Open Letter to Tactical Response / James Yeager
Please pass this on to Tactical Response by any means you have, forum, Facebook, email or whatever.
The latest range stupidity to come out of Tactical Response (TR) is a video of a man in wheelchair at a TR ‘Fighting Pistol’ class. As the firing line moves forward towards the targets, the man in the wheelchair cannot keep up, in large part because the range is covered in debris and he cannot get his wheels across the empty shells / cases that litter it. As he is pushed, he is wildly waving his handgun around and discharging it close to those ahead of him on the line. This is NOT about a man in a wheelchair training, but about the gross and unforgivable safety violations. The fact that the instructors not only do not see this as an issue, but abet the student in this, shows that they should not be instructing.
The video is up in various places and I couldn’t find it on YouTube to embed it. It is on Facebook and HERE is a blog post from Bearing Arms that includes the video with commentary: VIDEO/COMMENTARY LINK.
This is not a debate. This is not a matter for discussion. Any professional can see the gross safety violations and know that it is inexcusable.
What makes this worse is that in the Facebook ‘debate’ that has been raging, there are a number of TR fan-boys who have been justifying this. This is a clear case of ‘DKWYDK’ (don’t know what you don’t know) and tactical DERP at its extreme. What makes this truly bad is that these guys are justifying it from a bravado / macho standpoint by stating that ranges / trainers that employ safety measures are simply not training for the ‘real fight,’ after all it is a ‘fighting pistol class’ and as such you have to take these sorts of risks. In their minds TR is providing the only ‘real ‘ training that everyone else is ‘too pussy’ to partake in. Excuse me while I go beat my forehead against the wall. And the worst thing, TR does have a lot of students, and one even asked me when I commented on FB, about how many students MVT runs through a year. I was commenting on Sonny Pizuka’s page where he had a justification of these safety violations; this from a man who shot one of his own AIs in a shoot house.
Here are a couple of my comments from that FB thread:
Wow, this thread is such a case study in ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ Trying to excuse the stupidity in that video? Trying to be macho about it? Unprofessional. We train fire and movement with ‘no firing line’ in the woods with pop up targets, real combat based battle inoculation. But we do it with safety standards and safety angles. The video showed bad judgement and ignorance of safety angles. And also, if someone actually picked up the trash/empty cases on that range every once in a while, maybe the wheelchair guy could keep up?
Yeager does not have the right professional background to understand combat range safety. Any of his videos demonstrate this. The drills are poorly understood and badly run, with massive safety infringements. I get it that his loyal fans do not know any better either, and wish to defend him, but it is nothing more than simply not knowing any better. We implement safety angles while running full on live fire combat training, but to professional standards. It is all about background and competence of the cadre. In all seriousness, if you want to blowhard a little here and talk about combat training, come to Max Velocity Tactical and learn to do it right.
The point here is that to run live fire training with movement, the instructors themselves have to have the right training and professional background to understand the dynamic safety that it involves. It is all about pedigree and experience. A solid infantry background including the appropriate training qualifications and experience will give you this. Clearly, TR does not exhibit that. In the British and US armies there are specific range safety requirements that lay down range safety angles and that is what we follow at MVT. Ranges are designed with the safety angles built in, for example with objective and shift fire target locations. For example, I personally am ‘Stage 5 Range Qualified’ in British Army terminology, to design and run battle group level live fire ranges (known as ‘field firing’).
I have viewed TR videos, including their ‘contractor ‘training classes, and I see 1) gross safety violations and no understanding of safety angles, and 2) a poor understanding and chaotic conduct of actual small unit tactics themselves, as if they are teaching knock-off drills that they have no real understanding of. This gives those of us in the tactical training industry a bad name, because potential students will see this and not want to train due to perceived lack of safety standards across the board.
A professional will tell you that there are basic safety measures that need to be in place. In fact, MVT classes are mainly held not on the square range, but in realistic training environment utilizing pop-up targets and no defined firing line such as a flat range has. In order to conduct this training in an operationally realistic manner, measures need to be in place, with safety briefs and rehearsals for students. Safety must not be neglected, but in fact must be paramount. A few basic points:
- Active muzzle awareness.
- Safety selector use/manipulation.
- Safe movement with the weapon.
- Muzzle safety angles – these are briefed to students and watched by cadre: in simple terms, when engaging targets, there should be no other persons within a certain angle of the muzzle of your rifle. This is a big problem at TR, as shown in their videos.
I realize that TR is a multi-million dollar faux-tactical sausage factory. And as such, run by amateurs with dangerous range practices, it must cease operations until this can be fixed, if ever.