Do You Plan Your Routes?

Do You Plan Your Routes?

You get THE call. Your employer needs someone that can adapt and make it happen. Here’s what the employer needs: “Can I count on you to meet up with the team, pick up the principal at the airport, take him to his event and get him safely back on the plane?”

You say, “Absolutely.”

The employer responds, “Great, that’s exactly what I need right now. He lands in 8 hours.”

“Do you plan your routes?”

I’m confident that almost all of us would say, “Yes, of course I plan my routes…!”

“Do you analyze your routes as well?”


Can you explain the difference between route planning and route analysis?

Allow me to borrow from my experience in the military. Of course, the following is a simplistic (and in some instances, a textbook) view, which may not accurately reflect the experiences of the reader. But let’s address that later.

In the military, route analysis for the combat engineer or the motor transportation specialist take into account variables such as load weights, bridge ratings, road material and weather. I’m sure there are a million other variables with books and books of data tables to pull information from.

But the infantryman has an entirely different perspective on route analysis. The infantryman is thinking about how to counter known and potential threats. Such as how to use the terrain to mitigate the effectiveness of the enemy’s weapon systems. Or how best to maneuver an obstacle in order to avoid known enemy tactics.

The military commander has the ability and wisdom to consider the various inputs of route analysis, but the commander is different. Responsible for the overall accomplishment of the mission, the commander is focused on route planning. He or she is constantly considering the best routes for efficient completion of the mission.

So… what’s the difference, exactly?

Let’s look at the first question I asked, do you plan your routes?

Does that plan incorporate the appropriate analysis of the route? Did you or someone else consider the most likely and most dangerous enemy weapon ranges? Trajectories? Firing positions? Recommendations?

Did the analysis identify what actions the enemy would have to do in order for him or her to bring harm or embarrassment to your principal? How about enemy timing of his actions and equipment needed? What mitigation actions can you take?

Did the analysis identify and recommend countermeasures to potential hazards? Such as weather and road conditions or trip and fall hazards? The teammate that’s going to be opening the door, does he or she have a cold or cough? (Might want to reassign that team member.)

I think you get the idea. It can get complex. So how do we make it all happen?

In our industry, we probably don’t have the resources to commit to such an exhaustive planning effort on every route. But we do it anyway, in the time we can squeeze out and with whatever resource we can find.

There lies our challenge.

As protectors, we have embarked on a massive, never-ending quest of learning to be better, faster. We need to be able to tailor route planning and analysis to our everyday life as a protector, learning how to quickly and effectively apply those skills. I am thankful for the education I received at the Executive Protection Institute Providing Executive Protection Program and the Professional Bodyguard Association Recognition of Prior Learning course. The information I received helped me to understand how I could bring it all together.

Through practice, I have become more efficient than I ever was. I’m confident in my ability when an employer calls and says, “Can you adapt?”

Justin Bondietti, PPS; Executive Protection Institute Graduate, NLA Member

3 Best Practices in Networking

Tis the season…for the Close Protection Conference! We are less than 3 months away from another incredible experience in Vegas…and yes, I mean the CPC!

As we grow nearer to the CPC and the holiday following, it’s time to brush up on our Networking skills. Well, maybe not so much our skills but DEFINITELY our mindset around Networking.

In my last blog we talked about WHY we Network. Let’s adjust ever so slightly and talk about HOW to get the most out of not only Networking at the CPC but anytime and anywhere we find ourselves. This will be inevitably valuable when we are all at holiday parties throughout December with family members, co-workers, friends of our significant other’s 😉 and so forth.

Allow me to identify 3 best practices while Networking:

First…and I mean FIRST…Smile. Smile when you meet someone for the first time. I realize there is a lot of military, police, Feds, security professionals, etc. in the crowd. And we are all serious doing a serious job. But greet new (and existing, for that matter) contacts with a smile. It is the quickest, easiest and least expensive way, BY FAR, to improve your appearance.

