Elevating the conversation about all things tactical.
Sometimes the skills you need to be a professional have less to do with your actual job and more to do with, well, everything else. Put money away for retirement. Have a backup plan. Have a healthy marriage and life at home. Get a hobby. Taking care of your own wellness and the people around you are what help you be a high-performer at work. All the knife hands and shooting drills in the world won’t help you be successful if you don’t show up to work in a state of mind to focus on all the cool stuff.
Ryan Wyatt is a flight paramedic who has worked on air and ground ambulances, in a trauma center, and overseas. After time spent as a Navy Corpsman, Ryan also deployed to Iraq as a private military contractor flying on Littlebirds doing medevac work. Hear about the time his Littlebird went down behind enemy lines and more.
Countries, terrorist groups, and various shady actors have developed their information warfare capabilities into an effective weapon. They are counting on you to be a sucker – Jim & Mike will help calibrate your BS detector to keep them from wielding active influence measures against you.
Admit it, people like us tend to be “tactical” hoarders. But if you want your gear to actually be functional when the time comes that you need to use it, you have to put hands on it from time to time. Make sure your screws are thread locked, check your zero on your optics, pack enough water and socks, etcetera. Like any TacTangents episode it’s not just about your gear. This also has a lot to do with things like leadership, personal responsibility, and risk management.
“Bright Lights and Cold Steel:” An Intro to Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Pre Hospital Trauma Medicine
Learning about emergency medical care is more complicated than knowing how to slap on a tourniquet and a chest seal. Understanding the importance of getting your patient to a trauma center (“Bright lights and cold steel”) is a good first step in establishing priorities of work when minutes and seconds matter to a person who is seriously wounded. This episode is a starting point to help steer your training and treatment philosophy for trauma medicine. Listen now to learn more.
“Noner” shares some real talk about training fallacies and mental preparation for combat. Mike Pannone of CTT Solutions spent years as a Recon Marine, Special Forces Soldier, and SFOD-D Operator. After losing an eye from a blast injury he medically retired and worked as a high-risk contractor overseas and now spends most of his time training people all over the world. “Noner” shares some pearls of wisdom related to mental conditioning, theories and assumptions in tactics, and skills competence.
Jim explains how to analyze, exploit, and change the terrain you are fighting in to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent – whether in a parking lot or a battlefield. Walking you from Thermopylae to the Taiwan Straits to the engine block of your police car and the desks of your classroom, we help you assess and understand your operating environment.
One of our favorite and recurring guests, Isaac, just got back from Army Basic Training and shares some insights and stories that might help anyone getting ready to ship out as an enlisted soldier. This is a useful conversation if you want to know what to expect from Basic Training aka Army OSUT (One Station Unit Training). He is one step closer to his dream of becoming a Special Forces Soldier/Green Beret.
In the mid-90s a little girl was reported to be kidnapped but was later found dead in the basement of her large, Boulder CO home. The case remains unsolved today, and several procedural errors on behalf of the officers and investigators who responded to the scene tainted our best chances to identify and prosecute Jon Benet’s killer. Many believe the parents or her older brother were to blame. A sex offender claimed to be responsible but there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove it. Some think that the family’s wealth and political ties had something to do with it. We may not ever know the truth. Mike and Jim give a synopsis of the event and talk about some of the mis-steps that might have helped detectives solve the mystery.
Most of us have daydreamed, imagined, and rehearsed what certain survival or self-defense encounters will look like in our minds, so we are going to make fun of our younger-selves and shed some light on something we are all guilty of: The Tactical Fantasy. This episode is about making sure that we ground those fantasies in reality. This goes beyond truck guns and the Zombie Apocalypse, it also speaks to the OODA loop, tactics, risk management, and other important concepts. Mike and Jim walk through some practical steps to stage our equipment, preparedness, and mindset accordingly.
A terror plot at the turn of the century was thwarted by the professionalism of CBP Agent Diana Dean. You might not have heard of the foiled plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport amidst New Year’s celebrations for the year 2000. This Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack was prevented by an Agent who noted Ahmed Ressam’s suspicious behavior and sent him to a secondary inspection. We touch on pre-attack indicators, the radicalization process, and a defense strategy called “The Swiss Cheese Model.”
Chief Master Sergeant Keaton shares some stories with us, including the time he won the Pitsenbarger Award after saving the lives of 5 women and children who were used as human shields by an enemy force in Afghanistan. Along the way he illustrates some lessons learned and leadership pointers that he picked up while leading some of America’s most elite operators throughout his 30 year career working in special operations as a PJ and reaching the highest enlisted rank in the United States Air Force.
Some of you might have experienced a crisis that was later described as a “Charlie Foxtrot,” which is an acronym for the sort of situation known for being chaotic, overwhelming, and difficult to manage. Mike and Jim discuss the doctrinal definitions of fog and friction and talk about some coping strategies and training philosophies that will help you deal with these kinds of problems.
Dr. Daniel Blumberg is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor who has spent over 30 years working with several law enforcement agencies in the realm of pre-employment screenings and services related to police officer wellness, ethics, and resilience. His research has shined a light on many of the moral risks that affect those of us in law enforcement: what they are, how they are related to critical incident stress, and what the implications are for police leaders and trainers.
How do the rules change when you go from sports to the street? What changes on the ground vs. standing up? How should you apply your nunchuck skills in the context of self-defense? Mike and Cecil talk about all things martial arts and how they fit in to street fighting in real life. He specializes in an interdisciplinary approach to entanglement and close-range fights where weapons – including your own – are in play.
