The NTI - National Tactical Invitational

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The National Tactical Invitationals are held every year in Harrisburg PA. Not technically here in the NE, I guess, but certainly very doable for any of us - more so than driving out to AZ or OR for Gunsite or Thunder Ranch, anyway.

There are only 50 slots available, and you have to "request" an invitation, submit a resume listing your experience, training, etc. Definitely NOT for newbies, but, Boy, does it look like fun!

I've never been, but it's certainly on MY "one of these days I gotta . . ." list.

Here, (From another list I'm on, and slightly edited and condensed by me.) is a brief description and pointer.

Cameron - basically NTI is your worst nightmare AND the best training you can get - all rolled up into 5 days of seminars, discussions, live fire shooting (including 360^), sims (force-on-force), partners, and above all... finding out what you know and what skills you need to work on. (not to mention meeting up with some of the best folks around).

NTI is a self test... you're not competing against everyone else - you're there to find out what would happen to you if/when the SHTF in the real world. So OK, occasionally things get a little 'other-worldly' but mostly it's realistic enough to be plausable.

For a bit more background of what NTI is, read through the website.


http://www.teddytactical.com/NTIXIV.html

Oh, and just in case you weren't aware... NTI is not just for manly men... us females have been known to do ok, too. ;-D

SJ (Army Mom)
Regards
John
 
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John Farnam's description of the 2005 NTI:

06June05

NTI 2005

We'll all now recovering from the 2005 NTI in Harrisburg, PA, nursing the customary cuts, scrapes, and Simmunitions bruises. Bruised knees, elbows, and egos go with the territory at the NTI, and this year provided it all, in spades!

Our sincere thanks, once more, to Skip, Jim, Hersh, and the entire NTI staff for a wonderful and enlightening event.

Live-fire events were entitled:
Don & Kenny's Hard Luck Café, Dueling Banjos Medical Clinic, Skills Demonstration, Harmony House, ASTA Old Folks' Home, Subway Madness

Simmunitions/role-playing events were:
Underground Parking Garage, Tattoo Parlor, Pawn Shop, Bank Robbery, Gang Rumble, House/team problem, Restaurant/team problem,

As always, live-fire targets were three-dimensional mannequins, dressed, reactive (when hit), and mixed in with "non-targets." There were hostages, hostage takers, moving targets, moving non-targets, building mockups, periodic explosions (complete with falling/flying debris), people screaming, loud music, and smoke. Targets were armed, menacing, and some were obviously wearing body armor. Not all were facing you. Side and quartering shots were sometimes required. They were holding pistols, rifles, knives, claw hammers, RPGs, and, in one exercise, there was an M26 hand grenade rolling around on the floor which apparently belonged to no one!

In the Subway Madness Event, you find yourself in the middle of a terrorist attack at a downtown, urban intersection. Your goal is to rescue an infant in a baby carriage (mother has been shot to death and is lying next to the carriage) and get to a subway egress which has a concrete entryway, providing cover and an escape route. Panicked bystanders are everywhere, holding cameras, handbags, at al. Terrorist suspects have guns, are holding them in a menacing manner, and clearly represent active threats. With others, it is less clear.

There are several items of useable cover: cars, mail boxes, etc. Target identification is difficult, as some people are as far away as one hundred meters. An apparently loaded and functional Kalashnikov rifle is lying on the street, next to its slain (previous) owner.

I quickly gunned down several obvious terrorists while moving to the nearest object of cover. With distant figures, I could not confirm if they represented a
threat or not, so I did not engage them, nor did I pick up the Kalashnikov (never saw it). Others did pick it up and use it. Still others intentionally left it where it was, considering that it may well mark them as terrorists.
Still others (like me) left it where it was, because they never saw it. My persistent problem is that I often fail to see items for which I' not looking. So, when I'm looking only for threatening people, I don 't see things like unattended Kalashnikovs!

Moving from cover to cover, I finally rescued the baby, but I had trouble getting him out of the carriage, as he was strapped in. In retrospect, I could have taken the entire carriage, but I never thought of it.

