This lesson will cover an alternative room clearing option from the “room flood” technique most commonly seen.
The “room flood” is the one you see in all the movies and cop shows. The door blows open and all the good guys “flood” into the room, shooting down the bad guys…
The idea is that “speed, surprise and violence of action” will overcome any resistance.
There is something to be said for the technique. The SAS perfected it and most US Special Operations Forces and Elite SWAT Teams still train and use it effectively. But to work when people are actually shooting at you as you enter, you need to be HIGHLY trained and willing to accept losses. In essence you are stepping into a room with the bad guys and shooting it out.
For SHTF situations like hostage rescue where you HAVE to get in and get in fast or else the hostages are going to get killed, this is probably still the best basic method (incorporating other things like window porting, sniper shots, diversions, etc.).
However, when used as a default method for all SWAT entries like high risk warrant execution, single person barricades and other less exigent reasons…well…you are asking people to wade into possible gunfire, expecting them accept losses and “drive on”.
For the average “operator” I don’t see that being something that will work out too well. Over and over again we have seen situations where the team meets gunfire at the breach and bogs down in the fatal funnel:
An alternative method of room clearing gaining ground is commonly called the “limited penetration” technique.
This is a concept that combines two previous lessons.
In Tactical Preschool 46 we talked about how sometimes it’s wiser to deal with an armed subject from outside the room rather than trying force your way inside with him.
In this method, instead of rushing into the room to clear the funnel, the operators slice the pie from opposite sides of the door and engage any threat from outside the room. If the room is clear, they button hook the door and clear the corners and then proceed to the next entry point.
This is becoming one of the preferred techniques with the Israelis and the South Africans. If you go to the 1:28 point of the following video you can see the South Africans training in it….live fire….with an instructor inside….
Some detractors of the method don’t like the “loitering in the fatal funnel” aspect of the technique, but I believe there’s something to be said for the idea that perhaps…instead of trying to force a group of armed men into an enclosed space with a bad guy…it may be a better idea to deal with him from the door.
A nicely put together video that shows the training options/benefits available with Airsoft equipment.
While I’m not sold on the competition aspect due to “training scar” concerns, the target systems and equipment can provide many man-hours of training in a shoot house environment without the expense of live ammunition or the safety concerns.
Ask my wife and she will tell you, I can get out of control when I am watching any television show or movie about the military or law enforcement. The constant, recurring mistakes and misinformation that these industries put out just get in my craw and I have to yell “BULLSHIT!!” It makes me wonder, don’t these shows have advisers? If they do, what the hell are they getting paid for? Or is it that the directors think that they have better knowledge on these topics? The following are at the top of my WTF?!?! list:
1. Give me that before you hurt yourself:Cops and soldiers are constantly “racking” their weapons. I mean come on! I carry with a round in the chamber all the time. If I had to constantly rack my weapon every time I drew it there would be brass flying everywhere and my co-workers would think I lost my mind. I know that directors love the “click clack” of weapons being cycled but use your goddamn head! SWAT teams don’t stack up on a door and THEN load their weapons. FBI agents don’t have to charge their pistols after they draw them and they definitely don’t have to do it two more times in the same incident! Racking your shotgun just before you kick down a door is f$#%ing STUPID!! Going into an apartment after a serial killer, knocking on the door, hearing him run out the back and THEN racking your pistol and giving chase…F#$%ING STUPID!!!
Addendum: Lets see what else have I seen…oh yeah.
FYI you director types, there is no “safety” on a Glock pistol so a character telling someone with a Glock “turn off your safety” makes no sense. And what is up with that “clickety clack” sound every time someone draws a pistol?? Is that supposed to be the safety disengaging (if it’s a Glock refer to my previous comment)? Is that supposed to be a hammer cocking? Cause it doesn’t sound like that and hell…nobody really thumb cocks an automatic that often.
OH! And another thing, when a Glock (or any striker fired pistol) runs empty, and if by some chance the slide fails to lock back (why do so few television pistols reach lock back?), it will only “click” once. These shows where an empty Glock runs out of ammo and goes “click…click…click..” well…whoever made that creative decision…YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!
