Boch Screencap via Facebook

A video is making the rounds on Facebook that has sparked an investigation within the US Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division. The video shows soldiers pointing their firearms, loaded with live ammunition at their fellow soldiers as part of a room-clearing exercise.

While sloppy muzzle control might not have raised eyebrows a generation or two ago, today it is considered a serious transgression.

The muzzle discipline — or lack thereof — shows a fundamental failure of trainers and soldiers alike to maintain a safe environment and instill good firearm handling skills. The goal of the military is to kill the enemy and break things, not shoot fellow Americans or other allies with negligent discharges.

Boch screencap via Facebook.

 

If Facebook kills the video, it can be also seen here.

The appalling gun handling skills shown have made a lot of folks angry. They’ve contacted leadership in the 10th Mountain Division and leadership has reacted.

The Command Sergeant Major of the 10th addressed the video in a minute-long video on Twitter.

It is good to see this being addressed. “It is 10th Mountain Division,” CSM Mario Terenas said. “It is our folks. And it really, really hurts to say that. It is not the standard. It is not how we do business.  It is not acceptable.”

He went on to thank people for bringing this to his attention and closed with assurances he considers this unacceptable.

Boch screencap via Facebook.

“Make no mistake. That is not the 10th Mountain Division standard. It will NEVER be the 10th Mountain Division standard.”

The sad part is that people who don’t know better may look at that video as a model of how to clear a room. In reality, it’s showing how to accidentally kill a fellow good guy.

83 COMMENTS

  1. … and yet we are told time and time again that only “professionals” (Military, Police etc.) should be trusted with Firearms. I know 8 year olds with better muzzle discipline.

  2. Rules in conflict with rules.

    Rule #2: Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy

    Rule #3: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target, and you have made the decision to shoot.

    Seems #3 supercedes #2.

    With no finger on the trigger, no firearm discharge happens when you point the gun wherever you want. Thus, “muzzling” another member of your squad presents no immediate danger (yeah, all sorts of things MIGHT happen).

    Never had a combat experience where clearing a room, or cave, or compound was required, but….

    Is it truly possible to prevent every instance of “muzzling” while in high adrenalin situations, situations where circumstances prevent movement in any direction that does not eventually lead to “muzzling” someone on your team?

    Ah, but what about “training” exercises? Well, to be perfectly safe, there should be no firearms present; removes entirely the concern over the “four rules”. Next best: dummy firearms. Next best: simunition. Least best: combat exercises with live ammunition.

    Note: videos of bad practices are not useless, at all.

    • No.

      It is entirely possible to execute maneuvers like these without flagging anyone or creating the situations shown in the video. Stress and chaos are EXACTLY why these must be drilled until you can’t get it wrong. Just like the Constitution, the moments of crisis and chaos are what the 4 rules are for, not the time to ignore them.

    • Sam I Am,

      I have not yet watched the video to see just how bad muzzle discipline may or may not have been. Having said that, I can easily picture scenarios where it is utterly impossible to quickly clear a room without muzzling your teammates. If there are enough teammates and obstacles, it seems inevitable.

        • Hah! Is it just me or were there actually zero obstacles and only a few guys?

          Yeah, their tactics were pretty awful. I was picturing real rooms with chairs, tables, lamps, bookcases, couches, stacked boxes, and every other imaginable piece of junk that real people would keep in real buildings. Managing your way around real rooms with 10 guys would be far more difficult than that abysmal “training exercise” (if you can call it that).

        • “I was picturing real rooms with chairs, tables, lamps, bookcases, couches, stacked boxes, and every other imaginable piece of junk that real people would keep in real buildings.”

          That’s just not realistic for a typical home in the mideast where they may be operating, like the outskirts of Mosul.

          It’s a whole lot more ‘spartan’ than that in a typical poverty dwelling there…

      • ‘If there are enough teammates and obstacles, it seems inevitable.’

        It’s not. Anyone who doesn’t have a clear firing label should be pointed in a safe direction. Some instructors have taught me up, but that doesn’t work with observers on the catwalk. Other teams do low — just as long as everyone is on the same page. With 6 or 8 guys, the ones in the middle might not have anything to do at the moment, but they should looking for their opportunity. As the points go through a door and break to the sides, they can go straight, bring guns up, and become point.

    • “With no finger on the trigger, no firearm discharge happens when you point the gun wherever you want.”

