For all of the unfortunate and violent stories of incident’s I have posted of CO’s fighting for their lives to help us LEARN and therefore GROW as Civilian Operators, I think the above story can do the most good-by far. It touches on 4 skill sets that I have always felt are integral to staying realistically prepared in the violent world in which we live. Namely, 24/7 Armament, ECQ Fighting, Vehicle Combat and the “+1 Mentality”.
As you read this list, don’t just skim over the topics, take some time and reflect on each one and see how your CURRENT training and STATE OF READINESS measures up.
1. The most obvious: CARRY 24/7!!
If there is one thing I continually harp on to my students and friends, it is always to STAY ARMED! and when I say “ARMED” I am not just referring to your handgun. Remaining in a constant state of readiness (for the CO at least), entails having everything on your person, 24/7 you would need to survive a violent, and perhaps even prolonged attack or fight.
The short list would include:
- Extra Magazine for primary
- EDC pocket knife
- small fixed blade
- flashlight that doubles as a kubotan
- cell phone
- small trauma kit
I know this sounds like a lot of gear to tote around 24/7, but I have been doing it for a long time now, and I can tell you right now if you are careful in your gear selection, it is not a big deal. My first piece of advice would be to look at carrying things horizontally (like your mag and fixed blade) so your pockets can be free to clip your EDC and flashlight and carry your cell and trauma kit. I am a fan of carrying my fixed blade (typically a Benchmade CBK Push Dagger or Blackhawk Crucible) clipped horizontal at 11:00, this is a very natural position and I find it very fast to access.
2. Vehicle Combat Training is not “specialty” training for the Civilian!
I always tell my students that your training needs to reflect your lifestyle. Most of split our time between home, work and the commute to get to both of them. The likelihood that a violent incident will occur at one or more of these places therefore is 33%; this story proves that probability is more than accurate. It makes sense then for the civilian to integrate vehicle combat drills into their everyday routine, not just something they touch on once in a while as a “specialty” skill set. I will be doing a series of articles to help you guys design some realistic drills, but in the meantime, when you start looking at designing your drills, don’t go “gung-ho joe” and just focus on scrapping inside the cab right off the bat! First look at PREVENTION measures that could get you “Off-the-X” rather than get you deeper into the “doo-doo”. Remember: there is no shame in retreating when your life is at stake! Remember also, you have a 2 ton, 4 wheeled weapon at your command..that trumps that little handgun on your hip everyday plus Sunday! If you spot danger, haul ass if possible! If that is not an option, then we need to look at using the vehicle as a weapon, if that is not an option, we need to address the threat BEFORE they can pin us in the vehicle cab, if at all possible, we do not want to fight inside a 6×6 ft box with empty hand or knives if possible..take my word on this (and from the guy in this story) IT SUCKS!!
3. ECQ Fighting is a street Reality
One of my favorite instructors favorite maxims was “Well, in a PERFECT WORLD I might agree with you”. Some of his best lectures started with that saying, including the one that shot down a fellow students belief in the much discussed “reactionary gap”. Most civilian combat training erroneously teaches that the “reactionary gap” is some kind of magic distance that will keep students safe if they abide by it. The problem with this teaching, is like most “fantasy gunfight training” it is not REALISTIC or PRACTICAL. We live in a world where people get close to each other, not so close where it is uncomfortable, but definitely so close so they could hurt you. I mean come on, next time you go in the supermarket or bank, try to keep 21 feet between you and every other human being you come across…NOT GONNA HAPPEN.The above story illustrates the point perfectly: most criminals NEED TO GET CLOSE to do whatever it is they plan on doing, be that rob, rape, assault or kill you. So that begs the question, “What is the best defense then?”. The best defense is two-fold; first is AWARENESS and second is LEARN TO FIGHT UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH EMPTY HAND, KNIFE AND GUN through Combatives training. Does it suck? Yeah, read the above story! Will you get hurt in the process? The probability is very HIGH, but that is the reality of staying alive in today’s world.
4. The “+1” Mentality: Predators always travel in packs
I know this a huge cliché in the training community, but this one actually holds water. Again, our above story verifies it. The guys injuries came from the dude he never saw..why? because in the stress of combat, you are focused on killing the dude in front of you..a friggin nuclear bomb could go off behind you and you most likely would keep on fighting the guy in front of you, because that is the threat YOU SEE AS MOST RELEVANT. Your mentality must always be “+1”, meaning, there is always the likelihood of being than 1 perp around, so look out for him. Second, ALL OF YOUR DRILLS need to integrate some type of “scanning” the area, and not just post-incident either, “Keeping your head on a swivel” means ALL THE TIME, not just after the threat is down or the fight is over. If you can maintain that +1 mentality and drill on breaking that “hard focus” that comes when a fight begins, you are well on your way, but like everything, it takes repetition.
If there is a constant in the universe, it is this: No plan survives contact with the enemy. I think the above story proves that. All we can do as responsible CO’s is to attempt to minimize every risk possible and stay prepared at all times, in every imaginable way possible. At the end of the day, any incident (ie attack on your life) that you walk away from is a good one, regardless of what you had to do to make that happen.
Stay Armed, Stay Alert and Stay Dangerous!