Team Tactics: Valuable for Defensive Shooters

posted on March 15, 2019
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This next week, I’ll be at the Gunsite Academy in Northern Arizona. I am sponsoring a class in team tactics, along with Mossberg and Federal Ammunition. After the week-long Gunsite 250 pistol class, I think that the Team Tactics For Two class is the most-important class that a defensive shooter can take. The simple reason is that we are rarely alone when trouble strikes. If we have learned to work as a team with our spouse, partner or good friend, our chances of surviving a violent criminal attack are multiplied greatly. However, effective teamwork is not something that we can take for granted; we have to plan, train and practice in order to be the kind of force that overcomes the violent attack.

During the week, students will be learning how to effectively communicate with each other during times of troubles. Trying to create and communicate a plan in the middle of a gunfight is most likely going to be a losing proposition. The smart defensive team member and his partner will work out verbal communication and hand signals that will alert the partner to what is going on, what needs to be done and what the defensive shooter is going to do about it.

Students will also develop ways to cover a threat area from virtually a 360-degree spread. One needs to not only be able to deal with the obvious threat but also to be aware of other attackers that may be moving in from different directions. In this case, two sets of eyes are way better than one, especially when the defensive team has worked out a plan ahead of time for dealing with just such a possibility.

Another important technique is for the student to know how his partner’s defense gun operates. In the real world, all sorts of situations may occur where the partner’s firearm is the closest gunexamples will occur to you. It may even become obvious that it is a good idea for partners to use the same kind of defensive handgun for that very reason.

The class will end with what is probably the most entertaining and challenging part of the instructionforce-on-force exercises using Simunitions and real “bad guys.” The students are placed in situations where they don’t know what is going to happen,or how many “bad guys” they will have to deal withsort of like what really happens in a criminal attack. The team gets a chance to see how well their planning and communication skills really work. It can be a humbling experience.

A team-tactics class will drive home the reality of a criminal attack like no other exercise. It’s as close to the real deal as we can come in a safe, learning environment. In addition to Gunsite Academy, I know that Thunder Ranch also offers team-tactics training. Other schools may do so as well, though I can’t vouch for them like I can these two.

Team-tactics trainingI recommend it highly.


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Colonel Rex Applegate

For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.


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