Category Archives: 010 Firearms Training
By: Bill Tallen Executive Vice President – Tactical Operations – Distributed Security, Inc.
The BBC ran a story recently on school shootings and the debate over arming school staff to defend against same (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42804741). I was present as an observer (along with the BBC reporter) at the FASTER training in Colorado in June 2017, supported the passage of legislation a year ago in Wyoming that allows armed school staff at school board discretion, assisted in the formulation of non-regulatory guidance on the topic for the Wyoming Department of Education, now support implementation of this law in my own northwest Wyoming school district, and am an officer and founding partner in Distributed Security, Inc. (www.distributedsecurity.com), which offers training in this and related areas. So I think I’ll weigh in.
Let’s not quibble over statistics any more than necessary, as it is about as thankless and unrewarding as wrestling a pig. Regardless of when you start counting, or what you count, it’s inarguable that school shootings, while not commonplace given the sheer number of schools in America, are certainly frequent enough to capture the attention of the media – and of parents and communities who understand that our children are our most precious assets. School shootings are a classic example of a “low probability, high consequence” risk. Events of such monstrously unacceptable consequence deserve our attention and resources, even if as individuals we think the dice in our particular neighborhood are very unlikely to come up snake-eyes.
Resistance is futile – arming school staff is the trend
The legal context is this. Federal law – the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1995 – makes it illegal to possess a firearm on school property anywhere in America, unless an individual falls under one of several specific exclusions, the most self-evident being the ones for commissioned law enforcement or contracted security guards. But there is also an exclusion for anyone “licensed by the state” to possess a firearm in the schools. That license has been interpreted by the courts to include a state concealed carry permit, but only if the state law regarding permits explicitly authorizes permittees to carry in schools. The States differ widely. A few, such as Utah, simply do not list schools as areas off-limits for concealed carry. This qualifies as an “inconvenient truth” for those opposing firearms in schools, because there hasn’t been a shooting, accidental or otherwise, in a Utah school in the 18 years this law has been in effect. Half of the States allow permitted concealed carry in schools under varying conditions. At last count (and here is an important quibble, BBC), fifteen States allow concealed carry by permittees with the permission of the school board or administration; another ten allow carry by staff as well as non-staff concealed carry permittees under a variety of conditions, most of which involve some form of local approval. As the BBC reports, six more states are currently considering bills which allow the arming of school staff.
We often hear, “If the threat is that bad, we should have police officers in the schools.” But to use my district as an example, we have one commissioned School Resource Officer, and seven schools. To hire more would cost $43-45,000 a year in burdened salary for each, or over a quarter million a year to put just one in each of the six unprotected schools. The initial cost of processing and training school staff who volunteer to carry their own weapons concealed would be $2-3,000 each, plus perhaps 20% of that each year for annual refresher training. The first year’s salary of one uniformed officer would pay the initial cost of 14-20 concealed carry staff members; and in many states, non-profit fundraising organizations provide scholarships to pay for armed school staff’s training. The cost advantages are obvious.
This background allows us to reply to the BBC’s title question, “Is it time to arm teachers?” by pointing out that between one-third and one-half of the States in this union have already decided that yes, it is, and authorized their school boards to proceed.
Teachers who do not trust. . . teachers
The next part of the BBC’s reportage that I’ll comment on is the uncritical presentation of certain opposition viewpoints. We are told that an NEA survey in 2013 reported 68% of teachers opposed to having armed non-law enforcement people in school. What is not pointed out is: (1) the NEA as an organization is opposed and campaigns against arming school staff; (2) the NEA is a teachers’ union with a well-documented leftwing slant on most social issues; (3) their survey was only sent to 800 of their own members, so what we do know is that 544 union members agree with their union on the topic. Pardon me if I am unimpressed. A survey undertaken in Powell, Wyoming this month gave results very nearly opposite the NEA’s – 64% of staff, not to mention 75% of parents, felt that armed staff would make schools safer – and I suspect that is closer to the sentiment of much of America, educators and non-educators alike. If it isn’t so everywhere, well, that’s the beauty of living in a republic – you can, within personal constraints, choose your community.