2. Oh what the hell why not?:Every Tom, Dick and Harry stacking up with the SWAT team, I think not. If my blood pressure went up one mmHg every time I saw some “CSI”, “FBI Investigator” or “Detective” stacking up with the tactical team to go in and get the bad guy my head would F’n explode!
News Flash. If I saw some “CSI” getting in my stack on a high risk entry he would get a boot up his ass. No SWAT team leader worth is salt is going say…”OK you FBI Profiler with no tactical training I am aware of, or experience with MY team, go right ahead and get in the stack.”
The only thing that gets me more pissed off is when the SWAT team rams the door and Horatio Crane in his shades is the first guy through the door! Hello numbnuts director, the way it works is the SWAT team goes in ALONE!! and when its secure they call the eggheads and Detectives in.
3. Uniformed Cops as props:Every Detective/Profiler/CSI show or movie out there has uniformed cops as “background”. They walk aimlessly here there and everywhere with clipboards or magically appear to conveniently slap the cuffs on the bad guy that the dweeb from the “crime lab” ran down in a raging gunfight…please.
Or its the “dumbass uniform” who screws up the investigation that the star detective has to deal with.
Then…like in #2, when some “hot call” goes out I don’t know why TV cops bother to even show up. You know its the hot detective from the crime lab that is going to go in first and fight mano y mano with the serial killer. Where the hell the uniform cops went nobody knows, they just show up to haul off the bad guy to the station. They must have stopped in the kitchen for some coffee while the hero did all the work.
4. Hello I’m with the Gvt and I’m here to help:CSI and Criminal Minds…you always hear “were just here to help with your investigation, not take it over…” yet somehow its always some profiler that takes over the investigation and gets involved in the shooting or the apprehension. I know it wouldn’t be exciting if the agents sat in the office all day and the local cops were the ones making the arrests, but that’s how it is. By and large FBI agents are investigators, accountants, lawyers and lab techs.
And these CSI teams..it always impresses me how CSI works local, county, state, federal and hell even international cases. Who the hell do these guys work for anyways?
5. Kill em and Leave em:The “profilers” arrive like the cavalry…light up some scumbag and then hop back on their jet and fly off into the sunset. Yeah when an on-duty shooting happens that’s pretty much how it goes..no investigations, lawsuits or court appearances necessary. If you are “with the crime lab” or a “profiler” you can just holster up and walk away.
6. Nuclear Grenades: Some Delta Operator tosses a fragmentation grenade into a window and the whole floor erupts into a raging inferno of a fireball like a suitcase nuke just went off….uhhhhh…no. A loud BOOM! a puff of smoke and a lot of little bits of metal flying about is about it.
7. Crappy Salutes: Need I elaborate? Some of these actors salutes would make a Drill Sergeant break out in hives.
8. Weird Science:No we don’t have computer databases of every matchbook from every club in the tri-state area. No we cant piece a broken bottle together and get a fingerprint that comes back instantly to a known felon (that gets picked up in 20 seconds). NO DNA TESTING IS NOT A “WHILE YOU WAIT” PROCESS!
These shows have gotten so out of hand with their “stretching” of real forensic science that juries have been clearing criminals of their charges because the proof wasn’t “as conclusive as they see on CSI”. Prosecutors even have a name for this phenomenon. “The CSI effect”.
9. Tuck that thing in: Military movies where everybody is walking around with their “dog tags” outside their shirts. Or dress uniforms with improper ribbons or improper wear of a uniform. Come on guys there are books on this stuff. Read one! Then there are the hot women detectives in clothes so tight I can count the change in their pockets. Not that there are no attractive women in law enforcement, but if one of my subordinates came in with her cleavage and belly button showing she would be going home for a wardrobe change.
10. Cover me I’m going in:Nobody ever waits for back-up, sets up a perimeter or gets on the radio. It sucks to share the glory with some dumbass “uniform”. I’ll just go down into that basement with the serial killer in the “woman suit”, only pussy’s would back out and call for back-up.
I know, I know, its just entertainment, but it pisses me off… deal with it! Keep reading for my next installment. This is just me warming up.
