Small Team Tactics?


I am no longer my church’s defense team, I have a partner. I am looking for recommendations for books, training, etc for very small team defense tactics. Any input will be appreciated.

Thank you!


I would be interested to hear why you are no longer on your Church’s Defense Team and that you now “have a partner”. I’m assuming that you mean to say that just the two of you are comprising your own “team?”

That’s a bit dangerous. A team is a team and needs to communicate. If your Church has a “team” and a critical incident occurs where deadly force is involved, how are either “teams” going to know who’s wearing the white hats in there?

Good luck finding the materials that you are seeking. Stay safe.


The way I interpret his post, he is no longer the [entirety of the] team, but rather, he actually has someone else with him now

The uscca store has a book on this


@Nathan57 , That’s the way I had interpreted it also that he’s no longer alone and he has a partner. There are some good church security videos on the USCCA dashboard he can watch.


As for the communication, you might want to find videos on swat or some special forces in action to see if you can come up with or use a few of the ways communication is done without speaking.


I’d check out the USCCA bookstore as well. I feel like I’ve seen a publication covering this topic.


Unfortunately most of the reading material and classes you will find are centered on “Entry” and “Clearing” which are by their nature are offense and dynamic. Defense would be more meet the threat and fall back which is the short end of the stick on entry and clearing as that is the fall back and “Oh crap” part of the lesson.

If you could better define your premise for small team “defense tactics” it would go a fair long ways to narrow it down or at least point in the right direction for what you are seeking.




That is great that you have gained a partner. I am also on my church’s security team, and we have a team of 4, with me being that 4th member. I was going to suggest the same book as @Nathan57. It is a great option, as well as constant communication, to be sure that you both are on the same page.


I really do need to clean my glasses! My sincere apologies to @LordDeinonychus for my severe lack of reading comprehension.

Congratulations on taking the initiative to protect your House of Worship and to now have someone to work with.

Stay safe


I like what @Craig6 said. There are so many possible scenarios in a church situation, it’s be hard to nail down exactly what tactics you’ll need. If you’re lucky, you can identify a few key scenarios that are most likely, but then you always have to keep those less-likely scenarios in mind.

When I was learning how to work with a partner, we’d rehearse over and over in different scenarios. I learned what I could and couldn’t rely on them to do, and I assume they were doing the same with me. I also learned that communication is 90% of working with a partner, and maybe more. Someone with more experience might have some tips on buddy drills you can run when the building is vacant.


If you’re located near Northern Virginia drop me a line, I may be able to help.



I am currently head up my church’s safety (security) response team.

We currently have 6 members and we operate independently from our usher team. We only response to active physical threats (shooter, knife attacks, etc.) Disruptive situations are handled by our usher team.

I have taken all Sheepdog Security training courses (Sheepdog Church Security Training | Sheepdog Church Security ) which provided good information and ideas. The biggest one and the one that took me the longest to get started was communication. We now have radio communication not only within our team but also with our usher team.

Within the last week we have been discussing liability issues as to ourselves and to the church as it pertains to use of deadly force. The conclusion so far is to start carrying Tasers to provide the safety team with a non-lethal choice and to reduce the possible liability to ourselves and to the church.

I would be VERY interested in any discussion with anyone about their thoughts and or recommendations.



I am not on the church security team but have often thought about whether not to carry in church, what would prompt me to respond, how to avoid being mistaken as a bad guy by others without alerting the bad guy(s), whether I could act without endangering innocent bystanders, etc. I have mostly concluded that the only time I could effectively respond is through opportunistic counter ambush to an active shooter or in a last stand situation.

I also note that focusing on situational awareness can be difficult when I am trying to get filled with the Spirit.

Q: Does your church notify or advertise that it has armed security? Do you encourage or allow congregants to concealed carry? If so, do you encourage them to check in with you to avoid a free-for-all?


Welcome to the family brother @Eugene50 and keep up the good work and serve. The lord will build you an excellent security team.

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I wanted to take a few days to response to your questions and I know this is lengthy but I thought I should address your questions fully. I am not all knowing or seeing and have searched out to several sources. No one had all the answers and some even had more questions than answers. I WELCOME all suggestions and opinions.

