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I talk a lot about pistol skills on this blog. There’s a reason for that; when it comes to actually shooting stuff, pistols are the hardest of your options to use at anything beyond about 15yds. Pistol skills also tend to go away the fastest.

But… that is not the same thing as “you can neglect your other weapon skills”. Don’t shoot enough rifle or shotgun, and your skills in that arena will degrade just as surely, if not as quickly. The realization that I had not been doing enough carbine work lately inspired me to sign up for the Green Ops Defensive Carbine Clinic I even though I was already doing another class this month. What did I think? Read on.

(Full disclosure: I got a small class discount for AARs I previously wrote. I didn’t ask for it, and I’d still be taking their classes without it. The amount of money in question is trivial to my situation, and thus had trivial impact on this AAR – or so I hope. I’m also an admin on their alumni group, mostly because I whined at them to start it in the first place.)

As per my new norm, I’ll be utilizing a slightly modified version of the Primary & Secondary AAR format for this post. If you can think of other modifications you’d like to see in these AARs, all you have to do is comment and let me know.

Class Title: Defensive Carbine Clinic I

Class Description:  From the websiteThis clinic covers the basic defensive use of the carbine (AR Platform 5.56/.223).  It will begin with the fundamentals of marksmanship and move into more advanced drills. Students will improve their carbine handling skills with a strong emphasis on the fundamentals. Students will learn self-diagnostic skills to continue development of their own personal performance.

Instructors: Bios are on the Green Ops website. The lead instructor was Fred Moore; the assistant instructor was Jo’shua Shaw. Fred has some .mil experience and is a full-time LEO. Josh is a master-class USPSA shooter. Chris Alvarez, the director of training, was there for about an hour of the classroom time, but had to jet after he delivered the safety brief at the range.

This was the first time I had seen a class led without Chris or Mike being around, and with only two instructors to boot. I would say it worked out really well on the whole – Fred did a bang-up job leading the class – but they were aided by having only one “safety problematic” shooter being on the line and some last minute drop-outs. At an open enrollment class, if you wind up with a few people who aren’t quite on top of their game, lower instructor counts can bite you.

Location/Date: NRA HQ Range, Fairfax, VA. The class was on 11/3/2019, from 6PM-10:30PM. I’ve written about the NRA HQ Range a number of times before; it’s a nice place. Just be aware you can’t bring bimetal-jacket ammo. There was some sparking on the backstop this time, and it was a little unclear exactly what was causing it.

Equipment Details: I needed to do a bit more testing on my Sig Whiskey5 1-5×24 LPVO, so I hauled along a Sig 556 SBR with that on top. The 556 in question has the “SWAT” quad rail and a Hogue grip, along with the Whiskey5 in an ADM AD-RECON-SL mount (previously discussed on this blog). Ammo was range-safe Tula in some random pmags. Sling was an Urban ERT with Magpul clips. Mag storage was provided by my GGG UGF belt with Esstac Kywi pouches.

The Sig 556 is an OK platform that performed flawlessly all night, but suffers speed-wise from the right-hand side charging handle and small-ish bolt release. It also has a slightly higher-than-usual height over bore that screwed with me in a couple drills.

The Whiskey5 1-5×24 (“Circleplex” reticle) was a surprise high performer. I went in with some very mixed expectations, but I was shooting both eyes open at 7yds at speed with no problems. I even had to turn down the brightness on the reticle. I’ll post up a review on this later, but I currently think it is the best-value optic you’ve never heard about, as long as you don’t require ranging markings on your reticle (eg, you’re using it like a red dot).

Round count was 150-175 or so. I brought 300, as requested, and didn’t come close to running dry.

Preparation Drills: Pretty much nothing carbine-re