After Action Review - Shotgun 1 Instructed by Louis Awerbuck, Hosted Course - Written by user Windage-n-Elevation via Lightfighter forum
Yavapai Firearms Academy - Tactical Shotgun Stage 1
Brainerd, MN August 3-4, 2013
Instructor and Hosts:
Louis Awerbuck is one of those few remaining "Jedi Knight Masters" that are not going to be doing this much longer, so I'm honored to have had the opportunity to train with him. Louie’s teaching style is not, “if I say it, it’s gospel”, he is very open with making it clear that when he says “I or me” that he is giving his opinion or saying what he would do, not saying that it is absolutely what you have to do. As with all good instructors that have an extensive real world background, Louie was able to provide a number of real world “why’s” for doing almost everything he showed us. Louie was also extremely patient with working one-on-one with those of us when he saw something that he could help us with (one of my personal favorites was “repeat after me, if you want the gun to go bang, you have to take the fucking safety off first". Learning to run the gauge from the “African Midget” as he calls himself was an amazing experience.
David Timm - Owner and Lead Instructor, Timm Training
Dave is a full time law enforcement officer in the Brainerd, Minn. area and is also a member of the Mills Fleet Farm Shooting Team and provides training, product development, and technical services for Huldra Arms and Korstog Arms.
Mike Davis - Director of Training and Lead Instructor, Timm Training
Mike is a full time law enforcement officer in the Brainerd, Minn. area as well as having 14 years of military experience between active duty and the army national guard. Mike is also a member of the Mills Fleet Farm Shooting Team and assists with product evaluation, testing, and development for Huldra and Korstog.
Dave and Mike were playing the roles of both hosts and students as they took the entire course the same as the rest of us.
TD1 – low 50’s in the am to low 70’s in the afternoon, partly cloudy to sunny most of the day, minimal wind
TD2 – low 50’s in the am to low 70’s in the afternoon, partly cloudy to sunny most of the day, minimal wind
In general the weather was perfect for this type of class and we were very lucky to have it, as well as no mosquitoes in early August in Minnesota.
There were a total of 12 students in this class with a mix of LE (5 from Winnipeg, Canada, 2 from the Des Moines area and 2 from the Brainerd area) and 3 average Earth civilians (including yours truly). This group of guys had their shit tightly packed and there were few cases when Louie had to stop the class to work individually with people, outside of fixing issues with a certain Italian brand shotgun.
Primary shotgun - Remington 870 Express Tactical with Magpul SGA stock and MOE forend, sights were the stock ramped white bead front sight with a ghost ring rear sight, 2 point sling (more on that later), SureFire X300 weapon light mounted at 6 O’clock on a short rail attached to the MOE forend and a six shell TacStar side saddle carrier. After reading other AARs, I blue Loctited the shit out of all the externally mounted stuff and had no problems with anything coming loose.
Back-up Shotgun – older Remington 870 Express with Remington 18" barrel in Imp Cyl with rifle sights, Magpul SGA stock and MOE forend, Scattergun Technologies 2 round magazine tube extension, 2 point sling and a six round TacStar side saddle carrier.
Handgun – Glock G34 gen 4, with Trijicon HD Night Sights and Surefire X300U weapon light with DG switch (more on that later).
War belt – Blue Force Gear SOC-C Modular Padded Belt System with suspenders, Safariland ALS holster, High Speed Gear Taco handgun mag pouches, Maxpedition dump pouch, TYR SOF IFAK Med pouch and some unknown brand zippered top pouch that I used to hold and keep separate my spare slug shells.
Ammo – 12ga - Hornady Critical Defense 00Buckshot (approx. 30 rounds used), Federal Vital Shok Trueball “Low Recoil” rifled slug (approx. 40 rounds used), Winchester AA Super Target 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz 7 ½ shot (approx. 200 rounds used), 9mm – CCI Blazer 115gr FMJ (approx. 75 rounds used).
Training Day One started at 0800 with everyone meeting at the Breezey Point, Minn. PD Training Room which was conveniently located not too far from the range. Dave Timm and Mike Davis of Timm Training made all of the normal introductions and got the paperwork to make the lawyers happy completed, after that they turned it over to Louie and we spent the remainder of the morning going over the features, functions and operational aspects of the various types of shotguns that we would be using over the next two days.
Just prior to noon we completed the class room session and broke for lunch and then moved to the range for the remainder of the day. Once at the range and after Dave and Mike went through the unique range safety rules, Louie had us start out by patterning our shotguns with both Buck and Bird shot at various distances. From there we moved into learning the various loading and unloading techniques for our particular type of shotgun. One of the first things that I noticed in re-loading from my side saddle was that the two point sling was causing me to have to take a seemingly extended path to get the fresh shells out of the side saddle and into the magazine tube at the bottom of my 870. Although I run two point slings on all of my AR’s and really like them on that weapon system, the two point sling was giving me problems on the 870. In watching some of the other guys in the class (including Louie) that were running single point slings I could see that for this weapon, at least with the types of drills and positions that we were shooting from, the single point sling seemed like the way to go. I will be changing over to a single point sling system for my 870s. The remainder of the afternoon, Louie had us running various drills both individually and as groups involving keeping the shotguns fed while engaging multiple targets.
At the end of the day the majority of the group decided to meet up for dinner and cervezas at the local Mexican place and a lot of good conversation and the requisite amount of shit giving was had.
Training Day Two started at the range first thing at 0830. After some warm ups and refreshers with bird shot, Louie had us sight in our shotguns with slugs at 25 yards. Once our guns were sighted in with slugs we began learning the proper way to transition between two types of ammunition (shot and slug). Next Louie started adding in the handgun to the equation; first, starting off with some simple transitions between the shotgun and handgun on single stationary targets, then, on to more complex drills involving multiple targets, transitioning between different types of ammunition in the shotguns and transitions to handgun. It was somewhere during this latter part of the training that I made the glaring error of not taking the safety off on my 870 before trying to engage a target. Of course this was done just when Louie happened to be standing next to me and after the drill was over, he made a point to make sure that the entire class knew of my error (had this been a EAG class, I’m sure I would have another Moose Cock to add to my collection). Needless to say learning occurred and I will most likely be adding a larger profile safety button to my 870s (not that it was the cause of the problem, that was all me) but I do feel that the stock safety on the 870 is too small for operations with gloves and in high stress situations.
About 1630 Louie called class over and we were each presented with a course completion certificate and had group pictures taken.
- The students, it was a pleasure to train with all of these guys.
- My primary Remington 870 worked flawlessly throughout the entire class. Louie had scared me a little on the first day by calling out the specific brand and type of bird shot that I had brought as being bothersome in 870’s, but mine managed to feed it fine the entire class and never had to change bird shot or bring the backup 870 out of the gun case.
- My Glock G34 gen4 is still relatively new and I am still trying to get used to having a DG switch attached to the Surefire X300U (the DG switch changed the grip feel just enough to be a minor pain in the ass), the Glock also ran flawlessly on the low end CCI Blazer 115gr 9mm that I was feeding it.
- The two point sling on my 870, it will be getting replaced even before this AAR is published with a new single point sling system.
- As much as I like to keep the mechanical parts of my serious purpose weapons stock, I will be looking at replacing the stock safety button on my 870s for one of the slightly larger aftermarket varieties.
- The thought of this group particular body part washing ritual that the Canadians have, glad I was staying in a different hotel!!
- This was my first time training with Dave and Mike at Timm Training and it will not be the last. They run a very good operation; have nice class room and range facilities and a fantastic location being in the heart of the Minnesota lakes area.