Covert Entry Concepts – 1st Canadian Offering This course will teach Law Enforcement Personnel, Special Operations Forces, and Government employees and security professionals the principles of lock bypassing and making covert entries into buildings or properties.
This class is entirely hands on. From the moment you enter the course you will have tools in your hand and are working to exploit various locking mechanisms. Students will learn to recognize the vulnerabilities in existing hardware, how they are attacked, or sometimes even bypassed entirely. You’ll walk away with the skills needed to compromise most of the locks used in North America today. Students will be much better positioned to provide service in a variety of tactical areas: check welfare calls, search and arrest warrant service, establishing sniper positions, sneak and peak operations, surveillance operations, fire safe opening, and breaking and entering investigations.
Since the techniques taught in this class are largely nondestructive, agencies will also benefit by having a decrease in civil actions due to property damage.
The cost of the course is $675 USD or $895 CAD with a $200 deposit required to hold your place.
Included in the cost of the course is a comprehensive set of high quality tools that you can use on the job or practice at home to maintain the skills you’ll build in class. • High Quality 12 Piece Pick Set • Set of covert jigglers • Set of warded picks • Bump Hammer • Bump keys • An ez decoder • Underdoor tool
***Friday dinner, Sat & Sun breakfasts, coffee and snacks included. Team dinner scheduled for Saturday night.
DISCLAIMER:*Nothing in the course offering is intended to be used for unlawful purposes. Consult with your local laws prior to employing these techniques in the field. This is intended for lawful use ONLY. True North Tradecraft and its partners do not condone or advocate illegal activities.*
How often have you thought “hey, I wish I could learn that…but the training is only available in the US. So much for that.”? I have. Many times. So, in my quest to build my own skills, I saved up some money and travelled to the United States to attend training I had my eye for months.
In November 2016, I had the privilege of attending the Covert Entry Concepts (CEC) training course in Maryland. It was put on by The CORE Group in their Maryland facilities and wow, what a good time it was.
(*I lucked-out by taking two courses back-to-back at The CORE Groups’ Maryland facilities, the Covert Entry Concepts and Physical Security Analyst. This is a review for Covert Entry Concepts. I will post a review of the Physical Security Analyst soon.)
The purpose of the course, in broad strokes, is to be given an education in physical security, how to identify and exploit any weaknesses with the ultimate goal to test those weaknesses and close any found loopholes for a client to protect them from attack. As a security professional myself, I feel that expanding my skill sets is a responsibility to make me more effective in my job.
“The CORE Group was initially formed by a trio of security auditors and researchers who had collaborated on numerous projects and conference events over the years. At present, their combined experience in the physical security sector represents decades of hard knowledge and applied work. The CORE Group finds innovative ways to augment typical security auditing and assessment. Most companies incorporate digital penetration testing and web application testing into their standard procedure of self-assessment. The CORE Group offers a variety of packages that can greatly assist in a company’s understanding of their security posture at a fraction of the cost of larger, more “conventional” testing.”
The CORE Group conducts training all over, training Law Enforcement & Military, Government Agencies, Physical Security specialists, Red Team and PenTesters, IT Security and Locksport enthusiasts. They attend many of the “cons” (such as Black Hat, DEF CON, SANS, etc.) throughout the US, many times running the “Lockpick Village” and providing intensive training to professionals all over.
The course was a 2-day, Monday/Tuesday set-up. A mixed bag of Law Enforcement, Military, physical security professionals and “other, government” types. A good group of people to get to know and learn with. Our Instructor, Rob, Chief of the Law Enforcement training division of The CORE Group, was welcoming and professional from the word “go”. After some quick ice-breakers, we moved right into an introduction to lockpicking.
Discussions, anecdotes, slides and practical demonstrations were all used to great effect in training to underline the principles and applications for what were were learning about in that moment. Everything was helped by Rob’s sense of humour, positive attitude, patience and obvious expertise in the subject matter. We worked on a vast array of topics. Lock-picking; bumping; bypasses; construction; safes; tamper-evident seals; elevators; impressioning; the Mace Face Challenge; casting keys; attack vectors; padlocks; restraint escapes and so much more. So much information was covered that, even weeks later, I found myself re-reading the detailed notes I had made in an effort to absorb it all. Not only was it an incredible amount of practical and useful information, but much of it was eye-opening and fascinating as well. Not all aspects are covered in every session that Rob delivers due to geography or other issues, but my experience was just great.
