Do You Even Tactics, Bro?

A special thanks to Mark Booher of Barritus for allowing me to publish his weekly e-newsletter here on Vigilant Wolf. Mark is a friend and a past guest of Ever Vigilant podcast (episode 36 & 55 ). I personally look forward to his weekly thoughts on personal security, situational awareness, and mindset.

Have you noticed that every industry has certain words that get used and abused? For me, words like tactical, or operator in our industry come to mind. Those words get bounced around so much that I wonder if we know what they mean anymore. Take the word tactical. We have tactical pants, tactical folders, tactical breathing, defensive tactics.....but do we have tactics? It's sad, but the truth is the tactical world is long on terms, but short on tactics. After training with law enforcement at over 60 departments across the country, I've come to the conclusion that virtually no one is truly teaching their officers tactics. They're just teaching techniques. It's even worse in the civilian sector. There are plenty of Tactical Pistol or Tactical Knife courses out on the market but again, they focus exclusively on technique - no tactics. Why is that? I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I think there's a couple of reasons for it. One, they simple don't know tactics. Second, I think most people prefer to talk about gear, techniques, or instructors, rather than tactics. And our police and citizens are paying the price for it. I just did a YouTube interview with the Kansas Gun Community on this topic. You can watch it here.

...the truth is the tactical world is long on terms, but short on tactics.

The interview ran about a hour long, so if you want a quick summary, here's what I discussed: First, let's define our terms. A tactic is the specific method of action, attack, or maneuver. Tactics define how you will accomplish your objective. Techniques are the actions you take to apply a specific tactic. Techniques involve the precise physical skill used to apply a specific tactic. Techniques may change or improve over time, but tactics are timeless. They are universal principles that remain the same. If you violate them in an engagement, there's a good chance you'll get killed or injured. There are at least four basic tactical principles you need to incorporate into your training. If you are versed in these principles you will become a fully skilled and functional protector. If you ignore these principles you will expose yourself to greater risk on the streets. The principles are simple, but they run deep. 1. Maneuver. Right now, when it comes to mobility, we're being told in the tactical world to Get of the X. That's a good start, but it's incomplete. If we are forced to engage with a threat, we must do so in the most efficient and decisive manner possible. Fire without movement is indecisive. Exposed movement without fire is potentially fatal. I've watched hours of video footage where officers and concealed carriers have died because of violating these principles. It doesn't matter if it's a gunfight, a knife fight, or fist fight, you must learn to move skillfully in a way that:

  • protects you from all attacks,

  • allows you to neutralize the capability of the threat to attack you, and

  • you must dominate the engagement.

There's an actual training methodology to this. It's critical that you learn and master it as soon as possible. 2. Advantage. The hallmark of good tactician is to identify and exploit an advantage over one's attacker. As obvious as this sounds, most martial arts, defensive tactics, and other instructors teach you to do the opposite. I know that sounds crazy, but I give examples of it in my video interview here. If you don't believe me, go ask your martial arts or defensive tactics instructor this question: Question: All things being equal, (gun to gun, fist to fist) how do you beat an opponent who is faster, stronger, more skilled than you? Answer: ......crickets....crickets.... If I may be candid, I'm sure you'll get a response, but you probably won't get an answer. If you do, please hit the reply button and tell me what your instructor says. I'd love to discuss it with you. 3. Tactical Decision Making. Winning in close quarters engagements requires flexibility and, among other things, an understanding of timing. There are three types of timing in any attack: Behind Time, Equal Time, and Ahead of Time. Once you understanding how timing works, you can manipulate it - set and reset the tempo of the engagement. When you do that, you can overwhelm the threat and prevail - even when the odds are against you. A detailed treatment of the topic of timing is beyond the scope of this article, but I'll cover it in more at another time. 4. Combat Power. This is the ability to fight and apply physical force decisively. This is where your actual skills, abilities, and techniques become part of the equation. These topics run deep and require study and training.

People prefer to talk about gear, techniques, or instructors rather than tactics....and we're paying the price for it.

Stay sharp, Mark Barritus Defense

Instagram - @the_barritus

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