What you’re about to read concerns “After Fire,” a certain procedure that takes place after an engagement of a threat in short proximity. I am well aware that no plan or idea stays intact in contact with reality as many unseen variables lurk into the background. That is why we teach “After Fire” as a procedure. Procedures tend to be more flexible compared to plans.
After Fire is based on a few considerations:
- Threat fixation
- Reidentification cycle
- Legal issues and Requirements after the shooting
- Efficiency through effectiveness
- Your state of performance
After Fire takes place after a threat stimulus is addressed and eliminated. It is largely reliant on the fact that during high threat and high-stress situations, threat fixation occurs. Threat fixation ceases when you are absolutely sure the threat is eliminated or when mental distress/stress is decreased.
An additional point which we feel is important to remark is that not only dead people fall. Injuries, obstacles, and other factors can cause a threat to fall down. Even if critically injured, a threat that is falling down and is lying on the floor could still use a firearm efficiently. After Fire’s purpose is to primarily ensure that you will not “shoot and forget.”
Take a look at the following video as I run you through the procedure, breaking it down step by step.
During an active engagement in a short distance from a threat, at a certain point, you will receive a visual cue that the threat ceased to be active or has been eliminated. In this case, the threat is most likely to fall into the lower dimension. From this moment you will perform the after fire cycle which consists of the following steps:
- Follow-through (precision / perfected shooting related)
- Fixation. Lower the gun (°45 maximum), ensuring a bigger visual picture. Note that it is important to conduct a proper low ready and not just “eyes” above sight to ensure that you receive a proper picture. Also due to the fact that bodies tend to fall (gravity) and that most engagements tend to occur in low light conditions, where the human vision suffers a great reduction of efficiency, a physical lowering down of the gun will be required to make that low dimension is visible.
- Respiration and picture.
- Inspect the threat. Relaying the expected tendency of humans to fixate visually on predators or other threat stimuli, you will inspect the target in detail. It is crucial to remark, that the inspection phase is intuitively based. However, I personally believe that it requires some sort of deliberate action and approach. This means that in high-intensity scenarios in which you are experiencing some form of anxiety or additional immediate threats or dangers, you will intuitively skip this phase and the rest of the cycle. Note: This phase happens simultaneously with respiration.
- Primarily you will look for :
- Hands. Is there’s an additional weapon being drawn? Where are the threat’s hands? Does the threat still retain a weapon?
- Body. You will look for injuries that might require immediate medical care (massive bleeding) or alternatively, other indicators such as wires, or swallowed clothing that may suggest the presence of IEDs.
Bolt/chamber check. Focal focus shifts to the weapon (near). A look into the weapon for the purpose of possible stoppage identification (if one takes place). This step ensures you will be always ready to engage a follow-up target. It is important to note, however, that during a continuous high threat scenario, where additional threat/danger are suspect to be present in the immediate environment of the individual, this step (and the next) might not take place as the individual will be busy looking for the next possible threat.
Scan. If necessary, the individual will conduct a scan.
Safety on. Keep in mind that this is largely regulations driven. The level of operations may vary. Unit requirements and additional situational factors might require you to simply ignore this phase.
0:47. The shift between a threat to a patient.
In real-life situations, you will encounter the following issue: the combination of lack of time and space followed by a set of dynamic perceptual distortions. Given that, we can emphatically say that, in most cases, you will not be able to choreographically go from follow through to inspecting the threat. However, you will be able to initiate that follow through and get the essentials out before inspecting the threat. In Project Gecko classes we represent that under FOF conditions in the CQB context.
Thank you for reading.
This article was written by Eli Feildboy, founder and CEO of Project Gecko and former Israeli commando. It was originally published in 2019. You can check him out and his courses at Project Gecko.