a competent rappel master set the ropes and check each man's harness
and hardware. Even under the low stress of training, team members can forget
essential safety procedures.
The trainees' first exposure to rappel shooting, after rappel training,
should be done on a low wall, a few feet off the ground. This allows the
trainee to master the
technique and learn to shoot accurately before adding the stress of height
and the fear of falling.
Whenever moving on the roof or face of a building, the rope team should have
available cover fire. Snipers covering the windows and fire escapes have
proven an excellent solution to this problem. The snipers should be located
on a facing building where they have a clear view of any possible suspect
Simultaneous door assault:
One of the best uses of rappel shooting is where the assault team intends to
enter through the interior door but needs a diversion. Two or three team
members rappel down the face of the building and engage the occupants with
pistol or submachine gun fire through a window. As the occupants' attention
is drawn to the window assault, the primary assault team crashes through the
door and takes them from behind. This would work very well in high-rise
hotels and office buildings where a
hostage situation has developed.
By rappelling weak-handed, the shooter is free to use his strong hand for
shooting. If a breaking device like Petzel STOP is used, the operator will
be free to shoot two-handed. If a basic figure-8 is used, you will need one
hand to break and one to shoot. If the rappel team draws too much fire they
can drop down to the ground or the cover of the next level. If a suspect
leans out the window to shoot down on them, he will be neutralized by the
When rappeling is the selected form of entry, windows may have to be broken
with sledge-hammers, crowbars or sections of pipe. In extreme cases frame
charges may have to be used to blow the heavy glass of reinforced windows
that are common on embassies.
The entry team will enter from either side of the window by hooking one leg
around the window frame while slacking their ropes with the outside hand and
shooting with the inside hand (the hand closest to the window) - not an easy
exercise but one that should be mastered in training.
Rappels of several floors can generate a lot of heat from friction, and
require heavy leather gloves. These heavier gloves are very difficult, if
not impossible to shoot with. Tactical rappels should be confined to three
or four floors, where lighter gloves can be used and the weapons easily
manipulated. Remember, tactical rappelling is not necessarily fast, but it
must be Silent. Avoid loose gear, bouncing on the walls, letting a
submachine gun hit against the handgun, and accidentally putting a foot
through a window.