Gabe Suarez: Too easy to be “tactical”

Gabriel Soires does not need special presentations to Russian-speaking readers. One of the first American instructors, he greeted us from the pages of the Russian edition of Soldier of Fortune. It was his “Tactical advantage” that was the first translated book on tactics published in large numbers (praise to the publisher Grand Fair for the right choice). It was his “Tactical rifle” that became the reference book for all practical shooters in the post-Soviet space.

The instructor has a solid experience in the police service, as well as participation in real exchange of fire. But even this is not important. In a series of teachers like him Suareza highlights the fact that he is in a constant search for new ideas and testing of already acquired knowledge.

Many are annoyed by his attacks on some of the tenets of the science of shooting, but everything is subordinated to the only goal – to survive in the firing contact. And if for the sake of this you have to admit that you are wrong or criticize established axioms – well, it is worth it. The material taught Gabe, very easily perceived, because of the simple language of narration, brightened up with a fair amount of humor.

It is enough to see how famously he dealt with the four “sacred commandments” taught by the great Colonel (Jeff Cooper, if someone does not know), and honored by more than one generation of shooters. In the book “Tactical rifle” (recently translated into Russian by our enthusiasts) they are presented in their original version, but in subsequent publications they look different. So, the word to the hero of the article …

Gabe Suarez on safety regulations

First rule

Treat any weapon as if it were loaded. Note that I did not say the traditional phrase “Any weapon is always loaded” because it is not. Nevertheless, a weapon is useless if it is not loaded. Thus, we always start with the assumption that the weapon is loaded. When we use a weapon for purposes other than shooting, we first check its condition and, if necessary, discharge it. At the shooting range, we always have a loaded weapon. If you can’t be trusted to be there with a loaded weapon, why did you come to class at all?

Rule two

Do not handle casually with weapons. Notice, we don’t say “I will never send weapons where I don’t want to shoot.” Why? Because the weapon is ALWAYS aimed at something. Even if your weapon is securely fixed in an external belt holster, approved by IDPA and blessed by adepts of practical shooting, the barrel will be sent to your foot every time you snatch a weapon from its holster. Let’s look at things realistically.

Someone will say: let’s define negligence. Carelessness is the uncontrolled direction of a weapon. We all once witnessed this. But then again, in the right context. In some situations involving the use of weapons, it is necessary to direct weapons to the one who is only supposedly an adversary. Such actions do not violate the second rule.

In addition, see how you snatch a weapon. Unless you are standing in a pose of a ballerina with legs pressed to each other (a position that is unsuitable for fighting), the barrel of the weapon overlaps the leg each time the weapon is pulled from the holster and returned to the holster. This cannot be avoided without sacrificing tactical expediency, and it is NOT a safety violation. Do we need to completely change our course of action so that the trunk does not overlap the body under any circumstances? Hardly. It should simply be aware of what you are doing and be attentive. Rule number three helps to avoid problems.

Rule Three

Keep your finger outside the trigger, on the frame, until you make a conscious decision to shoot. This is the last way to insure against accidental shots. Notice, I do not say “I will never touch the trigger with my finger until the sights are aligned with the target.” Why? Because the sights are not always aligned with the goal when you need to shoot. In addition, we teach impartial intuitive shooting along with sighting. Do not touch the trigger with any manipulation of the gun, in the case of combat use and in other cases. Simple and safe enough.

And this is despite the fact that the hero of our story treats D. Cooper himself with great respect. Surely such an interpretation of the basic tenets of handling a weapon will seem to someone too loosely and even dangerous. But it is precisely this approach to security measures that is practical. For example, when repelling an attack on a car from the driver’s seat, Suarez doesn’t hold the gun around the chest, not around the steering wheel. Thereby violates the “classical” second rule, “hooking” the legs with the barrel. What to make a priority – “fearful” attitude to the weapon or speed of aiming at the target? For Gabe, the answer is obvious.

Suarez and another brainchild of the great Colonel – the famous color code. This code, originally used in the US 82nd Airborne Division, was used by Cooper to assess the state of readiness of the shooter for battle. But according to Gabriel, rely on the constant readiness for the shootout is not worth it.

The “bad guys” are quite able to put down vigilance. The hero of the article himself was convinced of this, who managed to get close to several “weapon gurus” unnoticed, who asserted that they were “always on the alert”. Again, this is not about narcissism or the desire to humiliate colleagues. You just need to understand that troubles CAN catch you in a completely relaxed position. And a certain proportion of training should be carried out taking into account this factor.

