View Full Version : Active Shooters
May 26, 2008, 10:34 AM
Back in the Fall I had the oppertunity to serve as a role player for our local police department (and other officers from the region) active shooter training. There were about seven of us. They used simunitions in the drill. They asked us not to reveal their tactics to the media so I won't comment on how they did the training but I asked the Captain in charge about CCW and whether using my gun to defend myself might cause me to get shot by LEOs coming in. He said that it very well could cause that and advised if I heard sirens wailing and cars pulling up I might want to keep it holstered unless the shooter was about to shoot me. What I discovered is that these active shooter scenarios are very chaotic and that as a CCW holder I need to think about how I might react now rather than when it happens. I also believe that these things will happen more and more since the media puts a lot of attention on the shooter and now people who before would just kill themselves because they felt unimportant or whatever will now try to kill lots of people because they will get a permanent entry in Wikipedia. Interested in how each of you would address active shooter responses.
May 26, 2008, 11:53 AM
If you have to draw your weapon, re-holster it just as soon as the threat is negated. When the police arrive, calmly do whatever they tell you and sort everything out later. They may place you in handcuffs until they determine who's who. If they confiscate your weapon, let them have it without argument.
May 26, 2008, 03:52 PM
If something like that were to happen and the opportunity presents itself for you to eliminate the threat take immediate and effective action. Then, if you have a cell, get on 911 and advise them what has just happened, your description and location in the building or mall or where ever you happen to be. And yes, things will be very hectic and confusing.
One very important thing to keep in mind, we are trained to believe there is more than one aggressor. Without giving away any tactics, we will be ready to eliminate anyone we may deem a threat. The need for you (or anyone) to maintain good gun handling etiquette, meaning NOT be displaying a gun, is paramount to your survival. We are taught that even if one of us goes down we keep moving forward until we locate the threat and eliminate it. The training we receive is the most serious and intense training I have received in my 30 years of wearing a star. This training is standardized throughout the USA and is a true "no bull****" approach to the situation.
May 26, 2008, 04:26 PM
I really think this is a great topic for PDTV and Guntalktv as well. I communicated this to Tom Gresham. However, maybe he has already addressed it. After observing the training I am convinced that CCW holders need to a) Really think about being in an active shooter situation and b) have wargamed out responses to being in one. I carry a snubbie and so unless the guy was right close I would have to be careful if I took a shot. One thing I wouldn't do is start trying to move around a lot to find or engage the guy. Just my .02 but I would sit tight if alone and go to where my family was if I were with them. Call me a pessimist but I think these shooting are not going away anytime soon. Sad state of affairs but there it is.
May 26, 2008, 04:38 PM
I carry a snubbie and so unless the guy was right close I would have to be careful if I took a shot.
That is a valid concern. When you add in all of the distractions, the fact that you are scared to death, the "shaking factor", distance of the target and whatnot, it makes it very difficult to accurately place a shot.
We are taught if you have to think about what you are going to do at the time things are happening then it is to late. It must be an immediate instictive reaction and that is what will happen when mentally prepared for the situation. Hopefully none of us will ever have to experience something like that.
May 26, 2008, 05:39 PM
In an active shooter scenario you might be forced to think about what you are going to do.
May 26, 2008, 11:28 PM
Yes, But I think it is better to think about it now rather than later.
May 27, 2008, 07:44 AM
Yes, But I think it is better to think about it now rather than later.
Absolutely but I was commenting on Yzernie's post. Sometimes you don't go into autopilot and react with your training not because you haven't trained or had a mental breakdown but because the situation, as in an active shooter event, might force you to wait before acting. This wait could allow the fear and nerves to set in.
This is why so many recommend FOF training. I feel that the minimum should be competition. Competition might not rise to the level of FOF in pressure however for me it gets closer than anything else except an actual shootout.
Preparing for an AS should include an emphasis on looking for other bad guys, keeping your weapon ready but semi hidden, using cover, preventing yourself from being cornered, and of course looking for an escape route.
May 27, 2008, 09:59 AM
Agreed. I have tried to think of it more in the "if this then this or this" type way. Maybe that is not well articulated. For instance, if in a mall and I hear gunshots and I am alone or family is nearby I would probably retreat to a position of cover and concealment if we couldn't get out and then have my firearm ready but not openly drawn and wait to see. If I saw the guy pass by I would probably let him go while telling the 911 operator where he was. I probably would not try a 50 ft plus shot with my snubbie. I saw some postings earlier with by a guy who has a site about mouseguns. I liked a lot of what he said.
