T Nation

The Tactical Life



Hope this post finds you and your family safe and well. As you probably know, there is a program where retired military working dogs and Police K-9 dogs are being used to help service members cope with PTSD. I was introduced to a young woman yesterday who lost a arm to an IED. She was given a “retired” security Shepard from the Marines and seemed to really be enjoying the dog.

Anyway, she sent me a humorous photo and though I would pass it on to you since you are in training for SWAT K-9. Be safe, brother.



Lol… That’s awesome Brother. Thanks for posting. I’ve heard of a program like that with retired MWD’s and I think it’s fantastic. I’ve never fully understood why the bond between human and dog can have such a profound effect on both partners, but it’s undeniable.

Things are well with me and mine, thanks. Everyone is happy and whole. Getting prepped for a 3 day selection for a SWAT (ERT for us Canucks) understudy position. Selection’s in the spring. As far as I can tell it comes down to shooting, cardio, attitude, scenarios and being a team guy. Got some time to get ready, but it’s nice to have a deadline to push for. Just trying to settle on a program to follow.

Looking at Mountain Tactical Institute’s SWAT Selection Plan as a pretty good fit. Alternating sprints/agility, tempo runs and longer runs with bodyweight stuff and mobility work in the meantime.

Stay dangerous. Be well.


Motivational Monday:



Thought for the day:

“That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or laborer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”


Tactical Tuesday: Something different.


Thought for the day:

The quality of your practice predicts the level of your performance.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Show respect to all people and grovel to none –Tecumseh

Preparedness is a form of self-defense” – Harley Elmore


Thought for the day: Well, I guess, this would be under the heading of,“when a person has everything”


The Essentials kit from Wazoo is meant to provide common survival and EDC items that are easy to travel with inside the Cache Belt while leaving room for other gear of your choosing.

What’s in the Everyday Essentials Kit:

Safety pins (2)

Magnetized needle

Fishing hooks (3)

Fishing weights (3)

Fishing line (40 ft)


Technora cord (25 ft)

Zip ties (2)

Duct tape (2 ft)

First-aid tinder (3)

Ferrocerium rod

Ferro rod striker

Water bag (32 oz)

Purification tabs (2)



Bit of a late response to some of your previous posts. I frequent the combat forum fairly often and this is the first time I’ve check out this thread and the first post I see is about 9/11. Interesting coincidence I am an American expat and I was just talking with my roommate about September 11 and how the events of that day significantly shaped the man I became.

I grew up maybe a 30 minute drive north of the Pentagon. The father of one my friends was at the time the DC battalion fire chief. He was one of the first on site right after the attack. He said there were office workers he came upon scorched to death. Standing coffee cup still in hand. The heat from the blast had left them fixed in place. Crazy to think its been 17 years. I remember turning 21 and going out to the bars in Bethesda. There was probably a solid 5 year period where on any given weekend you would see a dozen or so 18 to 20 something year olds rocking a prosthetic limb clearly from Walter Reed right down the road. One particular night I remember going to the use the restroom and a young guy early 20’s was trying to come out. In a wheel chair no legs. Missing one arm. Only had half the fingers on the other.

That same friend of mine whose father was the battalion chief went to nursing school in DC. She had the opportunity to do a clinical placement at Walter Reed. This might have been 2011 maybe 2012. She shared with me this story of this 18 year old kid who was a patient on her floor. He had been there a couple weeks. Stepped on an IED in Iraq. Went to Germany and then straight to Walter Reed. He had no legs and maybe one arm. The worst part was his testes and penis were also blown off. 18 years old. He had barely been in Iraq. At the time the government or some agency had a policy of giving all the wounded vets coming back a brand new X box. So she was there doing some task with him as he got his brand new x box. He had no legs, no balls, no dick and one hand. What the hell was he going to do with an X box.

It must have been around that time I found myself at a recruiters office. 6 months shy of graduating college. I had hopes of enlisting Air Force and even toyed with the idea of enlisting Army 18x and seeing if I could hack it. But the only recruiter that showed up to work the day I stopped by was the Navy one. I chatted him up he asked me what I wanted to do. I said something physical something hands on. He asked me what I thought about EOD. I told him I was a horrible swimmer. Took my number never followed up. I was super surprised at the lack of enthusiasm. I was a done deal. I was giving myself to them on a platter. A little encouragement an I would have signed on the dotted line.

Well that turned into a bit of an essay. Anyways guess what I really mean to say is great thread! Haha!


Thank you for the great post. Sorry about the follow up from the recruiter. Doesn’t matter what profession, there are good and bad.

I was a volunteer at the Wounded Warrior games last year. Been in combat zones all my life, but, its strange, but, someone buying the farm is expected., but, the wounded are evacuated so fast, you are not around them that much (my experience). I will never, ever, complain about my life after that experience. Their determination, will to live, and attitude on life made me a better man.


