Saturday, March 04, 2017

Guns: Cumberland Tactics Carbine I review and report - Three Days of Fundamentals with Randy Cain

Last month, I took a three-day carbine course at Cumberland Tactics with Randy Cain, a former Gunsite instructor. I thought it was a great class, and a pretty good bargain at $550 considering the amount of material covered and the skill of the instructor.

Below are my impressions of the course - sort of a photo syllabus of what to expect if you train with Mr. Cain. However, this is not a complete or correct outline; I didn't want to plagiarize, and I also think you would be better served to drop the money to get the real thing.

Safety Briefing

Like all reputable classes, we start off with the Four Rules, as written by Jeff Cooper. They are literally set in stone at our host range, Southern Exposure Training Facility. We cover the how and why of each rule, and their application to gunfighting in the real world:

Equipment Notes

Everyone in our class used an optic on their carbine (mostly Aimpoints and clones), and there was only one non-AR in the whole bunch. I learned a very important lesson - EOTechs will go down when it is most inconvenient for them to do so.

I took the course using my tried-and-true six-year-old Daniel Defense DDM4 V3, lightly modified. This is my housegun, and while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the newer DD carbines, it is incredibly reliable, lightweight, and bombproof. It didn't give me any problems whatsoever during the course, and shot fairly accurately to boot.

Tactical Movement

One of the major draws of a course like this is the ability to practice shooting on the move, something I almost never get to do. It's extremely valuable to see how accurate you can be at a given speed and in inclement conditions, like the spitting rain we experienced on the afternoon of the first day.

Traditional Shooting Positions

While there is some "up close, fast and furious gunfighting stuff" in the class (as Randy would put it), most of the course was shot at 50 to 200 yards. We go through prone (military, Olympic, monopod), sitting, squatting, kneeling, and offhand, both in slow-fire and in hasty assumption drills.

Two steel plates are provided for impromptu shooting competitions.


Randy hates teaching malfunctions, but includes them because this is, after all, an entry-level course. We go through the typical Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 drills, but not advanced malfunctions, like a bolt override.

The Scrambler

My favorite timed drill of the day was one where you started off at about 75 yards prone, then moved forward toward the target, shooting in positions of decreasing stability - sitting, squatting, kneeling, and offhand. Only first-round hits count, which teaches you to prioritize getting a good shot rather than rushing.

Night Shoot

Another thing I've never done is shoot outside at night. Southern Exposure is in a rural area, so it gets pretty dark pretty quickly, as Randy demonstrated in a drill.

For weaponlight fighting, I learned the priceless mnemonic - Up, ON, BANG, OFF, Down.


These were taught on the last day, and never with a loaded carbine. Even then, it's another skill that most ranges will not let you practice.


The final drill was shooting behind a barricade, using a variety of unconventional shooting positions (rollover prone, SBU, etc.). You had to "duck walk" behind the cover forward and back, which is almost ridiculously difficult on your quads. This one made my pretty sore for a few days.


I had a fine experience with the guys at Southern Exposure and Cumberland Tactics, and I'd recommend them to anyone in Florida looking for some firearms training. I will definitely try to be back for a handgun or shotgun course.


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