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F.B.I.--Up Close and Personal

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Matthew Temkin, Jan 6, 2013.

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  1. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

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    http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/1811053

    FBI focuses firearms training on close-quarters combat
    by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

    Published: 01/06/2013 09:34am

    QUANTICO, Va. — The FBI has quietly broken with its long-standing firearms training regimen, putting a new emphasis on close-quarters combat to reflect the overwhelming number of incidents in which suspects are confronting their targets at point-blank range.

    The new training protocols were formally implemented last January after a review of nearly 200 shootings involving FBI agents during a 17-year period. The analysis found that 75% of the incidents involved suspects who were within 3 yards — in most cases less than 9 feet — of agents when shots were exchanged.

    The move represents a dramatic shift for the agency, which for more than three decades has relied on long-range marksmanship training. Apart from the new shooting regimen, agents also are being exposed to technology borrowed from Hollywood in which they can apply skills acquired on the shooting range to virtual scenarios involving the pursuit of armed suspects in schools, office buildings, apartment complexes and other potential targets.

    The virtual simulation technology, developed by Georgia-based Motion Reality, won a 2005 Academy Award for technical achievement in character animation. The motion-capture technology was used in The Polar Express and The Lord of the Rings.

    In its law enforcement adaptation, virtual scenarios are fed from computers in agents' backpacks to viewfinders that transform an empty room into virtual worlds where agents are pitted against animated armed suspects — many of them in close-range encounters.

    John Wilson, chief of the FBI's virtual simulation program, says the system also is capable of "negatively rewarding" trainees' bad decisions by transmitting jolts to their bodies that simulate gunshots.

    "The thing that jumps out at you from the (shooting incident) research is that if we're not preparing agents to get off three to four rounds at a target between 0 and 3 yards, then we're not preparing them for what is likely to happen in the real world," says FBI training instructor Larry "Pogo" Akin, who helps supervise trainees on the live shooting range.

    The FBI's research predates more recent fatal shootings of local law enforcement officers, many of whom were victims of close-range ambush attacks while answering calls for service or serving warrants.

    A Justice Department analysis of 63 killings of local police in 2011 found that 73% were ambush or execution-style assaults.

    Bud Colonna, chief of the FBI's Firearms Training Unit, says the circumstances involving the local law enforcement fatalities added "a lot of weight" to the changes ultimately implemented by the FBI.

    Colonna said FBI Director Robert Mueller personally oversaw the live firearm training changes, meeting with instructors at the bureau's sprawling training facility here and taking part in the actual shooting drills.

    Until last January, the pistol-qualification course required agents to participate in quarterly exercises in which they fired 50 rounds, more than half of them from between 15 and 25 yards. The new course involves 60 rounds, with 40 of those fired from between 3 and 7 yards.

    The new exercise also requires that agents draw their weapons from concealed positions, usually from holsters shielded by jackets or blazers, to mimic their traditional plainclothes dress in the field.

    Training analysts say the FBI's new emphasis reflects a growing movement by law enforcement agencies across the country to prepare for encounters with armed suspects in schools, office buildings and other locations where officers are now being trained to pursue shooters — often in close quarters — in an attempt to limit potential casualties.

    "After Columbine, it became very common for law enforcement agencies to speak about the need for active shooter training," says Scott Knight, former chairman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Firearms Committee. Knight, also police chief in Chaska, Minn., referred to the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado that left 12 students, one teacher and the two gunmen dead.

    "With their findings, the FBI has determined that they are confronting these (close-range encounters) and need to be prepared for them," Knight said.

    The new live-fire training is separate from the virtual simulation unit, housed in a converted storage room in Quantico since its launch in February. But the missions of both training units underscore the new emphasis on armed confrontations in close quarters.

    The simulator can host up to six agents at a time, each fully "immersed" in scenarios in which agents' movements are captured by a network of ceiling cameras. Immediately after the exercises, video is displayed on large screens in an adjoining classroom where agents' performances are subject to detailed critiques by instructors.

    The lessons are crucial.

    For now, the system serves to teach agents the proper way to enter and clear rooms in search of potential suspects, confront armed assailants and determine when deadly force is appropriate.

    "When you are in these exercises, people forget that these are virtual scenarios," says Tom McLaughlin, Motion Reality's chief executive. "The brain believes this is real. We make these to be as close as you would find in the real world."

    In the screening room, there is no hiding from poor decision-making and improper technique, because almost every angle of each exercise scenario can be analyzed.

    Wilson says the simulation has been invaluable. But he is just as excited about the technology's untapped potential.

    The system can build in blueprints and schematics of any known suspect hideout or hostage location.

    Once built, the system would allow agents to train before launching operations against suspected targets. Until now, rehearsals for some major operations required the full or partial physical construction of target locations.

    Last month, Wilson says, the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team, whose members have been deployed throughout the world, began using the simulator.

    "The possibilities are endless," Wilson says.
     
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  2. ACP

    ACP Member

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    Interesting. Makes sense. Ronald Reagan, James Brady, Gabby Giffords -- all essentially point blank. Handshake lines, wading into campaign crowds, eating at lunch counters, touring factory floors... not a lot of long-gun action there.
     
  3. ACP

    ACP Member

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    Glad to see 80% of my practice is already 0-3 yards, the remaining 20% is 10-25 feet.

    Here's a cut and paste from my shooting routine Word doc.

    • Use the pistol, holster and clothes you are usually wearing at that time of year
    • FOCUS ON SHOT PLACEMENT/ MULTIPLE HITS TO CENTER MASS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
    • SPEED SPEED SPEED
    • Draw from concealment
    • Use point shooting/no sights
    • Face the target squarely, standing or crouching
    • Shoot strong-handed only, double-action only
    • Use reduced/low light
    • practice reloading – loose rounds, speed strips, speed loader
    • Shoot while moving (i.e. front-to-back, side-to-side)
    • Seek/use cover (i.e. automobile, tree, wall, column, doorway, etc.)
    • Shoot while holding or carrying something
    • Shoot at multiple targets
    • Use partial targets or mixed shoot/no shoot targets
    • SCENARIOS: parking lot, parking garage, public restroom, store aisle, doorway, stairwell, elevator, bank lobby, checkout line/counter, in a line, seated in a vehicle, sitting at a table, shooting across a vehicle, on the sidewalk, in a small room, in a mall, shooting into a vehicle, shooting out of a vehicle, etc.
     
  4. colorado_handgunner

    colorado_handgunner Member

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    Can you please post what you are actually linking to?
    Forum guidelines kindly request a summary along with any link posted.
     
  5. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  6. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Heh. In 1981, back before IPSC went gamey, my club had stages which were "up close and personal". Some from arm's length at the beginning.
     
  7. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

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    The N.Y.P.D. has reported for years that the typical gunfight in NYC happens within 7 feet.
    It just makes sense that the majority of training should be focused on where gunfights actually occur.
     
  8. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    These big agencies sure have a lot of institutional lethargy...we're already
    1/8th of the way through the 21st Century.
     
  9. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    I don't think this FBI training is new. My father was an agent for 20 years. They practiced from various distances, but they were already doing training at arm's length in 1987 with Smith and Wesson model 13's.
     
  10. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Interesting.
     
  11. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Journalists need something to write about, and they can only rewrite the same BS lies so often without people getting suspicious. This must have been a write-about-something-other-than-intentionally-misrepresented-crime-statistics day.
     
  12. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    The big thing I took form it was that the FBI's qual, the MPPC has changed. That is a HUGE thing for Federal agencies, as they all use some form of it. The original PPC course has been around since the 1950's. I'm very curious what the new qual is.

    -Jenrick
     
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Neither Col. Rex Applegate or Bill Jordan were keen on Jeff Cooper's Modern Technique of The Pistol, pointing out that it was more applicable to military situations and game playing then law enforcement. Both of the former gentlemen advocated training and practice centered mostly on point-blank distances. Now it may be proven that they were right. In my view no technique ever becomes totally obsolete. It's whatever works best in a given circumstance - and the more you master the better.
     
