Monday, August 16, 2010

Warriors - what did you do today to help keep yourself in the fight?

OP: Warrior Talk News

A Study Of Fighting In Your House

E_sft01-474x308-389x251 Fighting in houses...or fighting in your house can take on many forms depending on your mission. Having clarity of mission is essential so you know how to comport yourself in each event. I want to be very clear that this is one of the most dangerous activities that a homeowner may encounter.

Sadly, most training out there is limited to the police application, which I call “hunt the burglar”. This has very little in common with much of what you may need to do if you are not in that line of work.

Rifle2Basing our focus on the armed civilian CCW operator we can identify several possible mission profiles and tactical skills needed for fighting in houses.

1). Holding Ground. This is the most common home defense type scenario. Think of the classic scenario where a homeowner is awaken by a strange sound indicating a break in. They barricade themselves in the bedroom with the old double barreled shotgun, issue the classic warning, “I have a gun” and then call the police. We hear stories like this all the time.

The homeowner has no pressing need to enter the fight or go in search of the threat so he simply takes up a position of advantage, using as much cover and concealment as a bedroom will allow. He points his muzzle at the bedroom door chanelizing the avenue of approach of the bad guy and waits in ambush. When the bad guy forces his way into the bedroom, a "warning" may or may not be given depending on the tactical situation and the region.

For this very elementary event there is little need for any skills at all other than pointing the weapon and having the will to fire it at the home invader. They do however, need to have a weapon in the first place.

While many CCW folks advise this as what you always need to do, it is a very limited application. Will you do this if the rest of your family is still out there at the mercy of the home invader? Of course not.

Spain2005-22). Taking Ground. This is a bit more involved and far more physically and mentally demanding. This basically involves attacking the attackers. An example may be, as we mentioned earlier, the rescue of family members about to be victimized. The police parallel is a hostage rescue.

Think of the previous scenario except the homeowner is awakened by the sound of glass breaking, their child’s terrified screams in a bedroom across the house are suddenly muffled and they hear a stranger’s voice telling them to shut up.

This is hardly the time to hide under the bed with a shotgun is it?

This situation requires moving rapidly and stealthily directly to the threat. The mission is not to stay safe, it is to go to the fight. The mission is to close on the bad guys and shoot them to the ground with surgical close range gunfire. The urgency of the situation probably proscribes any negotiation, warnings, or attempt to deescalate the situation. The bad guys are located, closed upon, and shot down in order to save the innocents they are victimizing.

A similar situation is presented in an active shooter event where you have elected to stay and fight rather than run away. And before you discount this, there are plenty of reasons to do just that if family members or others for whom you are responsible are still in the danger area. You are not going to abandon your kids at Trolley Square or the Tacoma Mall and run for your life are you?


3). Traversing Through. Traversing involves traveling through a contested or conflict area where there may be active armed bad guys. The mission is not to engage them, but rather to escape them. But understand, getting shot in the back is no way to escape. The operator (s) and their protectees move rapidly through and out, free of the threat area, but ready to engage any threats that may appear or impede their exit.

Think of the active shooter event where there are multiple shooters but their immediate whereabouts are not certain. All you know is that the current place is not safe and that remaining there is not a good idea. You need to escape but running into one or more of them on the way out is a very real possibility.

There is no time to clear or search. You move quickly as before, giving cursory attention to danger areas with eyes and muzzles on the approach and egress, but no attempt would be made to “clear them” or search them. As soon as a danger area is passed, it is abandoned as new danger areas appear. The goal is to escape...but in a strong and controlled manner ready to convert escape into attack if necessary.

DIGG-GLOCK 4). Search and Clear. This is an area of study that is often the basis of many "shoothouse" training events. It involves moving cautiously and deliberately through an area in direct search for an adversary that is presumably hidden or unaware of the good guy's presence. It is basically an indoor manhunt.