Here is a look at some of the stuff we got to play with:
After enjoying amazing chicken, fantastic bbq, getting to know the other participants and doing an awesome escape exercise preceded by burpees (I hate burpees) it ended up being a really great time.
I felt as if it was a skill-building game-changer. The depth and breadth of knowledge shared and learned was exceptional. Though these are all perishable skills requiring regular practice, the base is unmistakably solid. It certainly opened the door to a world of opportunities. The people I met and the confidence in my abilities were well worth the cost and effort to travel south of the border. I highly recommend taking this training if you have the means and opportunity. It’s a staple of tradecraft and is useful in a myriad of situations (all ethically bounded, of course). Use your powers for good. And if you work hard, you can earn one of these…
If you’re interested in taking this course IN CANADA, True North Tradecraft, in partnership with Tactical Beaver, will be sponsoring a unique run of this course in downtown Toronto on the weekend of July 28-29-30, 2017, to be taught by Rob of The CORE Group. This training is not available anywhere else in Canada (to my knowledge – and I’ve searched) and is well worth it’s weight in gold. It will include top-tier instruction, a kit of equipment for you to practice on and keep when you’re done and breakfast daily with dinner on the Friday night. For more detailed information, e-mail us at [email protected] . Spaces are limited and booking up already. Tactical Beaver will also have a table with great apparel available to purchase at a discount.
Check it out. It’s a really great opportunity to learn from an expert in the field and do so IN CANADA!
Last Saturday, May 27th, Tactical Beaver and True North Tradecraft made an appearance in our nation’s capital. We met with Tactical Beaver fans at a fine pub in the Glebe (Irene’s) and shared some good cheer and made some new friends. And sold some shirts!
It was a great start to a day which would see us as guests of Jody Mitic and the Jody Mitic Podcast.
We had been invited to be guests on Jody’s podcast to discuss Tactical Beaver and True North Tradecraft, our vision, goals and of course, shoot the shit with him. It was all that and more. Jody and Luke were gracious, humble and very fun to spend a few hours with. They even invited us back!
We couldn’t leave Ottawa without meeting with some new friends for breakfast at the Wellington Diner, namely Marc from Hayabusa Ninjutsu and his lovely family. Thank you for the recommendation.
We are looking forward to next time. Till then, check out the great podcast here and follow Jody Mitic, The Jody Mitic Podcast, Tactical Beaver and True North Tradecraft on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to the Podcast to hear more of Jody’s unique take on things and his other amazing guests.
I recently came across this project. George Lepine is a driving force for the progress of the Okichitaw Indigenous Martial Arts. He is a man of great skill, knowledge and integrity. I have worked with him for many years. He has worked tirelessly to structure, research and make Okichitaw accessible to all who want to learn.
Check out their Kickstarter campaign and support their amazing intiative to bring Okichitaw martial arts to the world. Not only is it an indigenously historic Canadian system, the but it is also effective.
Check it out and support it. It will help bring this piece of Canada to the world.
Tactical Beaver Ltd. (TB) is Canada’s premier Veteran owned and operated Military and Emergency Services lifestyle apparel company. They make top-quality lifestyle apparel with a Canadian flavour. Based in Toronto, you can check out their designs such as the TB Classic, Brothers in Arms, Keep Calm and Double Tap, as well as other upcoming designs. Available are t-shirts, ¾-length tees, hooded tees, hats, stickers and patches (both in velcro and iron-on!). They’re even looking at women’s tank-tops for summer for all the Sisters-in-Arms.
So, to brass tacks. Printed in their Toronto Base of Operations, the shirts are tri-blend and very soft and comfortable. Easy to wear to the gym, running, under body armour (for those operators out there) or daily uniform. Not to mention just out and about town.
