Guest Post: So Why Would You Do Tactical Training?, by David

“So why do you do this tactical training stuff?” This is a question I get asked from time to time.  Sadly, the answer does not lend itself to a sentence or two.  Let me lay out my premises and then some conclusions.

(This article comes from David, who is a multi-class MVT alumni. He is the organizer of the Idaho Classes in 2016 and 2017. And MVT says, “We have already scheduled Idaho May 2018.”)

Assumed Role

In our family, I am literally the last man standing of my generation.  Since I am no longer immersed in pursuing “the rat race”, I have time to contemplate the long-term future and security of our children and grandchildren.  Our kids are busy with their careers and families.  Put differently, while I fervently hope bad times will not come knocking, I am the one most inclined to contemplate and plan for those “unlikely but very bad” scenarios.

Historical Perspective

The other day I saw an article that claimed 100 million people have been killed by (mostly their own) communist governments in the last century or so. It is a big number. However, it occurred to me that the number did not include Germans killing Jews/Poles/Russians/Brits/Americans/et cetera. It also didn’t include Hutu killing Tutsis, Japanese killing Chinese, Turks killing Armenians, Sunni jihadists (ISUS, et cetera) killing Kurds/Christians/Shia Muslims (et cetera), and the list goes on and on.

My inescapable conclusion is that we are a violent species, and we do not need much of an excuse to kill one another.  Our motivations can be religious, racial, tribal, political, or just competition for scarce resources.  The fact that we in the good old US of A have not fought a major war on our own soil in 150 years or participated in homegrown genocide in almost as long is a historical anomaly.  If you believe the good times are just going to keep on coming because (pick your reason), you should stop reading and go back to doing whatever pleases you.

Vulnerability of our Society

We live in the most prosperous society our planet has ever known.  So successful have our farmers and ranchers become that fewer than 10% of us have any experience in providing our own food.  Our nation has become totally dependent upon cheap and constant electricity.  Think about it. How many Americans have even experienced finding something to drink other than by turning on a tap or stopping at a store?  If the power went out for as short a time as a couple of weeks, what percentage of us would still have safe water to drink?

What happens when the septic/sewer systems stop working?  If our power grid goes down, how long do you think there will be fuel available to put in our cars or the trucks, which bring groceries to our stores?  How will our farmers be able to harvest their crops? Regardless of whether the grid goes down due to an electromagnetic pulse, a coronal mass ejection, or a devastating hacking attack of our power structure, bad things would surely happen in very short order.


If (when?) the Schumer hits the fan (SHTF), what do you think folks in the cities (or suburbia) who have always had easy access to water and food will do after the water is off and the shelves have been empty for a couple of weeks?  We wiser sorts may sit around the campfire, sing Kumbaya, and share our biscuits with the neighbors (who did not think to set aside much or any food). But me thinks that would not last very long.  Ponder Hurricane Katrina. See the paragraphs above. When the SHTF, what lengths do you think people who are starving will be willing to go to?

Once the cops and the rest of “the government” have decided providing for their own families is their highest priority, who will defend your family and neighbors?  Losing our grid could happen literally in an instant, with little or no warning.  It is a military axiom that if you train for the worst case scenario, less dire circumstances will be easier to handle.  In my mind, losing our power grid for a month or longer is a worst case scenario.

Nature of Armed Conflict

As best we can determine, combat among humans has been a “team sport” since before our ancestors climbed down from the trees.  Once in a great while an individual may accomplish heroic feats against multiple opponents. (Sergeant Alvin York comes to mind.) However, not even Alvin strolled into battle by himself.  Leaving Hollywood and fantasy fiction aside, only on the rarest of occasions does an individual, no matter how skilled, prevail against multiple opponents for any length of time. On the other hand, history provides many examples of small groups of skilled and motivated warriors defeating more numerous foes.  I once harbored a “front porch sniper” fantasy where I assumed my skill with small arms would allow me to defend my family if things turned really bad.  It was a comforting fantasy but little more.

