Review: Brushbeater Scout & Recce Courses

I recently attended the Scout and Recce courses at Brushbeater. While NC Scout is a friend, he didn’t ask me to write this, and I have received nothing for it. This is an unbiased review. The TLDR of it this: TAKE THE COURSES.

I know you’re afraid of the feds. Go to the class anyway and don’t talk about kidnapping Governors or storming the Capitol and you’ll be fine. They want you to not train or organize. Defy them. Paul had something to say about this:

…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

I had wanted to attend his other courses after having taken his RTO, Advanced RTO, and Signals Intelligence courses. NC Scout teaches in a very down to earth manner, without a lot of technical jargon. He breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-understand pieces.

He has a wonderful facility in North Carolina. There is plenty of room for camping, nice classroom facilities, and plenty of maneuver area, with plans to expand into much more space. I’ll be honest: The terrain is ROUGH. It kicked my butt. Before I went, NC Scout warned me, saying that his property is uphill in every direction. I trained on hills before going, but nothing nearly as steep as his property. But here’s the good thing: If you can maneuver quietly on this terrain, you’re not going to have troubles anywhere else.

The rough terrain also exposed the weaknesses in a lot of people’s gear loadouts. What I mean is it’s one thing to have a plan on what all you’re going to carry on patrol and such, and quite another to actually carry it. By the end of the week, everyone was shedding ounces and pounds from their gear. Also, some people used super-stubby antennas on their radios, and found themselves unable to communicate even one ridgeline away. Plan accordingly and carry multiple antennas.

The Scout Course began on Day 1 with a Squad Designated Marksman workshop. This isn’t meant to make you Chris Kyle, but you will pick up skills at hitting targets with optics at various ranges, all the way out to 450 meters. It’s a real confidence booster. Mike from Von Steuben Training and Consulting even hit at 450 meters with an AK with open sights (show off).

The rest of the Scout course involved learning immediate action drills, squad movement techniques, individual camouflage, halt procedures, hand-and-arm signals, and a couple of basic ambush formations. NC Scout also taught the various types of patrols and the principles of patrolling. The students had to conduct all their own planning and rehearsals before stepping off on the missions. If you want the details, you’ll have to take the course.

The best part of the training exercise is the force-on-force element. After learning each skill, you go out in the maneuver areas and use those skills. Rather than using paintball guns or airsoft, you use your own firearm with blanks. This adds a true element of realism and builds confidence in using your own tools in real engagements. I’m not going to lie, there were a few guys who struggled during contact because it was so real.

NC Scout runs a dedicated OPFOR (Opposing force) group, whose job is to make the scenario-based training realistic, and they did a great job. The night operations in particular were amazing.

The best quote from the week was from a follower of mine. He said it in the classroom and then again on Twitter: “I’ll never forget the image of Joe Dolio, clad in MARPAT head-to-toe, just walking up that trail shooting bad guys!”. I’d like to say that it was my super-ninja fieldcraft, but it was blind luck. I walked up a trail slowly and quietly, simply trying not to die because it was so steep, but as the OPFOR ambushed the rest of the student teams, I found a path directly between their two elements and found myself behind the ambush. I did what any Marine would do in that circumstance, I took the fight to the enemy, eliminating 7 before they knew I was there. NC Scout, as an observer was there to witness the slaughter in all it’s glory.

The Scout course culminated in an operation against the OPFOR, using all the skills learned.

The Recce course builds on the foundations laid in the Scout course. The skills learned here are the different types of recon patrols, large element movement techniques, and two more ambush formations. As a side note, all of these ambushes are explained in my book, TW-04 Scouting and Patrolling. The course also covers some basics of fighting as a guerilla and what that looks like.

Some of the best practical skills involved using data burst transmissions via Baofeng radios to send SALUTE reports and communicate with your base without using voice. Data is quicker than using voice to relay details. Not only did teams practice it in the classroom, but they also used the skill during the day and night exercises. You can learn the skill in NC Scout’s book, The Guerilla’s Guide to the Baofeng radio.

Defeating thermal observation and considering drones were skills also covered. These skills could come in handy.

I recommend taking the classes, but I recommend some pre-work on cardio and fitness. Rucking is one thing, but it’s another to move a couple of miles with all your gear (rucking) quietly, and then conducting 10-15 minutes of intense movement and combat AFTER rucking a couple of miles, then quickly exfiltrating that area, again with all your gear. On the final exercise of the Recce course, we did all that, AND THEN had to move at high speed over rough terrain with all our gear to go and rescue our other team on the far side of the property.

NC Scout added another sobering part of reality on the very last day. After pushing the OPFOR off the objective and thinking we’d finished it, he made us tend to and carry some casualties. Every time our side trains, we assume that we are invincible and can win without injury. It was eye opening to have to dedicate half the team to security, while the rest of the team physically carried the casualties. You need to consider that.

To recap, both courses are fantastic. You can’t really call yourself prepared if you aren’t training on small unit tactics. You might think you’re going to bug in and live out a Little House on the Prairie cosplay, but at some point, evil will visit you and you need the skills to deal with it. Take the course.

On that note, you will want to deal with it as far away from your home base as possible, and that’s where Von Steuben Training & Consulting’s Jager course comes into play. His course is run as a 5-day patrol, where you live out of your ruck for 5 days, conducting security and patrolling operations against a dedicated OPFOR. I plan on taking his May course, held at the Brushbeater facility.

This is important, because we all have our cool-guy, post-apocalypse rucks packed to the gills with everything we’ll ever need, but this course will FORCE you to test that theory. You’ll live out of your ruck ONLY, even gathering and purifying your water along the way. You have to carry your food and everything you’ll need on your back. I look forward to the challenge.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle

Psalm 144:1

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

4 thoughts on “Review: Brushbeater Scout & Recce Courses

  1. The Scout/Recce courses were a great experience! All true on the hill climbing! Lol! I started with a chest rig and battle belt. Figured out pretty fast that all that extra stuff isn’t needed and put the essentials into my field jacket pockets, tying a canteen to a belt loop! Really diggin’ that jacket and pants from Kruschiki! The pockets are huge!
    All in all, if you think you’ve got it handled or if you are on the other end of the spectrum, thinking you can’t do this stuff, this is the best way to find out! It’s the closest you’ll get to the real deal and still be in a very safe environment. If you’re learning, then you’re in the right place. We were surrounded by great people anxious to share their knowledge an do whatever they can to help everyone leave better than they arrived.
    As a side note to those considering the course, I humbly suggest taking lots of tick repellent! Lol! Those buggers are hungry!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best part of the Scout Course, by far, is that it is an antidote to all the people who have already decided to lose. The toxic personalities around all of us who scream at the sky, but comply the hardest when it’s time to fight back.

    With training, it isn’t just the two or three days you attend, then you’re trained. No. You have to continue to apply what you learned, and expand on it and evolve it to you. The challenge target is an example of this. Taking that target at the range it was shot at is something I do every time I hit the range for example. The streamlining of gear is another.

    The best part is the realistic force on force. That kind of training is truly tough to get, let alone in the environment the Scout Course does it in. Most trainers have a mindset of that “only LE and MIL need to do that.” Dare I say it, if you have some carbine and handgun classes under your belt and you add the Scout Course, you’ll be in a far stronger position than the crowd that is only deadly out to 50 m.

    Liked by 1 person

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