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Stuart Myers' OpTac International [Nightmare]

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  • Stuart Myers' OpTac International [Nightmare]

    Hey Everyone,
    As many of you know by now, on April 16th, I began a Police Sniper Training Program with OpTac International, in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Attending this course was on my dime and my time, meaning I paid fifteen hundred dollars for the combined Basic, Advanced and Instructor level Police Sniper Training Program. More then that, I also spent in excess of six hundred dollars for the required ammunition, and scheduled eleven of my vacation days to cover the time. So, I had a great deal invested in this training program. In addition to my own personal investment, one of my Officers attended the Basic course with me. His investment was still something in the range of twelve hundred dollars and five vacation days, so he too had deeply invested in the training.The following review is entirely my opinion, but was also held and voiced by many of the other students in the class. I wanted to take a few days to decompress before posting a review, so that it would hopefully be a bit more readable and contain a bit less emotion...

    What we attended was something significantly less then training. Several factors that should have been addressed we not, or were simply dusted over; things like Basic Marksmanship, Equipment Selection and Set Up, Ballistics, and so on. Most of the class room time was dedicated to what could best be described as a review for someone already familiar with the information. I've been in the game long enough to not have suffered the loss, but the Officer who attended with me, had never touched a precision rifle before, and save for some Patrol Rifle training, was fairly unfamiliar with the whole concept of riflery.

    Disorganization was the operative word. We weren't provided a syllabus, because you don't get one on a call out, or so we were told. That might not have been too bad if the instructors at least knew what was going on, but apparently that wasn't quite the plan either. Hap hazard, and a** backwards were some descriptions of the organization I heard bandied about...

    The Basic Course, which consisted of five days and approximately four hundred rounds, really seemed more of a week long indoc evaluation, then an actual training program. When this was voiced to the instructors, they stated that it was a certifying program, and was not a professional development program. Who they actually certified for, was left to the imagination...Had it not been through my efforts as well as those of the other more experienced students, many of the lesser trained students like the man who attended with me would have been lost. The laughable part of the certifying statement, is that better then eighty percent of the students in attendance were already fully deployed Snipers within their agencies. They hardly needed OpTac's blessing to become Snipers.

    On the range, we practiced varying parts of the Qualification Course, which ranged from a hundred yard cold bore, to a multistage run and gun from one hundred fifty yards in to fifty yards, to a quarter mile run and shoot. When several of the students began to voice issue with the lack of training and the somewhat rigorous runs and seemingly impractical scenarios, we were told that the basic course is really the physical portion of the training, evaluation and certification. Once we made it to the Advanced Course, that's where the real education and training begins. Nice sales pitch...

    I should note another aspect of this training. Shortly before attending the program, I took a bad fall and seriously injured my ankle. Running on a sloppy muddy course for a quarter mile at a time, carrying twenty plus pounds of gear, was a lesson in pain I haven't been subject to in some time. After proving that I could do two times, and still shoot a more then acceptable group, I asked if there was some alternate exercises I could do, in lieu of continuing to run on my ankle; Flutter Kicks, push ups, whatever they wanted. I knew I had to do it for qualification, but didn't want to risk further damage, prior to the qual.

    I was told that not only did I need to be able to do it for qualification, but I would need to do it for all training as well, or I would fail. The wonderful semantics they used, was that I could receive a letter of attendance, but not a graduation certificate, since I failed to complete all training. They were completely unwavering in this. Either I run on the injured ankle, or I fail. So, I ran...and I ran...and I ran. At night I iced it to bring the swelling down, and took plenty of Aleive and Ibuprofen. Every day, it got worse, but I continued to run on it. The instructors feigned concern, but insisted I run, never the less. I was told that once we got to the Advanced course, I'd be able to give the ankle a break, since it was not a physical course. Did I mention that we ran everywhere? There was no walking. You run back and forth to targets, to vehicles to everywhere, in addition to the scenario related running...I should probably point out that I wasn't the only injured shooter in the class either. A Kentucky Police Officer severely pulled a hamstring and was limping badly. One of the Pennsylvania Shooters actually had to go have fluid drained from his knee. You guessed it...they ran too, lest they fail the course.

    A funnier aspect to this is that while they were being completely unyielding and inflexible on everything, they expected us to be completely opposite on everything. We needed to be more flexible, more understanding, more willing, and as can be expected, we were...

