Tag: training

MATCH™ (MODULAR ARMORED TACTICAL COMBAT HOUSE)

Action Target’s Shoot House featuring Auto Target Hit Sense Technology.

Action Target’s MATCH™ is a 360°, live-fire, ballistically safe, shoot house designed for teaching and learning close quarter skills, like room clearing and hallway navigation, with realism and safety.

AutoTargets enhances training and the shooting experience. Each lift unit can be placed as a stand-alone target, or daisy-chained from a single air supply. Because AutoTargets is portable, it can be placed in any configuration or incorporated into any terrain. It is effective in shoot houses, Hogan’s alleys, and other close quarters combat environments, as well as open- eld, long distance training courses. A pressure sensitive target version is also available for use with non-lethal ammunition projectiles.

AutoTargets

MATCH™ (Modular Armored Tactical Combat House)

Portable Bullet Trap

 

Action Target Announces Dates for 2016 Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC)

LETC 2016

PROVO, Utah – Action Target today announced official dates for the 2016 Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC), an annual event featuring advanced firearms training presented by many of the best instructors in the industry.

LETC 2016 DATES: SEPTEMBER 12 – 16, 2016

Now in its 24th year, LETC brings together over 140 of the very best firearms and tactics instructors from around the world for five-days of intensive firearms training on Action Target’s state-of-the-art shooting ranges.

"We’re very proud of the LETC program and the opportunity it provides for Action Target to give back to the community. Each year we receive the highest accolades from attendees and supporters. LETC 2016 will bring new courses, better ammo purchasing and shipping opportunities, more vendors, and much more," said Seth Ercanbrack, Marketing Communications Manager at Action Target.

Agencies and trainers interested in attending LETC 2016 are encouraged to subscribe to the Action Target email communications list. Learn more about Action Target’s Law Enforcement Training Camp at https://www.actiontarget.com/LETC.

LETC 2015 Video Highlights

About Action Target

Target Inc. Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufactures, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 40 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.LETargets.com.

Action Target’s LETC Registration Now Open

Registration for Action Target’s annual Advanced Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) is now open. LETC will be held from September 8 – 12 at Action Target headquarters in Provo, Utah, and at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Range in nearby Thistle, Utah. Action Target has hosted LETC for over 20 years, providing Law Enforcement officers everywhere an opportunity for superior firearms training with some of the best instructors in the industry. Last year LETC hosted 128 officers from more than 20 states, Canada, and Brazil.

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Officers at Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range, LETC 2013

This five day training event is designed to aid department firearms instructors in their training effectiveness and skill. Those instructors take this knowledge back to their respective agencies and train their officers. Courses are designed to challenge each individual’s skill level, pushing even the expert shooter to improve technique and ability. Classes cover a variety of subjects and weapons platforms including pistol, rifle, shotgun, and precision rifle. There is even a medical class geared towards range operations. Action Target has instructors from Safariland Shooting SchoolHoffner’s Training AcademySpartan Tactical Training Group and more. The instructors at LETC offer decades of experience in firearms and tactical training and accuracy.

Tuition is only $550 which includes four full days of training and six meals. Click here for registration information and to learn more about event details. Contact David Mathis at davidm@actiontarget.com for any registration questions or concerns. LETC is limited to the first 160 paid applicants, and classes are first-come first-served. Slots are filling up fast, so register today. While primarily geared toward law enforcement firearms trainers, all law enforcement officers are invited to attend. Join us for a week of top-notch firearms training!

 

 

Frisco Gun Club Range Highlight

When he started plans for Frisco Gun Club, owner Christian Putman wanted to create the Nieman Marcus or Barney’s of shooting ranges. Now that dream has become a reality as Frisco Gun Club is not only one of the largest indoor ranges in the nation, but one of the most luxurious. The sheer size alone is impressive: a 43,000 square foot facility with 40 shooting lanes, 7,000 square feet of retail space, and a 100-person training classroom. But the luxury factor is what sets Frisco Gun Club apart from the rest.

 

About the Range

The range is designed to challenge each individual shooter’s skill level. The range includes 40 shooting lanes. There are 36 25-yard lanes, with six of these reserved _MG_5995exclusively for VIP Club members, and four 100-yard rifle lanes. Each shooting stall is divided by one-inch thick bulletproof glass, and the stalls are nine inches wider than standard shooting stalls. Each person can determine his or her difficulty level with hands-on target operator consoles and individual control screens. Twenty four of the lanes can be viewed through bulletproof observation windows so people can watch their friends and family outside the range.