In addition to being all-round awesome and comfortable clothing, Tactical Beaver has partnered up with True Patriot Love (TPL), a Canadian Veteran’s charity and will give a portion of each sale they make back to TPL to help out wounded veterans and their families as a way to give back. True service to your country never ends.
Anyways, the bottom line is these clothes look great, feel great and do great things by giving back. What’s not to like? I wear mine all the time…especially when I work out, run, or when I’m feeling like I should be cool and proud of it. Check them out and pick something up. And follow on Social Media…you’ll be happy you did.
RAIDOPS is a South Korean company which designs and distributes a variety of personal defence gear, knives and accessories made to very high quality specifications. A high percentage of their products are made from titanium, enabling a solid product with a low magnetic footprint and low weight. Their designs are also very practical and low-profile, giving them a minimalistic appearance and also the ability to be carried through many non-permissive environments without undue attention.
I purchased two personal defence products to try out a little while back – the Delta (one of several designs) and the Fighting Frog. They arrived very quickly direct from South Korea to Toronto and came as below.
(Quarter for scale)
Upon taking each one out of their small boxes, I was surprised at how light they were. The titanium was indeed very light and very strong. The small ball-chain they came with felt heavier than the items themselves.
After handling each one, I was also very happy with the ergonomics. Both were very comfortable to hold and use.
They are intended to be used as impact weapons. Held between the index and middle fingers of a closed fist to facilitate acute damage to an assailant (See below).
Small, light, but VERY sturdy. And no pain when hitting a tree, so a person should be just fine. By the way, it took some chunks out of the tree (I didn’t have my phone for pics at the time – sorry!) so I can only imagine what it could do to a person.
Though their prices may be a bit steep ($48 USD for the Fighting Frog and $40 USD for the Delta) it isn’t too out of line with similar weight titanium products.
You can even double them and jewelry in non-permissive environments and you’ll still have an accessible impact weapon if needed. Here I am wearing it overtop my Triple Aught Design Tradecraft Shirt for a better view.
Again, lightweight, low-profile and easily worn in more non-permissive environments. No issues to wear in a Canadian context, as at that point, it’s a fashion statement.
One thing I may look at, is the collection of RAIDOPS finger spinners. This is essentially a fidget toy that is made of titanium but doubles as an impact weapon. Here is an example. Though somewhat pricey ($110 USD) I may consider getting one.
At the end of the day, the strength, low weight, comfortable ergonomics and durability of the Delta and Fighting Frog make them effective and reliable. I recommend checking them out.
A while back I came across a Kickstarter campaign for the BAT (Bring Anywhere Tool) Coin from Covert Products Group. https://www.covertproductsgroup.com They were just starting off about a year about and when I read through the campaign details, I was intrigued. They had designed a “10-in-1” tool that was small, lightweight, inexpensive, useful and capable of carriage through airports and other non-permissive environments. So I supported the campaign, if for no other reason to see if what they had designed was worth having.
Having recently received my lot of coins, I began to carry and test them. I am pretty impressed with this little guy. BATs go for about $25 USD each on the CPG website and I also received a sticker and morale patch along with it. Fast shipping. Nothing to complain about.
From their website, here are the BAT Coin features:
1) Modified Phillips head screwdriver with three prongs so the BAT lays flat in your pocket
2) Safe, semi-sharp captured edge for opening boxes
3) Scribe point or hole punch
4) Small-gauge wire stripper
5) Fire-steel scraper (use it with any ferro rod survival fire starter, Swedish firesteel or similar item)
I look at it as a minimalist, last-ditch or tertiary backup to my regular Every Day Carry (EDC) but because it is both innocuous and concealable, not to mention relatively effective, I am happy to have and carry it.
For something so small, I’d thought maybe they’re reaching a bit, however, upon using it here and there, though it may not be an equivalent to a full-sized tool times ten, it does manage to do each job fairly well, especially in a pinch. I would recommend, as CPG does, to use something like a key ring to give you extra leverage to open bottle caps as the diminutive size of the BAT makes it hard to get enough leverage.
The BAT is made out of stainless steel and has a nice finish to it. It is small, lies flat and is about the size of a Canadian twoonie (The Canadian $2 coin for those of you who don’t know). As it is smaller than any other tool and is not intrinsically disallowed, both CATSA and the TSA allow it with you through security at airports.
