Tacticool for Life: ESA Ukraine and Instructor Sem

If there’s one thing it might have been nice to not witness it’s the rise of the Tactical EVERYthing in the gun industry. Don’t misunderstand me: true tactics are not only useful but can be lifesavers. Suffice to say it is not the legitimate tactical side of guns but rather the sudden surge of tacticool that’s causing eye rolls so hard I can see inside my skull. Recently a video on social media caught my attention because it featured everything we associate with the Tacticool Guy (also known as the TacTard, TacJoe, or, according to outdoor writer Richard Mann, the TacRon – a term that combines “tactical” and “moron”). This video has it all: tactical range pants, tactical beards, tactical sunglasses, tactical looking-without-seeing – you name it. If it’s tacticool, odds are the latest video from the European Security Academy (ESA) Ukraine has it.

Unfortunately, the video I’d hoped to share within this post failed to load properly. In order to watch the guy known as Instructor Sem do his thing, visit ESA’s Facebook page here. And to see a sampling of videos giving you an idea of what ESA has to offer its students, look below.. (But seriously, do not miss the Facebook page video. I’m telling you, you cannot, must not, miss it.)

To finish the videos off, a flashback to Mat Best 2014 and his take on what it takes to be tacticool.

What do you guys think is the must-have item – or items – of a tacticool gunner?

*One of the greatest terms ever coined for someone who is tacticool but female? TacTart. (Thank you Sheriff Jim Wilson for that one.)

At the end of the above video, a woman is shown loading a pistol mag – or trying to, anyway (I assume it’s a woman based on nail choices). Word to the wise: it’s a lot easier to load mags if your fingernails don’t double as claws. Glitter polish? Rock what you want so long as your nails don’t interfere with your gun handling.

TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • ReadyorNot

    Considering the current situation in Ukraine, I don’t think it’s all that inappropriate.

  • Cymond

    Fwiw, I think “tactical pants”are great. They’re just like the cargo pants I used to wear in highschool, except better made and not subject to the whims of JCPenney. It seemed like I could never find the same style 2 years in a row, and the one time I did, the sizing was off.

    • Bill

      When I was a tot we had “camping shorts” that were identical to 5.11s, and I think LBJ was President then. Before they sold out, 5.11s were mountaineering pants. Nowadays, with all the pocket litter I have to carry, including a phone that’s smarter than I am and the size of a pool table, it just doesn’t fit in jeans.

      • billyoblivion

        That is why I carry a man-purse.

  • Lee

    The biggest problem with this video is the outdated dubstep music. Hopefully that drop will be the last one i hear for some time.

  • SerArthurDayne

    They need more picatinny rails.

  • retfed

    Is it just me, or did you cringe every time you saw someone point a gun at another person?
    Also, if these guys are such high speed low drag hot operators, how come they can’t be trusted to carry their pistols in Condition One?
    Inquiring minds . . .

    • The_manBEar

      YES! That was easily the most cringe worthy part of the entire video. Is that a european thing? Made me uncomfortable and a little nauseous

      • The_manBEar

        The condition one part I mean

      • Kivaari

        Israel has such a silly rule as well. Empty guns out of fear of negligent discharges. Not a good thing if you are having to fight with a bad guy and only have one hand free. I’d just as soon pack a .38 revolver that was ready to go.

        • billyoblivion

          I was told (decades ago) by an Israeli that the origin of that rule was that in the very beginning of the modern state of Israel they had a lot of different auto-pistols, some were DAO, some were SA/DA, some were SA only. Safeties were in different places and some went up, some went down.

          But that if you carried them safety off, chamber empty they all worked the same way and greatly reduced training time.

          Again, could very well be bad information, but it does give one pause to think about.

          • Kivaari

            That should be modified to modern weapons.

          • billyoblivion

            You’ve never worked for a big institution where the people who make the rules about safety never have to be hindered by them have you?

            Carrying with an empty chamber is safer for everyone *EXCEPT* the person carrying it (and it’s even safer for them right up until they get attacked).

            The side of the ledger that says “injuries from negligent discharges” isn’t even in the same book as “kill/wounded by terrorist/murder”.

            In case that was a little vague, there is an accounting (in any institution with guns and a safety program of any kind) of the number of negligent discharges. Whether they hurt anyone, who did them, etc. There is also an accounting of the number of people killed, both the people that the institution’s gun bearers kill, and the number of gun bearers killed.

            There is no accounting for, no space to denote, no box to check or code to enter where it says person X747944 was killed because the empty chamber caused him to get his gun into play .5 seconds slower.

