Training the Immediate Action Drill

Training the Immediate Action Drill

This is a discussion on Training the Immediate Action Drill within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Training the Immediate Action Drill By: Tom Perroni The purpose of this article is to share information with all shooters that I feel may save ...

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Thread: Training the Immediate Action Drill

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    Training the Immediate Action Drill

    Training the Immediate Action Drill

    By: Tom Perroni

    The purpose of this article is to share information with all shooters that I feel may save your life in a Gunfight.

    What do you do when you pull the trigger on your fully loaded semi auto handgun and instead of a bang you get a click? This may not be a problem on the range while you are training however if you are in a gunfight and this happens you need to know what to do!

    We have a saying in the Tactical Training community:

    In a gunfight you will not rise to the occasion….. You will default to the level of training you have mastered.

    The answer to the above referenced question: What do you do when your fully loaded semi auto goes click instead of bang should be: Conduct an Immediate Action Drill.

    Please not what I teach is “A” way to operate or train not “THE way to operate or train.

    How do you properly execute a (IAD) “Immediate Action Drill”? The first step is to define what an IAD is….Their are (3) components of an IAD they are as follows: TAP, RACK, FIGHT.

    Tap-Rack-Fight- This process clears malfunctions and /or jams and effectively “resets” the firearm.

    TAP: means to smack the bottom of the magazine firmly enough to lock it into place or dislodge any bind in the magazine.

    RACK: is a cycling of the slide to eject any hammered /or dead casings or to re-chamber a new cartridge following a malfunction.

    FIGHT: means being prepared to commence or resume fire as required by accessing the situation. (These maneuvers must be able to be executed subconsciously and effectively at any time.)

    This drill is also known as Tap-Rack-Bang or Tap-Rack-Ready, with either being appropriate depending on the situation. The Bang vs. Ready part isn't a component of the analysis here (as it may be policy dictated and therefore moot for debate), but rather how to most effectively train the first two parts

    The biggest issue that I see in the training environment seems to be failure to tap the magazine resulting in sequences of bang-click-rack-click-rack-rack-click-rack-rack-rack-click, all of this with an instructor yelling at them to seat the magazine.

    I have no hard data to support this however I was taught by my father that 70% to 80% of the time when you pull the trigger on a semi auto and get a bang and then a click it is due to the fact that the magazine was not seated in the handgun correctly to begin with.

    The way that I have trained this drill on the range for many years was to load inert (dummy) rounds into loaded magazines sporadically with live rounds; this causes the shooter to perform the IAD spontaneously during drills as the inert rounds come up. This method works well to force spontaneous IAD's, but I have found that it fails the less proficient/disciplined shooter in that it is possible to get away without the Tap. This causes the shooter to begin reinforcing a bad skill set, which shows up during a real malfunction as a Rack-Click-Rack-Click-Rack-Click.

    The way that I know teach this is by having the shooter fully load the magazine with live rounds. Then insert the magazine into the semi auto rack the slide putting a round in the chamber (Condition1) then I tell the student to point the weapon down range press the magazine release and allow the magazine to protrude slightly so that it is not seated in the semi auto, I then tell the shooter to hold the magazine in place with the pinky or little finger. Then I instruct them to bring the weapon to low ready or retention position on the command fight or threat to fire 3 rounds this will cause a bang then a click …If the shooter does not TAP, Rack, Fight they will not get a second bang.

    I have also been taught to do the drill using masking tape it seems to keep the (unseated) Glock & SIG magazines in place. You simply wind the tape around the magazine a couple of times. Then make sure you do not fully seat the magazine. When tapped, they seem to seat deeply enough to give the desired result.

    Last but not least when I teach magazine changes of any type I tell my students to seat the magazine by tapping it and to rack the slide whether it was a speed, tactical or emergency reload. This accomplishes two things one it insures that the gun is always loaded with a round in the chamber (Yes I know that if you had a round in the chamber you just lost one round) It also reinforces TAP, RACK, FIGHT.



    I also teach my students that when conducting dry fire practice this is also a perfect time to practice the IAD. It not only reinforces TAP, RACK, FIGHT it allows you to practice trigger control. By resetting the handgun so that you can get another trigger pull.


