Friday, June 17, 2016

Use It Or It Will Use You: Fatal Funnel

Several years ago I was training in a shoot house on a Texas Air Force base. I was with these great and crazy Air Force Security Forces guys. We had finished the qualifying requirements we had to do and were now just “playing”. We split into two teams. The team that was not running the drill would set up the house for the opposing team. We had done several of these and tried to set up drills that would make the opposing team fail or extend their time. On one drill I was point in a 3 man team. We entered the house ok but came to a hall way that had one room on opposing walls of the hall. We moved down the hall and secured the first room. Suddenly a smoke grenade rolled out of the last room. I stopped. We were not being timed. I kicked the grenade down the hall, let the smoke clear about 5 seconds then went in. I saw a threat and shot him. That was when I realized I was alone in the room! I cleared the room and went back into the hall and almost shot my team! They were all snickering which told me this was a prank on the non-cop. It was all done in fun and we finally settled down. The other team leader asked me why I didn’t come right out when I discovered I was alone. I said I didn’t want to go back out the fatal funnel. We talked for some time about the dilemma of the fatal funnel. I could see it coming. There are only a few ways of dealing with the fatal funnel. Usually it is quick and precise.
The "fatal funnel" is a term usually used pertaining to building-clearing operations. It refers to areas such as stairwells, hallways and doorways that are generally narrow, confining areas that offer little or no cover or concealment and potentially limit the tactical options if they have to go into combat.
The literal translation and image of a Fatal Funnel is a choke point where you're going to die. Therefore, the term "fatal funnel" implies that people will die if they are in these locations when the fight breaks out. Although these may be less desirable places to be when engaging in combat, the fight is far from over simply because you are in a hallway, doorway or stairwell.
The original meaning of the ‘fatal funnel’ was a warning to ensure that you did not pause or remain in doorways or windows. It was to prevent silhouetting yourself there. Of course, when readying to prevent a room entry, the ‘bad guy’ will naturally set up to shoot towards natural entry points. So, rather than over-defining the ‘fatal funnel’, it is more about enemy lines of fire, corners, and avoiding silhouetting yourself there. Don’t try and define the funnel and over complicate it.
In a similar way, if you go through a door and are confronted by an enemy in the middle of the room, shoot him! Often number 1 goes into the room and is too focused on his area. You need to engage the threats that you can see and let your team coming behind clear other areas. Yes, you need to clear the room, but you don’t ignore threats to do so. This is another problem of the complicating of these drills. If you are wondering how you do all this with bad guys in the room and you are funneling through the door, then welcome to the essential problem with these drills unless you have pre-shocked the room!
What does this mean to the average concealed carrier who will probably never be involved in a room entry like this, especially with a team? Your situation is the opposite. You will more than likely be the one pursued. Either you will be barricaded because of an active shooter, or you are dealing with a home invasion scenario. The point of this article is that if you don’t use the fatal funnel to your advantage, it can be used against you. It’s important to know how it works and how if may not have been actually analyzed as a tactic. It’s pretty natural to know that if someone is coming for me they have to use a doorway. But how that threshold is breached and what is done just inside the doorway that is tactical. Creating a funnel for the attacker is something you can do to use the funnel to your advantage. Natural barriers, such as walls, which way the door opens, and furniture, will always be there. But you can control where and how someone enters your room. I’m not saying to arrange your furniture tactically, but if you know of an imminent threat you can have a plan for creating a fatal funnel quickly. Putting a table or other piece of furniture on end or other placement of obstacles. Look at your bedroom or living room. What can be done quickly to create a funnel so that your attacker has to step into the kill zone. Whichever room, or room you think you’ll have to deal with an intruder, is where you can analyze and think through a few scenarios.
Decide that you will not be helpless. Decide to take your self-defense and the defense of your family seriously. Decide to not let the fatal funnel be used against you!

Semper Paratus
Check 6