The sun is shining, the birds are chirping...

And I died last night.

I got shot playing with MILES gear on AR's.

Specter Tactical, out of East Haddam, CT was doing a patrol rifle format force on force with MILES gear, and I got to participate. I signed up because I wanted to throw the skills I learned at Tactical Response's Fighting Rifle into the mix and see what happened.

I didn't experience any weapon handling issues, manipulation problems, or difficulties related to movement, taking cover, firing or so forth.

The problems I had last night, other than a double feed with the weapon using violet tip marked blanks (I was told that rifle was doing that regularly all night, so I duno if it was the under powered blank or what. I am used to using my Spike's Tactical .22LR conversion, so I may not have run the bolt as hard as I should have...) were related to human issues.

Human issues as in the instructors girlfriend, Diane, who played the op-for...specifically, a 30 something brunette who is cunning, cautious, aggressive, has fine marksmanship & movement skills, an great understanding of the use of shadow at night, a great use cover and is an all around mean spirited with an AR in her hand.

It's frightening to be going against a live, thinking opponent who wants to win.

Due to the class size, we operated in teams of 3 vs 1 shooter, with each of the 3 man teams doing the scenarios alternating turns.

Emphasis of work was heavy on team work, use of cover, covering a partner and flanking an opponent.

It also tried to give enough task overload to really make people work at it, and it did.

The 3 cops who showed up all worked together, and they brought radios. It REALLY helped their performance, especially at night when hand signals are useless beyond immediate distance, and coordination is impossible without them.

My team was myself with 2 other people. They have trained together before doing this. While I've done a knife class with one of them before, I had never done anything requiring coordination with him before, and it showed in our performance.

I'm sure everyone was thinking on the fly "Where are the other guy...I'm flanking to the left of the cover...are they coming straight or going around right...it's dark and we are going to kill each other..."

We did plan...but it was dark, we couldn't communicate, and we just had to go with the general idea of what we came up with and see if we could execute it.

It was very educational about the need to have communication, and to actually work with the people you are going to fight alongside. If you don't, you will kill each other, or get each other killed.

We didn't have friendly fire accidents, but the potential was all around.

As to the actual gunfights last night...

I got into 2 gun battles.

The first one, I was pieing the shooter's suspected cover, but keeping watch for where she could be beyond it. She was right against it, perfectly hidden from the other two guys. She didn't see me till I saw her.

Wow. Talk about heart rate hitting the roof. Rifle swung around and I let loose with half a mag at her from about 15 feet, and she did the same. MILES gear chirps near misses at me but no hits. I can't see the sights because it's dark and...I just couldn't see the sights.

I move back out of her visibility, then someone else got her. End Exercise.

It took about 15 minutes to calm down from that 5 seconds.

The second gunfight...We got destroyed. Similar situation, but the instructor introduced a 2nd shooter. Because of the darkness and lack of communication, everyone assumed we knew were Diane was.

OOPS.

I had seen "her" shoot from the range tower and was in position to cut off her exit and deny her cover around it's back...then she shot me because she was about 30 yards beyond it hidden in the grass while her partner had wacked my team mates.

Didn't even see her.

Nice driving home of the 'plus 1' rule.

Overall lesson for the night - coordination and communication rule. If you don't have those, then you are just a bunch of guys with rifles relying on hope and individual skill waiting to get shot.

Because I took Fighting Rifle I could concentrate on the situation rather than on what I was actually doing with the weapon & moving.

I could problem solve while running a gun, rather than switching between the situation and the fight.

If I had not taken that class, or any similar classes, I would have been overloaded with dealing with the weapon while I was dealing with someone hunting me...

Great experience, and I'd do it again.