Guns Up 

-By Garrick Fernbaugh, NAVY SEAL (RET)

For those of you who have taken a course it's likely you've heard me talk about how to move out rapidly with a rifle or pistol. Guns Up is the position, and I'm going to be blunt, anything else is just plain stupid. There is a better way.

It seems everyone wants an insider tip on how to perform like a SEAL, here's a tip, don't run with your pistol tucked into your chest, and don't run with your rifle as if it's a football. Don't run with your rifle pointed into the dirt, if you take a spill the barrel is likely to be impacted with dirt. If you stand up to maneuver as a group there is virtually no way to prevent flagging each other if your low port, or pointed down. There are a lot of goofy things going on out there but this tops the list.

The SEALs have been running "High Port", or "Guns Up" since the Vietnam era. In the early 2000's 10-Gun terminology was implemented as part of a combatives system the SEALs used for extensively for about 15 years. The Guns Up position found it's way from outdoor open terrain, to indoor CQB/CQC environments. The 10-Gun, High Port, or Guns Up position has been adopted by at least one elite government organization that I know of. The organization I speak of is comprised of special operators from all branches of service, Marine Force Recon, MARSOC, PARARESCUE, SEALs, RANGERs, and Special FORCES. I've never personally met anyone who did not see an advantage to running Guns Up in some situations, this includes indoors and in the shoot house, in addition to MOUT, and Immediate Action Drills.

Which Special Operations Unit is the Best?

Special Forces

Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force (does the Coast Guard have special operations?)  They are all good at what they do, but which one should you model your training after?  

The military is a great resource to turn to for methods and tactics, and Special Operations groups are a natural group to try to imitate. Why?  They typically work in small units, which mirror our small units and groups.  So, which one should we be modeling our training after?  Please don't skip to the end, read this from start to finish.

To be sure, we should look at each branch and consider the drawbacks and advantages.  If anyone takes offense to this, I really don't care.  My objective in this article is not to outline the operational capabilities for each group, it's to identify after which group civilians should model themselves; each of these groups have overlapping capabilities, but generally excel in one area or another.  They have different tactics, because their roles are different and they each perform different missions.

Army: The Special Forces (Green Berets) are an elite fighting force that focuses largely on working and training foreign fighters and working in an unconventional warfare role, but also does short-term direct action missions like hostage rescue and counter terrorism.  Rangers are also Army SpecOps that have an expert presence on the battlefield and have killed or captured more high value targets than any other group.

Navy: SEALS primarily do direct action missions (in and out in a short period of time) focused on killing or abducting a specific target.  They also are assigned to protect ships and vessels, as well as conduct special reconnaissance, personnel recovery, and combat terrorists using unconventional warfare.

Marines: MARSOC is the branch of the Marines that focuses on reconnaissance, but also has a direct action capability.  They also perform foreign internal defense, counter-terrorism, information operations, and unconventional warfare.

Air Force:  Combat Control Teams, Pararescue (PJ), and SOWT teams are Special Operations teams within the Air Force that focus on different aspects of unconventional warfare like rescue, directing tactical aircraft, and gathering intelligence behind enemy lines in preparation of an upcoming battle.

There's so much more that each of these units do, but that's not the point of this article, so don't get your panties in a wad if I left something out.  As I mentioned there's a lot of potential overlap and commonality in each of these groups.  One point of commonality is that they all have BIG ARMY (or Air Force, or Navy) to fall back on for supplies, logistics, training, equipment, etc., etc.. They get the best and newest toys, equipment, and training opportunities... they have helicopters, jets, machine guns, and so much other cool stuff that you can't even fathom. That means BIG Money. 

If you are going to model your training after any of these groups, you need to understand that they have something that you will never have, it's not ambition, skill, training, or intelligence, it's the deepest pockets in the world.

So, if you consider removing the logistics, money, and backing from these organizations, and just consider their tactics, which do you choose? 

