Tactical Considerations For The Lone Wolf

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 2 months ago

Max Velocity Tactical has an interesting and thought provoking article up entitled Tactical Considerations For The Long Wolf (hat tip Western Rifle Shooters).  This is must reading and well worth the time he has put into this.  I find it improbable that you read his article without picking up something that you need to think about.

The article sets the stage with a clear and present danger to your family, and rather than being coupled with other like-minded defenders and partners, you are alone in your quest for self defense and family safety.  A bit of his article is reproduced below.

Area of Operations: you need to consider that if the enemy is in any way switched on, and are keeping any sort of incident map, then if you simply operate close to your retreat they will build up a picture that may well lead them to your home and family. Thus you should be unpredictable and move further away or from unexpected directions in order to prosecute your attacks.

Navigation: you will need to be able to accurately move by map and compass across rough back country terrain to get in and out of your objective. You will take separate routes in and out and use deception.

Movement: You must use cover and concealment to move. You will have to move slowly, at a jungle patrol pace, in order to effectively scan ahead and around. Cover means using the ground (hard cover) to conceal you, such as moving in draws or behind terrain features. Concealment means using vegetation to hide you from any observers. You will need to plan a route accordingly, also avoiding any settlements where there is an increased risk of compromise and where dogs will bark at you.

However, do not move on obvious features or along trails and tracks. You can handrail (parallel) them at a distance if you need to or if you need to use them for navigation. It is often best to ‘cross-grain’ the terrain thus making your moves hard to predict. Valley bottoms and trails/streams are good places for you to walk into an ambush. Use techniques for avoiding ambush such as hand railing and moving partway up a valley side (contouring), thus giving you the benefits of cover and concealment but avoiding natural ambush sites and places where others will travel.

You must be very careful at any kind of obstacle, vulnerable point, channelizing feature or linear danger area. Examples of a channelizing vulnerable point include crossing a bridge or moving through a track or trail junction. A linear danger area is any kind of open feature that you have to cross such as a road, river or trail, even a power line through the woods. You must be very careful to observe in detail prior to crossing and find a point where the crossing is best concealed, such as in a depression or even by crawling through a culvert, for example.

As you move, you need to stop regularly for listening and observation breaks. Scan and listen. Do this before moving through the next natural part of the terrain, cross it then stop again. A real game changer would be having a portable FLIR thermal imager (such as the FLIR Scout), with which you can scan around and into the brush to spot anyone concealed.

He makes you consider whether you or your enemy have FLIR or night vision, he covers the concepts of enfilade and defilade, food, water purification, firearms, concealment while sleeping, etc.  Again, the article is well worth the time and if you don’t read anything else today you should read this article.

He discusses taking multiple weapons with you: “You may carry two rifles, a hunting rifle slung on your pack and an AR-15 style for while you are patrolling and for closer range self-defense.”

Here I break ranks with him.  It seems to me that you select a rifle, not two or more.  That one rifle needs to sustain your mission.  If you choose a bolt action scoped rifle, then ensure that your shots are stand off long range shots under concealment and that you have a means of egress and evasion.  If you choose an AR-15, then ensure that you have Travis Haley-like skills and you can make your shots count at 800 meters.

If you must take two rifles, one for long range and one for short range, then you’ve already planned poorly for the mission.  You are counting on a combination of stand off shots and CQB, and adding to the weight and ammunition you must carry.  My choice would be to choose your rifle well, and then carry your favorite CQB pistol or revolver.  If I carry more than two firearms, I might carry a backup handgun in an ankle holster.

My only other comment about this article is that the assumption behind some of the considerations is an abundance of wealth.  Who has the kind of money necessary for infrared capabilities, night vision, expensive firearms, optics (e.g., a high end EOTech Holographic sight plus shipping will run nearly $600), backup firearms, and so on and so forth?  You can even invest in fully body armor if you wish, including SAPI plates.  In contrast, hopefully I have given you an inexpensive option for cover if you need to be in the elements for a protracted period of time.

On the whole, though, I am really not a fan of the lone wolf paradigm.  I think such a defense needs two or more men, and I probably wouldn’t make the choice to leave my family alone in order to effect these kinds of operations.  The risk to my family would be too high.

That brings me to another article by Mike Vanderboegh on his fourth installment of William Diamond’s Drum.  As always, Mike is good reading and worth the time.  David Codrea weighs in with the following:

… it can be smart to have a hidden cache and it can be self-defeating to shoot it out when the team shows up at your door.