May 27, 2008, 12:52 PM
There is a pretty easy way to remember things for non-LE during shootings in public. In order of preference:
1. Get out. Get out of the building/business if you can safely do so.
2. Get away. Get as far away from the action spot as you safely can.
3. Get cover/concealement. If you can't get away, find something to block bullets and/or hide you.
4. Get defensive. Wait for the BG to come to you or target you. Then respond with whatever you have.
May 27, 2008, 01:21 PM
VERY good points, David.
Us CWP holders aren't out there to play Adam-12: stopping robberies, foiling prisoner escapes, or protecting the public in general. We have a CWP for ONE reason - to save our life or the lives of our family and friends. Yes, most CWP states have a clause that allows us to defend a stranger, but that's a VERY "iffy" call.
Our FIRST objective should be to protect ourselves, family, and friends by the best means necessary. Running away from a situation is ALWAYS better than a confrontation. We all say we "hope I never have to shoot someone", but I don't know if that's 100% truthful from the way some of these guys talk in here.
We're not vigilantes, we're not LEOs - we're private citizens...if I see a robber with a gun in the face of a convenience store clerk, do I step in? I don't know. If I see that robber point his piece at me or my wife, that's another story.
"Let's all be safe out there"
May 27, 2008, 01:31 PM
TennesseeGentleman, Would you, from a position of cover, attempt a longer than practiced shot provided the bad guy was engaging innocents and your shots wouldn't impact innocents?
Try that snubbie bench rested at 50 yards you might be surprised.
May 27, 2008, 10:44 PM
Maybe. I have shot the snubbie at 25 yards and hit with it. But that was on the range. I might try but would be fearful of: a) LEOs about and b) if I missed he would probably come after me and mine. I would want to help if I could but it might not be smart.
May 28, 2008, 09:20 AM
Smart help is the key. I think most normal folks would want to help however we have to weight that with the possibility of our loved ones getting hurt or the possibility of them losing their father/husband. That said if my family is secure and I have a shot at stopping the shooter from a position that minimizes my chances of getting hit I'm gonna at least try.
Its going to be hard for a bad guy to pinpoint were my shots are coming from in a crowded mall with his own gun blazing IMO especially if I have done my job with regards to cover/concealment. Although I don't practice it much I am capable of making consistent 50-75 yards hits with my carry gun from a bench rest. Letting a few well aimed shots fly while maintaining the ability to escape would be ideal.
May 28, 2008, 12:25 PM
if I see a robber with a gun in the face of a convenience store clerk, do I step in?
My rule of thumb for off duty involvement for the above situation is I would not become involved unless...
1) I could deliver a close range or a contact wound to the head of the perp
2) The perp shoots the clerk which IMHO, leaves me no option but to safely become involved
I do agree though that the training we as LEO's receive (and the daily job we do) puts us in a completely different mindset than a citizen without that training. Stress, concern for self/family, situational awareness and the like add a whole different dimension to a tactical situation. While I am confident there are many citizens who can perform under those circumstances the harsh reality of it all is there are many who cannot.
I also agree with David Armstrong's advise. If an opportunity exists to safely get away then that is a choice that must be left up to the person(s) involved. Again, situational awareness is important.
August 13, 2008, 04:16 PM
We actually set up the convenience store scenario for Personal Defense TV. That'll run this fall.
It was pretty interesting. We did it at Gunsite, and what I learned is that there are a lot of ways to get shot trying to save other people.
I think I did some inadvertent cussing on camera cause I kept getting shot.
Note: You do NOT know that the guy with the gun in the clerk's face is the only bad gun with a gun in the store. They may look like customers, but one may be a lookout/backup.
In the end, the only way to survive was to immediately run out of the front door when it went down.
We won't even talk about what happened to me in the office scenario when the guy was stabbing his boss and I decided to "save" him.
August 13, 2008, 09:40 PM
#3 If I can move away safely - THEN RUN
If I force a confrontation I risk the possibility of myself or a family member being killed, criminal liability, arrest. I will flee if I can, fight only as a last resort.
The BEST gunfight that ever was, was the one that never happened!
