“Don’t just look. See.”
The voice of defensive weapons instructor John Farnam carried down the firing line where two dozen of us stood, awaiting the order to fire. It was the first morning of Farnam’s Defensive Urban Rifle course, hosted on this occasion by the Firearms Academy of Seattle (FAS) which is located not in Seattle, but rural Onalaska, Washington. Our rifles slung and held at low ready, we were preparing to carry out one of the first drills of the weekend: making sure our chosen firearms were up to the task and heat of mag dumps.
My loaded magazines were tucked into the stretchy pockets of my 5.11 Defender-Flex Pants; if you’re going to do simulated CQB, you may as well come to grips with the fact pouches are highly unlikely to be part of a real-life self-defense scenario.
Shots rang out as a variety of ARs—and one Tavor—burned through mag after mag of ammunition.
At first blush, mag dumps may not seem to have much to do with urban tactics, but they do. Your chosen battle rifle should cycle reliably clean or dirty, cold or hot.
As steam began to rise visibly from my Axelson Tactical Black Pearl, the Proof barrel quickly heating as I worked the trigger rapid-fire, I was immediately grateful for the high quality of my gun. Ammo choice matters, too. For Farnam’s course I was running brand new frangible Inceptor .223 Rem 35 grain ARX rounds which turned the weekend into a reliability baptism by fire.
In a testament to choices made, every gun in the class aced the cycling exercise, but some would prove more precise than others as time and drills wore on. And then it was on, each of us straining to listen to Farnam’s words through our ear pro in semi-successful attempts to commit the course material to memory.