    We did two stalks as part of the basic course, and other then demonstrating a Sniper Crawl and having us do it for approximately fifty yards before engaging a target, there was no other real training on how to do a route plan, various movement techniques and so on...Some of the students were completely lost. My Cop looked at me and said, "Okay, I'm following you. What do we do?" Enough said...

    I should also mention that there was an academic test that washed out a deploying Sniper, too. With most days running from 0800 to 2100 or later, by the time most of us got our gear squared away for the following day, there wasn't much study time. It's also a little hard to study on the range in a torrential downpour, but according to the staff, that was our problem too. It was all based on the lectures, most of which were glancing over several subjects each day. The test? True and false, matching, fill in the blank, and some multiple guess. It sucked.

    On the day of qualification, we were told there are no alibis. That was fine for most of us, as we just wanted the program to be over with. I qualified the first time through for each stage, broken wheel and all. My partner was doing equally well, until the final stage of qualification. There are four; a cold bore shot upon arrival at one hundred yards from a standing position in fifteen seconds(I should mention this followed the stalk of the previous day, with no zero confirmation), a three round group from one hundred, no time limit, a quarter mile run with all gear, and fire four shots in forty seconds, and the final stage, four rounds at one hundred fifty yards, run to the hundred yard line, four rounds from a table shooting position, then round to the seventy five yard line, fire four rounds, and run to the fifty yard line, fine four rounds, must be completed in less then 3:30. The targets contained a trapezoid that centered on the tip of the nose, and incorporated the corners of the eyebrows to the corners of the mouth, on reduced sized head targets.

    My Officer's scope broke on the fourth stage of fire. You are allowed three attempts at each stage. On the first stage, eight of his sixteen shots went high into the targets forehead. We thought it might have happened at the 75 and 50 yard line, as he had tossed away the support bag he had been using all week, when feeling stressed by the clock. On his second run through, many of his shots were approximately four inches high, and we again thought that he might have twisted his elevation knobs the wrong way, and doubled up during the down time between shoots. He was offered at this point by the instructor, the chance to use my rifle to qualify if he wanted. He was shooting a right handed PSS with a 2.5X10 scope. I was using a left handed KMW rifle with a 6X24 scope, a completely different system, that he had not so much as touched all week. There was no cross training, so he had zero experience with my rifle, and was now offered the chance to qualify with it if he wanted to...On his fourth stage of fire, the scope completely let go, and only three of his shots were on paper. They walked up the paper and the rest went over the target...He failed the course, even though he busted his butt and with all the negatives was still shooting bug holes up to the point that his scope broke. He shot that stage ten times over the course of the week, and passed every time. The instructor's response? Well, now you know you can do it, so just scrape some money together and jump in the next class coming up...Spend another seven hundred dollars and another week, to do what we all know you can do, and we all know it was your scope that broke, though the instructor refused to validate it by testing the system himself...

    In the end, after all his work, he got a Certificate of Attendance, because seventy-five percent of the way through his qualification that he had already done with a passing score ten times, his scope broke. Not that he couldn't do it. That was never in question, in anyone's mind. Just that his scope let go...Yeah, I got my certificate and graduation plaque, woopdy doo...

    Stuart actually showed up for the final day of the Basic course to hand out certificates. His ego actually seemed to enter the room a few minutes before him...It was a sight to behold...and so ended the Basic Course. We achieved their standard of a 20% failure rate, which included the sponsoring Agency's top Sniper. His rifle had gotten knocked off zero on the stalk, so he failed the cold bore. He was also used as a "Go for" all week, and probably only attended sixty percent of the class at best. Anytime there was an issue raised about training sites, support, ect. , the instructors blamed the sponsoring agency for failing to provide. No they didn't recon the area prior to the course, and yes they added several must haves to their list of required gear, from the sponsoring agency, on site. This is food for thought for any agency considering sponsoring a course. It was in my estimation a complete waste of seven hundred dollars, and a week of my personal time. I however needed it to get my Instructor's certification, so I completed it. The Advanced course started the following day.

    More to come....

    "It's better to live one day as a lion, than one hundred years as a sheep", Old Roman Proverb.
    "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know", Author Unknown.
    "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!", Shakespeare, Julius Ceaser, Act III, Scene I.

