Mike is a police SWAT team member, K9 handler, and tactical medic. Jim is an Air Force pilot with a background in close air support and combat search and rescue. Our goal is to elevate the conversation about all things tactical for public safety, military, and concerned citizens. Join us to hear lessons learned about decision making, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork.
John Johnston is the host of Ballistic Radio and teaches firearms with Melody Lauer at Citizen’s Defense Research. CDR has a one-day shooting class called Tests and Standards which is an entire day of assessments. We discuss how people identify metrics for performance and how they apply in context. CDR also has a course for The Armed Parent and Guardian, which led to an interesting discussion about the dichotomy of taking training and performance seriously while also enjoying life and having fun.
Jim spends some time to define and explore terrorism, what is it? What are we doing about it? Why do the "bad guys" hate us so much? He will discuss radicalization and Islam along the way, but this is a much more fundamental overview. Who else do we consider a terrorist? Why or why not?
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Mike uses three aviation emergency case studies to illustrate how human factors apply to real life situations, and touches on things like the importance of training, the value of good after-action debriefs and what makes them effective, and a little about interpersonal communication.
Military, LE, and Concealed Carriers are armed for a reason - to reduce or mitigate risk. Jim breaks down what that means and how to apply risk management as part of your tactical equation. This isn't a safety class, this is a class on making the right call on whether that new gun, tactic, or training class is helping you or hurting you.
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The F-35 is our fancy new stealth fighter, and we got Justin Lee to talk with us about what makes the new 5th-generation jet special, how we use it as a force multiplier, what John Boyd would probably say about it, the differences between a flying solo versus a crew-served aircraft like Jim is used to, and what kind of coaching he gives to new Fighter Pilots as an instructor. Justin is also the host of The Professional's Playbook podcast, which Mike was a guest on to talk about being on a SWAT team.
Isaac the Rookie Cop joins Mike back on the show for an update on the beginning of his career. Isaac is going to share some thoughts and lessons on being the new guy in Law Enforcement and reflect back on the things he would have done before the academy or when he first started on his path to becoming a police officer.
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In many areas there is both an art and a science-tactics, training, leadership, music, sports, and so on. In this solo Mike rant we'll cover Boyd's paper "Destruction and Creation" and how we need to look in two different directions to come up with new ideas and adapt to an ever-evolving world.
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Two radicalized brothers built several bombs out of pressure cookers and other readily available items and detonated two of them near the finish line of the Boston Marathon back in April 2013. Mike runs us through an overview of this incident and several talking points for public safety personnel. We also touch on security for large public venues or events, the threat of improvised or homemade explosives, and potential warning signs for an attack.
MJ the Marine talks to us about her time at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, her path to becoming a Marine Officer upon commissioning, and some lessons learned while become a helicopter pilot. MJ also went through training for an upcoming ground tour calling in air strikes and is a fully qualified Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC). She also touches on gaining credibility as a young leader in the US Marine Corps, mental toughness, and one particular life lesson “back in the day…”
Brian Willis is a police trainer and speaker who's company focuses on leadership and professional development for law enforcement but is also relevant to others in the military, public safety, or who are serious about survival and personal defense. He also did a TED talk which exemplifies what a good presentation should look like. Hear his thoughts on lesson plan design, use of visual aids, improving engagement, and the role of imagery and mental rehearsals in training.
Mike and Jim examine courage, bravery, and valor. Can it be taught? We go over a few examples and also discuss the element of choice. There are some leadership/moral courage lessons in here as well.
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Thomas Yoxall is a regular guy who makes his living as a photo journalist and enjoys shooting in his free time. He carries a concealed Glock 26 and takes that responsibility seriously - Which is a good thing, because on January 12, 2017, he saw a State Trooper in serious trouble. DPS Officer Ed Andersson had been shot, pistol whipped, and was in a close-quarters fight for his life until Thomas drove by and stopped to help. Concealed weapon carriers and police officers alike need to hear this story.
Some time ago, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow wrote up a list of human needs in roughly the order people need to satisfy them: food and water at the bottom of the pyramid, social and family needs in the middle, and self-esteem and purpose at the top. Mike and Jim discuss some ways we can apply this to tactical and leadership settings by figuring out how to influence behavior.
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A federal weapons investigation into a doomsday cult known as the Brand Davidians, formed by a guy name David Koresh, led to a 51-day standoff that resulted in the death of 75 people and at least 4 Federal Agents back in 1993. This was a high-profile event and there are several lessons learned that every one in public safety should hear about. Mike discusses some of those details in this solo episode.
LANGUAGE WARNING! NOT safe for work! Uncle Dan likes Jack Daniels and he’s had a little bit to drink so we’re gonna drag some war stories out of him and have a good time. Dan was one of Mike’s team leaders on SWAT when he first joined the team. He’s also a football coach for his son, and it turns out there’s quite a bit of crossover between the two in terms of leadership and tactics. You’ll hear about how Dan has shaped the training culture in his agency and what he’s learned along the way.
John Correia runs Active Self Protection (ASP), a massive YouTube channel analyzing self defense encounters from all over the world. He’s taken notes on 17,000 gunfights caught on camera, and he’s going to share some of those lessons with us in tonight's episode. Link to John's video discussed in the show here.
