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Old April 10, 2008, 04:13 AM   #1
evan1293
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Active Shooter Training for a Civilian

With today's heightened terrorist threat and the recent surge in mall / school shootings, I think its important to train for these types of situations as a civilian with a CCW. A civillian may not be inclined nor is obligated to find and eliminate an active shooter. However, in the process of egressing a structure with an active shooter, a civillian may find him/herself crossing paths with the gunman.

Just imagining this situation in my head, I can think of some big differences that would arise in this type of situation as compared with the average shooting a civillian may be involved in (muggings, car-jackings, home invasions). For one, the distance may be greater than the average distance in which gun fights happen for a civilian. Secondly, there may be a large amount of movement, both on the part of the CCW holder as well as all the other civilians trying to head for the exits / cover. Malls/ Schools are typical targets for these deranged individuals because they offer the gunman plenty of people to shoot at. As a result of this, any shot required of a civilian CCW holder, may have to be a very precise one in this kind of environment.

I've talked to a number of local, state and federal LE officials who have told me that these types of incidents are going to increase in frequency in the future. To cover as may situations as I can for myself as a CCW holder, I've been incorporating some active shooter situations into my training.

My question is this: Could you guys offer some suggestions on drills and scenarios I could work on that would help prepare for this type of situation? I'd really like to find some reasonable, high-stress drills. I've done FOF which is great, but Im looking for live fire drills. Also, what do you think are some considerations for a civillian facing an active shooter? Would this type of situation affect what you carry, how you carry, how you respond?... (As to be compared with the typical type of threat) .
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Old April 10, 2008, 11:00 AM   #2
Skyguy
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Quote:
what do you think are some considerations for a civillian facing an active shooter? Would this type of situation affect what you carry, how you carry, how you respond?...
Given all the complications of a mall/school shootout and the importance of accuracy under stress and needing the ability to see the bigger situation unfolding....there is no doubt in my mind that - beyond pointshooting distances - the average, lightly practiced civilian should have a CT lasergrip equipped handgun.

They will do the job at midrange and in mall/school/indoor lighting. Place the dot and you'll hit that spot.

There ya go.
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Old April 10, 2008, 05:52 PM   #3
Maximus856
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Speed reload drills, box drills, and advancement upon the threat. Don't know if you should advance on a threat if not for your own good. Just my opinion though.

Should keep you busy. What you carry and how you carry don't matter if you don't know how to apply what you carry.

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Old April 10, 2008, 10:23 PM   #4
jrothWA
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In that type of situation....

knowing that LEO's will advanced in diamond formation, QUESTIONS WILL NOT BE ASKED!!! Until all un-identified firearms are neutralized / secured.

It MIGHT be best to secure a safe evacuation route and slowly withdraw to doors then STAY PUT. DO NOT EXIT as it maybe hazardous to health. Then follow LEO's instructions.

The situation is extremely delicate for ALL.

If directly confronted then you have a decision to make.
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Old April 11, 2008, 11:13 AM   #5
raimius
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I would say, WHEN LE arrives, definitely secure your pistol!

Actually, it would probably be best to have it holstered until you ID a threat or hear shots within close proximity. You don't want to be tackled by a confused citizen right when the shooter comes along! Then again, I don't have any training or practical experience...
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:03 AM   #6
Jake M.
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Mind set is the key thing here. Their is a shift from self preservation to self sacrifice. You are choosing to go into the meat grinder. I suggest reading this article on Sheep, Wolves and Sheep dogs to help get your mind right.

http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

There are several good articles hear some dealing with active shooters. I have met the author and developed a great respect for him. He knows what he is talking about.
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:41 PM   #7
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99% of the malls here don't allow CCW. One of the likely reasons that criminals go on shooting up malls and shopping centers. It should be my legal right to protect myself and my family anywhere I wish to go be it work, school, or shopping.
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Old April 14, 2008, 09:45 AM   #8
David Armstrong
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Also, what do you think are some considerations for a civillian facing an active shooter?
Very simple....go somewhere else. The concept of "active shooter" for LE is to go find the shooter. Unless you are LE, that should not be part of your survival plan. Thus, there is little outside of the normal so-called "tactical" training for CCW holders that needs to be considered.
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Old April 14, 2008, 07:44 PM   #9
Erik
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If in the vicinity of an active shooter scenario your options are the classic fight or flight; both are viable. So is hunkering down in a secure location. The more immediate to the vicinity arguably the more viable, but not necessarily so.

