I recently took the Vehicle Tactics Course with John McPhee/SOB Tactical in Athens, GA and couldn’t have been more impressed with the level of instruction and activities during the course.
The hotel I stayed in was about a 20 minute drive to the range and the day started off with the class meeting and greeting with John and everyone getting their gear ready. We did a quick range overview and safety briefing with John and the class organizer who was responsible for supervising the range. John gave us a quick itinerary of the next 2 days and how the lessons and experiences of the SAS in Northern Ireland and US Special Operations in the Global War on Terror were used to build the basis for this class. Finally we moved 3 vehicles (A Nissan Pathfinder, Volvo and Kia Rio) downrange to start the class.
The first thing we did was to talk about what you should do if you are in a car that is being shot……if you can, drive through as you don’t want to be in the enemy’s ambush since they picked the time and place for it. The next rule is if you are stopped, get out of the vehicle as it is probably the last place where you want to be…it isn’t good cover but only enhanced concealment. Over the next 2 days we emphasized this by taking a scientific look at the ballistics by shooting through the front passenger door of the Volvo with both handgun and rifle rounds, and with various calibers and bullet weights. After each round was fired we documented it on the door with a permanent marker, looked to see what damage it did in the car, and then marked it on the driver’s side door if it made it through to the other side. Remarkably one of the best performers was a 9mm 115 grain PMC ball. We did this all around the vehicle from different angles and different impact points such as the frame pillars, gas cap, side mirrors rear doors, engine compartment, and rear/trunk area. We opened both the front and rear doors to see if a bullet penetrates both doors (easily). During this time we placed cardboard targets in the vehicle to observe the bullet impacts on a target in the vehicle and the effects of the spall those rounds can cause. We shot through the windows both from inside and outside of the car and learned how the bullet moved through glass. Additionally we learned how the different types of glass handle being shot and whether they completely crack up or are just damaged in the area of the round impact. A good point was that tempered glass that has after market lamination becomes a severe visual obstruction after 1 round impacts it. We shot the tires from different angles to time deflation rates…these varied from 6 seconds to 40 minutes. We learned where to shoot a car in the engine compartment that will mechanically stop the vehicle – immediately. We started with the basics on how to exit the car to ensure we can release the seat belt and not have it snag our gear. How to keep our gear and long guns in the vehicle when travelling. We practiced shooting from inside the vehicle to react to an ambush and provide cover for the rest of the team to exit the vehicle. We learned how to move around the vehicle and how to shoot around and over the vehicle properly. This part even included a session on why you should worry about canting your rifle 90 degrees when shooting over top of the vehicle like you see on YouTube all of the time. Finally we covered how to approach a stopped vehicle, how to physically remove a driver that doesn’t want to be removed, and the learned the different angles you need to cover with a stopped vehicle.
I’ve taken a number of courses from a number of highly thought of tactical instructors but this course was easily the best I’ve taken. Granted it is the only vehicle class I’ve taken but I think John set a new bar for my expectations in future classes. The added bonus is that John keeps these classes small (usually around 10 students) and you get a ton of individual attention. The bad thing is that these classes fill up quickly and this one was booked a full 4 months prior. I highly recommend that if you get the chance to do this course your best bet is to jump at the opportunity!