AAR: Recoil Magazine’s Summit in the Sand 

Recoil Summit in the Sand: AAR

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend Recoil Magazine’s first Live Event: Summit in the Sand.
It was a Day and a Half training and competition event held at the Cow Town Range in Peoria, Arizona. Jeff of Muzzle Flash Media came along to take high quality pictures so I could stay focused on being a student. All pictures here are courtesy of MFM.

Day 1: 10/7/17

The first day started a bit late with logistical issues getting squared away by Recoil Staff. Once we all got in, Recoil Boss Iain Harrison  welcomed everyone and gave us a quick rundown of what to expect. Tom Marshall, Senior Editor at Recoil and mastermind behind Summit in the Sand introduced the four instructors that we were going to train with throughout the day:

-Dan Brokos, Lead Faucet Tactical 

-Freddy Osuna, Greenside Training 

-Chad McBroom, CFS Combat 

-Glen Stilson, Independence Training

We also had representatives from Sig Sauer, Microtech Knives, Walther Arms speak about some of the hardware that they brought out for us to use. This event wouldn’t be possible without the many sponsors who provided the guns, knives, ammunition, eye and ear pro for all of us students. Students only paid a registration fee of $200 for the entire event, which is an amazing deal, especially when guns and ammo are included. All we had to bring was ourselves and the willingness to learn.
We all split up into 4 groups with no more than 8 students per group. Once we got our groups, we started one of the instructors, which we would be with for two hours each an around robin rotation. My group was mostly civilians with me being the only LEO. Everyone came from different backgrounds, professions and had different skill levels. All of us would have plenty of new knowledge and skills to gain.
Session 1: Scoped Carbine Engagements with Dan Brokos, Lead Faucet Tactical www.leadfaucettactical.com

My group decided to go with Dan first and shoot while it was cooler. Dan just recently retired from a long career in the military, specifically the Green Berets with his last assignment being the NCO in charge of Range 37. He went over ballistics with a carbine and what the effects having the carbine at 90 degrees will have on the point of impact. 
We each grabbed a Sig Sauer MCX Virtus 5.56 rifle with Sig Electro Optics Tango6 1-6x variable optics on top. 

First off was zeroing the carbines at 100 meters. The MCX I had was the best zeroed out of them all so I didn’t need any adjustments, the rest needed minor adjustments to get them where we wanted them. We moved on to shooting 90 degrees off a barrel at steel silhouettes at the same range. Now we got to see how it all worked for ourselves. Using the holds that Dan taught us, it was easy to get hits on target once I got the perfect distance of eye relief. 

From the barrels, we shot from the dynamic prone position, which was much easier to fire from since it was pretty comfortable to be in. 

We all moved up to the elevated platform range to shoot out at steel targets at 100, 200 and 300 meters from prone and other positions. We started with prone to learn how to use the bullet drop compensator works and which stadia lines to use for holds at different ranges. After getting used to shooting from the prone, Dan showed us some other unconventional positions for us to try and shoot from. He explained that everyone is different and will have certain positions may work well for them while some may not. The positions were modified kneeling, squatting and seated. 

The most difficult part for me in shooting from in these positions was obtaining the right amount relief to get a clear sight picture through the Tango6. Once I got the eye relief down, it was easy getting the hits on steel with consistency using the hold overs and sometimes adjusting for wind at 300 meters. I now have a much better understanding of shooting at a longer range and in positions that were new to me. Dan took the time he had with us and gave us the know how to make hits with a carbine at 90 degrees and at ranges up to 300 meters with consistency.
Session 2: Defensive Blade Tactics with Chad McBroom of Comprehensive Fighting Systems. www.comprehensivefightingsystems.com

The next course focuses on engagements that are up close and personal. Chad has been studying martial arts longer than I’ve been alive and is a Law Enforcement Officer for over two decades. We all grabbed a Microtech blade and sheath as well as a Walther PPQ and placed them on our belts. Chad started to explain the importance of edge weapons in day to day life. Knowing how to use a blade to your advantage could mean the difference between life and death in certain situations. I have never been interested in knife fighting; I’d rather much use a firearm than get into a knife fight with anyone. I kept an open mind however and I am always willing to learn new things. 

Chad showed us the basic stab and cut motions while holding the knife in a regular and reverse grip. We then practiced in front of a Rubber Dummy. Having a martial arts backing helped me tremendously with learning the movements. Most of my fellow students took a little longer to get used to getting the technique down. 

With numerous repetitions completed with the basics, we learned practical applications with edge weapons. We partnered up and practiced each application until we got pretty good at them. By the time we were done, I had a new appreciation for the art of fighting with edge weapons. It’s definitely another useful set of skills that I can add to my Tactical Toolbox. 