Legislators who don’t trust teachers
Our BBC friends also share the sentiments of a Michigan “former teacher-turned-Democratic state senator” who is among a “vocal minority that opposes” the bill that passed his house by a large margin last year, and who disparages anyone who would volunteer to carry in the schools as a “Rambo”. On the one hand, I might point out that his viewpoint lost, or that his views don’t seem to be informed by experience as an armed citizen or trainer. On the other hand, I could (and have) spoken against a legislative approach like Michigan’s that forces an expansion of concealed carry into a wide variety of locations – like schools – where it was formerly prohibited. Especially the schools. It is a contentious topic, and I believe it is best handled the way the afore-mentioned 15 states have done so – leave it to the discretion of individual school boards; and of course, the people armed will all be volunteers – no one would be forced to carry a firearm. Experience in Ohio, South Dakota, and elsewhere has shown that while boards are initially hesitant to use their discretion, once a few do so, the trickle quickly becomes a flood as it is demonstrated that the thing can be done safely, for a very substantial increase in security. I suspect this may also have something to do with the real liability question involved – not “what if there’s an accidental shooting?” but “what if there’s an active shooter, and our kids die because I and my fellow trustees voted down armed security?”
Training is the key
Everywhere this battle is joined, one of the more common refrains of the opposition to armed school staff is that “teachers” can’t be trained in X hours, with X being whatever training they’re taking or required to take. First of all, “teachers” is a misleading, as usually all school staff, not just teachers, are eligible, and arguably administrators, counsellors, coaches, custodians, etc. can be better candidates as they are less likely to be tied down, responsible for a classroom full of kids, instead of free to respond toward the “sound of the gun”.
Second, many of the critics have never participated in any combative handgun training whatsoever and have no idea what they are talking about.
Third, modern training techniques allow a 24-hour course, mixing live fire training with scenario-based training using nonlethal firearms and live role players, as offered by DSI, FASTER, and other purveyors of training (and required by law in several states, and by liability insurance providers in others) to impart the necessary skills and mindset. I’ve heard these assertions of “not enough training” both from anti-gun progressives, and from retired law enforcement officers. The latter (all credit to them for their service) sometimes have not witnessed modern training techniques and default back to their dreary academy courses decades ago, where they spent 40, 60, or 80 hours in what amounted to painful, redundant, and unproductive training. I speak as a retired Federal Agent and former director of an agency academy myself; there are better ways, guys, come and see.
Finally – on the training issue – I find it interesting to hear it asserted that educators cannot possibly be trained to react appropriately in an active shooter situation. I’ve been training civilians (as well as police and military) for decades, and haven’t found any career field that disqualifies a dedicated person from learning the firearms, tactics, and decision-making skills required. In fact, educators by their very nature and background, are among the best adult learners out there. Millions of Americans, from all walks of life, carry concealed firearms daily without mishap or misjudgment, and when forced to react to a shooting, usually do so with skill and discretion – even those who have not completed intense 24-hour training programs. If you asked me, as a trainer, whether Michigan’s proposed eight hours of training is enough, I’d say probably not – and I hope that requirement will get beefed up before the bill reaches the Governor’s desk. But to all the “not enough training” sharpshooters, my last response would be, “Why do you think it’s better to have no defender at all, leaving kids helpless against a mass murderer, than to give them a chance of survival with someone who is willing to rise to the challenge and protect them, even if they have not attained some arbitrary threshold of training?”
Bill Tallen is Executive Vice President – Tactical Operations. Prior to joining the enterprise he had a 20 year career with the Department of Energy, where he served as a Federal Agent, team leader, unit commander, training instructor, and manager in the agency which provides secure transportation of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials within CONUS. He helped to found DOE’s Special Response Force program, developing and teaching urban and close quarter battle techniques to Federal Agents charged with recovery of lost assets. He has designed and conducted a variety of wargaming efforts in support of vulnerability assessments, security system design, and leadership training, and has taught a variety of crisis decision making models. Bill holds the degree of Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
In the previous post, we talked about additional considerations for moving safely. Let’s take a closer look at the concepts that surround this subject.
a. Distance – can be the distance your adversary is from you, the distance you are from your cover, and/or the distance you need to move to get to where you want to be, etc., all of which can play to your advantage if you know how to use distance.