Lessons: You must zig-zag when running directly toward or away from threats. Otherwise, from their perspective, you're standing still and thus present a useful, and not particularly challenging, target.

Your defensive handgun skill set must include a well-established ability to hit human targets at relatively long ranges, as far as fifty meters. Close threats are most likely, but when you're routinely armed only with a pistol, you must have the ability to effectively deal with a wide spectrum of threats.

Along that line, Express Sights on pistols present a sight picture that is too coarse to be useful past ten meters. Several participants discovered this to their frustrated dismay. Express Sights are wonderful on shotguns, but, in view of the foregoing, I don't recommend them on pistols.

In any life-threatening emergency, you have to keep looking for, and considering, options. That way, you can tweak your basic plan in an instant. Always have a general blueprint (plan) but retain flexibility. However, once you make a decision, don't look back! Do one thing. Don' try to do several things at once, as your focus will become divided, and you'll start to dither.

Whatever you decide to do, understand that neither your plan nor your execution will be perfect. Afterward, someone will always point out where you could have done it better. None of that is important! Worry less about finding the perfect solution and more about good, aggressive action. Don't become a victim of "The Paralysis of Analysis." A banal plan, executed in the nick of time, is better, by far, than is the perfect plan executed a moment too late. In a fight, think less; act more!

The Old Folks' Home Event was staged in the 360 degree range, and each participant was required to go in alone. With all other life-fire events, you have a member of the range staff with you, but with this one, you're on your
own. Once in the problem, you're free to move and shoot as fast as you wish, and in any direction!

You find yourself at an old folks' home, visiting relatives who are residents there. As you enter the building trying to find them, there is a loud explosion. Flying debris comes cascading down on you. Simultaneously, gun shots are heard as well as threatening voices, and you then see a hand grenade on the floor in front of you. When you try to retreat back out the door through which you entered, you discover it is now locked. Your task is to live long enough to rescue your (two) relatives and escape, with them, out the back door.

Most threats are not immediately visible, but they lurk everywhere! I had to move quickly, but not too quickly. It is a balance. Stay one place too long, and you'll find yourself outmaneuvered. Move too quickly, and you'll
blunder into a trap.

As always, I moved aggressively from cover to cover, gunning down threats as fast as I could perceive and identify them. Reloading had to be accomplished quickly, and I dared not look at my pistol in the process, lest a threat sneak up on me. I ran out of ammunition at one point and was compelled to transition to by backup gun. My main gun had to be jettisoned, as there was no time to reholster it

At one point, I was confronted by a terrorist who had explosives strapped to his chest. Range was two meters, and I had sparse cover at the moment. I elected to shoot him in the head, which I did without hesitation. In retrospect, I could have moved to better cover instead of shooting instantly, but I selected the former course of action.

Exhausted and out of breath, I finally rescued and evacuated my relatives!

Lessons: When moving in a dangerous environment, within a building or anywhere threats can be close but unseen, you must practice retention gun-handling techniques: retention draw, retention reload, and retention movement. Your pistol needs to stay close to your body, particularly when you're holding it with only one hand. For example, when you move while leading with your gun , you may find yourself suddenly blind-sided and forcibly disarmed. Worse, you'll telegraph your presence to all looking your way. They may not see your entire body, but they'll see your hands and gun sticking out from behind a corner.

Convenient way for you to alert them to your presence and prepare them to confront you effectively!

You must learn to continually identify, seek, and use cover to your best advantage. Otherwise, you'll find yourself in the open too much of the time. Always present threats and potential threats with a difficult target.
Movement must be swift, smooth, and planned. The best tactic is to move from cover to cover, pieing corners as necessary, and remaining in the open only for brief periods.

Much of your shooting will be one-handed, unsupported. Carrying injured relatives and holding doors open will tie up at least one of your hands more or less continuously. You must be practiced and proficient at one-handed shooting, with either hand!

Doors and other subtle clues are easy to miss when you're not looking for them.

Threats must be dealt with, of course, but don't forget your goal. Your goal is not to chase after and kill every bad guy in the area. Your goal is to disengage and escape with minimum damage to yourself and your relatives.
Continued in next post . . .
 