Knowing and Becoming Proficient in the Fundamentals

If you think you can gather a “pickup team” and prevail in armed combat at the drop of the hat, you have been watching too much television. Think about the following sports analogy: You and your family/friends suddenly find out you have to play basketball (or football, or whatever) against guys who have been practicing.  The game starts when they decide, not when you think you are ready. To make it more meaningful, you or your family/friends will be wounded or killed if you mess anything up.  If you knew this might happen, wouldn’t you be inclined to at least rehearse a few plays ahead of time, before your family’s survival is on the line?Why Tactical Training

Here’s another point to ponder. Even among highly trained and experienced military units, “blue on blue” fatalities happen with disturbing regularity. What do you think the likelihood is of friendly fire mistakes happening among untrained and scared civilians?

Recap of Premises

Let’s recap the premises of why I do tactical training.

  1. If I don’t worry about what could happen to my family in SHTF scenarios, little or insufficient preparation will happen;
  2. Our species is violent and xenophobic;
  3. Our country’s economy/infrastructure is fragile and could melt down without warning;
  4. The veneer of civilization is thin;
  5. Combat is a team endeavor;
  6. Trying to learn combat team skills while in combat is guaranteed to get people on our team killed.

If you accept the premises above, they lead inexorably to conclusions most of us would rather not reach.

First Conclusion

If I want my family and friends/neighbors to have a decent chance of surviving SHTF, they need weapons proficiency and as good an ability at “combat team tactics” as they can achieve. Training before SHTF allows for learning from mistakes, without any bleeding or dying. Ideally our team will have participated in live fire team tactics training and will have achieved that oh-so-important edge of “battle inoculation”, which is so expensive when achieved in actual combat.

Second Conclusion

“The balloon goes up” when the balloon goes up.  If the bad guys show up when only the old folk, women, and grandkids are home, that is who has to fight. While the women in my family cannot move as far or as fast with a 50 pound load as the guys, they are more than capable of performing fundamental defensive combat tactics.  I cannot ruck as fast nor as far as I could 20 years ago, and I guarantee that 20 years from now I will not be able to ruck as far or as fast as I can now.

Foundational Skills

My daughters had good firearms fundamentals training before they were in high school. But being able to safely handle a firearm on a conventional range is only a first step. Indeed, some of the “never go forward of the firing line until every weapon is safe” programming needs to be undone for tactical proficiency to exist.

Learn how to manage a battle rifle under dynamic conditions. You cannot gain these skills at local ranges or in competition. I have had friends and neighbors ask why I cannot just teach them these fundamental skills. The answer is I cannot give them the intensity of training nor the number of repetitions needed.  Formal (intense) training of two to four days with professional instructors instills skills that just are not obtainable in casual sessions.  The best professionals are able to recognize impending mistakes before they happen.  We need a critical number of repetitions before the lessons settle into our subconscious where they are automatic under stress. Being able to “ring steel” at 600 yards is different than developing the constant muzzle awareness and techniques necessary to move tactically as part of a team.Why Tactical Training

Basic “combat lifesaver” skills are important, even for those who are unwilling or unable to take the training necessary to function effectively as a combatant.  This includes the grandkids.  I fully expect my grandson’s first grade show and tell will be something like: “Today I am going to demonstrate how to apply a tourniquet on myself with only one hand.”  Shortly thereafter he will undoubtedly be offering to demonstrate the application of HALO chest seals on the cuter girls. But we will deal with that when it happens.

Third Conclusion

Everyone in my inner circle who is capable and willing to train should be afforded the opportunity.  This is part of “my job” that I have assumed as a family elder.  I consider it a gift to the following generations.  Besides, at some point I hope to be that cranky old fart sitting in the rocker on the front porch with a rifle close at hand, of course.  But until then, I intend to walk my talk and lead from the front.

I am the type of guy who puts on his seatbelt every time I get in a car, not because the government tells me to or because I think I am likely to get into an accident. I do it because I may, however unlikely, get into an accident.  Over the years I have trained with the best regarded instructors in the business. This spring I and my family will be training with Max Velocity Tactical when he brings his training to Idaho.  Life is too precious and too short to train with anyone but the best.

