AKs in the Arizona Sun


The Combloc Weapons and Training Class with Paladin Professional Training Resources in the Arizona Desert.

We took the complex four-day Combloc Weapons and Tactics class with Paladin Professional Training Resources in Tucson/ Arizona and were blown away by the wealth of information and quality of training that was provided.

Combloc weapon systems are as relevant today as they have been for the last six decades. It is not only about the omnipresent AK system. Just check your favorite news channel and you will face images of insurgence and government troops, from Syrian to Ukraine blasting away with everything from the Dragunov to the PK. Understanding the applications of these systems and their potential as well as their weak spots is vital in today’s tactical world.

The four-day class in the unforgiving Arizona heat was conducted by Yancey Harrington, an 82nd Airborne Division veteran whose interest for Combloc weapons dates back to 1983, when he captured his first AK during Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada. Since then Yancey has spent two years in Iraq and Afghanistan managing static security for the US military and training folks with the AK System from far-flung countries like Uganda. But make no mistake; this class is not only about working with more or less exotic blasters. Yancey will fill you in to his intellectual approach right from the beginning. With an education that includes Political Science, Russian & Soviet Studies and his fluent Russian language skills, he’ll provide you with the cultural background that helps to understand the idea behind all these firearms and the way they are intended to be used.

The first day was spent in the classroom learning the basics Combloc armourers skills on a variety of firearms, supplemented with ballistics and maintenance specifications. On the second day, Yancey took us through a fast paced Pistol class using the Tokarev and Makarov system. The sharp edges and the unusual ergonomics where just a foretaste of what was to come.

If you expect to start the rifle familiarization with tricked out Dragunov and AK74s with a M4 style stocks then think again. It was going to be basic SKS and milled receiver AKs for the whole day. Reloading these blasters from stripper clips while running through the desert from cone to cone, engaging steel from distances between 30 to 150 yards was kind of an experience. With the foundational skills implemented the third day was reserved for all the variants of the AK system. From the Chinese M56, the Rumanian PM63 to the Yugoslavian M-70 and the latest Rifle Dynamics AK74. Yancey took us through 50 years of fire arms development and made us work hard by shooting from the top of a huge trailer or around and under barricades and vehicles engaging a variety of targets on distances up to 300 yards.

The last day started with an introduction to the Dragunov, its system specifics and a familiarization with the 7,62x54R round and the Russian scopes intended to be used with this rifle. Here it was that the first day of classroom ballistics started to really pay off. We quickly understood the limitations of this firearm and its different approach. It is not a snipers weapon, but a designated marksman rifle intended to be used on the squad level, providing a long range, hard hitting round for targets of high value or those that are not in reach for the ordinary rifleman.

Throughout the class the folks at Paladin Professional Training Resources had been excellent hosts, providing us a unique mixture of physically demanding drills and a vast amount of intellectual stimulation that will make you contemplate for a while. The Paladin armory, with it’s wide range of Combloc firearms, supplemented the experience and provided everything you need when you are looking for an in depth view into today’s opposing forces weaponry. You can check out all the classes and instructors on the Paladin Professional Training Resources. Be sure to find them on Facebook, too!