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Continued from post #2 . . .

The "Harmony House" is your residence. As you arrive home, it becomes obvious from the disarranged furniture that something is wrong. You know that your adult son is in the house. Your goal is to find your son and, with him, escape with minimum damage.

I drew my pistol and started moving quickly. There were a number of rooms, and I had to call to my son and try to find him. Several armed criminals were confronted and shot to death as fast as they could be identified. Blood (red Koolade) spattered as my bullets found their mark. Some of it ended on me! One armed criminal was wearing body armor and had to be shot in the head. Range was three meters.

When I did locate my son, I saw that he had suffered a neck wound, as blood was pulsing in projectile spurts from his carotid artery. I told him to apply pressure to the wound with his hand and to follow me. There was no time to apply a pressure dressing.

When we reached the back door, more armed criminals greeted us. All had to be gunned down before we could make good our escape.

Lessons: Don't relax too soon! Just as I reached the back door, out of breath and exhausted, I thought the end was in sight. No such luck! I started to relax just when I should have been most vigilant. Look before you exit!

In the Skills Demonstration, you are required to quickly and effectively engage targets, from the concealed draw, while moving off the line of force, at extremely close range to short range. You also need to demonstrate that you can correctly reload, reduce stoppages, use cover, and scan. Targets are exposed only for a matter of seconds, so you need to be able to move fast.

Lesson: Nearly all participants know how to perform these basic defensive pistol skills, but some still hesitated and fumbled, because they have not practiced enough to be able to perform under the stress of a timed event. Amateurs practice until the get it right. Professional practice until they can't get it wrong!

At the Dueling Banjos Medical Clinic, you find yourself undressed and unarmed (except for a hospital gown), as you are about to undergo a medical examination. In addition, your right leg is in a brace, so you can't move
very fast. You do have a flashlight. The entire building is dark. When you enter the examination room, you find the doctor has been shot and killed. Gunshots and threatening voices are heard, along with loud country music. Beside the dead doctor is a single-shot, break-open rifle in 357 Maximum caliber. A dozen cartridges are scattered on a table. Your goal is to rescue your wife and adult son, who are also at the clinic, using only the rifle and ammunition that you found.

Grabbing the rifle and scooping up as many cartridges as I could, I got the rifle loaded and cocked as I held my flashlight and cartridges in my left hand, dropping a few as I went along. There were no pockets on the gown.
Hobbling down the darkened hall, I checked the first room. There, in a dark corner, was my son, with an armed criminal behind him holding a gun to his head.

Trying to use the rifle and flashlight at the same time, while not dropping my handful of cartridges, I shot the criminal in the head, once again splattering blood on myself. I don't think anyone looked graceful performing
this stage! After engaging several other armed criminals, my family and I were able to escape.

Lesson: In a tactical emergency, spend your time finding a way to win, not looking for an excuse to lose. At every NTI there is a "Mystery Gun " stage, where you are compelled to effectively employ an unfamiliar firearm. This iteration was particularly frustrating. The trick is to stay focused. It is easy to become overwhelmed while trying to juggle too many thoughts and
circumstances. You have to keep your objective in mind and keep spinning your OODA loop as you identify viable options. Whatever the circumstance, whatever the obstacles, resolve to fight through and fight on.

At Don & Kenny's Hard Luck Cafe, once again, you enter looking for a family member. As soon as you walk in, you see armed criminals and several victims laying on the floor, actively bleeding from gunshot wounds. The entrance is blocked, and your only choice is to find the back door. In this exercise, bad guys are pneumatic instead of impact activated, so they take a lot of shooting before they go away. I immediately went to work on them with my G 38 as they appeared and disappeared. I went through both magazines and had to transition to my backup. Five shot later, and I had to transition to my second backup. Seven shoots at the last bad guy, and I had no more functional guns on me! Without delay, out came my Cold Steel Vaquero Grande! As the blade snapped into place, the range officer informed me that the exercise was over, as he knew I was ready to go at the last mannequin!

