T Nation

The Tactical Life


Coffee Break:



Full marks for Canadian slang, Brother. Landshark is widely used, but sharkbait is my own. I feel it paints the picture.


Without knowing what operational requirements the exercise is testing it’s hard to say. I see elements of several different pt tests and some crossfit. Looks more like a smoker than a backed by literature/studies fitness assessment. Starting to get to a point where some named WOD (Murph) becomes the pt test. The question becomes: is it a reasonable metric for THAT team. Is it meant to judge the mental fortitude of a candidate or set standards for tenured members.

If the team is looking to hold members accountable for maintaining basic fitness; Cooper works well. Is it perfect - no but you can bust it out with twenty minutes and only a stop watch almost anywhere (pull-ups maybe be the exception). If you want an operational mobility/fitness test; hit a decent o-course with a dummy drag/carry included. Simply schedule it into a training day once every six months at a regional academy.


I agree, good advise.


Motivational Monday:


"We all have a legacy we are going to leave behind. Regardless if you are building one or not, when you are gone your legacy will be here. Now what this legacy is going to be, well that’s up to you. Do you want it to be positive or negative? Do you want your legacy to be one of let down and disappoint and that poison called regret? Or do you want it to be a legacy of hard work, dedication and commitment? A legacy that changed lives and had an impact on lives other than your own? Did you have a global impact? Or did you change the lives of your local community or your family. When it’s time to be put 6 feet deep, what are they going to say about you? Take a hard look and the mirror and ask yourself that question. What you do every day from now on will be the answer to that question."


Thought for the day:

My choices early in life were either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference."

Harry S Truman



If you have followed this thread, you know that I am a firm believer in visualization. I have practiced it for years and consider it to be one of the most powerful training tools I have ever used. From American streets to foreign hotspots, I am always trying to visualize what can happen or will happen at any given time. Now, I cannot foretell the future, but, I can visualize what will happen if I go into this alley, apartment, mud hut, or cave. I can visualize what can happen in a movie theater, sports arena, or the local market. Take the opportunity as you exit your vehicle, bus ,or train, this morning and visualize an ambush and “see” how you would respond to saving yourself and your family.

Another view from Bill Farmer:


One of the more recent trends in athletics ranging from high school track and field to profession football is the concept of visualization. Visualization is the concept of processing the mental image of being in a particular place and accomplishing a particular task. This idea has been used in law enforcement for years in a tool called the “What if?” or “What when?” game.

Once the dust settles on your call, a scene has been rendered safe and now you transition into the investigatory realm, you don’t know where it will lead. When confronted with all of these unknowns as you’re driving to your call, you fall back on to your training. In the academy, we teach recruits to constantly play the “What if?” game. It is a very simple concept with a very beneficial and complex yield.

The idea behind the “What if?” game is that while you’re on your way to the call you have been dispatched to, you constantly pose “What if?” scenarios. It could range from “What if when you arrive at the address for the call, a man is set to ambush you? Are you going to engage the man or put the car in reverse and get out of there?” to “What if you arrive on scene and a medical situation arises?”.

There are one hundred million situations that could arise between these two situations but the objective is still formulating a baseline response in your neural pathways in an effort to overcome your sympathetic reflex (fight, flight or freeze).

The odds are against you being able to visualize the exact scenario that you have found yourself in but even if you have envisioned one in the neighborhood of your actual situation, you may have formulated a response that is appropriate and applicable to your real life scenario.

What this looks like in the realm of anyone who is not in law enforcement could be, you walk into a theater with your loved ones. As you are walking up the stairs to wherever you end up sitting, you scan the room, observing the people who are in the theater with you. You also take note of where the exits are and what type of cover and concealment are available.

Sympathetic reflexes can be dangerous. The average layperson has never found themselves confronted with a lethal threat and all of the stressors and adrenaline associated with it. It is not uncommon to respond to a lethal shooting event and finding a victim or suspect who has been shot through the hand or arm prior to the projectile entering another part of their body.

This can be an example of the sympathetic reflex to put your hands up towards something that your brain calculates is a threat to your safety. Hands provide exactly zero ballistic protection. In this instance, the sympathetic reflex did nothing to help this person survive this particular situation. The use of the “What if?” game may have provided a better opportunity for this person to survive this encounter.

The “What if?” game’s long time use in the law enforcement world has proven to be advantageous to surviving and thriving in stressful situations. Borrowing this tool from law enforcement and implementing it into your own processes of situational awareness could prove to increase your own odds of being successful and/or surviving in stressful and lethal scenarios.


Wednesday’s Weapon:


I have carried a flashlight for years, both on and off duty. They have ranged in size from a 6 inch pen to a 5 cell Kel. I encourage everyone to buy the best 4 to 6 inch light they can afford and carry it always. The modern flashlight will come equipped with enough lumens to have light saber power. They are legal in all 50 states and probably even legal in London and Sidney (probably not for long, thou). A powerful beam of light into your attacker’s eyes is better than nothing. Give it some thought, especially for those you know who “don’t like” weapons or fail to take responsibility for their own survival.