The range equipment provides all customers and club employees a safe and clean environment. Action Target’s unique Total Containment Trap is a bullet trap specifically designed to handle a large volume of rounds while depositing all the lead safely into a single 55-gallon barrel using the Screw Conveyor collection method. The ventilation system is also top-of-the-line, meeting and exceeding NIOSH and EPA regulations. With the best in equipment, club employees can spend their time on what’s most important: servicing their customers.

 

Training & Classes

Training and safety is a large part of the club’s focus. The club hosts a 100-person training classroom, and several classes are offered including CHL, Firearms Safety, Introduction to Handguns, and a variety of NRA classes. Ladies Nights are a regular occurrence, and the range is also available for events and parties. A full-time gunsmith is employed at the club, and common and custom gunsmith services are available six days a week.

 

Membership

Frisco Gun Club is open to the public, but it caters especially to its members. The club had 2,300 members before it even opened its doors in early December 2013. VIP-Lounge-1200There are three levels of membership available; guests can sign up for a standard, platinum or VIP membership. Family memberships are also available. Benefits vary depending on the level, but all members enjoy a 10% discount on accessories, complimentary eye and ear protection, a discount on range fees, and much more.

The VIP Club goes a step above what customers are typically accustomed to with a gun club membership. Membership in the VIP club includes amenities such as valet parking, free gun cleanings and no range fees. VIP members also enjoy a private entrance after hours and full-time attendant, up-scale dining and drinks, cigar room, 24/7 biometric range access, and private storage for their firearms in the on-site gun vault. The VIP lounge with a fireplace, leather seating, and Wi-Fi is just one more way Frisco Gun Club provides this tier of membership a premier experience.

 

From their top-of-the-line range equipment to the member benefits and classes offered, Frisco Gun Club strives to provide the best experience for any customer that enters their doors.

 

Thinking about Building a Shooting Range?

Building a shooting range can be an overwhelming process. Your time and resources deserve a partner who will listen to your ideas and turn your dreams and plans into a successful, thriving business. If you are considering building a range, talk to the Action Target Range Consultant in your region, and he will be happy to help you find the right equipment to fit your needs and budget. You can also use our Request a Quote form to get started on your range project today.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

 

What Makes a Professional Firearms Instructor?

By Dave Staskievicz

Editor’s Note: Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

LETC 2013 - 073There are so many different types of “firearms instructors” that it’s virtually impossible to give a standardized answer to this question. In no way do I think I have all the answers to this question. The purpose of this article is to simply get instructors thinking about possible answers.

Depending on the type of firearms instructor you are, your answers might be a little different. Just so we are all on the same page, a few examples of different types of instructors I’m referring to are hunter safety, trap, range safety, NRA, competition, defensive shooting, and tactical (law enforcement / military – life and death).

There are a wide variety of training doctrines and techniques to choose from – I won’t talk about any of them. This article will focus on the different attributes that make up a professional firearms instructor.

12-2 LETC 2013 - 174As I look at it, there are levels and stepping stones in your instructing career. Generally speaking, I would venture to say some of the best instructors have law enforcement (LE) and/or military backgrounds. However, I’m sure there are exceptions out there.

The majority of my experience as a firearms instructor comes from the LE / military arenas. However, I do occasionally help out with hunter safety and even coach some trap. Over the years, I have tried to listen and learn from many colleagues and instructors. One of the first lessons I learned was that I don’t know everything.

The first thing is to remember you can always learn something new. Never rest on your laurels, and always try to learn something that will make you a better instructor. Find a mentor or mentors and work on how you instruct. Every time I watch someone else teach, I’m trying to learn another way to communicate or relay information to the student. You can never stop learning and improving. I would never claim to be the best instructor, but looking back, I wasn’t a very strong instructor when I first started.

In my opinion, there are a few areas that make or break you as a good, professional instructor. I’m going to break down and discuss a few of these.

Professionalism

Standing barricadeSince we are trying to define what a professional firearms instructor is, it seems the first place to start would be to discuss professionalism. As I said earlier, there are many types of instructors which will alter some of the requirements. To begin with, we owe it to our students and our industry to have a clean professional appearance and attire. If you’re honest with yourself, it’s hard to disagree with the idea of showing a professional appearance. It’s not difficult to wear a polo or other collared shirt. Wearing some sort of T-shirt or an untucked shirt just tells your students you’re sloppy and unprofessional.

