I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this class. In a previous article I referred to the Suarez International Force on Force class as a "guided discovery" and that is exactly what it was. As the instructor, I am extremely grateful to my students that attended and put in the work over this two day course. There were two students in this class and they ran every single drill and experiment. They stayed focused and worked hard in the cold then hot, windy and dusty west Texas enviroment. Though, the attendance was low, I am confident that the tribe will grow as the masses learn the value of this training. Day 1 We started the day with a brief lecture on mindset and the proper mental preparation needed to prevail in a fight. In it we discussed the need for a clear mission and focus on winning the fight, aligning ourselves spiritually with taking a bad guy's life and legal and emotional issues that may or may not arise after the smoke clears. After discussing mindset and going through the safety ritual we... Read more →

You Can't Pick the Time or the Place

This week in Colorado we are starting to feel a little fall in the air a little earlier than usual foreshadowing the onset of winter and with it unique challenges in terms of concealed carry and gun fighting tactics. First of all we are likely to be wearing more and heavier clothing making it potentially more difficult to bring our firearm into play depending on how we carry. If you have trained all summer in shorts and Hawaiian shirt it’s time to start working on digging your tools out from under a heavy coat and sweater. The key is consistency, smoothness and safety. A common firearms mishap occurs when clothing gets caught in the trigger guard when presenting or reholstering the weapon so get in a lot of dry reps and stay focused. The second issue we need to deal with in bad weather is mobility. We train that not getting shot is more important than any other aspect of the gunfight and we facilitate that via explosive, dynamic movement. On dry ground, in 75-degree weather that’s one thing but... Read more →

The Suarez International's CRG-4: Force on Force (FOF) is being taught in Lubbock, Texas on October 11th & 12th by Suarez International Affiliate Instructor, Jess Karren. This is a dynamic course where the gunfighter can put his square range training to use versus live opponents. No fancy stances, no perfect sight pictures, just unadulterated gunfighting using gas operated blow back pistols w/ plastic BBs. The motto for this class is "In Ferro Veritas"; in steel we learn the truth. The Ego Check That Enlightens: No doubt everyone has heard the saying, "leave your ego at the door." This statement was never truer than when attending a Force on Force class. I took my first FOF in Amarillo, Texas back in 2007. Gabe Suarez taught it himself. There was probably about 20 people that were there. I had been shooting for a number of years by now and have even dabbled in the "getting off the X" concept on my own. What was humbling, though, was the speed at which our simulated gunfights happened fast and happened closed. The paper targets... Read more →

As discussed several times before, gunfights are broken down into two categories: 1) Proactive and 2) Reactive. I categorize pistol malfunction clearing or better yet, pistol manipulations, into these two categories as well. An example of a proactive manipulation would be the proactive (tactical) reload. This post is not, however, about proactive reloading. I wish to cover the reactive manipulations and explain why I teach them the way I teach them. The reactive manipulations include the "tap-rack-shoot" and the "rip-reload-rack-shoot" techniques. I know that there are several names for these techniques, but I will refer to them by these names. The “tap-rack-shoot” is often times referred to as the “immediate action drill” because when the pistol stops shooting, we immediately tap the bottom of the magazine to make sure it is fully seated in the magazine well. Second, we rack the slide to eject a bad round and/or load a new round into an empty chamber. If the “tap-rack-shoot” doesn't work, we immediately perform a “rip-reload-rack-shoot”. Basically, we grip the bottom of the magazine, any way that we can, and... Read more →

I love the concept of the concealed handgun permit. I support an armed citizenry 100%. When the title "First Responder" is thrown around it is commonly understood as referring to the police officer, the paramedic or the firefighter. I don't agree that a police officer, as an example, is the first responder in an active shooter event. Furthermore, paramedics and firefighters arrive after you have already been injured or your house has already been burning. No, the first responder in the context of this article and the concept of the civilian defender is you, the concealed permit holder in your community. Despite being a peace officer, I consider myself to be a citizen first and operate like a concealed handgun (CHL) permit holder, for the most part, when I am off duty. In this article, I hope to highlight some common mistakes that permit holders may make. My intent is to offer some advise and hopefully shed some light on things that may put the CHL holder in a bind. CHL Permit & False Security Before I was a cop,... Read more →

