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Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

July 25th, 2015

Temple index failure points


Why I prefer a different and better variation.

When I was leading the stand-up of the training cell in the Seattle Field Office of the Federal Air Marshals in 2003 a good friend, former Special Forces soldier with me at 1st SFG(A) and very accomplished stand-up as well as ground fighter Ron Haskins (God rest his soul) and I used to vet many of our techniques in an old school practical way. We would put on shorts and a t-shirt with Bollé goggles and fight over/with guns. The rule was we had a Sig229 with 2 Simmunitions rounds in it…if he got the gun…I got the Sim rounds. Having a “pain penalty” for failure makes people fight like they mean it. We concluded that many things taught, though they “briefed well”, were not effective and in some cases were prone to failure. With that as an overview of how I evaluate techniques, below are the 4 reasons I do not like the “temple index” (from now forward called TI) as presented and why I prefer what might be called “high port”. I view this specifically through the prism of training and experience in 1st SFOD-D, Federal Air Marshals (*we never executed nor taught this even in aircraft which is as confined a space as I have ever worked with both organizations) as well as working protection details in and around vehicles in a high threat environment in Iraq. All of my experiences in those venues have put a premium on confined space weapons management. To evaluate it, I’ll use with what I consider my validation template:

• What is it – Temple Index (TI)

• Why you do it (desired end state) – keep safe orientation and control of weapon in confined space or proximity to others

• How it works – the weapon is held in a normal dominant hand shooting grip pointing straight up in one hand by the temple so it cannot inadvertently flag yourself or another

• Identify the most likely failure points or mistakes:

  • Easy to get fouled or strike objects in confined space –
  • If you draw a pistol in a confined space like a vehicle and then attempt to maneuver or exit with the TI you are far more likely to strike something like the roof or A/B/C –pillars or get fouled in a seatbelt depending where you are seated.

  • Has poor control –
  • The gun is floating in one hand exposed to any blind spots in your vision and depending on how vigorous your movement is, it is far more difficult to control because it does not have strength or dexterity in the range of motion it utilizes.

  • Extremely weak retention –
  • Effectively you are holding the gun in the weakest manner, in a blind spot unless you are looking straight forward or towards the weapon, it is away from your body where it is extremely easy to disarm and the most difficult to defend from take-away attempts.

  • Slow to engage –
  • It is a poor “start position” if rapid engagement is needed and lends itself to a poor presentation grip. I say this specifically because it is in a position with very little strength and dexterity that is about as far from a normal draw and presentation shooting position you can have and still have a gun in your hand.

    • Precede those with proper training – practice and use high port

    Practice and use High Port-It is the same general concept but the pistol is positioned across the body 30 degrees forward and 30 degrees towards the support side in the same point as port arms with a rifle. It keeps the pistol up, away from you at about a 30 degree angle as well as any others that may be around you unless they are within a foot shoulder to shoulder and over 7 feet tall and then awareness not any specific position is what overwhelmingly keeps you from flagging people.

    1. When using the high port you have the gun silhouetted in the footprint of your body without flagging anyone in the car so movement in and out of vehicles is only restricted or impeded by your actual physical size and removes the ability of the gun to be fouled by the roof, A/B/C pillars, seatbelts or anything else.

    2. Because the gun is within the range of motion for strength and dexterity even with vigorous activity it is under complete control.

    3. By keeping the gun in high port if a disarm is attempted it is far less exposed and any attempts must be done from the front minimizing an adversaries element of surprise. For that reason it is easier to defend against disarms with the high port.

    4. From the high port position you are less than 6” from your normal position for pistol presentation known as position #4. This location makes it very fast, very natural and much more like your normal presentation sequence.

    While I understand and agree with the needs for the temple index for certain situations, I have no doubt there are far too many failure points and likely errors in the technique and make it an unacceptable default position. The high port will do everything the temple index will but does it with better control. It better protects from disarm attempts and all with a more natural and rapid ability to engage due to the location. The only time either is needed is during limited times when the gun is not being used and/or movement is required in and around others. The widespread use of the temple index in my opinion is done far more for cool points than practicality. I say that because only one person has been able to defend it with a cogent answer as to why he does it but it still hasn’t sold me for the abovementioned reasons. The window of application and practicality is very small and the technique is FAR too easy to disarm. Nearly every photo of it I have seen in application the gun is not anchored and the elbow is out. As far as I am concerned it is another position Sul (holding a pistol with one hand pointed at your support side foot always seemed like a bad idea). By that I mean though the concept is good the actual technique and its application have great failure points built into it, the greatest being weapons retention. In my experience its range of application is extremely limited and its proponents often cite the application based upon the precept of bad awareness and poor gun handling by the end user. I have never used it, seen it used or taught until now but have seen it done for extremely brief moments because it was a last resort to maneuver with a weapon in one hand. Also, even if you are shoulder to shoulder the high port does not flag anyone under 7 feet tall and overall muzzle awareness makes up for that. I look at it as an absolute last resort for a specific extremely limited use, not a signature “go to” position.

