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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Originally posted this over on the AK side of arfcom which is usually a decent place to visit, but to my dismay a few jerks came in dumping all over the thread because they didn't like his gear or what he was wearing. I expect that kind of trash on the AR side but it was a big surprise on the AK side.

Anyway, thought I'd repost over here for anyone interested. It was a good class, got to shoot some full auto's that various people brought along which was a nice bonus.

After hearing what Sonny had to say about Marco I'm really excited about taking the Behind the Lines sniper course later in the year. Thanks for sharing more detail in PM Voron, I think you sold me on the course.



Had a chance to attend Sonny Puzikas class at Impact Zone here in Houston, along with Nitcra, NinerRider and Keith from Tac47Industries. The class was about 20 total in size with a mix of one or two complete newbies, serious recreational shooters, ex military and a couple of guys that have trained with Sonny alot. I'd say half of the class was ex military and probably close to half had taken rifle instruction clases like this one before. The really nice part is that not one person was a mall ninja type and there was no ego during the course...everyone was professional, safe and had a sincere desire to learn. Sonny delivered on the learning...and boy did he ever.

There is way too much to cover without writing a book, but I'll hit some of the high points that I picked up. Sonny would demonstrate a technique, step through it slowly and then execute at full speed. We'd then do the same so we could get the movement down and pick up speed at our own pace until we were getting pretty fluid. During the class we all developed an impromptu buddy system and helped each other step through the mechanics of the movements, double checked each other for safety and really helped evaluate each other during the exercises. That helped tremendously in getting the technique down and Sonny was always there spot checking, correcting on the fly and elaborating on the mechanics.

The interesting part is that his class isn't really about AK's specifically...yes we learned some interesting techniques that are AK specific (like how to do mag changes with 2 30 rounders taped together), but on the whole you could easily plug any rifle into the equation and get the same results. The main thing about the class is that the weapon is actually irrelevant, it's how you employ it that matters (sounds obvious, but there's a lot of subtle things going on in his training). The class is completely focused on movement, every action is based on it and every drill had movement in it. Most of our shooting was done while we were moving....offhand shooting, mag changes, transitions and lateral displacement, you name it we did it on the move. All shooting was done from about 3-10 yards and depending on the exercise we'd either all be online at the same time, or we'd be split into 4 groups while doing some of the more complicated drills that required a lot of space.

The heat was brutal and I think the pace of the class took that into consideration. We did a lot of physical exertion but he didn't try to kill us and there were numerous hydration breaks, and a couple periods where we discussed the higher level concepts of movement and then got back to the details of this or that technique. I found the pace to be a tad slow on the first day but we rocked it out in the afternoon and on the second day it was all run and gun. He normally does 4 day classes and so the 2 day had some elements of compromise, made sense after he explained it during the class AAR on Sunday. Overall the pace suited me quite well and I enjoyed the combination of discussion and execution, he has a good sense of when to do what.


The class is 100% real world shooting. There was nothing fancy or silly, no square range mentality and nothing 'gimickee'. The techniques are actually all based on body mechanics and nothing is forced...the reason you change mags this way or that, or draw your secondary and shoot like this or that are tied directly into how your body moves. There was more than one thing he demonstrated where he looked like a drunken monkey, but when he broke down the mechanics you could easily see why that move was faster, more fluid or more efficient. I discovered a number of things that I had been forcing due to my Army training and he could explain exactly how that training affected what I was doing. Very subtle and interesting stuff.

Sonny himself is an interesting character. Like all of the really great NCO's, officers and instructors I've met over the years he is extremely intelligent. He's also a lifelong martial artist and a student of EVERYTHING... Karate, Systema, Jiu-Jitsu, etc etc. You name it he's probably studied. His whole approach to training was remarkably like Jeet Kun Do (no way is the way)...he never said that anyone's training was best, he simply said study as much as you can and incorporate what works for you. The tone of the class was more oriented toward martial arts where you happened to employ a rifle, as opposed to a rifle class based on shooting. As I said there was movement in everything and there was attention to detail on the smallest parts of each movement.