NEW!!! 11. Tin Cans and Strings: The woeful lack of realism with movie/television communications devices is reaching WTF?? proportions. First off there are these things known as frequencies and channels. Not all radios can communicate with each other simply because they are radios. So when you crawl into a tank to escape the zombie horde (Yes “Walking Dead” I’m talking to you), the dude on the roof top with a police portable radio isn’t going to be able to communicate with you. Convenient to move the story along, but flat out never gonna happen…even in a world where flesh eating zombies walk the earth.
And then there is the good ole “watch me talk to my wrist” scene. This is where all of our heroes simply have to talk to their watchbands and they magically can communicate with each other. Now…I have actually used one of those wrist mikes operationally. It is a microphone and switch that is run through your sleeve and pinned to your cuff. The switch dangles in your palm AND there is an earpiece that runs up your neck to your ear so you can hear any reply. Most importantly, the whole affair is ATTACHED TO A FRIGGIN RADIO!!!
What exactly is Mr. CIA transmitting with when he talks to his Rolex? Am I to believe that our FBI agents now have wristwatches that are full fledged radios that can transmit and receive? I’m pretty up on current tech…they don’t exist. Some sort of bluetooth device that connects to a radio/cellular system? Maybe, but how exactly is he hearing any reply? I never seem to see any of these “secret agents” wearing an earpiece…hell even a bluetooth earbud would give the scene at a scintilla of possibility.
I have seen, practiced and even operationally utilized some two man movement techniques similar to these but they sometimes left me thinking about the wisdom of them.
I can see the utility in “nuts to butts drills” when used doing building clearing and other situations where you need to maneuver in tight quarters and keep a 360 deg security. Similarly I can see their advantages as immediate reaction drills where you make contact while in a stack or while approaching a scene/suspect with a partner close by.
Every samurai who is in service must have a supply of weapons suitable to his means. Every feudal house has its military regulations, and the proper banners and flags and helmet insignia, spear mounts, sleeve crests, and marks on the baggage animals as ordered by the lord must be carefully provided in a uniform manner. For if they have to be improvised in a hurry it will be an obvious sign of carelessness and will provoke contempt. Men who from neglect of these insignia have been attacked by their own side and killed and suffered loss are not unknown in military history, so there must be no want of precaution in these things. And some may think that their servants are not likely to have to cut anybody down and so may replace the blades of their swords with wood or bamboo, and neglect to provide them with a loincloth because they think they will not need to gird up their clothes, and find themselves in difficulties owing to their want of foresight. And a samurai who is a cavalier and who receives a considerable stipend and who does not know when he may have to take the field, however peaceful the time may appear to be, is a hundred percent more culpable if he does not provide himself with the proper weapons than the young serving man with a wooden sword or no loincloth. So from fear of being put to public shame he ought to equip himself properly. And here is a piece of advice on the subject. When a small retainer wishes to fit himself out with armor and has, let us say, three pieces of gold to get a suit, the best thing he can do will be to spend two-thirds of it on the body armor and helmet, leaving the remainder to provide all the other things he will need such as underclothes, breeches, coat, under-hakama, upper girdle, surcoat, whip, fan, wallet, cloak, water-bottle, cup, etc., so that he will have every accessory he needs as well as his suit of armor. Then, though he may be young and very strong, it is better to avoid heavy suits of thick iron armor and weighty banners and standards, for the very good reason that, though they may be tolerable while he is young and vigorous, as he grows older they will become too much for him. And even a young man may fall ill or be wounded, and then the lightest iron armor will be a heavy burden and a hindrance. And if a young man gets known for the weight of his banners and standards he will find it difficult to give them up when he becomes older and less able to support them.
I find it an interesting parallel to modern soldiers and law enforcement officers who will spend tons of money on the latest flat-screen or video console but will scrimp on buying a quality holster or flashlight.
William of Ockham was an influential medieval philosopher who is recalled chiefly for the maxim attributed to him known as Ockham’s razor. Also spelled “Occam’s Razor”. The words attributed to him are, entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem…or “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”.
I bring this up because I have just read a quote from the Dokkodo, the “The Solitary Path”, which is a short piece written by Miyamoto Musashi shortly before his death:
Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what can be of use to you.
