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BRVO TACTICAL: Training CQB, Flat Range, Long Range, And A Lot More



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Photos by Patrick McCarthy of RECOIL OFFGRID 

With the wide and wild range of firearm instruction available to the public today, it can be hard to distinguish the good instructors from the bad on social media. 

When we find the good ones, we like to share them with the world so we can all have the chance to learn from the best. 

Two of our RECOIL editors got the chance to attend the grand opening of BRVO Tactical’s Sierra 1 training site in Arizona, up in the mountains north of Phoenix. It was a weekend filled with good times, great instruction, and some amazing sunsets.  

MEET THE INSTRUCTORS 

BRVO Tactical was founded by a mix of Army SF (a.k.a. Green Beret) and Arizona SWAT team members who combined their experiences and talents with outstanding results. 

The founder and lead instructor, who we’ll call simply “BRVO” for now, is still on active duty in Army Special Forces and is the senior 18B on his team. Thus the name BRVO (pronounced “Bravo”) Tactical. An expert in a wide range of tactics, weapons, and training, he offers an exemplary mix of know-how and communication to teach shooters of every skill level.  

BRVO Tactical’s other lead instructor Mike Wallace brings over 20 years of police experience and 17 years of SWAT experience, 16 of those as a SWAT sniper. Mike is also the mind behind most of the design and construction of the Sierra 1 site. From Mike’s brain to reality, the Sierra 1 site sports an impressive range of training options that feel like an amusement park for shooting enthusiasts. And they aren’t even close to being done with all the plans. 

Other staff at BRVO Tactical include more active-duty SWAT officers, firefighter medics, and military veterans — each experts in their fields who have a clear passion for sharing what they know. 

GRAND OPENING EVENT 

Officially launched in late June 2024, the grand opening was an awesome display of what BRVO Tactical has to offer. Less of a weekend dedicated to training any single discipline and more a demo of all the options, the grand opening was an event I’m glad to have been a part of… even if my weekend started rough with a doe elk jumping in front of my truck on the drive up. 

7,000 Feet Closer To The Arizona Sun 

To find the exact location of Sierra 1, you’ll have to attend a class, and you absolutely should. But to set the stage, the land at BRVO Tactical is beautiful just as a natural environment. Before the guns come out and the air fills with the scent of spent powder, you need to take a moment and just soak in the wonderful setting of the 100-acre property nestled on top of Arizona’s Mogollon Rim. 

At around 7k feet of elevation, training is possible even in July. While Phoenix bakes at 110 degrees, it is a much more comfortable mid-80s at the Sierra 1 site. 

Camping on-site is recommended and doesn’t cost extra, but hotels are available about 40 minutes from the location. I highly recommend camping. Whether you bring a tent, sleep in your car, or tow in an RV trailer, it’s worth it to spend each evening around the campfire getting to know the instructors and your fellow shooters. 

Flat Range 

A flat range is a flat range in most cases, but what you do with the flat range is what makes all the difference. 

Day one of the grand opening involved some simple drills and instruction, mostly for the instructors to see how well the students did and to ensure we were all safe and sane shooters.  

Day two on the flat range ratcheted up the intensity with a competition stage for the shooters to test their mettle on. BRVO Tactical doesn’t go easy on anyone, so come prepared to run, sweat, and shoot with an elevated heart rate. The flat range competition stage included carrying a heavy bag of sand about 50 yards before engaging steel targets from several props, including a tank trap, tractor tire, and vertical post.

The steel went from a small torso size down to a plate only a few inches round. Making hits while winded is a skill that never hurts to develop.  

BRVO Tactical has no shortage of creative shooting stations or targets for the flat range and can really turn up the difficulty when they want. Maybe next time they’ll have us roll or flip those tractor tires before shooting, as they’ve done in previous courses.  

Bay Two 

A mid-range bay that looks out over the rolling hills of the property, steel targets can be found scattered in all sorts of places. From 100 yards out to over 700 yards, Bay Two has a lot to offer. If you want to train precision shooting, shooting around or through the brush, or doing some positional shooting out of the Humvee, Bay Two is awesome. 

The possibilities for this range are nearly endless and make for a great area to ease you into the longer shots possible on the land. 

Day One was filled with positional shooting and getting our rifles dialed in for shots to at least 300 yards with some special targets closer to 600. Having sniper instructors calling hits and misses makes life easier and got even the newest shooter with just a red dot to connect on steel. 

From wood props to tripods to the back of the Humvee, BRVO Tactical makes just a few pieces of equipment transform into a plethora of instructional opportunities.  

Day Two on Bay Two was another stage that sounded easier than it was in practice. There were 5 steel pistol targets and 5 rifle targets, with 1 hit per target required and no penalty for immediate re-engagements. The pistol steel was placed at about 10 yards and the small gongs were a quick clean sweep for me. The rifle targets ranged from about 150 yards out to a little over 300 yards, and had to be engaged while making contact with any part of a wood tank trap. Again, not crazy hard, but very fun. 

I don’t mind bragging a little — I managed to pull the best time on Bay Two. 

Huge thanks to True Shot ammo for setting us up with some 77gr PMC ammo. Making hits past 300 yards is a lot easier when you’re shooting good ammo. 

CQB House 

As a civilian shooter, CQB isn’t something I had a chance to be exposed to yet, so getting some room clearing instruction from people who knew what they were doing was a great piece of training for me. 

Focusing on single-man door entry and room clearing (since most of the class were civilians and the most likely time we would need to do this is clearing our own home), the staff broke the room into two sections. The SF instructor took one group of students and the SWAT instructor took the other half before the groups switched.  

Getting to see two styles and two schools of thought at almost the same time was not only interesting but highly educational. 

Big Red 

Named after one of our own — Patrick, the man in charge at RECOIL OFFGRID — Big Red is a long and rugged trail that serves as a great way of leveling the playing field for students to see where they fall short. 

I won’t spoil all the details, but it involves several minutes of running over natural terrain and making hits out to 300 yards in some tricky conditions. If a target is missed, it can be engaged with a second shot, but two misses incurs a hefty 30-second penalty, so you’ll need to be careful and make every round count. 

Big Red is fun. Hard, but very fun. Every student was gassed by the end, but grinning ear-to-ear and expressing a desire to go again.  

MORE TO COME 

BRVO Tactical isn’t finished building everything they want to build. But given the way they approach training, they may never be totally finished. There is always something new you can do, or a new curveball they can throw to keep you on your toes. 

From sniper towers to second run-and-gun course to more CQB buildings, BRVO Tactical has more coming. 

Sneak peak at where the Basic Long Range Precision and Marksmanship Course class will be held later this year

The land at the Sierra 1 site is amazing. The training courses are impressive. But it is the staff that makes it worth it. Finding good education isn’t easy, but the guys in charge at BRVO Tactical are excellent.  

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