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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 – 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 – Larry Vickers

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

I often say you can learn more about shooting in one day on the range with quality instruction than you will learn in a month reading about it online. The process of zeroing your rifle is a perfect example; the skills and knowledge you gain from actually doing it, instead of reading about it, are immeasurable. You will also learn very quickly with quality range time that a) many of the techniques you might think are valid are actually stupid and b) a whole lot of the gear you might buy and think is cool is trash. Get some training before you go out and waste a bunch of money on equipment that is solely designed to separate neophytes from their money.

LAV out.

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 – Gunfighter Magazine

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Making its debut, “BCM Presents Gunfighter” is a magazine format, showcasing the mindset, skills, experience and tactics of Bravo Company’s lineup of Badasses with a few guests thrown in for good measure.

This isn’t another magalogue. Instead, you’re getting some great content on a variety of training subjects. The list of authors is impressive, to say the least.

They include Pat Rogers, Pat McNamara, Lt Col. Justin Dyal (USMC Ret), Larry Vickers, Travis Haley, Eric Graves, Zach Harrison, Frank Proctor, Al Salvitti, John Chapman, Eric Kincel, Dave Harrinton, Taran Butler, Kyle Defoor, and Magnus Johnson.

Printed by the Outdoor Sportsman Group which also offers Guns and Ammo, you can look for BCM Presents Gunfighter on newsstands everywhere, November 1st. Or, you can order a copy today from, http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCMGUNFIGHTER-Magazine-2017-p

Gunfighter Moment – Daryl Holland

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

After retiring from Delta Force, I’ve spent another decade training Special Operations Forces and Law Enforcement units throughout the U.S. ”You can’t teach experience”, so I still have the privilege of training awesome Americans that protect and serve. “Police Brutality” is an overused term that should only be for a very small percent of individuals that shouldn’t be in uniform. While 99% of LE are doing a great job, there are those few who sneak through by a weak selection process or having quotas due to Political Correctness. It’s easy for the media to judge after an event, but some folks simply handle stress better than others and it’s up to trainers and leadership within those units to identify those not right for the job.

“Where is the Threat?” A suspect running away is not a threat! Not complying with your commands is not an immediate threat that should lead to an execution on the street in Tulsa, OK…or like the Arizona Rancher involved with the Bundy/Wildlife Refuge standoff last winter. The old man had his hands up then he lowered them, only to be executed in waist deep snow…Even if the old dude was reaching for a gun, the agent 30 yards away with a carbine didn’t seem to be in immediate danger. I would have a hard time calling that one a “righteous” kill because I know the average old guy that spent his life ranching couldn’t hit a target at 30 yards with a pistol. And in this business, righteousness means you can sleep at night.

I’ve received my last few traffic violations through the mail, so why can’t we lessen the force? Why not have tougher standards and selection criteria? By trimming the fat, you can pay more and offer incentives that will attract a larger pool to select from and wear the blue uniform to serve the community with honor, respect and professionalism. I remember patrolling the streets of Ramadi and Fallujah where the locals hated me and wanted to kill me despite my efforts to bring peace and security to these dangerous insurgent filled neighborhoods.

Tragically in America today, men and women in blue are experiencing the same trying to bring law and order to rough neighborhoods in the inner-city from Ferguson, MO to Baltimore, Chicago’s South Side to Charlotte, NC. With a world full of growing radical Islam, racial tension and race baiting, why wouldn’t you pick those who protect and serve from the top of the pyramid? We need “Law and Order” now more than ever, to include a leadership who won’t water down standards, hold men and women in uniform accountable and back their decisions to the hilt when they make the right call.

“The phrase Black Lives Matter suggest racial superiority. It excludes the importance of anybody else’s life.” “THAT IS RACISM DEFINED.”
-Sherriff David Clarke

Respectfully, Daryl Holland

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Daryl Holland is a retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major with over 20 years of active duty experience, 17 of those years in Special Operations. Five years with the 1st Special Forces Group (SFG) and 12 years in the 1st SFOD-Delta serving as an Assaulter, Sniper, Team Leader, and OTC Instructor.

He has conducted several hundred combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Philippines, and the Mexican Border. He has conducted combat missions in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush Mountains as a Sniper and experienced Mountaineer to the streets of Baghdad as an Assault Team Leader.

He has a strong instructor background started as an OTC instructor and since retiring training law abiding civilians, Law Enforcement, U.S. Military, and foreign U.S. allied Special Operations personnel from around the world.

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, August 27th, 2016

Train like you Fight

Hey Folks, we’ve all heard it or said it: Train like you Fight. A lot of times, folks think that means wearing full kit in order to train to better shoot your gun. I disagree with the party line that you have to wear full battle rattle to train to shoot better.

For tactical shooters I would strongly recommend shooting ‘slick with no kit’ and learn what they can truly do with their guns, what their full capabilities are, how fast can they really put bullets on targets, maneuver through a challenging course of fire, get into positions, etc. Once that base line of what’s possible is established then put your duty gear on and see if you can still do the same stuff.

If you can’t, why?

If it’s because your body armor is too restrictive, there are plenty of ways to keep the defensive capabilities of your body armor AND be mobile and able to mount your gun to shoot well, and give yourself and your team mates some valuable OFFENSIVE capabilities. This concept applies to all the gear you carry to duty; if it hinders your optimal performance I would fix it or get rid of it and stay as light as possible.

Here’s a proven concept that we all as tactical shooters can use to ‘Train to Win’. Every organized sports team in the country (especially the ones that win) use a similar concept to train. Football teams don’t go full speed in pads everyday in practice. That would be the conventional shooter’s wisdom of “train like you fight”. What they do instead is break down individual skill sets and train them to perfection. Then they’ll put on the pads and put all those things together and scrimmage. They take note of what went well and what didn’t go well, and then they take off the pads and train again. When it comes game time they are prepared to WIN.

That’s my ramble for now, maybe I’ll put together a video explaining it some more.

Thanks y’all!

-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 – Larry Vickers

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

I recently returned from a trip to Switzerland and after shooting with some friends I was once again reminded of two things; the AR-15/M4 and Glock handguns absolutely dominate in terms of sheer numbers being used each and everyday on ranges around the world. They are by far the most popular of their type and we live in the best time ever for both weapons. As you can guess I use and recommend BCM carbines as my first choice and for Glocks check out my Vickers Tactical editions available exclusively thru Lipseys. It’s in everyone’s best interest to know these two firearms as they are the industry benchmarks and will be for some time to come.

Be safe and shoot straight.

LAV out.

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.