The question at hand deals with the fight option. The usual skill sets involving placing rapid, accurate rounds on available targets apply as much as those involving careful, precise shots. The situation will dictate which is appropriate, assuming engaging at all is.

As for drills, those emphasizing speed, accuracy, manipulations, reloads, movement, cover... pretty much most any gaming and tactical drills will be helpful. It isn't rocket science or some big secret, despite what the shooting rocket scientists might have you think. ;-)

Drills with loved ones involving the flight and hunkering down parts are just as advised.
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Last edited by Erik; April 14, 2008 at 08:17 PM.
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Old April 16, 2008, 04:10 PM   #10
Hoss 48
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Seek cover

Seek cover first. Make sure you recognize the threat before you start shooting. The guy with the gun could be an off duty cop in the same situation your in. Practice shooting by loading a dummy/dud round in your gun mixed in with live ammo. this will improve your reaction time in case of a malfunction. If police show up, put down your gun immediately and lie face down. You will get identified soon enough. You dont want to get shot because they think your the shooter. Some of this seems like common sense but you would be shocked at some of the stupid people out there.
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Old April 22, 2008, 12:04 AM   #11
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Any of the many IDPA scenarios would work just fine as active shooter training. Work on perfecting the basics, then work on the details through the scenarios.
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Old April 22, 2008, 01:37 AM   #12
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For those CCW carriers who contemplate the "what if" scenarios, remember that it was a CCW holder in the church in Colorado who took down the perp... not an LEO. So, yes, it could be you one day, faced with the decision of what you will do with an active shooter in your midst. Be prepared (train in advance) and for goodness sake, if you have a legal permit to carry..... bring your weapon with you at all times (legally).
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Old April 22, 2008, 10:45 AM   #13
Glenn E. Meyer
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Mindset - I've been in a recent discussion about whether guns should be allowed on campus. One thread is whether training is necessary for the campus carrier. The extremes are that given the risks of friendly fire casualties with a crowded scene, much training is needed. The other extreme is that the 2nd Amend. washes away the need for mandated training by the government. Blah, Blah.

However, in the course of the debate - the Tacoma Mall shooting came up as a point where the civilian shooter came to ill as he lacked the mindset to actually fire when he was justified. The Tyler, TX civilian was killed due to a tactical mistake.

I don't think either truly was intensively trained although they had some training.

Thus, if you want to do other than flee (an excellent recommendation) - you need to answer what Ayoob called the Question - can you efficiently take a life? Research on violence indicates that many times people freeze due to tension and fear. They cannot act.

Shooting at a paper target with your Taurus Judge and chortling may not do it.

To preach, the serious student of the art needs to train up through and included some serious FOF. As a FOG, I've seen folks just freeze solid in FOF and get killed. A so-called martial artist who proclaimed his ability to twist you into a pretzel with his Chi, ended up on the ground with the BGs over him. A woman (gender not relevant) froze while her woman opponent with a wolfish grin blasted her. She later said she couldn't do it.

That's more important than technobabble about rounds. Personally:

1. Get out of Dodge
2. If you fight, fight - don't dither as Farnam teaches.
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Old April 26, 2008, 09:28 AM   #14
golf97
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I have been thinking about active shooter scenarios as well. Their frequency is only going to increase.

There is one thing I would add to your list of differences or requirements between the "usual" and an active shooter scenario: Ammo.

I always kind of thought it was dorky to carry a lot of extra ammunition. As a matter of fact, I still kind of think its dorky. Its uncomfortable, its hard to hide, and it makes me feel like a mall ninja; but as soon as I began thinking about my role in an active shooter scenario, I started carrying extra ammo (usually).

Sure, one can debate hunting down terrorists. Maybe I would put everyone in the classroom in a corner and get in front of them with the gun pointed at the door. Maybe I would hide in a closet with my gun. But what if I'm in the hallway when everyone locks their doors? The truth is, you might not have a choice in the matter. You might have to face the enemy.

Everyone will differ, but I feel obligated to stop the threat. Its been instilled in me through the military, through my mentors, and through my parents. This is said from a chair in front of a computer though, so who knows. Everyone will differ.

