Guns, guns, guns.

Force on Force Training

Recall an early scene in Speed.

The scene where Keanu is rappelling in an elevator shaft, and he and his team mate are running through scenarios to kill time.

Keanu’s character says “Shoot the jogger hostage… Take her out of the equation. Go for the good wound and he can’t get to the plane with her. Clear shot.”


I did a beta-test on Saturday of FoF training, using airsoft guns. For those who don’t know, FoF stands for “Force on Force”, and it is a training methodology which seeks to duplicate real-world scenarios as accurately as is possible, while retaining a high degree of safety.

FoF uses instructors and actors who are bad guys or innocents. If they are BG’s they might be unarmed, or have practice weapons (eg rubber knives, airsoft guns, simunitions, sticks, etc.). The students are the good guys and they try to navigate themselves (and possibly other actors) through the scenarios without being compromised, and have pretend versions of the weapons or tools they would have in real life.

It’s not playing guns like I did when I was a kid, nor is it like paintball or Airsoft as a combat simulation. Many of the scenarios can and should be resolved without a gun ever appearing – in FoF, if someone asks you what time it is, they may actually just want to know what time it is.

I don’t know what the plans are to open it up, so I’m not going to talk about who ran it. The organizers did a great job and I found it to be quite instructive and enjoyable. Somewhat disturbing in some parts, thrilling in others. I will definitely and enthusiastically do this again.

Safety was the highest priority and was well managed. We used an entirely closed course so there was no chance for civilian or other random appearances by innocent bystanders. We were extremely thorough about getting all the real-life gear out of the area. Everyone ditched their real stuff in one locked car trunk, and then we all patted each other down. Injuries for the day were minor and manageable – certainly not as bad as a good day of paintball.


The only safety hindsight observation I have is that I’d like to see the class run as if it were truly HOT, which is to say holster everything always, never leave guns laying about, everyone should be goggled or glassed 100% of the time, etc. I think that this is important as it should reinforce safe gun handling.

I think that everyone should be required to bring an airsoft version of their own primary carry weapon (or a facsimile if no airsoft replica exists), with their carry holster and spare mags, by the second time they do this. First timers can use loaner gear; everyone else has to bring their own.

We should video tape the whole thing. I have no idea what my draws actually looked like – eg if I crossed my own body or how long I fumbled around with my coverage. If we could tape, AND do the scenarios in real-world locations, we’d be incredibly golden.

Well okay, that AND occasionally use Simunitions with real gear. J

Okay okay, now I’m done with improvements.

The scenarios I remember were:

  • ATM mugging
    • 2 BG’s, both with guns drawn. Only right answer was to hand them the money. Distance was impossible to manage, and two guns pointed at your face is hard to mitigate.
  • Distance drills – 1 and 3 person assaults from 20 feet
    • 1 person is all about movement; 3 people is all about being a pretty corpse
  • Non-violent panhandler; aggressive panhandler
    • Manage distance! Be forceful but respectful and not aggressive, use your canned loop (mine for the past 12 tears has been to look them straight in the eyes and say “sorry man” with my hands in front of me, palms out, arms bent.). Don’t stop moving. “Fail the interview.”
  • 2 person entrapment in a park
    • Essentially the same as panhandler, only now with a +1 BG and they will jack you if you let them get close.
  • Tacoma Mall Shooting Variant
    • AK toting BG hoses down innocents, you have a locked up child with you, you’re stuck in the open. If you run backwards to cover, you die. If you stay in the open, you die. If you leave your child, your child will die. You must physically drag the child (in my case an adult actor) forward into cover and then pie out and take the BG down. If you then break cover to “investigate”, you will likely die when you get hosed down by a +1. I rocked on this one. J
  • Attacker and innocent jogger
    • I call this the “Sith” scenario. I will note in my defense that I got 4 clean high-body shots on a running jogger in under a second and the BG never got close to me! Not that this would have made me feel very good as I dialed 911. I did not rock on this one. So: need to work on threat assessment.  
  • Home invasion
    • Silly hosing fun.
  • Getting into the car with groceries
    • I would have stopped the BG in this one with 3 body shots, but I think I would have taken collateral damage. Interesting scenario. Several people accidentally negated the attack through good process – eg putting the groceries into the passenger side of the car first.

Things of note

  • I am fairly proficient at drawing and acquiring targets. Certainly “enough” to not feel deficient. Need to keep practicing.
  • Airsoft doesn’t hurt as much as paintball; I think that years of serious paintball has significantly improved my target acquisition, use of cover, movement and rapid shooting.
  • I can put a lot of rounds on someone while both of us are moving.
  • Don’t shoot the innocent jogger as he runs by, especially not on purpose, most especially not 4 times. Feel free to re-acquire and neutralize actual assailants after capping innocent bystanders.
  • My current instincts are solid, if somewhat overly combat-y, and not defensively, oriented (see “shooting the jogger”.)
  • If left to my own devices I will put a lot of rounds out. I will likely shoot until slide lock or the BG is down, and I think my follow-up shots were always on. I put 13 rounds into the Tacoma Mall BG.


  • A day well spent.
  • Don’t be a Sith – don’t shoot the jogger.
  • I need to get a double stack for my primary carry. I think I might have shot to slide-lock in every scenario if I was using a single-stack 1911, most likely too early. I certainly would have been re-loading under stress. My Kimber Ultra CDP II is likely going to wind up as a secondary and not a primary carry. My current thinking is a double-stack 1911 (maybe in a Commander slide?) or the new SA XD45, which I’d like to get some range time with. Grip is still pretty chunky – I checked one out over the weekend. Second up is something in 40 (SA, Glock, or the new SW MP), but I’m much more ambivalent about those. Definitely NOT a double-action or anything with a de-cocker.
  • I need to work on calming down just a little bit once the gun is clear of the holster. The jogger thing again.

2 thoughts on “Force on Force Training

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