I’d recommend the BAT Coin to anyone who would like to have a little something to add to their EDC that will add some functionality without bulk and the added bonus of being as inconspicuous as loose change. I will also keep an eye on CPG for future product developments and releases.
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
As we go through life we face challenges. Some benign and yet some are scarring and life-altering. Either way, it isn’t always the WHAT which defines us as people, but rather the HOW we deal with those events that define us. These are usually things we suffer through, in whatever way. As unfortunate as it is, we learn most through suffering. Through heartbreak, loss, pain, catastrophe – overcoming and surviving those events teach us something about life and about ourselves. For every bruised knee we endured falling off our bikes as kids, we became tougher, stronger, better at falling and bouncing back to deal with bigger and worse things. This mental posture developed through various trials is what builds our resilience in life. It is for these reasons that the Military, for instance, trains its people so hard, pushed them to physical and mental extremes – so that when the day comes to face something truly terrible, they will be better prepared, more resilient, to meet the challenge and survive.I have translated this concept into a personal philosophy. I try to make myself uncomfortable, to try new things, challenge myself, and fail trying, just to learn from those experiences and to build that level of resilience in myself. It’s also about being prepared. Not for the Zombie Apocalypse per se, but for an event that may threaten you. Small habits, tools, preparations and knowledge properly put into use before something bad happens can mean the difference between an inconvenience and something serious. Seeing that guy on the corner eyeing you can give you the tip-off that he means you harm. That second or two may give you the edge.I am always learning, always challenging myself to be better and always looking for ways to improve.
Don’t wait for something to happen to you to start getting tough, start now, so when it does happen, you can fight back with all you’ve got and have a better chance of coming out on top.It is for this reason I started True North Tradecraft.
Tradecraft, as defined by Wikipedia: Tradecraft, within the intelligence community, refers to the techniques, methods and technologies used in modern espionage (spying) and generally, as part of the activity of intelligence.
So, skills used by spies, agents, soldiers, operatives and their vast knowledge is advantageous to us all. These people are trained and paid to put themselves in dangerous positions and survive. They have developed strategies to keep themselves alive through tradecraft, through these skills. If they can use it to be safer and more resilient in their day-to-day lives, why can’t you?
Years ago I had an epiphany, where I realized I was far from the level that I wanted to be. I wasn’t prepared to defend myself from true aggression to the level I wanted, and certainly unable to bring to bear force against someone who would threaten me or my family. I was also suffering from a lack of real skills. Skills and training which would genuinely prepare me to be better than I was. I have poured much time and effort into correcting that. I believe anyone can improve with guidance, drive and the will towards change.
True North Tradecraft was envisioned to bring such techniques, strategies, knowledge and support to a wider audience from a Canadian perspective. I have found through my personal encounters with members of both the Public and Government that overwhelmingly, the masses are apathetic in living in the bucolic lives supported by governmental systems. Relying on others for your safety and security is folly. Taking responsibility for yourself is the first step in resilience. Too often such resources are framed within an American context. This is not, in itself, a bad thing, however I have yet to read an EDC blog or book, or have a conversation where a firearm is not included. As great as it would be in some cases, guns are a non-starter here in the Great White North. So, as it is a less-permissive environment, other avenues for personal security and preparedness must be explored. Just because you don’t have a gun doesn’t mean you can’t be safe, or dangerous, or both. You just need the right knowledge, training and mindset.
If you value your personal security, safety and well-being, I look forward to helping you grow, as I have, into a more resilient person, better prepared for threats and hazards and living a life in-tune with your environment.And that too will come.
I have strong feelings about this topic. Too often do I see people do careless and dangerous things simply because they weren’t paying attention. Many accidents and attacks on people are largely avoidable through attuned situational awareness.