See Also:

About Max Velocity Tactical

Max Alexander is a tactical trainer and author. He is a lifelong professional soldier with extensive military experience. He served with British Special Operations Forces, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer; a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Max served on numerous operational deployments, and also served as a recruit instructor. Max spent five years serving as a paramilitary contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This included working on contract for the U.S. Government in Iraq, a year of which was based out of Fallujah, and also two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He operates Max Velocity Tactical (MVT).


  1. Great job, thanks.

    Putting together an ad hoc group that hasn’t trained together AFTER the fact will be suicide. Great for fiction stories, not for real life. Last year at one of the FOF tactics classes I attended, we had that exact situation come up- a team of all experienced folks that were used to running together versus a gaggle of us thrown together with varying experiences levels. Even with 2-3 experienced folks in that 2nd group, we got rolled up about 3/4 of the time. And their won’t be a 2nd chance in real life.

    It’s important that preppers learn to move beyond the typical 1 CCW class and 1 Appleseed shoot that seems to be the training norm for most preppers. You need a LOT more than just that.

  2. The loan sniper on the porch has been the mentality of many, I’m glad you came to your conclusion of this being a team endeavor. Building that team is the hard part. It’s starts by building trust in relationships, then goes from there. Well written and well thought out article David.

  3. The training and skill levels demanded increase geometricly from fire team,to squad,to platoon level tactics and above and are almost impossible to accomplish outside the military/paramilitary with demand on time and expertise.

  4. I agree with you; I’m the only one in my family who’s concerned with prepping.

    Please read the biography of Jack Hinson, another amazing Tennessean rarely mentioned in history books.

  5. Excellent explanation David!

    Hopefully everyone who reads this will give the consideration it deserves.

    This can truly save your families lives.

  6. Good article. I hope this a wake up to all that read. You can purchase alot of gear, store up alot of consumables, read alot of books. Tactical training will give you a chance to put book info into action. You’ll be able to gauge your fitness level. You’ll be able to flesh out your gear. You’ll be able to run your rifle. Most of all you’ll be able to be honest with yourself. I traveled to Idaho this spring for MVT class. I met David and have attended several MVT classes over the past 3 years. Max is a first rate instructor, someone who has experienced much in hot spots around the globe and now shares his knowledge.

  7. Another thing that comes to my mind is mindset. While tactical training does not specifically prepare you for all skills needed to survive even a couple of nights in the wilderness should your car break down in the middle of nowhere, it does foster mental agility and resiliency that is oft lacking in the modern population. It gets you in the mindset that you are responsible for yourself and those around you.

    One of my favorite quotes from Herbert McBride in A Rifleman Went to War is:

    “When you have a good Rifleman you have a man who is confident of his ability to take care of himself: the quality pertains not to the rifle, but to himself; so you have a man who can quickly be turned to doing anything.”

  8. While I don’t disagree with team training, one point that was made was that law enforcement and the government personal will be busy protecting their own families. So who are we training to resist? I doubt that roaming gangs or refugees from the cities are going to have any training what so ever. So any group with any team work no matter how small will have just as good a chance of survival as the next. Few people have the time or money to take a MVT course, and unless get a whole group to take it together, it will still just be a pick-up crew. Trekker Out

  9. I do it because the discipline and thinking processes carry over to my everyday life. I do it because the fitness required is healthy for me and that means I can work to support and/or protect my family. The bonus is that I have built skill at arms, practiced in a realistic environment and along the way have met some fantastic people from all walks of life that I already have something in common with.

  10. David this is an excellent explanation of why to train and like you I have found that I have to be the adult in the room to push the issue with friends and family that it is not just good to have the beans, bullets and Band-Aids but the ability to protect the supplies but more importantly family members.

    Mountain Trekker asks a valid question, “who are we training to resist”, well I’m sure many of the refugees won’t have the training but they may have the numbers. As for the gangs well they have the violent tendencies and ruthlessness that law abiding citizens do not and they have the organization and leadership that will overwhelm the unprepared and they will not hesitate to kill you and take all your stuff.

    Yes, training costs money and time but no training cost lives – my families lives are worth the expense.

