After Action Drills

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

To quick check or to not quick check……that is the question?

The quick check is a quick look to the left and to the right after you have shot them to the ground, while still pointed in on the downed adversary. It is explained as a way to break your tunnel vision and to quickly see if there are any additional threats in the forward 180 degrees.

When done correctly the quick check is solid. But I have seen then done so badly in the past that we use to call it “the California twitch.” It all comes down to doing them at a level that allows you to actually see something while you are checking.

What say you all, do you like the quick check when it is done correctly?

Here is where I am at right now when it comes to the after action drills (AAD’s) that I am teaching.

1) Shoot them all of the way to the ground and point in at the downed adversary/adversaries.

2) While pointed in (not compressing to contact ready unless necessary) quick check left and right (while actually seeing), then return to down adversary (one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three… time to have returned to down adversary/adversaries)

*In the real world, this of course is where you would probably be moving to cover, or to a position of tactical advantage, and doing much of what follows during that movement or after you have reach your position of advantage. In reality, these may be time compressed due to urgency, but they should not be time compressed during you training. I cover these real world movement AAD’s extensively in FFH V and FFH VI.*

3) Scan forward 180 using the third eye principle (two eyes + one muzzle = third eye principle) while looking for other potential threats, identifying their hands, and checking high and low.

4) Drop into Sul and check the rear 180. Step forward into known spaces using the best direction that you prefer balancing out your retention and marksmanship concerns. Check the hands of every person behind you to train yourself to actually see.

5) Re-evaluate down adversary/adversaries

6) Proactive reload (with retention)

7) Tactile (using the racking method) and visual medical check, done in halves or in quadrants. Wetness and color check on hand before moving to the next half or quadrant.

8) “Is this really over?” and reluctant re-holstering doing whatever needs to be done for a safe re-holstering.

Most of you guys know me……I’m a concepts guy and I see after action drills as a concept.

It is not a check list that has to be done just so, it is training in a repetition of things that should be covered. The concept is clear, but how we get there needs to be situational dependent.

If there are two adversaries, I am not shooting one to the ground before I pay attention to the other. If I am at slide lock, I am not going to quick check or scan before I have reloaded. If I am hit in an artery and I only shot 2-4 rounds, I am not going to reload with retention before I go to my tourniquet.

If I am in a public setting with innocents around I will also change my “pointed in” forward 180 scan. Since we are concept guys, that deal in situational dependent matters, I will not necessarily cover innocents unless I feel that it is the very best thing to do.

As a overly conscientious person, I realize that winning a gunfight is not just about going home. It is also about being able to live with yourself. Knowing me, if I killed an innocent, that would stay in the forefront of my thinking for the rest of my life. Hopefully, I would survive that.

If we are talking about zero dark thirty out on the streets, I have no concerns with pointing in while looking around. It is when there are innocents present that my “pointing in” will turn to Sul…….which was trained in to me during my AAD’s that I practiced on the range.

Concepts = fluidity, adaptability, and the ability to improvise on the fly, no matter what the situation is.

What say you all?

2 thoughts on “After Action Drills

  1. Roger, I too see very poor AADs. I believe most don’t truly understand what AADs are and what they are to accomplish. I am with you with AADs are a concept that needs to be done but when and in what order depends on the situation. The problem I see is the square range where they are taught. If taught or first time students are exposed to AADs were during a scenarios class, I think they would understand more. Targets on a square range don’t fall down and a lot of imagination or the unknown is not covered properly. Sometimes I like to start the thinking process started by asking, “Should you survive the gunfight what do you think needs to happen?” After the startled response, “You mean I may get shot or not survive!” The true magnitude of what we say on the range starts to sink in. Get off the square range.

  2. Roger, good job on an important element. You are a little more comprehensive than what I learned. Just a few quick comments. Is there a bit of pattern training in ‘shoot them to the ground’? What if you shoot them them and they surrender before they really get hurt? What if they quit fighting and retreat? Just a ghost from my training. What about looking (during the scans) for witnesses and injured? Or calling 911? Or what to do when the police arrive? A great job as always sir. I look forward to training with you someday. Be well.

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