October 6, 2019

The "Israeli Carry" and the new season of Fauda

Israeli actor Lior Raz portraying commando Doron Kavillio and "the Israeli carry"

As we fans of the Netflix series Fauda await the release of the third season of the excellent Israeli nail-biter drama series, I thought I would offer a few thoughts of something I noted in the production. For my review of this series, see Miniseries Review: "Fauda" (Netflix 2017- ).

I believe this new season's operations area may shift from the Nablus area of the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. I am sure it will be excellent, but am somewhat disappointed as I find the Gazan dialect more difficult than the more familiar (to me) south Levantine Arabic spoken on the West Bank.

Some years ago, while serving as an operations officer in the U.S. intelligence community, I was sent to a defensive training course that involved, among other things, an intensive personal weapons course. The first thing I learned is that I didn't know as much as I thought about handling weapons, specifically semiautomatic pistols.

That changed - the instructors, probably among the best in the world, were relentless in forcing me to acquire these critical weapons skills. I still remember being knocked to the ground by them if I did not drop to at least my knees before reloading my weapon...I digress. It all paid off later in the field.

Most of the time in the training, which ranged from concealable pistols to machine guns to anti-tank weapons, was spent with a personal sidearm - it became an extension of my arm. I was trained on the Browning Hi-Power and Beretta 92FS, and later the Glock 19 (all chambered in the 9mm round). I still have a Glock 19, but if I had to chose my favorite weapon, I'd likely go with the tried-and-true Browning. It just feels right in my hand.

For those of us who have had weapons training - and I don't mean the NRA safety course most states require to obtain a concealed carry permit/handgun license (depending on state) - we noticed the skills exhibited by some of the Israelis in the Fauda series, particularly by the leading actor Lior Raz. Raz should be good at this - he served as a commando in the elite undercover counter-terrorism unit known as Sayeret Duvdevan. I isolated on video one instance of Raz using what we refer to as "the Israeli carry." You can watch it in Season 2, Episode 3, timecode 19:20.

Before I show you the video, allow me to explain just what this means. Most U.S. government organizations' protocol is to carry a sidearm with the weapon loaded, round in the chamber, hammer (if present) back, and safety on. This is sometimes referred to as having the weapon in Condition One. If the weapon is needed, all that is required is to disengage the safety and pull the trigger. It is fast, and requires the use of only one hand. In a high-stress situation, the fewer steps you need to do to bring the weapon into action is better. Milliseconds may count.

That said, carrying a weapon in this configuration can be unnerving. The Israelis believe that it is too dangerous for most situations, and use what is called weapons Condition Three, or in the common parlance, the Israeli Carry (although they did not develop it). In this condition, the weapon has a loaded magazine, but there is no round in the chamber, and the safety is off. If the weapon is needed, you charge the weapon (rack the slide to load a round in the chamber) while removing it from the holster; the safety is not in play. It is theoretically a bit slower, and does require the use of two hands.

In my training, our primary instructor told us, "You are not a professional masters at arms, like Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces soldiers, or Rangers. Hopefully you will never need to use your weapon - it is there only for your self-defense, not part of your operating skill set." He recommended we consider the safer Israeli Carry as our normal protocol.

He went on to explain that in a high-adrenaline situation, your motor skills become impaired. As I learned later, drawing a weapon in a situation where you may have to actually use it is a high-adrenaline situation. Removing a small safety can be considered a fine motor skill and under stress, difficult. Racking a slide, however, is a gross motor skill and probably easier to accomplish. It made sense to me - I adopted the Israeli Carry, and still use it to this day.

Now, I want you to watch how a professional master at arms brings a weapon into action (some call it "into battery"). Remember, Lior Raz was an Israeli commando who did this for a living. He withdraws the weapon, charges it and fires it in almost the blink of an eye. It is hard to imagine doing this any faster. I slowed it down to 1/8 speed - it is still almost impossible to detect the racking of the slide.