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Archive for the ‘Gunfighter Moment’ Category

Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

In the spirit of post-SHOT Show coverage, check out the series of videos Gunfighter Moment contributor Larry Vickers did for the Vickers Tactical YouTube channel, covering SHOT Show 2017.

You can check out the rest of the videos at the Vickers Tactical YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/VickersTacticalInc

Gunfighter Moment – Aaron Barruga

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

We Can Do Better At Training Leaders

One of the most important ass chewings I received in the military was at Robin Sage. During the final phase of tactical training in the Q-Course, I experienced a case of senioritis that impacted my performance. As the patrol leader for a routine ambush mission, I apathetically presented an operations order to my evaluating cadre. Because the ambush is the baseline for teaching military planning and tactics, Green Beret candidates are drilled to the point of exhaustion (and boredom) in the science of mission preparation and execution via ambushes. This familiarity led to a presentation in which I tried to demonstrate how confident I was by delivering a halfhearted mission briefing, classic “too kool for skool” behavior.

Critical to these briefings is the execution portion in which every element confirms its specific tasks with adjacent friendlies and the broader scheme of the operation. This requires precise detail so there is no confusion, but is unavoidably dry and boring in delivery. I thought I could speed through this section by using phrases such as “situation dependent” or “context will dictate”. The evaluating cadre let me get about halfway through before he cut me off.

Releasing a sigh, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “STOP… Everything in life is situation dependent. Stop speaking in generalities like some bullshit chapter from Sun Zsu’s the ‘Art of War’. Everything about a combat operation is uncertain, that is why we attempt to be as precise as possible during planning” (this was an Army ass chewing, so there were of course a lot more expletives). I was kicked out of my own mission briefing and left to wonder if I had just failed the final phase of Special Forces training.

A few months later, I was on an ODA learning SF’s brand of CQB. During breaks, the other new guys and myself would debate the validity of the different CQB techniques being taught. This was ridiculous. The entire time we misused phrases such as “situation dependent” and “shooter’s preference”. We thought we were adding context to our arguments, but were instead failing to clarify our viewpoints. In reality, we didn’t need to have opinions, we needed to keep our mouths shut and learn. Unlike my use of vagueness in Robin Sage to demonstrate confidence, in the shoot house we failed to clarify our statements because we couldn’t substantiate our opinions with any real evidence or experience. This type of behavior is best described as the “contextual fallacy”.

There is nothing wrong with adding context by declaring “shooter’s preference” and “situation dependent”. For some instructors, it’s a passive habit developed through public speaking. However, there is a difference between framing a concept through contextual statements, versus hijacking these phrases so that we can weasel out of critical thinking. Although shades of grey exist in every situation, it is the job of instructors to clarify uncertainty. After all, you are paying them in part to do so. When they utilize the context fallacy, instructors typically get a pass because their non-committal stance is perceived as a zen-like state of mind. This appeal to authority fools the amatuer, inhibits the growth of the professional, and shifts the norms of the tactical community as a whole towards accepting mediocrity.

In fairness, it is exhausting to approach all new information through a lense of robust analysis. But if that information is gathered for the purpose of being utilized in tactical engagements, in which our lives or the lives of others will be put in danger, shouldn’t this signal a decrease in our willingness to dwell in uncertainty? The contextual fallacy also fools us when it is used to critique procedural rigidity and behavior that discourages adaptability. Yes, we must remain vulnerable to new concepts, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of declaring what we know to be more true than false. Wallowing in vagueness by proclaiming “context!” affords lukewarm arguments a safety net that deteriorates one of our most critical skills as tactical leaders, decisiveness.

Decisiveness does not imply a willingness to reject new information, and instead establishes a foundation that allows us to analyze new details. If we fail to take a stance, we can confuse good luck with good tactics, and jump to haphazard conclusions with incomplete data. We must always ask: what is the evidence, how good is the evidence, are there real world examples that disprove the evidence? Well rounded leaders ask these questions and do their best to falsify unvetted concepts. This does not always need to be a lengthy task, but it does require scholarship beyond browsing 15-second Instagram videos. Absent of this approach, we simply collect facts that can be contradictory, confusing, and catastrophic when used in real tactical engagements.