            Thus there is no way to build a case for the *institution* to change. No one is going to go out on a limb to even *try* to change it because it makes a TINY difference overall, and there simply is no numbers that can be used to drive the change.

            Note that no where in this am I defending carrying a pistol in condition 3. Pistols in my house are either 4 or 1 (well, I guess the HK P7 and 92FS would be 2, but the P7 is a special case and the 92 is not on duty much.)

          • Kivaari

            Only small agencies with tougher safety rules than many large agencies. Only a patrol sergeant and firearms instructor. WE had very few NDs. In 10 years one rookie, cadet, that flunked out and one female with an M4. We packed MP5s and M4s and trained way beyond most agencies. Usually 350 rounds per month year around.
            I have no issues with the P7 having packed one for a couple years. I always carried, as did everyone, G17 or 19s always at the ready. Most had a M642 or M36 as a back up. Five guns every shift and nearly no issues. But unlike the neighboring agencies including King Co. where they fired 50 rounds per month, no one came close to our training.

          • Kivaari

            I don’t want a gun that takes two hands to make it operable. If I am fighting a suspect and one hand is occupied deflecting a weapon or grab attaempt, I want to be able to grab one of my two pistols and shoot the guy. If I am holding hard down on my service pistol, there is a revolver in the opposite side front pocket that can be shot without activating a slide. If my arm is disabled, perhaps by a knife or gun shot wound or base ball bat, I want any gun I can grab to be ready for action. MANY shootouts take place while the suspect and the officer or private citizen are engaged in a struggle. If everyone was standing 7m apart like on a square range than using two hands would work. In real life I simply don’t like that idea of an empty chamber. In the US you wont find any records of people not succeeding because they had to charge their weapon and couldn’t. The TV cop that pulls his pistol and racks the slide is a joke created by Hollywood. If Israelis and Ukrainians like it, or are mandated by law to pack that way, too bad for them. They certainly can move fast. I simply wonder how it works when they can’t use both hands. It’s all too common here. At least we know too many attacks involve physical struggles before and during the shooting

      • billyoblivion

        Yes, it is a European/Israeli thing.

        At least from my understanding. Maybe not all of Europe, but for many of the police departments.

        They think it’s safer, and frankly it probably does reduce negligent discharges by some margin. It also makes the police slower to shoot the bad guy.

        Frankly I don’t see much (other than condition 3 carry) to complain about these videos.

        Then again I think that if you can train a Marine Corps 0311 to properly stack up and assault an objective then you can train most people to handle a firearm competently and at a high level if THEY want that level of skill and are willing to put in the work.

    • kalashnikev

      If you mandate carry with an empty chamber, you don’t have to worry about untrained conscripts shooting each other.

      However… when you want to teach them to shoot… you actually have to train them… and then they’re trained…

  • Bill

    If it looks stupid, and it works, it isn’t stupid. There’s a lot of training that may seem weird unless it’s placed in context.

    Except for anything James Yeager teaches.

    • Nero

      Lol. James Yeager. If his gun drills don’t prove his retardation. It’s his ammo belt tats.
      Dude is beyond the epitome of muscle dummy for hire

      • Why would you hire someone who hides in a ditch when sh#t gets real? ♡ ?

        • Kivaari

          Cover? Concealment? Evaluate? Act?

  • Black Dots

    The juxtaposition of super operator operating moves with condition 3 carry is giving me a headache.

  • MindMelder

    Kinda goofy video but the dude runs his 9 lethally. The carbine shoulder circle drill was funny.

    • kalashnikev

      Think so? Are any of those rounds impacting the primary lethal zone, do you think? Watch his muzzle…

  • Kivaari

    Not so bad. Very Israeli with the empty chamber issue. It just doesn’t make sense to pack a handgun that requires two hands to make it go. Some of that ammo was odd as well. It had long cases like Nagant 1895 ammo.

  • Wolfgar


  • Gary Kirk

    So… When they are involved in an actual “incident”, are they going to have time to dial up that sound track?

  • John

    In my opinion, the harder you push an average citizen to be “fast and flawless” with a gun, the closer you get to to the “Oh God…I’m so sorry” situation.

    • Kivaari

      I’ve seen “professionals”, cops, showing such poor gun handling that they could all benefit from attending about 10 of these classes.

  • Kivaari

    I looked again and saw the “KRAV MAGA Ukraine”, so I take it the classes are taught by Israeli instructors, using Israeli empty chamber “policy”.