I see a link between the philosophies of these two men and an application to weapon training. I will attempt to explain.
Debate points that always seem to come up when discussing emergency reloads are:
“I use the power stroke because I may be using a weapon I am unfamiliar with and running the slide is fairly universal for all pistols while slide releases may vary.”
“I use the power stroke because the actions are similar to the manual of arms for clearing malfunctions.”
Being a fairly recent convert to the slide release method, Occam’s and Musashi’s quotes kind of cut me both ways.
I argue that the “It’s universal for all pistols” point either means you own too many pistols or you are saying you are going to be doing a combat pick up of a pistol…or a disarm.
Per Occam/Musashi…if you have so many different pistols that you may/may not be carrying at any one time, you are violating their precepts. I’m not against collecting guns, I’m not against having different pistols/rifles for different applications, but if you worry that you may not be able to “auto pilot” your weapon because you may be carrying something different on any given day, that’s a problem IMO. Pick one and make it a part of your hand.
The combat pick-up/disarm argument doesn’t hold much water for me either. I’m probably not going to disarm an attacker of his weapon and magazines and have to do an emergency reload with them. And the combat pick-up is such a statistically rare issue that I don’t see it as a valid point. Either way, if they worry you then do the power stroke method if that ever happens.
The second point…”I use the power stroke because the actions are similar to the manual of arms for clearing malfunctions.” Is a more valid argument when applying Occam (Musashi doesn’t really apply here). Having one way of operating the pistol regardless of reason (malfunction or running dry) is a stronger point IMO and I have much to agree with.
However I would counter that Occam said “…must not be multiplied beyond necessity” he didn’t say “never multiply”. The slide stop method has some things going for it; speed, efficiency, the weapon/hands stay more oriented to the threat, etc. The necessity of multiplying your manual of arms to gain those advantages may be debatable, but I would debate it.
Either way you choose I find Occam and Musashi’s points as interesting ways to analyze our choices when it comes to weaponcraft. What do you think?
Three days ago an article was dropped onto the internets by the Washington Times that rippled through the time space continuum of internet commandos and pajama ninjas. The article was a series of interviews with former and active high ranking officials, as well as former service members regarding the reliability and efficacy of the longest serving weapon system (rifle or carbine) in US Military history. We do not need to address that storied history here, however we do need to address the concerns raised in the article and the already common ways they have been addressed and remedied.
The discussion in the comments became an interesting exploration all of its own. A definition of warriorship that was explored stated that the warrior put him or herself at risk of serious physical injury or death for the sake of oneself or others. Someone else then asked if that would include “non-martial types”, such as a doctor who goes into dangerous places to treat others. I responded with a quote from Musashi:
It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. Although not only warriors but priests, women, peasants and lowlier folk have been known to die readily in the cause of duty or out of shame, this is a different thing. The warrior is different in that studying the Way of strategy is based on overcoming men. By victory gained in crossing swords with individuals, or enjoining battle with large numbers, we can attain power and fame for ourselves or our lord. This is the virtue of strategy.
A vital component of the definition, (according to Musashi at least…and I would dare say most historical “warriors”) is the point that the warrior exists and trains to overcome other people who are trying to impose their will against him and/or his group/community/clan/nation.
I also believe that being a “Warrior” comes with a price tag. And a pretty hefty price tag at that. Service, sacrifice, risk…Just “wanting to be one” isn’t enough by my standard. Neither is “putting on the clothes or skills”. Some folks like to apply the “warrior” label to one who simply practices a martial art.
Karate no more makes you a warrior than being a football player would. Karate (and pistol skills, rifle schooling, lock picking training, knife fighting training, etc.) are “warrior skills”. Skills that I believe some people pursue to live out their “warrior fantasy”.
If you want to be a “Warrior” then you have to go out and “put it on the line” and put those “warrior skills” to use. Anything less than you are practicing the “Warrior Lifestyle”. Much like training exactly like a NFL football player but only playing some backyard ball with your buddies doesn’t make you “as good as” a Professional Football player. Or having all the skills and gear of a Delta Force Operator doesn’t make you “as good as a Delta Operator”.
