Saturday, April 18, 2015

21 Foot Rule, Tactical/Speed Reloads & other Internet Expert dumb shit...

The internet is a great source of information but with it comes a great amount of disinformation or misunderstanding information, there by making it a source of disinformation as well. In this we find experts all giving the same tired and often misunderstood advice. Things like the 21 foot which in context are sound are taken out of context as a one stop solution for all Self-Defense scenarios involving a knife. I'll use the 21 foot rule as a example.

The 21 foot run was average range at which an "average person" could run from a dead stop before a police officer could draw his weapon and fire, approximately 1.5 seconds. It is often used as a reference involving concealed carry which is out of context and misleading to those who lack training and experience. Police officers open carry their weapons on their belts and so they actually spend less time drawing their weapons then someone carrying concealed. To shorten that time police officers reach for their weapons reducing their draw time to 1.0 to 0.8 seconds (estimated). So the 21 foot rule is not wrong only often cited in the wrong way... a concealed carry may take longer to draw and as one has to clear clothing, a shirt or coat away from the weapon. So does this mean that if someone is within 22 feet the officer or open carry civilian is some how safe?

No. Which is another misleading element to this being cited by "online experts" the 21 foot rule is a guide to remind officers to keep alert when close to suspects, 21 feet is just an arbitrary number based on the Tueller Drill which spawned the 21 foot rule. Which is simple common sense & highlights the human nature to complicated simple logic, at least in my opinion. Other elements to be considered is that a police officer is trained to use his weapon & the stress of dealing with an attack, which many civilians lack. Making the 21 foot rule irrelevant to many civilians in a self-defense context, as many knife attacks resemble a prison style attack which is a close range ambush style of attack meaning that even if the target where an officer the attack would come within 10 feet and without warning, that is an element of the Tueller Drill and 21 foot rule.

Other Articles that counter the 21 Foot Rule as invalid:
Cop in the Hood: 21 Foot Myth

A Police Officer Analysis of the 21 Foot Rule"
Police Magazine: The "21 Foot Rule Revisited" Edge Weapon Defense: Is or was the 21 foot Rule Valid? (Part 1) Edge Weapon Defense Is or was the 21 Foot Rule Valid? (Part 2)

I'll let you decide for yourself on the relevance of the Tueller Drill to your self-defense needs. My opinion is that its overly complicated "research" to tell an officer anyone within 21ft is a potential threat. Considering that most assaults escalate from social conflicts and criminal assaults are surprise attacks within 10 feet of the victim and aggressor, the 21ft rule is pointless and misleading. If I consider you a threat, I won't let you within 50 feet of me and if I do its because I want you there.

Tactical Reloads is another fun claim behind internet expertise. Many times (especially on youtube) I see someone referring to a speed reload as a Tactical Reload. I'm not a fan of speed reloads, except with the AK47, because using the fresh to hit the release tab only makes sense. I don't see this too much but there is a difference between Tactical & Tacti-Cool Mall Ninja Bull Shit. Tactical is a prepared, preplanned response to a threat condition. Tacti-Cool is something that looks cool and is referred to as a tactical but doesn't serve a purpose, tactical always serves a purpose.

What is a tactical reload? A tactical reload is simply replacing a used but not empty magazine or for weapons with internal magazines replacing spent rounds by loading the fresh rounds, during a lull in combat. For example, a fire team engages and defeats an enemy in an ambush turned react to contact. While pulling security for an EPW (enemy prisoner of war) search for survivors and intelligence the security element inserts fresh magazines into their weapons. What is the purpose, remember tactical always has a purpose? The purpose is to have a fresh magazine and in case you have to reengage a threat unexpectedly. If armed with a shotgun, and one shoots an intruder their home, one would load a new shell after pulling the pump to eject the spent shell and pushing to load the next shell before searching the rest of one's home.

If you didn't understand a lot of what I mentioned in my example here is a quick explanation. A fire team is a four to five man military force made up of a team leader, riflemen, grenadier & automatic rifleman with a optional addition of a designated marksmen. With 2 fire teams making up a squad and 4 squads making up a platoon. React to contact is a simple flanking drill where the fire team suppresses the enemy and the rifleman and squad leader flank behind enemy cover to assault the enemy before the automatic  rifleman and grenadier assault through. Though in most cases one fire team will suppress while the other fire team flanks.