  • #2
    Man Harry, sorry you had such a rough time with it. Even worse, the instructors were inadequate in their training which obviously hampered everybody. Then blame their inadequacy on the sponsoring agency. Wow, ignorance never ceases to amaze me.
    I know how hard money is to come by, and to spend the amount you did for this. They should be held accountable, but they won't be and to make matters worse, they probably think they are right.
    Sorry your money wasn't well spent bro. It sucks that their are still corporations out there that take it to the workin man.
    In the Jungle, On the hunt, I am The Ghost in the Darkness


    • #3
      Harry, thanks for the work you put into this review.
      There are many different levels of competence in the training world, it seems this operation is not on par with some others. If I'd spent the money you did and gotten this sub-standard level of instruction I'd be pissed, too.
      "Kill evil. It's how quality of life is achieved. Carry on."---Ted Nugent


      • #4
        Next time you want someone to just screw with your head, and make you run in circles on the rifle range come down to Flea's I'll go with you and provide as good or better training then you had there, and won't even charge you long as I can get video of you running in circles for my own amusement, and possibly the amusement of the readers here. Bum ankle? No problem I will get 2, six lb tree branches and splint that sucker up for you before the run.

        My course I will have you do 3 courses of fire, the first you have to do the ole relay race of run 25 yards, put your forhead on the bat and spin 10 times, then run back 10 yards to your rifle which will actually be 25 cause your are going to be dizzy and sick, but if you can't shoot while your dizzy how can you ever expect to shoot in the real world if you just got tossed off a merry-go-round that the motor broke and went into super speed mode and threw you into a crowd of unsuspecting terrorist-zombie's that have been up drinking all night. is my retort to my read of how their training is laid out, from what you write. Did they ever cover any of the real issues that PD snipers face? Glass? creating a quick hide in an urban enviornment? Stalks ok.. ya covered that... sorta not really.. How about dealing with civilians, how about ANY topic a LEO would have to deal with in a city?

        Ever go somewhere and interject items of rational and feel like the concept was just lost? Sounds like it happened to you...

        While is sounds like there were very few valid elements during the training, it also sounds like with all of the running, they have attempted to create a mini-boot camp to make sure they get some washouts... if that doesn't work running all week long with a $6000 percision rifle punishing it we will screw something up so somebody will fail.... but that will only happen to about 20% of the people so who cares right? I mean it isn't like were paying for their equipment. When a course is more concerned about it's percentage rates in anything not just shooting it concerns me.

        Bud next time when we are sitting at the breakfast table and I say "Screw them come shoot with us" maybe you should listen LOL... Seriously I am really sorry to hear about how incredibly bad this sounds.

        -- Poor is the country with no heroes and worse yet, is the country that forgets its heroes.

        Plan for what CAN happen, not what HAS happened.

        The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
        --Thomas Jefferson


        • #5
          Hey Jason,
          Thanks for the love, Brother
          Glass shooting was considered to be part of the Advanced Course, which is another story, yet to come...We did a class on setting up an Urban Hide, it was one of those morning classes prior to hitting the range. They showed us a quick deal on how to set it up, but again it was a fairly simplistic approach.
          The main thought that many of the students expressed was that the course actually seemed to be designed around failing students, not graduating them. I did express a few times, that I always learned as an Instructor, when 20% of my students failed, it was because I failed them; not in the academic sense, but in the practical and instructing sense. They seemed to miss that point...not surprisingly <_< ...
          You are absolutely right though...We shoulda stayed and done our training there. From training with Vern, I know Keith and I would have both walked away with a great deal more knowledge and experience for the investment...Life's about growth experiences...
          "It's better to live one day as a lion, than one hundred years as a sheep", Old Roman Proverb.
          "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know", Author Unknown.
          "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!", Shakespeare, Julius Ceaser, Act III, Scene I.