Lesson: If you carry a gun for personal protection, carry at least two. When you carry backup guns, you must regularly practice with them and transitioning to them. Going from gun to blade is also an important transition that must be practiced.

At the Underground Parking Garage, you are trying to find your car. It's dark. A woman nearby is also trying to find hers. A man appears and asks you if you and the woman are together. He then produces a pistol and starts shooting at the terrified woman.

When he asked me the question, I said no. When he subsequently threatened the woman, I grabbed her and placed her in front of me as I used my car for cover. A gun battle ensued between the armed criminal and me. He was unable to hit me, because I kept appearing in a different place. Unfortunately, he did the same thing, and I could not get a clear shot at him either. I finally pushed the woman out ahead of me as we left cover and escaped through the entryway. I was not hit, but the woman was, in the leg.

Lesson: When confronted by strangers, don't answer questions. Instead of answering the criminal's question, I should have said, "Sorry, I can't help you."

Rescuing innocent people is a question that must be settled between you and your own conscience. I was unwilling to stand by and watch this woman murdered, but I really didn't know anything about the situation, and it may not have been a smart move. For the record, it was my decision.

I should have used my light in the Harries' Technique while engaging the criminal from behind cover. He later told me that I blinded him at first, but then I put the light away. I should have continued to blind him.

Use verbal challenges. I kept saying "We're police officers . Drop your weapon!"

Although he didn't give up, I could tell my commands were confusing him and dividing his focus.

At the Tattoo Parlor, nothing happened! Jumpy participants looked in vain for threats, but none appeared. Some even brandished guns, only to be compelled to sheepishly put them away. Others got into pointless, verbal alterations, when all they had to do was walk away.

Lesson: Don't pick fights. Be alert, but don't start imagining threats where there aren't any. When casual conversations deteriorate, disengage immediately. Non-compliance is the best indicator of trouble. When a perfectly reasonable request is refused or ignored, it's time to leave.

At The Pawn Shop, you're looking over an assortment of guns as you contemplate a purchase. An armed robber bursts in and confronts the owner at gunpoint, mumbling about how he owes him something. He displays little interest in you.

I assumed the pseudo-submissive position and indicated I wanted to leave, but the robber blocked the exit. I saw no opportunity to draw and shoot, so I waited. The robber eventually got what he came for and left. I exited
immediately thereafter, only to be confronted, at gunpoint, by a second armed criminal! Again, there was no opportunity to draw and fire or for a disarm .

Eventually, the Sheriff came along and defused the situation.

Lesson: When in the presence of armed criminals, keep as many options open for as long as you can. Look for opportunities. Sometimes, waiting is the best option, at least in the short term. When your options start drying up , such as when criminals want to search you, or demand that you get on your knees, or try to heard you into a freezer, make your move while you still can!

At The Bank, you are again minding your own business, trying to make a cash transaction. In bursts an armed robber brandishing a pistol. This time, he took a direct interest in me, demanding my wallet. I tossed it to him. He then demanded my watch. When he reached out to take it, I performed a disarm.

Lesson: Sometimes, a forcible disarm is the only viable option, but you have to get close enough to make it work. Disarms are something we teach and drill in our Advanced Classes, as they are a vital part of your repertoire .

When you decide to surrender your wallet, toss it on the ground. He may bend over to retrieve it giving you an opportunity to shoot him. I thought about that afterward.

At the Gang Rumble, you find yourself and three friends in the middle of a shooting war between rival gangs, right in the middle of town! A convent escape is down a dark alley as two, armed gang members rush toward you.
It became clear to me that these two gang members were intent on going down the alley. It also became clear that they had no interest in me. I therefore decided to step aside and let them proceed, which they did. They could have shot me on the way, but it appeared they were so intent in getting into the fight on the other side of the alley that I was just a minor distraction. I was content to remain so.

Continued in next post . . .
 
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Continued from post #3 . . .

On Saturday, we all participated in two, team, roll-playing exercises: The House/Team Problem and the Restaurant/Team Problem.