During battle, leaders must immediately recognize patterns under ambiguous and exigent circumstances. Acting with too little information can be dangerous (e.g. getting baited into a larger attack), but delaying action, when in fact recognizable patterns have occurred, is just as dangerous. Organizations that permit the contextual fallacy as an acceptable line of thinking will inevitably produce individuals that are incapable of assuming leadership during time sensitive operations or crisis management. In these situations, rarely will you possess the desired amount of information and resources; yet decisions still must be made and acted upon. This indicates the importance of promoting the development of decisiveness as a part of tactical learning. We do not create leaders capable of adapting to harsh environments by shortchanging them in training that discourages critical thinking.

But what kind of organization would willingly permit the context fallacy? Most typically do not, and the context fallacy is an undiagnosed cancer that goes unobserved until an agency participates in large-scale training exercises such as active shooter. This is best displayed when a team spends fifteen minutes running through a scenario, then fifty minutes arguing about how they should have attacked the problem. Although discourse should be encouraged, all opinions are not equal and hierarchies of knowledge must be enforced. Ignoring these truths ultimately fails to develop new recruits into potential leaders. Worse, if left unchecked in an organization’s culture, few individuals will be capable of differentiating between ideas that sound good versus ideas that are actually actionable.

The context fallacy is so seductive because it allows individuals to bargain way beyond their means and level of experience. Even better, the moment firm opposition arises, they can retreat back into obscurity with no consequences. This behavior is the antithesis of attaining knowledge because it doesn’t require any discipline, and more importantly, it doesn’t allow for failure. An individual simply observes what others are doing, stands on their shoulders to accomplish something, and then if he fails, he doesn’t take any of the responsibility for it. We must recognize that context frames a situation, but the context fallacy should not be used to bailout weak ideas and cherry-picked information.


Aaron Barruga is Special Forces veteran with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Pacific Theater of Operations. He has trained foreign commandos, police officers, and militia fighters. He is the founder at Guerrilla Approach LLC, where he consults law enforcement officers on counter-terrorism and vehicle tactics.

www.guerrillaapproach.com
www.facebook.com/guerrillaapproach
www.instagram.com/guerrilla_approach

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Frank Proctor

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Gun Handling etc…

What’s up, shooters!

Today, I want to talk about safe gun handling and some of the valuable tools I have taken from competition, back to my world as a tactical shooter. Some of those main tools are aggressive vision, efficiency in movement and very safe gun handling under pressure. There is a video clip attached to this showing me running a stage in the shoot house at my range. This is a stage from my monthly 2 gun (carbine and pistol ) match. This is NOT CQB. But, some of the things it takes to do well at this game translate to tactical shooting. Aggressive vision and efficiency play a huge role but what I’m going emphasize in this article is safe gun handling under pressure.

In some other articles and videos, I have seen some push back about putting the rifle on safe during a reload with some folks even having an SOP of leaving the rifle on fire because “it might be too difficult to take the rifle off safe under stress”.

Well, I live by some simple gun handling rules and I find them very easy to do with just a little training. Rule number 1 is to keep the pointy end of the death machine (AKA the muzzle) in a safe direction at all times. Rule number 2 says that if your eyes are not connected to the gun then your trigger finger is connected to the frame of the gun with some positive pressure. For rifles, the gun is on safe with some positive pressure up on the selector lever using your thumb or finger, based on whether you’re a right or left-handed shooter. Those things are super easy to do and I have long said they will not cost you anytime in an engagement.

If you watch the video, you will see my firing hand moving every time I disconnect my eyes from the gun. I’m putting the gun back on safe. The movement you see is the firing hand grip loosening to allow the firing hand thumb to go forward and hook the selector lever and sweep it back to safe. Historically, I didn’t always do this in a competitive shooting environment.

