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A.J. Holst

Review - Suarez International - March 2&3 - Rifle Gunfighting with Randy Harris

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I started training with SI and Randy Harris in 2012, primarily with handguns, though I have taken 2 one-day shotgun classes and a one-day carbine class.

I like Randy's instruction style, he is local, and I can learn a lot from him (unless he gives me an excuse to find a new training org) He knows his stuff: https://suarezinternational.com/randy-harris/

This was my first two-day close range rifle class and the content did not disappoint.

Day one started with some classwork and then it was out to range for dry work; gun manipulations from standing, kneeling, and prone.

Here is where we focused on muzzle and trigger finger control, for me it started me on the habit of engaging the safety when my hand leaves the pistol grip or, at a ready position with no immediate threat.

We then made sure our guns were dialled in, meaning it will hit a target at 25 yards if I do my part.

My gear = HiPoint Bullpup and M1 carbine. I brought my AR, but had too much fun with the others.

Worked out of pockets - no battle belt / chest rig. You CAN be tactically practical with a pocket load out, but have a plan (and place) to retain your mags. I am investigating the simple dump pouch for future classes.

The reason I mention my kit is it makes no difference what your gear is, as long as it is functionally safe and my goal is to train like I would most likely use my stuff.

I also hope it encourages the guy or gal like me, competent with a self defense long gun, but a basic static shooting background, to get more experience (with ANY quality instructor)

Before you upgrade your gear, upgrade yourself. 

Comparing my two carbines: for home defense, inside the walls, the HP Bullpup is the winner - both short, compact, and 9mm. The M1C is a better choice for multi purpose use, simply more effective at longer ranges and is more fun to shoot.

Sights: red dots are awesome for closer quarters, I have a budget model on the HiPoint. You probably want some kind of BUIS - batteries die, electronics break and rain can obscure your dot or reticle.

The M1C has the traditional ladder peep sight - my challenge is I don't pick up the sight picture quickly and they don't seem be the best design for movement. With this particular carbine (low sight to bore) at less than 20y, if you have good alignment, contact points, and decent trigger control, you can cheat and look over the rear peep.

Does rain impact a peep? Not me, but the student with the Galil had to blow water off / through his. 

What about my AR? Well, it's back in the bedroom armory.

Shooting. I was pleased with me performance and believe when the light bulb went off, my confidence really soared. 

I realized shooting a carbine puts the muzzle out to an equivalent distance of full pistol extension. With a good cheek weld, it's a super long barrelled pistol with the added benefit of using more contact points to hold it steady. Sounds like a "d'uh" moment, but I had to experience it to learn it.

What I should have done is practiced more pro-active reloads, but keep trying to run dry to transition to my pistol. 

And I did try, with the option of 1-5 shots during live fire, I took all 5. Get to end, 1-2-3 rounds left.

Side note, the rebuild on the M1C was successful. 250 rounds, 2 FtoFeed, identified weak mag springs.

Worked going to my weak side for 85% of the drills - only lefty in class. Still accurate, even for the "he's not down" shots to the beak.

What I was most amazed at was my John Wick like pistol skills. The drill was transition to pistol. Working to my weak side, my carbine was unslung, so I had to secure it, muzzle down, stock secured with my right arm.

All of my one handed pistol shots were right on the beak, 4" or so, with no flyers...and I haven't shot live in weeks.

Dry fire practice is working for me.

Regarding slings, find what works for you, but the two-point seems to be the most versatile with ease of gun manipulations. I mention this in case you have to switch shoulders - can you or do you have a plan to unsling or detact yourself from your gun.

Other guns represented: we had a AR pistol, Kel-Tec RDB, Galil, AK47, 3 other ARs, and my two odd balls.

Edited by A.J. Holst
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Here's some practical advice if you're starting to look for a home defense carbine or equivalent

Unless you have a shooter or can buy a beater to rebuild, pass on an M1 carbine. Ammo is not stockpiled anywhere but on the net, $20/50. Off the shelf, $30/50. Zombies attacking, you check the WalMart, you're out of luck. Not to mention parts.

A HiPoint in 9mm - it will get the job done for $300ish. If you want a Bullpup - pass. Too many reliable 9mm carbines and SB ready pistols for the same or less of an investment.

If you've more money than sense, a HP Bullpup in .40/.45/10mm is possible.

In 9mm, find one with mag compatability with your primary pistol - now you've got something.

Mag compatibility brings in the AR /AK pistol. It's small and compact for close work and if your wife is bunkered down with a full size AR, you have more options for ammo management.

You are potentially discharging a rifle indoors, so a handgun chambering may work best for your situation.

Edited by A.J. Holst
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The thought of running a rifle class with an HP carbine makes me legit LOL. You rock. 

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6 hours ago, Chucktshoes said:

The thought of running a rifle class with an HP carbine makes me legit LOL. You rock. 

My suggestions for using an off or maligned brand in any class.

1. Make sure it runs so you don't fulfill the stereo type.

2. If you have a backup, make sure it works. If your boutique brand breaks, don't expect anyone else has a higher knowledge base than you to fix it.

3. Be an expert on it's manual of arms; your instructor may have been there and done that, but more than likely with common for area firearms.

4. Honestly evaluate your firearm. Does it reliably work for your needs? Does an upgrade exist or make sense vs. stepping up?

I shot my HP with TS stock extensively before the one-day class, never failed. In class, I kept up with 6 10-round mags, proactively reloading and topping off during group change overs. I upgraded to the bullpup because it's tacti-cool and lucked out because is functional as well.

The biggest question I have is how much price impacts longevity, assuming similar round counts, +/- to offset pressure stuff. Meaning, will my HP be as functional like my 1944 M1 carbine? Perhaps price reflects, to some degree, the equivalent to residential, commercial, or industrial use?

Edited by A.J. Holst
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Great review, thanks much for the honesty!

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42 minutes ago, RED333 said:

Great review, thanks much for the honesty!

I hoped my enthusiasm came through due to the new material and experience.

You can find in previous posts that I am biased:  Randy fan, moved up to range valet and more recently, sidekick.

Most importantly, he is my friend

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2 hours ago, A.J. Holst said:

My suggestions for using an off or maligned brand in any class.

1. Make sure it runs so you don't fulfill the stereo type.


If you did not show up in cut off jean shorts and a wife beater I'm disappointed. A bull-pup hi point screams Bubba, Embrace the stereotype!

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10 hours ago, felinesNfreedom said:

If you did not show up in cut off jean shorts and a wife beater I'm disappointed. A bull-pup hi point screams Bubba, Embrace the stereotype!

Perhaps, if camo'd with DIY mods.

I'm embracing the Star Wars nerd, stormtrooper blaster vibe.

Best gun buddy suggested the artic white for my assualt on Hoth


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