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Posts Tagged ‘Orion Applications’

Orion Applications 2014 Training Schedule

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Orion-Applications 2014 Schedule

Orion Applications announces their first open enrollment training schedule for 2014. The Orion Applications website is currently under construction, however for general questions, course registration, or hosting information you can contact

Orion Applications – Geometric Threat Assessment Course (GTAC) – Carbine – Update

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Due to an influx of questions regarding tuition for the upcoming GTAC-Carbine course, Orion Applications has released the following statement:


In regard to our GTAC course May 30th – June 1st we have received a constant stream of questions with reference to the course tuition on the course announcement we put up last week.

“Why is your course so much?” was the common theme. Well, to answer that more effectively, our tuition itself is $800.00, however there is an additional 600.00 fee for the 1000 rounds of UTM 5.56 man marker ammunition. UTM only sells to authorized and certified training companies, therefore we have to order and provide the UTM ammunition for our students. Hence the extra $600.00. I hope that clears up the confusion.

We have had a great response to the course, and there are only 8 seats left for the May course, so if you wish to attend shoot us an email soon. We look forward to a great training kick off for the rest of 2014. If you can’t make it to the May Course, don’t worry as we will be posting the 2014 Schedule here on SSD and on our Facebook on Wednesday!

Orion Applications – Geometric Threat Assessment Course (GTAC) – Carbine

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Orion Applications_3-2

Orion Applications is holding their first open enrollment course, the Geometric Threat Assessment Course – Carbine.

The course, crafted from years of experience and dozens of real word engagements, teaches students OODA loop theory, geometric vs linear threat assessment, advanced weapons manipulation, and barricade negotiation, among other skills.

It is worth nothing that this is not a beginner’s course. Orion Applications requires proof of certification of prior basic weapons manipulation training upon enrollment. Orion Applications courses in general also require the student be a US citizen with either a local LEO background check, letter of good standing, or CCW permit to attend.

The course runs from May 30th – June 1st, in Casper, Wyoming.

To register, or to host a future course, send an email to

Modern Day Minuteman – Training the Mind

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Wow, it’s late July already, where in the hell does the time go? I hope all of you are having a great summer with your families and are enjoying the warm weather.

Today lets discuss “Mindset”. In my first article, “Thoughts on Readiness” I explained some training observations, my training methodology, and creating/utilizing the pyramid of readiness. The second step up the pyramid is mindset. Training for the mind is imperative to your state of readiness, but how do you train the mind? Unfortunately the only thing that I have found that works for me in most cases is good old-fashioned suffering. I break suffering into 3 facets; environmental, physical, and psychological.

Environmental stress is always present in everything we do and I could get way out into the weeds on this and break this down into several sub characters but for the sake of simplicity lets categorize this as weather. Get outside and train in all environmental conditions. This allows your mind to acclimate as your body does to varying spectrums of weather. It also allows you to identify short falls in your gear. I remember on my second tour in Iraq we rotated in country in June and it was the seventh circle of hell hot. I knew when we got of off the plane and I walked past the still running jet engine and through the jet blast only to feel the air get hotter that we were all fucked. We had just flown in from San Diego were it was 85 degrees and as I walked to retrieve my ruck and wait for ground movement instructions I checked my Suunto and it read 113 degrees and this was at 10pm! Early within the first week we conducted our first foot patrol. It was high noon when we departed our COP and the temperature was 127 degrees. We did a 12k movement in full combat gear. My kit weighed 62 pounds and I was running light compared to some of the other Marines. Most of the patrol was uneventful, however about halfway through I stopped sweating after sucking down an entire 70 oz camel back. I knew I was in trouble and it was going to be a serious test of man hood to not become a heat casualty. Two thirds of the way through the patrol, the whole squad was nearly out of water. We were sharing the last two quart canteen, passing it back and forth during a short security halt. At that moment we started taking small bursts of AK fire. We reacted accordingly and nothing really happened, it was ineffective harassment fire just to let us know that we were under observation and definitely in bad guy country. The stress from contact combined with the heat and gear caused me and four other Marines to go down as heat casualties. We were CASEVAC’d back to our COP and I ended up getting an IV bag or two. It was an embarrassing moment for me to collapse on the patrol as the senior NCO, but I learned some valuable lessons that day. First and foremost was the importance of acclimation, and being properly acclimated. It was bad leadership on our commands behalf to have us launch a patrol in that kind of heat after being in country for 3 days. The second was proper nutrition. We all drank copious amounts of water that afternoon and all night prior to the mission, but none of us ate much and had no salt tabs, nor any type of electrolyte replacement. I am convinced most of us over hydrated and washed out all of our body’s salt. Since that day extreme heat hasn’t ever bothered me that much, I have friends and family in Phoenix, Arizona and whenever I visit I make sure I get a couple good long runs in and we always get a day of shooting in 100 plus degree heat.
Currently I live in the mountains of Western Wyoming and we have snow 8 months of the year with average temps in January around -20 degrees. It’s so cold that when March rolls around and temps climb up to the 30’s you often see the locals in t-shirts shoveling their drive way.