First, consider your own operational situation:  You are in a small unit (family and friends) with little supplies (certainly not endless), limited resources, surrounded by non-friendlies all the time, limited intelligence, limited skill-sets amongst the team, etc.  I'm trying to paint an honest picture here- you are not a super spy, Rambo, Delta, or PJ with access to NSA's databases; you have a family, a job, and competing interests that distract you from your combat readiness.  

So, again, which do you choose???
Answer: None of the above. 

Don't like my answer?  Let's consider an alternative option.  The government has other special groups that don't get the publicity that these SOF guys get; let's look at one of these groups and see if it's more closely aligned with our situation. 

The Global Response Staff (GRS) was created by the CIA to work in both permissive and non-permissive (un-friendly) environments, with little to no backup, in small units with little supplies.  These guys are usually selected from Special Operations units, but then go through intense training to "re-learn" tactics more conducive to their mission.  They can't usually call in helos, air strikes, or fall back on the safety net of BIG Army.  They don't practice the tactics of the SEALS or Special Forces- they employ a combination of all the tactics of the Special Operations, plus CIA tradecraft that works for their situation: a situation that is VERY similar to yours.

Imagine taking the very best tactics for a situation like yours out of every SpecOps unit and rolling it into one.  That's what the GRS was trained to do: develop a highly effective system, drawing from experiences of all branches, designed for a small unit with minimal resources.  That means economy of motion to increase survivability.

I'm betting you'd like to learn more about this unit.  Google "Washington Post GRS" for starters, then read or watch 13 Hours, that's one example of GRS operators.  

Want to get this type of training?  What about training from actual GRS operators? 

It just so happens, that Scott Wealing and Garrick Fernbaugh are both GRS operators and are now teaching those techniques in courses hosted by Infidel! 




Over the years I've had a few experiences that have led me to better understand what I call the "Preparedness Continuum".  I first recognized this concept when I was approached at a self reliance expo in Dallas by a person who had come to the conclusion that the world was going to end and they needed to prepare.  The problem was that this person had only just figured this out in the past day and they were scrambling to purchase and learn everything they needed in a matter of hours.  Going from fully unprepared to fully prepared is a process that cannot be completed in a short period of time.  I urged this person to first go and buy food storage and water filters; then a gun; afterwards we would talk about what armor would best suit them.

I had another experience when I first started advertising online several years ago.  I'd invested some advertising dollars both with Alex Jones (radio personality) and Glen Beck (TV and Radio personality).  Both advocated preparing and I'd errantly believed that both would be great sources to find potential customers.  What I discovered was that most Glen Beck (GB) listeners (I know I run the risk of offending a few people here) were at the far left side of preparedness, and many Alex Jones (AJ) fans were closer to the right.  While both demographics were interested in preparing for calamity, one group was just beginning their journey, and the other was closer to the end.

The GB audience are normal people just beginning to prepare; a typical listener may only now be starting to get a 72hr food supply or a few weeks of groceries.  They may or may not have decided to purchase a firearm yet.  This group is sincerely trying to figure out how what kind of food they should be storing are maybe just figuring out that extra medical supplies might be useful in an emergency.  These folks also might still believe that a worst case scenario would mean a week or two of no grocery shopping, and that they only need to be prepared enough to tide them over until the National Guard comes to their rescue.  Don't laugh!  We all likely started somewhere close to this point in our preparedness journey, and I don't say this to insult or mock anyone's idea of what the future holds.

Contrast the GB audience with the AJ audience and it's easy to see the other end of the spectrum.  These guys and gals have spent countless hours researching nearly every aspect of preparedness.  They've read numerous books and manuals on shelter building, gardening, combat tactics, off-grid medicine, solar energy, martial law, bugging out and more!  This is the group that has already purchased long term food storage, several guns for each family member, a bug out vehicle, and military camoflauge clothing.  These people have trained and keep themselves physically fit, ready for a disaster. This is the groups that owns body armor and trains with it regularly.  They keep Col. Cooper's awareness color code in mind as they go out from their house and as they park their cars at work.  They carry their get-home bag in the car's trunk and are secretly purchasing ammo and store electronics like night vision in faraday cages.

