View Full Version : Doctrine, Strategy, and tactics

Byron Quick
February 22, 1999, 09:25 AM
Sometimes I think we get way to caught up in our weapons and their capabilities and the other doodads we all love :)

How much time do y'all spend developing your personal doctrine,i.e, under what conditions will you fight? For example, my doctrine has different decisions related to the age of an assailant. My decision when attacked by an 8 year old with a tire iron was totally different from what it would have been with an adult or even an older adolescent.

Doctrine dictates strategy. The conditions under which I fight determine the ways I fight. The ways are my strategy. By way of extreme example hosing the neighborhood my assailant escaped into might not be appropriate. On the other hand, in what ways can I achieve my objectives (the definition of victory) without fighting at all? This does not mean such actions as not walking the streets at night because bogeymen are out there? It means how do I walk the streets as I please without being hassled?

Strategy drives tactics. Once I have the ways to fight then I look for the means to fight. I'm getting to the tools here and how we use them. But we must never forget the tactical advantage. I can be armed with the best sidearm and longarm ever made and one guy with a softball bat right behind can take me out. He has the tactical advantage.

What's y'all's approach?

February 22, 1999, 10:35 AM
I think that a goodly portion of one's doctrine is dictated by one's attitude and awareness. Predators are able to sense fear in their victims. If you go about with a confidant aire about you (not some macho b.s.) others can sense that and will think twice about making you their next victim.
Also, i don't think you can lay down a set of "rules" per se, as each possible encounter will have a very complex unique set of variables. Of course you should have general guidelines. There is always fight or flight. Possibly even a specific set of "rules" for a situation that you could go into on a regular basis (i.e.-end of day cash deposit).
I guess what I"m saying is that basically I agree with you.

Mike Spight
February 22, 1999, 12:40 PM
Spartacus: Great posting. I agree that we all too often get wrapped up in tools/hardware rather than actual strategy. In order to ensure that we're all talking about the same things, allow me to propose the following. Strategy has three sub-elements which we can easily link to personal self-defense. These three sub-elements are: endstate/ways/means. The obvious ENDSTATE for us is survival/life/avoidance of serious injury for ourselves, our loved ones or other innocent persons. WAYS are the specific tactics we apply, as tempered by law and morality. MEANS are the techniques/tools we use (pistol/rifle/shotgun/knife/impact weapon/unarmed techniques or, if possible, avoidance/de-escalation). If you lack any or all of the three sub-elements, you don't have a strategy. Personally, I don't understand why you would use a different tactic in responding to a violent (potentially deadly) attack by a minor. My attitude may have something to do with the fact that the VC and Somali's used children to carry out or support violent attacks against US military personnel...that made them fair game...what's the difference on the street? You might have to live with the result, but at least you/a loved one/an innocent person lived or avoided serious injury due to your judicious use of force. If it's a personal choice on your part, I understand. For me, avoidance (walk away/de-escalation) is number one. If not tactically possible, one must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to end the confrontation on favorable terms, within the bounds of the law and morality. Besides skilled use of the weapons I have at hand (MEANS), I must utilize TACTICS such as: movement, cover & concealment, which weapon or weapons and technique to use based on the situation, etc. All of this is wrapped up in what must be your personal DOCTRINE regarding use of force...that is the basic principles which guide your overall actions as tempered by your judgment, law and morality. Sorry if I've made your head hurt...mine is just from thinking about this stuff again!

Byron Quick
February 23, 1999, 10:29 AM
In the situation I was in when attacked by the child...it was unwinnable. I was in his home as a repossession agent. If I had not managed to get out of there and was forced to shoot (shudder)...I can see the outcome. Going to prison is not victory.

Ray VanderLinden
February 23, 1999, 12:00 PM
I know that you are not as big as me. Still I go into most situations at a disadvantage. That does not mean that I don't use every advantage at my disposal.
I agree that you were no win for use of force in the boys house. As an LEO I wouldn't shoot an 8 year old with a tire iron as I could disarm him without serious injury to myself, a firearm would be a completely differant matter.
The Mind set is extremely important in LE as is knowing that you are at a tactical disadvantage nearly every time.
Never relax even if you feel you have the situation under control things can change FAST.
The First rule I always try to instill in new LEOs is that it is easier to start low and build the force to meet the threat than to deescalate the force once its started, or to explain why you needed to use force on a angry but non violent suspect.

Mike Spight
February 23, 1999, 12:14 PM
Spartacus: Thanks for your clarification...I understand the situation and your decision. I'd do the same thing you did which was avoidance...as the other poster said, a firearm would be another matter.

February 23, 1999, 05:34 PM
There's a no-win situation... a kid with a gun. You can't rely on the kid to put the gun down, but he can pull the trigger just as easily as an adult. If he fires, and you fire back, you're a child-murderer in the eyes of the press (and therefore, the public). If you don't defend yourself, you could very well die.

How do LEO's deal with something like this?