As a followup to the Gunfighting Fundamentals article, I wanted to examine how the fundamentals of marksmanship are applied, or not, along the entire spectrum of combat shooting. Most of the Suarez International tribe will, no doubt, identify with these concepts as they are taught in the Close Range Gunfighting series, as well as fought in the Force on Force classes. For those that are new to the tribe, I hope that this article, as well as the first, gives insight into why we do what we do. Its common knowledge that we can put gunfights into two categories: 1)Proactive and 2) Reactive. The proactive gunfight is one that we know is going to happen and/or that we ourselves initiate. Some examples of proactive gunfights include law enforcement officers or a SWAT team kicking a door going after a dope dealer or the home defender lying in wait to ambush the invader. Suffice it to say, we are the ones initiating the contact. The reactive gunfight, on the other hand, is one that we did not know was going to... Read more →

The 8 fundamentals of shooting permeate every aspect of combat shooting. The more we master our fundamentals, the better we are able to employ our weapons no matter the environment, conditions or positions we find ourselves. I believe that the fundamentals must be mastered and practiced from our very first basic training course and be included as an integral part of every training session. In the Close Range Gunfighting series we list the fundamentals as Grip, Stance, Point, Sight Alignment, Sight Picture, Breathing, Trigger Control, and Follow Through/Trigger Reset. These are the foundation that all other gun fighting skills are built upon. The correct execution of these skills will result in our being able to fire that “perfect” shot again and again. Other fundamentals that are often overlooked are proactive and reactive manipulations. The manipulations include the instinctive “tap, rack, flip” and the “rip, reload, rack” drills to clear a myriad of malfunctions. These manipulations must be second nature and can only become that way when practiced with regularity. The ability to keep the gun running during a fight can... Read more →

The Missing Link

An enlightened individual has made the decision to take accountability for their own personal protection. After thoughtful research the decision is made to enhance their open hand fighting skills and an enrollment is made in a combatives course. With some heightened anticipation the student walks into the studio to meet the instructor. After the cursory introductions the student is placed in front of a mirror and instructed on stance, body position and proper placement of hands. The instructor walks the student through the proper technique for the jab and cross – with emphasis on keeping the back foot down and proper rotation of the hips and shoulders to help generate power. As the student and instructor work, reminders are added about not dropping the hands and making sure the hands are brought back to cover the face and protect against the opponents strikes. The instructor leaves the student to continue on working the technique in front of the mirror. Occasional reminders help keep the student on track. Eventually with time and practice, the student gains confidence, and the instructor begins... Read more →

Red Flag was established in 1975 as a result of poor performance in Vietnam by the USAF pilots and Weapon System Officers (WSO) in air-to-air combat. Many of the crews at that time had also fallen prey to the Surface to Air Missile Systems scattered throughout Vietnam. Due to these short comings, the Air Force conducted a study titled Project Red Barron II. Project Red Barron II concluded that a pilot’s survivability in combat dramatically increased once the pilot had completed 10 combat missions. Today, Red Flag Exercises are conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. It is a major multi-national exercise bringing air forces from around the world to train together and to learn from one another. Since inception, the purpose of the exercise was to put air crews into simulated combat in several realms including Air-to-Air Combat, Air-to-Ground Interdiction and Close Air Support. The training is as close to real combat that a pilot can get in a controlled and safe environment; allowing the crew to get their 10 combat missions under their belt and increasing their ability... Read more →

Catchy name don't you think? No, TSD is not going to make or sell clothing. Tried that when we sold Woolrich and 5.11 and it is too much drama for what it is worth. The matter at hand arose this last weekend when we held the Small Unit Tactics class in Kingman, AZ. We had twenty guys attending. Some wore the very popular and effective Multicam camouflage. A couple of guys wore some derivatives of MARPAT, ACU, and various other "Green" camo. And we had several that were wearing civilian outdoor clothing, but in what I would term "muted earth tones". These were various shades of drab green, gray, brown and tan. Nothing blue or red - nothing white or black. And the tans were more brown than they were not "light". This is not Urban camo to blend into groups. The objective is to sport a drab colored image based on shades of grey, brown, green, tan. Nothing blue...nothing red...nor any derivatives such as bluish grey or pinkish salmon. The idea is that the clothes blend into the... Read more →