Consider for a moment, where you believe you are on the continuum.  Are you closer to the right, middle, or left?  We can all improve in our preparations.  It's not a destination, but a continual process that we need to work on every day.  Are you at the point where you've purchased an AR-15, but don't have any real tactical training experience?  Are you at the point where you own a gas mask and CBRNE suit, but haven't tried wearing it or shooting a gun in full gear?  Are you living full time at your retreat already, but need to develop a tactical plan?  Or are you still flushing out your year-supply of food?  Recovering from an injury and need to get back into better shape?  Are you well rounded on your tactical gear, but haven't purchased body armor yet?  What about a helmet?  Night vision? offers equipment that can help you along your preparedness journey.  We also have teamed up with Briggs Core Dynamics to provide training and consulting.  We've written books and produced films to help you learn.  

No matter where you are in the Preparedness Continuum, I urge you to do something today.  Do something to improve your ranking and level of preparedness.  Infidel is having a sale right now on many items.  My hope is that we can be a part of your journey.  Please consider purchasing equipment from us, or registering for a training course

On the Human Predator

I’m not teaching you anything new here when I say the lungs and heart in a human are in the chest. In most situations aiming at the chest is the most natural shot to take. When you expand your arms forward they are most often in line with most people’s chest.

  Let's say you can’t target the chest. For example, they are wearing body armor. In this situation, it is still a good idea to hammer them in the chest. Armor may save their lives ultimately, but it is going to hurt pretty bad even through armor. This knocks them off target and allows you to target a vulnerable area. Primarily the head. If you are close enough or skilled enough to target the head this is the preferred option.  

Alternatively, if you don't feel confident in a head shot, or because there are innocents behind the threat, you can go for a pelvic shot. The pelvis is basically a load bearing wall of the human body. Hitting this area is unlikely to kill your opponent but can incapacitate and immobilize an opponent. Since the pelvis is often at a downward angle of aim if you miss the projectile is likely to strike the ground.

On Animals

Most animals in the United States that have four legs are easily dispatched with most common calibers of firearms. Very few animals require a magnum caliber rifle to dispatch. Some animals, like bears, are not easily dispatched via standard handgun but can be dispatched by most full-powered rifle rounds.

  The key to success is striking the same heart and lungs. This is a more humane and more efficient method to bring down game. Typically right behind the front legs lay the heart and lungs of an animal. A well-paced shot this area will often take the animal down almost immediately. If the animal is facing you, you can usually reach the heart easily though the front of the chest.

On Target

Before it was called shot placement, and there was a science behind it, people simply used to say shoot what you can hit your target with. It's simple advice, and it’s easy to follow. Carry a caliber that can reach the vital organs, and then learn to use it.