John Huston was one of the first Americans to successfully complete an unsupported expedition to the North Pole. His expertise in cold weather survival and expedition planning has led him to opportunities training Special Operations Forces and he uses his experience as public speaking and training curriculum related to high-performing teams, operational planning and risk management, leadership, teamwork, and more. As a bonus, John also works with Sled Dogs, which is just cool.
In April 1970, 4 California Highway Patrolmen were killed by two men after an armed road rage incident. Those men were career criminals in the planning stages of a robbery attempt who were heavily armed. This incident had a ripple effect for police agencies across the country that led to significant progress in the realm of firearms proficiency and officer safety.
While you don’t need to deep dive all of the science here, you do need to understand the tactical implications of a fight or flight response as it relates to training, perception, memory, and attention. Mike and Vivian discuss muscle memory, building good habits, perceptual distortions, and ways to enhance our performance under stress.
Jim breaks down some fundamentals for how to turn Sun Tzu into operational reality with the handy acronym MOSSMOUSE. This is useful in any sort of fight or conflict in which you want to use tactics and strategy instead of just brute force or power to fight your way through it. How can you apply it to your situation?
We have been following our buddy Isaac’s career into law enforcement and it turns out, he’s got big news about where his career is headed. Hear what his plans are, what his favorite stories as a cop has been, and what advice he would give to someone new to the profession.
With some reasonable preparation, proportional to your personal risk of having to fight at night — you can use the darkness to gain and maintain gross overmatch. Start by sorting out your own personal risk, which should drive your investment in training and equipment. Consider both technical and non-technical ways you can improve your ability to see and screw with your adversary’s ability to see.
Traffic stops are dangerous and unpleasant. A lot of forces converge to make traffic stops dangerous: cops get killed on traffic stops, so they are anxious about them, some communities feel unfairly targeted and perceive a risk from the police, and everyone is at risk to distracted and drunk motorists passing by the stop. No one likes being pulled over, especially if they don’t trust the police. There has to be something we can do to make this whole thing safer and easier for everyone
The subtle, contextual cues that guide our instincts are often tough to put our finger on, but they are also the reason we might approach one person or situation differently than another. The last thing we want to do is leave those decisions up to someone else’s interpretation. It is difficult to teach what stress, deception, and threatening body language look like in training.
One of the key flaws in civilian tactical training is how much time and effort we put into shooting and fighting skills and how little time and effort we put into conflict resolution. If all we teach is shooting, and the one tool in your “toolbox” is carbine skills, then the whole world might tend to look like a shooting range to you. That is a dangerous habit pattern…
In July 2016 a police officer in Minnesota stopped a car and the driver informed the officer that he was armed. The driver was apparently reaching for his wallet, but the officer perceived that he was reaching for the gun. The officer gave him instructions to not reach for it, the driver said that he wasn’t, and somewhere in the mix the officer shot and killed him. The driver’s name was Philando Castile. The officer was charged with manslaughter but was acquitted by a jury. He was fired by his agency.
Poor writing kills cops. It kills cops because it doesn’t play well in the media or in court. That stilted pseudo-professional way of writing in passive voice makes cops sound intentionally opaque, robotic, and incompetent. Bad writing invites scrutiny, ridicule, and enhanced oversight by people who are far-removed from tactical reality…
Every gun guy (and lady) has thought about how they might have to confront an intruder coming into their house. Too many times, when talking home defense, I have heard the conversation go to that universal language of the pump shotgun
3 Key Lessons from Tactical Aviation In my military career, I have sat through A LOT of training....
One of the patterns we have noticed lately is how intense the tactical community’s relationship with fads can be. The Sheepdog analogy is a useful way to help a young soldier or cop begin to understand that they have to be prepared to do violence, but in a constrained way. It tends to fall apart when taken too far, though. The Spartan legacy is useful in inspiring toughness – but that doesn’t mean you have to run around wearing a helmet and shield. In the tactical training telephone game, good ideas can morph into rules and then into obsessions, and in the process, they can lose their utility. One of the big ones is the 21-Foot Rule.
One of the popular models in tactical decision making is the OODA loop, which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. A lot of people tend to over-simplify this concept. They view it as a linear cycle, or a checklist–as if you move from one step to the other. It is a lot more complicated than that. Our individual orientation–which is a product of our identity, training, experience, and our moral compass–drives each step of the process. It controls not only what we see, but where we look. It controls not only what we decide, but provides us with an index of solutions. It describes a two-way interaction with our environment, and shows us that our adversaries have an Orientation, too.
SPHERES OF INFLUENCEI was at an instructor conference last week and it occurred to me that police...
BACKUP GUNS: YAY OR NAY?Back in the day, I carried a secondary gun at work because, well, I guess...
MANTIS: IMPROVING YOUR SHOOTING WITH DATAWe are excited to announce our new sponsor, Mantis. The...
"THE GLANCE IS THE BEEP"I want to convey a great teaching point that I learned from John Correia...
USE OF FORCE IN SELF DEFENSETrying out a new format for the bulletin, we need your feedback! Leave...
CAREFUL WITH THAT THING!There’s a video going around that shows a group of officers clearing a...
FIGHT OFF THE X: Tactics for actions upon contact with a lethal threat in an ambush have remained relatively unchanged since I began my professional life in a world where something like that was a reality…