Around 2008-2009, I shot some 3 gun and I did get into the habit of leaving the rifle on fire during a stage like all the other 3 gunners did and still do. It bugged me that I did that but was easily able to switch techniques come Monday morning when it was time to be a tactical shooter to train and teach CQB again. In 2012, I started my training company where I emphasized my 2 easy gun handling rules. I didn’t have time to compete, which hurt my soul a bit, but when I started again, I noticed that I was putting the rifle on safe every time my eyes disconnected from it and it wasn’t slowing me down! You can see that for yourself in the video. I had the fastest stage time against some pretty dang good 3 gun shooters and I was putting the gun on safe during every transition.

As mentioned earlier, this is NOT CQB and NOT TACTICAL shooting. It is a game or sport requiring fast processing, control over the gun, efficient mechanics, efficient movement and a strong mental game. ALL of those things translate to tactical shooting. This is also Competition Speed as opposed to CQB Speed. In my opinion based on my experiences, CQB Speed is 25% of Competition Speed so it’s much slower. If we can manipulate the selector switch at Competition Speed, we can certainly do it at CQB Speed.

In summary, I truly believe that it won’t cost you anything to put the rifle on safe every time you disconnect your eyes from it. It does take training to make it a habit but it is easy and fast to train it, if you train right. For many years, I kept the rifle on fire during bolt lock reloads. One day, I watched a video with Pat McNamara talking about putting the rifle on safe during reloads. I immediately saw the value in it and trained my hands to do it in about 30 minutes!

As always, I want to thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say about shooting. I hope that some of the things I have figured out, through experience and trial and error, will help you reach your shooting goals!

– Frank Proctor

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Frank Proctor has served over 18 years in the military, the last 11 of those in US Army Special Forces. During his multiple combat tours in Afghanistan & Iraq he had the privilege to serve with and learn from many seasoned veteran Special Forces Operators so their combined years of knowledge and experience has helped him to become a better operator & instructor. While serving as an instructor at the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course he was drawn to competitive shooting. He has since earned the USPSA Grand Master ranking in the Limited Division and Master ranking in the IDPA Stock Service Pistol division. He learned a great deal from shooting in competition and this has helped him to become to become a better tactical shooter. Frank is one of the few individuals able to bring the experiences of U.S. Army Special Forces, Competitive Shooting, and Veteran Instructor to every class.

All this experience combines to make Frank Proctor a well-rounded shooter and instructor capable of helping you to achieve your goal of becoming a better shooter.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Inside The M4 Carbine

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

BCM and Vickers Tactical Take You Inside The M4 Carbine. This is pretty cool.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Night Sights

I’ve shot pistols long enough that I feel a tritium front sight is mandatory on a self defense pistol. Frankly, it fits in the low light range, that plain black and fiber optic front sights won’t work in, and using a white light at times can be very hazardous to your health. What I mean is that using a white light for long enough to align your sights could get you shot.

Tritium on the rear is optional in my book, and up to personal taste. At handgun night fighting distances a tritium front will get the job done in addition to being fast to employ. My buddy Hackathorn was the first to turn me into to this and I like it. Try it the next time you get the chance.

Larry Vickers
Vickers Tactical Inc.
Host of TacTV

Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical is a retired US Army 1st SFOD-Delta combat veteran with years of experience in the firearms industry as a combat marksmanship instructor and industry consultant. In recent years he has hosted tactical firearms related TV shows on the Sportsman Channel with the latest being TacTV of which Bravo Company is a presenting sponsor. Larry Vickers special operations background is one of the most unique in the industry today; he has been directly or indirectly involved in the some of the most significant special operations missions of the last quarter century. During Operation Just Cause he participated in Operation Acid Gambit – the rescue of Kurt Muse from Modelo Prison in Panama City, Panama. As a tactics and marksmanship instructor on active duty he helped train special operations personnel that later captured Saddam Hussein and eliminated his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. In addition he was directly involved in the design and development of the HK416 for Tier One SOF use which was used by Naval Special Warfare personnel to kill Osama Bin Laden. Larry Vickers has developed various small arms accessories with the most notable being his signature sling manufactured by Blue Force Gear and Glock accessories made by Tangodown. In addition he has maintained strong relationships with premium companies within the tactical firearms industry such as BCM, Aimpoint, Black Hills Ammunition, Wilson Combat and Schmidt & Bender.

