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Principle-Based Room Entries, By Jason Wuestenberg

Principle-Based Room Entries, By Jason Wuestenberg

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Published by: dramatikk on Dec 25, 2012
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January 2007Page 1 of 7
Pro-Active Training Institute, Inc. www.pro-activetraining.us
Principle-based Room Entries
By Jason Wuestenberg 
I have read various articles, seen various media, and watch and participated invarious training on how to conduct room entries. I see officers doing dynamic entrieswhen they shouldn’t; and then doing them inadequately when they should. I’m nottrying to discredit anyone who uses or teaches the things I’m about to talk about. Thepurpose of this article is to make sure the thought process for how and why weconducting room entries are reasonable and practical.First, I want to clarify that this article is about conducting room entries under worst-case scenarios. In other words, there are no supporting equipment available,such as distraction devices, mirrors, or ballistic shields; just two officers and their weapon systems. And, the suspect knows you are coming and committed to shootingat officers upon contact. If we can beat that situation, then using additional equipment,or confronting an unsuspecting or submissive suspect, should be easier. It’s a simpletraining philosophy: train for the worst, and hope for the best.There are two basic types of room entries: limited entries and dynamic entries.Which type of entry you use is based on the
. For example, if I am doing a building search, which should be a slow and methodical search for one or more suspects, then my room entries should be limited entries, unless the environmentor situation changes and dictates the necessity for a dynamic entry. On the other hand,if I enter a structure for a fast moving, dynamic situation, such as a barricaded crisisentry, or an active shooter intervention, then a dynamic room entry may be needed. Again, there could be a necessity to do a limited entry during a dynamic situation, aswell. To say you can only do a limited entry during a building search or a dynamic entryin a dynamic situation is like saying when you’re in a fist fight, you can only throw a righthook, and jabs and uppercuts are not allowed. Conducting a room entry is a fightafight to stay alive. We’re just using firearms instead of fists.The bottom line is that the situation and environment should dictate whichmethod you use for 
each independent room
. The inability to recognize when to do adynamic entry and when to do a limited entry could end up being a fatal mistake. Justlike a boxer is in the business of throwing punches and dodging punches, we are in thebusiness of shooting bullets and dodging bullets. And, we should use ALL of our knowledge and skills to tilt the odds in our favor. It’s not how HARD you can fightit’show SMART you can fight.
– As I stated before, when conducting room entry training, you have totrain for worst-case scenariothe dedicated armed suspect who is oriented to the door and waiting for you to enter the room. You should be training yourself for someone whois equal to, or better than, you in terms of tactical skills. I’ve heard on numerousoccasions, “That’s not what we encounter most of the time”. If you are not training for the worst-case scenario, then you are setting yourself up for failure. If you can defeat
January 2007Page 2 of 7
Pro-Active Training Institute, Inc. www.pro-activetraining.us
the dedicated armed suspect, who is the same (if not better) skill level as you, thenanything less than that should be easier. Whatever tactic you use, you have to test it inforce-on-force / reality-based training. If you don’t, then you are operating on theory.There is no specific room entry tactic that will work every time. The goal is tominimize the risk of getting shot the best that you can. So, if your room entry tacticresults in you getting shot to easily during force-on-force training, then you need to re-evaluate the tactic. I have heard many people say, “We have never had anyone shotdoing this tactic.” Well then, the next question I ask is thisIn all the room entries youhave done, have you ever encountered a dedicated armed suspect who was waiting for you? If you haven’t, then you have to question whether the tactic is good, or if you’vebeen lucky so far.
Pre-entry Principles & Tactics
– Prior to any room entry, limited or dynamic,you should clear as much of the room as possible from the outside first. Conduct anangular search (AKA – slice the “pie”) across the doorway first before conducting anentry. This serves two purposes: to locate a suspect, and engage if necessary, beforeentering the room; and to identify the layout of the room. The speed at which youconduct an angular search is based on the situation and your ability to read theenvironment as you see it. For dynamic situations, you would need to do a dynamicpie. For a slow search, you would do a slow pie. Of course, the question comes upabout the infamous “fatal funnel.” I will throw this earth-shattering statement outtherethe fatal funnel concept, as it has been applied to doorways, has been over-used, and abused, in both the military and law enforcement community. I use to be afirm believer that doors are fatal funnels. But, through training, I have learned to treat adoorway the same as corners.
