Monday, February 2, 2009

Scenario Training

I recently joined a group of people, a club, dedicated to keeping their firearms skills current and relevant. They train twice a month alternating between scenario training and shooting drills. Everyone was very friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable. Today was a scenario day.

This was my second time out with them and so far the experience has been very positive and illuminating. The instructor/organizer Jeff P. is very thorough and very knowledgeable. There's a great mixture of theory and practical knowledge with constant feedback and encouragement regarding the groups overall performance and the individuals. Jeff always added some procedural refinements to improve or add to ones bag of techniques.

On the theory side, the main principles that Jeff was trying to adhere to and drive home to the participants was the concept of the OODA Loop which stands for:


and Hick's Law which basically states that the more possible decisions a person can make during a situation the reaction time will increase a proportionate amount.

The Hick's Law was invoked with regard to firearm manipulation and keeping it as consistent as possible and simple as possible so during a stressful situation the operation can be completed fast and accurately.

The law is generalized as such: T= bH.

So basically, the underlining principle boils down to the KISS principle!

Jeff was continually referring to the above ideas during the training to make sure we understood why and where it was relevant.

As for the training, today we went through several scenarios and a "force on force" scenario.

The first being the "force-on-force" depicting an everyday event such as filling up your vehicle at a gas station. This was quite a complex scenario and I was amazed at the lengths Jeff goes too to make sure the training is as realistic as possible with the resources available.

A gas station set was built and members of the group acted out certain characters. The "victim" participant, armed with an airsoft pistol, drove their vehicle up to the "gas station" to fill up. At some point in the transaction you were assaulted with deadly force. You had to know your surroundings and try and stay inside the criminals OODA loop and survive the altercation.

A very eye opening experience and just drives home the fact that there is not much time to react and it's over in a flash. The main recipe for success is to maintain a tactical awareness and try to use your surroundings as much as possible to thwart any chance an aggressor may have to overpower you. Like using your vehicle for cover etc.

The above scenario was the only time we used the airsoft "force-on-force" tools and it was at the very beginning. All firearms and ammunition was quarantined to the safety tables, everyone was verified by the designated range safety officers that no one had any ammunition or firearms on their person and once verified they were restricted from the quarantined area. If anyone entered the area they would be unable to participate in the "force-on-force" scenario until re-verified for safety. No new people were allowed on the range until they went through the safety procedure.

After the "force-on-force" scenario was completed by everyone there was a debriefing, we then gear up and went through several more scenarios culminating in several team tactic scenarios.

The team tactics involved two and four man teams to enter and clear a room. Jeff set up a course where he simulated a room with an entry whereby the hard corners where equidistant from the doorway. The two man teams would employ a "cross" and "button hook" entry style. While the four man teams would use the "cross" entry exclusively when split on either side of the door and "cross/button hook" when all members were on the same side of the doorway. We did not use the "slicing the pie" technique as far as I recall. Using the four man teams the ensueing firepower being unleashed in the "room" would smite any potential threat especially with the overlapping fields of fire. I wouldn't want to be on the other end of a real tactical entry team entering with their weapons of choice, it would be a devistating display of force.

We also worked with partners to transition from one cover postion to another using "stacking" at the cover positions to reduce the teams profile to the threat. This is used mainly when there is a narrow piece of cover available. Also, it got the teams got used to signaling each other in non verbal ways. I hope I'm getting my terminology right, I'm sure someone will correct me.

Working with a teammate adds a whole new dimension to the equation of firearms training. Not only do you need to be taking care of yourself but you have to be aware of you partners position and their ability to respond to the current threat. You need to know if they are loading, have a problem, ready to move, moving etc. Communication is the key and that's not easy to maintain in a chaotic environment. Practicing the team tactic component helps a lot with becoming aware of your environment and hones a lot of skills that otherwise would lay dormant. We also reviewed and practiced position SUL (more on position SUL) for these CQB type scenario's

At the end of the day I was overwhelmed a little by all the information and nuances I had to learn and remember. It's quite a brain dump it's not just running around and shooting it's very challenging and rewarding, believe it or not.

Looking forward to the next time!

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