Updated: Feb 16
Tactical Entertainment & Stress Training
The tactical culture had flourished over the last few years, I take it because everyone these days has easy access to video cameras and social media platforms, but I think this has caused the lines between reality and the tacticool entertainment world to become very, very blurred…
It takes little these days to be part of the tactical culture; buy a gun (where legal), buy some tactical cloths, buy some tactical accessories, start watching some tactical social media channels and maybe even take some no-fail tactical training courses, then after a few months you’re an expert… Where as in the good old days the only option if you wanted this lifestyle was to join the military, preferably the Infantry!
I understand the tactical industry is about selling, its about making money, no different than selling kitchen products and cookery classes or golf clubs and golf lessons. To be honest, working in a kitchen with sharp knives, boiling water, hot surfaces etc. is more dangerous than most tacticool entertainment classes… From a business perspective the mainstream tactical and gun industry is not about dealing with the reality of violence, its about selling products and providing entertainment in a safe environment. Which, I see no problem with, until people start believing that their play world can transfer into the real world….
I would say due to my background, my training influences at base level is what I was taught in the British Army and then more importantly what I learnt and experienced dealing in Eastern Europe and South Africa in the 90's, followed by other adventures in other places where I learnt what worked and more importantly, what didn't.
I am a great believer in stress training, but one of the issues these days is that people can’t handle being stressed. I have had clients on firearms courses in the US getting very irate when they have been given constructive criticism, nothing is anyone’s fault these days right, so blame the stupid gun. I have had arguments with students I have not issued certificates too because they were not up to standard but in their minds, they had paid for a course and deserved a certificate.
So, how can you provide stress training in a comfortable and safe environment where everyone is pampered and happy? FACT - YOU CAN'T! A gentleman recently asked if we include such things as press ups or tannerite pyrotechnics to make our drills more realistic… Sometimes we do, this adds to the show, but does it add to the stress. I understand for some people just picking up a firearm is stressful, I respect this and respect them for going outside of their comfort zones. Stress training is all about taking people outside of their comfort zones.
Providing realistic tactical training in US and Western Europe is virtually impossible due to excessive safety rules and regulations, which are needed to prevent tacticool warriors killing themselves and others by accident when attempting to replicate something they have just seen in some computer game. The below videos are from our tactical police training courses in Mexico; we are using live rounds in a derelict building and have people between the targets. I am sure many of you will say this is not safe, well we are training teams to deal with high-risk situations and not those seeking cozy tacticool entertainment events for purpose taking warrior selfies for face book!
The only way to understand what it’s like to be shot at is to be shot at, the only way to be confident to shoot past someone and hit your target is to do so in training. Were people hurt by flying debris and ricochets; yes of course, and they sucked it up and understood we were conditioning them for the confrontations they would be facing. If you find such training unsafe and scary, then I suggest you stay away from potentially hostile environments. If you disagree with our methods that's your prerogative but be assured those in these videos proved our methods to be effective on many occasions to the extreme!
Things need to be kept in perspective and to me if someone is serious about training they will want to work, be open to constructive criticism and accept they need to be taken outside of their comfort zone. For example, if it someone who is not a “gun person” is seeking to own a firearm for self-defense then a simple thing as drawing from a holster can be outside of their comfort zone, and I respect that. If someone is into the tactical culture and wants to dress up and play soldiers, I respect that also. Some of the airsoft enthusiasts I have met have been very cool and realize what they are doing is a sport. A sport that can be physically demanding, where you will fail at some point and is very painfully when hit with a BB. There is a big difference between dressing up in the latest tactical fashion and stepping outside of your comfort zone!
Perspectives - Reality vs Tacticool
I was speaking with someone a while ago about security issues etc. And this person was former U.S. Military, law enforcement and a DOD contractor and was telling me how he turned down a government job in Abuja, Nigeria because he could not carry a firearm; “Got to have a gun in Africa”! I think he was trying to impress me, but I have spent time in Africa, mainly unarmed. I have been out partying in Abuja and worked there providing bomb prevention services to Churches, unarmed! Abuja is a pretty safe city as long as you’re sensible, as with any major city, and is one of the safer places in Nigeria in general.
To put things into context, about the same time Mr. Tactical Ted was telling how he would not set foot outside the U.S. without a gun I had someone handing out terrorist attack and bomb prevention booklets to churches in volatile part of Nigeria. This someone was a young lady I knew, Ms. Jenny, who was a student at the time and a local beauty queen. There have been numerous terrorist attacks in her area, but she was still traveling around distributing the booklets and she was unarmed. I am sure to Mr. Tactical Ted the distribution of these booklets would have needed an armored convoy with air support but.. Things are different in reality, outside of the tacticool world!
So, in the terms of basic self-confidence, composure and operational effectiveness who would you say rates the highest; Mr. Tactical Ted or Ms. Jenny? I think Ms. Jenny wins hands down, job well done and way before I expect Mr. Tactical Ted would have finished writing his kit list! While Mr. Tactical Ted would be thinking body armor and hollow points I am sure Ms. Jenny was thinking would her nail varnish match her shoes and handbags. Ms. Jenny was well aware of the risks and planned how to move around accordingly.
I am very pro-gun and think everyone one should have the right to carry a firearm when they are properly trained to do so. But, many people they see guns and the tactical culture as a means of empowerment, just having a gun does not make you a tough guy, and those that think it does should not own firearms!
When I am on shooting ranges, including nice air-conditioned indoor ranges in suburban South Florida, and see shooters, including instructors dressed up with plate carries, chest rigs, daggers and drop holsters trying to look as mean as their YouTube heroes, I find it very worrisome. I know for a fact many of these guys never joined the military for whatever reason, I expect most have never been in a fight since they were bullied at school, would be terrified to drive through their local hood, let alone go to a high-risk country, but they seem addicted the tactical lifestyle. What are they trying to over compensate for…? I am sure some Viagra and a trip to say, the Dominican Republic to enjoy the company of some young ladies (or men) would be cheaper than the thousands of dollars they spend on guns and tactical gear, I am also sure psychologically and physically it would be far healthier!
Maybe they need to take some tips from someone who has operated successfully in a high-risk area like Ms. Jenny. Instead of worrying about the speed of their magazine changes she could teach them to be confident in how to properly apply their makeup… Instead of stressing about a new holster for their new gun she could boost their self-worth by ensuring their high-heels always matched their handbags… Maybe they would become empowered enough that armed with their new skills and wardrobe they could occasionally leave their guns and tacticool accessories at home when they ventured out to their local supermarkets and the like...
In closing, there is a big difference between reality and the world of tacticool entertainment. I am sure many see the tacticool world as fun and empowering, I hope they are happy and enjoy it. But in the real tactical world people get hurt and killed, there is nothing cool or glamorous about it. If you are serious about entering this real-world etc. then pain, injuries, being uncomfortable, stressed and being outside of your comfort zone all go with the turf. So, as every infantryman knows, everyone one wants to be a Grunt until it comes to doing Grunt shit, right!!!
Stay safe!! ;-)
Orlando Wilson - Risks Incorporated - www.risks-incorporated.com
"Stay low and keep moving"