tactical preschool 23

When engaging a bad guy, showing up with friends is always a good idea. To maximize your advantage, you should be striving to make your job easier and his job tougher. A basic way to do this it to strive for as close to a 90 degree angle of convergence on your opponent as possible.

While having a buddy by your shoulder isn’t really “BAD” per se and many shooting instructors train to work in close proximity to a cohort (it’s also easier and safer as far as range safety/control goes), if you are too close to your partner you are not making it difficult enough for the opponent to engage the two of you simultaneously. All he has to do is adjust his sight picture slightly to left or right to engage both targets.


If you think about it (when the ratio is 2:1), there is an inverse relationship of angle to advantage going on here. The wider the angle is between the two “good guys”, the more difficult it is for the “bad guy”.

The “bad guy” has to track and target threats that are farther and farther apart, making it more complicated to OBSERVE and ORIENT on his opponents.


Ideally, the optimal configuration is to attain a 90 degree angle on the bad guy. Of course all depends on time, distance, cover, terrain and other variables. Always remember that “best” can sometimes be the enemy of “good enough”.


Once you get past 90 degrees, the danger of hitting each other increases.


Something to think about: The inverse of this lesson. If you are outnumbered, you should be trying to maneuver yourself so that your opponents are at a narrower angle of incident.

Musashi had this to say on the subject:

Waiting is bad. Always quickly re-assume your attitudes to both sides, cut the enemies down as they advance, crushing them in the direction from which they attack. Whatever you do, you must drive the enemy together, as if tying a line of fishes, and when they are seen to be piled up, cut them down strongly without giving them room to move.


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11 thoughts on “tactical preschool 23”

  1. ..You’d have to be quite mentally incapacitated to not come up with most of the advice on this site naturally. Sorry to bust your balls bro.

  2. Thats the point “bro” (let me guess 16-25 yo?). There are no “secret techniques”.

    Yet…for all the years I have been involved with this stuff…few people seem to be able to “come up with them naturally”. Or seem to forget them when the heat is on.

  3. The study of battle tactics and strategy is a continuous struggle to get people to go against the ‘natural’ advice of biology and individual survival reactions….

    I’d say some of the LEO and Tactical folks who are commenting positively about these types of articles and/or linking them to other professional blogs trump the comment…. “bro”

  4. The entire point of these tactical “preschool” articles (emphasis mine) is to remind and spark discussion of the basics which many security, LEO, and military professionals have learned as second nature.

    In my opinion, if looking at the basics with a “fresh pair of eyes” helps even one person to do their job better or possibly make a decision which could save their or another person’s life, then these articles are more than worthy of attention.

    Even tried and true tactics should be reviewed and even discarded or modified to meet the changing demands of the situations they are utilized in. When it comes to dealing with violence between individuals I believe this is not only smart but required. To do otherwise begets the possibility of adhering to tradition for tradition’s sake which is not the best way to be as effective as possible in the highly mutable world of interpersonal conflict.

    Keep them coming Tgace. I for one am interested in seeing, talking about, and reviewing the basics.

  5. Common sense, yes. But in the heat of the situation, it’s easy to forget the simple stuff. I think it’s brilliant to have these simplified “preschool” lessons that are easy to remember, so that when you need them, you’ll remember.

  6. I agree with you saying 90 degrees on the bad guy is the best but I think it is good to remind readers that this would be in a ‘perfect’ scenario. In the real world there can be enemies everywhere and anywhere so if you’re 90 degrees split on one bad guy and another one shows up to your side, all of a sudden your partner is too far to do any good and you’re split up in a bad spot.

    Stick together as much as possible.

  7. Keep making as many of these lessons as you want, no matter how fundamental you think they might be. I went digging for explanations of “slicing the pie” and “button hook” for use in FPS multiplayer games, and have learned a lot more than I bargained for that I’m looking forward to applying in-game. 🙂

  8. Oh my. For you all who want to bash this page. I tell you as a former ranger and current swat officer, I have seen the same ole stuff since basic training back in 1999. Is BASIC stuff hence preschool. I have never seen it explained so well and made enjoyable instead of dry and boring. You will never learn anything if you what if every solution you hear. You must improvise, adapt and overcome. Keep it coming Tgace.

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