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Book Review: Rattenkrieg! by Bob Taubert

There are an awful lot of firearms instructors out there, almost all teaching CQB skills of one sort or another.  And while the legitimate repertoire of handgun skills does change somewhat over time (indeed, it has changed substantially over the last 15 years), during any given year the palette of techniques from which instructors can choose (without drifting into the outright weird or simply trendy) is fairly defined.  That’s why I don’t really look to teachers and trainers to provide new techniques (although they can and often do), but usually I look carefully at the specific existing techniques that they choose to embrace.  That is, the difference these days between one (good) trainer and another is often what, out of the spectrum of techniques available “on the market” so to speak, they choose to teach.   As an analogy: Macys has a finite selection of clothes from which to choose in any given year; it’s the selection from that spectrum of choices that make one man well-dressed and another not so much.

So…who would you want to be your guide to the CQB pistol techniques currently available?  How about a combat veteran who was there at the beginning of CQB as a discipline, who over the decades has trained with every marquee counter-terrorist group in the free world, and who was part of the start-up cadre of two of them?  Suppose he also was an advisor to key counter-terrorist units over the years, and advised them as they were engaged in headline-grabbing missions? You’d be an idiot to pass up this opportunity!

Meet Bob Taubert.  Thirty-two months as a combat infantry officer in Vietnam, one of the FBI agents called upon to train the agency’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) when it was incepted, and one of the key trainers  with the DEA’s elite tactical units.  As part of his job during the years he did this work he travelled all over the world  to train with an pick the brains of units like Delta, GSG9, various Israeli CT units, SAS, major LE SWAT teams, and many others.  After retiring from the FBI he continued to actively teach and consult to this community.  I met Bob in 1997 when he was teaching SWAT at the Smith & Wesson Academy, and I recall that a couple of times he had to slip away for a few minutes.  I later learned that he did so to be on the phone to the main CT unit of another country that was dealing with a terrorist crisis that was in the world-wide news that week.  I ran across him several times thereafter, and I was always very impressed that, with all he knew, and after a career of working in the field, he was truly open to the new ideas that were coming down the pike and he actively sought out these ideas’ proponents so that he could train with them.  In other words, he did not calcify!

Now Bob has distilled much of what he has come to believe as “true” with respect to CQB pistol in a new Saber Press book titled Rattenkrieg!  Rattenkreig (“rat war”) is the term used by German soldiers to describe the brutal close-quarter battle for Stalingrad.  Bob chose this title to emphasize the fact that CQB pistol is not some trendy week-end course on a range; it is brutal, ugly, dangerous, lethal work where the techniques have to be verified in actual combat by men who not infrequently get killed.

Rattenkrieg! is about CQB tactics, techniques, tools, and training in a primarily LE team setting.  Taubert defines CQB shooting as 1) precise hi-speed shooting while moving, 2) within 15 yards, 3) under marginal light, 4) with multiple threats present, 5) with innocents close to the BGs, 6) while wearing impeding gear, 7) in the presence of noise and smoke, and 8) in confined areas.  Bob starts out discussing the basics: CQB pistols and their requirements, then goes on to discuss grips, stances, one-hand shooting, lasers, gloves, white lights, and other accessory equipment.  No freaky new stuff here, rather the compressed wisdom of the decades from one of the best observers of the craft.  Interspersed with this advice, he discusses things he’s learned from decades of teaching at the highest levels: his teaching philosophy (no stopwatches, for example), why you will probably move more slowly in combat than on the range, and his insistence on control and security over speed.  In other words, you get hardware and tactics advice laced with wisdom.  Subsequent chapters address shields, laser techniques, movement, reloading, retention, vehicle assaults, and way too much more to list.  It should go without saying that this is not a beginner’s book.

In the book Taubert frequently casually drops high-level insights into the middle of a chapter; for example you will learn why “rhythm” shooting is an easy trap to fall into and how it accounts for a lot of misses.  Bob addresses squarely some of the “new-fangled” techniques such a target-focused shooting and trigger slapping, gives them respect, and sets them in their proper place.  One of the gems in this book is the collection of drills that Taubert uses in his training, many of them coming directly (or in modified form) from the many first-tier CT groups he’s worked with.  Again, anyone can design some drills, but what you get here is Bob’s selection of a particular drill for a specific purpose(s), and the assurance that this drill has been used successfully by world-class teams to build their own skill.  You’re not just getting some training advice, but training wisdom from a guy that’s seen as much of the best teams training and operations as anyone living.

Not many people with Bob’s knowledge are available to the wider LE community, and we are fortunate that his career path has brought him to the point where he can share what he knows with us.  With this book you can learn the CQB pistol wisdom of a man who was there at the beginning, who has world-wide experience over decades, and who has kept abreast of the field all that time.  That’s a deal!

Rattenkrieg! is available now from Saber Press, a division of Saber Group, Inc.

 

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