      Owners of a certain company’s model 700 would like a word with you…

      • And with all that moving around, I’m sure there’s a 0% chance that something could get into the trigger guard and exert 5lbs of pressure.

      • Right on about those M700’s. Years ago, I was mule deer hunting in Montana in late November with my 700LH (early ’70’s model) in below zero temps. I had left the rifle outside overnight and when I took the safety off to open the bolt, it fired. With those old models, you had to take the safety off to open a cocked bolt. Fortunately, I had it pointed in a safe direction (thanks for the muzzle discipline training, Dad) and didn’t hit any of my hunting buddies. Scared the snot out of us though. Sent it back to Remington and got a newer model.

    • Recent training on room clearing you “check up’ by pointing your muzzle up when someone walks in front of you (as opposed to down at the ground like it used to be taught.). The guy closer to the door that’s aimed in should be taking the lead anyway since they already have a better view into the angle the door is creating. No reason for someone to walk in front of him, but even if they do he can point his muzzle up (or down).

        • Great find. I can’t add anything, but “gravity is your friend” at high port. Low carry, low port, whatever you call it, if your weapon is below the target, gravity cannot assist you under any circumstances.

          The tacit admission is, the Army taught it all wrong just to accomodate all the assholes up on the catwalks.

    • I want to point out that there are walkways with men moving around above the troops in the video. If troops were pointing their muzzles in the air, they would be muzzling instructors, inspectors, commanders, or whoever the hell is evaluating the performance. Personally, I’m am loathe to point my weapon at the ground: rounds ricochet off of concrete more readily than walls, and you get dirt in the muzzle. The muzzle has to point SOMEWHERE.

      The problem I see here is, too many REMFs have too much to say about training methods. It sucks, but accidents happen in training. That said, the more you sweat, the more you bleed in training, the less you’ll bleed in battle.

      To hell with the SJWs, the politicians, and much of the command structure. The 10th should be telling the world, “This is how we do things, now kindly F off!”

      • When we run our shoothouses, if you want to be up in the catwalk observing, you have accepted the risk of getting flagged by the trainees who choose to carry at the high-ready, or who give a muzzle-raise to signal a follow-on action.

        Gawkers that observe my training from the catwalk will not constrain the actions of those training in the shoothouse by standing around wasting oxygen in a poorly chosen location.

    • Sam I Am,

      What would you do if someone point the muzzle at you? Carefully check to see if their fingers are on the trigger or not, and if they’re not, never mind?

      Answer that and you will understand why both rules should stand and none of them supersede any others.

  3. This can all be fixed with a few trans-female-POC appointees and another mandated 768 hours of teaching men and white people in general to hate themselves.

    Ill circle back to you with specifics.

  4. “This can all be fixed with a few trans-female-POC appointees and another mandated 768 hours of teaching men and white people in general to hate themselves. ”

    I think you misunderstand, completely. This blog is “The Truth About Guns”, not “The Truth In Politics”. (the latter is a fictional construct). Next, you will be declaring that professional wrestling is not real.

  5. That was pretty terrifying to watch, and even more terrifying to realize that there were NCOs on the catwalks above those soldiers who did not call a ceasefire immediately.
    It is, however, incredibly encouraging to watch a CSM take absolute ownership and responsibility for troops in his chain of command. That is solid leadership there.

    • Mr. Taylor,

      While people-in-the-know realize how pathetic/inept/ineffective/dangerous that training was, the people who would actually be responsible for those guys going to battle (whether on our side or on our enemies’ sides) do not know any better. As far as they are concerned, those guys are the real deal and are a formidable force rather something more akin to the Three Stooges. That being the case, it leads me to believe that a great deal of our visible military capabilities are political theater — designed to deter our enemies and placate our citizens and politicians.

      For several other additional reasons, I have been of the opinion for several years that the overwhelming majority of our military is completely unnecessary and almost entirely for show. This “training” video reinforces that notion.

      • Uncommon, the training level of the troops we see going through the shoot house is not the issue. Everyone has to start somewhere. Absolutely no one was a tactical god the first time they went through a shoot house. That’s not the problem with this video at all.
        The problems with this video are the gross safety violations present, and the NCOs on the catwalk that did not immediately stop it. That is the reason why it got a lot of attention in military circles, not the tactical inexperience of those in the video. This is the concern of the CSM in the video.

