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Blackwater and Heckler & Koch Form Training Program
By Robert Bruce

Heckler & Koch and the Blackwater Training Center of Moyock, North Carolina last August announced the formation of a joint training program. Blackwater HK International Training Services will develop and teach high-level firearms, tactical, and armorer’s courses that use renowned Heckler & Koch weapons.

Blackwater HK International Training Services will combine the current courses of the Heckler & Koch Training Group of Ashburn, Virginia, with curriculum developed jointly by Heckler & Koch and the Blackwater Training Center, one of the business units of Blackwater and the largest private training facility in the United States.

“Our joining with Blackwater Training brings two international leaders together to provide a full spectrum of services to our customers,” said retired Major General John G. Meyer, Jr., Heckler & Koch Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue to offer training at customers’ locations; additionally, since all courses now will also be available at Blackwater’s stateof- the-art training facilities, our customers will have the opportunity to hone their skills in a first-class learning environment.”

“Heckler & Koch products are often the arms of choice for military and law enforcement professionals on the front line in the long war to support security, peace, freedom, and democracy,” said Blackwater’s President Gary Jackson. “Joining with Heckler & Koch links two preeminent companies in a truly unique and strategic partnership that will bring training to a new level in this industry.” Shortly after this partnership was announced, a group of writers were invited to tour the Blackwater facility and to try out some of H&K’s firearms on the school’s ranges.

Course offerings of Blackwater HK International Training Services include the full spectrum of operator and instructor classes covering HK submachine guns, pistols, and rifles. Armorers’ courses cover current HK weapons and newly developed systems like the HK416 carbine.

As part of the HK and Blackwater relationship, Heckler & Koch accessories, merchandise, and apparel are sold in the Blackwater “Pro Shop” located at the Moyock training facility. Special edition HK/Blackwater firearms are being developed.

About Blackwater

Founded in 1997 by a former U. S. Navy SEAL, Blackwater was created on the belief that both the military and law enforcement establishments would require additional capacity to train fully to the standards required to keep the country secure. “The Blackwater family” of business lines includes: Blackwater Training Center (the largest private firearms and tactical training center in the U.S.), Blackwater Security Consulting, Blackwater Canine, Blackwater Armor & Targets, Blackwater Logistics, Blackwater Airships, and Raven Development (a construction company).

On over 6,000 acres of private land, Blackwater has trained and hosted over 50,000 law enforcement, military and civilian personnel. Reputed to be the most comprehensive private tactical training facility in the United States, the instructors are ranked among the best and its facilities are top rate. At Blackwater, one trains, eats and sleeps at one facility. Approximately one million rounds are fired annually on Blackwater’s extensive series of ranges.

4,100 sq. ft. Multi-Level Live Fire Shoot House
  • Rated for all pistol, sub-machine gun, and buckshot rounds.
  • Rated for 5.56 frangible ammunition.
  • All interior and exterior walls are AR500 fully ballistic (with the exception of the interior doorways.)
  • 35 portable reactive AR500 bullet traps with the same rating as the shoot house.
  • High-powered rifle bullet traps are available.
  • Changeable floor plan.
  • 10 exterior entrances.
  • Six different interior and exterior stairwell problems.
  • Fully ventilated for shooter health and safety.
  • Lighting controls for lighted and low light scenarios.
  • Training capable for shooting exterior targets in conjunction with tactical scenarios within the shoot house.
  • Vehicle and waterside approachable.
  • Able to support helicopter operations with multiple fast rope areas.
  • Live fire shotgun breaching capable.
  • Explosive breaching capable.

1,400 sq. ft. Live Fire Shoot House
  • Rated for all pistol, sub-machine gun, and buckshot rounds.
  • Rated for 5.56 frangible ammunition.
  • All interior and exterior walls are AR500 fully ballistic (with the exception of the interior doorways.)
  • 8 portable reactive AR500 bullet traps.
  • High-powered rifle bullet traps are available.
  • Fully ventilated for shooter health and safety.
  • Lighting controls for lighted and low light scenarios.
  • Training capable for shooting exterior targets in conjunction with tactical scenarios within the shoot house.
  • Vehicle approachable.
  • Able to support helicopter operations with multiple fast rope areas.
  • Live fire shotgun breaching capable.
  • Explosive breaching capable.

Tactical Training Area Warm-up Range 25 yard x 20 yard utility range with the following:
  • Six Portable Steel pepper-popper targets
  • 10 portable paper target stands with uprights
  • Two plate rack with six multi-shaped interchangeable plates.
  • Paper targets are available.
  • Six portable 5-foot static steel targets measuring 12-inches by 12-inches.
  • Six Portable 5-foot static steel targets 12" x 18"

Law Enforcement Training Partnership

In January 2005, the College of the Albemarle (COA) and Blackwater Training Center entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to maximize training and education resources. As a result of this partnership, North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers have access to specialized courses offered through COA at Blackwater. In state and out of state Law Enforcement Officers benefit by receiving Continuing Education recognition through the North Carolina Community College System. Students must register through COA.