An authentic smile is a couple things: It’s inviting. When people see you smiling, even if it’s not at them, they are more inclined to feel welcomed to join a conversation. And that’s what we are looking for while we are networking, agreed? It’s also encouraging. Have you ever walked up to someone new, even after being introduced, and the person doesn’t smile until after he/she meets you, or sometimes not at all? I cannot stand that! Don’t be that person. Be the person someone wants to get to know even before you meet 🙂 And finally, smiling is a no shit way to improve your mood. It is scientifically proven that even if you are in a bad mood and you force an authentic smile, your happiness goes up and your stress level goes down. Anyone ever stressed walking into a Networking event?

Second, and you’ve read the word a couple times now. Practice authenticity. Being yourself is exactly who you should be. But, you must be the best version of yourself. Anything less is unacceptable. You owe it to yourself to be your best and to the people you will be meeting.

The easy part of this is when conversations are happening around things we know. However, while Networking, we are often around new people with different experiences. Nothing screams authenticity like showing a little humility. Become a student, if even momentarily, and ask questions. Especially for the newcomers to the industry, take this opportunity to learn the lessons the storyteller learned without having to go through it. Networking is so much about learning from others, it’s absolutely crazy! Take the opportunity and use it for everything you can get!

Which leads me to the third practice, be interested NOT interesting. Which is to say, listen before you speak. Show interest in others. This can be tough because we want to share our story (Ourselves is our favorite topic!). We will get our chance. Spend time listening to others. Allow them to talk then ask follow up questions, then let them talk, and ask another follow up question, etc., etc. and so forth. And here’s the most important idea to this, listen then respond to what the other person is talking about. Don’t wait for them to stop talking so you can start. If that person is doing it right, they will then ask all about you. There’s your chance!

This reminds me of an excerpt from Devora Zack’s book “Networking for people who hate Networking.” She tells the story of meeting a gentleman at a Networking event and they speak for about 15 minutes, of which, she speaks for about 3. At the end of the discussion, they exchange cards and go on about their business. In the near future, she got a follow up email from the same guy saying how much he enjoyed their conversation and how he was looking forward to referring her business. She let him talk, that’s what he needed, she then benefitted from being a fantastic listener. Nothing wrong with being a listener! You can learn way more that way 😉

Anyway, that does it. Smile, be authentic and be interested not interesting. Work at all three of these and you’ll find your time at the CPC, family gatherings, parties, etc. much more valuable, and because of that, much more fun!

Stay safe out there!

Craig McKim, PPS; Executive Protection Institute Graduate, NLA Member

For questions on networking, feel free to email me at or follow me on FB (Craig McKim Business Development) or Instagram (@craigmckimbizdev)

Bodyguards? Buddy Guards? Executive Protection Agents

Security Guards blocking paparazziThe following article was published by Nine Lives Associates Member Kent Moyer and The World Protection Group, INC.


The story reads like something out of a James Bond film. Armenian princess of American television fame gets robbed by a band of notorious jewel thieves in an exclusive Parisian hotel while on holiday attending international fashion galas. The only thing different about this version of the story, this real life story, is that the princess-in-question had absolutely no protection at her royal service. Where were the armed men standing by? Where were the trusted bodyguards hired to protect and serve, prepared specifically for a harrowing situation such as this? How could this have happened? How could her trusted men have let it happen?

Unless of course, it was an inside job.

In today’s crossover landscape of multimedia entertainment platforms, the lines between staged filming, actual life, and social media “presence” have become blurred. The allure of ‘fame by association’ has introduced a dangerous element: the transition of bodyguard to “buddy guard,” severely impacting the level of protection being offered to celebrity clients. The Paris robbery of Kim Kardashian is one of the prime cases being examined in order to upgrade safety precautions in the executive protection industry.

First, let’s look at the facts: Read More…


Why Precision Shooting is a Must for Protectors

When the Commonwealth of Virginia recognized the need to elevate the requirements for individuals providing protective services to others in VA, they not only modeled the training standards and professional title from Executive Protection Institute’s Providing Executive Protection Program to create the 32E Personal Protection Specialist Registration, they also modeled the advanced firearms 09E standards from EPI’s Protectors Pistol Course.