Motivational Monday: Is your training improving? Are you reaching your goals? If you were cloned last week, could you kick your clone’s ass today?


_Before a battle, the army would exercise but not nearly as strenuous as in garrison. Plutarch would write that “Their bodily exercises, too, were less rigorous during their campaigns, and [they] were allowed a regimen less rigid. They were the only men in the world for whom war brought a respite in the training for war.”

From National Geographic: The Spartan shield, the hoplon—from which is derived the name of its bearer, the hoplite—the shield was, together with the spear, the most important weapon of the Spartan warrior. Each shield was circular and convex, weighed more than 15 pounds, and measured three feet in diameter. Shields were specially made out of layers of wood that had been rounded off and glued together. The exterior was covered with a fine layer of bronze, whose surface, glinting in the sun and replicated across the formation, would present a daunting spectacle to an enemy. The Spartan hoplites organized themselves into a tight-packed phalanx that then relentlessly pushed forward behind this wall of bronze.


Thought for the day:

There will never be a point in time, in your life, where it is the right time to do a great thing. If you are waiting on that perfect moment, that perfect time, then it is not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create that perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and perfect situation.

If you have the opportunity of a lifetime, it means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of that opportunity.


Thought for the day: From my personal experience, the author’s comments are dead on:

From Seth Lewis:

Recently I got into a debate among tactical professionals about training techniques. I was arguing that certain handgun skills needed to be trained at distance(greater than 20 meters). Their argument back was basically “What distance does the average gunfight happen at?” and I have some issues with that line of logic. Allow me to explain why.

First, what distance is the “average” gunfight at exactly? I’ve heard 7 yards, I’ve heard 3 ft./3 rds./3 sec., I’ve heard a great number of things. And all these averages are well within point shooting range for me. It really doesn’t take much skill to mag dump into a person up close. So why do we spend so much time training at distances where skill, and therefore training time, is not really the deciding factor in the fight? I know average engagement distance was different for Iraq and Afghanistan, so I assume then that

maybe Park County Colorado Sheriff’s office has some different average engagements than Dallas PD. A 50-yard shot was required this year, 2018, in Las Vegas to stop a shooter. In 2014, a police officer in Austin Texas had to take a 100-yard shot, one handed and holding the reins of two horses, to stop an active shooter. Security Forces Airman Andy Brown stopped an active shooter in 1994 with a 70-yard headshot from his M9. One of the only recorded duels in the old west involved a 70 yard shot by Wild Bill Hickok to win it. Before they had to pull back and wait for GIGN, the first French Officers on the Bataclan scene killed a terrorist at some distance beyond up close and personal. They stated that ”We fired immediately in the certainty that we would hit him at this distance because we train a lot”. And that’s in France where they don’t nearly have the same level of per capita police shootings as we do. France is out-training a lot of us… France. Gunfights happen up close, except when they don’t. And when they don’t, people will die that didn’t need to if you suck at shooting at distance.

Second, why are we training for average anyways? Do NBA players train for the average basketball game? No. Cause most games played are probably pick up games in the park, so the average basketball game doesn’t involve a high skill level. NBA players practice for high-level engagements and you should too. You should because we live in the age of active shooters and terrorism. You should because no one actually knows what they will face in a given gunfight. It might just turn into North Hollywood shootout 2, except the dudes can actually kill people this time. Time and time again, we fall into complacency in training because “something like THAT hasn’t ever happened/hasn’t happened in a while”. And time and time again, we relearn the lessons in blood. Why not keep training to survive the worst that has happened? That way the next time something like that goes down we only have to ramp up from being trained to the last worst day. Instead of going from low skill, up close engagement training to a high skill, real steel fight at distance against people who actually know what they’re doing.

No one ever said you get to pick where, when, or with what you will have to fight for your life. So maybe it’s a good idea to prepare for as many where’s when’s, and with what’s as you can. If you wanna be an average gunfighter, train for the average gunfight. If you wanna be more, train for more.


I’ve seen the 3shots/3seconds/3yards average stats. I agree we need to train beyond that in all respects. In my suburb the typical distance in a res tract from cover behind a car on one side of the street to the front door of a house directly across is 25yds. Front yards are about 20 yds across. Heck a Toyota Camry is 5 yds long, tell me a bumper to bumper engagement isnt a probability. Our standard felony stop tactics can easily put you 10-15 yds from the driver’s door. We need to be able to effectively engage those realistic distances.

Where did 25 and 50 yard training go? Real world distances didn’t shrink.


I struggle with this all the time. I recently had occasion to do some pistol shooting at 50 meters. The results were less than stellar. I landed some “combat effective” hits, but nothing resembling a group. It gave me pause to consider how much time/effort/ammo it would take to become proficient at that range.

