Flexible Thinking: Super-Charge your combat experience in the civilian world

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Dear Brendan,

This piece is more for our military veteran members.  However, it does apply to you and others that are family men and business professionals.  We need to understand that what we learned in our military training is good and has its place, but it is not the end all be all when it comes to weapons and tactics.  In many cases, our conventional military (think Big Green Army), not the SOF community, is behind the times with firearms training due to the fact that the military simply does not have the time and resources to train its men and women in the ways they can be trained in the civilian world or SOF community.  With that said, there is a key piece missing from the civilian side of things and that is combat experience.  When I say combat experience, I mean being personally engaged and having the ability to do what it takes to not only survive the battle, but win.  Another definition of combat experience is engaging another person when only one of you will walk away.  Remember, this is not a game and we bury second place. 

From talking and training with other veterans, I’ve picked up on a trend where some military types think they know all they need to know about weapons and tactics.  The fact is, none of us went into an enemy stronghold alone or conducted a raid, patrol or ambush as a so called Army of One.  Nor did you roll into a village alone and unafraid to conduct a Key Leader Engagement (KLE) with just a pistol and knife at your side, though that is basically what you will have in the civilian world.  You are likely to conceal your handgun and carry a folding knife or small fixed blade discreetly on your person, and that’s it.  You will not be operating in the civilian world or casual day-to-day life here at home with crew-served weapons, 0331 machine gunners supporting your movement to the target with suppressive fire, Level 3 body armor to stop 7.62 rounds or a corpsman or medic to help bandage you up and get you off the X.  One quick comment on the medical piece: stop thinking so much about buddy aid and start thinking about self-aid. 

With all that said, please don’t discount your military training, in fact hang onto it as it applies to active shooters and IED’s.  The unfortunate truth is that threats from active shooters, IED’s and other types of attacks are on the rise here in the US.  Your combat experience will be value added.  You will need to modify and adapt your training and experience to apply to the civilian world you now live and operate in daily, to include your family.  Be aware of civilian carry laws.  Think of this as training for your new Rules of Engagement here at home.  One of the most important things you can apply to your civilian life from your military life is an open mind and the discipline to be continuously training, learning, and being accountable for all actions and rounds.  As we know, every round matters in the civilian self-defense shooting environment here at home.  Other than that, never forget your combat experience but remember to scrutinize your military training for what will work in this new operating environment of firearms and self-defense applications.  Don’t forget the fundamentals of “speed, surprise and violence of action.”  Although what could be more applicable in the civilian self-defense shooting situation is the use of cover, returning fire and using distance to your advantage (Communicate-Shoot-Move).

I encourage you to remain open minded about learning new Tactics, Techniques and Procedures and remember that your military training is a solid foundation to build on, but it doesn’t always directly apply or translate to carrying and operating in the civilian world.  Remember this, “Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force.”  Think outside the box and be proactive.

Prepare to win the fight.

TRAIN-FIGHT-WIN

Your Friend,

-Travis