    Katie, what’s up with the odd ammunition. It’s worthy of an article in itself.

    • anon

      I bet the non-Glocks in those videos were 9mm PAK gas/pepper/blank guns. The lack of recoil tipped me off, and then loading what looks like 7.62 Nagant rounds into a mag sealed it.

      • Kivaari

        That’s a shame they are stuck with those.

    • kalashnikev

      There also seemed to be a bit of hip-fire with the AKSU and bent-elbows, cardinal direction sprayfire with the pistol.

      That kind of stuff only works against little kids with slingshots and old ladies.

      • Kivaari

        There may some questionable moves by our standards, but these people could hold their own in many situations. As unorthodox as it appears to American shooters, they can deliver lead pretty well. Dig deeper into some of these Ukrainian videos and I see some very fine gun handling.

        • kalashnikev

          No way. All the choreographed “handling” and bobble-heading takes away from the primary purpose- getting shots on target and eliminating the threat. People who walk around with an empty chamber get shot by people who don’t. People who are flipping the gun around for no reason and doing cardinal direction sprayfire get shot by people who bring the gun on line and send accurate, lethal shots, as quickly as possible, as many as needed.

          • Vindice

            American soldiers overseas in warzones have done outside the wire with empty chambers in the recent past due to safety rules. Are America’s warriors incompetent, or do people sometimes just do stuff differently then the consensus here, for whatever reason, and still need to train and be able to fight, however they carry.

            The same goes for pointing unloaded weapons at others for training bi know it violates one of the sacred rules, but guess how the military trains? Sure, sometimes there are BFAs on the weapons, but sometimes there aren’t. And it isn’t like a BFA stops a bullet anyways.

            It’s time people lay off of others’ training because it’s “different”. Is it reasonably safe? Is it reasonable effective? Is it reasonably realistic? Then it’s good enough, even if it isn’t your way. I am sure someone with a different perspective could watch anyone here train and pick up things that they don’t like and think are too dangerous, too restrictive, or too unrealistic.

  • Madcap_Magician

    Tacticool? More like TactiFOOL.

  • jono102

    Is the medical insurance industry ready for the massive influx of “Tactical Ballet” related injuries? What with the neck injuries from post engagement “Whiplash scan my arcs faster than I can actually scan or react” or the long term effects of poor posture from trying to get the “Operator Stance” perfected, not to mention RSI from constant “Knife Hand” and “No Gun Pew Pew” movements

  • jono102

    You also got to love the lead photo with the posed pistol shot, With hearing pro up and not on

  • kalashnikev

    Well… you do know what they call “Israeli Carry” don’t you…

    • Kivaari

      NO! It strikes me like the US Army where they are afraid of guns due to lack of training. MPs and special operators being exceptions.

  • Kivaari

    The guy could really move. I liked his drills where he went from one side to another, folded the stock, unfolded the stock, all done fast. Very quick engagement where he did not wait to be lined up to have lead on target. Not a bad practice in real life, the bullets may miss but having them in the air can sure distract an opponent.

  • Nunn Yabizz

    What’s with bashing the so-called “tactical looking-without-seeing”? Any good motorcycle ride does the same scan technique. It’s not useless, you’re not looking to scrutinize something with a quick glance but looking for movement or something out of the ordinary which may require more attention.

    • jono102

      A key part being “Any good motorcycle rider” just like shooting a lot aren’t. As a rider you are scanning for those threats to your space by approaching vehicles etc that can be done in a quick glance. Scanning for possible threats or the location of friendlies takes more time. I don’t have any issue with scanning your flanks/rear post engagement but only once I have confirmed the target is down and your frontage (primary threat) is clear.

  • DanR

    Can we please, please stop with bringing in the “Israeli” way of training into these discussions? It is true that when carrying outside of a war zone, guns are left w/o rounds in chambers. its not a volunteer army, and 18 year olds only get to make serious mistakes once.
    In battle, live rounds are in the chambers. Same within dangerous areas inside of Israel, or in times when there are attacks daily. Most combat veterans have learned the hard way to keep live rounds in the chamber – always. The punishment meted out in a CM is much more lenient than hearing a click instead of a bang.
    IDF training is just as defined; “training”. Real live combat forces you to adapt – or if lucky, you get active duty soldiers who care enough to help you “unlearn” and adapt beforehand. That is especially true in Israel, and the US, where your unit is your life.
    The IDF trains its soldiers to an intense level the US does, and the favor is returned by the IDF to the American Armed Forces constantly. On the ground level, there is constant cross-training, and now, more than ever.
    You very rarely (as in NEVER) see any real Israeli SF soldiers making videos, or providing training like in these horrible videos. No “chicken wings”, no muzzling others, no stupid pet tricks, and the hard core training takes place openly between LE, Mil, and agencies.
    And while I am very sorry some of these people in the video’s lost their lives, the training they provide is not in any way equivalent to IDF or US training. Its light years apart.
    Checking your “six” after your gun is constantly locked open w/o reloading, or trying TacTard moves in real battle just gets you dead. QED

