On February 17, 2012 we announced a giveaway which, among other things, included a free BCM AR-15 rifle and a 3 day training class with Larry Vickers from Vickers Tactical and host of The Sportsman Channel’s Tac TV program. We’ve spent the better part of the year promoting this event online, at various gun shows, and retail gun stores in the Las Vegas area. On September 28th, 2012 Codie Hellman was selected as our Grand Prize winner and the runner up, Ernest Wilmore, Jr won a spot in the Vickers class as well.
The fun 3 days in the sun ran from October 19th through the 21st. The experience level of the students, each of which won their class spots through various giveaways, was widely varied. A couple of the students had never fired an AR-15 and in some cases, even the most basic rules of gun handling we’re lacking. Day 1 consisted primarily of zeroing the rifles and correcting bad habits but by day 2, things were pretty much on track.
Initially there was a little concern about 1 man teaching a class of 16 students but those worries quickly faded as Larry divided the class into two teams and had them run drills separately or straight down the line from shooter to shooter. Over the 3 day event, Larry assigned different “nick names” to the teams and students. In some cases, the names evolved based on performance, age, attire, etc… We’ve all heard the saying: “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” That has never been more true than in this class. While Mr. Vickers teaching style could be considered somewhat offensive, the way he said things took a lot of the sting out while still driving the point home. He also used stories and humor to keep things light and entertaining.
Besides running multiple drills, Larry also took the time to answer all kinds of questions concerning gear, ammunition, and accessories. He was more than willing to share his opinions and experiences whether they were good or bad. Among the gear questions was one about a cover he had on his Aimpoint sight. It turns out the cover is a prototype which is being made possible through a Kickstarter program. Larry also spoke about the 2nd gen Tango Down magazines that he is currently testing out.
I gave up my spot in the class so that others could have the opportunity to train with Larry Vickers and also so that I could better document the event with photos and some limited video. Part of me wants to kick myself for doing this but in all honesty, just being there and seeing these things taught first hand allowed me to pick up quite a few pointers. I found a number of steps I was missing in my own drills and even saw some accidental demonstrations of why the missing actions are necessary.
By the end of the class, the average student’s improvement was blatantly obvious. Not just in carbine use but also with handguns as Larry spent some time each day helping everybody hone their pistol skills too. All in all this class was a success and something that will be remembered for years to come by those who, under normal circumstances, would never have had the chance to take a class of this nature. I’d also like to point out that Larry’s typical class consists of experienced students who pay up to $1,000.00 for this training. As such, the level of training his students have is usually a step or two above that of the students we brought to this party. Clearly that can be frustrating and we truly appreciate the professionalism and adjustment required for this “special” group. ;)
I’d again like to offer thanks to all of those who made this possible. The list starts with Ben Bunker from The Bunker Law Group & NevadaGunTrustAttorney.com who put this whole thing together. Without Ben’s generosity, none of this would have happened. Greg Wohler from GlockVector Industries hooked us up with Desert Sportsman’s Rifle & Pistol Club which typically does not allow training classes like this. We appreciate DSRPC allowing access to their facility for this class.
The BCM AR-15 was displayed at Wild West Guns and several gun events. During this time, some imperfections were noticed which required some additional work to the rifle. At that point, Battle Comp sent out a new 1.5 and Matt Babb of Bentwood Gunsmithing re-worked parts of the rifle to dial it all in. Aimpoint also came through as a last minute sponsor by donating a Micro T-1 red dot sight to the prize package. By the time it was given away, the value of the grand prize was in excess of $4,000.00!