With over 300,000 subscribers, his Youtube channel features a new firearms video every Friday. 

Larry Vickers travels the country conducting combat marksmanship classes for law abiding civilians, law enforcement and military and works with Aztec Training Services to coordinate classes to best meet the needs of the students attending the class.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

9x19mm Pocket Rockets

It is all the rage these days to pack small pocket size compact 9x19mm pistols. Nearly every manufacture offers one in the lucrative CCW marketplace. Most are good, some acceptable, and a few terrible. Competition between handgun vendors pretty much insures that only quality pistols last very long in the marketplace. Two pistols that seem to have captured wide acceptance the American market are the Smith & Wesson Shield and the Glock 43. Both are really good choices.

I own samples of both and have to admit that while I was not really excited by the Glock 43 when it first was introduced, after taking possession of one, I am now a big fan of the G43. What has gotten my attention is the fact that these really small compact pistols have very reduced slide travel, and extremely fast cycle time. The result that they can be ammo sensitive if you choose to feed your pocket rocket +P or +P+ 9x19mm ammo. Understand that really hot ammo can speed up slide velocity to the point that the slide is moving faster than the magazine can feed the next round up to the proper position in the feed lips for proper function. The result can be a bolt over base feed way stoppage or even the slide closing on an empty chamber.

Based upon my observations, I will select only standard velocity 9x19mm JHP ammo. Do to the real short barrels of these pocket blasters, many folks think that going to a real high velocity round will make up for a lost in impact velocity do to low velocity in a 2″ barrel. The barrel on these little guns may be listed as three inches or so, but remember that includes the chamber; actual bore length is much less. Ammunition makers have went to great lengths to provide hollow cavity bullets that expand properly in flesh-like mediums, but this is very much a function of velocity. Slow a 9x19mm down because of a very short barrel, velocity suffers and expansion fails as well.

So, ammo selection is an issue with these little ‘pocket rockets’. Select yours carefully and most important, test fire the ammo you select in your pistol to insure that it works the way it is supposed to when you need it.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Glover

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

The Battle Rifle
Evolving at the Speed of War

In 2007, during the height of the war against extremists in Iraq, I was a sniper with the Commander In-Extremis Force (CIF)[a] operating out of Baghdad. We conducted unilateral operations against HVTs, targeting these as part of a larger task force known as TF-16. While conducting these operations we began identifying inefficiencies in the way we executed our roles as snipers.

An immediate issue was the multitude of different weapon systems and equipment necessary to carry out our main duty during different phases of missions – as snipers, we were tasked with containing the objective prior to a raid, which meant seeking high ground and containing from the top down providing coverage for the assault force. We used .300 Win mag MK13 sniper rifles, which were cumbersome but effective against enemy personnel. However, it was impossible to assault with these weapons, meaning we had to bag them in rifle packs and use carbines to make our way to high ground – complete with accessories and combat loads of ammunition.

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Our carbines utilized SOPMOD accessories – but on a 16-inch long M4 with a 6-inch picatinny rail, fitting a light, optics, BUI sights, lasers, and pressure pads as well as a universal night sight proved difficult. We had to work out how to overcome this issue, and work out a way to optimize and evolve our equipment to allow us to conduct an offset, assault a target and provide adequate coverage in and around a 300-meter area, even at night.

We began work on optimizing a Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), chambered in 5.56mm, that not only met but far exceeded these requirements. We purchased and mounted free-floating 15-inch rails, and had the JSOC armor optimized to in order to keep a 75g Hornady round as flat as possible. In testing at Accuracy First in Canadian, Texas, we found the rifle successful at a thousand meters, after deciding on an optic setup that brought the whole package together.

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After extensive testing we had a rifle that gave us a platform allowing us not only to assault, but to effectively engage targets at a distance, at night. This was put to the test on a rooftop in Sadr City in 2007 when my senior and I, a legend in the sniper community named ‘Irish,’ took a shot from a couple of hundred meters out on a maneuvering insurgent after clearing the house. I looked at him, he looked at me and we shook our heads in mutual agreement. Our hard work had paid off.