So what is it? Situational Awareness (SA), is described in Wikipedia thusly:
“…the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event. It is also…concerned with understanding of the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operations, military command and control, and emergency services such as firefighting and policing; to more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving an automobile or riding a bicycle. Situation awareness involves being aware of what is happening in the vicinity to understand how information, events, and one’s own actions will impact goals and objectives, both immediately and in the near future. One with an adept sense of situation awareness generally has a high degree of knowledge with respect to inputs and outputs of a system, an innate “feel” for situations, people, and events that play out because of variables the subject can control. Lacking or inadequate situation awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error. Thus, situational awareness is especially important in work domains where the information flow can be quite high and poor decisions may lead to serious consequences (such as piloting an airplane, functioning as a soldier, or treating critically ill or injured patients).”
The above describes the what of SA well however, only a small percentage of the population actively uses SA in their day-to-day lives. How often do you see this:
These people are completely oblivious to their surroundings, the prevailing environment they are in and cannot identify or comprehend threats or hazards which they may be stepping into. No decisions can be made because no information is being collected by their senses beyond that of the screen in front of them. They are unaware of their environment and clueless about any hazards that may threaten them. This is not where you want to be.
Situational awareness is a key component to successful preparation and survival. In whatever environment you may find yourself, be it the wilds of the world or any concrete jungle, being aware of what is going on around you is important. For instance, if you are on a hiking trip, paying attention to weather patterns can determine if you set up camp prior to a weather front coming in, or being caught in a deluge. Alternately, by being unaware of danger signals on the streets of a city, you may find yourself in a position to be attacked whereas if you had picked-up on the subtle signs around you, you stand a better chance of taking steps to avoid a dangerous situation.
The environment around you produces a vast amount of stimuli which most people ignore as “background noise”. Sounds, weather, social interactions, architecture, temperature, motion, colour, patterns – all produce data for us to interpret. A great deal of this is ignored as our brains rarely fixate on things that are “routine”, until they are not.
Survival strategies are transferrable across environments. Urban or rural. Around your home or overseas. Taking a vigilant and keen interest in the goings-on around you will give you an edge in dangerous situation by providing you with valuable information with which to make choices for action (or inaction) which will hopefully keep you alive or unharmed.
Situational awareness is a way of being. When driving, you should constantly be checking your side and rear-view mirrors to be aware of the vehicles around you, plan lane changes due to signs, adjusting your driving appropriately for the road conditions, and anticipating other driver’s actions to ensure you avoid collisions. Most of the time, this is done on a semi-sub-conscious level. If you have been driving a while, you won’t be talking to yourself about looking at your mirrors, much like a brand-new driver who is still nervous and tense about the whole thing.
The same applies when you leave your home, be it in the city or in the outdoors. In the outdoors, do you catch the silence on the path? Why did the birds stop chirping? Are there branches snapping off the trail? What’s that smell? Am I looking at the path for potential hazards or obstacles as well at the trail ahead? In the city the same thought process should run in the background. This is a dark part of the street…is there anyone in that dark doorway? I’ve seen that car a few times today…coincidence? That guy has been behind me for a while now…is he following me? (In a parking lot alone at night…) Are those guys really fixing a flat tire?
I’m not trying to spread paranoia as most of the time those questions will only highlight innocuous situations. BUT, for the small percentage of the time where real danger may be involved, having foreknowledge of that danger can give you the opportunity to act.
The best way to win a fight is to not get into one in the first place. That’s what one of my old martial arts instructors used to tell me. It’s good common sense when you’re not looking for trouble.
At the end of the day, being aware of your surroundings and environment is a critical piece of the survival toolkit. If you practice it often and across all situations in which you find yourself you will get much better at it until it becomes a reflex which goes on in the background.
Welcome to True North Tradecraft, your Canadian destination for Tradecraft, security, preparedness and survival topics.
At True North Tradecraft, we are committed to providing education and support towards building your skill-sets and knowledge in the areas of personal security and tradecraft, all with a Canadian perspective. We’ll build capacity, skills and knowledge together. We’ll post reviews on products, gear and training. Anything we come across to boost your knowledge and provide direction towards a resilient lifestyle.
In these uncertain times, the more you know the better.
Keep checking back with us regularly for new posts.
Also, feel free to check out our partner site, Tactical Beaver. Buy a shirt. Or a hat. Or both. You’ll be happy you did.