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Aaron Barruga's Vehicle Tactics Review

Gear + Kits
Gear + Kits
November 17, 2016
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As a Green Beret who served in multiple combat theaters, Aaron Barruga represents the new generation of intellectual, self-critical, creative warfighters. He brings years of real-world tactical experience to his new Panteao video release, out soon on the streaming service. His company, Guerrilla Approach, trains law enforcement officers and civilians on how to survive and win shootouts.[caption id="attachment_8884" align="aligncenter" width="459"]


Source: Panteao Productions.[/caption]Barruga’s intent in making his High Threat Environment Vehicle Tactics video was to "begin a discussion" about the current state of training law enforcement officers for gunfights.What he's accomplished, however, is to create a radical reawakening in the tactical community. His video, his words, his tone are all a reaction to the Kydex-toters, the turkey peekers, the elbow-flarers, and, most of all, the unqualified Instagram tacticians who have been propagating unsafe gunfighting techniques since the "end" of the Global War on Terror in 2013.In practical terms, Aaron says that LEO’s should be training not just for the quick, 1 to 3 second shootouts that are common during police stops, but also the longer, more drawn out battles that cops have recently found themselves in around the world.High-profile gunfights, including the Bataclan theater attacks in Paris, the Dallas cop killings, and more, have shown that cops need a higher level of training to survive.[caption id="attachment_8866" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

aaron barruga

Fire and movement basics apply to vehicles, too.[/caption]To that end, Barruga seeks to train people in ways that make sense, that hold up to logic and scrutiny, and that don’t subscribe to fads or trends. And he’s taking aim at social-media warriors, whose Instagram videos influence the tactical training industry in ways that don’t jive with his real-world experience:“What we’re seeing are a lot of unnecessary, overly animated movements, we see a lot of ‘what-ifs,’ and hypotheticals that get injected into training, with no real observation in regards to what happens in the real world. We see a lot of drills that look fun and are cool for social media, but are inherently dangerous,” Aaron says near the beginning of his video.[caption id="attachment_8872" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

aaron barruga

If you're going to move, move quickly.[/caption]And he’s right. In many respects, social media is one of the most important markers of how influential an instructor is. The more followers you have, the more people think that your style of shooting and tactics makes sense. And that’s not always the case, according to Barruga.The video is full of Aaron Barruga’s no-bullshit, no-hypotheticals approach to gunfighting. He dispels myths left and right using well-thought out arguments.[caption id="attachment_8847" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]


A shooter's silhouette while hugging cover. Source: Panteao Productions/Guerrilla Tactics[/caption][caption id="attachment_8848" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

aaron barruga

Moving back and offsetting from cover provides more opportunities for your enemy to kill you. Source: Panteao Productions/Guerrilla Tactics[/caption]In the case of offsetting cover, where a shooter backs off from a vehicle but still stays behind it to utilize it as a barrier to gunfire, Barruga uses an unmoving camera to show how much more exposed the shooter is when he’s not hugging the engine block. The contrast is stark, and destroys a commonly taught concept in vehicle operations.


In the “Vehicle Ballistics Lab” chapter of the video, Barruga talks about the pitfalls of using data that is irrelevant when deciding which parts of a vehicle to use as cover. His argument here, too, is simple: what happens in the real world?Will a part of the vehicle that trendy firearms instructors say can be used as cover (for example, pillars between windows) hold up in a gunfight where dozens, if not hundreds of bullets are flying both ways?[caption id="attachment_8849" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

Does this look like a good piece of cover? Source: Panteao Productions/Guerrilla Tactics

Does this look like a good piece of cover? Source: Panteao Productions/Guerrilla Tactics[/caption]Barruga says no. Pillars might stop bullets if you’re shooting directly at them, but they also might not. He proves this in his ballistic lab portion with multiple aimed shots directly at the car's pillars. Some of the rounds go through; others don't, and there's no way to predict the trajectory.Common sense dictates that a 3" pillar won't cover all of a person's 20" chest. Perhaps most importantly, Barruga reminds the viewer that bullets don’t come in by the ones or twos; they come in by the magazine, and a magazine full of bullets will penetrate through and fly around pillars quite easily.[caption id="attachment_8850" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

Using pillars as cover is not very smart. Source: Panteao Productions/Guerrilla Tactics

Using pillars as cover is not very smart. Source: Panteao Productions/Guerrilla Tactics[/caption]The message is clear: stick with the engine and wheel assemblies.Barruga’s perspective also rejects the exaggeration of "little rituals" before and after shooting. Turkey peeking around vehicles, snatching the pistol back quickly after shooting, flaring elbows unnecessarily are all pointless attempts at looking cool.If it doesn’t apply in the real world, it doesn’t belong in your training.[caption id="attachment_8867" align="aligncenter" width="513"]


Barruga doesn't advocate temple indexing, because of the likelihood of shooting yourself in the head or getting your gun taken away.[/caption]For law enforcement, accuracy is extremely important in minimizing collateral damage and civilian casualties. Aaron’s approach to vehicle tactics balances protection, use of cover and accountability to create a holistic, data-driven approach to gunfighting. Shooting through a windshield might be easier to start with, but how many targets can you engage? How accurately? Will you accidentally incapacitate your driver? How flexible is your position? Can you bail out easily?[caption id="attachment_8864" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]


The Junkyard Dog is the lowest-profile shooting position that you can get into behind a vehicle.[/caption]Barruga’s video encompasses the basics of vehicle gunfighting inside and outside a car, while moving and while static, and how to get out and continue the fight from other positions. He emphasizes common sense over everything.Watching his video is like taking a step back in time to when instructors taught techniques that they'd actually used in real firefights. His Green Beret credentials and combat pedigree lends an authenticity to his words that many instructors lack.[caption id="attachment_8863" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]


Move fast, be aggressive, train often.[/caption]He advocates for loud, simple communication, instead of depending on your partner to read your movement and react accordingly. He doesn’t like temple indexing because of the chance of shooting yourself in the head, and he doesn’t like moving out of cover unecessarily. He doesn't frown on so-called "workspace" reloads, but emphasizes minimizing your silhouette and not giving away your position while reloading behind a vehicle.Barruga’s High Threat Environment Vehicle Tactics is a breath of fresh air in a tactical training industry beset by people who really haven’t been in these situations, who haven’t actually been ambushed in real life, and who haven’t returned fire or maneuvered against an enemy.I would recommend this video for anyone who wants to learn more about using firearms in and around vehicles, and particularly for Law Enforcement Officers, whose lives depend on this kind of training.Barruga’s takeaway message is simple: don’t mindlessly regurgitate information just because someone taught it to you. Use common sense. Train for performance, not to show off. And don’t take his word for it: go out and train.

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