View Full Version : What Do You Think?

June 22, 2002, 12:00 PM
The following is from Skip G., the guy behind the National Tactical Invitational. Do any of you participate in anything like this? Do you think this would be a worhtwhile endeaver?



Study is a zealous assiduous application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge and skill. It is accomplished by training, reading, research, practice, detailed examination and analysis, and considered reflection. It is a personal journey that benefits from some amount of group work.

The advantage of a study group is the available talent, knowledge and skills spectrum. Each member can and should contribute. A tactical and survival studies group should be formed around a study director. The director should have a good founding in tactical training. He should have life experience that permits regular practice of environmental awareness, situational analysis and confrontational analysis. He should also be able to spot the special talents that others bring to the group. Police are not the only people who learn awareness and survival skills. The soft drink delivery route driver who works in very bad section has learned to recognize subtle clues that warn of impending danger. The director should be able to spot that special knowledge in the group and develop it. Both the group and the director must keep in mind that he functions as a director of studies - not a dictator and certainly not as a guru.


Each session of the study group should examine a limited defined subject. It should teach a specific lesson. The structure of the lesson is a three step process.


The specific skill to be studied in a session must be well defined. A live fire s tage should be constructed to allow the tactician to demonstrate that he can perform that skill upon specific and immediate direction. This step establishes that the tactician knows the skill at a level of directed conscious competence.


The second step in the process examines the tactician's skills repertoire of undirected conscious competence. Develop a scenario that encourages the tactician to apply the defined skill by recognizing its need in an environment and its prompt application. The scenario is live fire, and should use reactive target systems.


The third component of the session involves tightly scripted role playing. No person who steps into this part of the study hall can have a weapon or weapon component on his person. The role players must be disciplined and tightly scripted. This secti on is not a game - and can not be used as a "gotcha". The tactician must be given a real opportunity to apply the skill that is being studied. The goal of this step is to allow the tactician to develop unconscious competence at the skill. A tactician can demonstrate that he is able to recognize the need of the skill and implement it in a dynamic interactive environment.


Video tape tacticians as they proceed through the stages. An important part of the study session is an immediate group review of the individual performances. Individual and collective reflection and analysis will help imbed the studied skill in each of the group members.


A study group lesson might involve immediate and explosive seeking available cover. Detailed study of incidents and conversations with violent criminals reveals that (1) anything can stop a handgun round and (2) your reaction to a threat must be immediate and explosive.

Set up the skill drill with IPSC targets. Have the tactician start at hand shake distance from the target. Place items of available cover in the environment. Indicate a threat. Have the tactician seek cover and engage the target. Keep the time very tight - three seconds. The purpose of the tight times is to replicate real world times, and reinforce the concept of explosiveness. Score the targets as neutralized using Rick Millers Paladin System.

Next, set up a scenario. Use 3-D reactive targets. (Delta / Redl or contact A.T.S.A.) If you have nothing else, try pepper poppers covered with Killer Ken by Simulaids. Set the target array so that as the tactician locates them he must immediately find and use cover.

Finally, set up a similar scenario using role players who have been scripted on the lesson goal. Detail search a study hall and all people in it. Remove all weapons, ammo, or their components. Anyone who steps out of the secured area is researched. Use Red Gun training weapons or paint ball guns. Allow a scripted dynamic interaction between the role players and the tactician. Record the tacticians reaction to the presented threat.


Talk with other study groups. The Internet allows easy communication of information and lesson strategy. A.T.S.A. will list your group on our Web site so that others can find you.

Study hard, then test yourself. Come to the N.T.I.

June 22, 2002, 12:10 PM
I think it's an outstanding idea! A group of like-minded fools er, friends can practice and share a lot of skills. You can combine wallets and buy videotapes, send one guy to a seminar and get the dirt on it later, etc. It's nice to be able to compare notes on what people think are the best equipment, techniques, etc., and are more likely to spot weaknesses or flaws in planning, if you stay honest and open. Besides, most people are social critters. It's easier to train and keep at things if you've got partners, and more fun.

June 23, 2002, 12:36 PM

Thanks for your response.


I've posted this info in at least four different places and gotten almost no response. Been viewed several hundred times, but less than 10 responses.

