DISCUSSION: How to Train with Limited Resources

INTRODUCTION

For this week’s discussion, we would like to hear your ideas for how to conduct, realistic and effective training, despite the ever-present challenges of limited resources. While a small number of units might have virtually unlimited budget, abundant ammunition, expansive training facilities and plenty of training time, the vast majority of military units, law enforcement officers, tactical teams and armed citizens must find ways to squeeze training into the available space between conflicting demands, using only pre-existing resources. In short, ingenuity, creativity, time-management and resourcefulness must overcome material limitations.

Examining history, it is interesting to note that sometimes the units with less resources end up achieving better results than those that are given everything on a platter. When David Stirling first formed the British Special Air Services (SAS) in 1941, the unit did not even have tents to sleep in and had to “procure” operational materials from neighboring camps. They initially had no parachute training equipment and had to practice by jumping out of the back of moving trucks. It is likely that this environment of scarcity fostered a culture of creativity and resourcefulness that would contribute to the unit’s subsequent success against Rommel’s Afrika Corps in the Western Desert Campaign. This is only one of many historical examples of how overcoming the challenge of limited resources can help build a highly-effective tactical team. This tradition continues today and we would like to hear about your techniques and creative methods for training with limited resources.

DISCUSSION SUMMARY

This discussion is open to all tactical professionals and enthusiasts. Whether you are a military leader, law enforcement officer, security professional or armed citizen, you have likely come up with some creative training techniques to make the most of limited time and resources. We also believe that tacticians from different backgrounds and communities will likely be able to pick up useful new techniques from each other. A fresh perspective is always beneficial. Feel free to include ideas relating to any aspect of tactical training including weapons training, physical training, scenario/simulation training, open-hand fighting, emergency survival, situational awareness etc. As always, never include any information that might be sensitive in nature or that could be used against the good guys.

POSTING INSTRUCTIONS AND FINAL ARTICLE PUBLICATION

While most of our contributors post on Facebook, feel free to post on the blog below as well. After one week of posts, we will publish the complete discussion to this page so others can learn from it in the future. So, let us know if you would prefer to remain anonymous in the final article. We look forward to hearing your opinions and ideas.

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Comments

  1. Elijah J. Henry

    Force on force training is the best there is. You can use paintball, airsoft, simunitions, or blanks. I favor blanks when the budget is a major consideration. Paintball involves investing in entirely new equipment. So does airsoft but it has the advantage of equipment that closely mimics weapons you already have. Paintball and Sims both need some kind of shoot house that you can mess up with paint and aluminum pellets. Simunitions also require investment in special bolts to accommodate the special rounds. Blanks require BFAs, but most of us already have them, and they’re the cheapest additional investment of all these options. There’s no physical feedback, which is a downside, but there’s plenty of auditory feedback, and disciplined Rangers can work with it. None of the other options directly simulate an accurate round trajectory anyway, so it’s no great loss to have to train marksmanship proper separately. Blanks allow you to train in virtually any building or space you have available, with minimal additional investment.
    A separate consideration: for realistic medical training, stock up on fake blood and stuff after Halloween. It’s on sale.

    1. ST Staff Post author

      Great comments Elijah. We would agree strongly that force-on-force scenarios are absolutely critical for any training program. One thing we would add is that it is important that the OPFOR actually try to win and not just roll over and die. If the OPFOR doesn’t try to win, then the trainees are not getting a realistic simulation of a living, thinking opponent. While there is a place for scripted scenarios, “free play” is far superior in our opinion whenever possible.

  2. Scottfn308

    On technique I have used with various LE units is dry training. Using duty weapons and no ammunition is a very helpful tool in some circumstances. Most of the tactical team training, such as room clearing, building searches, movement, ect. can be done with little to no ammunition expenditure. This is because the skill being taught is not shooting, but rather the movement itself. This type of training can be done with no other investment other than time.

    1. ST Staff Post author

      Scott, we agree wholeheartedly. Many folks make excuses that they cannot train because they do not have the proper resources like ammunition, range time or shoot houses etc. However, as you point out, there is a lot you can accomplish with dry fire training, dry runs for CQB and tactical maneuver just using an office building with empty rooms etc. While it is not as good as a real building, we also think you can accomplish a lot in an open field or parking lot with marked ground training (glass house) using some steaks and surveyors tape etc.

  3. ST Staff Post author

    Scott, we agree wholeheartedly. Many folks make excuses that they cannot train because they do not have the proper resources like ammunition, range time or shoot houses etc. However, as you point out, there is a lot you can accomplish with dry fire training, dry runs for CQB and tactical maneuver just using an office building with empty rooms etc. While it is not as good as a real building, we also think you can accomplish a lot in an open field or parking lot with marked ground training (glass house) using some steaks and surveyors tape etc.