AAR: The Amtac Shooting Tribe-Centric CQB



This AAR and additional feedback was graciously given by students of the Amtac Shooting Tribe-Centric CQB Course held April 2023.

BLUF:
Amtac Shooting Instruction delivers outstanding instruction through the Tribe-Centric CQB course. Valuable technical skills are taught as well as mental/mindset skills in the overwhelming and chaotic arena of CQB. Pistol/carbine fundamentals, 1-4+ man CQB, tribe (spouse, children, non-trained people, etc.), and mindset considerations are covered. Lead instructor, Bill Rapier, is a capable teacher who relates meaningful and relevant material from years of top-tier experience. It is a rare occurrence to find an instructor who is seasoned at the top level of real-world application and can translate that experience into a cohesive instructional package. Bill Rapier of AmTac Shooting Instruction delivers just such a package. Rapier teaches with a professional, efficient, and serious demeanor, yet is approachable, delivering his course material with humility and respect regardless of student age, experience, occupation, civilian, military, or law enforcement service. He is clearly invested in the improvement of all his students and their ability to handle emergent circumstances in real-world applications.

NARRATIVE: 

This was my second course attended through AmTac Shooting Instruction. My first course was a  two-day Integrated Combatives course attended in the fall of 2022. I found the combatives course to be so valuable to my own improvement, that I registered for the April 2023 Tribe-Centric CQB course almost immediately when I discovered it was offered.  

DAY ONE

8:30am, Students meet AmTac owner and Lead Instructor, Bill Rapier at the rally point to caravan to the Training Center. The long North Idaho winter had finally broken, and temps were pleasant with sunshine and a light breeze. As communicated via email a couple days prior, there were still some remnants of deep, slushy snow clinging to the shady parts of the road for the final quarter mile up to the TC. So, after a few miles up the mountain road, we parked the vehicles and rucked our gear the rest of the way. 

Once upstairs at the ATC, brief introductions were made, and Bill summarized the day’s syllabus.  After delivering the safety/emergency briefing and asking for questions, we shed lunches and rucked down the hill to the live-fire range for pistol instruction. 

The pistol instruction covered most pistol basics with a focus on CQB application. Shot group analysis (Three Amigos, anyone?), Strike Ready position, grip, recoil management, trigger finger placement, rapid-fire, etc… One very notable point of instruction was the focus on stance and comparison of the strong athletic stance that Rapier teaches in regular shooting vs. a more isosceles stance in relation to the application of CQB techniques. After each point of instruction, Bill would perform live fire demonstrations and ensure students’ questions were answered with detailed explanations prior to starting the next live fire exercise.

The pistol instruction block ended with each student taking a “modified” run through the steel target course where shooters moved down the hill, identifying and engaging steel targets of assorted sizes interspersed in the forest. This was a fun culmination to the live-fire portion of the day, and we rucked back up the hill for lunch at approximately 1:00pm.

Lunch upstairs in the AmTac Training Center was pleasant with students enjoying fellowship and getting to know one another. Many of the students were already acquainted, having attended previous courses either at the North Idaho ATC or through one of AmTac’s many national courses.

After wrapping up lunch, Bill detailed the remainder of the day, and a block of instruction was given upstairs about CQB. I recommend bringing a notepad as there is a tremendous amount of information and instruction given throughout the entire course. This first block of information detailed basic CQB doctrine and SOPs. Points of instruction covered: the difference between “dynamic” vs “deliberate” entries, angles, positive identification of targets, elements of individual and team movement, element of surprise, body language, teammates, priority of threats, and verbal commands. Afterward, we moved downstairs to begin applying the concepts and SOPs in the ATC shoot house.

A note about safety. Bill carefully and clearly communicated to students the process and protocols used to ensure everyone’s safety while around and using the shoot house. Throughout the three days of instruction, he related some stories with tragic consequences and hard lessons learned from his experience. All real firearms were stored away from the training area. Students (and Bill) were repeatedly checked to ensure that anything carried was a training pistol or training blade. After breaks and prior to runs in the shoot house, students and Bill would check each other for “live” weapons; lifting shirts and emptying pockets to ensure training partners and instructor that only training guns/blades were carried.
The application part of the afternoon began with 2 man “dynamic” entry of center-fed and corner-fed rooms using SIRT pistols or blue guns. After that, the focus was entirely shifted to “deliberate” clearing techniques and SOPs with each successive repetition through the shoot house getting more complicated with the addition of multiple targets, unarmed/non-combatants, multiple rooms, inward/outward opening doors, communication with team, and decision making. Each rep through the shoot house challenged individuals to retain and apply the instruction as well as decision-making and teamwork. The day also progressed from using SIRT/blue pistols to UTM pistols provided by AmTac.