Professionalism also includes your documentation for the class. Every class needs a lesson plan and supporting documentation. Did you make a range safety plan and safety brief for your students and instructors? We can never afford to take safety for granted. Don’t cut corners or fall back on the “do what I say, not what I do” motto. Always set the example for your students.

Be courteous and respectful to your students and other instructors. Never bash another instructor or their techniques – that just shows that you are unprofessional. Never contradict another instructor in front of students unless it deals with an immediate safety issue. During a break, take the instructor aside and privately discuss any difference or suggestions.

Evaluate Yourself – Keep an Open Mind

IMG_0758I have already mentioned that you can always learn something new. To do that, you need to continually reevaluate yourself as a firearms instructor. I put a date on all of my police recruit / instructor manuals to require myself to reevaluate the techniques, tactics, and gear every two years. If you haven’t changed any of your curriculum in more than two years, you have most likely rested on your laurels and are now becoming a liability. Be open to evaluating different techniques.

Just because an instructor has the most years of service behind his name, it doesn’t mean he is the best firearms instructor. This is especially true if there isn’t an open mind to progress and change.

Evaluate Techniques, Tactics, and Gear

This area is critically important, especially for defensive and tactical firearms instructors. Realizing we need to keep an open mind about ourselves, we also need to keep an open mind about our techniques, tactics, and gear. As we look at new tactics, we always have to remember that some look really cool on a flat, sterile range when the students’ heart rates are low. Always evaluate the validity of a new tactic or piece of gear before you introduce it into the classroom. Will the technique work when the student performs it with an elevated heart rate? Far too often, I’ve seen an instructor show students a “cool” technique that doesn’t pass the common sense test.

Position #2 shooting _ Cover BlockThe worst thing a professional firearms instructor can do is to fail to vet a new technique, tactic, or piece of gear. Many times, I’ve watched an instructor go to a school or seminar, learn some new tactic, and come back to start teaching it as the “new coolest thing” in the world of shooting. Usually, within a few weeks or months, the instructor realizes the technique isn’t sound and may only work on flat, sterile ranges as opposed to real world situations. The problem is that the damage is already done. Every instructor is liable for what they have taught the students that have already completed the class. Good, professional instructors will vet any new technique before they go out and teach it to students. Consequently, they need to incorporate any changes into their lesson plans and stay consistent.

Think about this: if you’re with a group of instructors evaluating different techniques or gear and you’re always the one talking or you’re never wrong, you just figured out the issue – it’s YOU! If you run the training, you have to remember a good leader always depends on others to make you look good. Once you think you know everything, you are doomed. It’s impossible for one person to know everything, and if you think you do and you’re always right, you are the liability for your training program. Most of this comes down to leaving your ego at home. Remember, story time reduces training time.

As you update your curriculum, remember to have integrity. don’t take credit for other people’s work. Simply changing the name of a technique doesn’t make it yours, so don’t try to make a name for yourself that way. If you change the name of a technique, you will typically end up confusing your students anyway. This comes back to the ego again. The more you have to tell people how great you are, the more you are covering up your inabilities as an instructor or person.

Learning Environment

The most important thing a good firearms instructor can do is to help a student learn. Always remember, we must walk before we run. Breaking everything down into small tasks (modules) will go a long way to accomplish this goal.

  1. Explain what you are going to do
  2. Show them what you want them to do
  3. Demonstrate what you want them to do
  4. Have the student replicate what you want them to do in small parts (modules)

IMG_1040I still live by the old military adage we learned: KISS (Keep It Simple). We can drop off the last S. Trying to impress your students with big words only confuses the students and makes learning harder. There is no need to carry a dictionary on the range. It comes right back to the ego again.

Students always need to have a positive learning experience. For example, when teaching some of the basic fundamentals of firearms, we need to understand why a student’s rounds are going to a certain location. A good instructor has learned how to break down the drills to help students learn why their rounds are always going to a certain place. Until a new instructor understands this, a simple shot analysis card can be an easy first step for learning.

Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not. If I ever thought I did, I would be a liability to myself and others around me. Remember, the purpose of this article is simply to get instructors to think about what a professional firearms instructor is and then take the time to evaluate themselves and their curriculum.

As for the idea of coming up with standards for firearms instructors, I don’t think it’s a very easy or feasible task. The biggest problem with this would be that there doesn’t seem to be a good clearinghouse to standardize a professional firearms instructor.