Living to fight another day, at a time and place of your choosing, not theirs, seems like an option we’d want to leave ourselves, and if we’re taken out of commission, it’s a legacy to leave our children.

Bottom line — there’s no one size fits all response, and different scenarios present different potentials.

David is referring to Mike’s opinions regarding burying weapons rather than fighting now.  Mike prefers the later and eschews the former.  I understand Mike’s point, but frankly, if gun confiscations ever do start, any team entering my home will find a few range toys to confiscate because “I forgot to turn them in.”  The rest were buried at the bottom of lake Keowee in that horrible boating accident several years ago.  I cried buckets of tears over that accident.  “Have a nice day, SWAT team.  I hope you enjoyed tea and crumpets.”

There is no virtue in engaging a SWAT team in your home, endangering your family for no good reason, and fighting a battle that you cannot win.  If gun confiscations ever start, believe me when I tell you that they will never find me again – but they will see the results of my handiwork.  They won’t know it’s from me, and they will never see it happen.

I agree with David.  A SWAT team at your doorstep means they’re dictating the terms.  Live to fight another day.  Do it at a time and place of your choosing, not on their terms.  And thus I see battling down a SWAT team at your doorstep as a fixture in the lone wolf paradigm.  I don’t like the lone wolf paradigm.  There are better ways to do this.

UPDATE: Thanks to WRSA for the attention.  Remember the swamp fox.  I will become a phantom.  As far as they know I will disappear from the face of the earth.  But I will ally with a few like-minded individuals, and they will know what the phantoms do.

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  1. On February 28, 2013 at 9:16 am, Bill said:

    I read all the pieces you mentioned prior to coming here and all I can think of is this: They’ve got us pretty well boxed in.

    The lone wolf scenario, as unrealistic as it is, appeals to people like us because of our nature. With an independent streak a mile wide. If SWAT’s at your house, it’s already too late. They can break you financially and spiritually at that point. Or an “accidental discharge”.

    I’m disheartened by the millitary estimates being broken down into 50-60% staying because they want that next payday. (One of Western Rifle’s links today to BattlefieldUSA)

    I think the same will happen with cops above local level, and even some local.

  2. On February 28, 2013 at 11:00 am, Juan said:

    If swat collects any “forgotten” guns at your house, everyone there is on the way to a gulag or reeducation center.
    The same methods to capture criminals will be used by the state. Learn about Geographic profiling. https://www.ncjrs.gov/html/nij/mapping/ch6_1.html
    Also, learn about profiling “signature” and the difference to modus operandi. Flood your hide with false clues.
    Action against an enemy does not have to be kinetic. Consider alternates. “Me? I just got a buck knife and a book of matches, ossifer. Jus’ tryin’ to keep warm.”

  3. On February 28, 2013 at 11:13 am, Paul Pauer said:

    Dear sirs,

    Everyone thinks of this “thing” in the wrong way. When SWAT is at your door there are things that you can do to minimize your collateral damage. Being in SPECOPS for 8 years I have a little ( actually more than a little) knowlege of counter insurgency. What I am about to tell you is for educational purposes only. First you need to plan ahead and recon your AO very carefully. Then mark all the teraine that would allow the agressors cover. once all those areas are identified, now you can go about planting a divice in the ground known as a fugasse. Basically a fugasse is a pipe loaded with whatever isw available with a propellant and a means to detonate it remotely. Now when the initial firefight starts what are the majority of the SWAT and other LE going to do? Hide behind whatever facade offers them some kind of protection. Now it is a simple thing to access your ricky-ticky box or whatever det device you have set u and eliminate the rest of your competition. Of course, now it is very important to have reconned your AO beforehand, because they will have called for reinforcements and maybe even air support. Not going to be easy but not undoable. Just separates those with a comittment matching the suicide bombers and the pussies that are not willing to give their life for the cause. As I stated earlier this is for educational purposes only and I would not advocate any of this put into actual practice. Paul III

  4. On February 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm, chowthen said:

    “Living to fight another day, at a time and place of your choosing, not theirs, seems like an option we’d want to leave ourselves, and if we’re taken out of commission, it’s a legacy to leave our children.”

    My question is when is that day? If you are not willing to fight and die that day then you’ll never fight another day. You might as well give up and surrender everything they demand why even go to the trouble. I agree with Paul above…you have separate commitment with pussies.

  5. On February 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm, B Woodman said:

    You have just condensed the first chapter of MVB’s “Absolved” (available to read on-line. Still waiting for the dead tree version).
    How great minds think alike.