Tactical Driving School

In addition to firearms training, Blackwater also offers tactical driving classes. The Blackwater Beyond Normal Limits Driver Training Facility boasts three separate driving tracks used individually or in combination for over 3 miles of road with intersections, side streets and traffic circles. Constant, increasing and decreasing radius corners, cambered, level and off camber turns with elevation changes add to the driving challenge. Changes of traction surface from asphalt to concrete to asphalt with rain making capability enhance driving skill and highway safety training.

Basic Driver Skill Development Training is a prerequisite part of all training programs and is then combined with an in-depth understanding of the mental aspects required for physical skill development. Offensive and Tactical Driver Training include attack recognition, evasive actions, and mock attack scenarios were developed from analysis of actual attacks on transportation world-wide. The use of an alternate fleet of consumable training vehicles allows for the development and implementation of close proximity and realistic attack response driver training.

Programs offered range from Travel Security and Route Assessment for Surveillance Detection to more sophisticated offensive and defensive surveillance training. The driving programs vary from a one-day Advanced Highway Safety package to multiple training day counter-terrorist or counter-criminal tactical courses. Specialized Driver Training Programs include law enforcement, protective security motorcade or convoy operations, advanced tactical for military units and single vehicle training for the unsupported agent or operator.

Off Road Driver Training in HUMMV, SUV or pick-up truck vehicles is a oneday basic course or can be conducted as a multiple day advanced course. The advanced course includes dirt and gravel road driving at highway speeds. An ATV Safety Institute (ASI) certified ATV and ATV Tactical Course is also available. Blackwater’s engagement in mobile training and operational activities conducted by its staff in hostile environments around the world adds a unique perspective to its training concepts. This real world experience allows instructors to better focus on realistic training goals and specific requirements and recommendations for clients.

Building Facility

The heart of Blackwater is its 9,000-square-foot training center building which contains:
  • Conference rooms
  • Lounge area
  • Proshop
  • Dining hall
  • High security climatized weapons vault

The main lounge can be utilized for meetings, small parties and afterhours discussions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Moyock?

Moyock is in the northeast corner of the state of North Carolina. Blackwater’s main gate is located in Moyock while its ranges are in Camden, North Carolina; the school’s driveway is nearly 4 miles long.

Are civilians allowed at Blackwater?

All people of goodwill are welcome at the Blackwater Training Center.

Can I stay at a local motel/hotel/bed and breakfast?

Most people who train at Blackwater enjoy staying at the facility for its convenience; there are both bunk style lodging and private rooms available. There are also local bed and breakfasts as well as hotel/motels in the Elizabeth City, NC or nearby Chesapeake, VA areas.

Will I get a certificate of completion?


What is the usual instructor/student ration?


How many employees does Blackwater have?

175 - and growing.

Grizzly APC

Blackwater has gone into the armored car manufacturing field. Its Grizzly vehicle was shown to the writers assembled for our visit last fall. It was designed from the ground up to counter the most lethal threats in the modern urban combat environment. The Grizzly incorporates the Blackwater High Threat Armor Protection System (patent pending). This state-of-the-art technology is engineered to defeat projectiles up to .50 caliber and to provide an IED-survivable envelope. The vehicle is constructed of AR500 armored steel. The passenger compartment walls are angled to deflect the deadly blast waves produced by mines, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The plant producing the Grizzly APC comprises 100,000 square feet and is located adjacent to the Blackwater training facility. It has the capability of producing one vehicle per day.

Grizzly Specs
  • Designed and engineered by Blackwater explosives experts
  • High Threat Armor Protection System - defeats up to .50 caliber AP
  • State-of-the-art multi-layer armor technology
  • AR500 steel armor provides maximum survivability
  • Fiber-Tek armor reinforced belly and lowers
  • Clean, angled underside deflects IED blast waves
  • MIG-welded armored undercarriage
  • Drive train is fully enclosed in the armored envelope
  • Fully armored doors; heavy-duty hinges; quick-exit hatches
  • Top-side egress hatches (2)
  • Fighting ports (5): two on each side, one rear
  • Transparent armor windows defeat 7.62 x 51mm NATO Ball standard; NIJ Level 3; European B6; UL Level 5
  • ArmorThane tactical coating inside and out; reduces probability of spall
  • 300+ hp diesel motor
  • Cruising speeds over 65 miles per hour (100 kph)
  • Super-rugged heavy-duty suspension system
  • Heavy-duty brakes
  • 50+ gallon fuel tank
  • Range greater than 350 miles
  • Emergency reserve tank; standard equipment
  • 15,000 pound rated winch; standard equipment
  • Gross Vehicular Weight less than 30,000 lbs.
  • Dimensions - H 105.25" - W 102.25" - L 263.75"
  • Rolls in and out of a C-130 and numerous other cargo planes

While this author has visited and trained at fine shooting schools around the country, the Blackwater Training Center is the most impressive facility this writer has ever visited. The breadth and variety of its course offerings are most impressive and its geographical size dwarfs just about everything else. You will not go wrong by training here.

For more information, call (252) 435- 6388, or write Blackwater, P.O. Box 1029, Moyock, NC 27958. Their website is

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V10N11 (August 2007)
and was posted online on November 23, 2012


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