The second facet is physical, primarily in an endurance capacity I started running ultra marathons and fast packing long distances and nothing teaches you more about yourself and mental tenacity than running 30-60 miles or hiking 80 miles in 2 days. In the past I believed running those distances was crazy, and now it would appear I have become one of the insane. Learning how to push through physical pain, blisters, muscle fatigue, ruck sores, and chaffing for long periods builds great tolerances. Like those days when it’s thirty degrees and I am rocking a t-shirt to shovel snow off the drive way, now a 10-13 mile run is an easy average workout. Where as 3 years ago I thought running a half marathon was a big deal. Through endurance training you also get the psychological stress, your mind tires as your body does and you have to fight yourself to stay focused. I have literally had to pep talk myself through sections of races to make it and finish.

As with environmental stress, psychological stress has many other variables too. I mentioned in my first article about the master class shooter who was a CrossFit stud but threw up at the sight of blood. He is actually a friend of mine, I took him pig hunting once and I shot a nice hog in the head with a 7.62 at 120 yards. When we walked up on the hog and rolled him over. The hog’s brains fell out accompanied by some blood spray. He took one look at this visceral sight and began vomiting. I stopped and stared at him with what I can only imagine was a very disapproving look on my face. Inquisitively I asked, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” “It’s the blood, it makes me sick” he replied. I unsheathed my knife and handed it to him, I made him cape the animal, cut out the tenderloins and back straps. We barbecued and happily consumed those that night. He puked and dry heaved his way through it, but he persevered and overcame a personal psychological stress. Later that night after we had eaten over beers he thanked me for making him sack up and face a mental failure point.

I have been hunting big and small game since I was a kid. When you look at what hunting is, there is no better type of mindset training. It combines all the facets together. Grab a ruck with your gear, optics and weapons and head off into the backcountry. You hike for miles and spend days climbing mountains. Utilizing field craft to track and locate your prey, and then you experience the adrenaline rush and deal with the mental aspects of killing, while practicing marksmanship under stress. Lastly you cape and quarter the animal and hike it out. Frankly big game backcountry hunting provides a level of mindset training that is unparalleled.

So in closing I will tell you, in the end your only limitation is yourself. Learn to face and break through your failure points, learn to be comfortable at being uncomfortable. Challenge and push ones self to be better, or learn something new everyday. The “Moment of Truth” can come anywhere at any time. Will you be ready?

Until next time………

Brian Bishop served for 8 years as an active duty Infantry NCO in the United States Marine Corps. After being honorably discharged he served an additional 5 years as a defense contractor in support of DEA and USASOC counter narcotics/FID operations. Brian has completed several combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently the CEO of Orion Design Group, a leading industry design firm and the chief instructor of Orion Applications, a training group specializing in, weapons and tactics training solutions.

Modern Day Minuteman – “Strobing” Technique, Not Function

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Today’s education topic is something that is near and dear to my heart, “Tactical Illumination”. In particular, a technique called strobing. Notice I said technique, not “function”, which is where I’ll digress for a moment to explain something that is, in my opinion, a clear and obvious indication that the finer points of employing white light in a tactical environment are greatly misunderstood by manufacturers and most tactical professionals out there. Now some of you at this point are probably scratching your head and saying, “Brian what the fuck are you talking about?” Well gentleman, go grab a beer from the fridge, crack it open, sit back and I’ll explain.

As I said previously, I’ve had the privilege of training with many leaders and legends in the tactical industry. One such legend and mentor of mine is a man named Dave Maynard. He was one of the founders of the Surefire institute and was basically responsible for giving Surefire a reason to go from a laser business to a light business. I trained and worked side by side with Dave for nearly a decade. He is a man of many talents, but his forte is low light gun fighting. He taught me every trick in the book regarding low light gun fighting and when he had taught me everything he could; I took what he had given me and devised a few more great tricks of my own.

One of the tricks Dave taught me was a technique called strobing. All lighting technique’s effectiveness varies on the amount of environmental light. Strobing works best in near black conditions. To achieve effective strobing you flash the weapon light on and off to create what I call the “techno effect”. I call it this, because if you do it correctly the effect resembles that of a techno club strobe light and is very disorienting. In order to do this correctly you have to flash the weapon light at the proper “Pulse Rate”. If the pulse rate is too fast it severely limits the effectiveness of the technique. If it’s too slow well then you may be distracting the threat but not disorienting him/her. This is where “function” becomes an issue that needs to be addressed.