Rob Pincus
February 23, 1999, 07:29 PM
I can't speak for all LEO's, but If a "kid" has a gun and the intent to use it, I shoot the kid. I think the example of an 8 year old with a gun and, I am assuming, violent criminal intent, is pretty extreme.
Perhaps a 12 or 13 year old is more realistic. We have seen kids that age with guns act violently over the past couple of years in highly publicized events. Those types of things are why I would like to have my kids carrying guns to defend themselves as soon as they were ready. Not to mention a few teachers packing protection at the same time.
If you think my daughters aren't going to have access handguns before they are 21, well.....[TFL does not advocate any actions that violate any local, state or federal firearms law].

Furthermore, if there was a situation, as an LEO or CCW, were I had to shoot a kid to save a life besides my own, I'd do that too. I might not be real happy about it and I might have to take some flak, but I sure hope that when the time comes I am thinking about acting effectively, not the age of my attacker.
If a kid is industrious enough to have a gun and violent intentions, then he is damn sure capable of having figured out that he is not acting properly.

Again, I am not looking at this as a "kid with a toy gun" scenario... or a 4 year old who "accidentally" is walking around with their trigger on the finger... I am thinking of an individual with a weapon that is trying to hurt/kill me or someone else.

February 23, 1999, 10:44 PM
Spartacus- I have a bat... :)

RVL: Spartacus is almost exactly twice my weight. Then again, when the wind blows, I move!

Byron Quick
February 24, 1999, 01:09 AM
Well, thank God, it wasn't an eight year old with a handgun. Just a tire tool. Wielded by a berserker warrior in an eight year old's body! This wasn't a bad kid, guys. This was a little boy helping his dad in a confrontation with a real big stranger who had just greatly upset his dad. I was filled with admiration for his courage as I was doing the bugout boogie.

Toy guns were mentioned. I don't like them as I think toy guns condition kids to play with real guns. I will not allow them around me and advise my friends never to buy one for their children. Air guns should be treated as real weapons not toys. If a parent would not allow a child unsupervised use of a firearm then they should not allow unsupervised use of air weapons. Toy guns have led to several tragic episodes with law enforcement officers and this is one instance where I really feel a great deal of compassion for the LEO's involved.

cornered rat
February 24, 1999, 08:42 AM
On air guns...they propel a BB at 800fps or so. My .38 target reloads amble along at 650-700fps! Granted, BB's are lighter...but they are still fast and hard enough to do real damage.

February 25, 1999, 02:20 AM
This topic, IMHO, is creeping into the realm of Warriorship. I also agree that we get too caught up in just weaponry. This brings up a line from the movie, Braveheart, "First, you must learn to use this [pointing to young William's head]. Then, I will teach you to use this [holding up a claymore]."

Of course.. I love weaponry and tactics. And I do think it's vital. I'm just saying there should be a balance in our training; physical, mental, and spiritual.

Byron Quick
February 26, 1999, 03:14 AM
The topic was warriorhood (ship...whatever) from the beginning :) As Robert Heinlein once wrote,"There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, there are only dangerous men." He went on to say that the object of the training at hand was not to teach one to use weapons-that was merely a byproduct. The object was to teach one to be dangerous as long as you had one hand still functioning. This is ultimately a matter of the spirit.

February 27, 1999, 05:45 AM
Your quote reminded me of a similar one I heard recently from Money Talks starring that black comedian guy? Anyways, at one point, he says, "Guns don't kill people! Stupid m*****f*****rs with guns kill people!" :D

Harry Humphries
February 28, 1999, 11:29 AM
Spartacas, once again an excellent topic,

Let me throw in the concept of combat triad , a la Cooper, or combat quad, as is taught at the police training institute at Illinois University.

Jeff Cooper has always incorporated the concept of interdependency of:

• Mind Set
• Marksmanship
• Gunhandling

John Bowman at PTI espouses the combat quad or interdependency of:

• Mindset
• Marksmanship
• Gunhandling
• Tactics

I tend to agree with John, Tactics must be part of the combat elements as the other three factors will be useless without tactics.

But the element of mindset is universal. If you are not mentally in control of the aspects of taking a human life for purposes of preserving yours or your loved ones', the other skills are useless. One must understand the difference of killing and murder - set a mental trigger, - , that point in a deadly confrontation when use of lethal force will be used to stop the threat of death or great bodily harm. Set this point and practice, through visualization, its execution.


[This message has been edited by Harry Humphries (edited February 28, 1999).]

Byron Quick
March 1, 1999, 09:03 AM

I agree with Mr. Cooper on the combat triad and with Mr. Bowman on the combat quad. While I have not yet read Mr. Cooper's books, from what I do know of him, I would suspect he combines tactics under one or more of his combat triad concepts. I agree that mindset is the universal foundation. I think it is the single most important. All the doodads ever made will not help you if you are not mentally prepared to use them.

But I include strategy in the concept of mindset. I'm not going to fight the other guy's fight. If he stands right next to God as a pistolero...it's time to get a rifle. If he's Mike Tyson, I'm not going to get within ten feet of him. In short, how can I negate my opponent's strengths? How can I shield my weaknesses? If someone is using strategic concepts against me, (for example, striking me where I am weak or unprepared) what are those weaknesses and areas of unpreparedness? What forms might attacks take against these chinks? How will I handle these different attacks?

Harry Humphries
March 1, 1999, 10:40 AM
Right on my man!