After Action Review: Teufelshund Tactical SMG Operators Course, Overview/Pre-Course

In perfect harmony with the uptick in pistol caliber carbine interest I was given a valuable opportunity to attend a training course specifically geared towards the PCC/SMG market. We at GAT hit cyclically on the disparity of investment between an individuals equipment and their training. People have a tendency to vastly under invest in training even after purchasing premium equipment.

June 16th afforded me the chance to correct that tendency in my own habits and super charge my learning curve on a new (to me) weapons platform, an operator’s classic, the MP5.

Teufelshund Tactical put on an exceptional 3 Day course covering handgun and PCC/SMG employment, technology, body mechanics, and heavy fundamentals emphasis. Over 35 training hours of day time shooting, low light shooting, no light shooting, and classroom discussions.

I’m going to break this AAR into 4 parts, this overview and the 3 training days. There is simply to much material to cover in one read.

Special thanks are owed to Dakota Tactical for sponsoring the shoot and providing technical and hardware support to the shooters. I snagged one of their DTAC M-LOK Modular Handguards to mount a weapon light and Joe was able to get a couple down guns back into action quickly and back to training. Also thank you to Spectacle Lake Outdoor Club who hosted the shoot and allowed us to shoot day and night on a safe clean range with a club house to rest and use as our classroom.

Pre-Class Preparation

I’d like to say I’ve been planning on taking this course for awhile but in reality I had no intention of taking it, no knowledge of it’s existence, and didn’t own an MP5 or any SMG/Pistol Caliber Carbine. This was a very fortunate series of events starting from the disappointment of having the original class I planned to take from Haley Strategic fill up before I could purchase my slot.

I was in Iowa at the time taking an Armament Technician course (Army MOS 91F) when I logged on to book my seat with HSP for their September Carbine Course. I also happened to be down the road from Brownells and their shiny walk-in retail store, which has the full online inventory at your fingertips… relevant in a moment.

Like I said the D5 carbine class filled up and I was disappointed I’d have to pass on the opportunity… so to console my grieving self I went on a trip to Brownell’s with a pocket full of unspent class money… because that always prevents impulsive decisions.

MSR Pistol. Zenith/MKE Z5RS MP5

So Brownell’s had the new Zenith/MKE Z-5 series fresh off the trucks and sadly the H&K’s only came in the SP5K configuration which I did not want. I wanted the classic layout. Zenith and Brownell’s provided and I shipped the gun to my home store in Michigan with an SB Tactical brace to await my return.

I was sufficiently satiated in my grief and my pocket much lighter monetarily but still my goal of spending on training this year was a murky prospect…

Enter Teufelshund Tactical, owned by Haley Strategic Partners COO James Williamson (Maj. USMC, Ret.) who put their June course in Albion, MI to partner with Dakota Tactical.

SMG/PCC Training has a narrow list of choices so when the training for the weapon system you just impulse bought is hosted in your backyard and provided by the people you wanted to train with anyway you buy the seat. I contacted James and put my name on the class roster. Talking back and forth over a few emails I acquired the list of remaining necessary equipment I would need and I gathered it up.

Real quick aside. The title of the course was Advanced Pistol/Submachine Gun Operators Course. But for anyone feeling overwhelmed or under prepared by that title, from James himself… “There are no course prerequisites besides having a solid understanding and application of firearms safety and comfort shooting and moving in close proximity to other shooters.” Do not be afraid to buy a seat in a class. Learning and skill building are the goals. If you have specific questions ask them in detail. The instructor should be happy to give you the parameters physically and student expectations and discuss any accommodations in detail so you the student can come learn. Being on a SWAT Team or Military Combat Arms is in no way a prerequisite. They’d tell you if it was.

One thing you should NOT do is just sit and wait for the course. Preparedness brings success

I had two short months to prepare for the course and my goal was to shorten my learning curve as much as feasible so those three packed training days would generate the best results.

Anyone taking a course should spend time and effort on the range prior to verify equipment function and keep the basics of weapons handling at the forefront of your mind. Nothing like a stupid mistake because a skill set got dusty to put you behind or get yourself or someone else injured.

The MP5 was new territory so despite bringing 3,000 rounds to class I sent 1,000 rounds of practice down range in the two months prior. I tested all 5 of my magazines for function to capacity. I did numerous single shot presentations to get used to manipulating a safety lever I’m fairly certain was designed with some German the size of Andre the Giant holding the gun. I shot the little Z5-RS slick through the iron sights, with the optic rail mounted (resulting in a few bloody knuckles), and with a micro red dot ROMEO5 from SIG. I settled on running optics for the course and the ROMEO5 was on point with my Trijicon MRO on deck if the little SIG quit.

I wanted my fundamentals firmed up and moving with the little carbine to be comfortable so a few of the SOTG drills were run also. Finally and most importantly for shooting preparation I put a solid zero on the gun at 50m, it turns out 25m is standard but the adjustment during class was quick and simple. Most classes have a confirm zero portion as the first drill series and this is not the time to be putting a fresh zero on the gun, it’s making certain the zero you have is still accurate.

Complete PCC’s and PCI’s on your equipment, clean it, inspect it, check tightness, optics, gear, function check, etc.

The day prior to the course, in conjunction with the advice given in the coordinating instructions, I laid out and inspected all the gear coming with me to Albion. I cleaned and oiled the guns and magazines, checked the function on my electronics and packed spare batteries, double checked slings and small hardware, packed eye and ear protection and spares, and finally checked and sorted my ammunition for any obvious problems. .50 Cal can will hold 2,000 rounds and a .30 Cal can will do 1,000 no problem in case anyone is curious.

Bring redundant equipment, back up lights and pistol, tools, slings, holsters and plenty of mags, I could’ve used more.

I even brought my Glock 19 to back up my Sig Sauer P226 Legion. If I’d had a second subgun it would have been riding shotgun JIC. I have a lot of confidence in Z5 and the P226 but with high round counts anything can and often does happen. To keep training a spare piece of equipment helps if you can manage it.

Day One was in the morning…

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.