It was the first time in many years that I sat down to eat lunch with a group of people all armed to the teeth with revolvers and pistols of every kind…

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Definitely a different kind of Saturday for me because along with seven other Costa Rican men and one very elegant Tica, we attended a one day training course in small arms CQC (Close Quarter Combat) with experienced instructors from Suarez International. You can find the Costa Rican website here.

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My sniper training, small arms, unarmed combat, GPMG gunner (General Purpose Machine Gun), M&AW (Mountain & Arctic Warfare) training was a ‘few’ years ago. Those blond hairs in the photograph below are now being replaced by silver hairs and although still very fit, I figured this would be a good time to freshen my familiarity with the small arms that are on the market today, and see if there had been any major changes in the thought process behind CQB (Close Quarters Battle) training.

I joined the British Royal Marines in the 70’s which are “… elite Commandos — a highly trained, specialized force capable of operating anywhere in the world — on land, from the sea or from the air.”

Like the US ‘Green Berets’ we also proudly wear the green beret, although the Royal Marines date back to 1664 so we have a little more history behind us. My compatriots sometimes forget that we British have far more experience in slaughtering innocent civilians than our American friends but thankfully sometimes the enemy – if there is a real ‘enemy’ – gets hurt too.

The US Marines go through a 12 week basic training course, the US Green Berets spend 20 weeks while Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Commandos must endure 32 weeks of basic training where about 75% of our recruits dropped out before the rest of us passed the final grueling tests and were awarded the Green Beret.

One could surmise that we Brits are really bloody stupid to go through that torture for so long, or perhaps we are indeed better trained. Who knows? I have never been a US Green Beret, just a humble Royal Marines Commando…

So after seeing the Suarez International company’s advertisement in the La Nacion newspaper, we all ended up in a Moravia location where the very experienced instructors put us through one of their comprehensive one training courses which are “… are focused on what actually happens in a fight, and not on what happens in the controlled environment of the training site. Likewise, we are always searching for better and more efficient methods, not locked in by any school dogma.”

The following Suarez International instructors were there to help us:

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  1. Juan Sepúlveda – Director Of Training – Juan (center of photo) hosted our first course in Costa Rica in 2003 and provided the basis for developing our Costa Rican Branch. Juan is a talented shooter and a gifted instructor in his own tight. He has competed in International level pistol competition for many years and is well known in the Central American shooting community.
  2. Guillermo Granados C. – Senior Instructor/Rangemaster – Guillermo (on the right) has been training and teaching firearms nearly all his life. He has travelled and shot with our Director Of Training throughout Central America. His knowledge, practical experience, shooting skill and teaching abilities have insured our programs are presented at the highest levels.
  3. Erhard Iff – Senior Instructor/Rangemaster – Erhard (on the left) is a recent transplant to Costa Rica from his native Switzerland. He is a life long warrior and has served in military roles as well as law enforcement.

Small arms have certainly become more efficient and lighter but they have not changed dramatically and, the people using them have also not changed but it was an interesting day. We had an oncologist, an attorney, a computer analyst, a few others I didn’t really get a chance to speak with and some British guy who wrote a book about How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate (:-)

Judging from the directions they emailed me before the course, the location appeared hard to find and thank goodness my assistant ordered a taxi for because otherwise I would never have found the range if I spent all day looking for it…

PS. For those of you who think we joke about how difficult addresses can be in Costa Rica… Here’s the ‘address’ they emailed me for the shooting range:

Esto es saliendo del parque de moravia en ruta a San Antonio de Coronado, se pasa por el Palí y se sigue la calle hacia San Antonio, a menos de medio Km de allí hay un puente y una cuesta después, subiendo esa cuesta hay dos salidas hacia la izquierda, la primera es hacia los Sitios, y la segunda, donde está el Mall Don Pancho, va a La Trinidad.

Tomando la primera salida se sigue esa calle un Km con sus curvas hasta llegar a un polideportivo y al frente hay una Y griega en donde hay un recibidor de café de Coopelibertad.

En ese recibidor se toma hacia la derecha, bajando hacia el río y se vuelve a trepar la cuesta, siguiendo la calle, tal vez otro KM, hasta llegar a una intersección con un pequeño rótulo en un pste que indica que siguiendo recto va hacia la urbanización torre blanca, en vez de seguir recto, virar hacia la derecha, subiendo la cuesta y siguiendo la calle a lo largo de un cafetal, pulpería y se llega a los 300 metros a tanques de A y A, la escuela y la terminal de buses de los Sitios, todo junto. de allí son 100 metros siguiendo esa única calle hasta el portón de la finca donde está el rótulo Polígono 38 especial.

El camino rústico hacia el tajo son unos 300 metros en regular estado, ahí es el curso.

Is that clear?

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Written by Scott Oliver, author of 1: How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa, 2: Costa Rica’s Guide To Making Money Offshore and 3. ¿Cómo Comprar Bienes Raíces en Costa Rica, Sin Perder Su Camisa?

Scott Oliver's Four Books

Scott Oliver’s Four Books.

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