I train out of pocket with a finite amount of resources. Therefore I tend to focus my efforts on what I consider to be higher probability events e.g. awkward shooting positions, working cover, lateral movement, reloads, manipulations etc mostly 15 meters and in. I can shoot OK at 25 meters, but I’m not a real marksman at distance and I recognize the deficiency. It’s hard to balance it all.


I agree with you, real world distances did not shrink. IMHO, from my experience, it has been influenced by military urban battlefield tactics: room clearing, searching goat huts, and houses for bad guys. A structure built in the desert will often have numerous rooms about the size of an average American bathroom.

But that’s there, not in the USA where subdivisions, parking garages, commercial centers, and stadiums are all targets and would require engagements at longer ranges.

An example would be taking your child to a public park and an active shooter emerges on the basketball court 75 yards away. Before running to close the distance, perhaps it would be better to throw a few rounds their way (safely of course) just to break their mindset, make them realize they are under threat.

Being in hostile environment with a carbine is one thing, but, off duty, you will not be carrying one strapped to your body. Your handgun will be the primary weapon and terrorists attacks, active shooters, nutcase snipers will be operating from longer ranges. It has been years since I had to qualify by shooting 12 rounds from the fifty yard line, it needs to be brought back.


It is hard to balance it all, especially shooting out of your own pocket. Ammo is expensive and the prices vary all the time. If I am buying for myself, I usually start checking prices about a week before buying, since the cost can vary as much as 5 cents per round. I dont know if they ship to Canada, but MidwayUSA, usually has consistently low prices.

One of the things that I do is a t least several times a week, I will do “long range dry fire”, I will choose a target at least 50 to 75 yards away and dry fire practice, the same way I would at 7 yards. My thoughts on this are, if I dry fire at longer ranges, it forces me to have solid fundamentals, and concentrate on a target that is actually too far away. To me, and I may be full of crap, but, if I have to take a shot at long range with a handgun, my sub conscious will not be “shocked” at the distance, since I have already practiced for the longer ranges.


Thought for the day:

All of value that you desire and are willing to fight for yet is not certain, takes time … and time is risk … and risk is fear … and fear is impatience … and impatience doesn’t respect time.

Patience is always the weakest link because most of us are not conditioned for passivity. Do “you” the best way you can and let go of your counterproductive impatience and desire for control. Impatience only hastens failure.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Thought for the day: For those looking to purchase a EDC med kit. Some suggestions:

Adventure Medical Kits, Trauma PAK with Quickclot.

Dixie USA EMS Supply CO. On Call First Responder Kit.

Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit.

Tactical Medical Solutions TACMED Pocket Medical Kit.

ITS Tactical ETA Trauma Kit (Tallboy).

Everyday First Aid Ultimate 02 Oxygen Trauma Kit.

Adventure Medical Kits Trauma PAK PRO With Quickclot.

North American Rescue Rig Series Eagle IFAK with Combat Guauze.

Lightning X Products LXPB25-SKX.




Batman730 and Mixicus: To follow up on our conversation, a interesting comment from the author on body armor and headshots.


Unfortunately, we’ve seen more loss of life due to mass attacks and school shootings than we care to talk about. The details are often blurry, but from what I’ve read and sifted through it appears that several of the shooters were wearing body armor of some type. When a bad guy starts shooting and they are wearing body armor, that makes the job of eliminating the threat that much tougher. Typically the only option here is a head shot. That is one of those tasks that is easier said than done. Unless you have been schooled on precision shooting and practice regularly, taking this shot would be extremely tough and dangerous. I say dangerous because you have the potential of missing and hitting an innocent by standard or hostage.

Here’s the thing. Whether you are law enforcement or civilian concealed carry you need to be comfortable taking shots out to 25 yards (headshots) with your pistol. In a pistol course I attended, we focused heavily on becoming accurate at 25 yards and then walked back to 50 to prove the accuracy of handguns in the hands of a proficient shooter. The class was a mix of civilians, veterans, and current law enforcement. The target below is showing high ‘A zone’ hits from 15 yards with my pistol. Your grouping will open up a bit at 25 yards, so it’s important to train, know your weapon, and know your ammunition.


That’s about how my group from 15 looks, give or take. The above target is a practice run on our annual qual shot for time with my issued pistol starting at 15m and working in. It opens up a little at 25m, but it’s still reasonable.

As you can see, I’m still trying to break the habit of aiming centre mass (CX ring) in favour of upper thoracic. My confidence in a headshot at 25m isn’t what I would like it to be. Honestly, if I had to engage an active shooter, I’d hope to have my carbine, especially at longer range, but I know it doesn’t always go how you’d hope.

I think at 25m+ I’d be shooting pelvic triangle before head to defeat body armour with my skillset where it is. That said, I’ll definitely be spending some more time on my long game. The difference in my groups from 25m and out I think is more a question of psychology than mechanics. I’m just not as confident as the range extends.