There are some martial artists and authors who have a different opinion than me:
This is a common misconception where the true warrior is concerned. While the main definition of the warrior found in most dictionaries is, “Somebody who takes part in or has experience in warfare.” This definition is not the one that should be used to define the true warrior, and is not an accurate definition for the warrior lifestyle. A better definition for a warrior is, “Somebody who takes part in a struggle or conflict.” The true warrior is engaged in a struggle and it is a daily fight. His battle is not necessarily on the battlefield, but rather a personal battle to perfect his character and to become a man of excellence in every area of his life.
While it is true that martial arts training is a vital part of warriorship, it is not the sole component of a true warrior. There are many people who are trained fighters who are not true warriors. The world is full of killers, gang members, and people of low character who are well-versed in weapons and how to take a human life, but is this the singular requirement for being a warrior? Are these people true warriors or simply trained thugs? Anyone can learn to pull a trigger or destroy the human body. Does this knowledge make them a true warrior, or is there more to the warrior than the ability to fight?
While I agree with the sentiment that warriorship is not all about skills. I’m not convinced that the word “warrior” or the concept of “warriorship” necessarily has or ever had a mandate of being “virtuous”.
Many “Warriors” sacked cities, carried off women as slaves, burned down villages and did other things we would consider reprehensible today. Would one suggest that the Vikings were not “Warriors”?
While I of all people value the “Warrior Ethic”, as we have re-codified it with our modern values; I would hesitate to define the basic concept of a “Warrior” as necessarily being “virtuous”, at least by any modern standard. Remember though that what the Mongols, Romans, etc. did back then was the “Way of War” in those days. Warriors were warriors because that’s what they were. Many were born into a caste system, Knights, Samurai, Tribal Warriors etc….Soldiers were the “Average Joe’s” that joined (or were conscripted) into armies, taught how to fight, paid in some manner and sent into battle. Many went back to being “Joe Farmer” afterwards. Some became “Career Men” and sort of crossed the Soldier/Warrior boundary. In our times I would say that the difference between a Warrior and a Soldier is a matter of professionalism, commitment to craft, and the honoring of a “code” either personal or codified. In the military, when you meet a “Soldier” vs. a “Warrior” you know it….
I don’t really now of any example in military history where significant things were accomplished by warriors who “fought alone”. The lone wolf, Rambo “Warrior” is a myth IMHO. Even the Samurai and medieval Knights who were of the “Warrior Class” fought in organized battles. Examples of individual combat did absolutely exist, but all warfare is typified by some form of teamwork. Our modern definition of “Warrior” is very different from the historical model IMO. For example, the Samurai were “Warriors” by caste and at the same time there were Ashigaru “Soldiers” recruited from the other classes who fought at the same time. They all fought, bled and died pretty much the same, but what was expected of the Warriors by their society was quite different. There really is no “class” difference in the military these days (besides the officer/enlisted split), so the difference between a Warrior and a Soldier has picked up all of this philosophical/spiritual/mystical stuff. I just think of the difference as one of “dedication to craft”. The difference between somebody who “does something” from someone who “is something”.
That “service, sacrifice and risk for ones clan/community” I mentioned earlier…note I didn’t add any sort of “virtuous conduct” to the definition. The German SS were an elite group of “warriors” they were using their warrior skills in the service of their nation. I wouldn’t describe what they were doing as virtuous by any means, but I would still consider them “warriors”. The Samurai of Japan were noted for..at times…lopping off heads for simply not bowing swiftly enough.
So in a nutshell. My definition:
Trains to overcome other men/people.
Seeks to perfect those skills.
Uses those skills in service to others.
Sees this honing of “craft” and “service to others” as a “way of life” vs. SOLELY as a paycheck/term of enlistment/college money/retirement package/etc.
While virtue and “self-improvement” are desirable and some historic warrior groups attempted to codify/instill those virtues (Bushido, Chivalry, etc.), the cultural and historic “fuzziness” of what is “virtuous” makes this aspect sort of an “add on” depending on the period and people making the definition.
Of course, there are no “warrior police” out there, so everybody is free to label as they wish. However this blog is about my definition so…there it is.