I think this is a pretty solid structure for people to build their skills around. I realize that this sort of thing isn't really feasible for training organizations [cost would have to be kept low so that people can afford to participate on a monthly basis, and the amount of time and energy required to develop and run such a group would not be inconsiderable.] But for a group of training partners, this would seem to be a really good thing.

Am I way off base here, or what?

June 23, 2002, 01:15 PM
Mr. Gomez, I'm all for the idea. The plan as described, seems reasonable and appropriate.

I'd love to have a group like described but I just don't see the interest, locally. Aside from a monthly cost, you have to figure in travel expenses and time. That seems to keep a lot of people away. Another problem I've encountered is what I call, "blissful ignorance".

Example, a guy at work likes to carry his Sigma in a drop-down thigh holster like SWAT uses. He reasons that it works for the special forces and so should be ideal for an armored car guy (forgive him, he's young). Try as I might, he doesn't want to admit that he made a mistake, or that he looks silly. He certainly won't wear a better holster.

And don't get me started about his proficiency!

Bottom line: I think a lot of people would like to think they can handle the situation, do well at the task, rather than try it and find out how bad their delusions really are. Ignorance is bliss.

I would like to come up someday and take one of your courses.

June 23, 2002, 09:23 PM

Mr. Gomez is my father. After 13 years in the military, Gomez works just fine. Of course, Paul will work too, as long as my training partner ain't around [His name is Paul also.]

It's seemed to me for a long time that this sort of thing would be a "no-brainer", but it's like pulling hens teeth. After I "bragged" about having five guys that would show up every Wednesday night for training,most of the SOBs have pulled a no-show for two weeks!!!

I agree, a lot of people like to think they are a lot more polished in their technique than they really are. I took a camcorder to the range last time I ran a range session and regarded the shooters going through drills. Needless to say, no one liked what the camera saw.:)

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

June 23, 2002, 10:46 PM
This is a truely outstanding Idea. The reason I think its such a good idea? Because I have seen the results in action. A tactical study group can be the best source of training available to anyone, anywhere ( I know it was for me). Because the group meets regularly and conducts focused training seminars, the advantages are numerous. The regular (read monthly) meeting of a TSG allows the practioners to review the lessons and mistakes of the last session in their own mind and then come back to work on a new scenario with those lessons fresh in their minds. Repeated training of the individual operators OODA loop and their Avoid, Evade, Dissengage and Escape cycle by practical application within a tightly scripted force on force scenario can be the single greatest learning tool available to a tactician. Tactical study groups can and, in most cases will, broaden their training base by seeking sources outside the group to provide specalty training in areas such as, unarmed defensive tactics, justifiable use of force education, as well as, less leathal force alternatives such as Kubaton, OC and TAZER training. Additionally the time and expense associated with training are reduced. It is generally easier to get four hours off on a weekend each month than to take a week off of work to train once a year. Just as $50 a month seems to be more bareable then $600 in a lump sum once a year.
A few words of caution are warented about this type of training. The members of the group should not be limmited to law enforcement only, however the group must be made up of people of good moral character. The use of video tapes in training is an excellent tool. That said, The tapes must be maintained in the custody of the group director at all times. The reason is if the tapes or coppies of the tapes were viewed out of context by someone outside the group the video may be misinterpereted. The worst case scenario being the tapes in the hands of the media or an ambitious anti-gun prosecutor. I would also suggest keeping the group size small 8-10 practitioners, primarilly due to logistical concerns. It is of the utmost importance to maintain safety protocals when conducting force on force training. A thorough search ( read physical pat down) of all Practitoners, role players, safety officers, camera operators and anone else that enters the training area must be conducted. This point can not be stressed enough. ABSOLUTELY NO WEAPONS OF ANY KIND can be allowed in to the training area. No guns, no ammo, no knives, no impact weapons, no OC, and preferably nothing that can be used as a real weapon.

Christopher II
June 24, 2002, 09:33 AM

This is a fantastic idea, and so simple that I'm smacking my head and saying, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Has anyone had any personal experience with this kind of formalized group practice? How did it go? What should one watch out for?

- Chris

Dave T
June 24, 2002, 04:29 PM
I have been doing this with a group of friends and associates for about 18 months. It is been very successful. We meet about once a month at a local range that puts on IPSC, Steel Combat, and IDPA matches. The range isn't bothered by drawing from holsters or targets shaped like silhouettes.