The FBI/DOJ, tell us that the vast majority of lost defensive gunfights will take place in very close proximity to you (7-yards and in), and your adversary will dictate this distance, especially if you are caught unawares.
Keeping in mind the tactical principles we spoke of above, we are now going to incorporate individual movement techniques.
What are individual movement techniques?
Individual movement techniques (IMT’s) are the most basic footwork techniques that are employed at the individual, team, and higher level. If practiced appropriately, these basic tactics and techniques should serve you well when you do have a second shooter (such as a significant other or a friend) to back you up.
Basic footwork concepts
The purpose of footwork is to get you from where you are to where you want to be safely and as quickly as you deem necessary.As you can well imagine, in most gunfights you will need to maneuver in order to put yourself in situations that you can begin to shape circumstances.
While I understand why people make up lists for the “x” best “armaments or equipment,” it is important to always remember that the single best thing you can get is training.
“The best gun to win a gunfight with is the one in your hands” is what Evan Marshall says.
After a lifetime of shooting weapons, Evan understands that “any gun will do if you will do.”
The reality is that you can fight like a champ with what you have as long as you have the training required to use it well.
Give an operator a Hi-Point or the darling of this week’s gun magazine and the problem will be solved just as quickly.
They may curse you for the former and bless you for the latter, but make no mistake, it’s not the gun or equipment doing the work, it’s the training they received and the dedication they put into mastering any new tool or equipment they are issued.
Having said that, please, do go out and experiment with different firearms and equipment to your heart’s content.
Please do support the industry with your time and money, it will spur further innovations we all can all use.f you are lucky, you will find a tool or equipment that is worthy of joining or replacing something in your carry kit.
If you are lucky, you will find a tool or equipment that is worthy of joining or replacing something in your carry kit.
But while you do, just remember that it’s your training that will put you over the top and make you better, it’s not the tools and accessories themselves.
Rep. Carolyn Halstead, a Republican, said her backpack caught on the gun as she took it off. She said she quickly grabbed the gun and put it into her bag… Witnesses said several children were seated nearby but the hearing carried on with little disturbance.
Not sure what to make of this.
At the bottom, they tie this article in with the fact that the state of Illinois – which is filled with great people, yet is dominated by that shining beacon of purity, prosperity, and peace, otherwise known as “Chicago” – has restrictive gun laws for the places the state conducts its business.
The article seems to be suggesting that the logical solution is to have the same enlightened laws (such as those that have been impressed upon the people in Illinois) foisted upon the people of New Hampture.
In the previous article I mentioned “target indicators” and now that we have laid the foundations for some tactical principles which will help you out in your ongoing quest to refine your tactics and techniques, let’s start with a deeper discussion about target indicators and how the above principles can be affected by the situation, as well as the type of information we are talking about gathering.
Target indicators are anything your adversary does to give you any actionable information of their whereabouts, intentions, and/or actions. In short, target indicators give you the ability to begin your decision making process by observing.
At the same time, keeping the principle of duality in mind, target indicators would be anything you do that can give your adversary information that you would rather deny him.
Generally speaking, it is best that you remain unobserved until you choose to reveal yourself and when you do reveal yourself, it should be for the shortest time possible and only to the extent required to affect the change you are attempting to cause.
We observe target indicators via our five senses, and while sometimes you may get all the information you need from one piece of information or one of your senses, many times especially when dealing with close and personal protection it may take several pieces of information fed through multiple senses which will give you a fuller picture of what you are dealing with.
Below, I am ordering the senses according to the amount of process capability of each has compared to the others, or how much information we can gather from each sense in the same amount of time relative to one another (assuming that all senses are working well with no impairments).
If you have read the previous articles you should be coming to grips with the fact that there are neither guarantees in a fight for life, nor are there any wrote patterns or solutions that you should be looking for in your tactics. Additionally, theoretical concepts and excellent technique without intellect, speed, and certainty of action will cause your tactics to be formalistic, rigid, slow, predictable, and easy to overcome by your adversary.
While there are no patterns, there are basic individual tactical principles that you need to become familiar with that you should strive to understand and which you should also make a part of your trained response. That is to say that you need to understand and practice the techniques sufficiently enough that they become a part of your trained response – actions and things that you do without your having to consciously think about them [Unconsciously Competent or “U.C.”].
The principles which we are about to lay before you set the educational groundwork for your training and give you reference from which you can start to build and modifying your own particular tactical techniques.
1. The principle of scrutiny: Think of this principle as the holistic color code of mental awareness. Using the principle of scrutiny, you will be utilizing all of your senses to observe your surroundings.
Your understanding of the OODA loop and having the appropriate respect for this theory will allow you to critically build on a solid foundation which will, in turn, allow you to vet ideas based on their merit, not on their popularity.
Pressing towards a tighter or more controlled OODA loops will guide you in selecting appropriate techniques and actions that will give your efforts real power.
While OODA loops are relevant in all three levels of warfare (strategic, operational, and tactical), in this section we will continue or discussion of the OODA loop and how it functions at the tactical level of gunfighting.
As we mentioned in the definition section above, the “decision making process can be seen as a time competitive observation, orientation, decision, action cycle or ‘OODA loop.’ Each party to a conflict begins by observing… To win any conflict, you need to get inside the adversary’s OODA loop (their decision making process). You can either go through the OODA loop cycle faster than your opponent or you can vary your tempos and rhythms so your opponent cannot keep up with you.”
In order to highlight the above concepts and in order to be able to see the accumulative effect one’s actions can have on the situation, let’s pretend we have a god’s eye view of a gunfight developing on a city street.
Maneuver Theory: Maneuver theory is a military concept of conflict that advocates attempting to defeat an adversary by incapacitating their decision making process (OODA loop) through shock and disruption brought about by intelligent, purposeful, and timely maneuver.
Personal Security Bubble or “PSB”: Is an imaginary and adaptive sphere of space that exists around the fighter which he is intent on securing whenever and to whatever extent practical in order to maximize his situational awareness and thus, his security.
Begin visualizing your personal PSB by first imagining yourself in the center of a circle that has about a seven-yard radius (about one and a half car lengths). You want to be cognizant of and to the maximum extent possible, control the space in this imaginary circle.
This also mean being cognizant of three-dimensional space; looking vertically, up and down like in a stairwell, or up to the roof or balcony so now our imaginary two-dimensional “circle” becomes a three-dimensional “bubble” or sphere.
In a vast majority of circumstances, when there is no threat, people can traverse your PSB without any concern on your part.
Next, imagine a mark at the 12:00 position (straight ahead) and the 4:00 and 8:00 positions (over your shoulders) on your circle as well.
Below you will find an index of commonly used definitions. As we mentioned previously, you shouldn’t feel pressured to memorize them immediately; rather, come back to them often when you come across an unfamiliar term while you are reading through this manual.
Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy
Generally speaking, there are three elements that must be present to justify lethal force are Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy.
In some states, you must clearly be able to prove that there was little or no reassemble hope of a safe escape or retreat, or by doing so you would have jeopardized the lives and safety of others.
Ability – Your adversary must clearly demonstrate that he has the ability to kill or cause serious bodily injury, whether that be through the use of weapons, disparity of numbers, size or demonstrated skills such as martial arts (which you must be aware of beforehand).
That is, if your adversary was armed, and not showing that he was armed (concealed carry), or was a black belt in some killer martial art form, you cannot learn of this fact after the fight and use that as part of your defense in a court of law.
Opportunity – Your adversary must clearly have the opportunity to kill or cause serious bodily injury immediately.That is, he must be within range without intervening objects or circumstances, which would prevent him from carrying out an immediate attack whereby he could kill or cause serious bodily injury.
The strategy for winning a defensive gunfight is converting disadvantage to advantage.
Let’s clarify what we mean by defensive combative firearms training.
Because you are not the one instigating the confrontation, you will initially be at a disadvantage and in a reactionary and defensive state because you are behind in what John Boyd called the decision making process or the “OODA Loop”.
Conversely, because your adversary is selecting the time, palace, conditions, and weaponry for the confrontation – he will initially start with the initiative as the causal factor in your situation because he has already completed may OODA Loops before you ever even knew of him or his intent.
While starting in a reactive state is an initial disadvantage; proper training can teach you how to convert this initial reactive and disadvantageous situation to your advantage and to the disadvantage of your adversary.