The first day wrapped up around 5:30pm with Bill answering student questions on any of the material covered throughout the day. Bill gave students instructions for the next day. A handful of students stayed overnight in the ATC upstairs bunkhouse while the rest of us rucked back down the partially snow-covered road to our vehicles to return to our hotels or homes.

DAY TWO

Meet at 8:30am, caravan, park, ruck to the TC. Bill gives a brief syllabus for the day; students drop off lunches and ruck down to the range for carbine live-fire. Students start with a brief “zeroing”  session at 50 yards and fundamentals of marksmanship.

Once “zeroed,” we moved forward to work approx. 7-10 yards from the target line. Bill took the group through carbine fundamentals and concepts such as: “Circle of Awareness,” Strike Ready position, low ready, hip position/stance, switching shoulders, recoil management on rapid fire, prepping mags, rifle cant, emergency reloads, etc… Again,  Bill would pause at the end of each block of instruction for questions and demonstrate the concepts before having the students run the course of fire. 

The live fire day was finished around 1:00pm with individual runs through the woods course,  starting at a station in the woods, identifying and placing rounds on steel targets that were a minimum of 50 yards downrange, then moving over challenging terrain to the next station, engaging the next set of steel targets, etc. Each student was accompanied by Bill, taking on the role of coach, spotter, or RSO  as required. 

Once back up the hill at the ATC, we had lunch around 1:45pm. My general impression of AmTac 

students is that they are a good bunch of folks, and I am happy to report that this group did not break that impression. Students and Bill exchanged stories, talked about current events, asked questions, and enjoyed fellowship, getting to know one another. Speaking for myself, I am happy to have met and made new friends at an AmTac course, once again. 

After lunch, the instruction block was brief. Bill explained that we would be performing mostly the same concepts as the previous day, only with carbines. Bill provided some UTM training bolts for the carbines along with UTM rounds so that the students would be able to use their own personal carbines/optic/light setups. 

Numerous additional CQB concepts and SOPs were covered such as: “Angle Man & Corner Boy,”  decision making, non-verbal communication, safety manipulations, low/high port, “Cheater’s” Low  Ready, etc… I am thankful that my pen did not run out of ink from all the note-taking! 

The day finished later than the first day as the exercises progressed in complexity. The final run  finished around 6:00pm and the students gathered upstairs for dinner provided by AmTac. I am especially grateful to Mrs. Rapier for the delicious entrée of Shepherd’s Pie with salad and cornbread.  Also, I do not usually eat sugar, but an exception had to be made for the dessert brownies. They were spectacular! My compliments to the chef! 

The evening finished with instructions for the next day and another walk down the hill to our respective vehicles. 

DAY THREE

Meet at 8:30am, caravan, park, ruck. Bill gives a brief syllabus and introduces two of his sons who would be role-players later in the day. The entire day will be devoted to repetitions in the shoot house after the morning mindset talk. 

One of the things that most impressed me with the first course that I attended with Bill was the mindset talk. Mindset is a truly overlooked aspect of training. Some good discussion was had, and I was certainly challenged in my self-evaluation once again regarding awareness, willingness, and preparation.  By the end of that mindset talk, each man in that room heard The Truth. What they do with it is up to them, but I deeply appreciate this aspect of Bill’s courses. 

After the morning mindset talk, we went downstairs to start working reps through the shoot  house. This day was the “Tribe-centric” day of the course. First, there was an instruction block and a repetition on single man entry/CQB with pistol and one of Bill’s sons as a non-combatant or limited capability role-player. Students were tasked with clearing the shoot house while communicating/instructing/moving a child. Next, moving on to larger teams with the child as a limited capability combatant. Late break for lunch, then back to work in the shoot house.

The day’s exercises ended with a force-on-force culmination exercise that tasked a three-man team to execute a mission to rescue a kidnapped child. The exercise was complete with unknown OpFor, shoot/no-shoot decisions,  auditory overload, and general mayhem. Outstanding! 

The third day closed with Bill asking for final questions and expressing his gratitude to the students. Students said their goodbyes, some exchanged contact info, and we rucked back down the hill one last time. 

This was an excellent course. The CQB information and presentation is outstanding. Be advised that due to the nature of the course and the fact that Bill is teaching without an assistant, there will be a lot of down time while other teams take their turn through the shoot house. However, after each repetition through the shoot house, Bill would give an immediate AAR to each team, offering further insight, instruction, and wisdom on a personalized individual level. This was immensely valuable, and I  learned things that I could immediately implement and apply with my tribe back home. That said, we  were blessed to have had such beautiful weather for the three days that we spent on “AmTac  Mountain.” The AmTac Training Center is still a work in progress, and the facility was recovering from a  long hard North Idaho winter, but even with some small adversity, it is a wonderful place to learn.