In conclusion, assuming you are facing the enemy, because of felt obligation, or chance, whats to say there will only be one enemy? And whats to say that the enemy won't be weary some protective clothing or be on meth? Whats to say your aim won't go to sh*t when the SHTF?

I now try and carry extra ammo. I'm not a mall ninja, and yes it is uncomfortable, but 13 rounds may not be enough (G32,XD45).
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Old April 26, 2008, 01:52 PM   #15
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With all due respect, I think carrying extra ammo is a bit over the top. The point of being an active shooter (if there is one) is to be a GOOD active shooter. If you need more then 13 rounds as a civilian in a civilian situtation, you probably shouldn't be putting any rounds down range. I'm no expert at this ccw stuff, but if there's one thing I know for certain is 'round accountability.' Just my opinion though.
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Old April 26, 2008, 02:41 PM   #16
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The point of being an active shooter (if there is one) is to be a GOOD active shooter.
Just a quick teaching point because you seem to think that active shooter refers to the CCW or cop. It doesn't. Active shooter is a term of art and refers to the bad guy who is well, actively shooting, presumably executing innocents. Columbine, the Beslan Massacre, and Virginia Tech are examples of this. It is meant to differentiate from a barricaded gunman or perhaps a hostage situation. All were in the past situations in which the first law enforcement on scene would usually set up a perimeter and wait for swat/srt. Now the training is different. In an active shooter scenario, the LEOs will engage or at least isolate the shooter rather than simply setting up a perimeter and waiting.

I'm not sure there is such a thing as active shooter training for citizens however. One man CQB doesn't work real well, but I know there are times you do what ya gotta do.
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Old April 26, 2008, 04:07 PM   #17
Glenn E. Meyer
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We don't need 'good' active shooters. They tend to do enough damage with head shots to people frozen in place or at close distances.

The comment though implied that you should train to be a good shot and thus extra ammo isn't needed. However, we know quite well from high intensity incidents that for a lot of folks (not all), accuracy isn't all that hot. Folks miss or get peripheral hits due to jerking the trigger or other stress related gun manipulations. Not everyone is dead accurate.

If you are going to be a gun fight in this unique situation, you may miss and/or be faced with more than one opponent - perhaps at a distance.

More ammo is not a bad thing. An extra mag can easily be carried.

Of course, one should be deadly accurate but to say that you will be with one or two shots because of all your practice is not supported for most folks, even those with some training.
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Old April 27, 2008, 01:27 PM   #18
golf97
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With all due respect, I think carrying extra ammo is a bit over the top. The point of being an active shooter (if there is one) is to be a GOOD active shooter. If you need more then 13 rounds as a civilian in a civilian situtation, you probably shouldn't be putting any rounds down range. I'm no expert at this ccw stuff, but if there's one thing I know for certain is 'round accountability.' Just my opinion though.
The active shooter is the bad guy, or guys. Like in Columbine, there may be more than one shooter.

How a person acts under real fire doesn't necessarily depend on training. This time, people are shooting back, and this time, they really are trying to kill you.

I do IPSC and fun shoots, and I've got some military training. I consider myself more able than I was before any of my training, but this doesn't mean I know what I'm going to do when the SHTF.
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Old April 27, 2008, 03:16 PM   #19
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Let's stop quibbling over the definition of terms. The important point of the OP is that you find yourself in a {semi}public place where someone is moving around and shooting other people. More specifically, despite your efforts, you find yourself in a situation where you might have to engage the shooter to survive.

One can easily see how heading for the exit is appropriate, however we can also foresee the gunman rounding the corner before you can reach the exit. Do you take refuge in that cramped Orange Julius shop? Or do you engage the shooter?

Likewise, as you're heading for the exit the shooter reveals himself, facing away from you to fire at fleeing folks. Do you pause and engage him or not?

And if you engage, what then? What techniques should you practice to stay alive?

As much as I dislike laser do-dads on my guns, this is one situation where it is probably a great advantage if they are properly regulated and maintained.

Should you practice shoot & move? Or practice shooting from concealment/cover/barricade positions?

Should you practice for a headshot or COM? Should you practice controlled pairs (double-taps) or shoot to slidelock in this scenario?

The problem with a discussion on this topic is that such a situation resembles a fluid-dynamics problem.

