A once-a-decade CQB book by one of law enforcement’s legends.
By: Ron Yanor
Once a decade, a shooting and tactics book comes out that accurately addresses the issues of law-enforcement tactical-team firearms skills. There is a plethora of authors who are subject matter experts in their respective disciplines, but fail to grasp the nuances of law enforcement rules of engagement and training protocols. Rattenkrieg is one publication that objectively deals with the art and science of Close Quarters Battle pistol shooting for law enforcement with a pragmatic and modern examination.
Bob Taubert’s credentials are extensive. He was one of the founding fathers of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. His duties involved projects with DEA and training elite units including SAS, GSG-9 and Israeli commandos. Taubert instructed with the Department of State – Anti-terrorism Assistance Program and at the Smith & Wesson Academy.
The title “Rattenkrieg” translates as “rat war”—a term used by the Germans to describe the up-close fighting that defined the battle of Stalingrad. The book addresses many of the facets of close-quarter pistol techniques from equipment selection, to carry positions to training regimens. Pros and cons of various methods are presented with equal weight in a very objective format.
Taubert not only addresses the “how” but also the “why” without saying this is the only way or my way. If a practice is preferred, there is an explanation to support it. Techniques like weak-hand pistol transfer, carry-presentation positions, retention and combat reloading are covered. A multi-page discussion is devoted to the realities of target/shot placement as it applies to some of the more common range drills and multiple target acquisition. One of the new tactics is a new version of the transition drill directed to counter the methods currently used by tier one terrorists to rush operators experiencing a weapon malfunction.
Consider the discussion of the SAS study on flash-bangs. “If the element of surprise was complete, it took, on average, six seconds for the first terrorist to recover and react. From this, they determined they had six seconds or less to breach, enter, clear and dominate the room. Furthermore, the first terrorist who moved is the most dangerous—not necessarily the one with the most effective weapon. If a terrorist fails to obey your commands to ‘Don’t move’ or ‘Get down’ and makes eye contact with you, he is going to fight.”
An entire chapter of the book is devoted to ballistic-shield shooting techniques including prone cover, use of laser sights for the shield operator, and defensive tactics with the shield. Numerous shooting drills and tactics are discussed. A whole chapter is on multiple targets and target acquisition.
An added benefit is the 25 shooting drills presented in detail at the back of the book. Each drill is accompanied with a diagram and complete explanation on how to set up and execute the drill. Each drill is a relatively short presentation involving, on average, less than 20 rounds per application. At the same time, many of the courses of fire have application for the subgun or carbine in the CQB environment.
Why a book on CQB pistol in the current era of patrol rifles? The pistol remains the mainstay of police operations. Even for tactical operators, a pistol may be required bus, train or aircraft assaults. Even with a carbine as the primary weapon, the pistol is the failsafe, last resort option. Ignoring solid training with the pistol is a recipe for disaster. Taubert closes with, “The bottom line is and always has been found in this unchanging truth: We are responsible for every round fired within our communities.”
Ron Yanor is retired after a 25-year law enforcement career. He spent 19 years on a 22-operator, multi-jurisdictional tactical unit, with nine years as the training and intel officer. Since 1999, he has been a contract trainer and currently operates Adamax Tactical Academy in Illinois. He is also on the staff of Tactical Energetic Entry Systems.