  14. conw

    conw Member

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    It isn't so much that the "what to train" is new, it's how it's being trained.

    Sounds a little over-complicated to me when a well conducted FOF scenario can do as much for skill, probably with higher emotive/stress content.
     
  15. kayak-man

    kayak-man Member

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    +1 Conw,

    FOF can definitely get that emotional reaction, but I think there's another value to it: trying to draw your gun while someone is actively trying to keep you from doing just that.
     
  16. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Member

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    Same here. I began shooting IPSC with the old Southwest Pistol League in Los Angeles, in 1979 We were already running mostly "up close and personal" stages then.

    I attended Jeff Cooper's GUNSITE in April of 1981, and virtually all the instruction and stages were "close combat" style. If I remember correctly, there was one stage where we shot at 50 yards but Cooper said it was to show us how to aim at that distance "just in case," but he emphasized such a situation would be highly unlikely for almost any civilian.

    L.W.
     
  17. conw

    conw Member

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    I agree Chris. Drills for skill and technique can be done solo. FOF or other similar types of advanced training should partly be a validation of that, but IMO mostly are there to show trainees the meaning of an "opposing will." In typical routine training there is no "someone is trying to kill me" effect, no opposing will for you to work against, and I don't see how a fancy video game changes that. Now if it allows for detailed video analysis of what people are doing post-facto, that could be cool. But I question how realistic an encounter in this video game machine could be when the verbal and cue-reading can't really be that interactive. I imagine it's kind of like a fancy 3D arcade game.

    As I'm sure you know, when you set up FOF scenarios right there is a high level of anxiety and stress (especially at first) and knowing that someone who is able to "hurt" you (or actually hurt you with some degree of physical pain), wants to, and will if you don't stop it, it's a very unique feeling. You have to dig deep inside and that doesn't come naturally to many people which is why dealing with it in FOF before you need to elsewhere is really a must I think.
     
  18. PBR Streetgang

    PBR Streetgang Member

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    From LE stats 85% of shootings occur within 7 feet,95% occur within 7 yards, only 5% occur at greated ranges. When I was trained we engaged targets from 50 yards forward with a handgun.........If I'm not mistaken the Federal LE handgun qualification starts at 20 yards now.
     
  19. kayak-man

    kayak-man Member

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    Conw,

    I agree 100%: If done right, it can be pretty frightening, and a pretty good reality check. What I was actually talking about wasn't so much the opposing will, but the actual skills involved in trying to create space to draw while someone has gotten past your guard, and now he has physical control of your arm, or is sitting on your chest.... or maybe you have one hand tied up trying to keep that knife in his left hand for stabbing you in the side... :evil:

    For me, I actually found myself more anxious for my second FOF fight than my first, and both showed me that you really can't be afraid to get into someone's personal space and due things that will actually them. Right now, I'm working on that whole "digging deep" and finding the aggression thing. I think that's one of the biggest values of taking something like ECQC, and I feel like the feds are getting cheated out of it if they are only using the simulator. Then again, I have no idea what kind of unarmed training they are getting, so maybe that matter is being addressed in other ways...

    Chris "The Kayak-Man" Johnson
     
  20. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    PBR Streetgang: The MPPC that every Federal Agency's qual is based off of goes out to 25 yd's currently. The IPPC, and the original PPC, both went out to 50 yds.

    If you check out the product video for the simulator, it's designed more for team tactics and such. It's actually pretty cool, I don't have the link handy (on my laptop), but the video shows some neat things it can be used for.

    To be honest I find FoF to be WAY over used in LE training these days (actually wrote an article to that effect), as it's very easy to get condition to the marking projectile strike. Sparring or non-firearms based scenario training is IMO a much better method to help acquire aggression. Sunny Puzikas has a great bit on this (paraphrasing as I didn't write it down) "An aggressive mindset is the result of having confidence in your skills and abilities. This can be a false confidence too." FBI's get a decent amount of training in H2H work, on par with any good LE academy. They however use it dramatically less then a street cop, unless they work particular assignments. Just the nature of their job. H2H for most Fed's is sort of like bayonet drill in the military, designed to teach a last ditch survival skill, but mainly to instill aggression and a combat mindset.