          • #6
            Sorry about the way it turned out Harry. I can't wait to read the next chapter. Hope it has a better outcome.
            Local 308, International Brotherhood of the Mil-Dot


            • #7
              The main thought that many of the students expressed was that the course actually seemed to be designed around failing students, not graduating them. I did express a few times, that I always learned as an Instructor, when 20% of my students failed, it was because I failed them; not in the academic sense, but in the practical and instructing sense. They seemed to miss that point...not surprisingly <_< ...[/b]
              You hit the nail on the head there. What that enables them to do is "scare" people when they go oh 20% of you will not pass this course. As opposed to when I would start a pistol class and everyone is nervous about the range drills which we did at the end of the day. I usually start my classes with we will get to the range around 5pm. Nobody will have a problem at the range and everyone will pass so don't worry about live fire, the information we are covering in class is far more important to some of you at this time. I have only once ever had to take a student back to the range a second day. We got there the next morning at 8AM and spent till 1PM, and she was drilling out quarters with my 45 by the end of the day. (Which means she was shooting better then I do... LOL)

              -- Poor is the country with no heroes and worse yet, is the country that forgets its heroes.

              Plan for what CAN happen, not what HAS happened.

              The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
              --Thomas Jefferson


              • #8
                Percentages that will not pass our course blah blah, I hate that military adopted egotistical philosophy that should only be applied to wash out large numbers in the military only. I don't want to change the subject, but I think everyone knows you need a good instructor as well as a good student for propper development? But when it pertains to shooting, would we not agree that the physical part of it would be more instructor error than student failure? The last place I had instruction at they were taking some of the worse shooters I have ever seen and turning them into respectible marksman.

                My biggest prejiduce is instructors with no military background. Don't get me wrong, there are good instructors out there without the background, but the mass majority don't have that discipline you get, strict standards and standard operating procedures that people with prior service were bread into.

                Stalking without a route plan? Are you actually saying that these dudes are teaching people how to stalk without teaching route plans? WOW... We all know there are some things that are not completley 100% necessary to teach, but teaching someone to stalk without a route plan is like telling someone to raid through that 150 yards of sand with those funny looking prong thingy's sticking out of the ground all over the place...

                My old man will get a kick out of this one.

                Sorry about the bad time Harry.

                What is best in Life? To crush the enemy! To see them driven before you! And to hear the lamentation of the women!


                • #9
                  Hey Folks,
                  This post is in continuation to the thread on the Basic Course, found at / edit by snip1er to combine the 2 topics into 1/
                  On Saturday, the Advanced and Instructor level Sniper Training Program began. Stuart Myers was now the lead instructor, and had an Officer from the Connecticut State Police as his adjunct. Of all the instructors, he's the one I actually liked, as he seemed to possess a good degree of both operational knowledge and common sense. Unfortunately he was there as an employee of Stuart's, so his direct control was fairly limited. Of our original class of 22, accounting to failures and folks who were just taking the basic course, we had fifteen students from the Basic course moving forward. We also picked up three new shooters who came in from Ohio, fresh and motivated, and fairly unprepared for the hornet's nest they had stepped in...

                  The class began with an overview of some of the things to be expected in the upcoming course, to include in no specific order, glass shooting exercises comparing different loads, and homework, where we as teams would be required to do a full detailed reconnaissance on an assigned house. The caveat was that the homeowners did not know they were participating in a training program, and neither did the neighbors or local Law Enforcement. We were cautioned that if we were caught and local LE involved, there would be repercussions. We would be required as a team to give a ten minute class on our target to the class, so that our teaching ability could be reviewed, as well. We would also be shooting on moving targets at varying ranges, and addressing in greater detail some of the facets of Police Sniping. As before there will be both an Academic test, this one to include five essay questions, and a practical performance test, not strikingly different then the Basic Course's Qualification.

                  Following this review, we were put on break, and then the fun began. I introduced myself to Stuart and asked him about my ankle. He told me the same thing his other instructors did. Run or fail. I figured as much. At the end of the Basic course, a questionnaire was passed out as a course critique. Many individuals left it blank. A few wrote one or two good things they liked about the course on it, but many of us were particularly honest. I was but owing to the impression I got from the individuals, and the fact that I would need to spend another week with them, I left my name off of it. Everyone who put their name on it was taken aside, and in something less then friendly terms, explained why they were wrong about the conclusions they drew. One of the shooters, also from Pa was a very experienced Sniper and took exception to several facets of the previous class. He was dealt with first. He disagreed with Stuart as to his reasoning and obviously didn't end it on a good note with him. He came over and told us what was going on.

