Trainer Fuel – Counter-Ambush


AMBUSH! A rising trend in attacks on police officers is what can only be described as ambushes.  During an ambush the attacker uses gunfire or other weapons on moving or temporarily halted officers.  Over the last few years agencies across the country have seen a wide array ambushes on their officers.  In this Trainer Fuel you’ll find a variety of information on ambushes and more importantly counter-ambush tactics and training.  The ultimate goal is to help agencies and trainers develop counter-ambush training programs that keep officers safe.  As with all of our officer safety oriented posts, BELOW 100 tenants prevail.  All of the tenants are important but when it comes to preventing and surviving an ambush the big two are, wear your vest and remember, complacency kills.  While reacting to an ambush the final tenant of, What’s Important Now – WIN! should be your watch words

  1. Identify the direction of the threat
  2. Return fire
  3. Find cover
  4. WIN the fight!


Links to news reports of ambush attacks on police officers:


1. Police ambush attacks: 4 strategies for survival

Duane Wolfe takes a hard look at research from IACP and the NLEOMF and provides practical approaches to surviving an ambush.  Note: after reading Duane’s article check out the links on the left side of the page – lots more information on ambush survival.

2. 6 Common Factors in Ambush Wins

Richard “Dick” Fairburn provides trainers and agencies with  a list of common factors of ambush survival as well as a case study of an ambush survival story.

3. [VIDEO] Reality Training: Surviving an off-duty ambush

Are you prepared for an ambush, both on and off duty? Dave Smith reviews harrowing footage of an attack on an off-duty LEO that demonstrates why you need to be vigilant at all times.

4.  React to Close Ambush – Army Ranger Handbook

The US Army Rangers are probably the most widely recognized experts in close combat and an ambush is about as close as one can get to in combat.  The violence of action required to survive an ambush can best be understood in the four-page summary provided in this handbook.  An officer (or group of officers) in the kill zone of an ambush will need to act decisively and without orders.  They will need to turn toward the threat and return immediate fire for the greatest chance of survival.  Take a look at this simple but incredibly clear set of instructions for survival.


Next Steps…

Trainer Fuel provides trainers with motivation and resources to improve their training programs.  At Team One Network we stand by the saying, “A Way not The Way.”  Officers, Soldiers, and Citizens who have fought through and survived an ambush will probably agree that violence of action and a little bit of luck are the reason they are still alive.  Unfortunately we can’t train for luck so we have to focus on preparing officers for violence and decisive action.  They must react spontaneously, without hesitation or directions to finish the fight.  This can only be done through realistic training.  Does your training program properly prepare your officers for the violence of an ambush?  If not, get busy.  Because it’s only a matter of time.