Slicing the “PIE” is a tool that’s found on every belt of anyone who puts their name in the same sentence as “Tactics”. Doorways, hallways and open spaces are not the only reasons to slice the pie. This can be done searching vehicles, corners of buildings, open areas with obstacles and so on. Each of these has a reference or axis that you will use for maximum cover/concealment before over-committing.


Upon approaching the area you are about to search, you should have already identified your axis. As the space/area opens up you should use distance to your advantage. The key is: “less of you and more of them”. During my first SWAT school I thought I was slicing the pie correctly but soon found out that I had not used distance to my advantage. I was too close to the axis or doorway and had more of me exposed that I assumed. The reason I know that was because I kept getting shot in the arm and head with blue dye marked cartridges; I even remember the color. As I continued “learning” I took about 2 steps back and continued pieing the room which allowed me more cover and was able to see more of my target and engage him before he was able to identify and engage me.


As you approach the area to be searched, find the reference point/axis and slowly move across the entry point or area given, when possible, having no less than 2-3 feet of distance away. You should be identifying anything that can be considered a person or a part of a person down to a shoe, sleeve, sock, eyeglass frame, pants, etc.

On an operation I searched a closet and it was full of clothes and shoes. I kicked the bundle of clothes on the floor and saw a pair a gym shoes under a long dress, which appeared strange, but in my mind it’s a closet. Just as I walked away from the closet to continue searching the home I heard, what sounded like the plastic bag on the dress crinkling. I immediately turned and began yelling at these gym shoes. Seconds passed and suddenly the shoes moved and a body came from behind the dress, Lesson Learned!

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