STT Reviews Vickers Carbine I & II Course

Not long ago, I was invited to attend Larry Vickers Carbine 1 & 2 training courses in Virginia Beach and later U.S. Training Center, known to some as Blackwater. To make this article a little more interesting, I learned that a couple STT members (myself included) would have the honor of being featured in the DVD and Blu-Ray productions available for preorder at

Any professional firearms instructor will tell you that a $50 DVD is no substitute for a 3-day carbine class but this DVD series will definitely benefit you and get you familiar with the basics of the carbine.  Here are a few of my personal tactical takeaways from the class that you will learn about in the video, but there were many more lessons learned than included below.

Training Overview - Carbine I
  • Carbine Selection & Setup
    • Big take away here from LAV is you get what you pay for in many instances with M-4 carbines and he regards Daniel Defense as one of the top manufacturers of M-4 carbines. Two other carbine manufacturers that he mentioned positively in conversation were BCM and LMT.
  • Basic Manipulation
    • This played out pretty basic as the name might hint.  
  • Zeroing: Shot Groups
    • Lesson learned - when sighting in your Aimpoint Micro or other optic, make sure you know how many clicks equal an inch at twenty-five yards!  Know your gear, especially your optics.  Learn about point of aim, point of impact.
  • Shooting Positions
    • Basic.  Larry wasn't too strict down to the inch on these.  He taught the positions and encouraged shooters to manipulate the positions to their advantage.
  • Reloads
    • Push, pull, rack, bang is the basic premise.  We were taught that it's important to pull on the magazine after you insert (push) it into the magazine well as it may not have seated causing you future headaches (and possibly death) for not ensuring it was seated.  Huge takeaway - load no more than 28 rounds in your AR-15/M-4 magazines.  It will decrease instances of malfunctions.
  • Maintenance & Lubrication
    • Biggest thing to remember here is to run your carbine WET.  Dry M-4s tend to malfunction, this goes double if it's raining.
Training Overview - Carbine II
    • Malfunctions
      • The class taught a couple basic malfunctions and how to clear them.  Pointless to go over it here.  Buy the video and force yourself to repeat the drill dry, with dummy ammunition in a safe place.  Repetition and muscle memory are the only things that will get you good at clearing malfunctions quickly and efficiently.
    • Turns
      • Face it, in the real SHTF world (not at the range shooting paper at 100 yards), you will have to turn and prosecute targets with your carbine.
    • Switching Shoulders
      • As a military guy, we were taught how to transition to our weak hands with our pistols and carbines.  Larry takes it to another level and offers some unique insight into the problems you might face with modern sling configurations and other unique problems sets (southpaw, etc.)
    • Barricades & Use of Cover
      • Important if you want to stay alive.  I needed some work in this area.  I tended to lean too far outside of the protective cover.  I think LAV said something like, "Why even use the cover if you're going to put your whole body out in the open?"
    • Transitions
      • If you watch the below video, I'm the student that Larry is walking through the carbine to pistol transition.  Big takeaway - inside 25 yards, forget your carbine and transition to pistol to save your life.
    • Shooting on the Move
      • Tough but face it, you're dead if you are shooting on the "stand."  
    In summary the training was a great opportunity to get to know the M-4 a little better and improve hit accuracy in dynamic and asymmetric environments.  Larry pulls no punches during his training evolutions and will inform you when you need to pull your head out with the technique that only a 20+ year senior enlisted man (and Tier One operator) will possess.  If you listen to him, he'll tell you that his training is for the blue collar working man and that's what we prefer here at the STT.  He was practical, didn't sugar coat and taught some real world tactics to help develop your skill beyond the basics.  No jumping around or laying on your back, shooting through your legs in his videos, just real practical stuff.

    Watch the promo below and then head on over and pre-order the DVDs/Blu-Ray here. is not affiliated with Daniel Defense or Larry Vickers and receives no compensation for this article or video but we did enjoy ourselves and learned a few things in the process while attending the three-day training event.


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