Support Weapons Class AAR

This past weekend was the first Support Weapons Class, held in North Carolina. It was a small class, but it was worth it to smooth out the rough edges of the class. Here’s a brief summary of events, along with some pictures I took along the way.

Day 1 focused on weapons handling and firing techniques of the automatic rifle and the .50 cal AMRs. The morning was spent on the automatic rifleman, covering his weapon, firing techniques, and priority targets. Students received an introduction to the tactics employed by a support by fire element and practiced shooter/spotter dialogue to get each other on target firing bursts.

After lunch, we resumed with a focus on .50 caliber Anti-Materiel Rifles (AMRs). Students learned what .50 BMG is capable of and how to use it against certain types of armored vehicles. Next I taught how to estimate distance to a target vehicle using milrad and MOA reticles. Students then practiced this using their rifle scopes, aiming at miniature vehicle silhouettes.

We finished the afternoon with a class on drawing range cards for use in a static position. Students then drew their own range cards and repeated the shooter/spotter dialogue drill from earlier, noting that they were much quicker at acquiring targets using the card that they made. We then broke for supper.

After dark, we returned to the range for a night shoot. I had students aiming at white strobe lights in front of targets on a hillside, replicating the muzzle flash of an enemy shooter. Students couldn’t see the targets, but aimed at the “muzzle flashes”, firing bursts from their autorifles. We also covered different spotting techniques at night, and how a team leader with night vision can get shooters without night vision to hit a target that they cannot see. This was a very fun and successful exercise for everyone.

Pictures taken using a FLIR Breach

Day 2 was spent in classes on the tactics involved with using a support by fire element and how they can be used to support a maneuver element. Students learned tactical control measures, geometries of fires planning, and methods of communicating between support and maneuver elements. The class was wrapped up with a live fire and maneuver where students put all of the skills they learned during the class together to accomplish a raid on an enemy motor pool. The following pictures are stills from a video I took of the final live fire and maneuver exercise.

All told, this class was a success. I’ll be smoothing out some of the rough edges of the class for the next time I run it. The next support weapons class is in North Carolina on December 16-17. Contact me to register, I look forward to training with you!

Published by vonsteubentraining

Mike is the owner and chief instructor of Von Steuben Training & Consulting (VSTAC). A self-described “Tactical Scholar,” he spent 6 years in the Marine Corps as a radio operator and small-unit tactics instructor. He has dedicated his life to honing the tactical prowess of himself and his fellow patriots, guided by the wisdom of his commanding officer, Jesus Christ. He can be contacted via email at

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