  11. Great job and thanks for posting David! The points you bring up are spot on.

    The solid top notch training that we are investing in through MVT is well worth the time and money hands down.

  12. Exactly how many roaming gangs of refugees from the cities have you seen before?

    As I saw in Kosovo and Somalia, the roaming gangs were exactly that, gangs. Gangs that existed before hostilities started and they only got better after hostilities. There are plenty of gangs (or groups/clubs/social organizations/ political protesters, etc) that are already in existence here. Some of which have prior service members in them.

    They have something we lack, a sense of identity and a shared purpose.

    All quality training is good. You may not think that small team tactics in the hills of West Virginia are relevant, but what happens when a crazed person decides to shoot up your favorite mall that you happen to be in. (That would never happen in America of course.)

    Then you realize the time you spent learning how to react to contact and take cover was time well spent.

    Personally I would rather train and not need it than need it and not have been trained.

  13. MVT Training is all well and good but there are many of us long in the tooth and no longer can do what we did 45 or more years ago. I’m a Vietnam Veteran and former Army paratrooper who’s knees are shot with arthritis and can no longer walk with out the aid of half crutches. I can no longer shoot and scoot. This said what training, other than twice monthly at the range, communication, first aid, farming (raising rabbits, chickens, gardening and preserving what I grow and raise) would a handicapped person gain from a Visit to MVT.

    1. OldAlaskan

      Not everyone needs to be in a front line security role. Sounds like you bring plenty of other skills to the table. Everyone has something to bring to the table whether it be physical or mental. But the physically capable individual should seriously consider the training.

  14. Thanks for the article. Much to consider here. In terms of how quickly people can devolve I suggest watching American Experience: Blackout. It details the 1977 NYC power outage. In less than 10 minutes the looting had begun. This details one of the short comings of many people’s thinking. Many think you have 2-3 days before people start to panic after say a power outage. That may apply to some people, others are looking for the first chance to take what is not theirs. BTW, that was 40 years ago when this happened. Societies veneer is much thinner now.

  15. I like this article and believe the author has it spot on. However the portion where law enforcement is going deteriorate and fend for their own families just isn’t what my family believes. Look around the world, even in Africa or venezuela, where there are communities without a law enforcement presence to police an area upon being called? The clincher is reading our Bible in the Book of Revelation. Right up to the last leader on Earth, the antichrist, he will have at his disposal a massive military and police force such the world has never known. Sorry but the enemy will be a police force and most likely foreign and indoctrinatioed to do harm to your family in the name of governmental mandates or more commonly colored as social justice. There will be levels of harassment first. From the IRS, Homeland Security, Child Protection Agencies, local and state level sheriffs and a bandwidth of tracking and policing to keep surveillance on every Subject of the state. Of course this is done for the common good of the people. Folks, there will be no “Opps the grid is down – law enforcement all turned in their badges and the government turned a blind eye to our circumstance. Fend for ourselves!” Wrong. Look at hurricane Katrina and how fast was the pmilitary and police in there. I hope and pray you can keep your “life” private from Big Brother surveillance. They will come knocking out of concern for the common good of all people “We heard some reports:”. Stay vigilant. God bless.

  16. JH Brown Shirts were police. There will always be those who gravitate towards power over people. These will not be peace officers, but law enforcement officers; they will be enforcing bad law.

  17. LOL …..what about the other 6.7 billion people on the planet who DONT live or cannot afford the training?, MVT is awsome if your mainland USA, I assure you, those of us outside CONTUS, do NOT sit on their duff doing nothing.

  18. Good article! I’ve been out of the army now for over 13 years now, and you are preaching to the choir. Training sucks, but you have to learn to embrace the suck. Dry firing, moving and bounding with others takes a lot of hours of practice, and then add in conducting it at night!!! Woe, lots more practice. I have not been able to get close to any one around here that would be interested into preparing, training, etc… If you ever get close to people and are best of friends, cherish them. A man is truly blessed if he has more than 2-3 best friends in this life. GOD bless you all, until CHRIST returns, keep tng!

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