying quality training! Thanks for the report.


There's an old saying among service rifle highpower shooters--"lights up--sights up" Meaning if you zero on a sunny day you probably need to drop 1/2 MOA in elevation when its cloudy and vice versa. AT 200 and 300 yards it never really mattered as 1/2 MOA is 1" and 1.5" respectively and you can hold the ten easy with a 1/2 MOA shift in POA that you get with irons under changing light conditions. But at 600 yards we are talking 3" and now you can notice a difference.

On REALLY bright days I often found it impossible to get a good hold at 6 o-clock on the black and often went to holding the front sight on the bottom of the target frame.

Teej
10-01-2012, 21:05
how about course cost & location please?

Big Bird
10-01-2012, 21:18
Course was $150 for the day and was held at Knob Creek gun range in KY

Trey83
10-02-2012, 00:49
Course was $150 for the day and was held at Knob Creek gun range in KY
That's not bad at all.

JimM_PA
10-02-2012, 05:00
It sounds excellent bang for the buck!

Hour13
10-02-2012, 06:57
Excellent run-down of the course, thanks! I'd call that $150 very well spent.

:thumbsup:

K. Foster
10-02-2012, 07:45
Good review, thanks for posting.

pag23
10-02-2012, 08:00
If they would offer something in PA I would go. It is difficult for me to travel anywhere else right now.

KalashniKEV
10-02-2012, 08:03
Will they not let you run a 25m zero?

What about if you wanted to go BUIS down?

Big Bird
10-02-2012, 08:40
Will they not let you run a 25m zero?

What about if you wanted to go BUIS down?

Why would you pay money and go to a course to learn things and want to do it all your way? That's retarded. Sometimes learning new things is uncomfortable relative to what you did in the past. But if you haven't run your gun all day with the sights up through a couple of dozen cadence drills how do you know that it won't work? At first it was a little awkward. But after a while the sights just disappear because you train your eyes to ignore them and focus on the target.

Go to a course to learn what THEY teach. If it makes sense go home and use it. If it doesn't then at least you know why you don't like it.

Mayhem like Me
10-02-2012, 08:50
Why would you pay money and go to a course to learn things and want to do it all your way? That's retarded.

Go to a course to learn what THEY teach. If it makes sense go home and use it. If it doesn't then at least you know why you don't like it.
Agree.
I just took a class where we ran a 36 yard zero from the first day.
It worked fine and i'm trying it on my work carbine.

Hold over is a bit less at 15yards and in for head shots hairline is dead on in the eye box.


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Keyhole
10-02-2012, 09:01
Great review and good price on that course!

WayaX
10-02-2012, 09:04
Go to a course to learn what THEY teach. If it makes sense go home and use it. If it doesn't then at least you know why you don't like it.

This is the best attitude to use when going to any class. If you think the instructors methods are crap, then don't go. However, there are very few people in the world who could be qualified to call that on Larry Vickers.

Learn it. Practice it. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't work, stow it away in case you may one day need it.

KalashniKEV
10-02-2012, 09:05
Go to a course to learn what THEY teach. If it makes sense go home and use it. If it doesn't then at least you know why you don't like it.

Relax yourself.

I think you answered my question in that they are both requirements.

Big Bird
10-02-2012, 12:24
Relax yourself.

I think you answered my question in that they are both requirements.

Not requirements but they have their reasons for teaching those techniques. Why would you pay someone to teach you something and then ignore their approach and do it your own way.

When I went to Gunsite and took the pistol course over 20 years ago there were a couple of guys in our course that were big time IPSC shooters--real gamers. Had some attitude and thought they were going to show us all how it was done. For the first few days they really resisted the instruction and insisted on doing things their way and by the third day they began to realize there was a method to the progressive nature of the training and what it was intended to produce at the end of the week. The instructors were clearly frustrated with those students. They found themselves struggling to catch up with the folks who were doing it by the numbers and by the time we got to the Fun House and Donga live fire drills they underperformed relative to the est of the class.