Most people have no idea how strenuous this is both physically and mentally, nor how dangerous it is when done alone. A typical 3000 square foot house for example might take the better part of an hour to search correctly by a team of three. And by search I mean doing it right, not simply turning the lights on and peeking into a room then declaring it clear.

All of these require a thorough understanding of the nature of architectural features commonly found in modern buildings such as corners, hallways, doors, stairs, etc., and how to negotiate them at various speeds. You would also need the ability to identify danger areas and potential threats, and the ability to mold your fighting platform to the environment at hand. As well, you need a clear understanding of what your mission is at any given moment as well as the fact that things can change quickly from one mission profile to another.

A lot of the choices you make will depend on how much information you have. This is not the time to be thinking about liability and stuff like that. If you do, you'll lose.

Consider these situations

1). You wake up at 3:00 AM because you heard something. You are not certain enough to go back to sleep but not certain enough to call 911.

2). The noise that wakes you up is much more pronounced than in #1. Still not confirmed "human" but definitely something is not right.

3). You wake up to the sound of glass breaking and swearing. You live alone.

4). You wake up at 3:00 AM because you heard your kid scream across the house. His or her scream was followed by a male voice telling them to shut up.

5). You are at church and your kids are across the on the other side of the church at youth ministry. You hear gun shots coming from that direction, people screaming and running away from the sound.

6). You and your protectees are inside a building where bad things are happening. Your current location is untenable and you must leave but expect to encounter resistance as part of the escape.

While each event is similar, the dynamics of the fight are different and each one requires different tactics. Think about this now and how you might handle each one of these problems. Think also about what skills you might need to make your time in the fight safer for you and more dangerous for the bad guys.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Warriors - what did you do today to help keep yourself in the fight?

OP: Warrior Talk News

High Risk Operator - Rural PatrollingIMG_0961

“Just what is this business of Patrolling and why should I as a regular guy want to learn about it?” Was a question posed to me the other day. Well lets examine the ‘what it is’ first. Patrol(ling) as defined in my Webster’s dictionary states as follows.

A) the action of traversing a district or beat or of going the rounds along a chain of guards for observation or maintenance of security.

B) the person(s) performing such action.

C) a unit of persons or vehicles employed for reconnaissance, security, or combat.’

CQB-1 The military description places it into the two distinct categories of ’combat’ and ’reconnaissance’ patrolling, with a clear task or purpose for the mission . Combat patrols are further defined as raid, ambush, and security patrols. Which may be conducted in close proximity to a main party or facility for the purpose of defense ( the security patrol) or they may be sent deep behind enemy lines with the intent of attacking and/or harassing the enemy.

Reconnaissance patrols are generally tasked with the gathering and confirming of information and are dispatched with the intent of avoiding direct contacts with an enemy. The information sought can very from determining the size, activity , or location of an enemy or tracking their movement .It may be tasked with identifying a route for movement through an area , such as locating a place to conduct a river crossing or possibly establish a secure perimeter to base operations from. The reconnaissance patrol may be utilized to establish contact with friendly forces or sister units to report intentions, status, locations, etc.

Military patrols may be very small entities such as a fire team, or they may be conducted at squad or platoon strength, and likely have subordinate teams with in the structure. The overriding conditions of their existence and effectiveness at the task at hand must allow them to operate in an independent manor, relying on its self for immediate security, maintenance, navigation, and its ability to perform the operational orders that it is tasked with , such as breaching obstacles, securing of prisoners, the seizing of objectives, documenting intelligence, photographing/mapping terrain, etc.

Highriskoperator-7 The civilian police world incorporates patrolling into a variety of circumstances, some similar and some less so than the military application in a infantry context. Again we can identify a task or objective as the governing factor determining the methods utilized, as well as size, capabilities, and expectations of the patrol. The ‘street’ officer may be assigned with a general ’security’ task such as simply responding to any calls for service in a particular precinct or jurisdiction, maintain presence in an area for the purpose of identifying and deterring crimes, or tasked with a more specific purpose such as enforcing traffic laws in a congested area and/or conducting collision investigations as they occur. The ’security’ application of patrolling is applied in the protection of VIPs in both public and private sector. Prisons and correctional institutions conduct such activities outside the perimeters of the facility as well as with in the walls, layering security patrols on foot, in vehicles, and in fixed location such as control pods and towers for the purpose of maintaining order and custody with in the facility.


