Olympic Tactical Firearms Class Equipment Checklist
Below, you’ll find a list and description of the primary equipment required for all Olytac courses. Please become acquainted with this list prior to attending any Olytac course.
Each student needs to show up to class with at least one semi-automatic pistol or revolver in an appropriate caliber for our purposes with defensive shooting.
Appropriate calibers include:
.38 Special, .380 AUTO
.357 MAG, SIG
.45 ACP, GAP
Any calibers smaller than those listed above are not appropriate for use in these courses unless special arrangements have been made with OTI prior to the course date.
The student’s handgun should be of modern manufacture, and must function as designed to factory specifications. Low-profile, fixed, night sights are preferred. Adjustable, target sights should be avoided. If possible, your handgun should be test fired and sighted-in with the ammunition you intend to use.
Handguns must be clean and properly lubricated. Sharp edges should be removed (if needed, this should be done by an experienced, competent gunsmith).
Competition guns or related equipment are not recommended. For our purposes with defensive shooting, all firearms and gear should be practical and concealable/low-profile. Duty gear may be appropriate for Mil/LE and other security professionals.
S&W, Beretta, Springfield Armory, and now even Glock offer “variable grip geometry” on many of their pistols. This permits the user to make the grip bigger, or smaller, at his option. Changing from one size to another is easily done, at the user-level, and takes less than a minute. Pistols with this feature are recommended.
Use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) magazines. Avoid after-market and surplus ones, when possible.
1b. LONG GUNS
All students attending rifle or shotgun courses are required to bring one rifle/shotgun in an appropriate caliber.
Students attending rifle courses should bring a serviceable rifle chambered in a centerfire caliber (preferably 5.56 NATO or larger, although pistol caliber carbines will suffice in 9mm PARA or larger). All rifles MUST have iron sites, even if such sights are used as a back-up for “red dot” sights or other optics.
Students attending shotgun courses should bring a serviceable shotgun chambered in 12 gauge or 20 gauge. The front sight bead on most shotguns should be sufficient, but shotguns with rifle sights or red dot optics may be appropriate as well.
All rifles and shotguns must be equipped with sturdy slings. Appropriate sling-styles include:
2-point (one end of the sling attaches to the front of the firearm, the other end to the rear)
Single-point (both ends attach to a single point on the stock)
Three-point slings are often cumbersome and not recommended.
SIGHTS & OPTICS ON RIFLES
All rifles must be equipped with fixed “iron sights.” Mounted optics like “red dots” and other scopes should still be equipped with back-up iron sights (or “BUIs”). Flip-up style BUIs are fine.
Quick-release mounts are recommended for all optics, so that the operator might easily jettison the optic in exigent circumstances when the optics become unserviceable, reverting to BUIs.
Before your class date:
Although we will take time to assure that each weapon is properly sighted in on the first day of class, it is highly recommended that all Red dots, scopes, and iron sites are sighted in BEFORE coming to class.
All students should bring a hand-held flashlight to class. Weapon-mounted lights may be appropriate.
It is recommended that all operators carry a flashlight on their person.
Hand-held flashlights should be rugged, durable, and bright! These days, a flashlight with an LED lamp of 120+ lumens is fairly easy to find. There’s little reason to carry anything less than that. Tail-cap activation is recommended.
Weapon lights can be very beneficial. They should be mounted well forward, and activation should be easily achieved by use of the shooter’s support-side hand, without radical changes to how he/she holds the rifle.
A “constant on” feature is recommended but not required.
Many hand-held and weapon lights come with a “strobe” feature, which isn’t a bad option. However, operators should understand the limitations of such a feature, and recognize that a quickly strobing, blindingly-bright light is exceptionally disorienting–for ALL parties present!
2. AMMUNITION MANAGEMENT
Each student is expected to provide and manage their own ammunition.
MAGAZINES / SPEED-LOADERS & POUCHES
Students must bring a minimum of three reloading devices (magazines or speedloaders) for his/her primary handgun. Low-profile, belt-mounted magazine pouches/carriers are highly recommended.
Standard, full metal jacket (or “ball”) ammunition is recommended for training. High performance service ammo need not be used. The best ammunition is from major, domestic manufacturers.
NOTE: Reloaded/hand loaded ammunition is not recommended, and will not be allowed for use in any courses without OTI approval prior to the course date.
Foreign ammunition may be acceptable, but much of it is trash. Steel-case ammunition is not recommended, as it has proven to greatly increase wear and tear on extractors. The lacquer coating on such ammunition creates a gummy mess inside hot, dirty receivers and may begin to affect normal feeding. Further, most steel-case ammunition uses bullets with steel jackets (with a copper wash); steel jacketed bullets have been shown to erode the bore, dramatically decreasing the lifetime of the barrel.
3. HOLSTERS, BELTS, & CLOTHING
A belt mounted holster, either inside or outside waistband design, is generally accepted for all courses.
All handguns must be holstered!
We prefer hip holsters, worn strong-side, appendix-carry, or cross-draw. Holsters with retention devices are not required. Mil/LE and other security professionals may wear their duty gear.
Cheap, nylon, “one size fits all” holsters are NOT recommended.
A sturdy belt is highly recommended. Students should ensure that their holsters and magazine/speed-loader pouches fit their belt!
Blackhawk SERPA Holster Advisory:
Several law enforcement agencies, including FLETC, have experienced incidents where students and field agents/officers using Blackhawk SERPA holsters have had unintentional discharges resulting in personal injury and or property damage. These holsters are not recommended for duty use and are prohibited on several of our Law Enforcement ranges.
For our purposes with defensive shooting, students are encouraged to wear some type of concealment garment, e.g. vest, jacket, over-shirt. We believe that individual operators benefit from practicing a low-profile appearance. With few exceptions, “range gear” and “day-to-day gear” should be one and the same!
DRESS FOR WEATHER
Be prepared for changes and extremes in the weather. Long pants and comfortable, sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Absolutely NO open-toed shoes are allowed. Students will be on their feet for most of the day. Gloves for colder weather are highly recommended. During cooler temperatures, some students find that wearing several layers (which can be added or taken off throughout the day) is more convenient and beneficial than an bringing a single, heavy coat.
Cold-weather Gear advisory:
Coats/jackets with elastic drawstrings have been proven unsafe, when used in conjunction with firearms carry, because of their tendency to catch on nearly everything. Such drawstrings should be removed before being worn on the range (or, indeed, anywhere!).
4. MANDATORY SAFETY EQUIPMENT
No student, instructor, nor observer is allowed on the range without the following safety equipment:
Clear and/or tinted shooting/safety glasses. Clear for low-light/night training. Glasses should fully wrap around the face. [Plastic side-shields will be provided for students whose glasses do not satisfactorily protect from the sides]
Hearing protection. Muff-style and/or ear plugs. Electronic muff-style hearing protectors are very advantageous.
Baseball cap or other hat with visor/brim. Such a hat prevents hot ejected brass from falling behind the shooter’s glasses and burning the eyes/face.
OTI hosts will typically provide plenty of water, but students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, backpack-style hydration units, sodas, sports drinks, as needed. Any time spent on the range requires regular liquid intake. NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES! No drinking or eating on the range.
Among other obvious reasons and uses, we recommend that students bring moistened hand wipes to clean up after handling led-based ammunition prior to eating.
SUNSCREEN, CHAP STICK, INSECT REPELLENT
Sun, wind, and bugs can make your life harder than it already is!