Course Reviews

CLASS: ​Gunfight Concepts - Carbine
DATE: AUG 2017
LOCATION: NW WA

Having followed K online for a while I decided to attend one of his training classes.

I have attended other carbine training classes from great instructors, so I was curious how this one would compare.  I also decided to take this opportunity to bring my 18 yo son along for some quality time.

I was a little worried when I didn't have the location a week before class because I like to prepare and have all my ducks in a row.  As with other classes, the details don't always shake out until the last minute, but not to worry, You can trust K to have things ready and get you the information you need with enough time to prepare.

The initial location provided by the host was less than ideal, but somehow K and his assistant D had a backup location that was perfect, almost as if they planned it.

We discussed some initial details and then got out our gear and went to sighting in our rifles.  Ours were ready to go, and I'd suggest you do this ahead of time. Even so, I did appreciate the information and I learned a lot from this evolution.

I mentioned to K and D that my son did not have a lot of experience with his AR, and they were very helpful and attentive to his instruction.  It turned out he ran it better than I did. 

We ran assorted shooting drills that progressed with our needs, focusing on basic skills, yet K constantly added tips and "tricks of the trade" that added benefit you just can't get by a book or YouTube video.

That evening we had dinner in town together as a class.  I appreciated that K ate with us and made himself accessible.  Conversation ranged from tactical gear to crypto currencies.  My son got really excited learning about Bitcoin and has made a few hundred bucks on it already!

We happened to be staying at the same hotel and K brought out his NODS and allowed us to try it out in the woods near the hotel. Very cool.

Day 2 started with more shooting drills, and then progressed into communication and moving while engaging targets.  This was very enjoyable for me, especially running and gunning with my son.  We don't have many places to do this in occupied territory where I live (western WA)

I took lots of notes, but instead of listing every single thing we did, I want to boil it down to what was most meaningful

1) K was professional, yet approachable and amiable
2) There was lots of opportunities to ask questions and learn more about specific things we were interested in
3) The people in this class were all quality individuals, and K's assistant did a great job and was very helpful to my son.
4) The class is an adult learning environment and he runs a hot range, which give you valuable opportunities to fine tune your LBE
5) K brings a wealth of experience and wisdom from actually doing the job.  360 degree awareness and movement was one specific skill that I improved

I definitely would recommend taking a course from K.  I am just waiting to get a date and location for the Tactical Vehicle Operations course so I can sign up.


-BW

GroundRod Primer - Austin, TX February 2017

On 04-05 February, “K” from Combat Studies Group (K@CSG) held a GroundRod Primer course in Austin, Texas.  I had the opportunity to attend, and I encourage you to attend his courses, as well.

If this course is centered on two things, it’s problems and solutions.  In a more technical sense:  vulnerabilities and countermeasures.  What is an adversary’s “attack surface”and how do we harden ourselves against that attack?  Utilizing electronic means to communicate — whether that’s via the internet, a cellular network, or radio signals — opens us up to electronic surveillance (at a minimum) and possibly direct targeting to exploit our communications.  As was discussed in the class, Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.), who was the director at both CIA and NSA, famously quipped, “We [the US] kill people based on metadata.”  Your cell phone number, its IMEI number, call times and duration (what’s referred to as “exposure”), and geolocation of those calls are all examples of metadata.  Furthermore, your email address, IP address, and MAC address are metadata easily found via the internet.  This metadata is associated to the caller or emailer, which is another data point in your pattern of life.  With sufficient data points, analysts like myself  can map out your pattern of life and begin to anticipate future activity.  That’s a vulnerability, and it’s one that deserves a hard look.  Luckily, K@CSG has developed some hardened platforms — the Sepio laptop, Verus cell phone, and Libertas tablet — which are countermeasures, and I’ll get to those later.

The instructor did a great job of explaining the vectors through which communications are targeted; and not just by state-sponsored entities like NSA and foreign intelligence services, but also by criminals.  These attack vectors are inherent vulnerabilities.  And if we don’t understand the way in which our communications are attacked, then our greatest vulnerability is ignorance.  The very first countermeasure to that vulnerability is education, which is why I’m glad to have attended the GroundRod Primer course.  I’m a reasonably tech savvy individual, and I learned quite a bit.  Throughout the weekend, I saw lightbulbs come on as students were exposed to new information, and then made connections with applicability to their own lives.  This course is for privacy conscious individuals who don’t want their personal information sold by third parties, as well as digital privacy advocates and individuals who travel or work in non-permissive environments.  Remember:  if the product is free (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), then you are the product.

