If you don't have to, don't go! Rule #1! As a trained law enforcement officer this is probably one of the most dangerous things you may have to do. Remember I said trained! For a civilian it is definitely the worst and most likely a fatal decision to make. More likely than not you may wind up in a rubber bag! When you watch this being done by trained professionals it looks pretty simple but that's because these professionals have spent many. and I mean many of hours perfecting this type of procedure.
The following article by one of the best in the business, Mr. Clint Smith, (Thunder Ranch) will give some insight on the do's and don'ts. If you decide to get some of his type of training, make sure that the instructor has a complete and knowledgeable understanding of this type of training, i.e. practical working experience or certified to teach this venue.
Hallways & Corners
Highways to Heaven or Hell?
-Clint Smith (Thunder Ranch)
Hallways are by definition are “a corridor or passage in a building”. Corridors are by definition a passageway into which compartment or room’s open or a restricted lane as in an air traffic corridor. These hallways, corridors, or passageways can restrict flow or movement and are generally found in conjunction with doors and corners. Following are some concepts and thoughts for clearing, working and maybe fighting in and around hallways and their adjoining corners.
Working both sides of a doorway is the same in halls or rooms but halls will be tighter.
Clearing or Offense
When moving down the hall you have two choices. One is to stay close to the wall to minimize yourself as a target. Two is to move down the middle of the hall to reduce the potential of being hit by ricochets but more importantly flying debris. Much of which technique you select will be based on what material the walls of the hallway you are in are made of. If is a hard material concrete or the like, it doesn’t take a mental giant to figure out one may be hit by gunfire or fragmentation and stuff coming down the hallway. If it is required to move in the hallway then approach open doors and corners with caution. Kick in your program as discussed earlier on doors and doorways. Visually slice the opening with your eyes keeping the muzzle of your weapon in support. Do not lead into the opening with your elbow, foot, hat brim or the end of the weapons muzzle! Work from the right side of the hall to clear the left corner then back up, cross over and work from the left side of the hall to clear the right corner visually. Look as far into the area you are clearing as possible. Use fixtures inside the room to help you clear it. Look at mirrors, windows or anything that would reflect or show the movements or location of possible threats.
Holding or In Defense
In applying defense there are notable assets to engaging your opponent in doorways, at corners and definitely in hallways because their movement is restricted and their exposure is great while their available cover is negligible. The length of your hallway or corridor of course dictates the potential exposure time that you will have to engage the threat. Anything that could be added to slow the forward momentum of your opponent is helpful. As in stairways, furniture, debris, gunfire or bright lights…all serve to retard the forward movement. Once movement is slowed or stopped the only deciding criteria in the hallway is who can provide the best marksmanship to stop and hold the threat’s forward movement.
An example of this is we may be holding safe ground at the end of a hallway on someone who says he wants to commit suicide but in reality wants us to dispatch them because they don’t have the guts to do themselves in. The problem with this scenario is sometimes the dummies kill us also as part of their death wish, hence the reason for giving guidelines like the ones above.
As before when you start down a hallway remember the last safest place that you cleared in case the hallway becomes untenable. There will be a hallway that can’t be cleared by going straight ahead and you had better consider it. You will either back up or be stuffed in a bag. Don’t apply the thought process of “Well, they may get me, but I will take them with me.” The bottom line is the same; you’ll be in the bag. Movement in a hallway that restricts movement and flow is very dangerous. Minimize your exposure time in them by avoiding them or moving through them as quickly as possible. There are two choices as mentioned before, going fast or slow. Whatever your speed of movement your muzzle should be between you and the threat so you can protect yourself. If you can move with someone in support of your movement to give you supporting fire then do so. Last, but not least the wise and prudent person would plan a method of an organized withdrawal to deal with the worst-case scenario.
Hallways with door openings and were to be looking
Basic construction of doors, hallways and stairs creates corners. As a result these corners restrict flow or movement. To clear or work around corners compresses the potential threats to close to us. Corners can come singly or in pairs in the forms of a ninety-degree turn or also as one hundred eighty degrees as in a hallway entering a room. Corners are most often found in a vertical plane but can be horizontal as in a stairwell overhang. The same rules apply maximize the distance to the corner and expose the least amount of you while trying to see the most amount of the area your trying to clear. Use your eyes with the weapon muzzle in support as you clear the corner.
Working corners at the pivot point
Home on the Range
Home on the Range
This brings us to a point of interest; even as cops you should never have a tactical problem in your own home. Clear it now and practice often so you get it right. Set mirrors and furniture to your advantage to help you clear areas without entering. Proper placement of a mirror can help you look down a hallway before you stick your head in. There is the thought that your opponent could look in the mirror back and see you, but you would rather that they see you in the mirror than shoot you in the head as you attempt to clear an area. A good practice exercise is to have someone hide a full-length mirror any place in your home where a potential human could hide. Go look and find it and what you see in the mirror is the same thing a real threat will see of you. Did you expose your entire body or just a bit of your head with the muzzle in front of it slicing the corner.
All applications of tactics are dangerous and your preference should be to pass on doing whenever you can…then again if you have to do it better to be up to the task required. This skill is acquired over time and practice and the more you practice, the less likely it is that you’ll have to use or do it. One final thought is people shoot you because they see you and they see you because you let them. So don’t let them see you. And if they want to shoot you make them shoot through something to get the job.
I can be shot, I have been, but I will not do anything to help it happen again.
If they want to shoot us, make the bastards work for it. ~C