  6. So no rear security, no one watching the ceilings, no checking around doors for wire ect..

    Maybe things have changed but that was not how I remember it being done.

    Considering that Creepy Joe is in office, no ammo on shelves, financial institutions going nuts, wearing a face diaper, society on the brink of upheaval ect I’m not so shocked.

    What could possibly be next?

  7. “Just like the Constitution, the moments of crisis and chaos are what the 4 rules are for, not the time to ignore them.”

    Who is advocating ignoring “the four rules?”* I simply pointed out that rule three makes rule two superfluous (no finger on the trigger, no unwanted destruction). Then I asked if it is possible to entirely avoid “flagging” teammates under all combat circumstances. I do not have direct experience, but have seen more than a fair share of infantry combat footage to see that “flagging” is not scarce as hen’s teeth. Hence the question about “always”.

    * It is impossible to follow “rule one” in all circumstances, else firearms are never cleaned/maintained. Unwavering adherence to rules two and three eliminates the buyer “feel” test for firearm weight, balance, trigger, slide manipulation. Firearm rule four is simply a re-statement of rule one.

    • I agree with you. Ironically, I was just thinking about this this morning, and summed it up as follows: Some “rules” are actual moral principles; others are things people make entry-level folks memorize and regurgitate because they’re afraid of the consequences of letting them think.

      I’ve always preferred trainers who do trust me to think / handle the truth, like my CCW instructor who (similarly to your observation on “rule one”) pointed out to us how absolute adherence to “rule two” would make it impossible to carry a handgun (constantly “muzzling” one’s leg, or junk, depending on holster location).

      I often find it useful to think of small arms as analogous to automobiles in terms of killing power, and I think that holds true here, too. It’s sometimes impossible to point one’s vehicle where it needs to go without swinging past things we don’t intend to destroy, and the same is true for firearms.

  8. “Having said that, I can easily picture scenarios where it is utterly impossible to quickly clear a room without muzzling your teammates.”

    We both seem curious about that. I have two thoughts/questions, and looking for someone(s) with real combat experience to talk about “real” vs. best practices. And what circumstances would justify live ammunition in a training scenario involving multiple participants (other than controlled firing range sessions)

    • Depends upon the scenario. In some cases it’s just smarter to toss in a couple dozen grenades or call for an air strike 😉

      Wouldn’t solve the present POQ but can be very effective and keep our boys from injury, which would be my primary wish were I running the show.

      • When I was in in the ’80s and ’90s I was all for just finding and fixing them but unfortunately aircraft and artillery really had large circles of error, at least back then and that was under low stress training conditions. Maybe they are better now. In the movies they certainly are:-)

    • “Having said that, I can easily picture scenarios where it is utterly impossible to quickly clear a room without muzzling your teammates.”

      Carrying on your person means you accept a higher risk of a negligent discharge, and what those potential consequences can be, to yourself, and others.

      Once you educate yourself, you pays your money, and you takes your chances…

  9. “It is, however, incredibly encouraging to watch a CSM take absolute ownership and responsibility for troops in his chain of command. That is solid leadership there.”

    Agree with you assessment. However…..

    What has become of the NCO corps in the last 20, or so, years? Across the services, it seems NCOs are way too often looking to something other than NCO responsibilities.

  10. “Depends upon the scenario. In some cases it’s just smarter to toss in a couple dozen grenades or call for an air strike.”

    Airstrike, for sure.

    There is no problem that cannot be solved by the proper placement of a sufficient amount of explosive.

  11. Fck charge in the room sht, toss in a couple frags.
    Didn’t appear to be no hostage rescue situation.
    Looks more like a SWAT bust. And even then they flash bang yah

    • Oh you dumbass possum! Grenades and explosions might destroy those valuable documents.
      Sometimes possum does stuff without thinking it thru.,,,Like the time he climbed over the chicken wire with the dogs barking to ” borrow” a chicken. Well there you are, farmhouse lights come on, dogs a runnin, cant just grab the chicken and spring over the wire like a bobcat. Oh hell, chew on it until they get me, shit myself and play dead.( is that dog hungry or horny?) Ehh, just to be sure, better shit myself again.

  12. Properly MOUT trained soldiers would fully understand the level of the flagging taking place. I am amazed at the indifference of those being flagged and no one is acting as a range safety. Now think of this…how many rounds need to go into a target before proceeding? First two targets took too many rounds before the next team went through the door. Way to keep telegraphing your movements and slowing the momentum guys. I really want say they are dumbasses but you cannot blame them for not being properly trained. This a complete leadership failure. There better be some rolling heads CSM.

