I recently attended the NRA Tactical Carbine Class with my two boys. We made the road trip down to Winchester, West Virginia for the two-day training course and ultimate father and sons “guys” weekend.

First off, I have to say this was one of the best weekends I have spent with my boys. While we do a lot together and have had many adventures. When you combine the fun factor of the weekend with the skills and knowledge that we will carry with us forever, it is hard to beat.

About the class: The NRA Tactical Carbine Class presented by Sig Sauer is a two-day world-class introduction to the world of defensive tactical shooting. It is specifically designed for the shooter who is familiar and safe with firearms and has the desire to become extremely proficient with the AR platform.

The NRA works with Gary Melton and his company Paramount Tactical Solutions to conduct this fantastic course. The presentation of information is top notch, the shooting drills were challenging yet presented in a manner where we all progressed smoothly over the two days. There were three instructors for ten students. This meant a lot of personal attention and very detailed instruction.

Your ability to properly and safely defend yourself and your family can be dramatically increased with proper knowledge and training. The goal of the course is to give you a solid understanding of the tactics used by our elite law enforcement and security force personnel to gain the upper hand in crisis situations.

I came away with not only a higher degree of proficiency with the AR15 platform but also a real understanding of the challenges associated with threat assessment and neutralization. In stressful situations, it is amazing how quickly we all develop tunnel vision and fail to see the whole picture in front of us. This type of training improves your ability to think quickly and make smart decisions and perform in a stressful environment.

While nobody becomes an expert overnight, the goal of the class is to give you a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to build from. It has changed the way I look at range days. I now have a much better understanding of what is important and battery of shooting drills to further develop these skills.

NRA Training class drill

Weak side shooting drill

The instructors are very experienced tactical trainers. Gary Melton who owns Paramount Tactical Solutions spent most of his military career as a Green Beret with 1st Special Forces Group. Before going into Special Operations. He served as a Sniper Team Leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon leaving active duty, he accepted a position as a Senior Special Tactics Instructor and Unit Chief with a federal law enforcement agency. During that time, he continued another year of military service with 20th Special Forces Group as a military instructor training and preparing soldiers wishing to attend Special Forces Assessment and Selection.

The level of training you receive in just two days is incredible. I credit this to the ability of the instructors. These guys are not only extremely knowledgeable and experienced but are able to explain and teach in a manner that is easy and fun to learn. When we weren’t actively learning and shooting we were talking, laughing and having a great time.

Relaxing between drills – NRA Training Class

The facility for the event is perfectly set up for this type of event. The main building has a nice lodge feel to it and provides a very comfortable setting for classroom instruction and meals. (Lunch was included and the food was top notch!) The range is simple and effective. Gary and his team were able to quickly set up different shooting scenarios and drills.

My two boys really impressed me with their focused and took direction very well (if only they would listen to their mom and I like this). I do not know if it is age or some other cosmic force but they kicked my butt most of the weekend. At the end of each day, there was a “top shot” competition. Charlie, my youngest (and the youngest in the class) won the first day and Colton who heads off the college this fall won the day two event. I also found it delightful and frustrating that Charlie was pinging 300yd steel targets from a standing position. While I’m a solid distance shooter from a prone position, I struggled to find steel at that distance while standing.

The training covers everything from sighting in the optic and basic shooting positions to real-world, live fire hostage/threat scenarios. The training flows very efficiently over the two days. There is a lot to cover however the instructors are very experienced and move you through the course at a comfortable pace with lots of one to one instruction. This is a hands-on course and you shoot a lot. I would estimate between 800 and 1000 rounds over the two days.

NRA Carbine Class Sig516

Sig Sauer provides their SIG516 Patrol rifle with Tango4 optic.

All of the equipment was provided as well. Sig Sauer supplies their SIG516 Patrol rifle with the Tango4 optic. They do this because they know once you spend two days and 1000 rounds with their rifle system that you will really want to go out and buy one for yourself. Paramount also built us fantastic setups with High-Speed Gear and Sure-Grip Padded Belts. At the end of the course, the attendees do have the option to buy the belt and accessories at a significant discount, and many did.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this course to everyone who owns or is thinking of buying an AR platform firearm. Gary and his team at Paramount Tactical Solutions know what they’re doing and how to get results. Besides being a fun weekend, the skills and knowledge acquired will help you make better decisions and perform better in the unlikely event a crisis situation.