The instructor also taught about cryptocurrencies, their dangers and benefits, and how to use them anonymously.  We understood its immediate use for bugout or escape and evasion (E&E) scenarios, because having a Bitcoin wallet on a burner phone or tablet means that you can access cash from anywhere in the world.  And with the growing number of stores, kiyosks, and individual buyers and sellers; that means there’s a good chance that you can get access to cash anonymously in those types of scenarios.  Digital cryptocurrency is certainly lighter than cash, silver, and gold, and also less susceptible to confiscation.  For those who may be leery or skeptical, I’m sufficiently convinced that using a few guidelines, and with a few caveats, I can anonymously trade in Bitcoin and a host of other cryptocurrencies.  For me, it’s a welcomed addition to E&E planning, and the instructor of this course will make sure that you understand its implications as well.

This course covers a lot about encryption.  And perhaps one of the greatest benefits is having the instructor explain the reasoning behind why some products are better than others.  There are a ton of options when it comes to encryption, and there’s a growing number of encryption apps for smart phones.  Choosing one is not a panacea.  Just having Signal or Wickr on your cell phone is not the silver bullet to your privacy concerns, because there are some caveats to their use.  Additionally, there are encryption products still on the market — and some that are still quite popular — that have been proven to be unsecure, or to have bugs or backdoors.  The instructor outlined to us those products and explained why we want to avoid using them.  And on that note, encryption doesn’t mean that your communications are anonymous.  You’re still exposing metadata, even with encrypted emails, and the instructor ensures that every student understands the principles and guidelines of using electronic communications in the most secure method feasibly possible.  It doesn’t mean that you’re bulletproof; just that your privacy has a much greater advantage — and some would argue a near certainty of — withstanding state-sponsored and criminal hacking attempts.

This course covers a lot of information in a relatively short amount of time.  After two days, every student walks away with more tools in their kit, and those with reasonable tech skills will find themselves with a more advanced understanding of how to make their electronic communications more secure. When you take this class, be sure to check out the Sepio laptop — I’m sold on it and will be ordering one shortly.  Its operating system is Linux-based, so you’re already operating on a platform built for security.  And when you begin to add additional layers of security, whether that’s TOR, TAILS, other anonymizing or spoofing tools, or encryption, then you’re going to have the hardware to be secure online.  But regardless of your hardware decisions, everyone needs a software upgrade: that’s your brain, your knowledge, and the way you think about security.


Course Rating:  ★★★★★ (5/5)

-- Sam Culper, Forward Observer Magazine


GroundRod 2 - Phoenix,AZ 

Praise for GroundRod2

* K is the Marcus Aurelius of Cyber Privacy and Security.

* Groundrod2 (GR2) was awesome. If you thought Groundrod1 was good, GR2 is even better

* K is an incredible instructor. He offers a wealth of experience and expertise related to privacy, security and liberty. The course is not just for those who like to be prepared, people who live off-grid, etc. GR2 is a hands-on, cyber security “boot camp” for freedom-loving Americans who cherish their constitutional rights. The training course is immersive, takes place in a small class environment while the goal for students is to leave with cutting-edge skills they can immediately apply in their daily life.

* K’s classes can be understood by individuals as well as both the business and the technical side of any organization. By way of example, K’s military and technical expertise combined with his attention to detail allow him to walk through complex scenarios and use cases with ease while applying risk principles to each situation so students can visualize the best outcome and discern the reasoning behind the analysis.

* K’s course will empower students with the skills and tools needed to win the battle against the wide range of cyber adversaries who want to harm you, your family and your environment.

*GR2 was a high-quality learning experience against a backdrop of constantly changing technologies and threats. Put another way, K’s class is a “Proving Ground” for all the latest, best and most secure technologies to safely and securely communicate.

*It’s clear based on the quality of class instruction and extensive classroom training tasks, K has extensive experience with successful classroom teaching techniques and delivering technical training for adult learners in corporate, government and military environments.