Solid training programs can teach you how to react in a manner that will cause your adversary to react to your actions, and exploiting this initial success can allow you to then wrestle the initiative away from your adversary and then keep him in a reactive state so you can end the with a more favorable outcome for yourself.
The key here is for you to become the causal factor to your adversaries plan for you, and thereby placing him in a disadvantageous reactive state, and the more solid your skills are, the easier it will be for you.
Obviously, converting the initial disadvantage to advantage is key, and this key does have a price, and that price is effort in training.
Of the 86 fatal shootings involving imitation firearms since 2015, the most common theme was mental illness: 38 of those killed had a history of it, according to their families and police reports. Fourteen of the calls were domestic disturbances. Ten others began as robberies. The remaining circumstances range from patrolling neighborhoods to serving arrest warrants to making traffic stops.
Are more laws needed to make a fake gun look fake to protect the person wielding it inappropriately?
Is the problem fake guns that look too real (whatever that means), or could other factors be at play?
Since people under a life or death situation (such as those described in the article) naturally achieve a sympathetic nervous system or (SNS) response which includes the loss of color vision; what modifications will be demanded when simply coloring guns differently doesn’t fix the problem?
It seems to me that the real problem is that some people choose to intimidate, coerce, or otherwise threaten other innocent people, and then other people react with appropriate levels of counterviolence when faced with someone acting in a manner that suggests that they or others are in immediate jeopardy of loss of life and limb.
As my friends in law enforcement say “You do stupid thing, you win stupid prizes.”
Stop Worrying About Whether Your Gun Is “Viable” – Accepting Obsolescence in Your Arsenal – The Firearm Blog
To help clarify: Any gun will do if you will do, regardless of it’s age.
The key here is training. Jerry Miculek is great with the 6-shooter (and everything else he shoots) not because of the gun, but because of his training with his guns.
The answer to the question “is [insert gun here] viable?” is of course “yes”; these seasoned designs are the most time tested and proven weapons that exist today! Just because a newer weapon is – naturally – improved, doesn’t make the older weapon any less deadly than it was on the day it was invented. These questions and the thumping answers that follow them don’t seem like real statements about the weapons they concern, but rather shields against the inevitable torrent of molle-wearing, WSM-shooting besters whom many fear will show up to purge the heretics and burn anything with a wood stock in a pyre to the gods of polymer and black. But, this whole war of words is false; neither is the latest and greatest rifle “too much” for decent men, nor are the weapons of our grandfathers any less capable than they were in their day. In the march forward, we’ve made such awesome progress, but in some ways we’ve also left behind what our fathers knew: That “good enough” is more than enough. Let’s hear, just a little bit, the words of the snaplock-armed Mongolian hunter:
More than three years have passed since an armed gunman invaded Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, and fatally shot 20 school-age children and six adults. In that time, school districts across the nation have made strides in security systems to prevent any other school tragedies. In Grayson County and Fannin County, four school districts have taken an extra step by allowing teachers to carry firearms to protect their children.
Source: Herald Democrat
California: Security – not for the Mundanes or ‘California, Again Centralizing Against a Decentralize Threat’
Filed under: Behind in times and out of touch with reality.
“…and require an applicant to show they face the potential for greater harm than the general public.”
The unarmed ‘general public’ is generally the target. Hence the need for the public in general to arm itself.
People who have to live in reality intuitively understand that they have to provide security for themselves if they wish to survive a decentralized threat.
Most police and law enforcement know this as well, and that’s why so many of them promote reality – Arm yourself to defend yourself, armed citizens are responsible citizens.
Welcome to the new normal.
Introduced by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, AB 466 would clarify existing California law which requires those seeking a permit to cite a “good cause.” Assembly Bill 466 would change that definition and require an applicant to show they face the potential for greater harm than the general public.
Armslist says “FU” to the keyboard warriors and petty tyrants who want to legislate every aspect of our lives.
Their take: All tools, accessories, equipment, and safety products are time, place, and situationally dependent. How and when one chooses to use those items is a personal choice.
The punch line: They are big boys, they don’t need you doting over their safety and they are willing to accept personal responsibility for their actions, and above all “Honestly, just mind your own damn business.”
How crazy is that, right?