Lunch Break: I scarfed down my lunch so that I could go shoot some guns that the Recoil crew brought out for us to play with. Iain handed me a Benelli shotgun with Silencer Co Salvo 12 attached and another student launched some soda cans with an X Product Can Cannon. The rounds were wasted on me, I couldn’t hit any of the flying cans but it was fun nonetheless. I also got to shoot the Walther PPQ for the first time, which has a very nice feel to it and a great trigger.

Session 3: Weaponize the Senses/ Optical Surveillance with Freddy Osuna of Greenside Training. www.greensidetraining.com

I’ve been friends with Freddy via social media for some time and it was nice to finally meet and learn what he had to teach us on tracking. His expertise comes from his background as a Marine Scout Sniper and his very own life experience, before and after military service. Freddy taught us his preferred method that he uses: Index Tracking. 

He explained how to utilize it and use it to your advantage. The ability  to track humans is very important in the situations pertaining to survival, rescue and tactical operations. Whether you’re lost or stranded, looking for a lost child or missing person with Alzheimer’s or searching for a fleeing fugitive, they all leave footprints. Freddy taught us what to look for in a footprint and how it shows us the next direction of travel.

We were then tasked with tracking a particular set of footprints that Freddy set up earlier and took turns being the tracker. It became a fun exercise when you knew what to look for. 

Learning how to track is something I knew nothing about before. Now I can use the skills obtained in this course if I ever find myself in a situation in which I need to track someone. 
Session 4: Dirt Medicine for the Armed Citizen with Glen Stilson of Independence Training.   www.trainingaz.com

The final course for the day was with Glen Stilson, a Veteran and has medical experience from wilderness first response and rescue. He stressed the importance of med kits and the ability to use them effectively. The goal of a citizen/first responder is to make sure the patient/victim survives to get to the next level of care. He showed us how to get a victim to the ground safely and to apply quick pressure on a wound by simply dropping a knee into it while you’re deploying your med kit. 
We used Blue Force Gear micro med kits with TK4 tourniquets and Israeli bandages. We partnered up and went through scenrario training by applying tourniquets and looking for bleeds. 

Glen then demonstrated how to effectively pack a wound with gauze. We all took some gauze and packed simulated wounds for practice. 

When we finished up the course, everyone had the knowledge and ability to apply tourniquets and pack wounds. If they had done it before, they’re even more experienced and faster. When people are bleeding out, time is of the essence and these skills will save lives. 

At the end of Day One, we all gathered for a group photo. The Microtech Knives representative surprised the students with a fixed blade to take home with them as a token of appreciation. We then quickly broke for the day.
Day 2: 10/8/17
The second day was a competition day to test us on our shooting skills as well as the new skills we learned from day one.
There were four stages, each was scored with two factors: shooting and skills with the value of 50 percent each, making up for a 100. If you passed the shooting part by completing all shots under 60 seconds, your time counted, if not then you failed the shooting portion. The skills part was simply a pass or fail and was just as important as the shooting because it was worth the same amount of points. 

We split into 4 groups again and my group stayed the same from Day 1. I’ll go over each of the stages as I went through them and in the order which we went, not by the actual stage number. I went into these with mindset of doing my best and having fun. 
Stage 1: Weaponized Senses.

Objective: locate threats along a short trail and engage steel targets and hit them twice with P320X5 by using your senses. First missed item and you apply a Tourniquet on your support arm, next miss, you apply a bandage to support leg, third miss and you fail the skills. 60 seconds to hit all the targets to pass the shooting.

While waiting our turns we had to stay blind to be fair. Then it was my turn. Once the timer started I beganto walk the trail, I heard a clicking noise to my left and engaged a steel square. Moving on, I missed a pressure plate on the ground and had to apply a Tourniquet on my left arm. I then smelled Axe body spray to my right and engaged another steel square. The last target was a red steel circle between some branches. I got two hits and that ended the stage. My left arm was numb from the Tourniquet and I couldn’t wait to get it off. I passed both shooting and skills parts of this stage.

Stage 2: Index Tracking and 90 degree shooting. 

Objective: determine direction of travel with a footprint. Move to one of 3 barrels and engage 2 steel targets in two shooting positions with two hits each with the Sig MCX Virtus. There is only one correct barrel, it must be chosen to pass. All targets must be hit twice in under 60 seconds or you fail the shooting portion.

