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“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 attend-
ing the 2004 Texas Tactical Police Officers An-
nual Convention in Houston, I took the one-day
“Dignitary Protection” class instructed by Max.
It was a great class, but like most tactical sub-
ject areas, you obviously can’t cover the subject
Officers practicing shooting area in one day’s time. What I learned that day
on the move. was that I wanted to attend a more in-depth

66 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 that most officers are only taught indi- neuvered and defeated their opponents,
the TTPOA website training calendar, I vidual skills during their basic acad- who often possessed far greater num-
found the Two-Man Team Tactics course emies. Only if officers are lucky enough bers of men and equipment. The key
and quickly sent in my tuition payment. to become part of a SWAT team do they is effective training and coordination
Max began with a brief personal biog- become versed in team tactics. Due to of movements (TFTT Two-Man Tactics
raphy. He spent seven years in the Ma- the fact that most SWAT teams are part Handbook).
rine Corps, serving in Reconnaissance time, a huge void is left in the officers’ Finally, it was now time to move onto
Companies and obtaining the rank of training as they spend a majority of the range and get some trigger time.
Sergeant. While stationed in California, their time serving as a patrolman on Prior to leaving the classroom, we were
he began working on a protective detail the street. Max asked the class, “How given the daily safety brief. We were
for a very wealthy local resident. Even many times do you find yourself with taught The Three Safety Rules for Two-
though he was just working the protective one other officer searching a building or Man Team Tactics: 1. Muzzle control
detail on the weekends, he earned much handling domestic disturbance calls?” 2. Finger Straight 3. Mechanical Safety.
more than his military pay. Like so many The smallest that a unit can be broken The students heard these three rules a
other military personnel who discover down into and still effectively retain the hundred times over the next three days.
that the civilian sector pays better, Max tactical advantages of unit cover and Don’t think for a second that I’m going
decided it was time for a career change. support is the Two-Man Team. Two men to go into detail about all the shooting
Upon leaving the military, he founded can effectively manage much greater drills and tactics that were taught. If
Tactical Firearms Training Team. For the mission outlines and objectives, than you want this information, you need
last twenty-one years, Max has been in- separate individuals can. to attend the class yourself. However, I
volved in training and working in special Two well disciplined and trained men think this is an excellent class to attend
operations in and out of the CONUS. If can accomplish greater tasks than much and a brief overview is in order.
you have any questions about his quali- larger units of lesser trained troops. Most of the first morning was spent
fications, please check out his website. Throughout history, small units of high- on individual skills. All the basic shoot-
After the introduction, Max explained ly trained, select fighters have outma- ing 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 posi-
tion 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 of-
ficer on a knee in front of a standing of-
ficer. 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 of-
ficer covering over the top would sim-
ply push him back down. At no time
on the firing line did I observe an of-
ficer get “swept” with another officer’s
muzzle. Some of the drills were prac-
ticed 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 dis-
cussed transition from the rifle to the
handgun. The entire class had unload-
ed 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

68 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 vol-
umes of his instructing experiences and
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 train-
ing was stair stepped. We started with
just two rooms taped on the ground.
Once officers were comfortable, we pro-
gressed 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 Miss an issue of SWAT? Back issues are available at
shooting on the move and engaging tar-
gets 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 depart-
ment 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. §

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