Playing Tactical “Clue” with Gabe Suarez

As noted in an earlier post, firearms trainers are selling solutions. Good firearms trainers clearly define the problems their solutions address.

Gabe Suarez begins his Pistol Gunfighting School with the problem it addresses, and uses the board game “Clue” as an analogy to drive home his point.

“The Classic Detective Game” by Derek Bruff is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Everyone of a certain age – and the average age at the course I observed was 50 – knows this classic Parker Brothers board game in which players act as detectives investigating the murder of Mr. Boddy in a multi-room mansion.

The goal is to solve the mystery: who did it, with what weapon, and where? Prof. Plum did it with poison in the library. Ms. Scarlet did it with a candlestick in the conservatory. Col. Mustard did it with knife in the billiard room.

For Suarez, defensive firearms instructors play a game of “Tactical Clue” in training their students. In 1997, “Tactical Clue” was most often solved with: “Thug in the parking lot with a screwdriver.” That was the problem defensive firearms instructors trained students to address.

2017 America poses a new problem for armed citizens. “We live in a time of war,” Suarez tells his students. We never know when we will be sitting around, minding our own business, and then hear, “Aloha snack bar!” And soon we will come to the frightening realization, as Suarez puts it, that “Mustafa is having a jihad party and I didn’t know I was invited.”

Photo by James Keivom/New York Daily News

Therefore, Suarez’s winning “solution” to Tactical Clue in 2017 is “Mustafa with a rifle in a mall.” Or a husband and wife with guns at a Christmas party. Or a psychiatrist with a pistol on a military base. Or, on the eve of my leaving for this class, a terrorist with a rented truck on an urban bike path. Or, on the final day of the class, a domestic abuser with an AR-15 in a small town church.

According to Suarez, the paradigm of conflict has changed. Consequently, Suarez designed his Pistol Gunfighting School as much to deal with terrorists as thugs.

“You came to train here because my organization has a different ethos,” he reminds his students. “You are a modern day civilian warrior.”

14 comments

  1. Did he mention the ethos of the armed citizen being the sheep dog over those who can’t or wont defend themselves? I’v encountered that in many places over the last 3 or 4 years and happen to agree with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t recall hearing him use the language of the sheep dog, though he may have. He used the analogy of the lion (aware, aggressive, deliberate, ahead of the curve) to describe the proactive civilian warrior. At the same time, he noted that there are times when we are more like zebras (surprised, defensive, urgent, behind the curve). Like his politically incorrect scenario: “Mustafa is having a Jihad party and I didn’t know I was invited.” In those cases, it is crucial to have the reactive shooting skills to fight your way from defense to offense. No doubt the will to fight is a big part of that mental conditioning for combat he got from Col. Cooper.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing these links. Stay tuned the next 3 days for 3 more (final?) posts based on my observations at the Pistol Gunfighting School – on the distinction between reactive and proactive shooting, on when people are called on to change history, and on the Istanbul Drill. I was thinking about doing one on “the gentleman killer” and the idea of what cooper called post operational trauma (POT), but I may hold off on that one in order to get some other work done!

      Like

  2. […] How different conceptualizations of the battlefield affect weapon selection is a point made often by Gabe Suarez. Suarez begins his Pistol Gunfighting School with the problem it addresses, and uses the board game “Clue” as an analogy to drive home his point. For Suarez, defensive firearms instructors play a game of “Tactical Clue” in training their students. […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.