    Please also note that the TAP, RACK FIGHT is conducted in the Manipulation Position- This is the basketball sized area directly in front of and slightly below your chest. This is the area that you will manipulate the gun in. This includes but is not limited to Jams, and or malfunctions, speed or emergency reloads, or tactical reloads, or chamber checks. This is NOT a position to hold the firearm in while waiting to shoot or for situation assessment.

    In my opinion as an Instructor I feel that this should be added to any shooters training program if they are carrying the firearm for self defense.



    Stay Safe & Shoot Straight!

    Always remember : "Conflict is inevitable; Combat is an option".
    “ Always start out in Condition Yellow”
    “Smooth is fast….Speed is fine but accuracy is final”
    "When all else fails Front Sight Press!"


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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCJS Instructor View Post
    Training the Immediate Action Drill

    By: Tom Perroni

    The purpose of this article is to share information with all shooters that I feel may save your life in a Gunfight.

    What do you do when you pull the trigger on your fully loaded semi auto handgun and instead of a bang you get a click? This may not be a problem on the range while you are training however if you are in a gunfight and this happens you need to know what to do!

    The answer to the above referenced question: What do you do when your fully loaded semi auto goes click instead of bang should be: Conduct an Immediate Action Drill.

    Please not what I teach is “A” way to operate or train not “THE way to operate or train.


    I teach it as Tap-Rack-Assess.

    "A" better way might be to get your bum off the X and moving while doing the immediate action drill. All of us Instructors should emphasize immediate movement in training, force on force has proven it as one of the most effective startegies to win a gunfight.

    I appreciate you taking the time to post these points, they are thought provoking and good info for newbies and instructors alike.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by semperfi.45 View Post


    I teach it as Tap-Rack-Assess.

    "A" better way might be to get your bum off the X and moving while doing the immediate action drill. All of us Instructors should emphasize immediate movement in training, force on force has proven it as one of the most effective startegies to win a gunfight.

    I appreciate you taking the time to post these points, they are thought provoking and good info for newbies and instructors alike.
    I agree 100% I teach Move, Shoot, Communicate!

    James Yeager taught me:

    M.O.V.E.

    M= Motionless
    O= Operators
    V= Ventilate
    E= Easily

    I teach TAP, RACK, FIGHT instead of Assess because I do not want my students to pause and get shot. If you have

    A= Ability
    O= Opportunity
    J= Jeopardy
    P= Preclusion

    No need to assess it takes 1.5 - 3 seconds to perform an IAD do you think in that period of time the perp will give up?

    My way is "A way NOT the way!

    Just my $0.02

    Tom Perroni

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    Of course once you get this down you have to do it one handed with both right and left hands. Everyone should be able to clear a malfunction with one hand. This is necessary in case you are not able to use your other hand. For a SWAT guy like me, it might be because I'm holding a shield with one hand and shooting a handgun with the other. Or like any civilian one hand/arm might get shot or cut in a fight. Plus you might be carrying your child, holding a steering wheel, or just not be able to use it, because the suspect is holding it in a grappling type situation.

    Basics first though. Tap, Rack, Assess.

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Good thread...I don't personally care for tap-rack-assess for the reason already stated.

    Yeager is the man, train with him or his guys and this will be burned into your brain. I'm going to be down in Camden for a few classes the week after next.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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    I guess I missed that one KimpTex. I'm curious. Why not?

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    Nice post Tom.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Excellent worthwhile thread.

    This is slightly Off topic but still applicable.

    Here is one area of potential avoidance, everybody needs to "test" roll around and contort and bump/smack their holstered firearm.

    That is because some holster designs can be prone to put enough pressure on the magazine release to partially eject a magazine from a holstered firearm at the worst possible time AKA in a possible life or death scenario.

    That is what happened some years ago to one PA LEO when he was shoved against his patrol car while performing a field sobriety test.

    Years ago I also promptly got rid of one "high quality" OWB carry rig that would sometimes partially eject a magazine from a Colt Officers model at some of the oddest doggone sporadic times.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    Worth reading.
    Thanks!