    Other than running with a pistol I have only used a high port in limited situations and those were extremely tight confined vehicle exits and even then only until I was clear of the vehicle. Again, that is real use in a high threat environment not a training theoretical use.

    I find a technique like the Temple Index is a bad replacement for proper weapons awareness and handling and violates the biggest concern when in confined areas or close proximity to theirs which is weapons fouling and retention. I can hold the pistol right in front of me like I would if holding a rifle at port arms and do all the same things without the problems of fouling or retention TI has.

    When formulating techniques that revolve around non-standard positions it is very important to identify likely failure points before you institute the technique as a default.

    When I was in the Special Forces Qualification course in 1992 I was given sage advice from an old SF soldier who was one of my cadre’ teaching planning- “If you don’t find the flaws in your plan first, they’ll find you…and it’s gonna hurt.” The temple index is a plan with too many flaws for me. With a minor variation on the theme, i.e. making it a high port versus Temple index, the technique mitigates the biggest concerns any shooter will have while employing the Temple Index. BTW, people have been using some variation of high port for years because it made sense to them technically, tactically and physically … and all without fanfare.

    Roll how you like but that’s why I don’t use the Temple Index.

    – Mike Pannone


    Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

    In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

    CTT Solutions

    Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

    Fenix Lighting Has Announced The New TK16 LED Flashlight

    July 25th, 2015


    First Fenix Light to Feature Dual Tactical Tail Switch


    DENVER – July 21, 2015 – FENIX LIGHTING US, a leader in precision LED lighting products for hands, heads and handlebars, today announced the launch of the TK16 LED flashlight in the US. This light is the first to feature Fenix’s new Dual Tactical Tail Switch for one-finger operation and instant access to strobe and momentary functions.

    “The Fenix TK16 flashlight delivers functionality and performance, authorizing it as a reliable and necessary emergency and tactical tool,” says Beau Shrum, Fenix Lighting president. ”The new Dual Tactical Tail Switch provides professionals in security and public safety, and especially law enforcement the necessary one-hand operation their jobs require. In addition, the general consumer will be attracted to this light because of its size, shape, power and ease of use.”

    The TK16 flashlight delivers four brightness modes plus a strobe function, and can throw its maximum output of 1000 lumens a distance of up to 240 meters. Key design elements include a strike face bezel, grip ring and body clip. With Fenix’s Intelligent Memory Circuit, the TK16 memorizes the last brightness level used and activates that level the next time the light is turned on.

    The TK16 flashlight is powered by one 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery or two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries. The anti-roll, slip-resistant body design is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and is IPX-8 waterproof to 2 meters. These features make the TK16 resistant to damage from impact, crushing or bending while remaining small, light and extremely powerful. MSRP is $100.00. The TK16 rechargeable and tactical packages, which include different battery and charger options, start at $114.00 and can be found at

    Raine Inc Is Holding A Sale

    July 24th, 2015

    Raine Inc. is offering a limited time discount on chest rigs and plate carriers. The offer breakdown is as follows:

    72PC-Tactical Plate Carrier with Cummerbund (ABU/Coyote/Black colors available)

    Old Price: $224.00
    New Offer: $159.99



    Their 72PC carrier offers a wide range of benefits to the user. The carrier is designed with a top load zippered plate holder to keep the plates secure. The cummerbund feature includes a MOLLE panel for additional pouch space. Also, the user can find additional storage in the kangaroo slit pouch on the front.

    SAPI/ESAPI Standard Plates Required

    Small/ Medium Carrier Plate Dimensions
    Small plate: 8.75” X 11.75”
    Medium Plate: 9.5”X 12.5”

    Large/XL Carrier Plate Dimensions
    Large: 10.125” X 13.25”
    XL: 11” X 14”

    72ChestLG-Large Vector Laser Cut Chest Rig (Base Chest Rig color: Coyote Brown 498. Harness available in Multicam/Foliage Green/Coyote colors)
    -18” wide MOLLE mounting

    Old Price: $122.00
    New Offer: $86.99

    72ChestM-Small Vector Laser Cut Chest Rig (Base Chest Rig color: Coyote Brown 498. Harness available in Multicam/Foliage Green/Coyote colors)
    -10” wide MOLLE mounting

    Old Price: $117.00
    New Offer: $66.99

    The Vector Laser Cut Chest Rig is 25% LIGHTER than other standard MOLLE mounting platforms. In addition, the harness has an X-Harness configuration constructed with a 500D MOLLE back panel and mil-spec tubular webbing adjustment. If need be, their chest rigs can be snapped into another armor system with quick connect side release buckles.