Much attention is paid to the inner spirit. True to the psychological installation in battle means more than the most perfect equipment. Suarez – a supporter of active actions in the attack, although it calls for caution. For example, one of the students Gabe turned up in a bank during a robbery. He managed to quietly remove his personal weapon, but since the criminals did not act “cleanly” and couldn’t represent a direct threat to the lives of others, the pistol was never used. That is, actions must be adequate to the threat. But if the question is an edge, you should forget in all humanism and the natural fear of bringing up a person to harm his neighbor.

Suareza Rifle Combat System

Gradually (this path can be traced, if you observe his work, starting with his publications of the 90s) Gabe has undergone certain changes. The starting point can be considered the school of the same Jeff Cooper, from which the overwhelming majority of American shooters emerged. The rest of the “gunshot” world is also changing, in many courses of study there is both the “Afghan-Iraqi” trail of veterans and the influence of practical shooting.

However, due to experience in the police field, the path Suareza closer to the average “armed professional.” He does not rely on the use of on-air booking and does not advise fashionable “unloading”, which is more suitable for the fighters of elite units than to the patrol policeman or ordinary person who has decided to inspect his household for uninvited guests. Gabe even advises in everyday life not to dress defiantly “tactically” in order not to become the first target of the criminals (for example, in the queue at the checkout, where the robbers inflated with drugs rushed in).

Suarez believes that phrases like “we are not Delta, we are civil, and we do not need intensive training” are harmful. You are either a fighter or a tit without intermediate options. Be a warrior in your heart, live like a warrior – and you will see changes around you.

A good example is the Guerrilla Sniping course. On the one hand, judicial practice and criminal statistics indicate that the range of fire in typical situations of self-defense is several meters. So why learn the art of shooting at long distances? The answer lies in analyzing the threats that anyone can face. For example, during Hurricane Katharina in 2006, 300 police officers left their posts for the sake of saving their own families. What happened next – everyone knows. So in the event of such a disaster, survivors may well encounter entire gangs of marauders. Another very likely scenario is the opposition to the “active shooter” entrenched with a long-range rifle, as happened in the Texas Tower in 1966.

Trying to characterize the development of tactical thought Suareza, you definitely notice his desire to link shooting with others survival skills, such as maintaining physical fitness, extreme driving and paramedicine. The relationship with hand-to-hand fighting and fencing is especially close, from where he is not shy about borrowing not only equipment, but also principles for the development of firearm management skills.

Gabe, all combat systems must be “watered with blood” and tested in practice. The farther from the combat experience, the more stylization and emphasis on unnecessary details. Which leads us away from the practical grain of the combat system.

In the spirit of the recommendations of Bruce Lee, Suarez has an open mind to accept new ideas. What is the value of his cooperation with representatives of the Russian martial art “Systema”. Despite the skepticism we have about the Ryabko-Vasiliev system, the presentation of the material by instructor Sonny Puzikas earned attention Gabe and its training center. Puzikas is a well-physically trained and experienced specialist. Therefore, we see a number of borrowings (in particular, in “lower acrobatics”) from Russian styles. And spit on criticism on the Internet. If it works – he will find a place in Suarez International.

Another example is the return to the roots in the form of Fairborn-Applegate methods from the Second World War. Poleless (instinctive) shooting in the rifle community is downright fanatical persecution. Widespread at the time, “instinctive shooting” is mocked and recognized as not simply ineffective, but even harmful. Let’s say a standard rack is called nothing more than a “pot squat”.

Here Suarez refused to throw out the baby along with the water, and he very willingly uses the groundwork of instinctive shooting in close combat. And not only with the use of a pistol, but also long-barreled weapons.

Tactical style Suareza – it is practicality, expediency and constant readiness for changes, taking into account combat experience or the emergence of new training methods. And yet – an unlimited choice of weapons and means of protection. No compromises, no complexes.

Suarez: the choice of weapons and weapon accessories

Glock 17

Pistol “Glock 17” is the best fit in the gun world of the hero of the article. It is simple, lightweight, multi-charge and relatively compact – all that we expect from a modern pistol. This weapon has no manual fuse, but there is a whole system that prevents accidental firing. The pistol, as a means of self-defense, is always the last barrier between the life of the shooter and the threat. Therefore, he should be worn in a safe position and at the same time as ready as possible for a shot. 9 mm cartridge is also not chosen by chance. It is lighter and more compact than the .45 caliber cartridge. According to the most Suareza, in his entire police career, he only once saw “neutralization with one shot,” and it was exactly a 9-mm cartridge.