    -Jenrick
     
  21. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Nothing new under the sun. It is good to know what the current trend is by the FBI. We should all be practicing ALL kinds of armed defense, in as many different scenarios we can think of. The more rounded, and practiced we are, the more effective we will be. Just because MOST are at close range is not an excuse to omit long range shooting, etc.
     
  22. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    To quote Dave Harrington (former senior weapons instructor at the JFK Special Warfare Center): "If the extent of your marksmanship training is shooting large targets at close ranges, the extent of your marksmanship ability will be the ability to hit large targets at close range."

    I've never seen a shooter that could accurately shoot at 50 yds have any issues shooting at anything closer. I have almost always seen that shooters that are not comfortable at 15 yds can not shoot past 25 yds with any degree of accuracy. Speed up close is easy to add to a shooters repertoire with proper training. Accuracy at distance takes a solid base of fundamentals, a diligent practice of them, and a correct execution of the fundamentals at the moment in question.

    I honestly feel that we're loosing the ability to work at distance with a pistol in LE, most officers are just putting lead in the general vicinity of the vitals of a target at 15 yds, and at 25 yds if it's on the backstop we're doing good. The idea that we can always go get our long-arm is a fallacy, if we've got a pistol we should be able to use it solve the problem at hand. We can train and teach recruits how to get of line, be aggressive with the gun, etc. without needing live fire range time. Devote the range time to cultivating the ability to make surgical shots on demand under stress. Work the rest of the stuff in with the hand to hand. If you're having to immediately go from holster to shooting, you're probably all ready in H2H range.

    -Jenrick
     
  23. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

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    I have to disagree with you and Mr. Harrington.
    One does not practice eating apples by eating oranges.
    There is a lot more to winning close range gun fights than just marksmanship.
    Also--the shooting techniques/mental attitude needed for close range differ greatly than for long range marksmanship.
    Which is why the police hit rate in close combat is about 12-22%.
    Not to say that practicing at longer distances is obsolete--but it is obvious that close range practice is what should be concentrated on--along with proper tactics.
     
  24. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Matthew Temkin: When you get down to it, using a firearm in a confrontation requires placing rounds on the threat in a rapid manner in a location that causes a cessation of the threat. If given the option we would like to put those rounds in the location that causes the fastest cessation possible. Any disagreement so far?

    Now I'm not disagreeing that things such as lateral movement, non-static manipulations, etc. are very important in a close quarters confrontation. Hell being able to cut your assailant off of you so you can get your gun in play in the first place for that matter. However all of these end with the ability to hold your pistol, aim it appropriately, action it, and be prepared to do so again until the threat is ended.

    Being able to hit a target at close range is a simple marksmanship task. Often times the focus of close quarters training is the ability to hit relatively large targets at close range, rather then the ability to win a "hyper-violent" (to steal Magpuls term) encounter. If we're going to have our recruits/cadets/trainee's stand in static rows on the range, then lets at least have them actually stretch their marksmanship ability.

    Teaching close quarters shooting can be done off the range using marking weapons (Sims, UTC, airsoft, etc.) combined with defensive tactics/H2H combat/combatives (whatever term an agency wants to use). Getting the gun into the fight is the hard part. Practice the marksmanship at distance, so that at close range all the fundamentals are there.

    -Jenrick
     
  25. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

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    Matthew Temkin: When you get down to it, using a firearm in a confrontation requires placing rounds on the threat in a rapid manner in a location that causes a cessation of the threat. If given the option we would like to put those rounds in the location that causes the fastest cessation possible. Any disagreement so far?

    None whatsoever

    Being able to hit a target at close range is a simple marksmanship task.

    Nope--not when someone is shooting back at you at very close range. ( 0-10 feet)
    That is when the principles of long range marksmanship--stance, sight picture/alignment, breath control, trigger squeeze and follow thru--fly out the window.
    And that is the reason for the dismal hit rate by the police in actual close range combat.
    In addition to a more realistic skill set, one must also be able to deal with a life or death situation, and there is a lot more to that then mere technique.
     
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