I am humbled to have had this opportunity and deeply thankful that I am one of the eleven  “Plank Owners” (as Bill said) of the first AmTac Tribe-Centric CQB course. As a responsibly armed citizen and Christian man, I have deep respect and gratitude for someone like Bill who is dedicated to service. I  am excited to relay what I have learned to my own tribe and as Bill says, “integrate this material into my  own system.”  

I look forward to my next AmTac course and highly recommend attending any of Bill Rapier’s courses to all my responsibly armed friends and family. 

Some course stats: 

Pistol round count: approx. 300 

Rifle round count approx. 300 

Safety issues/violations: None. Students were advised of safe standing location before the carbine steel challenges began. Students were reminded and advised to move and remain in safer location during carbine steel runs, but no direct safety violations were observed.

– S.F.

ADDITIONAL COURSE FEEDBACK

“The most impactful part was Bill’s material on working with kids/untrained partners. How you can plug them in as an asset with simple instructions and also keep them safe. When I got home, I spent a couple of hours with my son. I can give him tools or have him access my tools on command. His a team member and not a liability. 

This applies to all courses but this is training and not entrainment. It’s all about being more capable people. That’s why I come back for more training. You are also building a great training center and tribe. Thank you. “

 – Peter

“The Tribe Centric CQB class presents CQB concepts framed in a manner pertinent to the responsible armed citizen, in order to be better protectors of our families and neighbors. Live fire on the range is combined with exercises in the Amtac Training Center shoothouse utilizing UTM munitions. You will swiftly realize the difficulty of processing information rapidly in such an environment, and Bill is a master at teaching this craft. For anyone who carries a firearm, I highly recommend training with Amtac in general and this class in particular.”

– Daniel

I have about three decades of combined military/LE/security experience and I’ve completed numerous training courses but the CQB course with Bill was nearly all new information for me.  Even very experienced shooters will learn new skills and then get a chance to use them in a shoot house under various conditions (dry, UTMs versus paper targets and UTMs versus live opposition), all while being observed and receiving feedback from Bill.  This course is a rare opportunity for students to have the opportunity to learn from someone who served at the highest level in a unit where CQB is one of the primary functions, and every student will come away with new skills to continue to drill in the future.  

Bill discussed a level 2 course and I would be extremely interested in taking that.  I am by most measures an experienced shooter but I think I might also benefit from taking the initial CQB course over again if the chance arises.  

Key things that I enjoyed about the course:

  • Getting a deeper view into a skill set that my career really hasn’t focused on
  • Being able to drill those skills multiple ways with UTMs 
  • Seeing the various equipment and weapons setups that fellow students had and being able to observe how those platforms performed in this environment
  • Working with experienced students who had all taken previous classes from Bill and largely shared similar desires to better protect their family, and in many cases also shared social and religious outlooks.  There was a degree of commonality among the students and it made the training experience take on a social aspect that I also heard other students remark about.  Several of us exchanged information and will remain in touch going forward.  

-Jeff

Upcoming Courses

february 2024

22feballday22-23 February 2024 - Amtac Shooting Hybrid Carbine Course Private RangeNear Ennis, TX

24feballday24-25 February 2024 - Amtac Shooting Advanced Responsible Armed Citizen/ Integrated Combatives Level 2 CourseNear Ennis, TX 

march 2024

23marallday23-24 March 2024 Amtac Shooting Low Visibility Pistol Combatives CourseNear Atlanta, GA

25marallday25 March 2024 Amtac Shooting Carbine 1 Course (One Day)Dahlonega, GA

april 2024

12aprallday12 April 2024 Amtac Shooting Carbine 1 Course (One Day)Near Indianapolis, IN

13aprallday13-14 April 2024 - Amtac Shooting Force on Force CourseNear Indianapolis, IN

may 2024

02mayallday2-4 May 2024 - The Amtac Shooting Tribe Centric CQB CourseNear Coeur d'Alene, ID (Amtac Training Center)

15mayallday15-16 May 2024 - Amtac Shooting LEO NVG CQB Course (OKC)Near Oklahoma City, OK

17mayallday17 May 2024 Amtac Shooting Shotgun Course 1 - David Cagle Lead Instructor (OKC)Oklahoma City, OK

july 2024

09julallday9-11 July 2024 - Amtac Shooting LEO Pistol, Carbine and Integrated Combatives Course (MA)West Boylston, MA

october 2024

03octallday3 October 2024 - Amtac Shooting Pistol Combatives and Medical Course FLBaker, Florida

04octallday4-5 October 2024 - Amtac Shooting Hybrid Carbine Course FLBaker, FL

06oct1:30 pm6:30 pm6 October 2024 Developing Solid Christian Men FLBaker, FL

november 2024

06nov(nov 6)12:00 pm08(nov 8)4:30 pm6-8 November 2024 - Amtac Shooting NVG Level 2 Course / Fighting at Nightnear Coeur D'Alene, ID (Amtac Training Center)