Close Protection Articles

Optimal Weapon for Close Protection
Jobs and Tasks

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Posted in column: Close Protection Photo: D. Ostojic

A vast part of history has been marked by great individuals whose charisma, skills and experience enabled them to gather immense power. Those were, as a rule, most prominent state officials, military commanders and rulers of their time. It was their will that could decide about lives of many and the global politics of their known world. That is why their security was often jeopardized, either by revolted slaves or citizens, political opponents, religious fanatics, as well as hired assassins. Therefore, it quickly became clear that their personality and their closest relatives must be guarded properly. Those duties were entrusted the most elite soldiers, who stood out by their skills and loyalty and formed personal guard, the closest circle of people around champions, established to take care about his and his family safety.

It is similar today. Modern leaders are guarded by most elite modern warriors, operators of national police and military units, who are match for all types of modern security threats thanks to their high level of training, special gear and of course outstanding reliability. In recent years, many national legislations allow private firms and contractors to carry out tasks and duties of this kind, under certain terms [1].

Close Protection of certain persons-VIP now includes a set of planned operational-technical measures, activities and actions, based on positive legislative, that are carried out by relevant state authorities or authorized private companies in order to neutralize or minimize risks and dangers of harming psycho-physical integrity of important persons.

In the Republic of Serbia, from May 2013 and Private Security Law[2], tasks of close protection of certain people, property and business can be carried out by specially registered companies, when those tasks are not within the exclusive jurisdiction of state authorities. Also, these tasks can be performed by companies who organized inner system of security for their own needs (self-protective activity).

According to our friend and associate, veteran of the Serbian Special Anti-terrorist Unit-SAJ (Serb. Specijalna antiteroristička jedinica-SAJ) and chief instructor of the Griffin Security and Ronin Elite Security companies, Dragan Susulovic (Serb. Dragan Šušulović): „Close Protection of VIPs is specific in that the attacker often has advantage. He is often very intelligent, knows his target (VIP) good, and by finding out time and place of VIP`s appearance in public, he can carefully plan his attack at the most advantageous spot, retaining the element of surprise. That is why every operator of the group that protect the VIP has to be very psycho-physical strong, to possess and develop extreme power of observation and to learn to think rationally in a very short period of time, when needed“.

Experienced instructor says that very few persons have these traits by born, and that in any case those must be practised and perfected. „Knowing and developing martial arts, techniques of close combat with cold and firearm, as well as with bare hands are among most significant aspects of special physical training. Among martial arts, I would point out Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga and Aikido as most appropriate for this area, because they learn us real and very logical techniques and moves, that are very applicable in real situations. These techniques should be practised in situations close to real ones“.

Detail from VIP Close Protection Course of the operators of the Polish Military Police. Photo: Janosh Goulish

As in many areas, teamwork here is also important. A group for Close Protection usually consists of the leader and operators, and depending on circumstances, a group can be assisted by specially trained dogs. The leader of the group manages its formation, gives orders to the operators as well as to VIP. If a threat occur and VIP is in danger, the group mast think and act in harmony, as an entity, so that every operator must carry out the part of the task of his domain of responsibility. Reactions must be in time, and fast, because external circumstances can change quickly, and if only one of the operators was not at his/hers best, the ending can be disastrous for VIP (or VIPs) as well as for operators, depending on the type and intensity of the attack, as of the attackers goals.

Due to the nature of these tasks and duties at this area, in field weapon drawing and using can be expected, so procedures and terms of these actions are in detail regulated by legislations of the Republic of Serbia.

Detail from VIP Close Protection Course of the operators of Military Police Battalion of Special Purpose Cobras. Photo: D. Ostojic (left) | J. Mamula (right)

According to instructor’s words: „ The usage of firearms must be the last option to prevent or stop a threat, at most critical situations. Operator must learn how to safely operate with a weapon, as to practice tactical and precise shooting. By continuous training those actions must be perfected and learned as automatized, since only in that way one can gain confidence in his skills which will help him/her to react in time to stop and reject an attack without endangering others, but the attacker (or attackers) in critical situations“.
Efficient execution of complex tasks and jobs of this kind requires reliable gear of the operators. As for firearm, the most common choice are semi-auto handguns in 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger, as well as automatic models and Submachine Guns and Personal Defence Weapons, even carbines and assault rifles. Semi-automatic guns have to be compact in order to fit concealed carry. Special attention is paid to the magazine capacity which is desirable to be as high as possible, which is the case with many handgun models that come in 9mm caliber. On the other hand, higher mag capacity means that bullets are placed in two rows, which therefore increases the width of the weapon, making it more visible under clothing. But, as a veteran of the Serbian SAU says: „It is far better not to use the entire magazine, than to need one more shot“. The 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger caliber itself is very good, due to the stopping power when hitting any part of the attacker’s body that is strong enough to stop him in most cases, preventing him to continue or finish the attack. Smaller, weaker calibers cannot achieve this (at least not to the same degree as 9mm), therefore the attacker can continue his actions and continue the attack to VIP or operators, even after he is shot. Weapon sights should be equipped with tritium dots, with a clear aiming channel, so that aiming can be efficient in conditions of low visibility (these construction features are common for models of newer generations). The handgun should not have mounted additional gear, such as red dot or holo sights, nor gear of other kind, because it can disturb fast pulling as well as weapon balance.

„A very important criterion in the selection of personal weapon is its ergonomics, which goes for how the weapon fits to the hands of a shooter who should carry it. Weapon should not be chosen by its look or its popularity among users, nor by its price. Even technical-tactical features may mean nothing if a model ergonomics does not fit to the shooter“, says Dragan Susulovic

Semi-automatic handguns Glock 17 Gen 4 and Glock 22 Gen 4. Photo:

and continues: „The most suitable weaponry of my choice for these tasks are polymer models of newer generations, in mine case, that is Glock 22 Gen 4 in .40 S&W caliber, but one should try any model from Glock 17 onward. Those are really reliable models, as evidenced by rigorous testings through the world and their high quality can confirm operators of our elite units. In addition, great ergonomics and high magazine capacity make these Austrian models used worldwide. With my Glock 22 I usually carry at least three mags“.

Holsters for concealed carry Uncle Mike. Photo:

As for holsters, models for low carry that are mounted around one’s leg and attached to his belt are not suitable for these kind of tasks and jobs, because they are easy to spot, therefore choice comes down to models that are mounted directly to the belt, outer or from the inner side of the pants, or those that are mounted around shoulders or chest. Instructor Susulovic works as a retainer for over 16 years now, and as a SAU operator he carried these duties and jobs also. He emphasizes that during his career he tested many holsters of the most famous manufacturers and is currently using Israeli Front Line models, as well as American Uncle Mikes for which claims they provide safe carry and fast pulls.

[1] Due to significance of the social sphere and relations that are regulated, these terms are usually defined through specific laws, or legal documents of the same rank.
[2] Official Courier of the Republic of Serbia No. 104/13, 110/2013 (Serb. "Službeni glasnik RS" br. 104/13, 110/2013).

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