USAF PARARESCUEMAN, College football player, Human Performance researcher. Jason's bringing us up to speed on some current research, athletic performance, mental toughness, motivation, and his current project preparing future special operators for selection, training, and performance in their chosen career fields. An insightful conversation that covers things like the difference in physical and mental demands between USAF Special Operations and NCAA Division I College football.
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The Ferguson Effect. The militarization of law enforcement. The history and evolution of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. These are just a few of the topics we cover with Mr. Gagliano who is a retired career FBI Supervisory Agent, West Point graduate, Army Ranger, and now CNNs Law Enforcement Analyst.
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Jim does a deep-dive on active shooters and mass violence, complete with case studies, some steps you can take to get help, fight if necessary, and some scenarios to help you recognize some warning signs.
Also be sure to check out our episode with Andy Brown who wrote Warnings Unheeded
Columbine, by Dave Cullen
Brady Speth of Riton Optics is going to teach us some nomenclature and terminology about scopes and optics. We're also going to hear he started Riton and learn about his background and the company's design process. Even if you already own a scope, check out our interview with Brady to learn something new about optics. There are a lot of good products on the market, but in true TacTangents style we hope that People and Ideas drive your Hardware choices, which is why you need to hear what Brady has to say.
What about "reality" are you trying to simulate when you run scenario based training? How do you explain to your role players what you want them to do? These are some of the questions we are going to address in this episode about training with role players and opposition forces. Using reality based training is an invaluable tool and one of the areas often neglected beyond initial training in the military and public safety. Good training relies heavily on dedicated instructors and quality role players.
Earlier this year we had Craig Douglas on the show to talk a little about his expertise in the self-defense world. Craig runs a company called Shivworks, and their flagship course is called Extreme Close Quarters Concepts (ECQC). ECQC specializes in clinched/entangled or "0-5 feet" fights that often involve knives and guns. Jim went to ECQC and tonight we're talking about his after-action report and lessons learned. Check out why ECQC is one of the best self-defense courses available.
A lot of people think that being a "Type-A" has something to do with a hierarchy or "alpha dog," but it turns out, that's not it. We break down what Type A really means, and what traits we see in the Tactical type of person. These traits are important to understand, because a little might be good, but a lot can be really bad. They are also good to know from a leadership perspective, because if you work in a community full of "Type-As," you know that can be, uh, difficult...
Kevin Briggs is a retired California Highway Patrol Sergeant who has been called the Guardian of the Golden Gate for his reputation interacting with hundreds of people who wanted to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge. We discuss communication strategies, some considerations to make regarding tactical interventions in a crisis, red flags that someone might kill themselves, things to say to someone in crisis, and 4 things to NOT say to someone who is thinking about killing themselves.
Extortion 17 was a US Chinook helicopter that was shot down by a lucky hit by a Taliban fighter with an RPG. 38 US and Afghan personnel and a military working dog were killed in what became the largest single loss of Special Operations personnel in Afghanistan. Ed Darack wrote an article and then a book to get the story right and honor the memories of the personnel and crew who were killed that night.
This might sound a little boring, but let's face it: Trying to get stuff done when you're dealing with your bosses is a skill of its own. Some people are better at it than others. We discuss some strategies for dealing with "obstructions" in the workplace. It's not that you should backdoor everything and circumvent rules or procedure, its just that there are some ways to go about the system that might help you achieve your mission.
What is a tactic? How do we come up with them? The word tactical is one of those buzzwords we throw around, but what does it all mean? We are going to talk about how people apply creativity and problem solving in our professions. That involves several layers: We have to come up with ideas, we have to test them, we have to make sure they are grounded in reality, and ultimately it takes a team of people to make this process work. How do we go from "bar-napkin idea," to "the way we do business?"
Mike and Jim discuss the differences between a boss, manager, and leader, styles of leadership and how they affect a team or organization. We'll cover things like establishing social norms and how close or distant leaders should develop their personal relationship with subordinates.
We interviewed Andy Brown to discuss his role in stopping an active shooter with an AK47 by shooting him in the head from 68 yards away with his pistol. We cover the things that he credits with his success that day including dry fire practice, mental rehearsals, and personal responsibility, as well as the pre-attack indicators that several people observed before the attack. We also discuss a notorious B-52 crash that happened in preparation for an airshow at Fairchild shortly after.
Craig Douglas is a retired SWAT and undercover narcotics cop who started a company called Shivworks, specializing in close-range and entangled gunfighting and knife defense. His classes and training philosophies are legendary, and he joined us on the podcast to discuss some of those things. Listen us to pick Craig's brain about pressure-testing tactics and techniques, edged weapons, de-escalation, and the right time to draw or use a gun. Check the episode web link for videos!
Whether you are organizing an air battle campaign or you are wrestling over a gun with a bad guy, there is a lot to be said about the element of time. Mike and Jim discuss how we have to account for the time variable in a conflict, and how staying disciplined, gaining initiative, and being patient are important factors to consider in terms of keeping up with the fight or shaping the outcome of any individual battle.