I had a phenominal time and my head is still spinning with all the details. It was also really cool to take the class with good friends and meet some new ones too. Thanks also to gcmj45acp for taking photos and hooking us up with pics when it was over.











































 

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Nice!

TX-Zen said:
...The main thing about the class is that the weapon is actually irrelevant, it's how you employ it that matters ...

His whole approach to training was remarkably like Jeet Kun Do (no way is the way)...he never said that anyone's training was best, he simply said study as much as you can and incorporate what works for you....

And that, IMO, is what makes a good instructor.
 

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dude that is fucking awesome. thanks a lot for posting. I am a big fan of Sonny and his work. I hope you learned a lot man!!!!
I would love to train with him.....but I dont think I will survive the heat. I am big pussy when it come to texas temperatures. If its -20C...thats better!

We will coordinate a class time with Marco that way everyone has a time they can do. Right now looking like late January. Steve- your ass better be there!!!!

I will keep everyone posted.

What rifle did you use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Day 1 was with the AKSU, day 2 I let a friend borrow it and used my SLR105 with Ultimak and T-1

MRD's make things a lot easier and I was ok with that, particularly since the class was never about accuracy per se, it was about the concept of doing everything on the move. Sonny suggested that those of us with optics try running with irons for a change of pace and I agreed with him, but we had so much to chew on I was ok keeping the optics and concentrating on the movement techniques. I didn't want to complicate things any more than they already were...shooting offhand and doing offhand mags changes on the move were plenty enough for me to deal with :)




Z
 

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i hear you. I dont run optics at all anymore. After we did some realistic scenarios in close proximity, as well as now we do shooting from a moving vehicle....optics had to go.

but hey thats just me and I am probably wrong as I just dont know how to use them. so I stick with what I do know.


kickass class man. wish I was there
 

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voron said:
i hear you. I dont run optics at all anymore. After we did some realistic scenarios in close proximity, as well as now we do shooting from a moving vehicle....optics had to go.

but hey thats just me and I am probably wrong as I just dont know how to use them. so I stick with what I do know.


kickass class man. wish I was there

How are you going to learn to use optics if you never train with them?


On a different note; this isn't the first time I've heard a Russian firearms instructor state he wasn't concerned with accuracy. Must be a different mindset
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As I mentioned the class wasn't primarily about marksmanship itself, it was about learning movement techniques first and foremost. At the distance we were at accurate shooting was a non issue, it wasn't terribly hard to hit at 10-20 yards with an AK...so I wouldn't say non accuracy was a Russian mindset, I'd say it wasn't the main goal of the class. I think the importance of marksmanship was understood by our group but not dealt with specifically, we spent our time working on movement and other handling techniques of the rifle itself and it worked out pretty well.

FWIW many of the concepts were exactly like the 8 years I did in the Army as a tank commander...we never did anything stationary on the Abrams and it was beaten into our heads to stay mobile, particularly when out numbered. A stationary tank is a dead tank, but a moving tank is harder to hit, is less predictable and by moving you generate a tempo or flow that can dictate the pace of the engagement. I saw a lot of parallels in this class which is one of the reasons I found it interesting.

In the Army we routinely split training into different missions...one field problem would be all manuever based with the implicit understanding that we knew how to shoot, other field problems would be live fire qualification with minimal movement components and the understanding that you knew how to move. It was accepted that you would combine them in the real world and that because you could successfully demonstrate either component that you could do both together. When we tried to train on the big picture all at once it was a lot less efficient and I think Sonny seemed to have the same idea...break it down into components, get good at each of those and then begin to bring them all together. Very similar to my military experience.


I also agree on training with optics...the more you use them the more fluid and natural they become, just like irons or anything else you put practice into. They aren't the be all end all, but they can speed you up and make you more fluid than you might be with irons.



Z
 

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TX-Zen said:
As I mentioned the class wasn't primarily about marksmanship itself, it was about learning movement techniques first and foremost.
Thats was the excuse we were given in my class as well. Our guy was happy as long as we hit somewhere on the target.