Special operations with in the police world call for more specific applications of patrolling with certain objectives to achieve. I have conducted patrolling operations tasked with the purpose of gathering information, collection of intelligence, observing and surveillance of locations for evidence of criminal activity ,etc. Having conducted counter narcotic interdiction/eradication operations with multi-agency/jurisdiction task forces, many of these activities focused on gathering information for the purpose of securing warrants by means of placing video cameras and audio recording devices, photographing people, places, vehicles, and establishing the presence of trafficking and manufacturing of drugs. These details often incorporated support elements such as forensic technicians, aviation support, the use of crime informants or undercover personnel.

We always performed reconnaissance patrols prior to the service of arrest/search warrants for the detailed planning of those operations, maintaining real time current information on the location and its inhabitants, and to maintain ‘eyes on’ surveillance of persons of interest to the legal system. At times, providing protection of persons/places resulted in the tasking of similar patrols to survey the ‘arena‘ ahead of time. The circumstances that I have conducted such details have varied from camo fatigues and painted faces laying in a creek bed behind a spotting scope and note pad, too t-shirt and shorts sitting in the beer garden of a busy pub taking photos of ’the band’ and certain persons of interest that might be conducting business in the area as well, or on several occasions sitting in a U haul trailer positioned in a parking lot all night, taking shifts starring through a fish eye lens with some other lucky fellow. The nature of these type operations were similar to the ‘reconnaissance’ category found in the military circles…covertly maneuver to a location, occupy a ‘hide’, gather Intel, with draw undetected.

IMG_2837 Police Patrol operations at times share attributes with the ambush/raid flavor of military patrolling, but having much different rules of engagement. My involvement in such has included fugitive/inmate recovery teams, conducting activities traditionally referred to as ‘man hunts’ for individuals or groups that have taken flight to avoid prosecution or escaped containment of an agency or venue having custody over them. These patrols usually take on a more aggressive pace, conducting road blocks, check points, and tracking operations with the intent of capture . Similar patrols may conduct searches for missing and/or abducted persons, locating a downed aircraft, all using movement techniques designed to search and contact.

Police patrolling may employ a couple of detectives, a dozen members of a special response team, or consist of multiple agencies with various specific tasks assigned to them numbering hundreds. As with the military unit, the activity revolves around a specific task or purpose, (although sometimes with secondary mission considerations), that the ‘patrol’ carries out with the purpose of achieving the objective or task at hand.


Now that we have an example of what traditional ‘patrolling’ activities may entail, lets identify why the civilian operator should study them and incorporate them into the ‘tool box’. First though it is important to establish where this fits into our training path. Mission number one needs to focus on individual operator skills- your shooting disciplines, hand to hand skills, emergency medical knowledge, vehicle operation, an understanding of how a single operator might negotiate a building or structure, etc.. We move from there into our multi-operator training as Suarez International provides via our HRO Team Tactics 1 & 2, CQB, etc. The application of everything we developed as an individual gets performed in groups, thus allowing larger and more complex tasks to be performed in a safe, efficient manor as a group. The formation of family members, neighbors, friends ,etc. into a functioning unit, where several operators actions are used to compliment each others efforts for a greater task is critical. The old adage of two working together can do more than ten working alone reigns true.

Based on the above descriptions of patrolling, we can describe the action as the application of moving about our area of operations in a overt/covert manor, using persons arranged in a tactical formation to observe people, places, and events, for the various purposes of learning about them, assessing their capabilities, equipment, indentations, sometimes contacting them, avoiding them at other times, possibly inflicting our will upon them, and on occasions attempting to influence, effect, or eliminate situations favorable to allow others to inflict there will on us. It is the activity that allows us to be the ’king of the hill’ so to speak, and function in our given environment. It allows us to maintain control over areas deemed ours and it also allows us to explore areas that may belong to others.