Big Bird
10-02-2012, 12:35
Agree.
I just took a class where we ran a 36 yard zero from the first day.
It worked fine and i'm trying it on my work carbine.

Hold over is a bit less at 15yards and in for head shots hairline is dead on in the eye box.


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Interesting. If you take the 3 day course from Larry Vicker's himself he will set you up with a 100 yard zero. Least that's what our instructor told us. But every zero method has its drawbacks.

In the Army we all zeroed our guns at 25 yards. And that worked fine for a rifle length barrel shooting 55 grain bullets at 3100 fps. (and actually it wasn't a dead on zero at 25 it was like 1.5" low) But with a carbine with a realistic self defense max range of 200 yards that poses issues with holdover at 100 yards. In the Army we were shooting out to 375 meters or so. You just aren't going to do that in any realistic self defense scenario.

In our course the standard at 50 yards was to be able to make 9 out of 10 "head shots" offhand. Only two guys in the course could do that consistently. I dropped 2 shots almost every drill. Most were not that consistent.

KalashniKEV
10-02-2012, 12:53
Not requirements but they have their reasons for teaching those techniques. Why would you pay someone to teach you something and then ignore their approach and do it your own way.

Again, calm yourself, I was just asking. I've never taken a VSM class, but I've also never taken a class where they enforced a specific zero across the board. I wasn't sure if this was part of the "method."

OK... so not a requirement then.

When I went to Gunsite and took the pistol course over 20 years ago...

Cool story, bro.

fnfalman
10-02-2012, 15:23
I've always said that you don't need a muzzle brake/compensator to shoot fast and accurate for a 5.56 long gun and others have always disputed me.

Thanks for the affirmation.

Nope the one guy was running an A2 flash hider...:cool:

The equipment wasn't the difference. If I could have bought my way to proficiency with a carbine I'd have been champ of the world a long time ago...:supergrin:

13 shooters in the class and we only had one guy with a muzzle brake and we all hated him.:wavey: (too loud and obnoxious--the gun not the shooter)

Quickness is a 98% a function of technique.

fnfalman
10-02-2012, 15:28
Not requirements but they have their reasons for teaching those techniques. Why would you pay someone to teach you something and then ignore their approach and do it your own way.

I beg to differ. Unless you're a cherry and don't know squat from diddly, you should take everything at face value. I've never taken Vicker's class but I've taken enough classes to see the preferences in techniques from many a well qualified instructors. They all think they're "right". However, I'd prefer to distill what I've learned across the board and pick out the best practices for my own application instead of swallowing the Kool-Aid from one school or another.

When I went to Gunsite and took the pistol course over 20 years ago there were a couple of guys in our course that were big time IPSC shooters--real gamers. Had some attitude and thought they were going to show us all how it was done. For the first few days they really resisted the instruction and insisted on doing things their way and by the third day they began to realize there was a method to the progressive nature of the training and what it was intended to produce at the end of the week. The instructors were clearly frustrated with those students. They found themselves struggling to catch up with the folks who were doing it by the numbers and by the time we got to the Fun House and Donga live fire drills they underperformed relative to the est of the class.

That's because these people were trained as gamers then tried to apply the technique to fighting/self-defense which was and is the essence of Gunsite classes.

Big Bird
10-02-2012, 16:34
I've always said that you don't need a muzzle brake/compensator to shoot fast and accurate for a 5.56 long gun and others have always disputed me.

Thanks for the affirmation.

The fastest shooter of the group by a mile had a Surefire 215A flash hider.

I'm far from an expert with a carbine but Ray Charles can see you don't need a brake to drive a carbine fast. Its not a hard friggin caliber to control. Now stick two guys with some serious skills side by side you might find a brakes gives you a few hundreths of a second advantage. But for us mere mortals I see no practical difference.

But again...I could be wrong about that.