At the distance we were at accurate shooting was a non issue, it wasn't terribly hard to hit at 10-20 yards with an AK
I've found there is a diffrence between hitting the target and doing so accurately. What accuracy standard were guys held to?

it worked out pretty well.
As long as you guys are happy with what you got; thats great. :smile:
 

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NCPatrolAR said:
voron said:
i hear you. I dont run optics at all anymore. After we did some realistic scenarios in close proximity, as well as now we do shooting from a moving vehicle....optics had to go.

but hey thats just me and I am probably wrong as I just dont know how to use them. so I stick with what I do know.


kickass class man. wish I was there

How are you going to learn to use optics if you never train with them?


On a different note; this isn't the first time I've heard a Russian firearms instructor state he wasn't concerned with accuracy. Must be a different mindset
um...using optics and irons has its time and place just like everything else. you want to run optics on your practical/go to rifle, have at it. Its a (sorta) free country and your opinion is what counts. Use what you prefer and feel comfortable with.
dont start a pissing contest why you think that optics are a must (they sure are for certain apps) :gaga:

and regarding your statement regarding "not concerning with accuracy"....
upon entering the stages of familiarizing with with firearms in the traditional Russian army, marksmanship is extremely important. You will either pass the necessary procedures or you will not.
at point of failing , you will either 1)stay later with instructor and re-do 2) will be transferred into another position that will minimize your firearms handling.

Accuracy was is and always will be a very important point or training in the Russian military. I have no clue where these "spray down range and hope to hit something" came from. armchair commandos or internet warrior probably.
Upon passing the initial supported single fire accuracy test, exercises of select fire are also limited to 2-3 round per each target. THIS WAS VERY IMPORTANT. one could not just do a mag dump to neutralize a single target, as ammunition retention was taught at the highest levels.
 

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voron said:
dont start a pissing contest why you think that optics are a must (they sure are for certain apps) :gaga:
You might want to do a bit of self-reflection in regards to that starting a pissing contest comment. I made the observation about how are you going to get better at something if you dont use it. If that puts you on the defensive; oh well.

and regarding your statement regarding "not concerning with accuracy"....
upon entering the stages of familiarizing with with firearms in the traditional Russian army, marksmanship is extremely important. You will either pass the necessary procedures or you will not.
What are the standards?


I have no clue where these "spray down range and hope to hit something" came from. armchair commandos or internet warrior probably.
I would think it comes from the training some people receive, from videos shown of Soviet training, etc. And I wouldnt classify it as "sparay and pray"; but more of a "any hit will do" outlook.
 

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i've seen some of his stuff online; it's damn near elegant! :grin:

One of the things I have always hated about the internet is that you can't see the other guy's eyes or hear the tone of his voice. Nothing new but it still happens and good folks still get butt hurt over nothing...
 

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All I see is a "Used to Be" showing off to some "Want to Be's".
Not to mention:
Cry Babies
Crazy kids
Airsofties
********
Posers
EZ Chair Worriers
Duds


Just kidding. Green with envy, actually. When is he comming to NOVA?!
Cool pics BTW
 

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Serzant, you're totally right. We need people who have actually been there, not wannabes. Please share with us some of the secrets you learned from your vast experience carrying a slung rifle while on guard duty.

:wink: :wink: :wink:
 

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CumbiaDude said:
Serzant, you're totally right. We need people who have actually been there, not wannabes. Please share with us some of the secrets you learned from your vast experience carrying a slung rifle while on guard duty.

:wink: :wink: :wink:
In the army I learned:
1. Never volounteer.
2. Never carry more than you can eat and/or shoot.
3. There is a direct connection between brain and feet: the dumber you are, the harder your feet work.
4. One well sighted 152 mm howitzer battery is worth more than SpetsNaz battalion.
5. BUT: to make it all work, a dumb ass who volunteered to drag a crapload of gear 10 clicks up the fucking mountain has to get the target coords

So that the Artillery - God of War can do the job.
 

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lol, good stuff :grin: Especially #4 and #5... makes you think... I guess the "well-sighted" requirement of #4, coupled with #5 is why they have to have both Spetsnaz AND artillery, so one backs up the other in case the other screws up?

:smile:
 
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