10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief
Training to get the most out of your rifle optics
Telluric Group's Close Combat Optic (CCO) course includes instruction on Aimpoint product mounting, operation, and maintenance, as well as zeroing procedures, basic ballistics, CCO marksmanship fundamentals, standard and non-standard shooting positions, and engagement of targets from CQB to extended ranges
About a month ago, nine police and firearms scribes — yours truly included — descended upon a coastal town in southern Georgia to get an in-person briefing on a powerful new partnership between Aimpoint and Telluric Group.
Originally announced at SHOT Show 2012, the partnership is set up for American law enforcement and military units to attend a two-day training course designed to teach those shooters to maximize the effectiveness of their weapon systems when combined with the strength of Aimpoint products.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should state right up front that I’m an Aimpont partisan. There are some terrific rifle optics options out there, and I’ve T&E’d a fair number of them, but I prefer to keep my Aimpont CompM4 on the top rail of my personal AR. I swap it out only to test something else temporarily before sending it back to the manufacturer. Said simply, if ever I have to solve a real-life problem with my AR, the target will be acquired through an Aimpoint. End of story.
The Close Combat Optic Course
Now, I do not consider myself to be a firearms expert, although I occasionally do write about firearms-related products, and by comparison to the other eight shooters on the line that day, my marksmanship abilities are pretty middling.
But I do participate in a lot of police training, and have a pretty good frame of reference against which I can fairly judge a training program. I can therefore say with certainty that the Aimpoint/Telluric Group Close Combat Optic (CCO) course is absolutely outstanding. Top notch.
The course includes a short classroom brief followed by two days of intensive live-fire training.
Course topics include Aimpoint product mounting, operation, and maintenance, as well as zeroing procedures, basic ballistics, CCO marksmanship fundamentals, standard and non-standard shooting positions, and engagement of targets from CQB to extended ranges. Use of Aimpoint accessory items such as the 3X Magnifier, Concealed Engagement Unit, and LPI aiming lasers are covered as well.
The media event I attended in June was essentially a one-day taste test, including a morning briefing, a full day of shooting Daniel Defense rifles equipped with a wide variety of Aimpoint optics, and culminating in a Top Shot style competition (I did not win, but I also did not come in last!).
During the course of the day I was repeatedly impressed with the expertise of the Telluric Group instruction cadre, all of whom have significant real world experience in military special operations and/or law enforcement.
It was abundantly clear from the very first minute of Brian Garrett’s morning briefing that this is a group of top-shelf instructors, and the facility is one of the best I’ve ever seen. In addition to the large classroom and firing line, there’s a modular shoot house in which students use UTM Training System replacement bolts and rounds to solve a variety of problem scenarios. It really is a sweet setup.
I was equally impressed with a number of Aimpoint optics and accessories I had not previously used in a live-fire setting. In particular, I found the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (which was reviewed here by my friend Dick Fairburn, who unlike me truly actually is a firearms expert) to be a really fine product. It’s a wonderful combination of capable and affordable.
Further, having now briefly used both the 3X Magnifier and the Concealed Engagement Unit, I’ve asked Aimpoint to send me evaluation units for future columns down the line. In fact, this weekend I’m attending an Intermediate Carbine Class taught by my good friend (and PoliceOne colleague) Ken Hardesty of Spartan Concepts and Consulting, and will be popping both of those accessories (not at the same time, obviously) onto my rifle during the day.
Following the daylong event last month, I reconnected with Kristy Drawe, Marketing Director for Aimpoint, via phone to talk about the relationship.
“We wanted to be able to partner with somebody that is 100 percent comfortable with Aimpoint products, had used Aimpoint products within their own military careers, and someone that we trusted could effectively train others in Aimpoint products. We’ve known these guys for several years, and some of them have been Aimpoint employees, and we love what they were doing with Telluric Group down in Georgia.”
I also reconnected with Brian Garrett of Telluric Group, who added, “The purpose of our partnership with Aimpoint is to make high quality CCO carbine training available to military units and LE agencies at significantly reduced prices in order to fit unit/ agency budgets. We reduce our prices and Aimpoint subsidizes the training in order to make it as accessible as possible.”
Garrett added, “I’d like to stress the fact that Aimpoint doesn’t need to do this. The units and agencies that we train are already their customers. They’ve already bought Aimpoint products. The short-term benefits in terms of marketing or sales are probably negligible.
“The fact that Aimpoint subsidizes this training, in my opinion, really says a lot about how they feel about the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way in service to our country and our citizens — both military and law enforcement. Lots of companies talk about ‘supporting the troops.’ Aimpoint isn’t just saying it — they’re walking it out with this training partnership.”
Fixing Serious Problems
“We’re seeing that law enforcement may not be getting all the necessary training they need,” Drawe said, and that even among law enforcement professionals there remain a number of myths out there about red dot sights.
One of those things that continues to astound me is the continued misconception that you don’t need to zero a red dot sight. I’m bewildered by this (why would the manufacturer put those adjustment dials on the sight if there was no need to zero the optic, but some guys actually believe a red dot is zeroed out of the box.
Garrett also told me that he has observed a number of myths about red dot sights that are accepted by professional users.
“We’ve come across a lot of soldiers and police officers, for example, who believe that the red dot has to be placed on top of the front sight post. Our training has corrected some of those misconceptions in instances where they could’ve created significant operational problems,” Garrett told me.
“These guys are in life-and-death situations and hopefully now that we have this partnership we can address some of these areas where some things are being miscommunicated out there,” Drawe said.
A Natural Fit
The partnership between these two powerhouse companies is as natural a fit as can be. I cannot speak for any of the other eight scribes in attendance, but I could not have been more impressed with the quality of the event put on by Aimpoint and Telluric Group.
I look at a company press release with a healthy level of skepticism (I’ve been to the public relations sausage manufacturing facility, so I know the length to which the truth is sometimes stretched) but there was a quote in the Aimpoint / Telluric group SHOT Show announcement that seems (red dot!) on target.
“The performance of any company’s products is only as effective as the knowledge and expertise of the end user. This is why training is so important,” said Matt Swenson, Vice President of Government Sales at Aimpoint.
“By partnering with the Telluric Group, Aimpoint now has the ability to provide official users a high level of training in the application and use of our products. This ensures that they will be able to utilize their Aimpoint equipment effectively, and allows us to impart the lessons and tactics learned over more than 15 years of combat experience with these products.”
I concur completely, and recommend strongly this program for any officer or agency with a patrol rifle in the gun rack.