By: John Meyers
Scenario games and “what if’s” dominate conversations in the preparedness culture.
Working through various situations in our heads makes perfect sense. It helps develop a key tool: Mindset.
What these Kim’s games generally lack is context. These conversations assume everyone in the discussion has the same conception of what the event will be, or the even broader question what exactly SHTF means. It’s all subjective and situational dependent. There is no answer to “what if…?” The context must be defined.
A mundane question such as ‘what is the best combat load out?’ will morph into a 3 hour back and forth about this or that rifle, which plate carrier is more Gucci and what type of underwear is the most efficient at wicking ball sweat. The whole time I sit back listening and thinking: “Well what is the mission? What is the event? Who, What Where, When, Why?” Essentially going over the civilian version of METT-TC in my head. It is never lined out. One person is envisioning the proverbial horde of mutant cannibalistic biker gangs ravaging the countryside, ala One Second After. Another’s context of the event is a full on invasion of CONUS by Daesh or the Haqqani Network. And another is thinking “Jeez, I thought SHTF was when I lost my job last week.” Context is critical. But one thing is true about nearly all these conversations. It tends to always focus on the absolute worst scenario imaginable, despite minor variations in each persons head.
What this community needs is an accurate threat analysis. Threats need to be defined and essentially listed out from the most likely to the least likely to occur. One is more likely to encounter a profit crime on the street, before ISIS shows up in your bedroom. You are going to encounter a home invasion or an active shooter before an insurgency against the US state or Mad Max II.
After running this through my brain for a couple years, I concluded that an apocalypse only focus may get you killed in the streets. With this in mind I am no longer focusing on the most cataclysmic and unlikely event as my training priority.
After attending a number of classes over the years, I found that it was not uncommon at all to see half or more students, upon finishing the class, pack up their gear, lock up their rifle, separate the ammo then drive home without a CCW on their person. During class they had chest rigs for days, but not even a J frame to stick in their pocket when they return to normal life. The class made them better off to fight the Zombies invading their neighborhood, (if they had plenty of advance notice to prepare of course, to strap on their war kit and get in the proper fighting stance) but they were completely unprepared to defend themselves from a normal street criminal, the much more likely scenario.
Their mind was in “One Second After” scenario mode. They were ready to go SBU prone with their fire team, but lacked ECQC skills and tools to combat the all more likely scenario of the Stop and Rob they bought that Gatorade from being violently robbed. A robbery that was committed not by an ISIL operative yelling ALLAH SNACKBAR! But by a normal looking middle-aged white guy, who decided to initiate the robbery by smashing a wine bottle from the rack over their disarmed and situational awareness deprived head.
I got news for you. The Shit has JUST Hit The Fan the moment that wine bottle busted over the guys head. (So much for that “Truck Gun”)
These people lack the mindset needed in the day-to-day world, because they are constantly focusing solely on the threat found in the latest 37-volume prepper fiction novel. The Event to them is not the home invasion tomorrow in the present day “Rule of Law” world; it is only the invading Chinese in “Without Rule of Law” society, where they will be conveniently snuggled up in their retreat, waiting for the Red Devils and Blue Helmets to arrive with their 40 closest Ranger Buddies.
In the wake of recent active shooter events in the country, a common refrain among the “Sheep Dog” gun culture is how they will simply employ their ‘truck gun’ in the event of a mass shooting. What they left out was that the venue where the shooting is happening is filled with 400 people. The mythical “truck gun” is chained under their back seat, 135 yards away, under 7 BoB’s, 19 sets of bug out clothing, 3 cases of MRE’s and more commo gear than a CCT guy has access to.
The 360 lb. hero is supposedly going to first manage to avoid being perforated by the shooter, sprint through 400 screaming, crying and hysterical people, make it outside, deploy his AR pistol (don’t forget, you can’t shoulder those. *wink) and “active shooter bag,” fight the masses back inside against the flow, manage not to get shot by first responders, or taken down by a CCW’er, and go to work on the shooter before they self terminate themselves. Stop being so stupid.
