T Nation

The Tactical Life


Well, IMO, over-reliance on implements (most notably the taser) is a huge problem for LE these days. If there’s no known weapon in play and the guy isn’t super violent, my hands are my go-to. It drives me nuts watching videos cops who have no idea what to do when the taser fails or pile and yank on a guy endlessly without really engaging or making any effective effort to get him to the ground. Not their fault. It’s a training gap.

Then again, I’m an aggressive, physical kind of guy. I’ve worked with my hands and done contact/combat sports, stayed in decent shape and generally been knocked around all my life. I’d been in a few scraps before I got hired, I’m comfortable with violence and I don’t mind getting dinged up a little to get the job done.

None of that’s intended as a brag at all. It’s just that not every cop sees the world through the same lens and hiring trends are generally moving away from guys like me. I really don’t know how you teach that at the Academy or at in service training though.

As far as team tactics go, extra bodies can be a help or a hindrance, depending. ‘Suspect tug-of-war’ is a real problem. Especially when people don’t work together often enough to know each other’s playbook and can’t/don’t communicate verbally and non-verbally. It also depends on the individual, whether they’re an asset or a liability.

I don’t think you’ll see a suspect catch pole anytime soon. For starters, it doesn’t allow you to control the hands, which are a major advantage people have over animals. Second it strangles, which is generally a no-no and can permanently damage the structures in the neck.


Has anyone ever had any success motivating your unfit co-workers? I’ve only seen a handful of people put in an effort and turn it around.

Edit: Didn’t mean to reply directly to you, idaho.


@Watchdog I’ve given this a fair bit of thought. I don’t know if you can motivate anyone else. You either want it, or you don’t. If you want it, and you’re lucky enough to be able to get around others who do and, best case, find a few real mentors, you’ll be almost unstoppable. If you don’t, well…

The only way I can see to motivate people is a bonus system for fitness, DT and firearms proficiency. Mandatory objective testing with meaningful pay bumps for maintaining good scores. Unions will never let you penalize people for poor scores.

Those who don’t train just believe it’ll never happen to them and aren’t intrinsically motivated. An extra couple hundred bucks a pay (or whatever) is an immediate, extrinsic motivator that they can connect with. Cops like money. Just look at the OT we’ll pull.


I seem to remember a few years ago where I was living there was a news story about a high school student who got tasered when he was a little agitated. Several witnesses (I grant they were mainly other high school students, but still) said it was clearly excessive. A couple of days later I had an office tower view of the impromptu street protest that spawned because of it. Some other employees thought they should have been arrested, but protest is sometimes the catalyst for change. The problem with the protest is that one student got VERY verbally abusive with the police and there was a standoff in front of the shit/skid corner of town and she was eventually arrested. There was video of it on the news, my point is that possible lack of restraint in the first place ripple effected.


Interesting. Is this something most officers learn on the job (or fail to learn, as it seems from your description)? Is there any kind of SOP or are the situations too dynamic?

I’m thinking like in jiu jitsu where you play an if/then algorithm out depending on position relative to each other, one takedown opening up other opportunities, that sort of stuff. First, this, then that, control the weapon hand, turn them over, so on and so forth.


@twojarslave There are general guidelines, but no real SOP’s in my experience. There are certainly textbook if-thens, but they rarely play out in real life, of course. It’s a lot like jitz in a way, but different. There’s a goal in mind (generally to control the hands and get the person on the ground, preferably face down). There are principles of how best to achieve that goal. How you get there, well it depends.

Effective team control tactics are very much an area that leaves a lot to be desired in most DT programs I’ve seen (and YouTube bears this out). Just watch any one of a number of the videos of multiple cops trying to arrest a resistant subject. Especially if the subject is strong, crazy, high or a combination thereof. It’s often a bit of a shitshow.

LivePD has a video of Tulsa PD gang unit taking down a guy who ends up having a gun in his waistband (they didn’t know at the outset). It’s jitz heavy, but it’s also one of the best examples of effective team tactics I’ve ever seen. These guys obviously work together and obviously train outside work, but it’s still on point.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that the overwhelming majority of front line DT training is based on single officer with team stuff almost as an afterthought. I guess the idea is, if you can do it alone, it’ll be easier with backup. Not always the case.


Not familiar with that particular incident. May have been ‘lack of restraint’. May have been totally appropriate. Can’t say. Whenever police use force and people see it they will tend to assume it was excessive. Particularly high school kids…


@batman730 That was awesome jitz and great teamwork. First officer never gave up his grip, controlled him in the moment of the takedown, took the back and switched right to seatbelt grip to control that right arm, good use of strikes from the back and never let go of his neck or got rid of his hooks.

