Tactical Operations: Firearm deployment to quickly stabilize events
By Gary T. Klugiewicz
Guns! Guns! Guns!
There is no doubt, for police officers, that things are getting more dangerous out there. Whether you are functioning as a member of a SWAT Team or conducting routine patrol duties, there are more assignments that you are responding to with firearms drawn. But, having your sidearm drawn or carrying a long gun doesn't mean that you will need to shoot - you just have to be ready to. Moving into a scene in close quarter situations bring forth special threats and require special tactics for Firearm Deployment to Quickly Stabilize Events.
Threat Assessment becomes even more important when dealing with situations where a firearm is drawn and aimed at possible targets. Even if you have your firearm ready to fire, you can still lose the Gun Fight, if you aren't ready to react immediately to a lethal threat or to prevent an assailant from attempting to disarm you.
In training, we program our officers to WIN The FIGHT, I like to use the Predator Riddle illustrate this point. In short, I ask officers, "What a Victim expects to see when they turn a blind corner?" The answer is "Nothing, because life is good." Then I ask the same officers, "What does a Predator expects to see around the same blind corner?" I usually get the answer of "a Victim." I say "No, the answer is Lunch." Here I usually get several laughs but the point is made. An officer always has to be ready for that Predator that may be lurking around the corner. Remember, when you are ready and no one is there "it's a Good Day." But, when the Predator is there, the officer is ready to take immediate action and Win The Fight.
The best way to prepare for these split second deadly force decision making situations is to practice "When / Then" Thinking. This is a term that I learned from Bob "Coach" Lindsey, a nationally known Officer Survival Instructor. It replaces the old term known as "If / Then" Thinking. Coach Lindsey says that "If / Then" Thinking doesn't make the threat immediate enough, that somehow the threat is placed at a distance, in the future, and, if fact, may not happen at all. It places the officer in a state of unpreparedness. On the other hand, "When / Then" Thinking puts the threat right here, immediate, and certain. "When" the subject with the gun appears, "Then" I will be able to take immediate action without hesitation. Again, this doesn't mean that on high risk calls, I will always use / fire my firearm but I am always ready to do so.
In Tactical Operations, we need to develop our Firearm Deployment to Quickly Stabilize Events. In order to do this we need to analyze the type of responses we are likely to face. It is important to remember that during these events the officer is prepared to use deadly force and is armed with a handgun or long gun. Basically there are five (5) basic responses for a subject when faced with the sudden insertion of police officers into their environment.
2. The subject flees;
3. The subject is non-responsive or slow to follow verbal commands;
4. The subject resists or becomes assaultive;
5. The subject's actions necessitates the use of deadly force.
1. The subject complies and follows all verbal commands.
This tactic includes:
This tactic, if appropriate, can include:
1. Practice Combat Breathing - utilize slow deep rhythmic breathing before, during, and after stressful situations. An officer who practices Autogenic Breathing has the best chance of staying relatively calm in these oftentimes chaotic situations.
2. Receive a Stress Inoculation -- participate in high stress training sessions that help to reproduce the type stress that you will experience in real life events. An officer who participates in high stress training like is currently available with Simunition (R) FX Marking Cartridges and/or RedMan ® Weapon Defense Suit will become better inoculated to the stress involved in this type of situations and becomes acclimated to the stress associated with the high stress levels experienced during actual duty encounters. The officer gets "used to" these chaotic situations and tends to respond better. 3. Develop Conditioned Responses to the behaviors you are likely to experience in your duty environment. By practicing the tactics associated with the levels of resistance that a Tactical Operator will experience, the officer will build up a "conditioned response" that will translate from the training room to the duty environment. S/he will develop a motor memory for survival skills.
Officers who remain alert, utilize "When / Then" Thinking, and have been trained to respond to the different subject responses that they are likely to experience have the greatest likelihood of successfully dealing with the threats presented during a Tactical Operation. Perfect Practice leads to Perfect Performance.
Stay Strong! Stay Safe!
Gary T. Klugiewicz
Gary T. Klugiewicz is recognized as one of the nation’s leading defensive tactic trainers and the developer of the Active Countermeasures System of Unarmed Blocking and Striking Techniques. A recently retired as a captain with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, Gary has twenty-five years in law enforcement. He is the Director of Training for the Fox Valley Technical College RedMan® Training Division. Gary is also a consultant for many police and correctional agencies throughout the United States. In addition, he is a founding member of the PoliceOne.com Training Advisory Board
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