                  We were required to stay with our partners at all times under penalty unexplained, so I stood by while my assigned partner, a deploying and experienced Sniper from Pennsylvania was taken aside, as he had signed his name too. I gave him major kudos, as he didn't back down from Stuart and was quite clear and honest about his opinions, and why he felt Stuart was incorrect on several points. They went round and round with neither admitting fault. In frustration, Stuart ended the conversation. At that point, I asked him to reconsider my Partner's situation, with his rifle breaking. After discussing it for a few minutes, in his arrogant and condescending tone, he agreed grudgingly that the previous instructors might not have given him all options and that if he could provide a letter from the manufacturer of the scope admitting the scope was broken, he would give him a free pass to attend another course. No, he couldn't come back and qualify on the stage he missed. He would have to take the course again in it's entirety, as according to him, that would be the only fair way to do it...

                  We had a few more classes, and then we adjourned to the range, and boy did they get this one right. The range we had been using previously which though fairly muddy was only ten minutes away, was unavailable, so we now had to drive thirty miles one way to the new range, which was located in the back of a rock quarry. It was a small pit approximately six lanes across, with crushed stone surrounding three sides, and a flat stone wall rising up as a backdrop. For the first twenty five or so yards, the ground was leveled and small crushed stone poured out making a fairly good little range. after that distance, the ground immediately opened up to uneven, rutted ground from the several ton construction equipment rolling around in the clay, and with rocks varying in size from fist to head sized scattered about. I did mention it was in the back of a quarry, right?

                  The target stands were something of a joke like the rest of the range, but we muddled on through. At this point, we were informed that we would be tested daily, sometimes once, others twice, passing required an average score of 70% to pass. So, in addition to our academic review, mandatory recon homework, and the qualification course, we also had to achieve a score of seventy percent on the daily tests to pass. The score was accumulated from the aforementioned trapezoid, which now had scoring rings. It was explained that if you broke the line of the higher point value, you got that value. Stuart true to form, broke out a jeweler's magnifier on a few students, to see if they had broken the line. If you need magnification to see it that close, I'd give it to the guy, but then again...I'm not Stuart.

                  Running hadn't changed. We were running on this range, too. Uneven rocky ground and all. So much for the Advanced class slowing down and so much for giving our injuries a break. Guys were rolling ankles and knees frequently on the glorious new range, but that wasn't Stuart's fault. It was the sponsoring agency's according to him. Funny though, I sent all my money to him, not the PD...We shot back to two hundred yards, and the winds in that hole were amazing. They changed, swirled and stopped, only to come back in the opposite direction a second latter. Two hundred yards doesn't sound like much to most of us, but considering the small targets we were engaging, it wasn't a cake walk, and the wind mattered. Firing under reduced times made finding the right wind in time and adventure, too. We were also shooting for score, so just hitting the trap wasn't good enough.

                  Stuart took exception to my shooting with a rear bag and with two clicks out on my bipod. He insisted repeatedly that I was holding too high a position and needed to be flatter. When I pointed out I was dinging the center of the target, that was immaterial. So was my argument that getting as low as possible worked in some terrain, but even in our current surroundings, wasn't necessarily ideal. I decided to try and shoot in his suggested position, with my bipod set to six inches, and no rear bag. I wasn't doing as well as before, but I was still hitting. Our final drill was a test of running from the two hundred to the one hundred fifty yard line with all gear, assuming a table shooting position, and engage the target in under two minutes. I was first, and like a putz, wasn't used to shooting the new position sans bag and very low. I screwed around trying to get right, and feeling pressure from the clock, jerked the shot out of the trapezoid. My first test score? Zero. I was informed that if that happened again, I wouldn't be able to bring my average above 70% and would fail the course.

                  On our first day we were released early at something like 1830 hrs. with the understanding that we were being released early to get started on our recon. Of course, by the time I got into the area of the home I was to recon, it was still closer to 2000 anyway, but it was nice enough in theory. I decided to go home and do the recon tomorrow with my digital camera, so I could put the pictures in a power point for the debrief to the class.

                  The next day started with a KIMs game. The teams were separated. We were given five minutes to identify the items, and then three minutes to write them down. It wasn't enough time to list all the details. Then we were taken to our partners and given five minutes to detail the items to them. They were in turn given three minutes to write down the details of the dozen items. It wasn't enough time for them either. We were admonished for taking too long in documenting details, which seemed at least to many of us counter to the point of remembering as many details as possible. One of the shooters, the same experienced guy voiced the thought that many of us had about the short time frame. We were put on break following that. Stuart confronted that Sniper and told him that if he challenged him for any reason again, he was out of the class, period.