August 16, 2008, 10:28 PM
If I'm with my family, it's protect them first, however seems prudent. As a fire marshal, I'm pretty sure of where the closest EXIT is at all times. The worst scenario is when our family gets separted at the mall, such as the girls shopping for dresses and I'm in the Craftsman area of Sears at the other end of the mall...then everybody to the outside then to the vehicle to meet and be accounted for.
If I'm by myself, as a lifetime LEO, I'm going after him. I've trained for this all my life, time to put my money where my words are.
August 18, 2008, 01:20 AM
Active shooter and robber pointing a gun are two entirely different scenarios.
One requires immediate confrontation, the other allows some latitude.
August 18, 2008, 01:37 PM
Active shooter and robber pointing a gun are two entirely different scenarios. One requires immediate confrontation, the other allows some latitude.
Agreed. Tom does correctly I think point out that these situations can be very fluid and the first response you might take might not be the best one. I think it is something that we all need to think thru and about. That's why I really like Tom's show.
August 27, 2008, 01:03 PM
When I get my CHP and start carrying on a regular basis I've already instilled it in my mind that my gun is for the protection of myself first (and those immediately in my presence) and only if I can't get out. I'm not going to go out 'searching' for the shooter. Its not my job. My job is to survive, and in my mind the best way to do that if escape is impossible is to get myself into a corner against a wall (or anywhere else someone can't come up behind me) with my gun ready. If it means it saves the other people around me, then so the better. But I'm not responsible for anyone's safety other than my own, just as they aren't responsible for me.
August 31, 2008, 08:32 AM
This type of situation is why I hung up my Sig 220 (only holds 8+1) and started carrying a Sig 226 (15+1). With a mag holder carrying 2 extra mags, I leave the house with 46 rounds.
I would also be concerened with safety of my family first. Once they are safe, I would move to the target and engage. Remember, very few people are going to keep shooting and trying kill people if you are shooting at them. The mall shooting in Utah was stopped by an off duty cop carrying a 1911 with 7 rounds and no spares. He didnt hit the shooter, just kept him pinned until on duty cops got there. Thats a good outcome for me.
Double Naught Spy
August 31, 2008, 09:08 AM
Since the number of CCW persons is growing, there is another critical facet to consider. It isn't just the cops that may shoot you. It may be some well-intentioned good samaritan who is one of the folks like we have here who has the bravado and does the running toward gunfire instead of away from it. Such a person may be just as clueless as to the goings-on before arrival, just like the cops...and shoot you because you are perceived to be the BG active shooter.
August 31, 2008, 10:09 PM
I too took part in a similar police training experience being just an every day citizen with an awesome famliy member in the high ranks of one of the best police training programs in the U.S.
From my research there is an extreme condition called Body Alarm Reaction that for a number of reasons will cause extreme tunnel vision, loss of hearing, fatigue, loss of fine motor skills and much more. This being the case - it's important to practice (both at home when dry firing from holster and at the range) lowering to the ready position and concentrating on breath, awareness and basically coming back down to earth.
There are a number of cases where the PD arrives on a self defense scene and the shooter is disoriented and has put himself in great harm by not recognizing police commands etc..
While training with the police in our live fire drills part of their line command was "lower - make ready... breath...address additional threat...etc". The point is you need to be prepared for your internal response to the situation.
I'm reading a pretty good book right now called Armed Response by David Kenik. He spends a good deal of time speaking about this exact scenario. In one example an off-duty cop had drawn on 2 suspects that had just robbed a store. While experiencing B.A.R. 2 cops pulled up and not recognizing him as a cop ordered him to drop his firearm - he obliviously turned aim over at the cops and was immediately shot and killed.
September 1, 2008, 12:34 AM
The worst scenario is when our family gets separted at the mall, such as the girls shopping for dresses and I'm in the Craftsman area of Sears at the other end of the mall...then everybody to the outside then to the vehicle to meet and be accounted for.
this is the only type of scenario where i can imagine moving toward gunfire.i would head straight for their last known location(or where they were going) while trying to confirm via cell.
i still wouldnt "hunt" him(assuming a male),but if he was between me and mine...we're going to meet.
meeting at the car is a great idea,but if i couldnt reach them by phone to be certain they're able to do so,im going directly to them.
aside from that type of situation,this is definately one area where im happy to "let the professionals(in large groups) handle it".short of the clouds opening up and a golden opportunity presenting itself...or my family needing me?
im not going into the unknown...as an unknown...with just myself and my CCP.
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