If you see anything wrong with my reasoning, please feel free to correct me.
I’ve been reading articles which claim that dynamic tactical entries are dangerous and outdated and that a more methodical “slice the pie/don’t enter until you’ve visually cleared almost all of the room” approach is the current standard. These posts are written by ex-Special Forces guys from both the US and allies, but they are preaching to law enforcement folks. While I don’t for a minute doubt the sincerity of these trainers, I have my doubts about the applicability of their reasoning to law enforcement in this country. I wonder if they aren’t trying to apply the lessons of overseas antiterrorist engagements to domestic LE raids.
I literally mean that I have doubts. I don’t know. However, I have great respect for the people making these arguments.
There are exceptions, of course, but here’s how I see the general picture:
- Much of the construction overseas where our Special Forces troops have been deployed is quite different than what you see here in the US. 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 antiterrorism raids, the Bad Guys (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 US, almost all interior and exterior walls will NOT reliably stop either handgun or rifle rounds.
- Most of the BGs which we raid in this country are taken by surprise – that’s why we hit them at 4:00 a.m. 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 BG’s residence without first entering it and this usually involves making a substantial amount of noise. (I never did acquire the knack of ramming a door silently.) Once we’re in, they definitely know we’re there.
- Even if we didn’t have to break down the 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 into a room:
- If it’s dark, we have to use white light to see into it and that gives us away (very few tac teams in this country have outfitted each member with helmet mounted NVGs); and
- If it’s daylight, the BGs can plainly see us.
- The 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.
- 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’re “hard” – that’s why we’re raiding them with guns drawn in the first place.
- A dynamic entry, possibly preceded by a flashbang, often gets us inside the BG’s OODA (observe–orient–decide–act) loop, especially if we hit them when they’re in bed asleep and with their weapons not in the 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 what is happening.
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.
Ballistic shields have both positive and negative attributes:
- Provide additional ballistic protection and coverage;
- A high intensity lighting system can be mounted on the shield;
- Viewing corners and other danger areas is much safer; and
- Multiple officers can stack behind it.
- Purchase price;
- Additional weight;
- Requires additional/extensive training;
- Limits operator’s field of view; and
- Loss of speed and maneuverability.
So, what am I missing? Why is a methodical slice the pie/don’t enter until you’ve visually cleared almost all of the room approach safer than a dynamic entry for most bread-and-butter LE raids?
Ralph Mroz was a police officer (part-time) in Massachusetts for 20 years, seven of which he was assigned to his county’s drug task force. He has taught at a number of national, regional and international law enforcement conferences. Ralph now has three new books available on Amazon: Street Focused Handgun Training (Volumes 1, 2 and 3), as well as two newly republished books: Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters, and Tactical Defensive Training for Real-Life Encounters, which are also available on Amazon.