Tag Archives: tactics

tactical preschool 67

If you are ever confronted with a situation where you have to escape from a kidnapping attempt or vehicular ambush, and backing out of the killzone is impossible, a simple rule to keep in mind is….

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….consider the size/weight of your vehicle and the size/weight of the vehicles blocking you in.

Regardless of that comparison, you do not want to impact the engine end of a vehicle with yours. Most of the mass of a vehicle is in the engine and you don’t want to strike the heaviest part of their car with yours.

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If you absolutely have to push your way out of a roadblock, pick the car that is as close to or smaller than the size of yours and aim for the back end of it.

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You do NOT want to hit the other vehicle at a high rate of speed, 20-25 MPH is the sweet spot. Do not hit the brake as you push through, remember to keep your foot on the gas and accelerate through. Be prepared for airbag activation, but do NOT stop. Recover from the impact and drive away ASAP.

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tactical preschool 66

This lesson is going to cover a basic counter-surveillance technique called a Surveillance Detection Route, otherwise known as an SDR.

Counter-Surveillance is, simply put, the art of preventing people from seeing what you are doing. This can cover techniques as simple as alternating your daily movement patterns to as complex as sweeping your bedroom for electronic listening devices.

This lesson covers a simple technique for detecting if you have a “tail”.

Law Enforcement Officers should always have their “head on a swivel” when they get into their personally owned vehicle (POV) at the end of shift and head home. You never know who you may have pissed off and it’s wise to take measures that prevent someone from following you to your residence. Even if you are not LE, you may have irate exes, stalkers or your spouses PI (LOL!) trying to follow you.

Most often, picking up a tail will be while you are operating a vehicle. The basic concept of an SDR applies while on foot as well, but for this example lets say you have a nice suburban home:

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Your normal trip home from the Supermarket is something like this:

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Say one day you notice a car follow you out of the parking lot and something starts to “tingle” in your head. Nothing serious enough to call 911 or start driving to the nearest police station, but a “better safe than sorry” sort of thing…

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Take a turn. This is when you start your SDR. Which, simply put, is just taking a little trip and seeing who follows you and for how far.

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In Narcotics parlance this is sometimes called “squaring the block”. If you see the same vehicle following you turn-for-turn, or if it turns off then re-appears behind you later, assume you are being followed.

Of course, if you think you are being followed by “professionals” they are going to have multiple vehicles following you with communications between them, and maybe even air assets and stationary posts along your known route. One car may turn off while another that was on a parallel street picks you up. But that’s Jason Bourne style $@!# and unlikely to be something the average reader should be concerned about.

However, If for some reason you think this incident requires a bit more caution, you can park in the vicinity of your home, but not right in front of it:

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Sit in your car for a bit and look around for anything out of the ordinary. Are there any occupied cars parked on the street? Any people you’ve never noticed before walking the dog, or jogging around the block?

A pair of binoculars in your car can be a handy tool.

You could then get out and walk the sidewalk to the corner and back..or all the way around the block if you are up for some exercise.

What I would warn the reader to avoid is simply using SDR’s as part of their daily habit. I’ve seen a number of people pull SDR’s simply as habit while not really paying attention to if anyone was actually following them. Alternating your daily route as “habit” is fine. An SDR is a highly conscious thing that requires your full alertness and concentration.

the armed citizen

This is something I just wrote in response to a comment about the Paris Terror attack. Someone had commented on how he has firearms training and believes that he could have gone toe to toe with the attackers and had a good chance of prevailing. I replied with:

IMO It’s not really entirely matter of “ability” as much as it is simple availability.

Unless the Jihadi’s are assaulting your home or are on your street, or you happen to be able to take your AR and plate carrier to work with you, the odds of being there with the right tools are really not that good. In our society, the people driving around with the weapons/tools and the communications to co-ordinate response are the Police. Even with all of that and the specific duty to be cruising around to respond to trouble the odds of being able to counter-assault an attack like this are slim.

Certainly our citizenship being armed and prepared to defend their lives “in extremis” is vital. But IMO the odds are better that they would be able to exfil a terror attack than stop one.

Most armed citizens are going to be walking the streets with handguns. The odds of stopping two guys with AK’s with a handgun are NOT going to be good.

