Friday, August 4, 2017

ALERRT

Image result for Alerrt photos

I was recently afforded the opportunity to attend the two day 16 hour ALERRT course with some other officers from the department I am a Reserve Officer for. ALERRT advertises itself as the "National Standard" for law enforcement response to active shooter situations. 

The instructors were experienced LEO from departments in LA,TX and IA. They all had SWAT or tactical team backgrounds however this is not a tac team course. ALERRT is for the patrol officer that may respond to an incident of this type and often may work with 1 or 2 other officers with whom they have never trained . There is a potential for even a single officer to engage. The context was very appropriate to my situation, as my department is small with only a few officer's on duty at one time. Our back up potentially could be delayed based upon geography.

I won't go into specifics of training as this class was for LEO only. I want to talk about my impressions however. On day 1 our head instructor made a statement which instantly won my respect. He stated that ( I am paraphrasing) "LEO are not adequately trained." My first thought was YUSH!!! I am on the same sheet of music here!! I have long maintained that many LEO and more specifically anyone who carries a firearm for self defense do not take training seriously enough. There is a responsibility we have to the community to be the best trained individual we can be. And not just with our weapon. We need to be familiar with  pre assault cues, grappling, trauma management, communications, de escalation, physical fitness and a myriad of other subjects. We need to continue to advance our abilities without the attitude "They aren't paying me" or " It won't happen here". It is unfathomable to me why this class did not have a waiting list. It wasn't even completely full and that is a problem that needs to be corrected.  I will make mention however that my department had the single biggest contingent and we acquitted ourselves well during the training. 

This course also validated many other things that I teach during my own instruction. Although if I didn't believe in it I wouldn't be teaching it, it is satisfying to get independent validation. Primarily how the body reacts under stress and how these reactions affect our ability to engage a threat. For instance I teach kinethestic alignment of the shooter and the fact that you will not need your sights or find them particularly interesting when the threat is inside 9-15 feet. This point was validated when during a room clearing sequence I was ambushed by an unexpected second gunman. I recall lowering my center of gravity, squaring towards the threat, punching my weapon out until it stopped and pulling the trigger as fast as I could. What I don't recall is ever looking at my sights. I was looking at the chest of the gunman as they fired back, my weapon was vaguely in my line of sight somewhere between us. I achieved 3 center mass hits acrossed a standard class room. This information was extremely valuable to me. 

I enjoyed this course and am glad I had the opportunity to go. Any of my LEO friends that haven't gone need to get themselves to the next available course

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sometimes Even Icons Get It Wrong





LTC Grossman is an icon in the self defense community. His two seminal works on the psychology of killing, On Killing and On Combat are without a doubt historic. They have even spawned an entire subculture of self described "sheepdogs" due to his oft repeated analogy.



"If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.  "



However I am going to differ with the good LTC on some of his EDC choices.



1. Emerson Folder-I am not a huge knife expert however I do have some opinions based on my own experience and advice from those I know that are experts in this field. Having a strong side folding knife as your EDC might not be the best choice. It would be more preferable to have a fixed blade on the weakside as your "stabby stabby tool." Ease of employment,ease of access, and efficiency are considerations. If you are constrained to carrying a folder then a wave feature or ziptie may aid in rapid opening and deployment.



2. 1911 style handgun in .45- This is probably a very emotional topic for some and I will not revisit the whole .45 vs 9mm debate here. Suffice to say however that I and many others have written extensively about the lack of efficiency of the DA/SA platform and the efficiencies of the 9mm round for self defense. If our goal is to stop the threat and not count on luck then we need to put as many holes in the combat accurate area as we can, as quickly as possible. To do that a modern striker fired handgun in 9mm carried on the strong side hip or appendix carry is the way to go. Off body carry in a fanny pack is a liability.



3.TQ and Quikclot- I will come right out and say it. The SWAT TQ is a poor choice. TQ need to compress flesh and blood vessels to bone to get the amount of occlusion necessary to stop the bleeding. LTC Grossman's quick demonstration of how to apply the SWAT TQ is not indicative of actual application. In my experience the SWAT is not as easy to apply as advertised and does not occlude sufficiently to be a primary TQ. Don't believe me then check out this study from the Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio. His statement that it is better used on K9's and children may have some validity but I would argue if the limb is too small for a CAT or SOFT-W TQ then you should go straight to a pressure dressing. Which is what I carry a SWAT for anyway. Quikclot is a proven performer.



4. Flashlight- No argument there you need to carry one. Make it a good sturdy model with plenty of lumens. It can be used for its intended purpose or as a striking implement.



5. OC Spray- Again not an expert but having less lethal options is a solid piece of advice. If you are going to carry OC spray know how to use it and its effects. Also realize it is not a man stopper and people can definitely continue to function after getting a face full.



I welcome your feedback and continue to question the status quo.