Billionaire Security: Behind the Scenes with Warren Buffett’s Bodyguard
They’re working with M-4 carbines, which are a little shorter and lighter version of the military M-16. Those are handy features for security guards, because they train to be able to use them instantly from inside the front seat of a car, responding to an ambush attack so quickly that there’s no time to even get out of the car and take up a firing stance.
I’m sitting in the back seat as two of Clark’s men begin, blasting away with their machine guns from the front seat, through the windshield, and onto the targets. It’s hot, and its noisy. Shell casings fly out of the M-4s. One of them hits me in the head, and I’m a little surprised at how hot it is. When it’s all over, I count: one of the men fired 15 rounds, but with such a steady hand that there are only three holes in the windshield.
The training sessions start early and go late. Over the course of the two days, we watch as Clark’s team practices formations for guiding VIPs through crowds, conduct more weapons training and practice advanced driving techniques to avoid roadside ambushes. They let me fire a Glock .40, a pistol that is lighter in the hand than I thought but has a more powerful kick than I was expecting.
For the last exercise, they take turns deliberately smashing into a parked car in a maneuver designed escape a roadside trap. The technique involves crashing the right front of the escaping car into a spot just behind the right rear wheel well of the blocking car, which, if you do it at a high enough speed, causes the blocking car to spin out of the way. They do this again and again, switching drivers in the lead and follow-on cars each time so that everyone gets a chance to practice the move. CNBC producer Kelly Lin has affixed small portable cameras to both cars to record the moments of impact, and somehow they survive. But the lead car, an old white Cadillac STS, is rendered undrivable.
Clark’s men say they’ll bring it to the scrap yard the next day. The way my neck tightens up, I know just how that car feels.
—By CNBC's Eamon Javers
Follow Eamon Javers on Twitter: @EamonJavers