An interview with Tom Buchino, founder of Tactical Ranch, El Paso, Texas.

How to master the tactical fundamentals in SOF and specialized law enforcement.

Tom Buchino, Tactical Ranch

Author Thomas Lojek

About my interview with Tom Buchino, CEO Tactical Ranch, El Paso, Texas

After visiting tactical training events in Eastern Europe, and doing additional research with teams of training centers like GTI Government Training Institute (South Carolina), I got in touch with Tom Buchino, CEO of Tactical Ranch, in El Paso, Texas.

I needed only a few seconds to realize, that Tom is a next level expert, when it comes to SOF training.

Not only that he shares over 20 years of active duty and real combat experience with his trainees.

He also has such a straight forward no b.s. style, that you get real quick, that he demonstrates you the most crucial details in armed combat situations, because his wisdom comes from real-life experience. 

Tom and his team are great men, who care a lot about the community of El Paso and the values, that are the foundation of a society, where neighbors can trust each other and saftey is not just a word, but the common ground of daily life. 

Therefore, I would like to share an interview with him that covers some crucial aspects of tactical training and the right attitude to master the skills of not only survive but dominate armed conflicts.

Training based on real combat experience

Thomas Lojek: Dear Tom, could you give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and your company Tactical Ranch?

Tom Buchino: I am a Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Special Forces (Ret.), with over 23 years of active duty services.

I started tactical ranch in 2010 and recruited a cadre of instructors from all aspects of the SOF arena and specialized Law Enforcement personnel.

Tactical Ranch operates in conjunction with Covenant Special Projects, LLC (CSP), a Service Disabled Veteran Owned and Operated Small Business.

Tactical Ranch and CSP are specializing in elite risk mitigation advisory services and training for U.S. and Allied Nation Governments, Local, State and Federal Agencies and private customers.

CSP’s foundation in the U.S. Military Special Operations Forces (SOF) community provides a unique experience-base and specific skill-sets which serve as a base for all our programs of instruction.

Thomas Lojek: So, you teaching methods come from real combat experience?

Tom Buchino: Yes, CSP’s cadre combat and trainer experience means you receive training by someone that has actually employed what they are instructing.

Our trainers hail from:
 U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), U.S. Army RANGERs,
 U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Air Force Para-Rescue, 
U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations and Elite Law Enforcement Officers.

CSP’s cadre are subject matter experts in their specific disciplines; all possessing the common goal to provide fundamentally-sound, relevant, best training and services to our customers.

A dangerous trend in tactical training

Thomas Lojek: I spent a lot of time with tactical training instructors during the research for my book.

Many of them are worried about the growing number of new und unexperienced instructors who rush into the market, recently. 

It seem that the label „tactical“ makes you one of the „cool guys“, today.

And of course, many of them are just in to make some quick bucks with flashy but fundamental bad shooting courses.

Tom Buchino: Yes, there are a lot of tactical and firearms trainers out there, now.

Seems every GI or cop that’s retired runs a training program of some sort.

Some good and some, well… you be the judge.  

When I entered the commercial side of military, LE and civilian tactical / firearms training, I was fortunate to have many years experience of operating complex training and advisory operations worldwide as part of the Special Forces Regiment.

This served as a solid foundation and test-bed for developing training approaches.

Nothing like, not speaking the language of an assault team, you are training to execute CQB opns – that work vs. all the flashy Hollywood TTP’s (techniques, tactics and procedures).

Thomas Lojek: I remeber that you called this phenomenon „Youtube Sensations“ when we started to work on this interview.

Tom Buchino: Look, there are many awesome tactical instructors out there.

Many I have had the privilege of serving with and training alongside, and I learn from all of them.

Then there are the „Youtube Sensations“.

They produce great videos, employ social media to build a brand and show you in a 1 minute clip their latest ninja skills.

Great entertainment I guess.

But my take on tactical applications training is simply based on my experience.

Experience in SF, experience working globally and experience working with Cops, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.

And I know the only way to achieve an excelled level of tactical competency is be stressing and mastering the fundamentals.

When you can Perfectly Execute the Fundamentals Under Stress…

Well, than you got something.

Tactical Ranch: A philosophy of fundamentals

Thomas Lojek: Can you tell me more about that? About your own philosophy of tactical training?

Tom Buchino: I have a very simple but effective philosophy: 

There is no-such-thing as advance tactics!

Only perfect execution of the fundamentals under stress!

This is the main training philosophy of Covenant Special Projects and Tactical Ranch. 

It’s all about the fundamentals!


Master the fundamentals and you are well trained to master any situation in real combat.

You can‘t control all parameters in the chaos of a real firefight.

But you can control how effectively you are able to carry out fundamental actions, that have been proven as right and effective in real combat.

I ensure my training cadre and security professionals adhere to it.

My approach and thankfully the approach of our trainers at CSP’s Tactical Ranch is 100% based in the fundamentals.

Wether we are conducting a patrolling and small unit tactics course or a tactical carbine train up.

We concentrate on developing solid fundamentals that compliment and/or enhance the students prior knowledge and unit standard operating procedures (SOP’s).

As we progress with our training, we induce differing stressors to serve in adding realism thus requiring the student/s to perform in a more challenging environment.

From physical fatigue faced during a stress shoot to mentally stressing teams during a night patrol.

Or CQB training evolution that intentionally goes astray.

It is imperative to ensure students have a solid baseline in the fundamentals that they can rely on to accomplish the mission when faced with adversity.

We train for battle in every course.

Battle – in my experience – is seldom perfect, never scripted and ever changing.

If we can replicate this in our training, it only serves our students better.

Back when I was a Team SGT (A-team days), I used to say…

“You Plan on Paper and Execute In Dirt.”

This simply meant regardless of the best planing and rehearsals, you can bet the environment will change the minute contact is initiated.

This meant we had to maintain a fundamentally-based approach to everything we do.

Tactical Ranch Training Facility

Tactical Ranch Training Facility

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