                  Many of us agreed that if Stuart planned to eject the shooter in question, we would all be leaving with him, as we had had just about enough. The class continued with the lectures and then the drive to the range. We were tested on arrival, and this time I put my shot in the nine ring, about a quarter inch from the center.

                  From there, we were on to the moving target set up. It was a clothes line stretched between two pulleys on two four by eights. Getting it set up so that it wouldn't bob took a while but was eventually completed. According to Stuart, this was also the Agency's fault. To the Department's credit when they scheduled the range, there was a more advanced mover system, but a rock fall had taken it out. We then went back to the hundred yard line and started shooting with teams taking turns sitting on the berms, pulling the rope left and right to move the targets. Stuart told us the lead on a walking target was 3 to 5 inches from the center of the target at a hundred yards. Mine was about an inch and a half. So much for that segment of instruction...

                  From here we went to a command fire stage, also on the hundred yard line. Following that, it was a quarter mile run to the command fire, with Stuart leading us. At a fairly brisk pace, we ran over that crappy range, rolling ankles and twisting knees several times. Yeah, it hurt. I was one of the last guys in the pack, but stayed with the group. When it was over, Stuart asked how my ankle was doing, as I was limping pretty good by that point. I told him it was doing as well as could be expected given the injury and eight days of running on it, combined with the great new range. He reminded me I could "audit" the course, meaning get my certificate of attendance and no teaching cert. I told him I was there for the teaching credentials, and that I wouldn't be sitting anything out. He then decided to censure the class and inform us that some of the runners were dogging it and sandbagging toward the back, and that if we continued to do it, he'd just keep running us around until we got it right. Since I was the last person in line, I took offense. It didn't go well from here...

                  Stuart tried to take me aside, only to find most of the class following him. We are a team, and they didn't like his separating me from the group. He agreed to having a group discussion following our talk. We had our little talk/argument, and I let him know exactly what I thought of him and his courses. We went back to the group, and many of the students voiced the same feelings. A few of the guys who had been more vocal during breaks had suddenly lost their voices unfortunately, but by and large, the class was pretty clear and of one mind about how little they appreciated the course, and how much less they learned. Stuart was pretty overwhelmed, and tried to use some nonsensical semantics in his argument, and I really couldn't decide if it was that he is truly not that intelligent, or if he just felt everyone else was stupid. I remain uncertain, but am leaning toward a combination of both...

                  Regardless, the poor shooters from Ohio, just got stuck in the middle of the hornets nest buzzing around them. I am truly sorry they got caught in it. They did agree in private that the training was something much less then they expected and not worth their twelve hour drive...

                  I finally decided the debates were fruitless and agreed to just "audit" the class, as my ankle just wasn't getting better, and more running wasn't really in the cards. I also pointed out that I wouldn't feel right having my teaching credentials through OpTac anyway. Stuart took the class on another run, and I had a talk with the assistant instructor. He really was a good guy, and I told him that, but that he worked for male phallic object. We discussed how absolutely worthless the training had been for the previous seven days, and how he thought Stuart might refund the money I paid for the course. I was getting quite vocal by this point, and I think in due part, Stuart wanted me to leave. He heard our conversation as he came up and immediately offered to return my money for the Advanced class and then I could leave. I agreed. I would just as well have him give me a full refund and take his cute plaque back, too, but half my money was better then none. While the other shooters were on line, he wrote me a check and I left. I had previously exchanged contact info with the other classmates, and intended to call them later to discuss things.

                  That night while cleaning my rifle, I started getting calls from my classmates. Stuart apparently decided he couldn't offer me a refund without offering it to them, too. So, apparently after running a few more drills, he made the offer. Four more guys called their teams, and took it immediately. Three guys weren't initially allowed to leave by their departments and had to stay. The three guys from Ohio figured they'd hang out initially, since the other three had to stay. After a second call however, their Team Leader also relented and requested a refund. The Ohio detail decided they had had enough and were also leaving. Of the four who were remaining, one was the sponsoring agencies Sniper who couldn't get his certification anyway because of the cold bore issue discussed in the basic course thread. He got his Chief to pull him from the class.