Big Bird
10-02-2012, 16:37
I beg to differ. Unless you're a cherry and don't know squat from diddly, you should take everything at face value. I've never taken Vicker's class but I've taken enough classes to see the preferences in techniques from many a well qualified instructors. They all think they're "right". However, I'd prefer to distill what I've learned across the board and pick out the best practices for my own application instead of swallowing the Kool-Aid from one school or another.

That's because these people were trained as gamers then tried to apply the technique to fighting/self-defense which was and is the essence of Gunsite classes.

Maybe--maybe not. Personally, I think you owe it to your instructor to try what he's teaching. I didn't say you had to live with it the rest of your life. But give it a shot.

You are spot on about the gamer vs. Gunsite mentality though.

Foxtrotx1
10-02-2012, 17:34
If you use an EOtech optic and zero at 25 then the lower bound of the reticule is your 7 yard POI.

surf
10-03-2012, 03:53
- In the M4/M16/AR with iron sights or modern optics, no matter the zero distance, from contact distance out to roughly 7-10 yards your height over bore is ~2.5" no matter what. Anyone who does not understand this, truly does not understand this platform. This is not shooter dependent either. It is a pure geometry issue with the line of sight and angle of departure of the projectile in relation to the height over bore of the irons or optic. So from contact distance to roughly 10 yards aiming at the middle of the forehead is where you need to be no matter what.

- Vickers Shooting Method instructors are generally good to go. They are not Larry Vickers but teach his shooting ideals. This does not mean that individual VSM instructors will not have their own unique style.

- BUIS should be up or fixed IMO. With enough correct training they are not an issue, but a complete positive in the need arises. Yes I know all of the arguments, but this is still my experience / opinion.

- 50y BZO or 100y zero are the 2 best IMO and the traditional 25m/300m zero is a bit too old school and most former high speed .mil guys will also say the same. Now here is where it gets interesting. Even with a 50 or 100, some will change their POA/POI which is shooter preference whether they go for a true POA/ POI of want to lolipop. No matter what if you are impacting about 1.5" low at 25M your outer zero is more correct load dependent. 1.5" low at 25 would get you more of a 50 meter true zero.

- Muzzle devices and the A2 is a very good standard. Those who think a break or a compensator on this platform is not an advantage in control and speed and I will 100% tell you that they are either #1 in the top 99.9% of shooters or that #2 they are not skilled enough to run this platform at the ragged edge of performance to understand the benefit. I will say 100% without a doubt that other factors such as blast, concussion, disturbance and flash signature are factors for certain users.

- There is almost no 100% across the board and what works for the majority will not necessarily work for everyone.

fnfalman
10-03-2012, 11:22
Maybe--maybe not. Personally, I think you owe it to your instructor to try what he's teaching. I didn't say you had to live with it the rest of your life. But give it a shot.

Of course. I'd definitely give it a whirl to see if there's a merit.

What people don't understand or refuse to acknowledge is that we are not all built the same. My canting my elbow this way a bit may improve my gun handling and control, but it doesn't mean that you have the same degree of flexibility, or the technique even work for you.

You are spot on about the gamer vs. Gunsite mentality though.

This is why I advocate getting specific trainings. Want to compete or shoot competition style? Go to a school that teaches you competition shooting.

Want to learn how to fight? Go to a school that teaches you how to fight.

As far as I'm concerned, the 'twains are so different that I don't even bother trying to mix'em up.

plouffedaddy
10-03-2012, 11:24
Well said surf. Can't say I disagree with anything you just said.

mjkeat
10-03-2012, 12:07
Surf, good as always and backed up by experience.

I have been hearing a lot of people talking about fixed or BUIS in the upright position while shooting. Even the instructor at the carbine class I took 2 weeks ago supported this method. I have been trying to hold out for some time but will be shooting this way at this weekends class. W/ all these high level shooters doing it and the experience relayed in support of this method I would be stupid not to try it out.

MrMurphy
10-03-2012, 12:30
I currently use a fixed rear, and don't mind it, but I prefer a folding rear, folded.