Fatal Funnel
– Let me address the fatal funnel concept real quick. When I wasin the military in the early 90’s learning room entries and CQB, there were some keythings that were drilled into us. One of the key things was that all doors are “fatalfunnels”, meaning that they are choke points that we must pass through to reach theenemy. And, if the enemy is inside, then they can concentrate their weapons on thedoor to kill us (sounds like the dedicated, armed suspect I was mentioning earlier). So,standing in front of the doorway was considered a bad thing. This thought processgenerated the line of thinking that priority #1 in a dynamic room entry is to get throughthe door quickly, and then clear the room. The faster you get in and out of the doorway,the faster you can engage the suspect. This thought process is wrong. If you can seeand engage the threat from outside the room, then that is faster, and far better, thanentering the room first. Keep that in mind when I start talking about dynamic entries.On another note, if doorways are fatal funnels, then why would you ever “slicethe pie” on a doorway during a building search? That forces you to traverse across thedoorway, usually at a slow pace. How can slicing the pie be a good tactic if we have tostand in front of the doorway to do it? The answer is thisa doorway is not a fatalfunnel. It is just another corner. Hallways are more of a fatal funnel than doorways.
January 2007Page 3 of 7
Pro-Active Training Institute, Inc. www.pro-activetraining.us
Room Entry Principles and Tactics
– If you have not encountered or engageda suspect while doing a slow or dynamic pie, then the suspect is either hiding behind anobject within the room, or they are hiding in the portion of the room that can not be seenfrom the outside. This portion of the room is often referred to as the “deep corner” or “10% area”. This is where you have to determine what type of room entry you are goingto conduct.
Limited Entries
– Unless there is someone’s life to save in a room, my firstchoice for room entries is a limited entry. A limited entry is when you expose a smallportion of your body and weapon past the threshold of a doorway to clear the “deep”corner. I am a big fan of limited entries. If I don’t have to commit my entire body, or mypartner, into a room to deal with a dedicated, armed suspect, then that is a good thing!Thanks to Hollywood movies and TV shows, most suspects expect us to burst into theroom. That works to our advantage. I would also consider doing limited entries if I hadan obstacle just beyond the door that would prevent a good dynamic entry. Thedisadvantage to limited entries is that it will be a one-on-one gun battle if the suspect isin the deep corner. My partner will probably not be in a position to help me engage thesuspect. But, there are pros and cons to everything we do.There are many variations of limited entries; one-man limited entries, standingtwo-man limited entries (Israeli limited), high-low two-man limited entries (my personalfavorite), etc. There are pros and cons to each. It comes down to personal preference,situation, and environment. Limited entries require you to be in the doorway to conductthem effectively. Since slicing the pie was done on the doorway first, then we know it isrelatively safe to stand in the doorway. Once you have cleared the deep corner using alimited entry technique, then you can simply step into the room and begin to clear it. If there is a dedicated armed suspect in the deep corner, then you have the option of engaging the suspect or withdrawing from the threshold once they have been observed.I like options! What I have found, through force-on-force training, is the majority of thetime officers withdraw, by natural reaction, when they see an armed suspect in the deepcorner.
Dynamic Entries
– For me, the primary reason to do a dynamic entry into aroom is to rescue or recover an innocent or injured victim within the roombasically, tosave someone else’s life. That’s it. If I’m going to commit myself, and my partner, to aroom for a potential gunfight, it needs to be a worthy cause.With that being said, dynamic entries are based on a phrase coined by themilitary; “Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action”. And, it all coincides with the fatalfunnel issue. Just remember, it’s not how fast you enter a room that dictates how fastyou can engage the enemy. It’s how fast you can SEE THEM! In other words, if I cansee them and engage the suspect from outside the doorway, then that is faster thenentering the room first.

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