This AAR was graciously given by a student of the Amtac Shooting Modern Minuteman Course held in May 2023.
The modern minuteman course was a two-day course held by Amtac Shooting which provided students with information and the opportunity to practice several necessary skills for the modern minuteman, especially long-range shooting and land navigation. The course was held over two days on a beautiful property in the Pacific Northwest and ended in a competition, which provided the opportunity to pressurize the practice of many of the skills we had learned.
The first day of the course was broken into two segments, precision shooting and land navigation. Each segment was further broken down into an instructional brief, and then a practical application period. This was valuable as it gave each student time to reinforce the topics we were being taught. While Bill made it clear that each of the topics we were discussing could be a course on their own, the amount that he covered in the limited time we had available was amazing. For example, within the first instructional block, we covered an overview of the evolution of precision/recce rifles, multiple considerations when choosing rifle scopes (including MIL/MOA, first or second focal plane, and magnification), using ballistic calculators, holding vs dialing for distance and wind, shooter/spotter dialogue, reading the wind, the basic mindset of precision shooting, and more. I am confident that if any other instructor attempted to communicate this much information to a class the install would be unsuccessful; however, Bill spoke with such authority and knowledge on each topic that he made it extremely easy to understand. It was evident that he had put a significant amount of time thinking about how to best distill the information for that brief.
Following the brief each of us was given time to confirm zero on our rifle before we started to integrate the information we had just learned. We were able to practice using ballistic calculators which solidified the training we had just received, and collected DOPE for our rifle. The range setup was amazing, with targets stretching out to and beyond 1000 yards. After a few hours gaining familiarity with long-range shooting, we broke for lunch. Following lunch, we went into the second instructional block of the day, land navigation. Again, Bill distilled a lifetime of his knowledge into a few hours. We covered topics ranging from basic information like how to read a map, to more advanced topics such as navigating by terrain identification using contour lines. Everyone was provided a map of the area, as well as 1:24,000 protractor, and shown how to plot points using our compass and protractor. We were given individual instruction on how to use our GPS systems and provided 7 practice waypoints before being sent out into the woods. This part of the course was extremely fun and provided everybody with experience for the next day’s competition.
Day two began with Bill’s mindset talk. I have had the opportunity to hear this talk a few times, and every time I get something new from it. This time the talk included an overview of communications, which was again artfully distilled into its most useful and accessible form. The overview was extremely detailed and provided more than enough information for each student to go home and know exactly which topics to continue researching, and the best resources to go about doing it. The remainder of the mindset talk deserves a review of its own, so for now I will just say that the course would have been worth it even if it was just the mindset talk. The competition involved an initial shooting competition followed by a 13 waypoints maneuver, with two of the waypoints having additional skill stations attached. The initial shooting competition involved engaging targets with our rifle at various distances out to 600 yards from various shooting positions, followed by a short sprint to another shooting position where we engaged steel targets with our sidearm. Afterwards we were given the waypoint coordinates and plotted each waypoint on our map and in our GPS. These waypoints stretched over quite a distance and gave a wonderful opportunity to see a lot of different areas of the woods. The first waypoint station that opened had two competitions, a fire building competition that allowed us to gain awareness of where our firemaking materials were located in our kit, and a max pushup station. Bill provided me with some personalized tips regarding how to improve my fire-making time after the station, which was much appreciated. The second station, which opened much later in the competition had three competitions. First was a timed tourniquet application, which again allowed us to become more familiar with where certain aspects of our kit were staged. The next two competitions involved engaging a series of targets at various distances with our rifle, and again with our pistol. After this, I double-timed back to home base and narrowly made the adjusted cutoff time.
Overall, this course and competition were extremely beneficial and fun and provided me with a pressurized environment to test my equipment and myself. I was extremely grateful to have had the ability to learn from Bill, especially concerning this topic, and would 100% recommend this or any Amtac course to anyone interested in gaining incredible instruction and testing themselves and their kit.