WHO: Dan Smith/Centrifuge Training
WHAT: MRDS Pistol Instructor
WHERE: Homestead (Miami), FL
WHY: This is a 2-fold answer. The first, is that my police department is looking to develop a subject matter expert on the MRDS. Well, I’m one of the first department firearms instructor that has spent some time on the system, so I advised I should attend this course to truly get into the weeds on it. The second, is that I’ve taken a previous course from Centrifuge Training (VCQB 2-day), and like their methodology of being data-driven and giving relevant information. There’s nothing more I hate, than “entertainment training”. You know the type..the “lets shoot out of auto windows, do a bunch of unrealistic shit you’ll never use in your real life, and LARP”.
GEAR LIST: Glock 17 MOS w/Trijicon RM06. It’s fairly stock, with the exception of the C&H plate I replaced the OEM Glock plate with, agency syndicate trigger and Ameriglo suppressor height sights (GL-429 model). Safariland 6360RDS ALS/SLS holster, US Grunt Gear patrol officer belt, Velocity Systems BOSS Rugby shirt & 5.11 tactical apex pants. We fired close to ~1400 rounds.
TD1: We started off with short introductions, what departments we worked for, and some other basic pedigree information. There were 16 of us in the course, and most of us knew each other, as we have worked with each other in some capacity; or have attended training together in the past. A majority of the class were active SWAT/SRT team dudes, or assigned to departmental training units. There was a wide range of actual exposure to RDS use, from some who have been shooting with them for several years, to legit novices, who just slapped it on, and came to the course to be better.
We conducted an in-depth study speaking about the fundamentals of marksmanship, the advantages/disadvantages of the RDS system, police officer involved shooting hit percentages, along with how to explain to police command staff and bean counters, why you need this system employed. We also spoke about zeroing, and the different distance zeros, along with a ballistic spreadsheet on what the holdovers would be.
After the classroom portion, we spent some time on zeroing at different distances, along with some basic nomenclature of the RDS devices, as we had mostly Glocks in class, but we had every kind of optic; from Leupold DPP, to Holosun 507C, and the rest were Trijicon RM06/RM07 models. One student also had a STI 2011 Staccato-P (FREAKIN’ LASER GUN). We then went into several drills, ranging from occluded optics, to positional shooting. The class was set up as you worked in teams. One student would be the coach, while the other was the shooter. We would switch back and forth throughout the drills. This is the meat & potatoes of the course. You truly learned how to diagnose problems, work through them, and even diagnose yourself. I actually checked my zero, and was slightly low. 10 clicks later, dead nuts on. I marked it with a bright-colored paint pen, and good to go. We fired about 800 rounds at this point of the class.
TD2: We opened up today talking about gear selection, its failure points, the different kinds of optics, and got to try them all. I fell in love with the ACRO. When the kinks are worked out, I definitely will add one to my service blaster. We then worked on building skills around malfunction clearance drills, and adding more complexities. Dan explained that block learning works for the moment, but is horrible for learning over time. He also made a great point about the deficiencies of LE training. Too often, instructors will cater their entire lesson plan to the 10% of idiots we all have in our respective departments. Instead we need to be targeting the 80% of cops, who are semi-willing to learn, and will retain several points of the lesson. The final 10% are your real deal officers, who use minimal effort to retain the material, as it’s easy for them. They most likely train on their own, invest in their craft, and are your model officer.
We worked on some shoot-move drills that you can run at your department, with minimal use of equipment, and will really hammer home the point of problem solving. The best part of it all, was every single drill was scalable. You have a officer that is rocking & rolling? Ok..how about I make this harder for you. Put you on a shot timer. An officer on the struggle bus? Enhance dry-fire, bring in a SIRT pistol perhaps. It was easy to digest, and doesn’t crush the student. Finally, we moved to the qualification. I wouldn’t dare give it away, but I will say…it ain’t easy. It looks doable on the paper..but when you’re actually doing it? You have a tendency to get in your own way.
Conclusion: This was an amazing class. I’ve been training for quite a few years now. Have had legendary people like Kyle Lamb & Pat Rogers teach me. I don’t usually pick up many tips from courses these days. Most of the time, it’s a tune-up, or maybe a different way of doing the same thing. There’s only so many ways to skin a cat, right? Well..this one was different. I learned about embracing things I typically dislike (support hand shooting), to footwork, to things I need to work on (I’ll be hitting the B-8’s at distance for a while). But these were all boulders of information. The class ended today, and I know I haven’t really digested all of it, but I like to send the AAR as soon as possible, as it’s in the moment still.
This class didn’t disappoint, and the best part of this class in my opinion was the instructor, Dan and his approach to teaching/discovery learning; and the students. You didn’t have ego-driven fellas, that showed up to class, just so they can show what they know, versus actually being a student. Some of these officers had heavy time behind a gun, several I’ve depended on, to mitigate threats I couldn’t on operations, or wasn’t equipped for. NONE of them, ever tried to show off. In fact, it was quite the opposite. We all challenged each other to do better, held each other accountable, and worked through the problems to achieve success. I know I’ll be spending some time digesting all of the information given, and working some time on that qual as well.
Total round count was ~1400 rounds. I shot 124gr Winchester white box, and my duty ammo, Winchester Ranger 127 +P+ JHP as I used it to check zero, and to qualify with. I also had issues with the Ameriglo rear sight I have currently installed. When the gun gets hot, the metal on the rear sight channel expands, and causes my sight to push out to the left. This is unacceptable. It's the second time. I ordered the 10-8 Performance Glock MOS rear sight already to replace the ameriglo, and that one has a set screw. I'm hoping that rectifies the issue. Other than that, no other issues with guns/ammo/gear.