Another view:

How can a flashlight be of help ?

Great disorientation tool that has no sound or signature, and will not compromise you during day light.

Bate / divide attention Flashlights are the ultimate tool of deception & manipulation. Especially since in low light conditions the world looks like a framed picture without details, contrast or colors. You get to fill that picture, to manipulate at your own needs.

During Low light / no light, it can confuse, trigger or indicate the specific location of a human inside a room.

Fixation, it is also allowing for example to soak the attention of the subject into that source of light, instead to your partner who is busy triangulating the human / threat (for example)
Control, Significantly increases the illuminated person time of reaction.

During day light room clearing, we instruct our students to use flashlights Almost as a default (depends LE / Mil context) soon as they are encountering a human presence in close proximity.

A beam of 500 Lumens can save your life, It will surely buy you more time & control and in some cases even concealment – assuming your training is solid.

Conclusion? acknowledge the potential of your flashlight for survival.


Awesome post on flashlights. I’ve been carrying a light longer than I’ve been carrying a pocket knife. If I don’t have one on me it’s because it’s hiding in the laundry.

Thanks for the motivation in this thread. I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to improve our preparedness for a mass shooter/mass casualty event. Our current level is somewhere between gross negligence and gross incompetence.

I’ve found other firefighters who started sounding the alarm long before I did, but didn’t get anywhere. This is a small department and I never heard anything about their efforts. Their hard work just got sucked into the vortex of stupid.

It’s not just us. The police response to the parkland shooting shows that most of the country still have their heads up their asses. At this point I hope that the lawyers are part of the solution. It seems like the powers that be are terrified of liability, maybe when they start getting sued for negligence and dereliction of duty they will start getting prodded to action.


Another thing that’s bothering me is how so many agencies haven’t learned the lessons of Columbine, which was 20 years ago, but the mass shooters are learning from each other and their tactics are evolving. Looking at the Parkland shooting, rather than going classroom to classroom the guy pulled the fire alarm and brought everyone to him. Scary clever.


Flashlights make excellent makeshift kubatans as well. Simply apply a hammer fist while holding a flashlight and viola, force multiplier.

Hard to argue you were carrying a flashlight intending to use it as a weapon. Even in the people’s republic of NY/CA.


Where I am, the fire alarm is not enough to leave a classroom. You have to wait for verification from the office.


That’s probably a good idea, just based on the fact that kids like to pull fire alarms.


I thought this may of be of interest , since, you commented on the liability issue. If someone is shot to death after the chase is cancelled, the lawyers will be all over the " you failed to protect the public" issue.


Here is another view that I thought you may be interested in:

By Steve Rab:

It seems like after every mass casualty event induced by human violence, the experts and professionals, wanna-be experts, and keyboard commandos ask the logical questions, post the usual memes, engage in black-and-white debates, and of-course the media and political factions push their agenda.

I propose that we look into what are truly the limits and solutions of the equation. More importantly, I challenge the real professionals, leaders, sheepdogs, and educators to step up and implement solutions which address what can actually be done to mitigate and prevent the loss of life.

To arrive at any potential solution, we have to appreciate where our society is comparable to others, and where it is not. American structure, psyche, ignorance and understanding are all unique in many respects. Whether criticizing our mental health system, or praising gun control measures, its clear that other countries with similar factors may have entirely different outcomes.

The obvious scrutiny and in some cases praise, goes to gun control. “If someone would have been armed,” or “if the laws weren’t so lax.” We can go around all day, and hardly separate what’s important from what is politically biased. How about we leave it alone? How about we appreciate that 2nd Amendment is as it is, and “what-ifs” only cloud the solution. With that said, America is a violent society, and in large part a society of ignorance.

We want the movies, video games and transparent policing, but don’t take into account the effect this exposure has. We want more effective law enforcement agencies but refuse to give them the tools to be so. We want safe schools but stop at social media to take our argument to a productive solution. I can only site Lt. Col Grossman, and his extensive work in “Stop Teaching Our Kids How to Kill.” But expecting those who dish out the criticism to approach this from an educational perspective is probably too much.

The recent incident brought to light the shortcomings with the approach to mental health. Yet in criticizing that system, the critics still defer to those who are expected to clean up after poor parents, limited counselors, and then some – our police.

We can’t, despite some arguable benefits, lock up those who we presume to be criminally insane or violent. To do so would deny the Due Process, Constitution and set us centuries back. We can’t force practitioners and shelters to accept at-risk segments of the population, when the needed resources don’t exist, or the person who needs the help isn’t willing to accept it.

So what are the solutions? Where can progress be made if we take any of the above for granted? First and foremost, there has to be a cultural change. A shift in paradigms and thinking. Does anyone else think its is inexcusable that these events are a primary caveat for change, when we knew full well how to be better prepared in the first place? Should we not approach it as “preparation for an active shooter” versus as a “response to an active shooter?” It took years to learn the hard lessons for cops to be outfitted with proper equipment, necessary weapons and training.

