This is an LE-relevant post.
I’ve been reading articles recently that claim that dynamic tactical entries are dangerous and outdated; that a more methodical slice-the-pie/don’t-enter-until-you’ve-visually-cleared-almost-all-the-room approach is what the current standard is. These posts are written by ex-SF guys, from both the U.S. and allies…but they are preaching to LE, too. While I don’t for a minute doubt the sincerity of these trainers, I have my doubts about the applicability of their reasoning to U.S. LE. I wonder if they aren’t trying to apply the lessons of overseas anti-terrorist engagements to domestic LE raids.
I literally mean that “I have doubts”; I don’t know. I have great respect for the people making these arguments, but literally, I don’t know.
There are exceptions of course, but here’s how I see the general picture (and I am soliciting feedback to show me that I’m wrong):
- Much of the construction overseas where our SF troops have been deployed is quite different than what you see here in the U.S. The layout is different (courtyards are common, for example) and the construction is often hard, round-stopping masonry (which is uncommon here).
- In countries where our military conducts AT raids, the BGs often expect that sooner or later our troops will show up and they’ve made mental and tactical preparations for that event.
- In the U.S., almost all interior and exterior walls will NOT reliably stop either handgun or rifle rounds.
- Most of the BGs that we raid in this country are taken by surprise – that’s why we hit them at 4 am. They aren’t usually lying in wait for us.
- BGs close and lock the door to their apartments and houses.
- There’s no way to slice the pie into a BGs residence without first entering it, and usually involves making a shit-ton of noise. (I never did get the knack of ramming a door silently.) Once we’re in they damn well know we’re there.
- Even if we didn’t have to break down their door, there’s no way that a team can really move completely quietly in a building.
- Even if we didn’t have to break down a door, and even if we could move quietly and peek in to a room:
- If it’s dark we have to use white light to see into it, and that gives us away (almost no tac teams in this country have outfitted each member with helmet-mounted NVGs)
- If it’s light, the BGs can plainly see us
- Bottom line: we’re there and the BGs will know we’re there. At this point, if we take the time to slice the pie they can easily shoot through the walls and hit us (happens all the time, actually)
- If they aren’t “hard” enough to shoot through the walls, then we could simply saunter up to them and ask if it was a convenient time for us to arrest them. We have to assume they are “hard” – that’s why we’re raiding them with guns drawn to begin with.
- A dynamic entry, possibly preceded by a flash-bang, often gets us inside the BG’s OODA loop. Particularly if we hit them when they’re in bed and with their weapons not in bed with them. Once there we can dominate the space and apply any necessary force while the BGs, even if armed, and even if possessing bad intent, are still trying to figure out WTF is happening.
- Has this been proven wrong consistently? If so, was it due to this being a bad operating theory, or because the team was poorly trained or executed poorly?
Now I have been trained in both dynamic and slow/slice-the-pie entries (while I’ve been trained, and have a little experience, I’m hardly an expert). However, the slice-the-pie methods involved the use of shields. Frankly I find shields impractical for most teams because:
- They suck to use
- They are expensive items
- They require extensive training – meaning lots of training time
- That training time costs even more money
- Did I mention that they truly suck to use?
- Bottom line: most agencies can’t afford them, or if they have them can’t afford to keep their officers trained and competent with them
So…what am I missing? Why is a methodical slice-the-pie/don’t-enter-until-you’ve-visually-cleared-almost-all-the-room approach safer than a dynamic entry for most bread-and-butter LE raids?