2015 QSI Training Advanced Rifle Class

| September 3, 2015 | 4 Comments

Last Saturday I attended my third advanced rifle training class from QSI Training. Their classes and techniques continue to evolve as they watch students perform and advance their own educations.

This year’s advanced rifle class was radically different for many reasons, and it was a fantastic experience.

sbr ak47

Class Overview

Twelve students participated in live-fire training that lasted about nine hours. With very few exceptions, once the rifles were loaded they stayed loaded, and on the students’s bodies at all time. Topics covered in the class included (but were not limited to):

  • Additional safety concerns with a rifle
  • Clearing complex malfunctions
  • Transitioning to handgun
  • Transitioning from primary- to secondary-hand shooting, and/or shooting from the opposite shoulder
  • Reloading one-handed
  • Clearing basic and complex malfunctions with one hand
  • Shooting behind cover and concealment from various body positions (several standing, kneeling, and prone)
  • Using backup sights and alternate sighting methods
  • Different sling styles and sling carry methods
  • Close-quarters shooting with a rifle

The round count was about 500 rounds, including the infamous 3-magazine “100 round drill.”

The class was much more physical than prior years — which was good. There was a lot of movement, changing levels, and transitioning. And the one-handed shooting was particularly taxing on me, especially by the end of the day.

The Drills

I’m only going to describe three of the drills, because they encompass a lot of what was taught earlier in the day.

VTAC Barricade Drill

Each student engages targets downrange through various openings in a barricade. Two rounds per burst, and the weapon must be oriented in the same direction as the opening in the barricade. For example, if the opening was horizontal, the weapon needed to be horizontal as well.

This drill reinforced the different shooting positions learned in this and prior classes. QSI added the British Special Boat Service technique for shooting from on top of cover, something that we are usually encouraged not to do.

Passthrough #1

This passthrough focused on close contact shooting, transitions to pistol and back to rifle, clearing malfunctions, and shooting around cover/concealment.

Each student started the drill with a magazine potentially loaded with dummy rounds in order to induce a malfunction. Students were expected to engage three targets until they encountered a malfunction, and then transition to pistol. After dealing with the immediate threats, the student was to get their rifle working again and finish the drill.

My performance here was acceptable. I am continually impressed by the Q-Series Stealth holster. For a ultra-concealment trigger guard style holster, it is very easy to reholster one handed and with speed.

I blocked my own ejection port with my right hand. I wrote about this earlier, but it’s hard to remember to keep my right thumb from blocking the ejection port. I induced a complex malfunction this way.

Passthrough #2

The majority of this passthrough involved shooting and reloading with only one hand. This definitely challenged me physically, and I wound up transitioning to my handgun because I felt like I could manage it more safely and effectively.

The RMR on my Glock 19 definitely helped to make the 50 yard shots, but I still need to work on controlling my breathing and trigger control when shooting a handgun at these distances.

If you’re a long time reader / viewer, you will know that I frequently make fun of how thin my wrists are (my scientific term for them is “bitch wrists”). I need to work on my forearm strength so I can get better at shooting a rifle one-handed.

On the plus side, once I got the rifle hoisted and stabilized making hits with one hand was only marginally more difficult than with both hands. Yay for optics!


QSI made several changes to the class curriculum as well as how they ran the class this season.

Changes to the class included:

  • An estimated 5x increase in malfunctions, partially due to tools the instructors used to block ejection ports and the charging handle on my AK47
  • One handed manipulations were awesome — and challenging
  • More forward, back, and vertical movement than previous years, a big improvement
  • Different shapes and sizes of cover and concealment than previous years (although this improvement was evident in every QSI class this year)
  • An estimated 30% increase in the round count over previous years. I think this was important, as fatigue was a big factor towards the end of the day. I like that.

The biggest policy change made this year is that QSI was more discerning about who attended this class. In prior years, attendance of a pre-requisite course was all that they required. This year, students had to take the pre-req courses plus have instructor approval.

Not everyone is ready to take “the next level” after going through a pre-req for the first time. I wrote about the value of taking more basic classes repeatedly, but the value in doing so was VERY clear at the advanced class. Students had to be squared away in regards to safety, and the class material was too dense to suffer any remedial instruction.

I am very glad that there was extra consideration paid to who attended this class, and am glad that QSI was still able to sell the course out from their roster of repeat students.


This was my favorite QSI class this year, and I had a great time at the vehicle class. My only regret is that this class isn’t offered more than once a year. One-handed shooting, reloading, and malfunction clearing is something we should all train more.

one handed rifle reload


I trained from my everyday carry Adidas Rydell sling bag all day. I wore it the entire class except at lunch, and I wore my rifle the entire day. I was glad I trained in my “usual gear,” and while getting spare magazines or stowing partially empty ones was more difficult, it felt good to use the same setup I carry every day.


About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

4 Comments on "2015 QSI Training Advanced Rifle Class"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Thanks for the great write-up! We’re very happy with how this class has evolved, and we couldn’t run a class like this without our fantastic students.

    I wanted to comment on the SBS shooting technique. As you pointed out, we usually encourage students not to shoot over the top of their cover, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got. If you are shooting over a bridge guardrail, long wall, or similar cover your only option might be to take a shot over the top. That’s what the SBS technique is for.

    Thanks again for your AAR!

  2. Rob says:

    What happened on the reload of the Glock between your legs? Did having it so tight prevent you from depressing the mag release all the way? Or did you just have trouble gripping it?

    You should check out Mike Pannone’s one-hand reload drills. Really great and eliminates all of these issues.


    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Hi there! Great question. I think I put the pistol too far between my legs, and that prevented me from actuating the mag release all the way.

      I’ll check out Pannone’s drills, thanks for the info!

  3. c79abff0 says:

    I am seriously considering attending classes with QSI, they train at Ahlmans which is near me, there prices are very good. I just wanted to be sure that the training is top notch, I emailed Erik from QSI and he suggested I check out your blog. So far I am happy, this noob is looking forward to attending his first classes with QSI.

    ERIK is you somehow manage to read this, I am glad you referred me to this blog. Thanks again for your help.

Post a Comment