Author Topic: The National Tactical Invitational XVIII - With Pics  (Read 4270 times)

James Yeager

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The National Tactical Invitational XVIII - With Pics
« on: March 14, 2009, 06:46:06 PM »
NOTE: This article is the property of SWAT magazine and is posted here with their permission. It is copyrighted and may not be copied or used in any way without the permission of SWAT magazine.

By James Yeager
 I have been shot, harassed by crazy people, mugged, caught in an armed robbery, shot at with a rocket propelled grenade at a family picnic, rescued my niece from gunmen…twice, shot some badguys with a rifle I found, escaped from a burning building and shot the arsonist, been interrogated by the police many times, invoked my right to a lawyer just as many times, saved a “little old lady”, and I have been the victim of two suicide bombers, and all that was just this week!

 I just finished participating in the National Tactical Invitational XVIII. I am sitting in my hotel room wet, tired, slightly bruised and feeling euphoric. This is an amazing place full of information and challenge. I often hear people say “If I learn just one thing it will be enough.” Well I assure you that more than one thing will be learned by your attendance to the N.T.I.!

 If you have never heard of N.T.I., the tactical and training world’s best kept secret, don’t be surprised. The American Tactical Shooters Association ( sponsors the event every year. Many folks have no idea what the band of malicious folks with A.T.S.A. here in Harrisburg Pennsylvania does every year. I am writing this article to bring some much needed attention to this event. Every serious instructor and student of our craft should be at this event every year. You are liable to run into the best in the business at NTI with greats like John Farnam (DTI), Tom Givens (Rangemaster), John Holschen and Steve Silverman (FR&I) in regular attendance.

 There is also a panel discussion and this year’s topic was “The Role of Honor Concept in Interpersonal Violence.” The panel consisted of well respected trainers…and me. During this discussion between panel members and the audience we delved into how the “Honor Concept” fits into American citizens and how we as trainers try to embody it in our students are training classes.

 You may be wondering what the N.T.I. is exactly. As Skip Gochenour, ATSA’s Director, relays that the event is “a series of moral and ethical dilemmas.” What type of moral dilemma you ask? If you are armed and there is an active shooter killing people around you will you escape or will you stop him from killing people? Does that answer change if your kids are with you? After you attend you will have answered questions like that and you will have many more to answer and that is the greatest part about the National Tactical Invitational.

 There are only three rules at NTI and they are very concise, very clear and should need no explanation.

1.   No stupid gunhandling.
2.   No boorish behavior.
3.   No whining.

Participants are called “Practitioners” instead of shooters because this is a software (mindset) challenge and not a hardware (guns and gear) challenge. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of shooting but the hardest part comes before you press the trigger or even draw the gun. At N.T.I. shooting is the easy part!

This year there were 10 standard stages and two team stages; of the 12 six were live fire and six were Force-on-Force. Each stage is a learning event on its own unlike some “shooting competition.”  The badguys are either live humans or 3-D reactive (shot them to the ground) targets realistically dressed and armed with handguns, rifles, shotguns, an arsonist’s can of fuel and a flare, improvised explosive devices, an exploding rocket propelled grenade, edged weapons and impact weapons. Every stage had targets you aren’t supposed to shoot as well and they included armed security, carry permit holders, and plenty of innocent bystanders holding things that looked a lot like guns under stress. All of the Force-on-Force scenarios were like real gunfights; close and fast. The live fire stages had you shooting from 1 foot to about 125 yards with an M-4 you “found” during the drill. Very challenging!

 Most shooters want to know if N.T.I. is for them or not. Well if you carry a gun for any reason N.T.I. is for YOU. There have been folks from several branches of the military and law enforcement officers but the vast majority of the participants are just your “above average Joe” who cares about himself or herself, their families and their communities enough to get up and do something about it. If you are one of those folks and you have had some training that you want to out to the test I suggest you show up and NTI XVIII. If you are one of my thousands of students I am issuing you a personal challenge to attend.

Don’t come if you want to impress people with your prowess. Only come if you are a student of this craft and have set your ego aside long enough to be told what you did wrong. My dear friend and mentor John Farnam says “The NTI is always a humbling, exciting, painful, often-dismaying, learning experience. It does not attract ego-maniacs or pretenders who seek only shallow accolades. It attracts serious Operators and Gunmen who want to carry their skills to the next level and thus fearlessly enter the various drills, prepared to learn important lessons through both success and failure.” I couldn’t agree more!

 Common Mistakes are indecision, failure to gather tactical information from the environment and bystanders, shooting bystanders intentionally and by accident (rule 4 violation), remaining stationary (not getting off the X), not being able to shoot on the move, overreacting, overexcitement, low level of alertness, making statements to the police while under duress and without an attorney, shooting when you should be talking and talking when you should be shooting.

  There is more to this event than shooting and being shot at on the ranges. There are classroom learning opportunities each day. Lectures this year were “Private Violence – Why men Fight”, “The Duty to Retreat: American Values and Self Defense” and “Engaging Violent Criminal Actors: A Training Model for Moral Decision Making” by Director Skip Gochenour. John Farnam of Defense Training International, Martin Topper PhD and Jack Feldman PhD spoke on “The Latest Trends in Weapons and Training” and there was also a presentation by Steve Silverman of FR&I on “Study of the Taser: Another Level of the Force Continuum”. These are not your typical subjects and I assure you in more ways than this one that N.T.I. isn’t some shooting competition.

It is held the week of Memorial Day each year so go ahead and mark it on your calendars…all of them! You can get more information and learn how to attend at I look forward to seeing you there!

There is plenty of shooting during the Force-on-Force scenarios. Some of it is legally justified and some is not!

A Practitioner pulls a knife to scare some unarmed panhandlers.

A Practitioner quickly realizes that his comments to justify his actions were taken out of context by Sheriff Vicki Farnam. Lesson: Ask for a lawyer and shut up.

A practitioner and range officer duck and run as the “RPG” strikes close. There was a loud detonation upon impact.

Here a Practitioner shoots a 3-D moving target that will fall to the ground when hit properly.

A range officer accompanies a Practitioner through a shoothouse. It is easy to get “turned around” in the shoothouses and they remain close for obvious safety reasons.

A Practitioner shoots at a 3-D target in the “Roach Motel” scenario.  It must be fired on until it drops.

Firearms Instructor Vicki Farnam “Sheriff Vicki” has to point her pistol at a carry permit holder that had his gun out just after a confrontation.

The foreign terrorist sets off his vest bomb in a public place. Will you get him before he blows the building up?

The good guy (green shirt) disarms a badguy in a public domestic violence situation.

In this scenario the good guy (black shirt) had to fend off some overly aggressive panhandlers and deal with the unwanted assistance of the female carry permit holder.