We need to work together. You may be able to contain a house fire with your extinguisher/garden hose, but you still call in the Firemen because they have the Engines/Pumpers. This is the same sort of thing.

tactical preschool 65

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…

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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 11 we covered the basics of room entry/room clearing.

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.

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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.

tactical preschool 64

This lesson is closely associated with tactical preschool 5 and the geometry of cover.

Your distance from cover will dictate how much area behind cover will open up when you move sideways away from it.

If you are close to cover, a larger slice  of area behind that cover will open up….

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…than if you are farther away from cover, where a smaller slice will appear.

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Magpul “Action Sport”

Magpul PTS Dynamic Action Sport from john lawrence on Vimeo.

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.

two man drills, good stuff or misunderstood?

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.

However, once the bullets start flying I can’t see an advantage in standing close together and slugging it out. One, you present a big target and two, you fail to present the opponent with the attention dividing distraction two people can present. I would think that it would be better to split up and find cover that would allow you to mutually support each other with fire.

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tactical preschool 63

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While it’s generally a good idea to keep the muzzle of your weapon oriented in the same direction as your eyes, there are numerous instances where multiple areas of danger must be addressed.

In these situations (when you cannot divide areas of responsibility between multiple people) it is better to scan with your eyes while keeping your muzzle oriented between the danger areas.

areafire2This allows you to respond to threats to either side more rapidly than if you decide to commit to one over the other.

 

sometimes there is nothing you can do

Despair
Despair (Photo credit: fakelvis)

I recall reading a post over at Hell in a Handbasket that discussed this disturbing video of a Mexican police Captain, his wife and two innocent bystanders being gunned down in a jewelry store by members of a drug gang. Apparently it was  in retaliation for attempts by the police to clean up the drug problem in the area. The video is graphic and disturbing so be forewarned.

As is natural, such a visceral image causes a person to put themselves in the situation and think..”thank God it wasn’t me”…”thank God its in another country”….”thank God that doesn’t happen here”…various things that may or may not be true, but cross your mind anyway. I think its a natural attempt by a person to make themselves feel secure. A defense mechanism to reassure themselves that being gunned down by AK47 wielding drug gang members is unlikely. Which for the most part is true.

However it also set me to thinking that sometimes there is just nothing you can do once you pass a certain point. If you are standing in a public place with one available exit, trapped in between display cases and a group of men with automatic weapons and a plan are coming to get you, they will get you. The only way this man and his wife could have avoided this is if they knew that they were at risk (which it looks like they should have, another police leader had been gunned down previously) and took protective measures way beforehand. Bodyguards, secure locations, not going out…even then, if the opponent is determined enough and there is not an active counter effort against them, it would just be a matter of time.

When we train, we have to keep in mind what we can realistically accomplish. Being armed, trained and aware is often just “the best we can do”, its is never a guarantee. In some ways it’s simply a pacifier that holds the specter of helplessness at arms length. Any person who says they can train you to save yourself and your loved ones with a pistol and your martial arts moves in a situation like this should be avoided at all costs.

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think ahead

English: Samurai wearing kusari katabira (chai...
English: Samurai wearing kusari katabira (chain armor jackets) and kusari zunin (chain armor hoods) with hachi gane (forehead protectors). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a samurai in service accompanies his lord on a journey and they arrive at post-station it is most important that he should before sunset take care to make enquiries of the people of the locality, and note any hill or wood or shrine or temple and take his bearings by them, and find out in what direction from their lodging there is an open space and what is the condition of the road. This should be done so that should a fire suddenly break out during the night and it be necessary for his lord to retire he will be able to lead the way and know where to guide him. And when he accompanies his lord on foot, to remember to go in front of him on a hill and behind him on a slope may seem a small matter, but it is one a retainer should not overlook. For it is the duty of a samurai to be vigilant and careful at all times to think out how he can render any possible service in the calling to which he is appointed. – Daidoji Yuzan

This passage brings to mind how we should not be just “going through” the motions when we carry arms for a living. How many coppers have been caught flat footed when that “routine call” turned to shit? Think ahead…find those points of cover in your environment…have some sort of mental “what if” plan that covers as many options you can think of as you approach that car stop.