  13. “Owners of a certain company’s model 700 would like a word with you…”

    There will always be exceptions to every rule. Which is why I mentioned Rule 1.

    Not knowing the history of every weapon in the military arsenal, have no knowledge of a military firearm discharging without assistance of the user. Even then, such would be the exception (including the Baretta slides crashing into the face of the user).

  14. “No reason for someone to walk in front of him, but even if they do he can point his muzzle up (or down).”

    Agree. My question was about all conditions, all the time. The incident at hand shows greater than “momentary deviations”. Still, is it possible, in combat, to avoid muzzling someone, in all conditions and configurations? Taking the incident, expanding beyond the specific case, and onto the broader question of muzzle discipline.

    As stated, the video shows gross lack of awareness. Which raises the question of why live ammunition is required for training exercises. I think that is the egregious failure.

  15. Every head from the team leader to the division commander needs to roll. There may be a flagging or two on occasion but even that was considered to be unacceptable. My unit performed MOUT training without this degree of flagging and bullet wasting. Violence of action clearly isn’t being taught here, no momentum at all. Enter the room and perform a box drill, teams should be already stacked on the next doorway while support enters.

    While each person there was being responsible for their own safety and the safety of the person next to them, **** still happens. Training like this asking for something bad to happen and reminds me of that time when the BC of 3/3 didn’t want chem lights out so training would be more “realistic”, yeah, it got realistic alright and it lead to someone getting run over by a bulldozer.

    -retired 03.

  16. Troops being deployed overseas should be trained better than this. But if the troops shown in this viddy might be deployed here (it’s gonna happen, people), then I would say that these jokers were trained to perfection.

    FYI, the Insurrection Act supersedes the Posse Comitatus Act. Why do you think that the Democrats call anyone who disagrees with them an “insurrectionist?”

  17. WHY are troops posting shit on Fakebook (or any other “social disease” site). At least make the chicoms work a LITTLE in their mining.

    • Yea right dude.

      Can’t even begin to describe the runs to the MWR tents after a day of getting hit…

      Hell, the rear d wives knew about shit before the units did.

    • Just mad they weren’t smart enough to join the air force lol. They had all the cushy stuff. If I could go back, it would have been air force and I have no shame in admitting it. Even air force EOD made our units look dysfunctional.

  18. I have an alternate theory, they might have been trained not to sweep but because the officers were right over their heads, they might have been told to keep their muzzles level at all times. I wouldn’t put it past some 22 year old butterbar to give an order like that and then flip around and blame them when the footage came out.

  19. im sure armed enemies will just stand there and get shot like that…they need Realistic swat or police officer training..learn how to cut pie..

  20. I know people who think the unit they were “with” automatically gives them credit for being oper8r status… It’s really just annoying. Funny thing is, most are fat and medically discharged, so I guess a compensation for not actually doing anything in the military is what makes them sleep better?

    “I was 10th mountain blah blah blah”
    Nobody cares. And this stuff is the reason why.

  21. “If I could go back, it would have been air force and I have no shame in admitting it.”

    At one of my postings, we had a four-stripe sergeant who was currently Air Force. He had once been a Marine, then transfered(?) into Army Infantry, then into the Air Force. When I was processing out of the station, learned the sergeant had wheedled a Marine colonel into getting him back into the Marines. I was puzzled that the Marines would want back an NCO who couldn’t decide what he wanted.

  22. “…unfortunately aircraft and artillery really had large circles of error, at least back then…”

    Laser and GPS guided bombs are so much improved, now. But if you want to take out an entire province/county, you call in the Buffs. And, if you want to pass a note to the pilot to correct target coordinates, you call for Warthogs.

  23. Wow. I’ve literally seen high school age airsoft players execute more effective room clearing with better muzzle control, and actually under stress no less

  24. “What would you do if someone point the muzzle at you? Carefully check to see if their fingers are on the trigger or not,…”

    That is exactly what happened. Noticed the range visitor was being unsafe; recognized that the finger was not on the trigger, or trigger guard. Walked over and pointed out the unsafe handling, with no concern for an ND.

    As for “the rules”, regardless of the inherent illogic, rule one is the only rule needed. All else is just slicing the egg thinner and thinner.

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