A lot of tactical light companies out there, whose engineers have probably never even held a gun, let alone shot one, had their marketing team tell them, “Hey lets put an auto strobe feature on our new awesome weapon light”. They thought this was a great innovative idea because they heard the term “strobing” used by an operator or low light instructor and took it for it’s literal meaning. I’m sure what I’m about to say is going to hurt some feelings out there, don’t take it personally, but you fucked up. I know it sucks when someone says that, however even though it sucks it helps us all make corrections and be better at what we do. Now you engineers out there are probably saying, “What the fuck Brian, it took me three years to design and engineer that weapon light!”

I know you put three years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars into that product, but here is a dose of reality for you. I put you guys in the same category as companies that make body armor or other forms of life saving equipment because if their product is poorly designed, manufactured or fails people die. The same is true for weapon lights.

By incorporating an auto strobe feature in your light, all you did was put a feature on a weapon light that makes the shooter think he’s disorienting the bad guys, when in actuality he’s not. In fact, not only does your light fail to disorient the bad guys, it actually makes the shooter easier for the bad guys to see in the dark and kill. The first reason for this is because all auto strobe settings on all the weapon lights I have tested the “Pulse Rate” is too fast, and in some cases not pushing enough lumens to create the “techno effect”. The second reason is most shooters leave the strobe in constant on mode, this causes extreme target fixation and tunnel vision all of which occur naturally in high stress situations but are amplified in dark conditions when the only visual stimuli is acquired through the illumination of your weapon light. This scenario makes them an easy target for additional threats outside their light cone.

My other huge complaint about the existing weapon lights on the market is the double tap feature on the switch that makes the light stay in constant on mode. This feature was a cross over function from IR weapon lasers. “Hey if it’s good for IR it’s good for white light too right?” WRONG!! This feature definitely sucks and will also get someone killed. Remember earlier when I mentioned, “Pulse Rate”? I can’t get the pulse rate correct on my strobe technique if the light gets stuck in constant on mode when I try and actuate the switch quickly. Here’s another little pearl of wisdom, you don’t need to use the constant on feature for hands free illumination from a weapon light. If you are doing something that requires constant white light illumination, like casualty management, or searching prisoners or doing SSE, it’s a job for your hand held, head lamp, or helmet light, not your weapon light.

Your weapon light is for intermittent use only. A fail safe way for me to spot a shooter who hasn’t been properly trained on light employment, is if he or she utilizes what I call, “light on stay on”, switching the light into constant on mode and shooting the drill, or clearing the room or structure, with the light on the whole time. That technique is wrong and will get you killed quicker than a day hike in the Khyber Pass.

If you are a responsible armed citizen or armed professional that works in low light environments regularly and you think that your weapon light is simply to see what you’re shooting at in the dark, you’re gravely mistaken. If you are a weapon light manufacturer please keep in mind you are building a valuable life support tool that can help distract, disorient, and destroy the threat. More importantly, the features of your light and how it is used can mean the difference between someone going home or going to the morgue.

Remember education is the foundation, do you’re research and acquire the knowledge to enhance your level of readiness, and ensure success at the “Moment of Truth”.
Until next time …

Brian Bishop served for 8 years as an active duty Infantry NCO in the United States Marine Corps. After being honorably discharged he served an additional 5 years as a defense contractor in support of DEA and USASOC counter narcotics/FID operations. Brian has completed several combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently the CEO of Orion Design Group, a leading industry design firm and the chief instructor of Orion Applications, a training group specializing in, weapons and tactics training solutions.

Modern Day Minuteman – Thoughts on Readiness

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

This is the first guest article by Orion Applications’ Brian Bishop in a series called, “Modern Day Minuteman” where he will explore numerous topics of interest to many SSD readers.

Over the years I have constantly heard the term “Performance on Demand “. I have had the privilege of training and continuing to train with some of the best and most credible tactical trainers in the industry, some merely polished the steel on an already sharp blade and some honed a whole new edge altogether, raising my skill sets substantially.

All of them had unique and specific drills to test and measure performance on demand. Some of you may wonder what exactly performance on demand means, well simply put, on the flat range it means being able to pass a time and accuracy standard under stress. It’s a measuring stick. At that given moment do you possess the skills to succeed?
In the real world it means you either go home, or you go to the morgue.

Time after time I watched a percentage of the class fail these drills during training. Sometimes the percentage was small and sometimes it was large, but I always watched in amazement as the spectrum of men, their efforts, and their failings unfolded in front of me.

Lets take a few of the most common types of shooters that I have seen fail.

