Course provided by the European Security Academy here
Training is without a doubt the most important thing in any soldier’s arsenal.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best gear, if you can run the fastest, lift the heaviest weight or even your gender. Because, if you don’t know the correct thing to do, in the correct situation, with the correct equipment, then not only are you useless, but you are also a huge liability.
Now, fortunately most modern armies are up to date on training, tactics and application of equipment. But, as we all know the training received by regular units is well below what can be regarded as “advanced”.
There is nothing wrong with this, as not only have standard tactics been proven to work, but there is the often-forgotten point that any advanced training costs a great deal of time, money and effort which would be all but wasted on standard units. Hence, why such a high level of skill is really only seen in SF units.
But why be satisfied with regular training?
Maybe you want to further your skills. Prepare for that upcoming selection. Or, even discover different methods, techniques and doctrines outside of that which your own forces teach. You might have since left the forces and don’t have access to such training anymore. Or your Chain of Command are just being a dicks and not putting you forward for any courses you want. Whatever reason it is, there is an answer…
Having the largest Training area in Europe, the European Security Academy in Poland has many facilities and training courses available. One of which I attended in October, the Dynamic Carbine Course.
I’ll split this review into the following sections: Booking, Travel, Accommodation and Facilities, Training, Cost and Debrief.
There’s not much hassle when it comes to booking. Athough, if you haven’t trained at ESA (European Security Academy) before they will ask you to provide a criminal background check, a medical declaration and a photo of your Passport.
Other than that all you have to do is email them that you want to book a place on a course, pay either the deposit (the rest can be paid a week before the course or in cash when you get there) or in the full amount straight away (I recommend this option). Then, tell them your flight times.
Some of the more advanced courses may require previous experience or courses.
The main training area is located about 1 hour from the nearest airport (Poznan, Poland) and you can get most flights to Poznan on the cheap (between £25-£100 depending on time of year and baggage costs) if you fly straight from London.
If you arrive in Poznan before 1800 hrs there is an organised pickup by ESA and they will take you to the facility free of charge. But, if you get there super early before pickup then bring a book to waste time unless you want to pay extra for an early pickup or rent a car.
Travelling back to the airport after the course is pretty much the same deal with a free drop off at the airport at an agreed time.
Accommodation and Facilities:
When you arrive at the Facility you will notice it’s not the military barracks you were probably expecting.
Instead it appears to be a very rustic converted farm with a lot of grass (which you can walk on!), lovely stonework and even a windmill.
Full accommodation is included in the course price. Unfortunately, some of the rooms are shared as well as the bathrooms. But those military types will probably feel at home.
They have, however, built new accommodation with single rooms that I have yet to experience. But, I have heard good things.
You definitely get your money’s worth when it comes to food as not only do you get three delicious meals a day, it’s also “help yourself”. So, no haggling with a Sodexo creature for an extra sausage.
Activity wise, there’s a couple of gyms, a crossfit area and even a basketball court. But, in all honesty, I spent most of my time speaking to the multitude of nationalities that were also attending various courses.
There is a dry-cleaning service that will cost you £10 for a big black bag’s worth of washing.
I should also mention that the course price includes accommodation for the night before the course and the morning after.
The days spent and equipment used all depends on the course you book. All equipment you need is provided though they are very flexible when it comes to using your own.
The Instructors and ESA really know their stuff. With a mixture of Ex-Special Forces, Ex-Police, Close Protection and PMCs from different nationalities, many of whom are still active operators, ESA has a lot of high end experience to draw from in both the curriculum and application of it’s courses.
The Dynamic Carbine Course itself is 3-day course that focuses on the use of the M4/AR-15, AK47 platforms and touches on some use with the Glock 17/19 and the B&T APC in a Dynamic Tactical environment. There are also some transitions from Primary to Sidearm, FX sim-munition and CQC with Carbine training thrown in.
The course is an intense one and the instructors have no issues pushing you with both the range of techniques and the speed with which you learn them. So if you’re a bit timid, or it’s been a while since you’ve done something like this, then I’d recommend taking a less intense course prior to this one. I attended the Combined Firearms Course from ESA prior to my course.
There’s a large focus on techniques and drills that can be used in a CQC or built-up environment (FIBUA for the Brits). Unlike a lot of military courses there is a large emphasis on tactics and maneuvering by yourself or in pairs which will be a big change for those only used to section maneuvers.
The learning curve is a steep one, but I guarantee you’ll look at every situation differently afterwards and also gain many tools to your mental toolbox. From house clearance to the functions and drills of a variety of weapon systems and much more.
There will be a slight introduction to the weapons so if you haven’t worked with these specific systems before or haven’t been hands on with them in a while then there is no reason to panic. You’ll also be surrounded not only by helpful and knowledgeable instructors but there will likely be people in the course able to help you should you come stuck.
By the end of this course you will, at the least, be proficient in your accuracy and your stoppage/malfunction and magazine changing drills. But in all honesty, there were a few civilians on my course who could hold their own. With enough enthusiasm you’ll pick it up quickly.
As mentioned before, much of the equipment used to train is provided such as a basic plate carrier with some ammo pouches, a couple pistol magazine ammo pouches and a pistol holster. I would recommend using your own equipment as it’s a great chance to adjust and get used to your set up.
Personally the most challenging part of the course was the live fire CQC drills in pairs whilst crossing.
It’s hard enough to focus on which target is friendly and an enemy without the added stress of trying not to cross each others firing line in an enclosed space. There’s the added fun of the instructors firing live rounds at the ground around you to simulate an actual firefight. This was something I’d never done before/ At least not with live rounds. Definitely stressful and not for the timid but if you crack on and pay attention you’ll be fine!
I originally paid £550 for the course but they have updated the Pound Sterling (£) price to match the value of the course in Euros which is fair enough, and really the increase isn’t too much.
As for merchandise, there’s plenty of things you can buy at the ESA shop such as Jumpers, Hoodies, Patches and T-shirts which although may be a little on the pricey side (£60 for a hoody) it’s all excellent quality. There’s even MOLLE belts available and some other bits and pieces of equipment.
Even with the price increase I’d say the level of treatment and training at ESA is a great deal and I’m planning to train there again within the next year.
Training at ESA has really opened my eyes and mind when it comes to anything that can regarded as tactical. From how my belt kit is set up, to when it’s a good time to tactical reload, and from how to clear a house by myself, to crossing a room with my oppo/battle buddy.
There’s a lot to take in but the instructors at ESA will make sure you get it in the end, and I’ve always felt in good hands in my times there.
So, if you’re looking to improve your knowledge of different weapon systems and/or how to best apply them in battle then Dynamic Carbine is definitely a course for you.
Check out the Course Schedule for 2018 to see what places are left and any other courses that may interest you here.
This Kit Pest Review was written by Rob (Harley) Quin. Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then leave a comment!