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Review of The Tactical Rifle I Course From TDI

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This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take Tactical Defense Institute’s Tactical Rifle I course – my fifth class taken at TDI.  I’ve been looking forward to the course since signing up for it in January.  I’ve really been trying to get more comfortable with the AR-15 platform in the last couple of years.  I’ve taken a basic and intermediate Tactical Rifle course at my local training facility, but was really looking forward to spending three full days learning how best to use these weapons.

In preparation for the course, I spent considerable time thinking about the gear I’d bring.  My primary rifle used in the course was my Colt LE6940P, with my S&W M&P 15 brought as a backup.  I also brought two (primary and a backup) M&P 9c pistols (transitioning from rifle to handgun is covered in the course), a Voodoo Tactical Rifle Case/Shooting Mat  (which worked GREAT), five 30-round Magpul Pmags, and my Harris S-BRM Bipod (which proved invaluable).  Both Rifles were equipped with Aimpoint PRO red dot optics, and I also bought one Aimpoint 3X Magnifier on a LeRue pivot mount.  I also brought a Sig STL-300J vertical forward grip with integrated flashlight for the low-light training portion of the course (I recommend you also bring a hand held tactical flashlight).   In terms of ammunition I brought along 150 rounds of 9mm, and 2000 rounds of PMC 55 grain .223.  We only ended up shooting about 800 rounds over the three days.

DAY 1 – Precision Shooting

Friday started, as per usual with a TDI course, in the classroom as the instructors kicked of the course with a discussion of the fundamentals of supported prone shooting:

TDI Instructors Chris Wallace (kneeling) and David Bowie demonstrate the supported prone position.

We quickly headed out to the rifle range and the 100 yard firing line.  It sprinkled rain a good portion of the morning, but the rain didn’t detract from the training experience.

I came to the course with my rifle’s optic zeroed to 100 yards, per TDI’s recommendation for the course.  For the past several weeks, I’ve been practicing at 100 yards with my rifle, and it showed.  Here’s my first group at 100 yards:

I made just a slight adjustment to my optic, lowering my zero a bit:

In case you’re wondering, you won’t need to bring along any sort of a spotting scope – after every five shot string, the firing line is made safe, and the entire class goes down range to inspect, then tape up targets.

After several strings of shooting at 100 yards, the class packed up their gear and moved to the 200 yard line:

200 yards is the furthest I’ve ever shot from the outdoor range where I shoot at home only goes to 200 yards, and I’ve not often shot from that distance.  But putting the techniques and fundamentals I was learning to good use, I was more than pleased with my group from 200 yards:

Nice and tight!  We only shot one string from 200 yards, then packed up and moved back to the 300 yard firing line:

Those targets look mighty small at a distance of 300 yards.  🙂  But again, focusing on your natural shooting position, breathing, and trigger control yielded very acceptable results on my first attempt:

Only two in the black of the six shots fired, but a nice tight grouping for that distance.  On second attempt I got 3 out of 5 in the black:

I would have liked to spent more time shooting supported/prone at 300 yards, but we had once again pack up our gear and move back down to the 100 yard firing line.  Once there, TDI Instructor David Bowie (of Bowie Tactical Concepts) demonstrated several different unsupported shooting positions:

Unsupported prone

Unsupported kneeling

Unsupported squatting

After the demonstration, we were given the opportunity to shoot strings from each position.  Each persons body is different and not every position will work for every individual – by trying them all, we each got a better understanding of what worked for us and what didn’t.

Once the shooting wrapped up at about 4:30pm, those interested went back to the classroom and listened to TDI Instructor John Motil give a detailed presentation on cleaning an AR-15:

  END OF DAY 1 – CLICK ON DROP DOWN BOX BELOW TO GO TO PAGE 2

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

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  1. Terry Jeffries says:

    Thanks John, for another well written review of TDI, I hope to take several more classes there myself, and its nice to be able to preview them from a student’s perspective.

    Have I mentioned yet just how jealous I am? Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks much Terry! I hope to see you at a TDI class!

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