HRO-CQB: Fighting in Structures A class review.

Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.

HRO-CQB  That’s Hostage Rescue Operations-Close Quarters Battle

Let’s ‘get real’ for a moment, does the average person really need some knowledge of hostage rescue operations and close quarters fighting in buildings.  Isn’t that just game playing for adults?  Frankly, No.  I might have thought some differently before this class but the more we learned and were given challenges and situations to resolve, the more I realized how universally these problems occur and how the methods taught may need to be applied.  One doesn’t have to be doing anything with a gun to be in situations where this knowledge may be needed.
My own home area is not considered a ‘high crime’ environment yet I can readily point out where attacks occurred, shootings here, here, here, there, a murder there, and on.  It could be easy to be caught in a store, mall, school, church, or even a parking lot when violence occurs.  People tend to think of this courses skills as for ‘How to take out the Bad Guy’ but exactly the same knowledge is needed for how to safely get away, to get out of the danger area.
What about if the ‘Bad Guy’ is in your own home, if there is more then one, if they are in-between you and your children and there is no time to wait for police?  You don’t have to be a TV hero to need what this course has to teach.
Wait, ‘parking lots’, isn’t the course about fighting in ‘structures’?  Surprisingly, a lot of the same major problems and situations apply.
This was another course offered by Suarez International, founded by Gabe Suarez.  Sponsored at several locations across the country, I attended one given in Fort Branch, Indiana, a small community whose quiet unassuming loveliness was wonderful.  Having a downtown small enough that a local joke is that ‘Everything is only five minutes away from everything else.’ this town has an antebellum history and even a tunnel previously used in the ‘Underground Railroad’ to hide runaway slaves.
The class was taught by Randy Harris and Michael Swisher who make a good team.  Mister Harris I had meet twice before, he has a substantial and well established background in the shooting and defensive disciplines.  Mister Swisher was new to me,  his background includes Infantry, Corrections, and Law Enforcement.   I found of great interest Mister Swishers comment that while he had done these exercises for real, at the time he did not know the methods being now taught, he had survived due more to chance.  I recall he further noted that doing something wrong or poorly but having a good outcome simply reinforces doing it wrong.
Don’t be confused that the course was how to be able to do the things that the FBI Hostage Rescue specialists might do, what the local police SWAT team might do, or what a military squad would do.  Each type of mission is very different, the equipment, training, and intended results are different.  The first portions of the course were looking at the different purposes and goals of these situations.  Remember, the civilians goal is generally not to kill or capture someone, it is to survive, uninjured, and generally to assist in the survival of other innocent persons.  Rather than trying to ‘deal with’ problem people, we may be trying to avoid all contact with them, the same knowledge and skills apply.
No ‘real’ guns are used in this course but instead are ‘airsoft’ guns which fire plastic pellets, each student brings their own.  A common complaint was on the unreliability of these tools.  Participants must wear suitable face masks for these scenarios.  One extra layer of clothing generally provided suitable protection from the pellets which are designed for this purpose of being able to shoot each other.  These tools prevent the question of ‘I got you, No you didn’t’ which occurs in childrens games.  This is a valuable learning technique.  Some courses of this subject use real guns on paper targets which has its own benefits but here you have moving, thinking adversaries, this makes for a very different training environment, a much better opportunity for learning.
There was a good bit of classroom material, covering being clear on the ‘mission’ or goals of any specific event, then strategies and techniques.  These were practiced then later incorporated into scenarios with the instructors or other students as adversaries.
While obviously one doesn’t need to train in this as an armed professional should, it is still a vital part of ones overall knowledge.  It has been said before, simply having a gun is not enough.  Buying a violin doesn’t make you a musician, simply owning a gun or simply being able to shoot doesn’t mean that you can perform with it under stress.  Being able to shoot is not the same thing as being able to fight using a gun.  What comes out of classes like this fills an important gap in most peoples training.

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