                  My partner apparently wasn't permitted to leave by his Team Leader, as they really wanted an Instructor. During one of the runs, he fell badly and landed on his rifle, breaking the scope and mount. On his way back to his department to get a new stick, he called me. He had never done a recon before and needed me to walk him through it. We talked for a bit, and once he was squared away, I left him to getting his new rifle. I got a call from another guy who said his department caved, and he was done, as well. Finally, a few hours later, I got a call from my partner again, informing me that Stuart had canceled the course as there were only two students left, one of which was starting with a brand new rifle. Stuart told everyone the Ohio guys said they were tired of all the whining, yet speaking with them, they told the others that they thought the training sucked and they certainly didn't want to stand in anyone's way as they had a course coming up in a few weeks anyway, and since they were getting a refund, they were golden. Sorry guys...

                  So, in the end the Advanced and Instructor Program lasted two days before folding. Nearly everyone was in agreement that the training didn't appeal, and Stuarts attitude was well over the top. The only good things to come from this was the camaraderie of the students that formed, the friendships made, and the money returned. That is about the only good thing I can say for the course and for Stuart. He returned our money, either in check form to me, or in reimbursing the agencies who had sent Officers to it. Otherwise, I spent seven very long days learning nothing, and wasting gas and paying tolls. I could add ammunition, but anytime I get to shoot is a good thing, so I won't include the five hundred rounds as a waste...

                  So ends my adventure with OpTac International. I won't ever attend another course with them, nor will any of the students I spoke with. I'll make sure my department knows about my experience, as well. A few mentioned their agencies pulling future slots in other OpTac courses, as well. So, while this entire post is my opinion, it was an opinion that appeared to be shared and was voiced by many others...

                  "It's better to live one day as a lion, than one hundred years as a sheep", Old Roman Proverb.
                  "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know", Author Unknown.
                  "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!", Shakespeare, Julius Ceaser, Act III, Scene I.


                  • #10
                    O...M...G...thats about all I got to say about that...don't think I could have made it that long...I tend to be very vocal when something sucks...probably would have been the first one booted...definately would have left when he said that house, neighbors and police didn't know I would be "stalking" them...truly sorry to hear this happened to you...thanks for sharing it with everyone before someone else made a mistake by taking the course...


                    • #11
                      I would suggest to anyone participating in or running a course like this that "stalking" someone's house could result in a fatality depending on the persons involved. And I must tell you that if I were on the jury, the homeowner would most likely get the benefit of the doubt from me. I am so thankful you posted this to warn us of things like this. Hopefully, the people putting on the course will do better in the future and secure better instructors.


                      Isshin Ryu Student


                      • #12
                        So I take it you wont be wearing one of these anytime soon...
                        lol-- that sucks bro-- what a waste. I always thought that guy's course would be cool. But I can just imagine what my ankle would feel like. Another good thing about your expirence... now others will have a differnt point of view of the course as well.

                        If I caught someone glassing my house-- they might just get a glance at me glassing back-- only my bolt...
                        Attached Files
                        "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
                        Leo Tolstoy


                        • #13
                          I met him at his symposium he hosted in Maryland in 1999 when I was on the Joint Staff.

                          I thought he was a tool then.

                          Sorry you and the others didn't get the training value you could have for your money and time investment.

                          For $1500 you should get all kinds of take-home stuff to include CDs, DVDs, and written materials to conduct train-the-trainers. The scenarios you get dipped in should be stuff you've never seen before. With that many dedicated teams you should be getting sniper observation of large or multiple targets; coordinated sniper takedowns and simultaneous team engagements on multiple targets; time-on-targets and synchronized fire on multiple objectives (including targets sitting in vehicles and in groups); sniper - assaulter coordination (day/night); sniper support to Emergency Assault against active shooter.

                          Of course if you did that you wouldn't be contributing to his "Tax exempt non-profit" gig.


                          • #14
                            So this guy hangs out with Demo d***, Shark Man of the Delta, Marcinko???? Sounds like his ego is about on par with him.

                            Myers, not Harry.

                            Of course if you did that you wouldn't be contributing to his "Tax exempt non-profit" gig.[/b]

                            Now that IS an interesting twist on things. A 501c3 or c7?


                            • #15

                              "Public Support

                              "The Public Support page provides the opportunity for anyone to make tax-deductible contributions to Operational Tactics, Inc.; a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the educational needs of law enforcement and military agencies around the world.

                              "Mail-in donation form"

                              I noticed in 1999 he shot an AI and drove a Range Rover.