Wonderfully done. That is not easy to do to. Of course, the problem cops have is untrained people see this and assume all cops should be able to do this and then judge the shit out of them when they have to use lethal force.


@twojarslave Yep. I pop wood a little bit every time I watch this vid. Those guys are switched on. The guy with top position does a great job maintaining situational awareness, communicating with his partner and and getting out on the radio with clear, concise information. Just awesome.

The second part of your assessment is spot on as well. You and I have some appreciation of how much mat time went into that 3 minute video. The general public does not. 99% of cops will never put in that amount of work, sad to say.

Great outcome. Everyone walks away whole. That said, from what I saw, they would have been 100% justified to shoot instead. Expecting that level of competence from every frontline cop is simply unreasonable.


Yes the cop on top was definitely on-point too. He was all over that right hand. That’s where the battle was in that moment.

Hell, expecting that level of competence from a majority of people in jiu jitsu is probably unreasonable too. Most of the schools in my area are way too heavy on sport for my taste, not a lot of emphasis on simple ideas like controlling someone’s arms, going to the right by default, making safe from strikes and weapon draws or even watching where the hands go. It’s not even on the radar at some places.

A lot of it’s going towards sport grappling, which is fine and all, but the best De La Riva or worm guard in the world isn’t going to do much for you in a situation like this. Your bow-and arrow choke may be beautiful but can you advance to a dominant position and hold it, control limbs and take the back if you need to?

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Very difficult, especially in the age of the cell phone. Techniques that you used will be deemed as “violent”, even thou the best way to end a confrontation that protects you and the perp is to maneuver hard and fast.

I have seen many perps do the “passive resistant” game and the officer was trying to be as non physical as possible. That is always a mistake, leads to the perp gaining confidence and upping the aggression. You have to put your hands on someone, do it fast, dont give them time to think.

As Batman stated, it depends on who you are with. Some officers know what they are doing, some don’t


Agreed. Going to the ground is a death sentence. A LEO carries his/her death with him everyday on his hip.


Thank you, excellent work and like both of your said, great skill.


When talking LEO’s, usually someone who has gotten their ass kicked before backup arrived will try to change it around. Rookie LEO’s are worst. They come out of the academy full of propaganda shit and think no one can take them, then some drunk asshole hands their ass to them down at Shirley strip club. After that you either change or find another line of work. The walking victims are those cops that never got the ass kicked or never been in a lethal force situation. They are usually full of bullshit, 40 pounds overweight, and think they are walking bad ass

In the military it is much simpler. You are out in an AOR, your best friend takes a round through the head and his brains end up splattered on your armor. That is the best wake up call I know , you don’t change after that, then there is no hope for you and you are a hindrance to the unit’s survival.


Thought for the day (1): 2Jar Slave and Batman, thought you may be interested in this article: Also, I think both of you will enjoy this quote:

"Poor technique is the body attempting to survive a situation it is not yet ready for."



Thought for the day (2): My observations on open carry.

First, if you live in a state that allows open carry that is certainly your right to do so. If it was up to me the 2A would cover you anywhere in the states and its territories, but, alas, that is not the case. As law abiding citizens, we must set an example for all. That said, let’s examine the issue from a tactical perspective.

I am been in the states for the last three weeks working an investigation and completing some annual training requirements. During this time, I have observed three instances that have left me wondering about the tactical mindset of these people.

  1. I was in a national food chain buying some supplies. I walked down the aisle looking for some coffee when a very obese individual, riding one of those motorized carts (which I assume are for people with disabilities or recovering from surgery) came down the aisle. Now, I never see those things in my world, so, I always stare at them like it was some type of moon rover.

He was wearing earbuds listening to music on some device, actually tapping his legs to the beat. As I stood to one side allowing him to pass, I noticed he was carrying a 1911 type pistol in an open holster. The holster was a cheap non retention. Now, he was at least a hundred pounds overweight, listening to music and carrying an exposed weapon. I was wondering what he would do, how he would actually move, in either a personal attack or an active shooter situation. He turned around and came back my way and as he passed, I actually used my forefinger and touched the butt of his weapon. He was oblivious. If I wanted to, I could have taken that weapon and used it against him, then taken the weapon and killed a few more civilians in the bread aisle.

  1. I had stopped to buy gas at a large retail outlet. As I was filling the tank, a man pulled up beside me on the other side of the pumps, got out and started to pump his gas. There were three little girls in the truck, I am guessing between 3 and 8 years old. He left the door open and the engine running. As he turned to pump gas, I saw he was wearing an S&W M&P in an OWB holster. The holster was a pancake with no thumb break. As I was placing the nozzle back, he decided to clean his windows and came over to my side to get some paper towels. As he passed between me and the pumps, I just touched the holster and he never felt anything. Three little children in the truck, engine running, and weapon displayed and not secured.