Suarez, so he made some improvements in the design of the weapon, replacing the barrel and bolt. Now the gun looks like a props to Sam Fisher games, but these improvements have a purely practical meaning. The silencer here is not an accessory for the game of “spies”, but a quite practical device that protects the shooter’s ears and neutralizes the muzzle flame.

Now the collimator sight can be mounted on the weapon. Justifying the weapon prophet title, Suarez assures that in a dozen years, “pistols for everyday wear” will be equipped with such sights. The use of a collimator in melee makes it possible to accurately shoot at a small target (for example, parts of the opponent’s legs or shoulders that look out of cover) or defeat a criminal hidden behind hostages. In addition, aiming becomes more convenient and instinctive – without taking your eyes off the threat (natural reaction of the body), you just need to bring the red dot to the aiming area.

In addition to increasing the speed at which the weapon is aimed at the target, the use of the “red dot” makes it possible to use ultra-long shots (about 100 meters and more). Thus, even in the absence of a rifle or a carbine at hand, the shooter can, if not destroy, then at least “crush” the enemy. Frequent incidents in shopping centers and campuses make new demands on personal weapons. Of course, a gun in a duel is always inferior to the machine, but it can be enough for a person who is well trained and properly motivated.

By the way, collimators in “Suarez International“Placed not only on pistols, but also on classic rifles with a Henry brace. Nothing holy!

Kalashnikov assault rifle

Yet the most powerful blow to the image of the American “tactical macho” Gabriel caused his commitment to the Kalashnikov assault rifle. For years, the Soviet machine gun was a target for the ridicule of American firearms experts. But in the United States began to be imported party AK. At first – they were bought because of the demonic image and cheapness. Over time, it turned out that the system is not as bad as army sergeants were crucified about it (here it should be noted that a similar process with respect to Western weapons takes place on post-Soviet territory, but much slower). But American philistines were in no hurry to choose a Kalashnikov assault rifle as a weapon for protection.

According to Suareza, many criticisms of the design are far-fetched. We should not forget that “Kalashnikov” was created after the Second World War on the basis of the richest experience in the use of small arms. Then it was concluded that the distance of the battle rarely exceeds 300 meters. Therefore, the ammunition used in the AK – 7.62×39, works well at close and medium distances. It looks like an intermediate cartridge .30 (7.62×33) from the M-1 carbine, the most popular American weapon of the Second World War. Open sights on the machine are designed primarily for fast firing at short distances, and are similar to those on the gun. As for the “inconvenient” bolt handle, it was the same on the Garand rifle or M-1 carbine and did not cause any complaints.

It is not surprising that when the American magazine “Guns and Ammo” decided to publish a special issue dedicated to the AK, Suareza asked to highlight some issues related to the choice of weapons of this platform. In his opinion, one should choose “customized” options that have passed through the hands of such gunsmiths as Mark Krebs, Jim Fuller, Mark Graham, or at least the Bulgarian firm Arsenal.

So, the ex-cop prefers “Kalash”, and he advises not to make fundamental changes to his device. Especially it is against sliding butts in the style of M-4, To Gabriel more like a simple and reliable plastic butt from AK 100th series.

The biggest “innovation” can be considered the installation in the area of ​​the rear sight collimator sight “Aimpoint H-1”. This crumb, although it costs more than it weighs, is an excellent means to increase the speed and accuracy of aiming in combat conditions. Strong, reliable, and independent of batteries. Also Suarez considers it useful to install the SureFire flashlight on the side of the barrel of the machine. Also not the cheapest choice, but reliable and durable.

As for the belt, then, according to Gabriel, in one of the raids on the seizure of the drug lab, he had trouble because of the “three-point

echny belt for MP-5. Since then, he has not “tied” the weapon to the body, using a belt only to carry the weapon. Another thing is that this belt must be durable.

Suarez stopped at the Bulgarian plastic 30-charge stores because of their durability and lightness. As evidence, he even performed a few push-ups with a gun, pushing the store into the ground (however, he later demonstrated this “trick” with other guns). Looks impressive.

Finally for your weapon Gabe stopped at 7.62 caliber, not 5.45 mm. Some people may not approve it. But you need to understand that in the free market (even in the USA) there are no cartridges with armor piercing bullets. Therefore, in a field test conducted by the Suarez, The 7.62-mm bullet Cor-Bon DPX showed the best performance when firing a cinder block, and better kept the trajectory when firing through the bushes.