* Heaven forbid, but ... If Weimar Germany in 1923 or Venezuela in 2017 are any indication of what may happen here in the future in the US; If you care about your family, friends and loved ones and want to have the ability to communicate candidly, effectively and securely in a potentially hostile environment, you will want to take this class.

* Most people view insurance as something they need for their car, home or if they die ... for their loved ones after they pass on. Think of K’s class as insurance against “Normalcy Bias”. It’s the elixir against denial for what we already know is a mathematical certainty (the US Government will default on the 20T in national debt in the near future). Very few people have the skills and know-how to communicate securely over long distances with others in a hostile environment. And, you will be equipped with knowledge that will be in exceptionally high demand.


-PN01


Intro to Gunfight Concepts (Carbine)  June 2017

Recently, I took a one day, very condensed version of CSG's Gunfight Concepts (carbine) course. The day started with a discussion of different zero ranges and the advantages and disadvantages of each. We then zeroed or checked zeroes from 25 yards, 36 yards, 50 yards and 100 yards as participants desired. Even during zeroing, we were coached on maintaining our situational awareness - to be aware of the changing battlefield as we rose from prone to standing. Magazine changes were covered and practiced. K identified this as an area where we were all in need of improvement, so all the remaining drills for the day were shot with only two to six rounds in each magazine so that we had to do many magazine changes throughout the day. During down times, K discussed maintenance issues, gear choices, cleaning and other advice.

The traditional standing, prone and kneeling shooting positions were covered and fired from, but several other shooting positions for various circumstances were also covered and fired from. Changing from primary to secondary weapon was drilled briefly. K spent a chunk of time showing us how to induce various less-common weapon malfunctions, how to clear them and go on to continuing the fight. This was information that I had not previously learned in any firearm class. We spent some time doing timed failure to stop drills, mostly with carbine but also with pistol. There were also rapid fire drills to teach recoil control, trigger control and sight re-acquisition. Offhand shooting was also stressed at different points throughout the course. The day ended with an exhausting reaction to contact/movement drill.

I hesitate to list all of the above, because it felt like K was adjusting the class to the needs of the participant, so I don't know that any other class would get the same training day, though undoubtedly some would be the same. While the day was somewhat physical - especially the movement drill - K never asked people to do more than they could. About half my class was over forty with various bad knees and out of shape problems. We were encouraged to just do what we could, but we all pushed ourselves. In addition to the training value, most of us learned something about our carbines or equipment that we wanted to change. I soon learned that my war belt, when filled with water and full magazines, wanted to slip over my hips and on down to the ground. I had to rig a makeshift suspender to finish the day. Others learned that some customizations made their carbines picky with ammunition. One person fell during the maneuver drill and lost all of his magazines from his pouches.


It was a long, one day class, exhausting but fun. I definitely learned a lot about my equipment and my shooting. I look forward to another class with CSG, though after my sore muscles recover. 

-MT




Gunfight Carbine (One Day)

"Kris teaches a great class.  His insistence on safe practice carries over into learning to do things right and why it's the right way.  He demonstrates flawlessly thereby  painting on your brain the proper performance and then he attends to each student to make sure they, too , can do it right.  He could probably teach 10 hour days for weeks before he ran out of stuff yet he took the basics as seriously as we students do since these are the fundamentals which support more advanced training.  He is patient, treats everyone as equals and has a keen eye for what is happening in the learner.  Well worth the money."

-L



Secure Comms Class  19 May 2013

"Kris provides the practical knowledge needed to truly have secure data communications. He brings to bare an awareness of your own personal risk communicating across the Internet and then delivers the instruction, tools, and process to significantly reduce your vulnerability. When class was finished, I had a hands-on understanding of LINUX, TOR, VPN, Tails, PGP, and creating a password template. Great class, I only wish there was more time to pick Kris’s brain."

-Nathan


"I wasn't sure where to start on this review. The volume of information you packed into the course was enormous. I had no idea our information was so unsecure! It boggles my mind that all these years I've been just leisurely swimming through a shark infested pool and didn't know it!
Oh sure, I thought my antivirus and malware was all I needed, but you showed me other wise! Now I know how to avoid being a victim, and maintain my privacy.
 It boils my blood that people like Google and Bing take advantage of us on that large of a scale! Thanks for showing me the alternatives of how to operate securely and privately, and still maintain an excellent level of convenience!
Today I operate my computers differently and with my eyes wide open thanks to your class!

