Dennis O’Connor: All training, no matter how realistic, isn’t real combat.

About the author

Dennis O’Connor: Six years enlistment in the US Army and over twenty five years of law enforcement service. SWAT, drug, vice and organized crime, K9. Dennis was instructor of GTI Government Training Institute in Barnwell SC for several years.


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Physical fitness, range training scars, and about becoming a great tactician

The Article

I think a few things should be more communicated in tactical training.

First, physical fitness is paramount, especially regarding performance and decision-making.

Understanding sustainment training vs. attending training is also critical.

And of course: We need a better understanding of range training scars.

Because your physical fitness can be excellent, your training perfectly adjusted, but if you leave the range with training scars, you will be in trouble when it counts the most.

All training, no matter how realistic, isn’t real combat.

If we perform bad habits from a safe training environment in an actual combat situation, it could (and mostly will) end up fatally.

Instructors have to look into bad habits on the range and make sure that students leave the training without them.

These first three aspects are fundamental and the essence of a good and realistic training philosophy.


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What makes good tactical training?

The next aspect is teaching the mind and a general understanding of what we do.

Good training should always involve mastering the “Why” and fundamental understanding.

That’s what we train for.

It also means to balance “tactical theory vs. vetted theory“ … and put it into action!

If you put all these pieces together, you will get the correct answer for “What makes good tactical training?“

It’s all about becoming a great tactician.

That’s the goal.

Any instructor who understands these crucial elements of good training and why they matter in what we do will be a great trainer for our brothers and sisters in uniform.

Human beings behind the badge

If you think that this kind of work keeps people without scars… physical, emotional, spiritual scars… you are wrong.

I ask everybody to be more open and conscious about what it means to carry that burden.

Without judgment.

Just listen sometimes, lend a hand, or take the signs seriously.

We can‘t let alone our best men and women who save us from the worst every day.

Be aware and be a friend.

Also, I want to mention PTSD and suicide among law enforcement.

It is real.

And it is important to talk about it.

We have to make everybody understand that the job doesn’t mean just wearing a uniform and carrying a firearm.

There are human beings behind the badge.

Humans who work under tremendous stressful conditions.

Who put their own lives into the line.

And who see the worst of what humans can do or be.


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Photos by Dave Young and GTI