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The Premise: Special Tactics is a team of active-duty and former Special Operators who have released a series of books on room clearing, small-unit tactics, and related topics. This particular volume is a step-by-step guide of two-person room clearing and CQB tactics. While the methods were developed by military and law enforcement tactical teams, the folks at Special Tactics do an excellent job of presenting them in a beautifully simple, easy-to-learn format.
The 411: Tactical movement is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of armed self-defense or home protection. It’s hard to find a movie or television show that doesn’t portray someone moving through a building with a gun. It’s even harder to find one that portrays it correctly. This book does an excellent job of filling that gap. The authors preface their lessons by explaining that the tactics they outline are designed specifically for defensive use, with a heavy focus on slower, more deliberate movement and clearance, rather than the speed-driven methods that might be employed by professional tactical teams with a direct-action mission set.
Before beginning their methodical sequence-based outline of movement techniques, there’s a chapter on what they call “The Four Pillars of Survival,” which they outline as proper mindset, situational awareness, skill proficiency, and physical fitness. We were particularly happy to see this last pillar included as a vital part of an overall survival plan. Self-defense of any kind is a full-contact sport, and a baseline level of physical fitness is an absolute requirement — not just in the performance of the physical tasks (running, fighting, shooting, etc.) required in a life-or-death situation, but also to help the body better manage the psychological stress reactions that’ll occur in real time, with or without your permission.
The physical skills portion of the book begins with positioning prior to entry. Single-side and opposite-side positions are discussed, as well as other helpful tricks like using a “ready signal,” how to approach doors that open inward and outward, as well as the risk of being backlit in such a manner that your shadow is visible in the doorway, even if you’re not. Once you understand positioning, you can choose to either visually clear or make entry. Each has pros and cons that are discussed — for example, visual clears will still leave a dead space of approximately 10 degrees in the near “deep corners” of the room, which cannot be effectively checked without making entry.
If physical entry into the room is needed, the Special Tactics guide covers both one- and two-man entries. In a one-man entry, the second person remains outside of the room to cover the surrounding exterior area. This guide covers both “full-entry” and Limited Penetration techniques. “Lim Pen” is when the person enters the room just far enough to clear the dead space in the near corners, remaining just inside the doorway to do so. There has always been some debate as to the tradeoff between committing fully to the room versus loitering in the “fatal funnel” of the entryway itself. These are decisions you’ll have to make in the moment, or will have to rehearse if dealing with a structure you inhabit regularly like your home or office. However, we like that multiple answers are presented for various tactical problems.
After entry procedures, the book transitions into in-depth discussions on various movement issues such as hallways and intersections, including T-shaped, X-shaped, and L-shaped intersections as well as intersections with uneven corners. Again, multiple methods for each are discussed, and each one has crystal-clear diagrams that show physical positioning, sectors of fire, and fields of view for both good guys and bad guys.
The Verdict: We’ll be the first to say that books and videos will never fully replace proper instruction from a vetted subject-matter expert. Having established that, we think the Special Tactics guides are an excellent place to start for people who don’t have prior training in this area, a refresher for former professionals who might be a little rusty. These books can be purchased directly from the Special Tactics website (which also offers a membership program with access to online training modules) or from Amazon.
Special Tactics LLC