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Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Temple index failure points

Or

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

    GFmomentpic

    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.

    Mike Pannone – New CTT-Solutions Class Policy

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

    No student was injured in a CTT-Solutions class or any other Alias class. This is to ensure it stays that way.

    There have been several incidents where students in handgun classes carrying in a concealed appendix holster have discharged their pistol while re-holstering with subsequent injury. Therefore, I will be instituting a much stricter program of instruction and range policy designed to make every effort to ensure that all holsters in class are properly worn and safe for use both in and out of class. My evaluation will be based on body type, holster design/location and trigger design/weight. It will be in your best interest to have a belt slide holster and a cover garment suitable for use with it if you are planning to shoot from appendix in the event I deem your set-up unsuitable.
    APPENDIX CARRY IS NOT FOR EVERYONE AND IS LIMITED TO CERTAIN BODY TYPES AND SKILL LEVELS. DO NOT ASSUME THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU BUY A GOOD QUALITY HOLSTER THAT YOU ARE FINE. THE HOLSTER MUST BE WORN PROPERLY AND IN THE PROPER LOCATION AND THE GUN MUST HAVE A TRIGGER THAT IS SUITABLE FOR CONCEALED CARRY.

    The above mentioned problem is the result of one or more of the following factors:

  • Holster selection- certain body types cannot wear an appendix holster without their stomach forcing the gun into a position where it is pointed at their legs or genitals. When I carry appendix my pistol is not pointed at any part of my body unless I get in an awkward position.
  • Holster location- the holster genre is call “appendix” and if one looks on an anatomical chart, your appendix is not in the center of your body where your navel is. Improper wear causes it to be a safety concern by orienting the muzzle at the legs or genitals.
  • Trigger weight and design- a striker fired gun with a chambered round and an aftermarket lightened trigger is NOT suitable for concealed carry in an appendix holster with a round chambered in my classes. You can carry what you want on your time but NOT IN AN OPEN ENROLLMENT CLASS. I am quite confident in my skills and
  • 1.) I carry a DA/SA CZ P07 which gives me a much greater level of inherent safety.
    2.) When I did carry a striker fired gun the trigger was of stock weight with stock parts.

  • Technique and skill- when one is learning he/she should be going exceptionally slow so as to be able to identify EXACTLY the method by which they manage their gun and garment in conjunction with each other. With bad technique any firearm related task becomes risky and when learning new skills, speed can injure or worse.
  • Attention to detail- Don’t paw at a garment or gun to draw it or try and stuff it back in your holster like a sandwich into a bag. Think of the desired end state and never forget the nature of the device in your hands.
  • When re-holstering strictly adhere to the following steps:
    S-low down, straighten your trigger finger along the frame and well outside the trigger guard
    A-lways ensure the garment is completely cleared from the holster and surrounding area
    F-inal visual check that gun/holster are clear of clothing and finger is outside of trigger guard
    E-nd the action by slowly re-holstering the pistol

    *Other than a mechanical failure of the pistol, negligent discharges when drawing or re-holstering are always due to a mistake by the shooter. These mistakes are overwhelmingly caused by excessive speed and sloppiness. From this point on in every Covert Carry Class I will reserve final say on whether or not your holster is worn properly, in a suitable location and is appropriate for your body type and the pistol being used. It will be a requirement for all attendees to bring a belt holster along with their desired appendix holster. An inexpensive belt holster is worth the investment and should be integrated into any concealment training regardless of primary carry method.

    www.ctt-solutions.com

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, June 20th, 2015

    Feeding Eugene Stoners Brainchild

    This is just a quick one over based on my experience using for both training and operationally just about every magazine that will fit in the M16/M4/AR15.

    First let’s look at the 3 critical components of a magazine: spring, follower and body.

    Follower– A great deal of the early M16 magazine issues was due to bad follower geometry and design. Legs that were too short allowed them to tilt and bind causing failure. This portion of the magazine has seen the most changes and advances over time and has a great deal to do with reliability. The anti-tilt followers are pretty much the gold standard. It is so much so that nearly every aftermarket magazine I can think of and the new USGI magazines have anti-tilt followers in them and from field reports the new USGI magazines perform extremely well. All my mags in IZ were USGI with MAGPUL no tilt followers and they performed flawlessly.

    Spring– Modern springs will easily outlast the body of the magazine. Early magazines suffered as well from older and less refined spring technology. Modern springs take an initial set when loaded but are not dramatically degraded by being left loaded for a very extended period of time (think years). Springs will fatigue when they are compressed and released in the firing cycle. Think of a piece of flat metal stock. Bending it doesn’t make it crack or fail. Bending it back and forth repeatedly causes metal fatigue which eventually will cause it to break. Over time and repeated use (and I mean a long time and lots of use) magazine springs will eventually fatigue enough to fail but not from being left loaded.

    Body– Singularly the biggest cause of malfunctions in the modern incarnation of the USGI M16 and really any others for that matter is the body. If the feed lips begin to separate they change the original design geometry and will cause double feeds. This is not fixable in any consistent and reliable manner and so they should be replaced.

    Common mistakes people make:

    1.) Loading 31 rounds into a 30 round magazine. If you can’t press the top round down about 1/8” then you have overloaded the magazine. If you try and seat the magazine with the bolt forward on a live round it will be extremely difficult because the bullets cannot do down the required 1/8” or so. What happens if you hammer it in is they go out and at the weakest and most crucial point of the magazine, the feed lips. This causes accelerated wear and can permanently damage metal or polymer magazine which I have witnessed personally on more than a few occasions.

    2.) Putting 550 cord loops under the base-plate on a GI magazine. It was not designed to be held by the 4 metal tabs at the base. Those tabs are only there to keep the base plate on. If you feel the need to do it, tape the 550 cord to the outside of the magazine with riggers tape.

    3.) Not maintaining magazines properly. They should be cleaned when they have been used in field environments and left dry. DO NOT LUBRICATE MAGAZINES IT WILL HOLD DIRT AND DEBRIS AND CAUSE FAILURE TO FEED MALFUNCTIONS. Side note- do not over lubricate you rifle because it drains into the magazines causing said problem.

    4.) Kicking, throwing, or generally abusing/misusing them. For instance, they can open bottles but they are not bottle openers. You fill in the rest from your experience. The only use for a magazine is to hold bullets and reliably feed your rifle.

    5.) Not marking magazines. If not then people never really know which one failed and just keep recycling. Once a magazine malfunctions and it cannot be traced to debris, it will only get worse. Get rid of it. A little paint marker goes a long way.

    6.) Believing magazines that don’t drop free are still serviceable. If you bought “non-drop free magazines” for your M4 please let me know where. One of the requirements for the US Military was that the empty magazine had to fall free from the rifle when the magazine release is pressed. If it doesn’t it means that on a GI magazine the feed lips are beginning to separate or on a polymer magazine the body is beginning to swell. Both are by that very fact unserviceable.

    7.) GI magazines are crap. In the picture below you will see 3 magazines. The one with yellow marking is what I call the “magic magazine”. The only magic is if you don’t abuse your kit it will treat you well. It is marked 1-92 and I got it from a bucket of s#*t magazines in OTC. To this day it still runs fine and I have used it for 18 years. The other two “new magazines” are both 12 years old (5/03 & 6/03) with the only additions being one has a MAGPUL and the other a CMMG no tilt follower and I can’t even begin to estimate the round counts on any of them.

    Myth

    USGI magazines were only designed to hold 28 rounds. FALSE

    Does anyone really believe that the US military would buy 5.56 magazines by the millions over the last 45 years (official fielding of the 30 round magazine in RVN was approximately 1970) that are spec’d for a 30 round capacity but (wink, wink, smirk) only really hold 28? That is absolutely absurd. The biggest current problems are stated above, overloading of the magazine, poor reloading technique (if you can’t get a 30 round magazine to seat with 30 rounds in it…news flash…it’s not the magazines fault) and third in the ultra-rare instance where the specs of the lower receiver, upper receiver and magazine don’t line up correctly. This can happen if the upper and lower are fit very tightly from the factory but is exceedingly rare. The looseness of the upper and lower by design actually allow damn near any magazine to fall within the collective specifications necessary to allow positive lock-up of a magazine…but back to short loading magazines. I once carried 28 rounds in all my magazines…that is until I went to the Operator Training Course at JSOC. There a gruff guy named Sam E. wasn’t buying it and told us we could do whatever we wanted IF we made it across the hall but here “you will have 30 rounds in every magazine you carry and 30+1 when you enter the breach point on every hit.” I never had a problem and never witnessed problems other than genuinely unserviceable magazines and that is with the incredible amount of shooting we did in that course. He was correct…it was a useless action based on out of date information.

    So what do I use? I use primarily USGI magazines because they work great, they’re cheap, I already have a ton of them, they will fit in anything that has the appropriate lock-up geometry at the mag release for an M16/AR15 and they drop free very consistently. I designed the MagCap for USGI magazines (with the Marines in mind because of the IAR mag well not accepting many aftermarket magazines) so that the base was protected from dirt and damage and for an additional gripping surface without giving up any capacity. As I say “it’s the best thing to happen to the GI magazine since the no tilt follower.”

      
    On the polymer side I used just about everything available but prefer Tango Down ARC Mk2 magazines. The 3 pictured were given to me to T&E in the summer of 2009. They were immediately loaded and were kept loaded or were fired and immediately reloaded nearly non-stop since then. Having been loaded and fired over 300 times each none of the 3 have malfunctioned or failed to drop free. Some people say the sealed bottom will hold water but most people carry magazines bullets down so dust doesn’t settle in them and if you put an ARC magazine in water, pull it out and fire it through your M4 there will be about 2.5 oz. of water in the bottom. The space is displaced by the bullets. It’s a non-issue as far as I am concerned.

    There are lots of great magazines out there so whatever you choose to feed your rifle with then have at it. My biggest problem is that the entire magazine topic is littered with misconceptions based on conjecture, urban legends, improper use or abuse or driven by bad technique. Know why you do what you do and vet your own kit. Go out and test what I have put forth on your own and see what you come up with. Mine is based on lots of shooting and lots of record keeping.
    – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

    Use of the safety on an M4

    The debate is endless on whether or not the safety should be actuated on reloads, transitions or malfunctions. I use the selector every time I dismount the rifle from my shoulder without any time penalty and here is my take and the methodology behind it.

    The selector is a crucial part of the rifle and I object when it is not being activated due to convenience. That said there is a simple method to learn it based on a simple methodology which is:

    YOU INITIATE THE LARGEST MOTION OF DISMOUNTING THE RIFLE WITH THE SMALLEST AND MOST CRUCIAL MOTION OF INITIATING MOVEMENT OF THE THUMB TO ACTIVATE THE SELECTOR. (See the two pictures below. You can see my wrist break to operate the safety before the rifle has been dismounted and before the empty brass is still in the air.)

    **Once I break my wrist and hook the selector with my thumb, the work is done. I begin the entire sequence by beginning to put the rifle on safe and they happen almost simultaneously and extremely seamlessly.**

    I initiate dismounting the rifle by first initiating movement of my thumb toward the selector. By doing this I am certain not to forget to safe the rifle if there is any break in the continuity of the reload like retrieving a magazine from a closed pouch or if something draws my attention like another person talking to me or another minor event seizing my attention even for a moment. I have patterned my weapons manipulation to do this and so when I place the rifle on safe during the dismount I don’t consciously do or feel it. It is the right answer and so it is transparent during the reload. That said I have patterned that so well that if I miss the selector on the dismount it will feel wrong and immediately cue me in that I missed it. Whether or not I decide at that point to activate it is based on the situation but at least I am conscious of the status of my rifle.

    The reason most say you shouldn’t is that they either don’t know how to teach it or are unwilling to do the work to truly be proficient. There isn’t anyone who can’t learn to do it the way not only myself but my well regarded friend and former JSOC teammate Pat McNamara does it. You must understand the “why” and “how” and then BE WILLING TO TRAIN ON IT. I can do it, Mac can do it and every shooter I have ever known that has wanted to learn has been able to achieve that skill and thereby enhance their overall safety when conducting any dynamic shooting event that includes reloads without sacrificing speed.

    – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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
    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, March 21st, 2015

    Mind Games: The Benefit of Conscious Contradictions in Training

    One of the drills I do in pistol classes is to have shooters execute a Bullseye string shot all from the holster. I tell them to draw as fast as they can and then take the shot at the appropriate pace to achieve the desired level of precision. After the draw it truly is absolutely no different than a regular Bullseye string but there is a key training principle involved. The drill is designed with the two major steps intended to consciously contradict each other. When you draw rapidly the body is receiving a physical cue to go fast. Now after your body has received that very distinct subconscious cue, you must consciously tell yourself to slow down with the intended goal over time of the slowing process being subconscious as well based on what the sights dictate. Over time what I am patterning into the shooter is to detach the draw from the shot and thereby use the optimal speed for each specific task. I call this type of drill “changing gears” and more specifically it is a pace and precision adjustment exercise. I use this technique on multiple target drills with both carbine and pistol by having a series of speed shots followed by a precision shot. This is a staple of good training because the speed of the shot should be tied to nothing but the desired amount of precision required. Yesterday I was using an RSR Steel reduced IPSC and doing draw-shot-reload-shot drills at 50 yards for this very reason. It forces me to draw at my fastest pace, slow down and take a 50 yard shot, speed back up and reload as fast as I can and then slow down again and take another precision shot.

    When you need a pistol for defense or sport, there is a time penalty for a slow and imprecise draw and that is separate from the shot requirements. “Changing gears” or pace and precision adjustment is a component mental skill and as such should be exercised and refined based on a drill structured to isolate and demonstrate it.

    When I am limited in time here is my twenty minute 50 round course designed to integrate the conscious contradiction of a fast draw, reload or magazine exchange into a 50 round Bullseye course. I shoot it on either a B8C Bullseye target or preferably a 6” round steel plate.

    All shots are fired from the holster alternating the start position from hands at sides to surrender position and all ending with the pistol returned to the holster.

    40 draws (10 with transition to support hand), 50 precision shots (30 freestyle, 10 strong hand only 10 support hand only), 5 slide lock reloads, 5 magazine exchanges.

    If you concentrate and make every shot a proper one that is a lot of work in 20 minutes!

  • Freestyle slow fire- 10 rounds
  • Strong hand only- 10 rounds
  • Support hand only- 10 rounds
  • Draw shot slide-lock reload shot 10 rounds
  • Draw shot-magazine-exchange shot 10 rounds
  • – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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
    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, January 31st, 2015

    Safety vs. protocol: why safety is safe and protocol can be dangerous

    The topic of safety is always at the front of every individual and institutions consciousness. The obvious concern is to ensure people are not injured or killed in the conduct of training but safety has taken a turn years ago away from common sense to rote compliance. Often times range protocol is confused with range safety. Range protocol is that which a range complex will or will not allow individuals or groups to do as well as specific control measures and procedures designed, in the eyes of those that created them, to minimize risk. This is counterproductive to learning and good training because it does not require individuals to think and often violates tactical principles. They are designed to replace individual thought and proficiency. The implied task in all training is safety and that translates directly to operational safety.

    A few examples:

    • “Point your weapon down range” when actually you mean “Point your weapon in a safe direction.”

    o Down range is an administratively designated area where projectiles are intended to impact. Conditions and range status will identify it as a direction where a weapon may or may not be safely pointed and discharged.

    o A Safe Direction by definition is a conscious decision to point and manipulate a weapon in a direction where a negligent, accidental or mechanical failure discharge cannot harm personnel or equipment.

    o Down range is not always a safe direction so regardless of official status be aware. You are responsible for what your weapon does!

    • Not allowing someone to pick up a magazine that has been ejected and bounced 6” over the established firing line.

    o If it is so unsafe to reach over the firing line 6” (which I have witnessed repeatedly in institutional training both Mil and LE) then it’s probably not safe to even be standing next to the shooters on your left and right. Statistically more people are shot in parking lots at ranges than on the firing line.

    • Requiring shooters to drop a magazine on the ground when unloading. The methodology behind this is “if you drop a magazine into your hand on the range you’ll do it in a gunfight.”

    o If you can’t separate the difference between being in a gunfight and needing to reload your pistol/rifle versus clearing your system at the end of a firing sequence then you really shouldn’t have one in your hands if you may ever need it under pressure.

    Protocol robs the individual of the authority to think and in doing so people will not think because their actions are dictated. There is no individual more dangerous to themselves or others than those in possession of a lethal implement who are not only not thinking but not allowed to think only follow instructions.

    I have been in the presence of negligent discharges, some that have resulted in injury and one of three things that are always the first words out of the shooters mouth are either:

    “I didn’t see…”

    “I didn’t know…”

    “I didn’t think…”

    The last one is the only one that counts and the cause of the catastrophic failure. YOU DIDN”T THINK!!

    Do not confuse protocol with safety! Protocol may or may not enhance safety but safety itself is a standalone concept. There is safe training, high risk safe training and unsafe training.

    • Safe training is that which has been managed in a manner where injury is minimized by design and control measures. It is usually very basic in nature and highly structured.

    • High Risk safe training is more complex training with an elevated amount of assumed risk but is deemed necessary for operational requirements. It has specific control measures in place to mitigate the chance of mishap or injury.

    • Unsafe training is that which assumes an unnecessary amount of risk or more often than not is poorly designed and managed creating unnecessary and potentially catastrophic results. It lends itself to injury and catastrophic results and must never be undertaken.

    There is no time when unsafe training is acceptable.

    Safety:

    • Treat all weapons as though they are loaded regardless of their perceived condition.

    • Never point a weapon at anything you are not willing to kill or damage.

    • Keep your weapon on safe and finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned and you have made the conscious decision to fire.

    • Know your target, foreground, background, left and right. Be aware of the ballistic capability of your weapon, the intended target and the backstop.

    Down range is an administratively designated area where projectiles are intended to impact. Conditions and range status will identify it as a direction where a weapon may or may not be safely pointed and discharged. A Safe Direction by definition is a conscious decision to point and manipulate a weapon in a direction where a negligent, accidental or mechanical failure discharge cannot harm personnel or equipment.

    Down range is not always a safe direction

    If you have any doubt as to your actions STOP, THINK and then act accordingly because you can’t recall the bullet once it’s gone. Be safe and not a robot. In practice robotic actions are devoid of thought and that is ultimately dangerous. Protocol be damned, think first!

    – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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.


    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, December 27th, 2014

    Getting a good deal or how to avoid pistol envy

    With Christmas 2014 and all the associated shopping still clear in the rear view mirror I think it’s fitting to talk about getting a good deal when purchasing a firearm. I hear a lot about price comparatively speaking and want to make a few suggestions. There are many quality handguns available today but none in my opinion are without some needed upgrades Let’s look at pistols generically. Aside from price what do we really want? First a pistol that feels “right” in your hand. Without that you will never have a comfortable grip and will fidget incessantly, degrading your consistency and thereby your accuracy and speed. Second is reliability, without that you’ll never trust the pistol and only be able to employ it in certain capacities (even my competition pistols are combat reliable). Third is durability. If you shoot your pistols a lot then you don’t want to be frequently replacing parts or have a pistol that can’t handle +P or +P+ loads for instance. Fourth is trigger press weight which will dictate the amount of input required on the gun to make it discharge. The less and the smoother the more consistent and controlled the trigger manipulation. Fifth and final is accuracy and when you shoot guns at 25m and beyond that is an enormous strength or weakness. Trigger and inherent accuracy are both near and dear to me from my formal training in JSOC where pistol marksmanship standards were extremely challenging . Without a good trigger and an inherently accurate pistol (think barrel fit) that is virtually impossible. I assume you have noticed price has still not been mentioned. That is because price is the least important factor within reason. I say that because the extra $200 or $600 is 1-3 cases of ammunition depending on caliber and in the life of a well used gun that is not much. If you don’t have a list of criteria and evaluate your next purchase based on them then you are buying on impulse and emotion and may very well end up with something less than optimal. You won’t be satisfied with it and will end up purchasing what you really wanted or adding work to it that you hadn’t but should’ve expected. That said I know of no stock gun that will meet all the needs I have completely. I’m finicky about triggers and I shoot even sub-compacts to 50m so accuracy and trigger are critical. I have very few bone stock guns and honestly look at a new gun with the upgrades already in mind. Make sure your pistol is an investment in your training as much as the gun itself. Your guns should do what you want, how you want reliably and consistently or get worked on.

    I highly recommend you pick a pistol that meets your own critical criteria and identify the mods and accessories you’ll want and then add it to the price. If you shop wisely you get what you pay for and quality is not cheap but is sometimes elusive . Going cheap always leaves you with pistol envy.

    “The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot-It can’t be done! If you buy from the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better. ”
    Attributed to John Ruskin 1819-1900

    -Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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.


    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, November 1st, 2014

    On training and Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers

    IMG_8794.JPG

    The culmination of proper training is predictable performance. On the 22nd of October Canadian Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers shot and killed a cowardly gunman who shot an unarmed ceremonial Corporal Nathan Cirillo as he stood his post and then moved to the Parliament building with the obvious desire to kill even more unarmed victims. Instead he was encountered and engaged by Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers and died on the scene. Officer Vickers had never been in a shooting incident. He had been a Mountie and served in various capacities of Canadian law enforcement for 29 years. What does this all mean? It means a man that spent a career training and preparing himself for “that fateful day” had over those years conditioned himself to act immediately and without hesitation to uphold his oath and truth be told the honor of his profession and himself. People often make comments about combat experience or shootouts for LE and though it is the final test it does not mean those who have not experienced it cannot perform just as well. The men of the 101st that parachuted into Normandy were almost entirely without combat experience, the men that were selected for the Son Tay prison raid in 1970 were not required as a right of selection to the force to have combat experience. Some did not although there were literally 500 initially screened in a time when most in SF had multiple combat tours in RVN. American military performed extremely well in Afghanistan and later Iraq with little or no combat experience at the outset of each operation.

    Training predicts performance and it has for centuries. It is no different today. Your training is what will bring success in the gravest of circumstances so train hard, train smart, and train with those that can give you the best advantage of their experience. Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers trained for 29 years for “that fateful day”…and he never knew if or when it would come. Come it did and he passed the test. The will to prepare is what bears the tools to win. Train hard, train smart and be ready. One never knows the time and place they’ll be tested.

    -Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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.


    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, October 4th, 2014

      Scan and Assess, Checking 6 and Other Gun-Foo Shenanigans

    The following two definitions are crucial to an honest appreciation of this topic.

    Webster’s-Merriam Dictionary

    Look
    Verb: to direct your eyes in a particular direction
    See
    Verb: to notice or become aware of (someone or something) by using your eyes
    Aware
    Adjective: knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists

    I see far too often folks that conduct all kinds of movement and posturing after a non-scenario course of fire that is called “tactical awareness” but is probably more precisely called “gun-fu” or a “tactical kata”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about tactical awareness and keeping your “head on a swivel” but what I am not about is looking like you are doing something but you’re really not. My big three are
    1.) scan and assess
    2.) checking 6
    3.) looking at an AR ejection port after every string of fire

    Scan and assess and checking 6 are both billed as giving you critical information and done correctly they actually do. The problem is that in the conduct of both, people overwhelmingly “look” in a direction but don’t “see” anything. They look at this as a way to condition themselves under stress to be aware but what they are actually doing is the exact opposite. By “looking” and not “seeing” they are conditioning themselves to move their head left and right and not properly process anything they did look at. By not processing your surrounding with specificity you are conditioning yourself to make the requisite amount of motion and movement and falsely convince yourself that you are “aware” of your surroundings when actually you are overwhelmingly not.

    In the case of looking at an ejection port every time a string of fire is complete even though there is no specific stimulus, in doing so you are convincing yourself you saw more than you actually did. I see it as wasted motion that gives very minimal and incomplete information unless a physical stimulus was perceived. My issue is two-fold: it can’t be done at night with any legitimate effect in any reasonable amount of time and if you look and actually have enough light to see the bolt in battery the only thing you genuinely know is the bolt is in battery…nothing more! If the bolt locked to the rear then you would have felt the energy transfer to the rear but not back forward and that stimulus would have told your body through repetition and subsequent learned patterns of response (muscle memory) to reload your rifle. The input on the rifle gives you feedback so if I am getting the right feedback (the gun is running) why spend time and awareness getting minimal or incomplete information? If you are going to look then do a quick press-check (which can be done day or night) but if you don’t, the only thing you genuinely know is the bolt is in battery. If the magazine was bad and didn’t lock back or feed another round then a press-check is the only way to positively identify the status of your rifle.

    Scanning and assessing, checking your 6 and knowing the status of your rifle or any weapons system for that matter is not done through the physical repetition alone but through mental repetition in conjunction with physical cues. Different levels of experience allow some to be vigilant when vigilance is required but not on a drill where it is unnecessary. Less experienced people cannot differentiate between when it is a necessity and when it is not so that makes them feel compelled to do the dance every time they complete a drill. One’s ability to differentiate between the requirements of a situation speaks to how they train. Rote memorization of a “tactical dance” does not make you genuinely tactically aware. In reality it will make you less aware because you are conditioning yourself to physically act out the right answer but not get the benefit cognitively of the information it provides.

    If you want to scan and assess or check your 6 after every course of fire and ACTUALLY SEE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT then you are good to go in my book. If you press-check after every course of fire (and I do if there is any gap in time available along with pulling the magazine out and assessing by experience and weight if I think I am prepared for the next task) then I’m your advocate as well. Where I part ways with many is when the “gun-foo” starts and people are moving all around and looking all around and seeing almost nothing.

    Looking is directing your vision…seeing is processing what you looked at. Don’t just look, see what’s there! Done properly you will genuinely be tactically aware…not just dancing around the firing line.

    -Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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.


    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.

    Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

    Saturday, September 13th, 2014

    Shooting, Sights and Steel

    Steel is an incredible tool for marksmanship training due to the instant feedback and (other than an occasional repainting) because it removes the requirement to go downrange and score or service (read “paste targets”). One problem I frequently see that leads to bad or sloppy habits is poorly chosen sizes of steel. I constantly see people at ranges or in videos shooting speed drills using steel that is very large, giving the shooter and viewer a deceiving appearance of skill and or speed. For example, if you do a one-shot draw at 10 yards on a B/C zone plate as opposed to an A-zone plate, there is a completely different level of precision and skill required.

    I demonstrated this concept with a Glock that had no sights at all and performed 1-shot draws on a B/C-zone steel in 1 second or less from 10 yards with ease. This drill demonstrates the benefit of good body mechanics, proper presentation, and is actually very easy to perform. This drill emphasizes the point that at combative ranges, that body position is where the speed comes from: proper use of large steel. Now change the steel to an A-zone (60% smaller surface area), and it becomes far more problematic and really a function of luck for the same 1 second shot. The point being, if you want to get faster and more accurate, doesn’t shoot targets of a size that allow hits with little to no sight picture. Work your draws on an A-zone steel or smaller. I frequently do my reload drills on a 6” round steel to force me to follow that front sight 100% of the time or miss. The benefit is continuous reinforcement of the requirement to follow the sights to get the hits…come off the sight—come off the target. The gun will follow the eyes every time so keep the eyes where they should be! I recently did a drill called “Sight Tracker” that reinforces this very concept. You can’t make the hits if you don’t watch the sights.

    Take a look at it here:

    The takeaway is that everybody looks like a superhero shooting big steel. Often times the result is a reinforcement of sloppy habits and bad technique along with a false sense of the speed at which you can reliable shoot and hit. Use steel that GENUINELY makes you aim and forces you to see those sights every time you break a shot and then follow them to the next shot or next target.

    If you choose steel that lets you get away with little or no sight picture, that is what you are practicing…if you use small steel that makes you follow the sights every shot and work for every hit, that is what you are practicing.

    In conclusion, you should choose your steel wisely!

    For reference here are some numbers all in square inches to help evaluate relative difficulty:

    • 6” round- 28.27 sq. in.
    • 8” round- 50.26 sq. in.
    • 8” square- 64 sq. in.
    • A-Zone- 66 sq. in.
    • ¼ size IPSC- 110 sq. in.
    • A/B/C-zones – 220 sq. in. (approximate)
    • Full size IPSC 430 sq. in. (approximate)

    – Mike Pannone

    GFmomentpic

    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.


    www.ctt-solutions.com

    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.