Let me start with that I live in Northern California, USMC retired. It took me 5 months and $1500.00 to get my CCW permit.

Per Sheepdog and others suggest we refer to our security team as safety team. This will help keep your flock from becoming alarmed. Most folks don’t want to think about the need for armed security in their church, but everyone can rally behind “safety.”
We have been blessed with a congregation that not only likes what we are doing but welcomes.

Q: Does your church notify or advertise that it has armed security?

About two years ago the Pastor let the congregation know that the church had an armed under cover safety team.

I also let it be widely known that I am part a safety team. That has resulted in a number of men in coming forward and letting me know that they also are carrying. This has allow me to introduce members who are carrying to each other and it permits me to ask those armed men to attend a certain service and to sit in a certain area of the sanctuary to reduce cross fire.

This is stop gap as I am still in the process of writing a SOP for our team that will be approved by the pastoral staff on an annual basis. Team member approval, team member removal, training requirements (team acceptance and annual) liability issues, when to and when not to are just a small bit of what I’m trying to documented and approved.

One of many problems I have is off duty LEOs, both state and federal. Neither can be listed or be a part of a security team. So I know what service they attend and I have asked if they would responded to a situation and they all have said yes. The other team members have been introduced to the LEOs also.

Retired LEO can and are part of my safety team.

Do you encourage or allow congregants to concealed carry?

Any non-LEO who wishes to become part of the safety team is required to meet the following requirements:
Be a member in good standing of the church for a least a year
Pass a children’s ministry background check
Have and maintain a current CCW thru the local Sheriff (LEOs except)

Have and maintain CCW insurance (Active LEOs except.)
Read and agree to the SOP once it is completed and approved

If so, do you encourage them to check in with you to avoid a free-for-all?

Yes and no. The non-LEO’s yes and to say “Hi” to any other team member who are in the service. The LEO’s usually say “Hi” to me but not to the other team members who might be present. (Problem I still trying to figure out.)

Final note:
As of this writing I am in the process of buying a Taser Plus + to carry also to give me a non-lethal choice. I looking at carrying it on weak hand side to ensure I know that I’m pulling my Taser and not my side arm.


Congratulations on becoming organized, and developing a coherent and explicit system.
I think all that will serve you and yours much better than a casual ad hoc approach.

What I hear in this question is — what about members (or visitors) who are not interested or qualified to become part of the sanctioned the safety team?

Allowed or prohibited? By law, or posted notice, or informal communication?
If not prohibited, encouraged or discouraged?
Regular members of the congregation presumably have at least some awareness that your team exists and has plans to act — what about visitors licensed/permitted to carry, but unfamiliar with such things?

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Great question and we currently do not have any posted signage that states no weapons allowed and is an issue that I need to bring up to the pastoral staff for a decision. We also are a medium size congregation so we know when we have a visitor(s) and we do keep an eye on them till we’re comfortable with their present. Still an issue that had slip pass my mind……
We did ask any older member of the congregation to stop carrying his Colt Peacemaker. He didn’t have CCW and wasn’t interested in getting one.


Yes I understood it to mean he has a team member now. :us:

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The way many church teams are trained room clearing would be a good tool. Un like the police who would take up defensive positions, waiting on swat, church security team members don’t necessarily have that grace as our job is to minimize the threat to others by eliminating the threat quickly, moving forward and if a large enough team having concentric lines of fire. This is how we train as a small church. We are fortunate that we are trained by elite members of our police force. Please don’t take what I’m saying wrong some training is better than no training, however shooting on the move,behind barriers, tactical reloading, drawing from concealment will make one more proficient when the need arises.


Whether or not police wait on swat will vary by location. There was a pretty significant and widespread change in doctrine after the first school shooting in CO, whereby a great many departments now have policies that send early response officers in sooner rather than later, without waiting on swat. My local LE is that way, there is wording to the effect of, if the first officer has a couple friends a mile or two out, they wait and go in as a team of 2-4 but much more wait than that, they just go with whatever they have and don’t wait.

Now, whether or not that comes to fruition when real bullets are flying…also probably varies by location. I mean…Broward comes to mind here…