Tactical Fantasy Band Camp simply does not prepare you for operating in the totally unsexy street clothes on your back instead of your kryptek highlander, with the pistol in your waistline and yourself alone as your team. In our daily lives we are not wearing all our kit, a RACK with 18 magazines and a Team Wendy Exfil. We don’t have a rifle in our back pocket in aisle 18 of the local Wally World. I can assure you asking your favorite instructor on Facebook what pants he is wearing in the latest Firelance Media photo array, will not make you more combat effective in the fight. I’m sure the ones you are wearing will work just fine.
You have what you have on you. You have your EDC. You are much more likely to be accosted in the local mall than you are by invading Soviets in the Fourteener’s of the Rocky Mountains.
Focus on the most likely then work to the least likely. And for God’s sake people, if you are a new shooter and all your gear is in the way of you learning how to shoot and manipulate your weapon, please strip all that junk off, run a mag in your back pocket and LEARN. Then add in the Ninja Force 5 accouterments.
Yes, we all should have a team. The proverbial ‘Village’ or ‘Tribe’ to fall back on for mutual assistance, division of labor, and all that good stuff. But we need to recognize the limitations and capabilities at play. Unless you live with your “team” of 6 SMU SAS Delta Seals, they will play no role in aiding you when your door is kicked in at 3 am. They will not be there for you when you stop to grab a few dollars out of one of those ATM’s in the middle of a barren parking lot late after work one night and you are violently attacked and find yourself in a gun fight where your only cover is the pillars, engine block and wheels of your car while you try to reduce the threat with your Glock 42. Where was your Wonder Blaster 6000 Glock 34 with the race work, comp and RMR? Oh, too bulky and impractical to carry everyday?
You must fight with what you have on you. Hence you must train the most with what you will most likely have on you. You must be point. You must be rear security. You are flank. You are your team.
It would pay the community well to place more of an emphasis on the need to train with their pistol. Put primary focus on that until a satisfactory standard is met.
Some say there is no use in learning real pistol marksmanship, because “21 foot rule!” Shut up stupid. Everyone is a sniper at 3 yards. Back away from the keyboard for a second. Stop making excuses. The average grocery store aisle in the US is about 25 yards. Are we capable of making those life or death shots with a carry gun to end a threat to our lives and families from such a distance reliably? If not, put down the damn AK-47 for just a second and run some dot torture with your carry gun. Yes, the gun you CARRY. If it’s a J-frame or mouse gun, maybe you’ll find out the capabilities of those guns and whatever drawbacks may be present with that choice.
Perhaps a good medical course makes sense to stop the bleeding of your wife who got shot in the leg. If our mindset is only “whelp, we wont have trauma surgeons in SHTF…” it will do nothing to solve the problem of your loved one bleeding out from the crazy shooter in the movie theater while waiting for LE to clear the scene to allow casualties to be treated. I would want to know how to pack that wound, seal that chest or slap on that TQ today, rather than putting my focus on a time when a trauma surgeon may be as scarce as hen’s teeth in the future and using it as an excuse to not put medical higher the training priority list.
Is the ‘prepper’ communities focus on rural patrolling and greenside work going to help us search or clear a structure when one comes home from work to find their cell phone dead and their door kicked in on their house, where their 14 year old daughter was supposed to be after school? Is a sole focus on Ranger team tactics and dynamic entry TTP’s in solving said problem going to apply to a single person trying to do the same task? If you are only with your non-gun minded wife, will she understand that your incessant asking permission by shouting “MOVING!” needs to be answered with “MOVE!” Doubtful. Practice real world communication for these situations. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Adapt. Who cares if it’s not ‘doctrine.’ Do what is applicable to your situation and what works. If you fail to adapt, you will fail to win.