    MMI Textiles

    July 24th, 2015

    This sample of Valdyr camouflage was digitally printed on Durastretch 520V by MMI Textiles. You may recognize the pattern from Revision Military’s Kinetic Operations Suit built for USSOCOM’s TALOS program.


    The Durastretch 520V is actually a lighterwight fabric than you’d think. It’s a Berry compliant, 5.3 oz, 90% Nylon/10% Spandex ripstop, stretch fabric. I’m hoping to see someone make something out of it soon (hint, hint Trey and Tom!).

    MMI Textiles offers a variety of fabric printing capabilities including the digital print option seen above. Be sure to visit them at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, August 5th-8th in Salt Lake City, Utah – Booth # 355-304.

    Velocity Systems K9 Mesh Handler Harness

    July 24th, 2015

    Recently, SSD reader JP sent us these photos of his pup sporting the Velocity Systems K9 mesh handler vest.


    The body of the harness is mesh to keep the animal as cool as possible. It also incorporates handler grab handles on the top front and rear for holding and lifting as well as a Velcro Loop area on top for Camera or Marker Light mounting, and additional Velcro Loop areas on the sides for ID Placards.


    RMJ Tactical – Tengu Ono Now Available

    July 24th, 2015


    Created by ‘Naked and Afraid’ contestant and Army veteran Hakim Isler, the Tengu Ono (Forest Spirit Axe) offers the following capabilities:

    Shaving and slicing – a good cutting blade.
    Chopping – heavy chopper for shelter material
    Hammering – important to assist in making traps
    Sawing – notch making and clean cuts.
    Hooking – reach extender for moving logs and clearing debris and avoiding bites.
    Precision slicing – for processing game

    These tools are made by RMJ Tactical for Hakim.

    MMI Textiles Welcomes Thomas Caldwell

    July 24th, 2015

    We received this note yesterday from MMI Textiles. We’ve known Thomas for several years and he’s a great guy. Congrats to all!


    Thomas Caldwell has recently joined the team at MMI Textiles, Inc. as Technical Sales Director. He brings with him extensive experience from Trelleborg Coated Systems in their Engineered Fabrics business unit. During his career, Thomas has held positions such as Director of Sales and Marketing, National Sales Manager, and Military Business Manager. Prior to his professional business career, Thomas served six years in the Marine Corps and attended Texas Tech University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration.

    We are very excited to add Thomas to our team as we continue to explore and support new markets within technical products.

    FirstSpear Friday Focus – E&R Waist Bag

    July 24th, 2015

    In last week’s FirstSpear Friday Focus we have you a little taste of their new take on the traditional E&R Waist Bag. You may recall the photos of it attached directly to the Joker rig and that versatility is just one of the things that sets this E&R Waist Bag apart from the many “fanny packs” seen on the market.


    For years, these simple waist packs have been worn slung just below body armor, in the front and filled with last ditch items like medical gear and SERE items. Even if the wearer cutaway all of the rest of his equipment, he’d still have his E&R bag. Some even added soft armor to protect their “package” from IED threats.

    In addition to being worn via its integral waist strap, the E&R Waist Pack can be secured directly to your belt or load carrying rig with a 2-point QD buckle configuration.

    Shock cord mounted on the top provides a quick stash point for a tourniquet, Eye Pro or other gear you need at hand.

    There are four different zippered compartments as well as a removable top flap stiffener. Additionally, the E&R Waist Bag incorporates drainage for maritime ops or just crossing a river.

    Available in Black, Coyote, Ranger Green, MultiCam and my favorite, two-tone Grey/Rust. Imagine that you could use the two-tone model even after ditching your gear in order to blend in with a civilian environment.

    Industry – Please Help Support The Homefront Shootout

    July 24th, 2015

    I was recently contacted by an old friend to see if I could help organize some prizes for an annual shooting event August 14-16, 2015 in Branson, MO.

    Homefront Shootout is an event hosted by vets for vets, service members and civilians as a whole.

    The event consists of seven stages. All-in-all they need a minimum of 21 prizes (1st, 2nd and 3rd place). In particular, I’m hoping a couple of knife brands can support the event with prizes.

    If you’re interested in supporting, shoot me an email and I’ll connect you with the coordinator.

    To learn more visit Homefront Shootout.

    Quicky – Magnetic Tactical Belt On Kickstarter

    July 23rd, 2015


    Carbon Tactics has started a Kickstarter campaign for Quicky, a quick-release magnetic tactical belt. Quicky features a buckle machined from 6061 T-6 aluminum. The buckle self latches and stays latched unless the user deliberately pinches and twists the buckle to disassemble it. The available straps include Biothane, a coated webbing product which looks like leather standard nylon webbing, and rigid tactical webbing.