Building approach for SWAT: Wedge vs. Stack

Tactical teams all have their own uniqueness about them, but all tend to utilize similar tactics. The first thing we have when being deployed is the approach to where our target is. When “assaulting” buildings most tactical teams seem to favor the simple “stack” approach. I am throwing out another idea for teams to consider. I have used this technique with the military and hope that you will at least consider trying it out and looking at applications for it.

The technique is the utilization of a “wedge” formation on approach. The first time I was exposed to this was while conducting training with an Army Special Forces (National Guard) unit that was involved in Counter Drug operations. The members were discussing the disadvantages of the “stack” formation on an approach. One of the downsides of this approach is that you lose the ability to cover (on approach) a lot of real estate.

We become limited by means of the formation being in a single file and operators only being able to cover the approach from alternating sides. The angles of fire become wide and the stack becomes “easy pickings” for any trained and ready adversary. Going back to basic military tactics, we have essentially made it easier for a “bad guy” to pick off operators in the stack. One semi-auto, military style rifle in the hands of a trained user can cause a lot of damage in a short time. On your approach only half of the operators may be facing that side of the threat. The only ones able to lay down fire are the lead operator or two, then the rest have to move and reposition to return fire or cover other sectors.

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