While it is very wise and worthwhile to seek training in small unit tactics and rural patrolling, how many of the people who have done such training in the ‘patriot/prepper/III world’ actually live in an environment where they would even use it? If you live in downtown Charlotte, why in the world are you spending 8 weekends a year doing rural patrolling and no other training that applies to your actual AO? How many recent insurgencies did small units operating solely in rural areas win? Was the PIRA flying a wedge formation down Main Street in Belfast in 1970? Perhaps throwing in a study of Michael Collins or The Troubles may be something to look at when considering how an unconventional war may unfold in these united States.
One of the few positives in life you can count on, is that it’s going to be dark every day. Many guys I run across say they don’t need a light on any of their guns. They must not like to see at night. They must not work at night. Or they think they are miraculously are going to pull a pair of dual tube’s out of their rear end when the Event happens and clear there their house DEVGRU style with IR lasers when they hear a bump in the night. If a tactic, manipulation or technique doesn’t work both in the day and during the night, consider using one that does. Carry a hand held light at minimum. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll use it. The Surefire Fury line is hard to beat. Use all the lumens to your advantage when needed.
Most people spend large portions of the day in their vehicles. Maybe you should learn how to work around those vehicles. Know what is cover, what is concealment, what parts cause deflection. Maybe learn some defensive driving skills. As Will Petty says the average vehicle is about 28 million grains. I’d rather use that to end a threat than 124 grains in my 19. This is purely food for thought.
Steve Fisher, formerly of Magpul Dynamics and current head of Sentinel Concepts, speaks of containers and zones. How most of our day is comprised of going from one container or zone, say our house, into another container, our car, then into another container, our work place, then to another zone, out to lunch, and so forth.
Matt Graham of Graham Combat speaks of the lines, the lights and the lanes. How we rely on the normalcy bias and the structure of the lines, lights and lanes of life. There is no normal in the fight. People are compliant, and they follow the commands of the active shooter or the oppressive state authorities without any resistance. People think fights should be fair and there must be rules. There are no rules and no fair fights in the real world.
Graham speaks of mindset being just mindset and not ‘combat mindset’ or ‘driving mindset’ or any other variation. The mindset you have in the real world driving to work must be the same mindset you have on the range or in the fight. We must grasp this concept and apply it in our current daily lives and not focus solely on spending 30K to mitigate an EMP to protect our $500 laptops, but how to deal with much more likely scenario’s first.
Graham and Fisher are speaking truth. Most of our lives are spent in containers and and zones within those containers. Within the lights and the lanes. Where is all the home defense and shoot house classes in the preparedness world? Everyone is to busy focusing on the apocalypse instead of the all more likely situation where someone needs to search their own house to defend their family. By all means lets learn those hasty attacks, raids and break contacts, and master them, but lets just make sure we have the most likely needed skills down as well.
To echo some other writers in the community, there won’t be another 1776. The Bastille is not going to be stormed any time soon. The South is not going to rise again as Boot Licker Syndrome has enveloped the entire USSA. The final liberty solution is nowhere in sight. Live your life. Be free. Don’t be a slave. Rely on yourself and your trusted network, not the state. Instead of only focusing on such ‘line in the sand,’ history-altering events, focus on the most likely scenarios first. Develop those plans before your ‘meteor hit my backyard’ strategy. The S has already hit the F. We are in the slow downward spiral of all empires.
Old School firearms training icon Louis Awerbuck famously said “trigger reset; that’s gonna get you killed!” He was referring to the trigger management technique of pinning the trigger to the rear after firing, and holding until the recoil of the gun is over to reset the trigger. I’d submit that focusing on the apocalypse FIRST instead of the most likely threats is going to get people killed in the streets in present day. Roll with the premise that no one is coming to save you. Train for that first and foremost. Then go to Fantasy Band Camp.
Head up. Gun up.
About the author: John Meyers traces his Appalachian ancestry back nine generations to the 1750’s. He lives with his family on the high ridges of the Smoky Mountains.