At the ranges it would be an issue the Aimpoint can be used as a rear sight. In the very low odds of it going down that is. If I don't have time for that, odds are, i'm either going to pistol or may be totally screwed anyways.

Still prefer the scope be clear, even in a lower third, but in the end, it's personal preference.

Big Bird
10-03-2012, 18:12
Went back and got one of the targets we used in class last weekend.

The head measures 6" High and 6.5" wide with the 1" black square in the middle. So as I recall I was holding at the top of the head which means 3" high. And I was consistently hitting the black square.

The black "bull" in the middle of the target measured 5.5 inches in diameter meaning I was holding at the top of the black and making COM shots or about 2.75" high.

Huh...I thought that bull looked about 6" across.

In any case "holding" isn't exactly what I'd call keeping the dot moving in a circle in about that location when you are doing timed cadence drills... ;)

surf
10-03-2012, 22:56
This is why I advocate getting specific trainings. Want to compete or shoot competition style? Go to a school that teaches you competition shooting.

Want to learn how to fight? Go to a school that teaches you how to fight.

As far as I'm concerned, the 'twains are so different that I don't even bother trying to mix'em up.This is a big mistake IMO and most modern trainers, or generally the top notch guys, understand the advantages that can be gleaned from the shooting sports world or competition shooters. Trying to keep them completely separate and not not intermixing styles or techniques is IMO a big mistake.

Being open minded about techniques that actually works for whatever style, even in combat shooting is what keeps us progressing. Too many people want to poo poo things because it was a "competition thing". This is plain ignorance. Now I am not saying to adapt something "just because" it may be the flavor of the month, but if it is trained, practiced and vetted as an improvement, it does not matter who came up with it.

I also have no problem with people who use weapons for critical use or defensive purposes to also intermix in the shooting sports world. Having said that, I do not shoot competition, but my style is definitely a fusion of techniques that directly find their roots in the competition world. I do not teach competition shooting. I am still working actively on full time teams but I do I teach almost full time which is primarily in the advanced tactical or combat shooting realm. I have no civilian students and all of my students are Federal, State, Local LE or Military. I teach my style which is a fusion of varying styles, competition included.

This is a reward type of drill, where students run to the ragged edge of their own performance envelope and to the point of failure. It shows them their own limits and capabilities, but it is definitely a fun competitive thing with other students. The blend of combat shooting and competition techniques are clearly visible. The efficacy of a combat shooter trained in this manner is devastating.

Again this is one of my students that is currently in our training program.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPcGYCZZ51I

Big Bird
10-04-2012, 06:42
There's no doubt that competition--when kept in context--can significantly enhance your ability to do the real deal when you need to. Competition teaches the ability to focus and perform under pressure--sometimes intense pressure. You learn a lot about yourself and your teammates through competition that I feel has direct bearing on how you perform under real combat.

Least in my experience it did.

Trust me...you want the guys with the drive to win on your side when the real thing goes down. Mindset, and the proven ability to focus and perform under pressure will beat the best trained quitters in the world every day. I believe that with all my heart.

TattooedGlock
10-07-2012, 06:56
I love the brake on my POF. Does it give me ultimate control? Of course not. But it does help. After switching to an ACOG I no longer use BUIS due to the magnification, which my tired eyes really love. I may throw a BUIS on some offset mounts just to have it, but haven't decided yet.

Thanks for taking the time to write the AAR. I've been through a few schools and it's always great to learn new things. One thing I've learned over the years is that you might now use or agree with everything you learn, but if you come away with one new tool then it's money well spent.

wrx04
10-07-2012, 12:48
Good review. I took that same course last March and learned a lot. I need to sign up for a few more this year.

Did you win the dollar game?:supergrin:

Big Bird
10-07-2012, 17:45
Good review. I took that same course last March and learned a lot. I need to sign up for a few more this year.

Did you win the dollar game?:supergrin:

No, I hit the top of the circle around George Washington's face.

But I shot it standing up on my hind legs like a man...not crawling on my belly like a snake...:supergrin: