Gunfighter Moment – Mike Glover

Before the Global War On Terror, quantifying specific variables in a gunfight was like quantifying quantum physics. It’s a difficult undertaking without specific data – and any data was better than “I heard from a buddy that knew a guy.”

Now with the acceleration of the war on terror and concurrent advances in technology, we have a plethora of case studies, video, and stories from the men and women who were literally there. There is no more “theory,” but a wealth of the specific data we’ve been missing, and with that data we can begin to determine and extrapolate what works versus what doesn’t.

I remember getting into my first contact with the enemy. Looking back on it, it wasn’t what I expected – it wasn’t dynamic, it didn’t involve complex thought or replicate the things I was taught at the range. When analyzing this process I realized I didn’t even apply the basics I had been taught, it was all a reflex, all second nature and slightly reckless. I was confronted with a threat; it was him versus me and I realized afterward that I didn’t have time to prep my trigger, seat my stock, or even acquire a sight picture. The only things I had time to do were align and press, get my bore in line with the closest thing I could get to center and smash my trigger as fast as I could.

As I developed my skillsets in war the realization dawned that in an offensive action I only had milliseconds to react if the enemy I was hunting was ready and waiting for me, and that everything I had been taught was far more difficult to apply in reality. This is a stark contrast to other occupations – in a gunfight outside of deliberate actions and raids in the military, you react to or counter threats, which puts you behind the living curve.

For example: let’s say you’re a police officer, reacting to a domestic violence call. When you arrive the suspect is nowhere to be found. As you sweep the residence the victim of the domestic violence advises you that the suspect is armed and acting erratically so you are now expecting contact, and behind the living curve. Let’s say you clear into a corner-fed room, feeding into a bathroom that has visibility on the corner-fed room’s door, but your focus is on the blind spot of the dead space in that room. As you move your eyes and gun into position you see something, a flash of what you think is a light but instead it’s your eyes recognizing a foreign entity – in this case, the barrel of a revolver pointed right at your head. Your eyes get wide, your adrenaline tsunamis your being. Everything is in slow motion. Your eyes and brain see the threat, and the barrel of your gun is still in dead space…

Ok, let’s stop there, and consider what we know from our training. In training, we’re taught that once we step through a threshold we need to check corners and clear dead space. Right or wrong, that’s a fundamental – but every time I’ve done force on force or UTM/Sims training, if a bad guy sits one room deep he can kill every good guy who steps through that threshold, time after time.

I remember the first time I was taught to think outside of the convention in small-arm tactics – a team-mate of mine, who belonged to an elite CT unit, told me “don’t be in a rush to just clear and commit to a room. Clear a much as you possibly can prior to entry, even if you have to go prone.” That latter part of his statement really stuck with me, “even if you have to go prone.” This wasn’t advice being taught from theory, this was being taught from reality, from truly unpredictable situations experienced in warfare, and it made absolute sense. Committing to a fight in which your opponent is aware of and can take advantage of your weaknesses is committing to a losing battle, and there will be no second chance, no opportunity to learn from a fatal mistake.

Back to our earlier scenario. When someone has a gun, and they have it pointed at you, you need to be able to send rounds toward that threat and neutralize in immediately. Seeing a threat with your eyes that you’re not instantly ready to deal with puts you at the mercy of your enemy’s reaction time. Clear with your eyes with your gun in tow; and when expecting contact you must clear methodically and thoroughly prior to entering the breach point. Never race in unprepared, that leads to mistakes and sets you up for ambushes. While training is necessary, it doesn’t always reflect the situations we find ourselves up against, and can ultimately hamper our perception of reality. As long as your training institution understands this logic, and can work toward providing you with the tools necessary to get closer to reality, you’re with the right venue. Remember, experience is always better than theory.

– Mike Glover
FieldCraft LLC


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

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

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

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

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

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.

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24 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Mike Glover”

  1. Excellent advice Sir, and great example-if your not trying to get in to save a life, what’s the rush?

  2. We’re at the onset of a tactical renaissance in which the industry will be restructured by GWOT vets. Mike is right, the wars were the best ongoing ballistic labs that disproved speculative tactics. The industry’s brief affair with empowering the inexperienced and mediocre is coming to a close and it’s exciting to look towards the horizon!

  3. Rob371 says:

    It’s nice to hear a btdt dude explain the application of limited penetration in a relatable scenario. I only wish we were able to hear that earlier in GWOT. It seemed like everything was secondary to speed (whether it was least resistance or free flow). The team that could clear the fastest were the cool kids. Unfortunately sometimes it was more of a rush to failure.

  4. WorkingDog says:

    “For example: let’s say you’re a police officer, reacting to a domestic violence call….As you sweep the residence….”
    What, alone? Yeah… Probably not gonna happen.

    • RMM says:

      Unfortunately it does though, in small and rural dept’s where there is only 1 or 2 guys on and backup is either 40 minutes away or in bed.

    • Chris K. says:

      It’s the same scenario whether you’re alone or not.

    • Bill says:

      It happens all the time, as pointed out in small and rural agencies. However, “sweeping the residence” in the scenario described is optional. If I have all the good people in a safe location and a bad person in a general area, I’m not going in there, barring exigent circumstances. I’ll wait the 45 minutes to several hours it will take to get backup and specialists if need be, so it’s sort of a moot point.

      I like dogs, but there’s a reason we’ll send them in ahead.

      • WorkingDog says:

        You beat me to it.
        Maybe you go in if, for whatever curious reason, the victim isn’t coming out. Fine. But, once you have her safe, traipsing through the house looking for an armed and presumably violent suspect is both dumb and, absent some compelling circumstance, would get you fired in many places. Her safety is paramount. Either wait for help or leave — any other choice increases the risk of a bad outcome for her (not to mention the entirely plausible chance she decides to come back in and do something stupid).

  5. Mike R says:

    I’ve done it more often than I’d like to remember. 2 or 3 cops for 850sq miles of coverage area. It sucks.

  6. Dellis says:

    Mr. Glover that was a great read, thank you. I have never been in the situation where I have had to clear a room, other than practice/training but I now see flaws in that training and will adjust, again thanks.

    The other part of your article brings back to me what my instructor would say as I began to learn the blade side of Aikibujitsu. He said only the survivors of battle knew what did and did not work and as such was passed on.

  7. Mr.E.G. says:

    Great article but what’s the takeaway here? That you should go slow when clearing a roll and keep your gun at eye level / pointed wherever the eye goes?

    • Chris K. says:

      The take away is trust people who have experience over theory and the inexperienced. Also a huge take away tactics-wise is remembering to cover the far room/next room as you sweep the current one you’re in. That’s where bad guys tend to win since everyone is sucked into the current room and forget to see beyond it when clearing.

      • Bill says:

        Well, sort of. I’d cleared I don’t know how many rectangular rooms only to get confounded when we hit a structure that was essentially a set of octagonal domes. There will always be room for experience AND theory; they go hand in hand

  8. Washington says:

    Not unlike how nazis got a “wealth of information and data” experimenting on “undesirables”

    • AbnMedOps says:

      Well, very “unlike” the Nazis, in that we didn’t set up GWOT and it’s concomitant casualty counts (enemy, friendly, and collateral) to be a lab experiment, but we have generated and profited from a vast amount of Lesson Learned material.

    • Joe says:

      Oh look, another troll! Bang! Smoke checked.

  9. Mike Glover says:

    Thanks for the feedback guys: absolutely correct the take away is that we use to be immersed in the tactical industry with paper theory and now we have the chance to emulate reality and train like we fight. Also, absolutely-clear as much prior into he room and beyond, not just the room we are in. Appreciate the feedback and look forward to more content and sharing experiences. -Mike @sofsurvivor

    • PA Sapper says:

      Great advice, always appreciate those who have actually stood on the breach point helping to spread these lessons outside of the SOF community. I’ve seen a lot about going for slower/limited-penetration CQB recently. How would this apply with larger sized units. It seems this mostly would be workable with smaller teams but with 20+ people flooding a building I would think you would be bottle-necking and presenting great mass-casualty targets. Would just have most of the platoon take cover outside and send in a squad or squad plus?

  10. Martin nielsen says:

    Great write-up. Totally agree. We must use everything to our advantage and out-think and out-strategize the enemy. Keep thinking outside the box and always question the status quo. Things can always be improved on. I will be jumping on one of your courses soon for 2017 as I am also in Norcal myself.

  11. JKifer says:

    great gun fighter moment, thanks boss!