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Vetrepreneurs – Higher speed, lower drag: SWORD International

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SWORD International (Special Warfare Operations Research and Development) is a firearms and tactical training team with a specialized curriculum based on US military special operations tactics, theory and techniques. Staffed by US military combat veterans from all corners of SOCCOM, this veteran owned business provides something more than just high speed training: they are immersed in small arms development as well.

That's right; they build their own weapon systems and pride themselves on staying on the cutting edge of the latest technology based on end-user input. This translates into the instructors knowing more about the various weapons platforms in which they train because they actually build the weapons in question.

The fine firearms of SWORD International

The fine firearms of SWORD International

We hope to review one of their rifles in the near future (particularly the Mk 18 in 338 Lapua), but this time out we want to focus on their training program.

Meet Garett

Company Vice President Garett Schwindel,is a highly experienced special operations veteran who served in the elite 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Garett has a total of 14 deployments to both Iraq, and Afghanistan as an Army Ranger, PSD Operator, State Department Lead Firearms Instructor and Shift leader for Helo CSAR team.

Garrett Schwindell

Garrett Schwindell

Schwindel has a unique outlook on training going back to his childhood when he found himself constantly “questioning the answers.” During his time as a lead State Department firearms instructor he has trained thousands of US military and private contractors, as well as hundreds of foreign military and police.

Finding the Why

“Instead of dictating the teaching points of firearms training, I would rather present a question: Why?”, Schwindel says.

His goal is to make the student think through the entire process of a potential course of action in order to bring about a deeper understanding of the task at hand.

Why is my handgun reacting a certain way?

Why is my rifle shooting high or low?

Some instructors simply tell the student how to make a correction and not go into more detail. Schwindel thinks it important for the student to find out “Why?” and act accordingly.

Thriving in Chaos

SWORD's core training principles are derived from Schwindel’s “Thriving in Chaos” theory, where the student is taught how to prepare the mind, understand the mental process and the importance of mental conditioning. Comprehension of these core principals creates a solid foundation for the student to better thrive under chaotic situations, and give them both the mental and technical advantage in adverse situations.

Bad weather never puts the brakes on a training day!

Bad weather never puts the brakes on a training day!

“We must analyze every portion of what we do with the utmost scrutiny in order to build a solid foundation. Attention to the details will show you what you are doing right or wrong. You have to look deeper. Calm the mind and identify the next course of action.  Panic in your mind, translates to panic in your movements.”

SWORD has taught members of some of the most elite military and police tactical teams from around the globe. Their courses include everything from basic to intermediate small arms to advanced shooting from a helicopter.

We’ll get a handle on that one by the end of the year, courtesy of Shin Tanaka, we promise.


You may have caught these guys on Gunny Time running their rifles with US Optics and everyone's favorite Drill Instructor, R Lee Ermey. Here are a few clips from the program:

Company: SWORD International
Primary Focus: Tactical/Firearms instruction and consulting
More information:
SWORD home page
SWORD International on Facebook


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