To whomever is reading this review, I hope your planning on taking this course. It's the only computer course I've ever seen that offers this information to us. The Government isn't going to and private empires like Google and Bing certainly don't want you to know what is being taught in this course! Do yourself a favor, save time, money and your privacy! Take this course!

Thank you Kris, I will be at the next course, you can count on it!"


-D.

Gunfight Carbine (One Day)  18 May 2013

"I wanted to thank you for the course last weekend. Your ability to train top level Operators and day one beginners side by side never ceases to amaze me! I know that I was challenged, informed, and educated in a short period of time. The techniques on clearing malfunctions will never leave me. I've never seen some of the malfunctions you showed us how to clear, and I would consider myself an average/moderately experienced shooter with the AR platform.
What I took from your course was the foundation I need to build on to successfully employ this platform effectively and accurately as a new and intermediate user. If only I would have had this base years ago, I'd be a far more proficient shooter!
The information you shared on equipment and how it effects performance was eye opening! I don't think a single person left the training area without making the decision to purchase better equipment! I know I didn't! Those kinds of critiques and advice can only come from years of experience like yours.

Thank you Kris, I have no doubt that I'll be at your next class. 

Safe travels,"

-Dan White
www.gravemrwhite.wordpress.com


"Having taken Kris’s class almost a year ago I was hesitant about spending the money again because I thought it would be the same class.

But leave it up to Kris, there was quite a bit of new stuff and things I may have missed the first time because I came out of there with even more confidence and skills than I arrived with. 

He always brings good props to make the courses fun and challenging.

Money permitting I will be at every class he offers as he is an awesome instructor and has the patience of a Saint."

- R


" I wanted to write you a quick note about the carbine class last Saturday taught by Kris .  As you know, I'm an old guy at age 58 and I have had a hip replacement.  And I came in knowing next to nothing about the use of an AR-15.  So there were some things I simply couldn't do but Kris was outstanding at working with me (and all the others) at my own level and taking me from being a rank amateur with that weapons system to feeling absolutely comfortable with its function and with dealing with all the basic malfunctions.  He is extremely knowledgeable and is obviously a born teacher.  I can't believe how much I picked up from him in one long day together.  Well worth the time and money."

-P.W.




  "Kris is hands-down the best weapons and tactics instructor I have ever worked with. He has the ability to work with students of diverse backgrounds and levels of experience in a manner that no one gets "left behind" while constantly challenging more-experienced students. I would recommend Kris without hesitation for any corporate, agency, or personal protection training needs; to include program and instructor cadre development." August 31, 2011
Capt. Christopher Kent, Infantry, US Army


Gunfight Concepts Pistol Review, 8 OCT 2011

"Recently my wife and I took the Pistol Combat Concepts class and it was excellent.  Education included awareness, gun handling skills, shooting skills, communication, movement and most importantly to us was shooting under stress. The "bag drill" is permanently etched in my memory!  As civilians we really appreciated how Kris kept the class real for us without too much focus on military or LE mindset.  Kris kept us safe, focused and challenged though out the day.  It will take weeks or more to assimilate all we learned in just one day, even with all the notes we took.   We are looking forward to the carbine class next!"
Bruce & Lorni
   (re-posted with permission of student)



Gunfight Concepts Carbine Review, 15-16 OCT 2011



Overview: The course of instruction covered two days. Instruction covered weapons handling skills, primary and support hand shooting, immediate and remedial action (primary and support hand), shooting positions, nine hole barricade, transition from primary weapon to secondary and tactical movement. My entire family having taken Kris’s basic pistol course we were extremely excited to learn that we was mounting a carbine course in the valley and we readily made plans to attend.

Three Sustains (sorry, Kris but you must realize that I am institutionalized. You wanted an AAR, you’re getting one.)

