Sunday, February 5, 2017

Terrible, Terrible Tactics

Terrible, Terrible Tactics

Before I go on my mini-rant about the article that spawned the topic of this blog, some background is in order to establish bonafides...

For the past 10 years (Good Lord, has it been that long!?) I've been an active Adjunct Instructor for a very well-respected, nationwide training organization, which mainly focuses their training on response to active threats -- active shooters, ambushes, etc -- for first responders in law enforcement and the military.  One of my side-gigs is also as an adjunct instructor teaching firearms at the police academy and yet another side-gig is teaching defensive handgun basics to citizens who wish to defend themselves with a firearm.  I'm an NRA-certified basic pistol instructor and a member of the NRA.  Along with other professional experience, it's safe to say I know something about the topic upon which the rant will ensue...

Yesterday, this article (published in 2015) showed up on my social media feed:
https://www.shootingillustrated.com/articles/2015/7/13/clearing-corners/

The article goes on to describe various "tactics" for clearing corners of rooms in a defensive situation.  It is also a total load of crap.  Here are a few points to support my position:

  1. Every corner-clearing "tactic" in this article has the good guy(s) posting in the doorway to clear the corners.  There's a name for the doorway, it's called the "fatal funnel" and it's called that for a reason.  

          Imagine, if you will, that there is a bad guy in the very corner(s) that you are trying to clear.                 There's only one way in or out of that room and the bad guy knows that if you want to come             into that room, you have to come through the doorway.  Therefore, if you hang in the                       doorway for any length of time, you become a very compact, easy target for the bad guy.  This             is why the doorway is called the "fatal funnel" and why you should never, ever spend any                   longer in that space than is necessary.  Get to it, get through it and get in the room!

I can think of no more fun in a training scenario
than playing the "bad guy" inside the room & using a 
sim gun to plink these two knuckleheads repeatedly 
as they sit in the doorway playing grab-ass.

     
    2. These "tactics" are unnecessarily complex and require a lot of practice to perform safely and               effectively.  And by "a lot of practice", I mean at least like its your part-time job.



         We used to (and sometimes still do) teach first responders a technique called high/low, which is          somewhat similar to what is illustrated here, but the problem with both the high/low and                      whatever is illustrated in the article is they take constant practice and communication.  Why?              Because they have a high propensity for danger, both from a potential bad guy in the room and            from "friendly fire".  Remember, "friendly fire" isn't friendly at all!  Practice & communication.          If you don't do those two things constantly, "tactics" like this can go bad very, very quickly.

3.     This excerpt from the end of the article erroneously tells readers that you have options if your              partner is injured:

    "If your partner becomes wounded, you have three options. You can leave your partner and go for help or continue on with the mission, you can stay and fight in place, or you can attempt to move your partner to cover or safety. There’s no single, ideal plan . The scenario—and maybe your partner’s size or the extent of the injury—will dictate the proper response."

       Wrong.  You have one option if you're still taking fire... RETURN FIRE!  The article goes on to        say that you can tie a belt around your partner, making it easy to drag them out of danger.  But if          there's still danger, what the hell are you doing fiddling around with a belt?  If you are taking fire,        your best chance for survival is to use the tools at your disposal to neutralize that threat.  Period.  

Perhaps the biggest thing the article fails to take into account is mindset, because these "tactics" assume no one is in the room.  Over 10 years of teaching proper room approach & clearing tactics, I can attest to the fact that if you are clearing a room, as illustrated in the article, and you start taking rounds, human instinct will kick in and you will most likely not engage the threat, rather you will retreat, making it easy for the bad guy to change his position, while maintaining the constant that you (or someone) will likely be coming back through the door at some point.  By retreating, you give up your tactical advantage.  I've seen it over & over in training scenarios.  However, if you have the proper mindset that there is a threat in the room prior to even approaching it and you will neutralize that threat should it present itself, you now have the proper mindset.  Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

I'm disappointed the NRA would put out an article like this.  It's replete with poor "tactics" and bad advice for people who likely don't have the level of training or experience with a handgun that most law enforcement or military combat soldiers may have.  It's irresponsible for them to publish an article aimed at citizens who wish to defend themselves that, in my view, could very well put them in further danger.  Have you ever heard anyone say, "I know just enough to be dangerous"?  Well, if you read the linked article and come away thinking any these tactics are sound and good, you've achieved the level of knowledge that is officially dangerous.

Finally, I don't portend to know everything or what I teach is the only way to do it.  But there's a line between appreciating and incorporating a differing point of view into your proverbial toolbox and looking at obviously poor, dangerous "tactics" and knowing that someone should call them out on it.

-O'Hanrahan





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