Driven 2 Preview

Chapter 1:  Pre-Combat Actions

(The full Book and DVD can be purchased at

Before heading out into battle, you should have a plan.  Please refer to Chapter 14 in the first book for information about mission planning.  What we’re talking about in this chapter is not “the plan”, but the nitty gritty of ensuring you have packed the right equipment and that it is mission ready.

Our heroes conduct a Pre-Combat Inspection or PCI.  A PCI does a few things for us.  First, it allows the team members to review all their equipment and ensure it’s in working order.  They’ll check to make sure magazines are topped off, batteries are charged, water bladders are full, and all equipment is functioning.  For instance, they’ll conduct a radio check to ensure their radios are working and that they are on the correct frequency as designated in the mission plan.  Second, a PCI is conducted to minimize noise during patrols.  Patrol members will jump up and down to identify any noises like squeaky buckles or metal-on-metal clanging.  Manmade noises standout amongst the cacophony of natural noises created by nature.  Ideally, you would create a checklist of all the items you intend to bring with you on a patrol, and you’d follow that checklist for each person.


Here are a few of the items you may consider for a PCI, with the understanding that every mission is different and you should adjust to the mission:

  • Helmet (fitted and all straps/buckles in working order)
  • NODs (Night Vision Equipment- mounted, functional, tied down)
  • Eye Protection
  • Ear Protection
  • Weapon (zeroed, clean, function tested, sling attached)
  • Optics (zeroed, extra batteries, tied down)
  • Lasers (zeroed, tied down)
  • Magazines (min 6, 30 rounds per weapon)
  • Weapon Cleaning Kit
  • Body Armor
  • IFAK (First aid kit with tourniquet, anti-coagulant, compression bandage)
  • Quart Canteen (at minimum or hydration bladder)
  • Food
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Pen/Paper
  • Compass
  • Socks
  • Radio (required for leaders)
  • Binoculars
  • Whistle

A PCI is also a good time to inspect not only the equipment, but the members of your patrol for physical and mental fitness.  Did a member sprain his ankle or get a headache on the way to the PCI?  Are they in the correct state of mind?  Do they have any moral concerns with the mission at hand?  Have they memorized the challenge and passwords?  The actions on contact?  You don’t need to quiz them on everything, but it’s better to identify a problem sooner rather than later.

While we’re talking about PCIs, we should also mention that PCIs also apply to vehicles.  You should thoroughly go over the vehicles you plan to use in your combat mission to ensure it is mechanically in working order.  In our video, JR has just finished topping off the fuel in each vehicle; while it may seem like a no-brainer to fill up the tank, a checklist of the simple things can ensure you don’t forget something that’s mission critical.

Every mission is different.  Different threat levels, resources, distances, and times.  That being said, you should consider carrying the following equipment.

  • Communications
  • Maps
  • Litter (for carrying wounded)
  • Tow Straps and Recovery Equipment
  • Extra Fluids
  • MREs (food)
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Camo Net (see chapter 14)

Primary and Alternate Routes:  The leaders should designate the primary and alternate rounds to and from the objective.  The return routes should differ from the routes to the objective.  The routes should be divided into legs, with each leg beginning with a rally point that is easily recognizable to patrol members.


Actions on contact should be planned so that team members know what they should be doing in the event they make unexpected contact with the enemy, either through an ambush or chance contact.  For instance, not only should team members be familiar with individual contact drills, but they should know if the plan is to withdraw to the last rally point or to advance on the enemy.  Leaders can make changes at the last moment, but in the absence of an audible, team members should automatically be either moving towards or away from the enemy.

Plans should also include departure from and re-entry to friendly positions.  In our video, Eli mentioned near and far recognition methods:  radio and flashlight patterns.  Firing on friendly forces can be avoided by proper planning and awareness of re-entry to rally points.  Radios can be used to notify friendly forces that you are returning; the plan should include call signs, primary and alternate frequencies, as well as times to report.  You may also employ challenges and passwords (i.e.  Challenge:  Table, Password:  Fork) or a number challenge, where-in the initiator gives a number and the response must add up to the correct sum (i.e.  the Number Challenge is 15, Challenger says:  6, Challenged says:  9).


Consider establishing a Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) for dealing with wounded, dead, and prisoners before the situation arises.  The leader can modify the SOP as appropriate, but it’s often easier to make the decision beforehand.  Reflect on the suggestions below before establishing your group’s SOP.


Wounded:  The wounded should be evacuated to a safer area before applying first aid.  Administering first aid during battle can increase the chance of more casualties.  Plan for methods of evacuation- what, if any, vehicles or litters are available? Can the wounded be left behind (with someone to assist) while the team gets the vehicle, or must they be carried with the team?


Dead:  Can the dead be concealed for later pickup or must they be carried out?


Prisoners:  Will you take prisoners?  If so, how will you handle them?  U.S. Army doctrine follows the 5 S’s:  search, segregate, silence, speed (to the rear), and safeguard.  Secure enemy weapons and equipment and speed them to the rear non-combat area for interrogation.  Prisoners may also be bound and left behind (rather than taken back or killed).


Designated Area of Recovery (DAR):  The DAR is part of the overall mission plan and identifies areas and routes that team members will go to in the event they are separated from the team.  The real gist of this is that if your regular plan to evacuate or egress is blown or compromised, you should have a plan B.  These are secondary areas where your team would know to look for you.


It makes sense to have a backup plan.  Remember the acronym P.A.C.E.:  Primary, Alternative, Contingency, and Emergency.  Our DAR encompasses this mindset.  (Refer to Driven Book 1, pages 55-56).