    Stay armed...get training...stay safe!
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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudoJake View Post
    I guess I missed that one KimpTex. I'm curious. Why not?
    If you're asking about the reason I don't like T-R-A, I was referring to this part of Tom's post
    I teach TAP, RACK, FIGHT instead of Assess because I do not want my students to pause and get shot. If you have

    A= Ability
    O= Opportunity
    J= Jeopardy
    P= Preclusion

    No need to assess it takes 1.5 - 3 seconds to perform an IAD do you think in that period of time the perp will give up?
    The way I see it, you're already shooting, all of a sudden you get a "click" instead of a "bang." At that point, if you've trained your "IAD" properly (i.e. if it's an automatic response), you're looking at just a second or two before your gun is back up. I doubt that the situation that caused you to start shooting is going to change in that 1-2 second period. If it does, you'll know because you should have been assessing during the IAD since you're focus should be on the threat not on your gun. In other words, by the time my gun is back up, I'll already know whether I need to continue shooting or not.

    I also agree with semperfi.45 that you should be moving when doing this.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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    Well that's true enough. You SHOULD be assessing the threat. Good point.

    In general I like it. However problems might develop in real situations. For instance, you have to clear the weapon with one hand. In this situation you are more than likely going to have to at least glance at the object you are going to use to rack the slide. Example: Your weak hand is not available, you draw with your strong hand, attempt to fire and get a "click", you tap the magazine on your thigh, look down to locate your belt buckle, and use that to rack the slide, then come back up on target. This might sound like an extreme situation, but it is basic police academy training and it dose generally require you to take your eyes off of the threat.

    The other scenario is that your average shooter with limited experience may not have developed the mussel memory to clear the malfunction with two hands without looking at the weapon. Which is a training issue, I realize.

    I guess that your chances of surviving, therefore, insuring that you stop the threat by shooting instantly, probably outweigh the possibility that the Dirt Bag decided to give up halfway through the fight.

    I think that the answer might be more realistic training than what a static range can offer. If you were for "Tap, Rack, Assess" and you practice this on a static range with a paper target, what are you assessing? Nothing! Maybe the gun in the hands of a cartoon looking guy, but most of us aren't even shooting on targets like this(I suspect). The target looked the same as it did before you cleared the malfunction. So you are really just conditioning yourself to to pause before delivering follow up shots. Now if you were involved in force on force training and an instructor advised a Dirt Bag actor to throw down his weapon and start running, when the Good Guy's weapon malfunctioned, then that would be much more effective.

    I do see your point though Kempo Tex. I compare it to having a malfunction with your long weapon and transitioning to a handgun and firing. It is certainly accepted that in that situation you keep your eyes on the threat, transition and fire without assessing. I can't see why it normally would be any different when clearing a malfunction with the handgun. In both situations you tried to fire and nothing happened, so you kept your eye on the threat, got a gun into the fight and kept shooting. Thanks for teaching me something.

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    Great thread. Very informative. Thanks to all who contributed. This is the kind of stuff that may one day save your life.
    "It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

    J. R. R. Tolkien

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    I was told in the Police Academy several years ago that it used to be, Tap, Rack, Bang, but that they changed it to Tap, Rack, Access, because somebody shot somebody who had given up. I guess the cop was acquitted in court because his training was, Tap, Rack, Bang. So they changed it.

    I don't know if this story is real or not, but it is what I was told. It might be a case of CYA, and might be why instructors prefer it. I don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JudoJake View Post
    I don't know if this story is real or not, but it is what I was told. It might be a case of CYA, and might be why instructors prefer it. I don't know.

    I was told the same thing.....I think it's all about CYA for the Dept.

    A fellow LE Instructor said it this way. The reason you have pepper spray (OC) baton, Taser and a handgun is so the brass can say we gave him/her all those tools as an option and he/she chose to use deadly force.......WE gave them options......


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    I call it Duck, weave and cover..... while the other guy is shooting at me, and until I can get a dang bullet into the chamber that will fire.

    And a really good reason to have a revolver handy in your pocket, if that's not what you are already using. Then it's pull trigger, click... pull trigger again.

    While you are all assessing your gun, don't forget that someone else may be shooting away and trying to kill you.

    Survival is first on my list. ....

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