-Jon Payne Suarez International Staff Instructor
I have a lot of training dedicated to tactical movement. With that being said, what I trained on in the military did not always cross over to my career in law enforcement. As a civilian with a Concealed Handgun License not all of my law enforcement training applies to daily carry.
The majority of the civilian training world follows whatever the current police and military trends are. As a matter of fact, many of the current trainers; including myself, have a law enforcement and/or military background. While having a background in the military and law enforcement can give instructor’s credibility-the civilian firearms instructor is not training soldiers and cops for the most part, they’re training civilians.
What’s the difference between training soldiers, cops, and civilians? Soldiers kill enemy soldiers and take and hold real-estate. Cops search for, find, and arrest bad guys. When a cop uses a firearm it’s to stop the threat, whether it’s self-protection or protection of others. In the United States cops are not soldiers. Civilians with a Concealed Handgun License primarily use a firearm for self-defense during a life threatening event and have no duty to apprehend. Soldiers operate in numbers with all kinds of support and police officers are rarely on their own, wear body armor and have resources not available to civilians. All three groups carry and use firearms with different missions and purposes.
Tactics used by soldiers may not work well for a cop, and usually have no bearing in the world of Concealed Carry. Engaging in a firefight such as an assault is pro-active and the dynamics are much different than if you’re on your own and a thug tries to jack you for your wallet. In the civilian world if you’re moving away from a threat, you need to let your body work the way it was designed to work and move quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Some of the things I see being taught may be useless to me as a CCW operator. Take the duck walk/Groucho walk for instance- as a CCW operator am I going to use that? In the proper context the “Groucho” walk works in team movement. While good to know, it’s really not as important to me as working angles and takeoffs. If I’m going straight toward my enemy (attacking an ambush) I can sprint and still get solid hits. Gabe Suarez had us doing that at a full run in his excellent Terrorist/Active Shooter Interdiction Class.
Another popular technique I’ve seen is teaching side to side movement as a shuffle step. Again, in the right context it is workable. An example would be a police officer wearing soft body armor that has a little more information going into the fight and can move side to side without exposing areas that are not armored. It’s slow, but the officer can make up some tactical ground by a large volume of deliberate aimed fire. A civilian carrying a concealed weapon may be better served by turning their toes towards where they want to go and run. The best way to get out of the way of the bad guy’s bullets is to bust off the “X” using the “Take Off”. Whichever direction I’m going, there’s one direction that’s generally a bad idea.
Moving straight to the rear won’t help you in most scenarios. Of all the directions to go, backwards is not one that I like to normally teach or use. If the bad guy has a gun, you haven’t decreased the bad guy’s advantage. You’re still in the bullet funnel and you can’t back pedal fast enough to beat a bullet. If the bad guy has a knife he will most likely be able to cover more ground running forward than you will be able to running backwards.
Movement is very important, I dare say critical. Good solid training in movement can mean life and death for you. The types of movement trained and used need to fit the environment and context in which they are used. The movement Suarez International teaches in based in the real world and designed to get you out of the path of your enemy’s bullets, not to look cool or make you feel good because you can move like a SWAT guy on TV.
There is nothing wrong with training for SWAT or Special Operations. That kind of training does not necessarily equate to being trained for the civilian CCW environment, just as being trained well as a CCW civilian does not make you a police officer. You have to keep in mind we don’t train to look cool or wear the latest in tactical fashion. We train to win, to defeat our enemy before they have the chance to deprive us of our livelihood or loved ones.
At Suarez International we know we do not dictate what the fight is going to be. Our goal is to give you as many of the right kind of tools as we can to ensure you are ready for the fight that may never come.