How many civilians are present? Are they all moving in similar directions or are they randomly fleeing in all directions? Is the shooter wearing body armor or not? Is he armed with a long-gun or handgun? Single or multiple shooters? Is there serious cover nearby or only concealment? What distance will you have to cover to make the shot? What kind of handgun are you using? (None of us have script writers to make us deadly accurate at 67.3 yards with a 2-inch Airweight .38). Are you on a floor above/below the shooter? Is the shooter just shooting people or is he/she/they taking hostages?

Situations change rapidly too. If the mall pedestrian areas empty quickly and the shooter pauses to reload do you take a shot if he's at 20yds? 40yds? Over 50 yards? If you fail to stop him, do you have an escape route?

Scary scenario #132: You take the shot from 35 yards and your target disappears from line of sight, perhaps behind a decorative planter box. Now what? (me: Wait for the Marines.)

All of these questions alter the type of training you might want to focus upon. Your response will be considerably different to a teenage amateur shooter than a team of 2 to 4 shooters who are also taking hostages or dressed like jihadists.
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Old April 27, 2008, 04:21 PM   #20
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I agree with the seek cover thought process here for a civilian. This is a situation that LE/military/agencies train for. There are many schools of thought on how to take the situation and every group does it differently. If I was in the civilian roll I would take cover somewhere I can peek and keep an eye on him as well as have my gun drawn in case he moves and I can take him with little risk to myself. The best thing to remember you are not a coward for being smart, but often heroes are such for being dumb. This is not meant as an insult to anyone, just a saying we kick around the office, because you can usually get the same outcome by staying put and getting a safe plan together.
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Old May 12, 2008, 12:03 AM   #21
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It goes without saying but worth noting that there are no limits to the different things that could happen in scenerios such as the mass shootings in public areas. I think that the chance of me being in one of these terrible ordeals is so slim that I would not really practice for it other then normal pistol range practice and reloading quickly (if I ever decide more than a mag in the weapon should be carried). The ability to use your brain is more important than armament. The standard practice of making sure of your own safety before attempting to save others that is practiced by firefighters seems like a good place to start. (Unless becoming a hero is first on your list) So many things come into play on when you should or desire to intervene that discussing the merits of when you engage isn't much help IMHO. Being involved in limited military action did prove to me that when the chips are down, I performed better than I ever thought I would. Trust your instincts. Most people do a good job in handling crisis situations. Being confident in yourself will serve you well. Unless you have an incurable medical condition, getting yourself home alive to your family is your #1 goal. Just my thoughts on a very interesting topic.
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Old May 12, 2008, 05:23 PM   #22
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In my opinion, there are too many variables. Trying to engage someone not in the immediate area presents moving through a very unpredictable environment toward a most likely unknown threat. Those are not good odds. It would be like room clearing with several hundred people, not necessarily knowing which ones pose a threat. That's tough even for well trained teams, let alone one person...not impossible, but VERY challenging.
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Old May 19, 2008, 04:46 PM   #23
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For those CCW carriers who contemplate the "what if" scenarios, remember that it was a CCW holder in the church in Colorado who took down the perp... not an LEO. So, yes, it could be you one day, faced with the decision of what you will do with an active shooter in your midst. Be prepared (train in advance) and for goodness sake, if you have a legal permit to carry..... bring your weapon with you at all times (legally).

Actually it was the shooter that dropped himself in that case.
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Old May 19, 2008, 05:14 PM   #24
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One thing to also remember in a situation similar to this is the legal issues. Just b/c you have a CCW and are able to take down someone shooting up a mall, if you or a loved one is not in immediate danger, drawing and taking down a BG could be legally disasterous for you. Even if criminal charges are dropped, there is still a good chance civil charges could be brought against you and with the lawyers out there, anything is possible. A CCW is to be used a last resort when your life is on the line, and then it is kill or be killed. If there is a 3rd or 4th option of running or hiding, do those first. Leaving a situation if the first option you should excercise while returning fire, especially at longer distances should be the last resort...
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Old May 21, 2008, 05:31 PM   #25
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My first and foremost job is to secure my family and remove them from the danger. If in doing so I cross paths with the bad guy then I will engage them. Tactics are simple stop them before they stop me. The situation should dictate the tactics you use to stop them while making it as difficult as possible for them to stop you.

Seek cover and keep moving while keeping them under the duress of your fire etc.
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