Whether it’s a terrorist threat, lone attacker or multiple adversaries, the American society has to accept what the threats are and what it truly takes to address them. The populous by and large and any specific jurisdiction as a whole has to appreciate that these lessons are in front of us and have to be adopted. The debriefs should almost be publicly available as after-action reports, rather than Hollywood interpretations. So if you have an opinion which supports this notion, you can facilitate the change.

Target hardening is also not a novel idea. Look around, and you will discover that it is an everyday occurrence in building design. It is easy enough to upgrade even an old school, with basic things such as entry and exit point modifications, dedicated reinforcement points, methods of communication among students, school officials and first responders, aid kits, and practice drills

it is no more expensive nor time consuming for designers of new structures and public areas to consult with a security or law enforcement professional before building.

But someone has to do it. Someone has to step up and say that looking the other way will not pay off. That paying for lives is more costly than paying for locks, radios, training and bandages. If you’re that parent, passer-by or 2A supporter who wanders or looks twice – look three times. Then take an extra lap around the school, office or your neighborhood. You are making it a harder target.


Thought for the day:

If doesn’t matter if you wear a uniform or not, it doesn’t matter if you are a chef or a chief, a baker or candle stick maker, broker or babysitter, plumber or professor, we all have this is in common:




Thanks as always for the articles! I’m not a police officer, I’ve never done that job and I tell everyone and anyone that their job is far more difficult and dangerous than mine.

But holy shit! Not letting them chase suspects who have shot at and rammed officers! I can’t imagine how low moral must be there.

After Parkland, I blamed the officers who wouldn’t go in for their lack of courage to disobey orders in that situation. But I don’t want to see those officers take the fall alone. There’s a lot of rot in that department. And it’s not unique to Broward county.


For General Information: The Tactical Athlete Games



What are the Tactical Athlete Games? Think run and gun–with actual real, physical challenges. Tim Burke, the founder of the Tactical Athlete Games, calls it “Crossfit meets combat,”

The slogan is No Off Season for a reason: Professional baseball, football, hockey players, et al, all have one thing in common–they have an off season. Law Enforcement, Military, First responders are all on point 24/7/365. No preseason. They are always running or training to run toward the sound gunfire.

Leveling the Playing Field

The Tactical Athlete Games is based on the concept that in order to be successful in combat you must be both fast AND accurate while under physical and mental duress or stress. We will attempt to replicate some facet of combat in every stage we include in our events. The exercise used to elevate heart rate and the skill sets paired up with the exercise chosen will replicate something we experienced in combat at some time.


Scoring will be scored based on speed and accuracy. A stage or heat will start, and the athletes will be on a timer. Their time stops when they complete the stage or cross a finish line. The targets will be scored in a way that translates to time, not points. If a person misses a target, it results in a penalty, time is added to the score. For example, if a person completed an event in 14 minutes even but missed five shots…at 10 seconds per shot missed, 50 seconds would be added to their overall time for an adjusted score of 14:50. The aggregate time becomes their final score. After all the events are completed, the top three competitors with the lowest time aggregate are the winners in their category. At times, the penalty for a miss will be greater or less depending on the criticality of the shot.

“Percentage Targets” will also appear from time to time. These are targets that show only part of the target face or are covered partially with a “good guy” target. There is a steeper penalty for shooting good guy targets. (More time added to the final time)

FFI’s. FFI’s are Failure to Follow Instructions. If competitors are given specific instructions for a particular stage/heat, and they fail to execute according to the instructions, they can have a set amount of time added to their score. An FFI carries a heavy penalty, but not as much of a penalty as shooting a “hostage” or good guy target.


When Military units, SWAT teams, or other paramilitary organizations go into harms way, the weapons systems and gear are generally standardized within the group. Sure, there are snipers who carry a long gun, and Breachers who carry specialized breaching weapons, but overall, the group will be standardized. In the Tactical Athlete Games, we will attempt to level the playing field by standardizing the weapon systems used. This will provide an environment where everyone has the same advantages or disadvantages.

The founder called it Crossfit meets combat, and we’ve heard RUMINT that something official may be happening with Crossfit as well. The very next Tactical Athlete Games is taking place May 19th-20th in Ardmore, TN



Training for public order work this week. Gave me pause to think about fitness. Training wasn’t terribly strenuous, but just moving around for extended periods in full riot gear with a heavy-ass helmet and gas mask is draining.

No way to get comfortable. If you’re claustrophobic (thankfully I’m not) you’d panic just trying to breathe at a marching pace with all that stuff on your face. Maneuvering through smoke and CS gas is different.

The thought of being on the line at a protest for 8, 10, 12 hours then needing to fight an angry mob while the person on either side of you is counting on you to hold the line is humbling. It makes you think about what you are doing in the gym.


I’ve been lurking here for a bit. I used to be active on the T-Nation boards and have checked in from time to time. Glad I found this and I’m happy to see some of the same people still around passing on the wisdom.

I’ll mostly be a fly on the wall in here. Just wanted to say thanks for a quality thread and “hello”.