Reconnaissance and Security Patrols In an Urban Area When the SHTF

Security Patrols

Reconnaissance or Recon patrols are typically sent out to gather information such as enemy numbers, and in the case of a Prepper group, they would also be used to locate resources, and generally keep track of the comings and goings of others that may or may not pose a threat. The patrols would normally range beyond any security patrols. In fact, they may cover many miles in and around a city in a single day.

Security patrols are usually sent out to detect threats that may be directed at the base camp or Command and Control Center. A security patrol would be the first to know of an attack directed at the base camp and they would need the means to provide advanced warning to the camp so they can prepare.

A security patrol can become static for a few days to observe an enemy camp, a specific building, or to observe major transportation routes for traffic flow.

If you are trying to survive in an urban environment after the SHTF and all sense of law and order has deteriorated, then it is up to you and your group to protect yourselves and to do that you need organization and personnel.

A major consideration when patrolling in a city are the structures, which translate into hiding places for others in particular snipers. Security patrols may have to clear buildings one-by-one to secure an area to ensure you have a safe zone within the established boundaries.

There is any number of ways to clear a building and your technique may depend on whether or not you need the resources within said building and what type of resistance you expect to find.

The Objective

Operate in an offensive posture and not defensive. You do not want to be trapped in any building while it’s under assault. You want to be the attacking force, clearing buildings, suppressing the threat before it gets out of your control and always be ready to advance the assault toward any opposing forces.


1.) Isolate the building, if there is a power source to the building such as a generator or solar power, for example, they would need to be disabled.

2.) Do you have the firepower and expertise to breach doorways? Shotguns can be used for breaching doors, or battering rams, or even explosives. All of which take considerable expertise to implement safely and effectively.

3.) Once inside, do you have personnel properly trained to clear the building room by room?

4.) Finally, what is your exit plan if things go off the rails?

Typically, the military and certain law enforcement agencies use what are called fire teams, which normally consist of four people. Along with the fire team would be a support team in place to provide suppressive fire so the fire team can reach the building and do their work without taking direct fire.

The support team in a Prepper group may only be one or two shooters and conserving ammunition must be a consideration, so planning is crucial. You would only be able to provide direct fire, whereas, a military or law enforcement unit could utilize indirect fire as well.

Keep in mind in most cases, your objective is not to destroy the structure with explosives. There may be resources inside you need or intelligence information that can be gathered up. There may or may not be anyone inside the building, but you don’t know until you enter the structure. You have to go into it assuming there is a threat in the building, however.

Breaching a Door

You normally would use shotguns or even heavy caliber rifles to perform a ballistic breach. The order of movement is to have a gunner that breaches the door and for the time being they are called number one and following, the gunner is two, three, and four.

Once the door is breached, however, the gunner steps back and number two steps through the door first and assume the number one position. The gunner assumes position number four because usually they would have the heaviest caliber weapon for breaching, and then they would help provide additional cover for the extraction or to provide an emergency egress if needed.

A ballistic breach is the most practical for a Prepper group unless you have access to explosives, but then the order of movement would change once explosives are introduced into the mix.

Then there is what is called a mechanical breach, which would in most cases, take longer, and as such, you would need extra shooters to provide cover for the team as they either use a battering ram on the door, or attempt to take it apart using pry bars, cutters, or sledgehammers.

If you establish a base camp in a city, you have to establish a perimeter. Any buildings inside that perimeter have to be cleared and declared safe, otherwise, you have no idea of the threats that may be looming literally next door, so learning how to clear/secure a building must be an essential part of your Prepper group training.

Having military or law enforcement trained personnel in your group would give the group a greater advantage.

A security patrol, for the most part, would be responsible for clearing the buildings while the Recon patrol identifies buildings of interest, buildings that may have resources or enemy personnel inside.

All of the above is determined by the mission and you as the group leader must determine the mission if you plan to set up camp inside of a city. Decisions are based on your group’s number of personnel, types of buildings, how much area you want to control, and size of any opposing forces.