IMG_2879 Patrolling skills are necessary so that you, those you are responsible for, or have common interests with, can conduct activities to include securing properties ,locations, buildings, etc. from threats in the event of societal breakdown (think: your neighborhood watch on steroids) or if your business requires you frequent more dangerous locations around the globe, good patrolling skills allow for a element of safety while you travel! Do any of you live in one of the rural counties of this nation that have been advised that there isn’t enough capital left in the budget to provide for law enforcement services….who watches the ranch then folks? The ability to maneuver and negotiate our way around the planet in small groups is critical when the need to escape/evade/relocate from an area that has become untenable, sometimes requiring flight on foot and maintaining safety in your numbers. The understanding of how to conduct counter surveillance on a foe that may be targeting you and yours for abduction, assault, or theft, is most important in this day and age. Wouldn’t it be desirable to be able to deploy a patrol to discover the whereabouts and perform the rescue of a lost or abducted family member or friend in times of trouble. What if you need to reach a downed comrade in an emergency. Many times in our nations history (as well as most others) and seemingly with a greater frequency, we find ourselves left ‘on our own’ to provide for the safety of our family and communities for varying durations and in different scenarios, as our elected officials fail to respond in a timely manor or are under equipped to deal with overwhelming events.


As civilian operators, responsible citizens, prepared families/communities , guerilla fighters, what ever banner you rally under- a knowledge of and application of patrolling should be a familiar topic in your bag of tricks. It must include ambush/counter ambush techniques, the understanding of conducting deliberate raids or assaults…do you know how to assemble your team into a line, file, or wedge and take the fight to the enemy ? How bout immediate action and contact drills to break the enemies attacks? Tracking/counter tracking operations….are you being followed? Do you have the skills to button hook your trail and conduct a hasty ambush? Traveling techniques, small unit formations, security halts, proper crossing and negotiation of various terrain, identifying bottle necks, fatal funnels, and other danger areas. Can you move your group safely up a ridge or conduct a river crossing? Is enemy contact likely? Do you understand how to move your team with traveling or bounding over watches through an open area? Can you keep the group together and on course in the thick timber? Can you establish a tight 360 degree perimeter for the night and allow every other member arranged like the spokes of a wheel to get some much needed rest, yet retain the ability to instantly and silently kick them to alertness in the event of compromise or danger? These things performed much easier having an understanding of how to do them and prior practice at it.

General navigation skills are a must. Can you read a topographical map and orient your self in the big scheme of things. Can you position yourself using terrain association and triangulation? How about the use of satellite navigation technology? I am of the opinion that it is a good thing to know where you are, how to get where you need to be, and return to where you came from, at all times! The understanding of how to organize, plan, and conduct patrol operations in varying terrains, environments, and conditions is critical. The knowledge required for establishing patrol bases, hides, security/ defensive perimeters in both urban and rural environments is important . If you are being watched, would you want to know about it and have the ability to loose your tail and conduct counter surveillance? All very important stuff for the civilian operator to know in our uncertain world! Remember the one person you can always rely on is you, and in hard times it is likely others will look to you as well. Will you be able to lead them? Be as reliable as you can.

IMG_0962 The safety of your ‘team‘, particularly over protracted events, boils down to your ability as a group to be able to shoot, move, and communicate. Those three things are the foundation. The study and application of patrolling is the method in which you maintain that safety in both the reactive and proactive side of events while on the move or ‘in camp‘. If you don’t possess the skills to advance to the fight, pick the fight, avoid the fight altogether, or flee from the fight if it found you- I submit you are not as combat effective as you ought to be and its time to develop these skills. Lots of material in this area of study will be available from Suarez International and its many talented instructors in the very near future. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to become as complete of a warrior as you can be. ….your life and other’s lives just might depend on it.

Eric W. Pfleger

Staff Instructor

Suarez International

From Warrior Talk News