Sentinel Concepts Essential Carbine Employment AAR: Shoot Your Gun, Part 2

Day 2


Fighting Zero

Safety brief. Grabbed magazines and PPE. Started shooting.

Day 2 opened with a reconfirmation fighting zero. An all too common mistake students make is screwing around with their equipment mid course. Trying a new optic or moving it around kills the rifles confirmed zero and it must be reestablished.

At lunch that day a few of us worked with optics, I threw a zero into the MP5. But if there isn’t going to be a zero opportunity don’t rework your critical equipment until after the course. Take notes on what changes you want made for later.

Iron Cross

Building on the suboptimal position drills of day one, the Iron Cross is a brutal familiarization drill.

It’s an exaggerated expression of “get what you can” and then shoot.

It starts with the normal presentation. Easy.

Followed by firing one handed off the strong side shoulder.

Transition and shoot off the support side with one hand.

Finally you start with the rifle hanging on it’s sling and then fire it off hand from the shoulder. Picking it up and leveraging into position is a vastly different muscle engagement. It’s a possible one though, and gaining the familiarity through some repetitions adds it as option.

Hits need to be effective and accurate, but the point of the drill isn’t to make this something to practice religiously. Instead, it’s to remind you and illustrate to you that if you need to take a shot like this DO IT! You can make it work.

By the way… that was only a quarter of the Iron Cross. Repeat those presentations while facing range right, range left, and up range.

Luckily we did all the facing maneuvers the day prior. It’s like Steve planned it or something… The prior day’s work made understanding and working the Iron Cross both easier and safer.

Shooting and Moving

This is a topic that gets way to much overhype. Shooting on the move is always a challenge and it always will be a challenge since you are becoming a moving platform. Because you are a moving platform your brain, eyes, arms, hands, and feet all have a ton more to do.

Don’t over stress it. When the dot/sight looks right, shoot. Don’t worry about rolling heel to toe or any other variation of overstressed detail. Walk, lock on the rifle as best you can, shoot.

Walking and Shooting Laterally

The secret to moving laterally and shooting sideways is…

Walk laterally, left or right, turn your torso and shoot the target. When the sight looks right take the shot.


Posting is used after rapid movement. You are not going to shoot and sprint simultaneously. Posting is going through the work of stopping your body and rebuilding a shot.

Working quickly is important, however not as important as actually stopping your movement to take the shot accurately. Shooters running this lateral drill who didn’t stop didn’t hit.

Add to the confusion by making different targets at different spacing the requirement at each stop in the drill and each shooter had a royal time doing it properly. Again, these are illustrative capability drills. Shooting it in perfect sequence was never the goal. Starting and stopping smoothly and transitioning targets smoothly was.

Mad Minute of Barricades

60 Seconds on the clock. One shot on each side of the barricade. Most rounds on target wins. I managed to fire 20 shots a tie for the most rounds fired. But only 14 hits, 7 in the score box making my accuracy middle of the pack.

It’s a rough drill if you need to work on cardio.

Rough but illuminating. It can show you easily where you are over and under emphasizing. Are you sacrificing accuracy for speed for no benefit? Or are you taking to much time and not trusting your sight and rifle mount?

Diagnostic Training

Wrapping up this Sentinel Concepts course with a single thought. Diagnostic training is using ammunition and time efficiently to assess skill deficiencies and correct them. Fire the drills, find the weaknesses, work to correct them, and reassess.

Good training is always worth your time. Steve is running a preseason sale right now too. Save 10% on any course you preregister for any course with code YETI2019 off the Sentinel Concepts Course List.

It’s money well invested folks. Put the next rifle/carbine on hold for a bit and shoot the one you have in hand.

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.