“Good morning, men. My name is Max Joseph, and I’ll be your primary instructor for the day.”

his is how Max Joseph began each day of training during the Two-Man Team Tactics course. It brought a smile to my face to hear Max say this each day prior to training, because it is a testament to his professionalism and his Marine Corps background. The class I attended was held in Abilene, Texas, in March of 2005. This was just eleven months after I first met Max. While attending the 2004 Texas Tactical Police Officers Annual Convention in Houston, I took the one-day “Dignitary Protection” class instructed by Max. It was a great class, but like most tactical subject areas, you obviously can’t cover the subject area in one day’s time. What I learned that day was that I wanted to attend a more in-depth


Officers practicing shooting on the move.
S.W.A.T. AUGUST 2005

Lt. Scott Lewis and Officer Rob Thorson performing a “high-low” drill under the watchful eye of Instructor Max Joseph.

training session with Max. Looking over the TTPOA website training calendar, I found the Two-Man Team Tactics course and quickly sent in my tuition payment. Max began with a brief personal biography. He spent seven years in the Marine Corps, serving in Reconnaissance Companies and obtaining the rank of Sergeant. While stationed in California, he began working on a protective detail for a very wealthy local resident. Even though he was just working the protective detail on the weekends, he earned much more than his military pay. Like so many other military personnel who discover that the civilian sector pays better, Max decided it was time for a career change. Upon leaving the military, he founded Tactical Firearms Training Team. For the last twenty-one years, Max has been involved in training and working in special operations in and out of the CONUS. If you have any questions about his qualifications, please check out his website. After the introduction, Max explained

that most officers are only taught individual skills during their basic academies. Only if officers are lucky enough to become part of a SWAT team do they become versed in team tactics. Due to the fact that most SWAT teams are part time, a huge void is left in the officers’ training as they spend a majority of their time serving as a patrolman on the street. Max asked the class, “How many times do you find yourself with one other officer searching a building or handling domestic disturbance calls?” The smallest that a unit can be broken down into and still effectively retain the tactical advantages of unit cover and support is the Two-Man Team. Two men can effectively manage much greater mission outlines and objectives, than separate individuals can. Two well disciplined and trained men can accomplish greater tasks than much larger units of lesser trained troops. Throughout history, small units of highly trained, select fighters have outma-

neuvered and defeated their opponents, who often possessed far greater numbers of men and equipment. The key is effective training and coordination of movements (TFTT Two-Man Tactics Handbook). Finally, it was now time to move onto the range and get some trigger time. Prior to leaving the classroom, we were given the daily safety brief. We were taught The Three Safety Rules for TwoMan Team Tactics: 1. Muzzle control 2. Finger Straight 3. Mechanical Safety. The students heard these three rules a hundred times over the next three days. Don’t think for a second that I’m going to go into detail about all the shooting drills and tactics that were taught. If you want this information, you need to attend the class yourself. However, I think this is an excellent class to attend and a brief overview is in order. Most of the first morning was spent on individual skills. All the basic shooting drills were covered: stationary turns,

Officer Rob Stewart during a Vehicle drill. These drills started with one officer in the driver’s seat and one officer in the back seat. On contact, the officer in the back seat would engage the target through the open window, while the driver exited the vehicle and took a position firing over the hood of the vehicle. The driver then signaled to the other officer to exit the vehicle and take up the position seen here. Under real conditions Officer Stewart would likely be firing under the vehicle behind the rear tire.

S.W.A.T. AUGUST 2005 67

shooting from the kneeling position and side step drills. Position “Sul” was thoroughly discussed and practiced. Max taught the three times position Sul is most useful: 1.When an officer is in transit and is not the point man or cover man. 2. When fellow officers are crossing your area of domination. 3. Crowd control situations. If you are not familiar with position Sul, a simple search on a search engine can find numerous articles detailing it, as well as a previous article in the December 2004 issue of S.W.A.T. Magazine. The afternoon was spent shooting in very close proximity with a partner. Drills were conducted with officers shooting side by side and with one officer on a knee in front of a standing officer. This may sound like a dangerous situation, but safety was paramount in every live fire drill. The officer standing would actually come over the top of the kneeling officer. When the firing was completed the officer standing would step off to the side, grab the kneeling officer and give him a tug while giving the verbal command, “UP.” If at any time the officer kneeling tried to stand before receiving this command, the officer covering over the top would simply push him back down. At no time on the firing line did I observe an officer get “swept” with another officer’s muzzle. Some of the drills were practiced with unloaded weapons or hands only before moving onto the live fire drills. This allowed every officer time to master the movements. At the close of the day, Max discussed transition from the rifle to the handgun. The entire class had unloaded their rifles on line. Max asked all the officers to gather in closely to watch his demonstration of the transition. He asked to see one officer’s rifle. Even though the class had just unloaded their rifles, Max checked to ensure the rifle was unloaded. He discovered that the officer had not cleared his weapon properly, and there was still a live round in the chamber. I really didn’t know what to expect next. With a very calm attitude, Max used this officer’s mistake as a training point. He talked about how fatal accidents have occurred during training, because


S.W.A.T. AUGUST 2005

officers get “lazy” towards the end of a training day. Max not only avoided a very embarrassing incident, but turned it into a learning point. This speaks volumes of his instructing experiences and professionalism. The second day of training did not start until noon to ensure that the last couple of hours would be completed in low light conditions. The bulk of the day’s training was spent building clearing in two-man teams. The training was stair stepped. We started with just two rooms taped on the ground. Once officers were comfortable, we progressed to the Abilene P.D. shoot house. Moving down hallways and clearing two and three rooms in a run came easy with tips from Max. Because Max liked the officers to train with both rifle and handgun, the officers switched from one to the other between runs. The focal points of Day Three were shooting on the move and engaging targets from a vehicle. Many other things were covered and practiced but, once again, I don’t want to give the whole class away. I am lucky to work for a police department that is progressive. Almost every officer is sent to some type of training every year. In my training file, you will find certificates from instructors such as: Alan Brosnan, Bennie Cooley, Ken Hackathorn, and Paul Howe. At this point and time, I don’t have an “I love me wall” with all my certificates hanging on display. Once I become an old, grumpy, retired cop, I might just have to create one, if my wife says it’s okay. If that happens, I’m sure that the certificate from Max Joseph will be on the top row. Until then, the best compliment I can give this class is a simple one—I paid my own way to attend the Two-Man Team Tactics Class. §

Miss an issue of SWAT? Back issues are available at

Tactical Firearms Training Team (TFTT) Dept. S.W.A.T. 16835 Algonquin Street, Suite 120 Huntington Beach, CA 92649 (714) 846-8065
S.W.A.T. AUGUST 2005 69

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful