Below you will find an index of commonly used definitions. As we mentioned previously, you shouldn’t feel pressured to memorize them immediately; rather, come back to them often when you come across an unfamiliar term while you are reading through this manual.
Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy
Generally speaking, there are three elements that must be present to justify lethal force are Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy.
In some states, you must clearly be able to prove that there was little or no reassemble hope of a safe escape or retreat, or by doing so you would have jeopardized the lives and safety of others.
Ability – Your adversary must clearly demonstrate that he has the ability to kill or cause serious bodily injury, whether that be through the use of weapons, disparity of numbers, size or demonstrated skills such as martial arts (which you must be aware of beforehand).
That is, if your adversary was armed, and not showing that he was armed (concealed carry), or was a black belt in some killer martial art form, you cannot learn of this fact after the fight and use that as part of your defense in a court of law.
Opportunity – Your adversary must clearly have the opportunity to kill or cause serious bodily injury immediately.That is, he must be within range without intervening objects or circumstances, which would prevent him from carrying out an immediate attack whereby he could kill or cause serious bodily injury.
That is to say, he must be within range without intervening objects or circumstances which would prevent him from carrying out an immediate attack whereby he could kill or cause serious bodily injury.
What this is generally understood to mean is that if the man who is armed and is let’s say carrying a machete is simply screaming at you from a distance where he couldn’t immediately pose a threat to you (let’s say 21 feet or more), or even if he were closer and there were a fence or a mote between the two of you where he couldn’t throw the machete or jump the mote, you still would not be justified in the use of lethal force because he does not have the opportunity to kill or cause serious bodily harm under the aforementioned circumstances, regardless of his ability, any perceived intent or jeopardy you may or may not feel.
This is also where the word “immediate” comes into play, and you need to be able to differentiate immediate from imminent.
Encarta defines immediate as:
1. happening or done at first, at once, or without delay 2. nearest in time, space, or relationship 3. urgent or pressing, and so needing to be dealt with before anything else 4. affecting something directly, without anything intervening
As you can see, this keeps in line closely with our above standard of your adversary having the ability to do serious harm right now, as opposed to the word imminent.
The Encarta definition of imminent is:
– about to happen or threatening to happen.
In other words, if your adversary poses an imminent threat, you are not justified in the use of lethal force.
That is to say, if you have an adversary who shows he possesses the ability (a big knife in hand), and who has demonstrated the intent by his actions or words (walking toward you menacingly while you have told him clearly to stop), and then you present your firearm in a test for compliance, and if he should pause, think better of it, turns his back and says to you as he is walking away “Okay, you win this time, but I will find where you live and kill you and your family later.” You are still not justified in the use of lethal force, because when he turned and started walking away the threat moved from immediate, to imminent.So, just because you believe that there is an imminent threat to you and your family, you are not justified in the use of lethal force.
So, just because you believe that there is an imminent threat to you and your family, you are not justified in the use of lethal force.
Jeopardy – Your adversary must be acting in a manner that a reasonable person would be able to clearly assume that your adversary intended in carrying out an attack that jeopardizes life and limb.
What that means is that if the same person above were carrying a machete, were walking past you minding his own business without demonstrating the intent to kill or commit serious bodily harm to you or someone else, you still would not be justified in the use of lethal force, even though you perceive the ability and opportunity exist.
All of the above factors must be present in order to justifiably use lethal force. And furthermore, all those factors must be present and obvious to a reasonable person viewing the same incident through impartial eyes.
Ammunition management: The timely employment of techniques that facilitate the feeding of ammunition into your firearm in order to ensure that you either do not run out of ammunition at an inappropriate time or reduces the amount of time that the firearm is less than fully loaded and ready for deployment.
Challenging/Testing for Compliance: A series of verbal commands and physical articulations that both clearly communicate your intent while assessing a potential target for compliance.
It is important to note that having the time to both challenge and test for compliance is a luxury that is not often available to the individual operator, as the natural tendency of lethal conflict is to gain the upper hand immediately.
That is to say if your adversary is even marginally skilled; his desire will be to ambush you in a manner that does not allow you time to challenge or test for compliance.
Nonetheless, learning how to challenge and test for compliance can go a long way in gaining the initiative, as well as helping you in your target identification and selection should the situation permit.
Color Code: First popularized by Col. Jeff Cooper as a generalization used for the level of mental awareness, mental arousal, and mental preparedness for a lethal force encounter expressed in the colors white, yellow, orange, red, and black.
White = unawares of surroundings, and unprepared for a fight for life.
Yellow = relaxed awareness of surroundings, and mentally preparing to move up the aggression scale if necessary.
Orange = Heightened level of awareness, keying in on specific events/activities while maintaining situational awareness and moving into a mental posture
that is geared up for a fight, and where you are mentally setting the parameters and “triggers” for taking action.
Red = High level of situational awareness where the previous mental triggers for action have been tripped, where you begin to enact your plan, and you begin to take action.
Black = The condition one finds themselves in if they have failed to maintain situational awareness and/or are otherwise surprised by their adversaries assault.
It is important to note that the color code has an endosymbiotic direct link to Boyd’s decision making process, and this endosymbiotic link should be understood.
Combative Fire: Consists of the two techniques of intuitive and combative sighted fire.
With intuitive fire, one learns how to shoot at close proximity targets (0 to 7yards+) under realistic conditions with blinding speed and practical accuracy.
Intuitive fire mirrors the combative sighted fire technique in that the firearm presentation is identical (follows the same physical and neural pathways as combative sighted fire technique), yet one is not attempting to establish a sight picture, nor is one attempting to “index” the sights. Rather, one is using basic body mechanics to intuitively hit their target reliably and quickly.
With combative sighted fire, all the extraneous (and time-consuming) elements are removed from precision shooting, leaving only those techniques needed to guarantee one’s hits on an appropriate target of one’s choosing with combat accuracy under realistic scenarios.
Regardless of the technique chosen, your training should include situations that ensure the process of selecting the appropriate technique is both instantaneous and appropriate for the circumstances you find yourself in. Your training should allow you to consistently and rapidly eliminate the threat even when higher Sympathetic Nervous System reactions are reached.
Contact Drills: A general reference to a three-phase technique of checking your immediate surroundings, ensuring your adversary is out of the fight, and checking beyond your immediate environment in order to regain situational awareness and security of one’s personal sphere immediately following a fight for life.
Contact drills help you to reign yourself in from the aforementioned affects of an SNS response (adrenaline dump – a common reaction in a fight for life), which in turn helps you to think and see more clearly.
Contact drills, like all other techniques, are situationally dependent on both the particular time and situation which will determine when and to what extent they are employed.
Cover and Concealment: Cover and concealment are two considerations that should be taken into account by the fighter in order to gain him an advantage in maintaining a physical distance of his choosing while avoiding incoming fire. Using your cover or concealment to its full use can help the fighter gaining leverage over his adversary.
Cover will stop an incoming projectile from hitting you if utilized correctly.
Examples of cover would be thick brick, stone, concrete walls, engine blocks, etc. Basically, anything that you can get between yourself and the bad guy that will prevent a round from impacting you is considered cover.
Concealment provides little or no ballistic protection and will only serve to hide you from your adversary.
Concealment includes the dark of night, smoke, fog, most furniture, most interior walls, and an unarmored vehicle body/doors/paneling. Anything that can hide you from direct observation and gives your whereabouts ambiguity but does little or nothing to stop rounds can be considered concealment.
The appropriate techniques used to maximize and leverage the benefits of one’s cover/concealment while using those techniques to minimize your adversary’s leverage.
Most of the time this will mean that you will be maneuvering (intelligently moving with a purpose while in contact) in a manner that allows you to utilize both cover and concealment to either obscure and/or give your movements ambiguity, while providing yourself with either additional ballistic protection or better angles with which you can engage your adversary while denying these benefit to your adversary.
This essentially means that you will be using simple geometric angles in aiding you to shield yourself both from visual as well as ballistic threats.
Decision making Process (the): The decision making process can be seen as a time competitive observation, orientation, decision, and action cycle or ‘OODA Loop.’ “Each party to a conflict begins by observing. He observes himself, his physical surroundings, and his enemy. On the basis of his observation, he orientates; that is to say, he makes a mental image or snapshot of his situation and understands the role he holds in it [what – if any influence he can have in the situation]. On the basis of this orientation, he makes a decision. He puts the decision into effect [he acts], and then, because he assumes his action has changed the situation, he observes again and starts the process anew. His actions follow this cycle, sometimes called the ‘Boyd Cycle’ or the OODA Loop. To win any conflict, you need to get inside the adversary’s OODA Loop [their decision making process]. You can either go through the OODA Loop cycle faster than your opponent or you can vary your tempos and rhythms so your opponent cannot keep up with you.” – William Lind, Maneuver Warfare Handbook, Westview Special Studies in Military Affairs. Brackets ours.
For example: when someone has a weapon malfunction and needs to pause momentarily to think about what should be done, or when he clears a malfunction improperly, he expands his OODA loop.
When someone has made the decision to ‘flip the switch’ (see below) and then waits for his adversary to react to his actions, he is expanding his OODA loop.
Conversely, when someone has a weapon malfunction and reflexively clears a malfunction properly, he shrinks his OODA loop. When someone has made the decision to flip the switch and then immediately and ruthlessly attacks his adversary and begins shaping the situation to suit his desires, he is shrinking his OODA loop while expanding and unraveling his adversary’s decision making process.
Every decision that a man or animal makes – or fails to make – goes through this process to some extent. The victor of any encounter can manage his OODA loop and leverage the ability to cycle through the loop faster; the vanquished may not even know they are already engaged in the process. Those who are smarter than they are strong will attempt to deceive their opponents into not realizing that their OODA loops have already begun, such as an ambush attack on their adversaries.
It is important you understand these fundamental concepts, yet we can not stress strongly or often enough that the basic concept needs to be kept simple: Make your adversary react to your meaningful and effective actions.
As William Lind observes: “By the time your adversary reacts to what you have done, you should already be doing something different from what your adversary has observed/expected, thereby rendering your adversary’s actions inappropriate. With each cycle that you complete, your adversary’s actions become more inappropriate by a larger time margin. Even though your adversary may be desperately striving to do something that will work, each action performed will be less useful than the preceding one, causing him to fall even further then and further behind. Often when this realization hits home for your adversary, he will panic and thereby exacerbate his problem making it all the easier for you to shut him down.” This is the power of the OODA looped when it is forced upon your adversary and you are in an active state.
Furthermore, the concept of observing, orienting, deciding, and acting can be trained to such a fine point (ingrained at the unconscious competent level) and compressed to such a short time that the lines blur and start to blend into what appears one single observation/orientation and decision/action, this concept is what we refer to as an “OODA Pulse.”
Herein lies the raw power that you will be experiencing during your training with us. We will teach you simple and reliable techniques that will give you skills which are easily learned and adaptable to your particular situation – techniques that quickly become second nature and blend into your body’s natural reaction to high-stress events such as lethal force encounters. Through our unique and proprietary training methodology you will learn to mold these concepts and techniques uniquely “your own,” and you will apply these concepts and techniques both on the range and during your RBT scenarios where you will see and feel the raw power of the Pulse Engine.
Note: As mentioned previously, we are not attempting to give you a formula to memorize in order to win. What is important is that you understand you must cause your opponent to react to you, and not vice versa, and once you have gained the initiative, you must keep pressing until you have destroyed your adversary’s ability to be a threat.
Because of the importance of the OODA Loop, we have added an augmented section entitled The OODA loop expanded to the end of the definition list (below the vectoring definition), which will also contain a scenario to better help flesh out the concept. Please take an extra moment and read the expanded version if you have the time because it really is important that you understand this process.
De-escalating: Gearing down from a mental state that was non-communicative, ready, willing, and able to commit violence, to one that is communicative and able to issue directions.
Firearms manipulations: A generic term used to describe the techniques used to keep one’s firearm up and running by both managing the ammunition supply, quickly engaging your adversary with fast and accurate fire, and efficiently clearing any malfunctions that may occur, before, during, and after the fight.
Firearms manipulations include techniques such as chamber checks, proper loading and unloading, reloads, and malfunction clearances.
For an in-depth discussion of these techniques, please refer to the appropriate Pulse O2DA Drills Manual which covers the subject for handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
Flipping the Switch: We call the mental act of switching from a social and communicative being to a violent non-communicative being “flipping the switch.” This transition usually follows the realization that the time for communicating has ended and the time for swift, ruthless, and decisive counter-violence has begun.
Flipping the switch means that you will need mercilessly inflicting real trauma (physical damage) into another human being(s) in order to break your adversary down both mentally and physically in the fastest manner possible.
It is important to realize that breaking your adversary down both mentally and physically by imparting real and debilitating trauma in the shortest amount of time will most likely lead to another human’s death.
To begin the journey to life-saving skills, one must first come to grips with the necessity to kill, then make peace with the need for killing, understand the roadblocks (lack of proper training, over-socialization, genetic predispositions) and then focus one’s training for the reality of a high-stress lethal force encounter.
A high-stress lethal force encounters takes place when another human being attempting to kill you or other innocents.These scenarios most often occur in an uncertain, violent, chaotic, environments of an adrenaline filled experience. In these instances you may
These scenarios most often occur in an uncertain, violent, chaotic, environments of an adrenaline filled experience.In these instances you may fell your heart racing, your perception narrowing, time warping, etc., and furthermore, lethal force encounters will most likely greatly distort your perception due to the chemicals racing through your body. What’s more, the entire encounter will be wrapped in the sure knowledge of pain and certain death for someone (maybe you) should you not be able to act appropriately and instantly inflict lethal levels of brutal violence on another human being in order to immediately stop their actions.
In these instances you may fell your heart racing, your perception narrowing, time warping, etc., and furthermore, lethal force encounters will most likely greatly distort your perception due to the chemicals racing through your body. What’s more, the entire encounter will be wrapped in the sure knowledge of pain and certain death for someone (maybe you) should you not be able to act appropriately and instantly inflict lethal levels of brutal violence on another human being in order to immediately stop their actions.
In other words, in order to fight effectively, you must learn how to kill efficiently and ruthlessly while in the above mentioned high-stress environment, and the only way to learn how to kill efficiently is to make peace with this reality well before the fight and then seek the kind of training that will better prepare you to kill under the duress of a high-stress lethal force encounter.
The reason for this is simple; if you don’t have the will to kill instantaneously – if you haven’t been “killing enabled” – or if you are not one of the genetically gifted three percent of the population who don’t have the same moral/ethical hangups, you will not be able to perform the action of killing and you will hesitate.
If you hesitate you will either remain in, or be forced into, a reactive state where you are reacting to your adversaries actions, allowing your adversary to inflict more damage, and if you can’t wrestle the initiative from your adversary by flipping the switch and force them to react to your actions, you an/or other innocents will die.
The hesitation to kill when necessary comes from a lack of training, a lifetime of over-socialization, and some argue – genetic predisposition. The only way to break through the wall of over-socialization and any genetic predisposition is proper training.
As dramatic as the above may sound – it’s a fact, and while not a pleasant thing to state yet if the reality of a lethal force confrontation goes unstated and you are not training for this fact, you are only setting yourself up for failure when your life and other innocent lives will hang in the balance.
This isn’t hyperbole, this is the cold hard truth that science, countless first-hand accounts, and cold hard statistics point to. So when we say that learning how to truly and decisively “flip the switch” is a key to saving your life, we are not exaggerating. Being able to flip the switch is one of the elements of what Ken Murray calls the Task Triad (see definition below), which consists of stress resistant skills, stress inoculation, and killing enabling.
If you are not killing enabled, you could be the best shooter in the world and your odds of survival would be just as poor as the uninitiated who has marginal gun-handling skills, because the stress potentially generated by the lethal force event combined with your inability to kill, will work against you and you won’t be able to press the trigger on another living human being.
Unfortunately, most firearms training doesn’t take into account the task triad and the importance of killing enabling within that triad. This is not surprising because killing is a controversial subject most people and organizations avoid.
However, the reality of the situation is that killing enabling can not be learned from any book or on any range drills. Only the mechanics of fighting (skill mastery), can be taught on the range. Learning to kill efficiently requires total submersion in quality Reality Based Training (RBT) scenarios where you can experience what violence looks (orientation) and feels like (stress inoculation), and then learn to operate within the chaos. This type of experiential learning will help reduce the level of SNS reaction to a controllable level, one that promotes proper and even enhanced performance.
The specific signals for flipping the switch will be different for each situation, recognizing when to shut up and fight becomes easier to recognize the more you train with realistic RBT scenarios. With good training, you will learn when and how to flip your switch so that you will decisively win that fight for life. Through realistic RBT scenarios and our proprietary training techniques, you can acquire the tools to conquer the challenges that come up during lethal force encounters.
While you may not yet fully understand and appreciate the necessity and power behind flipping the switch, what you need to know right now is: When you recognize that communications will not work and that you will need to fight to save lives, you must do so unreservedly and commit all of your efforts and focus on destroying your adversary by becoming the causal factor in his life in order to ruthlessly destroy him.
Initiative: In the tactical arena, initiative means the freedom of action; the ability to chose one’s course of action from all the available options. Our goal is always to either begin with and keep the initiative or wrestle it away from our adversary at the first opportunity, thus giving ourselves more options while limiting our adversary’s options and isolating him.
By keeping the initiative and remaining the causal factor in our adversaries life and pressing the attack, we are not only keeping all of our options open; we are creating more options as we continue to effect change and keep our adversary in a reactive state.