  6. On February 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Paul and chowthen,

    So you die at your doorsteps, and likely your wife too, prove nothing, make no difference to the cause, and disappear from the earth …

    As opposed to making the decision on your own time and on your own terms (maybe right after such an engagement or right before it, or weeks before it), live for months or even years in the elements, and make a real difference to the cause of freedom.

    I understand your heart is in this, but I don’t think your head is equally engaged. I am only describing what might happen if a raid happens unawares. If you wish, a different story may be written if you (or I) decide to go dark a week before this all happens. Either way it’s just a story but it goes to the point of using your head and fighting the fight on your terms.

  7. On February 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm, Chuck said:

    Defending from inside a stick frame house against a large paramilitary force (local SWAT, DHS, ATF, whatever) is a suicide mission. There’s a reason why all infantry squads train on the “break contact” battle drill: to live to fight another day at the time and place of their own choosing. There’s no shame in that. It’s just tactical flexibility. We don’t want to give the enemy a fair fight. The successful guerrilla only fights when the conditions are in his favor.

    Why die in a hail of gunfire against jack-booted thugs who cordon off your house, prep the objective with flash-bangs and if worse comes to worse might even burn your house down around you? As the saying goes, planning to fail is failing to plan. Herschel’s got it right people. And before you sentence your families to death you might want to check with them first.

    Expanding on his final point in the post above, there are several ways to turn one of these gun-grabbing raids into something they’ll never forget but it most certainly does not involve being inside the house when the raid goes down.

  8. On February 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I appreciate everyone’s input. As for tactics, let me – without any further discussion because my readers are smart – remind people of a post Bob Owens made several weeks ago (you’ll know which one it is), and then sending them to this one:


  9. On February 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm, Paul Pauer said:

    Sirs again,

    I wouldn’t ever suggest being in the house at the time that whatever “surprise” you had planned was detted. I am not going to go into specifics, you have to use your imagination. Besides being a combat specops vet, I also command a millitia unit and have for 5 years. Believe me when I say my head is most definately in the planning. I was explosive specialist in a 12 man ops team embedded in Honduras and Panama and I still have some tricks up my sleeve. I definately do not agree with the lone wolf paradigm, but if faced with that scenario, you have to work with what you are handed. I also was trained in the “break contact” scenarios and all that is good to keep in mind. but remember that preparing your stick frame shack way in advance gives a very smart advantage over the enemy, and there are a number of “surprises that can be setup months in advance. Last, remember that if you decide to stay and fight for the principle, after initial contact, you have between 3 and 5 minutes to un-ass the AO or your world will never be the same again. The surprises that you can leave them when un-assing, I will leave for another post, and they can also be setup months in advance. Like I said gentlemen, use your imagination, If a human can think it it can be done…

  10. On March 1, 2013 at 11:29 am, Paul Pauer said:

    Dear Mr. Woodman,

    I would sincerely like to speak with you on a secure line. We have like minds and would be indicative to getting to speak further about the “raping” of this country. I see from time to time your posts on various insurgence sights, along with my own 2 cents. I’m liable to say anything because with a sick wife, no kids at home and a real bad attitude about what’s goin’ on. In short, I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. Sorry for the language , but it had to be said. You can contact me at my e-mail : paulsservice16401@yahoo.com I am also a IIIper and whatever other rabble rousing group I can git myself into. As John Muir said(the Father of our National Parks) I am already wet, can’t git no wetter. lol. Well wait to hear from you. Maybe I will Maybe I won’t. but we travel in the same circles and one of my modern heroes is Mike Vanderboegh. So see ya when I see ya. Keep up the good fight. Paul III%

  11. On March 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm, PJ said:

    If a SWAT team appears on your doorstep your choices are limited, and poor. You might be of a mind to just die that day, and see if you can take one or two of them with you – depending on your circumstances.

    Otherwise, there are a limited number of enforcers. When the raids start, it won’t be long before it dawns on people that we are on wartime footing. Shortly after that I expect to see ambushes set, and SWAT teams taken from the rear. So I expect the likelihood that any given individual ends up surprised by a raid at his home, to be fairly small.

    After a SWAT team or two or three is taken down, the enforcers will decide there are safer ways to make a living and they will start having problems putting teams together. Most of those folks are satisfied tasing pregnant women and the like, but let’s face it their motives are pretty base (nothing like “defending the motherland” or “fighting for freedom”) so they are probably not going to persist in the face of serious resistance. But we’ll see pretty soon, won’t we?