In both drills, you and a partner find yourselves together in a situation. Only one of you is armed. There is another two-man team in the exercise, and all four try to make contact, develop synergy, and proceed.

In the House Exercise, you and a friend are sharing a condo with another two people whom you've just met. Suddenly, armed home invaders break in and start shooting.

In this exercise, my partner and I never linked up with the other two. My partner was armed but overwhelmed. He tried to throw his pistol to me, but it landed short. Other groups did link up and were able to work together.

In the Restaurant Exercise, you are one in a party of four, but all four can't be seated together, so you find yourself and one partner in an isolated room by yourselves. Suddenly, there is shooting and yelling. Only one of the two of you is armed. You try to link up with your friends and escape.
I was the one armed this time. The entry was blocked, so we started going room to room, with me in the lead. We encountered an armed citizen. He had his gun out, but we were able to determine that he did not represent a threat.
Unfortunately, he was scared, unsophisticated, and of little use, so we took his pistol from him and put him between us as we continued. We then found ourselves in a stand-off with several armed criminals. We could no longer proceed toward the exit. Then, the building caught on fire, so we had to escape! Calls to our partners went unanswered. One of the criminals stuck his pistol and hands out from a corner. I saw the opportunity and shot him in the hands. My partner shot another who made the fatal mistake of sticking his head out in the same place once too often! I then told my partners to make for the door and I charged the other criminal. He panicked and fled around the corner, but I chased him down and shot him to death. I then saw a third criminal guarding the exit. I went after him too. He fled also, and the three of us then made good our escape. As it turns out, our two partners had already escaped ahead of us.

Lessons: When using cover (1) don't continually expose your head in the same place and (2) don't lead with your gun. More than one person got his hands and head shot as he stuck them around a corner!

In a group, someone has to take charge and give directions. An emergency is no time for a "consensus."

Sometimes, rough-hewn aggressiveness is the only viable option. When belligerently charged, most people panic and default into a disorganized retreat. When they do, they are vulnerable. Victory is never risk-free!

For professional gunmen, the NTI is an event not to be missed. We're all looking forward to next year!

/John
 
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More from John Farnam on last year's NTI . . .

07June05

Some sage NTI comments from one of my instructors who attended for the first time this year:

"1. Don't dither, but, if you must, do it behind cover. The plethora of corridors, doors, and rooms confused me. More than once, I found myself standing in the open, befuddled, trying to decide what to do next. I made a useful target! When you are compelled to pause in order to tweak your plan, seek cover.

2. Tunneling. Not only is the visual version pernicious, I found that my mental processes also suffered from the equivalent. Outside of the parameters of the simple mission upon which my mind was focused, I missed: an empty cup next to loose ammunition, ready to be used as a carryable container, a wheel chair that was clearly visible and perfectly useable to move disabled relatives to safety, and a perfectly fine stroller into which the baby was already strapped. But, no, I had to unstrap him, lift him out, and then carry him in my arms. Duh!

3. Don't allow yourself be crowded/pressured. During the Tattoo Parlor Scenario, I found myself seated in a chair, getting a tattoo, with the owner waving a knife behind me. Simply saying, 'Slow down, friend. I want to look around before I make a decision,' while smiling, would have enabled me to keep to my own rhythm. We can't allow others to set the agenda, no matter how innocent it appears.

4. Victory can lie in getting close to danger. More than once, in ATSA village, I found myself with guns pointed at me while I had nowhere to move and nowhere to take cover. In these cases, getting closer to the assailant was
the only way to create options.

5. Take a deep breath and organize your thoughts before talking to the police. I was compelled to take back my story of a gunfight once the sheriff confronted me with its inaccuracy. When you are a party to a police investigation, and police are questioning you, ask for your lawyer to be present before any additional questions are asked. At that point, police are obligated to stop asking you questions. You can indicate that you don't want to talk with them, but they'll continue to ask you questions. You can even indicate that you want them to call an ambulance for you. They will, but they'll continue to ask you questions. Don't lie. That is a crime. The best tactic is just to ask for your lawyer and not answer questions.

I'll be back next year. My ego needs the bruises!"

/John

 
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