In favor of the AK says, of course, and its reliability. You need to really try to make the “Kalash” inoperable. The cover of the receiver flew off – no problem, the machine continues to work. This cap, in fact, is only needed to prevent dirt and dust from entering the mechanisms, and to keep the lubricant on the parts. If, however, remove the return spring – the weapon turns into a non-self-loading rifle, only the bolt during the shot will have to be held by the handle.

In addition, there are some good AK clones on the market – Israeli, South Africa-s, Romanian, and the Americans themselves have established its production release.


Interesting was his attitude towards smooth-bore weapons. Following the example of his friend Chuck Taylor, Suarez classified guns for several generations. In the first there were non-automatic “breaks”. These guns are used for hunting and sports. They shoot and fall, but are not suitable for battle, primarily because of the low rate of fire. In the second generation hit pump. Shotguns of the “Remington 870” are still used by the police and security units, although their shooter requires effort shooter. The next step was the emergence of self-loading rifles. Models such as “Remington 1100”, only a little more demanding on the quality of ammunition, are at a higher “stage of development”.

Suarez considers Saiga companions. Its main trump card is the availability of a quick-detachable magazine, which significantly speeds up recharging. In addition, a properly modified gun of this brand is as close as possible to the AK. That allows you to get rid of time-consuming and ammunition retraining to a new “platform”. The successes of the Russian guns in the open class MKPS confirm the correctness Gabe.

Agreeing with the effectiveness of the shotgun as a melee weapon, Gabriel insists on the correct definition of the targets set for this weapon. So, some shooters using high-precision barrels, selecting bullet ammunition and installing optical and collimator sights, are trying to raise the shooting accuracy to rifle level. Is it not easier to take a rifle? The accuracy of a shotgun is not enough to solve the problem of defeating a criminal hiding behind a hostage. An ordinary pistol solves this problem much better.

I do not agree Suarez and with the often propagated “universality” of the gun. According to him, the police have separate, specially designated shotguns designed exclusively for one role: knocking out doors, shooting non-lethal or gas ammunition, etc. Given that the fraction is suitable only for hitting targets at short distances, in the arsenal of the shooter there are only 2 types of ammunition – the bullet and the carcass. And that, To Gabriel there is only one (in a dozen years of active discussions on the Internet) a case in which the shooter changed the canister to a bullet in a real exchange of fire.

On the other hand, the power of the projectile projectile and its natural dispersion create excellent characteristics for a smooth bore in close range combat. Suarez tells an episode from his biography, when they stopped a car with suspects during service. It was at night, and the “bad guys” began to scatter in all directions. Gabriel, pursuing one of the criminals, he could distinguish only the white jersey of the last and flash of shots. Nevertheless, already the second sheaf of grapeshot put the opponent in place. According to the ex-cop, neither the pistol nor the rifle could cope with such a firing task.

Weapon Accessories

With regards to the choice of accessories, fashionable “tactical” vests Suarez prefers bags of medium size, which are mounted on the belt and can additionally be fixed on the thigh or on the belt. Such a bag can be stored together with the weapon, and putting it on takes a minimum of time.

Suarez He also advises Magpul to wear a rubber loop on the Saigi stores, equipped with bullet ammunition, in order to touch them from cartesian ones.

His attention was also attracted by “general purpose rifles” – a weapon with which you can solve various tasks: use in close combat, dump a buffalo, hit a target for 400 yards, shoot through a car engine. Of course, such a universal tool will be inferior to specialized, but it is capable of all of the above, but its competitors will not. Rifles chambered for the .308 Winchester: M1A, FN FAL, AP-10, G3 and Saiga 308 can be considered the most suitable for such work. At the same time, the rifle dimensions should not be excessive, therefore the same FAL is preferable in Congo style, and M1A – “SOKOM”, that is, modifications with a shortened trunk. In addition, PSL can be attributed to this category – in fact, the SVD of the “Romanian spill”. Gabriel would surely have enjoyed the taste of the VCA, it was produced in the civilian version – short, but with powerful ammunition and a long barrel.

At the same time, the weight of weapons and ammunition is not too embarrassing. instructor. According to him, a man who is not able to carry such a rifle should be pumped up, and not blamed on the weight of the “tool”.

Suarez He notes that his FAL with the established Burris 3-9 sight proved to be a good idea in the course of “partisan sniping”. ACOG or Lupold Mk 4 1.5? 5 may be considered suitable for most cases. But scout-type sights are good only for close combat, and the only reason for their popularity with Garand M1A rifles is the technically simpler method of mounting on a weapon.

Weapon accessories

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