Every time you call something “Tactical” without cause, an Infantryman wants to choke you.

Why is it that so much gear is called “Tactical” now?  It’s idiotic!

In the military, at least in the combat arms disciplines, we always strived to achieve, better, and maintain our technical and tactical proficiency.

  1. of, relating to, or constituting actions carefully planned to gain a specific military end.
  2. (of a person or their actions) showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action.
  1. of or relating to a particular subject, art, or craft, or its techniques.
  2. of, involving, or concerned with applied and industrial sciences.

Technical skills are things like knowing the proper operation of your rifle, how to emplace a mine, using a bayonet, throwing a hand grenade, physically breaching a door, using a radio, calling for artillery fire, etc…

Tactical skills encompass planning, improvisation, and decision-making.  Where technical skills could be described as encompassing the science of doing something, tactical skills are truly the art of it.

Many tactical skills are taught by somewhat formulaic methods. For example; things like planning a linear ambush, movement to contact, actions on contact, clearing a building, etc… all have a number of methods that are taught and developed so that they can be properly employed given the actual situation you are faced with. We take into account factors such as METT-T (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, – Time), in the decision making process (see” OODA Loop) used to determine the tactics to be utilized in accomplishing a mission or task.

Tactical skills are all plans and techniques.  The don’t usually describe “things”.

There are some valid exceptions where clarification is needed and the word “Tactical” is used in a name solely for disambiguation purposes.

The Tactical Nuclear Weapon comes to mind.  These are nuclear devices designed to have a low yield and to be used on the authority of a local commander to achieve a tactical advantage or end.  They are not called “tactical” to make them sound cooler (it’s a nuke, how much cooler could it be?). The “Tactical Nuke” is called that solely to distinguish it from the far better known “Strategic Nuclear Weapon”.  Then you have things like Tactical Radios, this again is to distinguish these little, man portable, low powered, military radios from their bigger megawatt cousins installed in the communications centers of higher commands.

This seem to be where everyone is getting hung up.  The want to distinguish their rifle from grandpa’s hunting rifle (even if both are .308 caliber Remington 700’s), their pocketknife from their other pocketknife, their wristwatch from…  MAKE it STOP!

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