I have kept the group small (6-8 individuals) and it is an "invitation only" kind of deal. That way I can control the quality of individuals participating. No Rambo's, no wannabe's, no take over the government types. Everyone has a CCW permit and has been shooting for a number of years.

I set up a problem or several related problems, then let each member of the group try to solve it in their own way. We then critique the effort and they can try again if they want to improve their own approach or after watching others they can try it a different way.

As a former firearms instructor for my department (I'm retired) I offer training points when it seems appropriate or when asked. Another member of the group is also a retired LEO and he does the same.

We have mostly worked with our carry handguns but have also occasionally introduced the shotgun and the carbine (AR15s and a 30 Cal M1).

As the leader I see my role more as an administrator/organizer than teacher and frankly I have probably learned as much as the others. I can highly recommend this if it is structured properly and safety is number one.

Dave T
June 27, 2002, 10:10 AM
Gomes, you said,


I've posted this info in at least four different places and gotten almost no response. Been viewed several hundred times, but less than 10 responses.

Well, I've answered you on two different boards. I've been doing this and no one has commented, asked questions, or anything. Guess only you, Skip, and I think it is a good idea.

June 27, 2002, 02:41 PM
Dave T:

My grandma used to say "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think". [She could turn a phrase that way.:)]

So far, responses have ranged from "Why didn't I think of that?" to "The Gov't will spy on you, if you do" to "Yawn."

Oh well......

June 27, 2002, 06:06 PM
I guess my post wasn't clear enough. I have been privilaged to be part of a Tactical Study Group for a year and part of a less structured training group for four years. I think of a my TSG as the single greatest source of training, information, and skills development I have ever been privilaged to be exposed to.
The expirience of the group is varried and diverse which allows us to draw from a variety of unique perspectives. Not every one can be a snake eating, badass, SOCOM super warrior. Most of the group is made up of people who have little or no law enforcement expierience. Therefore our focus is less on the dynamic tactical entry school of thought and more on the de-escalate, avoid-evade-dissengage-escape tactics critical to survive a close defensive encounter. The dramatic and dynamic change in each member of the group as they have progressed has been an outstanding learning tool in its own right.
Essential to the process is being able to review the video after compleation of a training session. This allows every member of the TSG to assess and evaluate not only their own performance but glean knowlege from the actions and reactions of others.
Gomez, if you really want to make that horse drink try holding his head under water;)

June 28, 2002, 08:18 AM
Toadlicker, Vaughn, TommyGun, Chris and Dave:

Thank you for the input. The AF/CQC forum has given me more responses than anywhere else I've posted on this topic. I think that TSGs are a resource that shooters everywhere ought to cultivate, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be enough 'grassroots support' for many people to bother with the headaches involved in organizing and running one. I know that I grow disheartened when five guys say that they are interested and are going to show up and then 20 minutes after start time, I'm making phone calls to find out that they suddenly had other plans..... :mad: :mad:

Those that are involved, stay involved. Those that don't have TSG locally, see what kind of support you can muster and give it a shot [pun intended:)].


Dave T
June 29, 2002, 08:27 AM
To those 300+ people who have read this, I would encourage you to give TSGs, or what ever you want to call it, a try. This training concept is so far ahead of any kind of match, including IDPA, that you will be amaized.

You don't need a lot of people, in fact 3-5 participents would be better than a larger group. You don't need a lot of equipment to get started. Some targets and stands will give you something to work on and with initially. Having some barracades (walls, doors, or something similar) will come in handy as you get into tactics more thoroughly.

Start with something simple. My group did its first session exploring the concept of movement. I put up one, then two, and finally three silhouettes. We engaged them while moving from the point of initial contact, then cretiqued each other and decided what techniques, directions, and ammount of movement worked best.

The advantage with this kind of training is it is so much more useful to see it and do it than simply read about it.

Next time we worked on corners. Just going around corners, both left and right. Next we used a vehicle. We eventually have added shotguns and carbines to the mix. Remember, this isn't competition. Don't keep score or time. If someone is going too slow, it will (or should) come out in the cretique.

My opinion is to keep it simple and concentrate on fundementals. Avoid looking or acting like the last action hero you saw in a movie (their tactics always stink). You don't need Simunitions or a video set up (although both would be nice) for this to be useful. What you (we) need is realistic practice!