VA and EPI require Personal Protection Specialists who work in all environments to be able to place well aimed shots with precision. The qualifying course of fire for the advanced firearms course needed to become an armed PPS, in addition to passing the 07E basic qualifying course, requires a 92% passing grade with hits on 8” body shots, and 4” head shots. When a protector is armed and encounters a deadly threat and must engage the target it is critical that they do so with precision and not just shots to center mass.

One reason is the higher probability of an adversary wearing body armor these days. When two rounds to the body does not stop the perpetrator, that is an indicator that they may have on body armor and a head shot is required. When you take the size of the average head it comes down to about a 4” diameter target while center mass is represented by an 8” diameter target. One of our advanced qualifying courses of fire is what is called a failure to stop, or commonly known as a “body armor drill” requiring two rounds center mass (inside an 8” circle), followed by one head shot (inside a 4” circle), at various distances.

In the early years as EPI was conducting the 09E advanced qualifying course it was not uncommon for students to not meet the 92% qualification (which is only 2 misses out of 25 rounds) and a need to reshoot the qualification a second or third time. Some students still wouldn’t pass the range qualification, making it necessary for the student to come back at a later date after improving their shooting skills and shoot the qualification course again. About 5 years ago, we employed a new precision shooting technique originally developed by “Insight Firearms Training”, and we began to see incredible results. It is now rare that students do not pass the advanced qualifying course of fire on the first attempt!

The methodology starts with an in-depth understanding of how our eyes focus on the sights, and eye dominance. The traditional method of checking eye dominance does not adequately test your eyes, as there is the phenomenon of parallel dominance (right hand, right eye, left hand left eye) and cross dominance (right hand left eye, and vice versa). We now conduct 7 separate eye tests to confirm eye dominance. The next part of the methodology is understanding trigger control and trigger compression, and the importance of “giving up control”, allowing the firearm to release the shot. Think about this, you as the shooter do not decide when the round is released (we don’t say goes off or fires), the firearm determines when the round will be released. All the shooter is required to do is hold the firearm sights steady on target, focus intently on the front sight, and “gently compress the trigger until the round is released”. “You know it’s going to happen, you don’t know when it’s going to happen, so you have to just let it happen”.

With this methodology explained, we have all shooters work on shooting “one-hole” groups using 1” dots as the target. We begin with slow methodical shots working to place every round into the same hole starting 3 yards from the target. To make things interesting (and to prove a point), the instructors will sometimes work the students trigger. Typically, when this happens, the round will most often be dead center in the 1” dot. This indicates good sight alignment (equal height and equal light) and the precision then comes down to trigger control and allowing the firearm to release the round on target.

Once a student gets “dialed in” as we call it, we begin to pick up speed. It is not uncommon for novice shooters to be able to draw from the holster and place a shot on target in under 1 second and the students generally can make one-hole groups (or very tight groups) at distances out to 15 and 25 yards. We have had many students come into the program and tell us that even though they have been shooting for many years, that there is no way that they can shoot one-hole groups. After 15-30 minutes on the range, they are blowing 1” dots off the target and making one-hole groups on a consistent basis. Some students take a day or two but after getting dialed in, students are disappointed with a “flyer” that is ½” off target.

Precision Shooting from the Prone
Shooting from the prone position with precision

Once a shooter has learned the ability to accurately place a shot on a specific target such as a button or an eye on a head shot, their confidence soars. At our protector’s pistol course, we now have students shoot at steel silhouettes at 50 yards and the shooters have a much greater confidence knowing they can make that shot consistently. We encourage all protectors to work on accurate precision shooting and having the confidence to place a well-aimed shot accurately on target.

Jerry Heying CPP, PPS, CST

President/CEO International Protection Group, LLC
President/CEO International Protective Service Agency
Executive Director Executive Protection Institute