Chad Cooper, CEO


Gear Familiarization

So you’ve done you research, your due diligence and you’ve gotten your load up down. You have your long arm, an optic, maybe a light of some kind for it. Next you’ve got a good sidearm holster, and maybe even a weapon light for your handgun. You’ve a plate carrier, body armor, and your plate carrier is set up to your liking. Mags mounted and ready. Good to go right? Game over, you're done right? No, no you are not. The next step is training to actually use your gear.
The Test
Just because your gear runs well in your living room doesn’t mean it runs well in the real world. What this means is you need to get out there and use and abuse your gear the way you intend to run it when the balloon goes up. You need to get out there, plate carrier loaded, weapon ready, and hit a live fire range with it. At a minimum you need to practice multiple position shooting. This means going into the prone position, taking a knee, and firing from behind barricades, and other forms of cover.
Next you need to test your ability to do reloads, weapons manipulation, control, and the ability to accurately engage with your weapons. You have to do all this while wearing your load out. These tests will show you if your gear really works, or if you need to make changes. These tests are incredibly valuable. In my time in the Marine Corps I found the value of these tests as my load out evolved. I learned how to set my load up for running a machine gun, I then learned how to set up my kit for a rifle, then for a rifle and grenade. The only way I knew my load out would work is by actually using it.
You need to learn if your gear is going to fall apart, if your weapon and magazines are going to fail, or if your pistol holster is going to chafe your leg over a long day. (Thigh rigs chafe terribly)
Learning your Gear
Once your load out passes the test and you are genuinely comfortable with your gear it’s time to learn how your gear works. This means you get out there and use it, over and over, and over. Once your gear is working for you, keep it where it is, and start your training. Your gear needs to stay the same as much as possible once you start training.
The reason being is that you need to start building muscle memory. Muscle memory means that you can do something like reloading your rifle as naturally as scratching your knee. You don’t have to look, you don’t have to think about it, you can just do it. This muscle memory should extend to every piece of your gear. This includes drawing your weapon, getting into your medical kit, drawing your knife, using any and all electronics you have without having to even look at it.
You need to know the inside and out of your electronics. This includes GPS units, weapon mounted flashlights and laser aiming modules, as well as night vision devices. You need to be able to activate these items in the middle of a fight, or in the dead of night. Do the batteries need to be changed? Can you do it in the dark, when your hands are frozen or when you are wearing gloves?
This training needs to be done methodically and in a structured manner. Time needs to be dedicated to every little thing. Once you figure out how to clear a malfunction or draw your pistol, do it the same way, over and over. Take the time to dedicate a few minutes to every particular skill. Even when you believe you have ‘mastered’ it, keep practicing it. Once you feel confident in all your skills feel free to make things more difficult.
Do it with your eyes closed. Do it in the dark. Do it all while wearing a set of night vision goggles. If possible do it on a live fire range. Load your magazines with random dummy rounds to simulate malfunctions. Load your magazine only a few rounds at time to aid in speeding up reloading skills.
The simple fact is that the little things will make you excel. We used to preach ‘Brilliance in the basics’.  The complicated, and sexy moves look cool, but they all rely on the basics. When hell is raining down, when you're scared, tired, hungry, and thirsty, the basics are what you will fall back on.
As a young Marine, I got really sick and tired of hearing, “Brilliance in the basics”. However, once the bullets started firing what did I do? What was important to winning that fight? The basics. The basics or reloading my machine gun, the basics of using my gear appropriately. Like how to mount night vision on my helmet, how to mount a thermal optic on my machine gun. These things sound simple, but get out and do it. Get out and do everything you can to learn your gear, inside and out.


The keys to a successful ambush are:  surprise, coordinating fire, and control.
  1. Surprise allows the ambush force to seize and control the situation.  Surprise is the number one most important factor in an ambush.  You achieve surprise through planning, preparation, and execution.  Only attack when, where, and in a manner the enemy is least expecting.
  2. Coordinating fire.  Positioning weapons (including booby traps) to maximize the effect in the kill zone will prevent enemy escape and should bring a high volume of fire into the kill zone, resulting in complete destruction of the enemy force.  Those initiating an ambush should use extreme violence of action.
  3. Control. Noise and sound discipline patrolling to and from the ambush area, as well as at the objective, are essential.  You should also exercise control in waiting for the enemy to fully enter the kill zone before firing. Also, leaders should control their unit to either effectively withdrawal or assault through the ambush.  Exercise patience and self-discipline by remaining still and quiet while waiting for the target to appear. Endure insect bites and thirst in silence, resist the desire to sleep, ignore cramped muscles, and limit/control normal body functions.  Resist the temptation to open fire before the signal is given.
Besides killing and wounding the immediate enemy, ambushes can have a rippling effect on their compatriots.  Constant ambush activities force the enemy to divert from their primary missions and reduces their overall effectiveness.  Ambushes can cause the enemy to divert their attention from offensive maneuvers to defensive, becoming more cautious in their activities.  Enemies may become reluctant to go on patrols, convoys, or move in small groups.  They may avoid night operations and lose overall moral and fighting effectiveness.

To learn more about ambushes and other light-fighting techniques, read the book Driven 2: the Survival Guide available at