– Mike Glover
FieldCraft LLC

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A former Special Forces disabled veteran with more than 18 years of military service, Mike has operated at the highest levels of Special Forces. Deploying 15 times to combat theaters, he has served in the following positions: SF Weapons Specialist, SF Sniper, SF Assaulter/Operator, SF Recon Specialist, SF Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC), SF Team Sgt, and SF Operations SGM.

Mike is a certified U.S. Government federal firearms instructor, and has also has trained mobility with Team O’Neil Rally School, BSR Racing, and BW drivers courses. He is medically trained every two years in Advanced Medical Trauma and continually maintains his re-certifications for consultation practices.

Considered a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in planning and executing Special Operations in a myriad of complex environments, Mike has taken his 18 years of experience and is giving the American citizen the applicable training tools and training necessary to better protect themselves and their families here and abroad.

Mike has a Bachelors degree in Crisis management and homeland security with American Military University and is pursuing his masters in military history.

Mike currently lives in northern California, where he continues to consult for the U.S. Government in security and firearms instruction.

www.fieldcraftsurvival.com

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Frank Proctor

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Pistol Sight Problems

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Yesterday I was training with some guys and had them shooting what I call Performance Grouping at 50 yards. (we do it at other shorter distances too but 50 yards shots are a very real possibility in the practical applications of pistol shooting) In the exercise I push shooters to put 5 rounds on target as quickly as they can. Being able to group well on small targets is important but I think the time factor is a very real thing in the practical application of pistol shooting. I typically look for shooters to get 5 hits on a piece of 8.5×11 copy paper at 25 yards in 6 seconds or less from the holster.

Back to yesterday at 50 yards. During the exercise a guy came up to me and said…man my front sight is so big I can’t see the target at this distance. That’s a problem folks. We were shooting at 14 x 20 ish steel roughly the size of a man’s chest. I looked through his sights and sure enough the front sight covered the entire target at that distance, makes it hard to aim at what you can’t see. This is a problem that a lot of pistol sights cause especially the night sights. He was using a very popular style of night sight that offers tritum and some bright orange paint. The front sight is .135” wide. In my experience as a pistol shooter and a tactical shooter night sights offer more disability to shooters than capability. The front sights are generally too big and the rear notch is also very big and allows too much room for sight mis-alignment which is the biggest problem for pistol shooters on small targets. Another disadvantage of most night sights is there is no contrast in the font and rear i.e. 3 dots that all look the same. Our eyes see extremely fast but the 3 dot sight slow the eyes down because they have to interpret what they are looking at (which of the 3 dots is the front and which is the rear) From spending a lot of time with my eyes behind a pistol seeing and shooting fast, I have found that a contrast between the 2 sights makes it much easier for the eyes to work at the speed they can. I prefer a black rear and fiber optic front (red for me) I have found a .115 wide front to be very durable and narrow enough that it doesn’t cover a reasonable size target at distance. I’m sure some will bash that the fiber will break and that you have to have night sights for shooting in low light. If installed correctly fiber has lasted as many as 10000 rounds for me. I’m not sure how long it would go because I replaced it at that point. As far as low light shooting: if you have to shoot at night in a defensive or tactical shooting situation, you need a light to ID what you are shooting at, hand held or weapon mounted, either one of those will show you the sights.

That’s what I’ve got for now, rock on and train to win!

-Frank Proctor

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Frank Proctor has served over 18 years in the military, the last 11 of those in US Army Special Forces. During his multiple combat tours in Afghanistan & Iraq he had the privilege to serve with and learn from many seasoned veteran Special Forces Operators so their combined years of knowledge and experience has helped him to become a better operator & instructor. While serving as an instructor at the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course he was drawn to competitive shooting. He has since earned the USPSA Grand Master ranking in the Limited Division and Master ranking in the IDPA Stock Service Pistol division. He learned a great deal from shooting in competition and this has helped him to become to become a better tactical shooter. Frank is one of the few individuals able to bring the experiences of U.S. Army Special Forces, Competitive Shooting, and Veteran Instructor to every class.

All this experience combines to make Frank Proctor a well-rounded shooter and instructor capable of helping you to achieve your goal of becoming a better shooter.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.