This was also another blind stage. It was go time and I grabbed the MCX and walked over to the foot print and determined that the person went to the far right barrel. I got up to the barrel, loaded up and began to engage the steel silhouettes that were 50 plus meters away with the carbine laying over the barrel. My ear plug fell out and I had to pick it up and put it back in. I got my hits on target and moved to dynamic prone to shoot the second target. Again my ear plug fell out and had to be put back in. I successfully engaged the last target but was a second and a half over so I failed the shooting part. I was right in choosing the correct barrel so I passed in the skills department. 
Stage 3: Shooting with Medical Aid.

Objective: Kick down popper target, engage 3 rubber dummies with three hits each. Move laterally and engage two steel targets with two hits each while moving. Move to final shooting position and engage two poppers (one exposed and one partially exposed). Must be completed in 60 seconds to pass. Clear and empty the weapon. 

Go treat a patient suffering from a bleed. Assess and treat accordingly.  Must be completed in 60 seconds to pass.

This was not a blind event so we could see everyone go though it while you wait. 

When it was my turn, I grabbed a P320X5 with two mags loaded with 20 rounds and walked over to the first position. When I got the buzzer, I kicked the popper hard with a push kick then went left to right on the rubber dummies, with three to the chest on the first and two to the chest and one to the head on the next targets. Easy, onto the harder part: moving shooting. I had a few misses on the first steel target but I corrected and got my hits on both steel targets. I hustled to the final shooting position and took three shots to hit the fully exposed popper and got a perfect headshot on the partially exposed popper. I went to slide lock as it fell, luckily I didn’t have to reload. I dropped the pistol in a bucket and went to my patient on the ground who was suffering from a simulated wound on his left arm. I dropped my knee into his arm while getting the TK4 tourniquet out. I applied the TK4 while asking questions and I was done. I passed both shooting and skills on this stage. 

You can watch the video here:

Stage 4: Edge Weapon skills, Pistol Close Range and Scoped Carbine at 90°.

Objective: From a seated position, free yourself from restraints. Grab the practice knife and stab/slash rubber dummy in chest, neck and eyes. Move to pistol station, load the P320X5, engage three steel targets with three hits each, leave an empty pistol on the table. Move down the hill to a parked vehicle. Load MCX Virtus Carbine, engage three steel silhouettes at 100 meters with two hits each, from 3 firing positions at 90°: trunk, under the trunk and on top of the hood. 60 seconds allowed for each shooting stage. 

This ended up being the most difficult stage for me. Its started off easy, getting out the restraints was hardly a challenge. I slashed the rubber dummy in a quick Zorro motion. Onto the pistol stage, I  accomplished it with a few misses but also, easy enough. Once I placed the empty pistol down, I booked it down the hill and loaded a mag with 15 rounds and went to work. From on top of the trunk, I got my two hits without too much difficulties. I then dropped down to the ground for the next position. This is where I ran into problems. I couldn’t connect with the second target and ran out of time and ammo so I failed this shooting event. I passed the skills with knife, so it wasn’t a total failure.

Here’s the video on the final stage:

https://youtu.be/rhuzp_2FqqE update*my appeal was successful and it’s now up!

With all the stages finished, we waited for the rest of the groups to finish and for the staff to tally up the scores. The Recoil staff let everyone have at it with all of the guns that were out, courtesy of Sig and Walther. Shooting someone else’s guns, ammo and no cleaning involved? Sign me up! I don’t the exact round count on the PPQ, P320X5 and MCX Virtus, but I shot until I was tired. 

After most of the ammo was fired, there was a cease fire and Glen called us all in for the results. He announced the top five students and I was surpised when I was called up for third place. The first place winner won all: 200 rounds pf 9mm and 200 rounds of 5.56 plus a Med Kit. 

Iain and the staff thanked everyonefor showing up and participating in their very first event and told us that there will be more events like this one in the future. 

I got a lot out of that weekend. The amount of information and skills obtained was the most any student can get in that short time period. Every instructor was superb in their teaching abilities and making sure that we understood the lessons by having us perform tasks. The competition part of it was well thought out and tested everyone’s shooting abilities and skills that they just learned. Since I don’t get too much spare time to get to training courses, this was an awesome training event that took full advantage of an eight hour day. I know everything I learned will be put to use in my everyday life on way or another. I look forward to attending the next event.
Special thanks to:

Tom Marshall (Recoil)

Jeff Edmonds (Muzzle Flash Media)

Gunfoxx for taking pictures and video with my phone 

Jason McCoy (Microtech Knives) 

The Instructors:

Dan Brokos 

Freddy Osuna 

Chad McBroom 

Glen Stilson
Recoil Magazine 

Sig Sauer

Walther Arms

Microtech Knives 

And all of the sponsors for making this happen.

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