  1. You may well be the most gifted instructor I ever saw and I say that as a career grunt with 21 years in the Army. There are two reasons for this. The first is that too often the instructor’s ego gets in the way. There are the “I’m an operator and you’re not” types that insist that what you know is crap and that their way is the only way of executing a specific task. These are usually the same guys (I’m thinking of a combatives instructor I met at Camp Rilea a couple of years ago) who’ve not deployed and don’t realize that you’ve shot at smarter people than them. They are, in short, not there because of the student; they’re there because it makes them feel superior about themselves. You, on the other hand, would give the same level of attentive patience to the housewife who’s never shot a weapon before in her life as you would a CAG operator who showed up to one of your courses for some refresher training. The operative word there is patience. I really, really appreciate the amount of time you spent working with my wife and so does she. As far as myself, I realize that the teacher/student relationship is one of subordinate and superior and you are one of the very few people I feel completely comfortable taking instruction from. And of course the career path you’ve chosen over the last couple of years gives me complete confidence that what you’re teaching are the most up to date techniques, ones that have a practical application and are proofed on the battlefield.
  2. All your courses have a holistic approach. What I’m talking about is how you continually stress being situationally aware. It’s not just about the shooting. You incorporate situational awareness into every aspect of all your courses and I could not agree with you more completely as to its importance. It’s easy when you are as perennially paranoid as we are on a continual basis, but for Trudy and Devon it’s an introduction in how one should behave beyond the bounds of the family plantation. The point was driven home to me the second week were patrolling in Iraq; you simply can’t operate at red all the time. This means that everyone in the patrol has to be situationally aware or in other words “Be polite, be professional, be ready to kill everyone you meet.”
  3. Your courses are physical. Ground combat is not a static sport. There is running, ducking, hiding, leaping, zigging, zagging, etc. Your courses always reflect that and as you said during this last class one of the consequences of all that moving is that it helps your proof your kit. The downside is that my family has decided that all their kit, besides their weapons, are shite and have developed the most extensive Xmas lists. The other thing is that you find yourself often having to shoot out of breath, anxious and not a little scared (that freaking hood/box drill) which is exactly what happens in combat as well. Damn good training, that.

Three Improves

  1. Give a time limit to your breaks. Tell the students to take ten or fifteen or thirty for lunch and stick to it. Your classes are fluid, they reflect how you continually asses how everyone is doing and what you should stress and what you can briefly hit upon and that is the mark of a superior instructor. No one likes the guys who teaches to the POI and won’t deviate from it at all. But you are in charge of the class and a little more time discipline would reinforce that and keep it moving along.
  2. I loved the drills. That’s the way I learn. Can’t do enough of them. If you’ve got to carve out some time to set up the next evolution, a technique might be to put one of the students in charge of running the last drill to burn it into everyone’s medulla oblongata. Just a thought.
  3. This isn’t really an improve, but while I’m being the Good Idea Fairy, Trudy and I were talking about how we’d be happy to give you money to run some sort of sustainment class for both the pistol and carbine. You’re right. A lot of these drills can be done in the living room. But there is no substitute for putting bullets down range under the watchful eye of someone who can tell you where you’re screwing it up.

Conclusion

I take my second amendment rights very seriously. I have had a concealed carry permit for years. But while I consider it my right to bear arms, I consider it my duty to do it responsibly. Carrying responsibly means that I can use my weapons in a way that will cause the most harm to the threat without causing any to the innocent. Your courses enable me to do that. I have yet to complete one of your courses without feeling that my skills have grown exponentially and that, for my money, is what it’s all about. Thanks for everything and I can’t wait until the next time.  

(Review courtesy of Pete S.)


Gunfight Concepts Carbine Review



The training was Awesome! This IS the most complete firearms training course that I have ever been through.

Personally/Professionally speaking, if you want to move far beyond the “mundane firearms training course”, then CSG is capable of taking you to a level only seen in S.W.A.T. and other Professional services at the Highest Level of Combat Arms proficiency; weapons jams, weapons control, shoot and move, ambidextrous shooting, multiple shooting positions, rifle and pistol transitioning drills, communication skills, fight awareness, fine motor and travelling skills.  The Hole Enchilada, A-Z!


 
Kris is an excellent Instructor and I give him Top Marks for his Expert Level honed skills, attention to detail and the flexibility to teach even novice shooters.  Absolutely Impressive!
 
Jess Hanson, Expert Wilderness Survival Instructor.




Gunfight Concepts Carbine Review


Kris
Once again you have enlightened me as to the importance of learning, practicing, & opening my eyes to the gear options out there. I will be up grading at least 1/2 of it.
I learned a lot of techniques & proper posture to improve my success, your class was priceless, look forward to another.
Thank you, Michael G.