Massad Ayoob Group MAG-80 class October 2017 AAR

In October 2017, KR Training assistant instructor Tracy Thronburg attended a session of the MAG-80 course that was held in Indiana. We are hosting that class March 21-25, 2018. Here’s her AAR from that course, to give you an idea of what the class will cover. Other students in previous MAG-80 sessions have posted some related videos, which I’ve linked as part of this post to provide more information about the course.


What did we do at the MAG-80? In short, a lot.

Every day we shot long guns. It was recommended to bring a shotgun (alternatively an AR) to class, with either 90 rifled slugs and 10 rounds buckshot or 100 rounds centerfire rifle ammo. I chose to bring my short barreled rifle (SBR) to shoot. I was given a hard time for bringing an AR and was encouraged to shoot a shotgun. I acquiesced the first day only, and I used an 870 20 gauge pump action.  I ran my SBR the remaining four days of class.

LONG GUNS:  All long-gun drills were shot with 4 rounds in the tube (or magazine). We worked on speed. We worked on shooting from behind a table (to simulate shooting over the top of a car). We ran our long guns one-handed. We had timed races to see who could get 4 shots on target the fastest. We shot using soft body armor. We shot with the butt stock in our arm pit. We did a Hackathorn style rifle-to-pistol transition, of which I wasn’t a big fan because it was awkward. You took your empty long gun (which was already mounted to on your shooting shoulder) and transitioned it to your non-dominant hand and stuck the butt stock in your non-dominant arm pit and shot your side arm. Short arms and a big torso did not make this the easiest transition for me, but I persevered. If I didn’t mention it, we ran our long guns one-handed. (We had a person from the other relay have their hand approximately 4-6″ below the front hand guard to catch our muzzle in case we didn’t have the strength to keep the long gun mounted to our shoulder while running it with one hand. (This was a good example of how an AR was a better platform (IMHO) than a shotgun.)

We spent a good amount of one day shooting handguns from prone in different positions. This is where I found out that my Peltor electronic ears were not allowing me to get a good sight picture and I switched to earplugs instead. I got a lot out of the prone position handgun drills.

We shot handguns at 50 yards. I was the only person who shot at 50 yards standing up. I was confident that I could get my shots on paper at 50 yards (and I did). Everyone else shot prone. Even standing, I shot better than a lot of the shooters who were prone. When asked how I could shoot so well at distance in a less supported stance, I simply reminded them that in Texas we routinely shot handguns at far distances.

We did one-handed reloads differently than I had ever been taught before. We did not stick the pistol between your knees and reload. Being big and having short arms was a definite hindrance for me, as I couldn’t reach around my front or behind my back and retrieve my gun. As a result, I am comparing prices on a second Glock 43 to carry in an opposite side holster.

We shot on the move. I challenged Mas on a way he wanted me to shoot a particular drill. I was confident I could make my shots one-handed (and I did), but I had an RO who wanted me to shoot the way Mas wanted me to, so I shot the drill Weaver and isosceles and then ran it a second time the way I wanted to shoot it.

Every day we worked on handgun retention and disarming drills. My experience with handgun retention had been limited to William Aprill and Don Stahlnecker. Some retention drills I struggled with, and some were easy. You had been previously told to bring work gloves for this part of class, and believe me, you needed it. Mas had the students work with everyone in class, so you sparred with a number of different students. I was the only one who had a compact/subcompact blue gun. It was agreed upon by the students that my little gun was the hardest one to keep a hold of and the hardest one to disarm simply because it was so small. I am still bruised. We learned about tapping out before getting hurt.

The last day of class we shot a double-speed MAG qualification. There was absolutely no warm up for this other than watching the instructors shoot it. There were 17 of us in class (15 men and 2 women). Five of the students shot a perfect 300 on the double speed. Four of the five instructors who shot the double speed shot 300s (with the other instructor shooting a 299).

Everyone was very nice, and there was good camaraderie among the classmates.

You can’t really compare the MAG-40 to this class. Everything about the 80 is different. You don’t just stand and shoot on a static line. It is a pretty physical class.

I did learn two new techniques which have proved beneficial in the short time since learning them – the bridge index for quick handgun shots, and putting my hand in front of my mag well on my AR to help pull my rifle in tight.

Every day was a working lunch, with either videos or guest lecturers. One day we had a cop who had been involved in gun fights speak and another guy (who was one of the safety officer for class) who told us about being involved in a fatal shooting while working at a liquor store.

We shot steel one day, and I shot well on that, thanks to my training on the steel targets at the KR Training A-Zone range.

I took copious amounts of notes.  Did I enjoy the class? Absolutely, positively.