We met with the commanders of the Air Unit and SWAT Team for the Bernalillo Co Sheriff in Albuquerque. This is a busy agency with a lot going on. We talk about leadership, career paths to special teams in law enforcement, discuss a police helicopter shot down, and cover practical tips to keep yourself and your stuff safe. Thanks to Undersheriff Koren, Lieutenant Blackmon, and Deputy Maggard for arranging this interview.
Doctor Tang is a trauma surgeon at Southern AZ's only level 1 trauma center. We discuss things related not only to trauma and medicine, but also leadership, teaching, and working under pressure. Are chest seals worth while? Should we transport people in the back of police cars? What are your odds of survival if you get shot? Hear the answers to these questions and more in this episode!
We are just starting to comprehend the impact of information protection and cyber security on tactical reality. It turns out that you don’t have to be a level 9 computer hacker ninja – you just have to manage your risk and actively work on your security. Self-awareness and layers will help you a lot.
In an earlier episode, we had our buddy Isaac on the show who was getting ready to start the police academy. Isaac graduated the academy and is now a sworn officer in the middle of field training. He's going to talk to us about active shooter training and a shift in his thinking, away from gadgets and gear towards training and mindset and he'll tell us about some dumb rookie mistakes he's made. What challenges was he not expecting? What wasn't on the brochure? Why does he still have that stupid mustache?!
A police officer on the east coast was fired for failing to shoot a suicidal person with a gun. We talk about applying critical thinking to discussions like this, because it's important that we consider the arguments of both sides to such a debate. We're going to talk about context in use of force, how lawsuits and litigation fit in to these sorts of discussions, and reconciling the fact that sometimes cops have to kill otherwise good people.
The courts make the final judgement on use of force--but they rely heavily on the expert testimony of legends like Massad Ayoob. Mas is a champion shooter and long-time teacher in matters related to self-defense, police doctrine, and use of force. He joined Mike on the podcast to answer some questions from the audience. Check out this episode to hear it from an expert and 45-year veteran in the industry.
Annette is a competitive shooter, private firearms instructor, attorney, author, blogger, and she was gracious enough to join Mike on the podcast for an interview. She and I talk about her progression from casual shooting to serious self-defense, and the value of steeping yourself in the competition shooting sports. She tells us what to look for in shooting instructors, some thoughts on carrying a concealed handgun, and ways to practice shooting at home "without the noise and recoil."
We’re going to talk about some principles to get it right whether you use radios professionally in public safety, aviation, or the military--or if you are a citizen trying to get that 911 call out in a hurry. Ideas to think about: "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate." Don't be "that guy" on the radio when you click that button. “Push to talk, not to think.” Finally, think about how communication strategies are also leadership strategies. Clear out some of that fog and friction, and bring calm to the chaos.
Ambush is a term that we tend to overuse to mean any attack that catches us off guard. We are going to define the term ambush and, more importantly, define the counter-tactics to apply if you are ambushed. The important thing to realize is that the sooner you identify an imminent or in-progress ambush, the sooner you are able to effectively respond to it. So we have to make sure we aren’t getting too wrapped in the semantics here, it only matters if your counter-tactics apply.
"Slow is smooth, Smooth is Fast," is one of those ideas that started out with strong roots and grew into something barely recognizable. The emotional response that we experience under stress bypasses our ability to make rational decisions. This phrase is best applied to our cognitive ability to take control of feeling overwhelmed. It's a useful training tool, but it really doesn't have anything to do with "acting slow," it's about slowing our mind down enough to make sense of what's happening around us.
A Fedex employee facing termination attempted to hijack Fedex Flight 705 and crash it into the headquarters. Armed with a hammer and a spear gun, he launched a surprise attack against the crew of three shortly after takeoff. This is one of many chilling examples of how workplace violence can turn really bad really fast. We discuss some of the warning signs and pre-assault indicators, strategies for intervening in a close-quarters attack, and some of the reasons checklists are such a big deal for pilots.
We are always trying to balance law enforcement, military, and concealed-carry topics—but it’s important to consider that we can find value in the lessons learned in each of those fields. In this episode, we discuss two controversial police shootings (Philando Castile and Daniel Shaver) and the binary terms that people tend to use to describe these sorts of incidents: Justified, or not. Murder, or self-defense. Good shoot, or Bad Shoot. Sometimes, it’s somewhere in between.
John Boyd was the guy behind the OODA loop, the F-15, the F-16. He and his group of reformers were also largely responsible for the A-10, the Warfighting manual for the USMC, and some of the planning of Desert Storm. Boyd said, "War is ever changing, and men are ever fallible-Teach men to think!" Hear about the guerilla reform movement he led against the bureaucracy that is the US Department of Defense and how his work affected tactics, leadership, decision making, and the Art of War
In episode 6 we discuss a couple of road rage incidents that escalated to the point someone got hurt or killed, and one that was handled pretty well by a guy in Indiana. These stories are important because most of us tend to feel pretty tough behind the wheel of our car. The distance and physical barrier that our cars put between us and other drivers make us feel like we aren’t in much danger, but that can be a false sense of security.