  12. On March 4, 2013 at 12:17 am, Herschel Smith said:

    As followup, please see:


  13. On March 6, 2013 at 1:28 am, Patrick Henry McCaskill said:

    I’ve had family here since 130 years before the Constitution. We survived 5 wars before the Revolutionary war, and only missed a couple since. We’ve fought from Petersburg to Appomattox, been raided by Quantrails men and had Union Calvary extermination parties sent out to kill us and burn out our farms (thankfully we outfoxed them that day). We’ve given up our men buried on European Battlefields, in the largest U.S. cemeteries there, and brought back some our of own, alive from the Pacific and SE Asia. We’ve been to Afghanistan and Iraq, and South America in ops that can be spoken of.

    “Be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves”

    We haven’t even begun to face these bastards yet, and some of you sound as if you’re beaten already.

    If surprised by corrupt men, I’ll give up the weapons, and make new ones in a machine shop Myself if I have to. You know the patterns for CDI milling machine fabrication of 100 year old and 30 year old weapon designs are open source now, just look for them. They are downloadable.

    Survive … and live to fight another day.

    I ask you to live, and do as I do, not for myself, but for our children, and their children not yet born, and their children, so that in another 360 years they will with gratitude, and some pride, KNOW that when the nation hung in the balance of almost losing U.S. Constitutional Law, and a nation that respected it, their family stood and sacrificed themselves so that they might live, free.

  14. On April 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm, Mr Galt said:

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote at length about the decision of most Soviets not to fight the “blue hats” (NKVD) when they came to round up people and their stuff. The vast majority did not resist and wound up in the camps. Once there, they realized that they should have resisted, even if was only with clubs, hammers and fists. Solzhenitsyn speculates that had more people resisted the NKVD, they would have had a lot of trouble putting together teams to do the dirty work of the regime.

    But most did not resist, and the NKVD routinely moved through whole neighborhoods with impunity – totally unafraid to carry out their duties. Because of this, the NKVD officers didn’t worry about returning home at night to kiss their wives and children. No, the people did.

    So for those of us who are too old or not physically fit enough to play woods warrior, we can either place our fate into the hands of the oppressor, or fight and die.

    In the end, you assume that the SWAT pussies will merely take your guns and go. This is definitely NOT how it has played out in other scenarios of gun confiscation. They might take you that day, or grab you off the street the next. You might head down to turn in your “range toys” thinking yourself smart, only to be arrested and “disappeared” on the spot.

    What I see here are the makings of the same things that caused the Soviet people not to resist – the notion of “false hope”. You think you will live to fight another day. Others will think they have a chance to cooperate and survive to kiss their kids. But don’t be on it. You are placing your fate into the hands of those that would have no problem utterly destroying you. You will more than likely become ensnared in false hope.

    Statists are masters at exploiting false hope. Should the day come that confiscation and raids begin, one might choose to consider oneself “dead already”. In all likelihood, this nation is already filled with millions of such people.

  15. On May 9, 2019 at 3:30 pm, Dude said:

    The problem with complying and turning in weapons, with a Plan of living to fight another day, is that it Assumes a new Totalitarian Govt plans to turn Citizens into Slaves.
    I don’t believe that is accurate.
    The push to bring deliberately-created ‘refugees’ into Europe and the USA, smacks of the Kalergi Plan for the EU.
    This Plan involves REPLACING the native Europeans, along with their Religious and Ethnic squabbles, w/ a homogenous population of EurAsian African moslems, loyal ONLY to the EU.
    Since you must first ELIMINATE something, in order to REPLACE it, this leads me to conclude that the intention would not be to ENSLAVE us, but, rather, to ELIMINATE us and our Families, after which we would be REPLACED.
    This is consistent w/ Marxist Theory, which posits that the Bourgeoisie will Never stop parasitizing the Working Class, and can Never be Reformed, only Eliminated.
    Stalin did not hesitate to Eliminate 60 MILLION Russians and Ukranians, Mao did not hesitate to Eliminate 100 MILLION Chinese, Pol Pot Eliminated 1/3 of his Country’s entire population.
    Marxism has a track record of not flinching away from these sorts of tough choices.
    If this is correct, then anyone who Does turn in their weapons will buy a respite measured in no more than Months, after which they and their Families will All be heading off to the Death Camps anyway.
    This may affect one’s Decision in this regard, since early stiff resistance and targeting of the home bases of the personnel actually seizing the weapons may bring the entire strategy to a halt due to a lack of sacrificial lambs willing to see their own homes and Families burnt out as well, in retribution.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Guns,Weapons and Tactics and was published February 28th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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