That killer waistline!

No, this isn’t about working out or losing weight - although if that’s a problem for you, then you should consider a fitness program. This is about surviving a gunfight.
The hands and then the waistline of the threat—not the face, the voice, or anything else—are what kills. When you’re in a shooting, it happens in seconds and can be over in less. It’s violent and fast, and the results are obviously designed to be fatal. Split-second decisions about whether to shoot somebody have to be simplified because the brain can only take in so much in a compressed amount of time.

So you come into the room taking the path of least resistance, your teammate goes in the opposite direction, and you both clear your corners scanning for threats. Once you locate them, your eyes drive straight to the hands and waistline of anyone you see to determine if they’re armed, whether with gun, knife, stick, grenade, detonator — anything.

If you see one, your gun sight tracks to their faces, the trigger gets pressed until they aren’t there anymore, and they get dropped as hard and fast as possible. It doesn’t matter if they’re men or women, old or young— they all can kill you. You shoot them in the teeth, the base of the head, the upper chest and throat or the earlobe—depending on how you find them—pressing the trigger until they aren’t there anymore.

It’s not like TV or Hollywood, where Steven Seagal comes in, shoots twice, and moves on. you shoot until they go away. If that means emptying a magazine into them, reloading, and shooting them again, then you do that. The goal is to shoot them until they stop doing what you shot them for in the first place, says
Jamie Smith, former CIA Officer and founding Director of Blackwater Security.

A team of the best shooters in the world, in a hostile country, moving quietly through a building from multiple directions, in the inky blackness of the night, under the highest stress you can imagine, all while making decisions on who lives and dies in milliseconds upon seeing that person, and then consistently nailing threats in the teeth with precise gunfire, isn’t magic or about being superhuman; it’s about training, rules, and rehearsals.

Training is shooting, coordinating your movement while negotiating obstacles, communicating over and over until your hands bleed, feet blister, and body gives out. Rehearsals are conducted on mock-ups of the target until it can be done in your sleep, time permitting. Rules are kept simple. For example, rules of engagement for the CIA’s shooters on the bin Laden hit allowed shooting anyone with a weapon, anyone displaying hostile intent, and for UBL himself, was a status-based target.

In the real world, the hit rate for police officers is less than 20 percent, which means that more than four of every five bullets miss and go somewhere else. It’s not necessarily the individual police officer’s fault, either. I have many friends who work in law enforcement and they are solid men and women who do a terrific job.

But the training opportunities at most departments are not what they should be, because many times the budget is spent on shiny objects like cruisers with new paint schemes so the chief can point to something that he spent taxpayer money on when asked by the city council. But it’d be far better to spend that money on training now than on settlements to lawsuits later.