Our primary plan in the video is to egress along a certain dry wash or valley area and follow a dirt trail back to our retreat.  The alternative is to egress in the same direction, paralleling the primary route, but just one major terrain feature to the south.  We’d identified a few areas of recovery where a person should wait – with major terrain features that could be identified in the dark.  Contingency plans, not discussed in the video may have included paralleling a terrain feature to the north or, in an emergency, getting back to our retreat by any means possible.  If time allows, a mission might also include a rehearsal, but the mission time line, environment, and resources may preclude you from performing one.


Weapon Malfunctions:  For the purposes of this chapter, we’ll stick to the AR-15; if you use a different weapon, many of these concepts will apply, however you should learn the specifics of your weapon system and how to remedy common malfunctions.


Failures with the AR are due to either mechanical or operator error.  The problem could lie with the rifle, magazine, or the ammo you’ve selected.  Attention to detail during your equipment inspection and function-checking will reduce the chance that you have a malfunction due to mechanical error.


Prior to loading a weapon, you should verify that it is operating as intended to identify potential problems before you put live ammo in the chamber.  Follow the steps below to verify your AR is functioning as designed.  If, when following any of these steps, something does not happen as expected, STOP and examine your weapon- if you cannot resolve the issue, bring it to an armorer or gunsmith for repair.


  1. With the selector on safe, with no magazine in the well, pull back and release the bolt several times.  It should eject any rounds in the chamber and return to the locked, bolt-forward position.
  2. Lock the bolt to the rear and
  3. Visually and tactilely (with your fingers) verify the weapon is unloaded and there is no round in the chamber.
  4. Release the bolt,
  5. Move the selector switch to fire and, after aiming the rifle in a safe direction,
  6. Pull the trigger.  You should hear a click.
  7. Keeping the trigger pulled to the rear, pull back on the charging handle and release it.
  8. Reset the trigger and, aiming in a safe direction, pull it once again.  You should again hear a click.
  9. Once more, pull the charging handle to the rear and release.
  10. Move the selector switch to safe.
  11. Pull the trigger.  Nothing should happen.


*Tip:  ARs like to be well-oiled.  A dry weapon will often induce malfunctions.  Keep lube on hand to ensure your weapon is properly lubricated.  Even if it’s dirty, it will often continue to work as long as your weapon’s got plenty of oil.


*Tip:  Speaking of oil, you can purchase expensive oil like Militec 1, Mil-Comm, or Froglube, and they work great, but Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil (yes, the kind that you buy at the auto parts store) works admirably in all temperatures.  We use Mobile 1 Synthetic on the bolt carrier.

Once you’ve completed an initial physical check of the weapon, you should inspect the magazine.  Magazines can become damaged and bent along the lips.

Next, load ammunition into the magazine.  Ensure that you are using the correct type of ammunition for the magazine and rifle.  AR-15s are chambered for a variety of calibers and cartridge types.  Using incorrect ammunition can be disastrous.  As you load ammo into the magazine, be on the lookout for damaged or defective ammunition.  If you find any, discard in a safe manner.


After loading a magazine into the rifle and ensuring it’s seated, charge the weapon by pulling the charging handle back all the way and letting the spring return it to the latched position.  Failure to ensure that the charging handle latch is latched can result in malfunctions.

Immediate Actions:  When you are shooting your AR and you pull the trigger and don’t hear a bang (when you’d normally expect to), there may be a few reasons why that happened.  The main thing to remember is this:  You must figure it out.  In a gun fight, move to cover, take a knee, or go prone while you figure it out.

Ideas to Figure It Out:

Check the chamber.  Tilt your rifle to the side to visually inspect the chamber.

  1. If the bolt is locked to the rear and you don’t see any brass in the chamber, your magazine is empty and you should reload with a new magazine.
    1. Press the magazine release, removing the magazine.  Load a new magazine into the magazine well, ensuring you’ve fully seated the magazine- pulling down on the magazine to confirm it’s secure.  Press the bolt catch to release the bolt and chamber a round.  Continue firing.
    2. If you see brass when you inspect the chamber, you have a malfunction.  There are a few types of malfunctions that can cause you to see brass.  The good news is that all but one of them is remedied by the same immediate action.
      1. Forcefully tap the magazine from the bottom, ensuring it is fully seated.
      2. Rack the charging handle to the rear and release allowing the spring to bring it forward.
      3. Continue firing.

If this immediate action does not work, you’ll need to do remedial action.

  1. Remove the magazine.  You may have to forcefully remove it.
    1. Rack the charging handle at least twice, or until the chamber is clear of the obstructive brass.
    2. If the cartridge or brass cannot be removed by racking the charging handle, you should lock the bolt to the rear and either tap the butt on the ground to knock the cartridge loose or use a tool to remove the round that has failed to eject.  You can use a cleaning rod inserted from the muzzle end or a multitool.

      *Tip:  If this happens often, and your rifle is clean and well oiled, you should consider replacing your extractor and/or extractor spring.

    3. If you cannot rack the charging handle or lock it to the rear, you likely have a bolt-override malfunction.  You’ll need to force the bolt to the rear with both hands or by “kick-starting” it as shown in the video.  Often, if you can only get the bolt part-way back, you can free the stuck cartridge by holding the bolt with your fingers and then seating the charging handle with the other hand.  As a last resort, you may have to reach in and pull out the cartridge or use a tool.
    4. Once the chamber is clear, insert a fresh magazine, charge the handle and continue firing.

Final word on malfunctions.  There are many, many reasons a weapon can malfunction.  In the heat of a battle, you can only do so much to remedy the issue.  Seek cover, breathe, and figure it out.  If you can can’t figure it out or it’s too serious to fix, then let your team know and do what you can to help them:  i.e.  call out targets, distribute magazines, work the radio, deploy smoke, etc.