    • Kivaari

      The heading to the video is KRAV MAGA which orginated in Israel and is therefore identified with being of Israeli origin.

    • Kivaari

      Except this isn’t military/police/civilian training as such. this is like a private shooting school for enthusiasts. Maybe some real private contractors and some real fighters like the one that was killed at war. He was good. He wasn’t doing things the American way, so I think there is too much negative criticism for how it’s being done. “If we don’t do it that way here, it must be wrong”, while it works for them.

  • Роман Бронцевич

    all police officers in Ukraine are required to carry their handguns with empty chambers and ON safety
    that`s the law

    nobody cares about it @ the warzone
    and nobody cares about the handguns nither 🙂

    • Kivaari

      That’s what I figured.

      • Роман Бронцевич

        these are the remnants of the TT pistol if you know what I mean 🙂

        • Kivaari

          When we had the TT, we carried it loaded all the way. That heavy duty hammer-safety step was pretty solid. All the single action pistols are obsolete for self defense. Cocked and locked or like the TT, placed on the extra heavy half-cock is just not good. A DAO pistol or revolver would be better.

          • Роман Бронцевич

            it depends
            when you go a for a fire arms training in a bootcamp you`re taught to carry with a clear chamber
            when you get to actual business its like – forget the bulls* and carry your handgun or long gun chambered and safety on
            or safety off
            that depends on the situation 🙂

          • Kivaari

            In the Army we had to carry the ammunition out of the gun and in a pouch, all 5 rounds for guard duty. In the Navy we carried a fully loaded M1911. Once in awhile you’d hear a gun shot at watch change while in port. In the civilian world we packed fully stuffed and ready to go.

          • Роман Бронцевич

            Yes, I dont know how guys manage to accidentaly shoot their AK`s while on guard guty, but – they do… )

          • Kivaari

            If it is like our military the firearms training is inadequate. In ’67 our boot camp rifle training was a few rounds from .22 caliber rifles. We were never trained on the M1911, even when issued one.

          • Роман Бронцевич

            People some times just get bored and tired and can forget to remove the magazine before dry firing the gun. That`s what mostly happens.
            Your military – what nation? .22 caliber sound serious

          • Kivaari

            US Navy. In the Army we trained much more than the Navy. We were very stretched budget wise. We carried two nuke depth charges and 32 anti-aircraft missiles. Small arms were a real minor part of the duty.

  • Роман Бронцевич

    Not always, civilians are prohibited to carry, but are allowed to own a handgun. Its stored in safe at the shooting club. So you never know…

    • Zigazaur

      Legally speaking, such handguns are owned by shoting range/club, not by a person.

      • Роман Бронцевич

        AFAIK they`re owned buy a person, but are prohibited to carry outside the shooting club.

        • Kivaari

          These guys are pretty good for not being able to have and use the guns 24/7.

          • Роман Бронцевич

            you can carry a less lethal gun if you can get a license and train with it.
            some guys load their PA guns 200 J+
            completely unlegal, but you get the recoil feel

  • Shootin’ Buddy

    Instructor 7? What about the first 6?

    Why are this tactical nonsense AND they are carrying unloaded guns?

  • Kivaari

    The ammo and guns would make a great topic for TFB.

  • Blake

    …why in the world is the vast majority of the footage sped up to make it look like he was faster?

    • Роман Бронцевич

      how did you figure that out? )

      • Blake

        Well the first thing that tipped me off was that it just looked sped up. Something about the way humans move; it always just doesn’t look quite right when it’s been artificially sped up versus when someone is just naturally really fast.

        Then what cemented it was the ejected shells and other items effected by gravity going obviously faster than they should. It’s not sped up a whole lot, but there’s definitely a small boost in the playback rate.


    I couldn’t agree more, Katie. This “tactard revolution” is for the birds. Slap the word tactical on anything and you can charge double for it nowadays. In my experience tactical meant swamp-ass, MRE and people not happy to see you.