First the fat guy, he shows up and damn can he shoot accurate. He’s fast out of the holster too, but all that accuracy goes right out the window when he has to integrate movement. Once he has to run, be under stress and his heart rate spikes to 210 BPM his once shit hot static marksmanship disappears.

Next you have the skinny guy who’s in decent shape and is a decent shooter, but just gets a serious case of stage fright. He can make the time by blasting away, but shits the bed on accuracy or he’s accurate as hell, but moves slower than old people fuck.

Last but not least my personal favorite, the guy who shows up decked out head to toe in everything Crye Precision makes. These fine gentleman have the latest and greatest in weapons and kit, but the second the pressure is on and they’re in the midst of the drill, they have a malfunction and, they stop and stare at the gun like it’s got a dick growing out of the ejection port.

After watching this happen several times, at several different courses, the instructor side of me began to assess the problems these shooters had. When taken at face value the fixes were obvious and simple.

Mr. fat guy needs to go on a diet, lose weight and get in shape. Being accurate is great but, if a gun fight breaks out in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly and you have to sprint from cover to cover several times to close on the threat so you can neutralize it, and you arrive at the “Moment of Truth” and blow through that 8 round magazine in your fancy custom 1911 not hitting shit, congrats you get the fuck shot out of you, and die tired and still fat.
The skinny guy who chokes under pressure needs to start shooting stress drills until he becomes proficient at operating under pressure. You think it’s stressful shooting a drill on a flat range in front of 17 other guys? Wait until that nut job at the mall starts blasting away and you have bullets whizzing by you, people running and screaming around you, and dead and wounded bleeding pools of slick sticky bright red blood all over.
Last but not least, “Captain Crye”. Hey captain, great work on researching all the cutting edge high performance gear and state of the art weapon systems. I love good kit too. but put the time and training into learning simple manipulation skills and basic weapon handling fundamentals before you show up to an advanced carbine/pistol course dressed like a Ferrari that drives like a pinto.

Now all that said, I am not picking on my three examples, but rather just telling it how it is. As a matter of fact, I am proud that despite their deficiencies these men still have the balls to come out to train and better themselves. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, getting off the couch, grabbing your weapons and kit and learning to be a better armed citizen and shooter.

After some reflection on my own training and experiences in high stress situations, I realized that performance on demand drills are extremely important, but are usually presented in a very one-dimensional manner. Here’s a piece of steel, or an A zone on an IPSC target, or a 3”x 5” card. Shoot it, move, shoot it again, maybe throw in a reload and you have “X” amount of time.” The meaning of the drill is important in that, it’s a drill representing what I call the “Moment of Truth”. That’s the moment when a situation requiring the use of deadly force materializes out of thin air and takes a giant shit in your lap when you least expect it. Can you take the situation you have been thrust into and perform on demand to save your life, the lives of your loved ones and the lives of the innocent people around you?

These drills are great and their meaning is certainly important, however true performance on demand encompasses way more than good weapon marksmanship and manipulation skills with a sprinkle of fitness thrown in. It’s a culmination of skills that I call the “Pyramid of Readiness”.

The pyramid contains six core pieces. The first and the foundation is, education. Education is essential and where everything else stems from. Second is Mindset, as many including myself that have been stuck in some real bad situations will tell you, a strong mind will get you through anything. If you are a diehard CrossFitter and an IPSC grandmaster, but you faint or vomit at the sight of blood, it’s a bad thing and a huge hole in your readiness. Third is fitness, not only is it essential for your health, longevity, and mobility, but like my example above, if you’re overweight and out of shape it can drastically affect your performance and mindset, which in turn cripples your readiness. Fourth is marksmanship, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen shooters that don’t understand height over bore! Fifth is manipulation, an airframe helmet and jumpable plate carrier won’t save you in a gunfight if you don’t know how to clear that double feed quickly and get your gun back in the fight. Sixth, and at the top of the pyramid, is force on force. Its what I like to refer to as the “Truth Component”. It is the true test of performance on demand, and will definitely expose your readiness short falls. If you can perform successfully in a force on force evolution, chances are you will perform during the “Moment of Truth”.

Stay tuned, more to follow…….

Brian Bishop served for 8 years as an active duty Infantry NCO in the United States Marine Corps. After being honorably discharged he served an additional 5 years as a defense contractor in support of DEA and USASOC counter narcotics/FID operations. Brian has completed several combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently the CEO of Orion Design Group, a leading industry design firm and the chief instructor of Orion Applications, a training group specializing in, weapons and tactics training solutions.

Something’s Happening at ODG

Thursday, February 14th, 2013


Last April, ODG announced Orion Applications. We hear a big announcement is forthcoming from them. We can’t wait to hear what it is.

ODG Announces Orion Applications Training Division

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”
– Sun Tzu –