The world is full of ideas and the internet is those same ideas, some good and some bad. When it comes to tactical & speed reloads something I learned in the Army comes into play. There is no such thing as a speed reload, just a fast reload. What is a fast reload? Reloading your weapon fast, as in very quickly. This is a matter of a) preparation (all magazines facing the same direction, remember I trained with an M4), b) preparation (being familiar with my weapon, knowing how it cycled and the feel for the controls without looking) & c) Preparation! (training with the weapon, to include stress shooting & correcting a malfunction without looking at the weapon, even tearing it down reassembling it without looking). Course that is a Soldiers level of training & given the choice, I'll take an AR15 style rifle over an AK47 only because I'm more familiar and better trained with that weapon's format. I also grip the magazine well so my support hand is with a finger movement of the magazine release and bolt lock.

Of course, most "tactical experts" sit around trying to find a new way to do the most basic actions, correcting problems that are solved by military men & women with a simple word Preparation. If you think I mean practice, consider that practice is an exercise in preparation. How many times do you practice marksmanship? A lot more then you practice simple reloading and correcting malfunctions, I'll bet. This doesn't even need to involve an AR15 or AK47 style rifle, all this comes down to is that you get out what you put in. Most preppers don't even consider the basic idea that they have to prepare their "tactical gear" beyond just having it. So much so, that many refer the being the "Gray Man" as a cop out for lack of preparation in training. Which brings us to another dumb shit, idea... "Being Gray/Grey."

In an essence the Gray Man is a very basic tactic called camouflage. Lets say we're all evacuating an area due to a hurricane. Its been bumper to bumper traffic for 8 hours and we've only cleared 20 miles. Now Image a family in a truck, stuff cover with a tarp on the back and two guys who were riding on the back of truck refilling their tanks with gas out of a gas can.

Now imagine, the same scenario, same family mom, dad, 2 kids and granddad in the cab but the two guys in the truck bed are armed with tactical vests and AK47s, wearing camouflage. One gets out and refills the tank while the other stands guard with an AK47 and a mean look.

Who do you think a mob of out of gas, panicked and angry people are going to demand gives up their gas? The two tactical-ninja-commando types can just as easily take off the Vests, and hide their weapons under some gear, dawning "Get-Er-Done" & "I hunt White Tail" T-shirts with John Deer Caps to look like any other Good O'l Boy in America to explain the BDU pants. Why because that's camouflage, camouflage isn't a color scheme it any action that lets you go unnoticed. Sometimes, you want to be noticed, sometimes you want to taken as a threat.

Look it is a very simple concept, people love to swim with dolphins but not so much with sharks. Why because sharks are a threat. Criminals prey on the weak, why because they can't/don't defend themselves. Camouflage is a matter of concealing you're presence so that you are seen but go unnoticed. In the woods tis might mean wearing BDUs or similar clothing, earth tones or using mud to break up the solid color of your clothing and hiding your skin tone. In a more urban environment or dealing with authorities it might mean concealing weapons & other gear or blending into a crowd. Terrain dictates tactics and that includes the tactic of camouflage. Camouflage is a tactic but not the only tactic, which makes the "gray man" questionable advice.

If you have no clue as to how misunderstood and misguided information on the internet is, you might be on web forums and scanning blogs for advice and insight. The thing is this, a lot of people just spout the "common themes" and don't consider impact, context or content. In the end its all Internet Expert bullshit, including this blog... why? Because I don't know you and I don't know your situation. I can spout some basic principle or one line themed advice. In fact, I will... learn METT-TC & OKOCA build a custom plan according to your own needs and get outside the box of the common theme, that's what everyone else will be doing.

Being tactical isn't carrying an "Assault Rifle" & wearing a "Tactical Vest." Being tactical is understanding your odds & options; Odds of Success and Failure and, the Options Available. Being tactical is planning, practicing and preparing. Being tactical is having a plan to overcome foreseen obstacles and reach strategic goals. Tactical is not about gear, guns or gimmicks, it is in how you think and how you deal with events. Tactical is a mindset... so be careful of the Internet Expert dumb shit.


  1. Thank you for your interesting and informative blog. I have enjoyed reading it and appreciate the work you have put into it. Here is some relevant information for you to review .
    Kids Tactical Vests

    1. Thanks Jake... I didn't fix the link but love the site it lead to when I cleaned up the addy ( though I think those vests and kids toy sets might not be a bad idea. Sure its Tacti-cool for Kids but, you know it might be a useful tool for teaching kids basic gun safety & tactics (outside the box)... Thank you.