  2. An occasional workout partner living in the states called me and asked me to go with her to an antique market which is not located in the best of areas. The market is huge and attracts large crowds on Saturday’s, which in turn draws in predators. As we were walking around looking for her pottery dealer, we stopped in a booth which featured Native America jewelry. A guy comes in wearing some type of garish golfing shirt, shorts, and sandals. As he started talking to the owner, he turned around and I saw he was carrying a Glock 19 in a clip on holster, directly in the crack of his ass. Now, I am not among the elite, but, I am not Gary Geekhead either. There is no way he could have drawn that weapon and got on target in time to do anything, in fact, as I stood next to him, I would have got the weapon on target faster than him.

Open carry in states that allow is certainly your right, but, be smart about it. Have a good holster, the right carry position and a plan to secure your weapon when some tries to take it away. IMHO, open carry places you at a massive tactical disadvantage: If I was a terrorist, active shooter, or hardened felon, I will kill you first, because you are openly displaying a threat. IMHO, not a smart tactical decision.


External LE motivation for PT:

  1. Money - for passing a PT test every 6 month, you get say 1/2 the cost of gym/ma fees for that period of time ($300)
  2. Time - pass a PT test every 6 months, get 40 hours of leave. To keep admin from freaking, it can’t carry to the next year or used for cash out.

This also works for ‘marksman’ bonus pay. I’d love another $20/wk for passing a challenge COF every quarter.

Other ways: A) organized voluntary dept wide competitions/participation for events like local 5K, mud runs, Spartan Races. Pick a charity run to support or a memorial run B) those that train encourage their team to train before/after shift at the station gym.

You can’t get everyone but maybe you can get more.


I’ve come to similar conclusions. One of the issues I think is the shortage of personnel. No one can afford to lose anyone, so making people sink or swim is going to affect the capacities and capabilities of the organization when people can’t hack it. I’m not sure if this is a bad thing because some people are just dead weight and the operation would run smoother if they didn’t show up.

I work in an office now and we’re given 1.5 hours to work out, which means we either come in late or leave early. I can’t believe how few people take advantage of this. We literally have no excuse not to do it, but some guys will always come up with an excuse to be built like a bag of milk.

I think incentives are the only option once people are in. Recruiting needs to make sure these people are committed to a healthy lifestyle before they are even let in the door.


Open carry is legal in my state and I’ve seen a few of these yahoos. My buddy was even one of them on an ATV trip we took a few years ago. He had his Desert Eagle .40 cal dangling off of his hip in a $10 nylon holster. I actually have the same holster, it’s fine for stowing a gun but not for carry.

I mentioned that he should look at getting a good belt and appropriate holster if he was going to carry, but he’s one of those guys who knows better than you about whatever the topic at hand is. You know, lifted more weight “back in the day” than you can now. Knows how to fight without ever training a day in his life. Learned everything he needs to know about guns from video games.

Weapon retention and a good draw is not even on the radar for the ultimate badass.

I think a lot of people like him look at a gun as a talisman that will somehow ward off evil on it’s own. Or perhaps a fashion statement of sorts.

Jiu jitsu guys can fall victim to the same mindset. I know more than a few guys who out-rank me by quite a bit that I’d never want backing me up as a bouncer or in a fight. If all you can do on your feet is pull guard and you start every roll from your knees or your butt, your shit probably won’t work. You are going to get decked by the first aggressive asshole who wants to hurt you bad, or even a guy who wrestled a little bit in high school.

Can you make safe from knockout strikes? Are you ready to eat a few strikes that won’t knock you out? Do you know what to do if you see a weapon being drawn? How is your base? Do you know what the concept of base even is? How far are you from being able to stand up at any given moment? Can you maintain knee-on-belly? Can you put a person on the ground reliably? Can you stop someone from doing the same?

It is amazing how much the basics can differ at two different schools that label themselves as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’m glad I found a well to drink from where it hasn’t been watered down to playing a polite game. The only goal is preparing for violence.

The funny thing is that the fundamentals are so solid that everyone who trains there is a tough roll too. All without spending hours and hours of mat time working on stuff like x-guard and submissions and escapes that can almost never work outside of a polite sport setting. It’s all fun and interesting if that’s what you want to spend your mat time training, but contrived scenarios aren’t why I signed up.

I didn’t want to get the shit beaten out of me again. Pretty simple.


COs and those who work with the mentally ill usually have team based tactics for dealing with people when it’s necessary to get physical.