Remember, as firearms instructors, our goals need to revolve around providing the best possible real world learning environment for our students. Teaching a student to shoot a firearm has a great deal of liability surrounding it. Having students use what they have learned from you in defense of their lives or another person’s life is forever rewarding.

StaskiewiczAbout Dave Staskiewicz

Officer Dave Staskiewicz is Range Master of the Omaha, Nebraska Police Department. He serves as the lead firearms instructor as well as the lead Taser instructor. Dave can be reached at dstaskiewicz@ci.omaha.ne.us.

Action Target Law Enforcement Training Camp a Huge Success

Action Target’s annual Law Enforcement Training Camp ended Friday as instructors and trainees parted ways after another year of advanced firearms training.3 Panorama - Lobby

This year’s LETC was attended by 128 law enforcement officers and firearms instructors from across the country and the world. Nearly 20 states were represented with officers from Hawaii and California to Florida and Pennsylvania. While LETC is traditionally a domestic law enforcement camp, as its fame has spread throughout the world, we’ve increasingly received requests to attend from foreign law enforcement agencies. This year, 12 officers from Canada and one officer from Brazil attended as well.

On Monday, Sept. 9, officers arrived at Action Target’s headquarters to sign in and pick up their gear which included personalized gun cases and water bottles. They were also able to tour the facilities where all of Action Target’s productscart Small are designed, engineered, and manufactured.

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Classes started Tuesday morning at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range. This year’s training classes included Bob Schneider’s Shoot House Training, James Washington’s Training for the Fight with the Pistol, a Glock armorer’s course, and many others. A total of 12 instructors participated from a variety of organizations including Spartan Tactical Training GroupSafariland Shooting SchoolHoffners Training AcademyGlock Training Division, Police Training Division, JDS Tactical, and Clayton County Police Department.

Some of the world’s finest law enforcement instructors teach at the camp every year. Firearms training professional Brian Hoffner, who has been an instructor at LETC nearly every year since the mid ’90s, encourages students to constantly learn more and to keep coming back to LETC every year.

“I tell my students, first of all, if you get one thing from every class, then this camp has been successful,” he said. “But you don’t stop there. You continue to be a sponge and you keep coming back to this LETC every year because you’ll pick up that one thing or more every time. And then you take it back and you share it. We lead by example, we save lives, we keep departments safe.”

12 LETC 2013 - 081

Wednesday night, more than 30 officers at the camp put their skills to the test in the Dirty Harry shooting competition as they vied for free tuition at next year’s LETC. Participants were required to shoot a variety of reactive steel targets while moving among three separate stations. The officer with the fastest time would win free tuition to LETC 2013 with second and third place winning significant tuition discounts. For the fifth year in a row, a law enforcement officer from Utah Highway Patrol won the competition showing that home court advantage has its benefits even when it comes to shooting.

The classes themselves were anything but fun and games, however. LETC participant Dan Cord (who served in Fallujah, Iraq, before becoming the lead guitarist of the rock band American Hitmen) said he learned more in three days at the camp than he learned since joining the Marine Corps.31 LETC 2013 - 157

“When they said you’ll be able to do 2 in the chest 1 in the head in 1.68 seconds by the end of the day, I didn’t think it was doable. But by the end of the day, we were doing it. I’ve done more reloads and loads with a handgun in the past few days than I have in years. It’s amazing how you can train your motor skills and pretty soon you’re not even thinking about that, you’re thinking about the next target.”

The camp ended Friday afternoon with one final day of classes before attendees began their long journeys home to locations across the nation and the world.

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We at Action Target were honored to have so many exceptional officers at this year’s camp, and we hope that each one took home something new that they can share with the men and women they serve with. Superior law enforcement training has always been one of our corporate missions, but we couldn’t make that happen without the continued assistance of our instructors and the participation of the world’s finest. To everyone that attended, instructed, or helped, we thank you and hope you enjoyed your time with us.

Illinois Shooting Range Braces for New Concealed Carry Law with Huge Upgrade

As Illinois becomes the 50th state to allow the concealed carry of firearms, one shooting range a half hour out of Chicago is preparing for the influx of new shooters and turning heads in the process.

GAT Guns of East Dundee, Ill., recently added a monumental 39 new indoor lanes to its existing 24 making it one of the largest indoor shooting ranges in the country and the go-to destination for shooters near and far.GAT Guns 3

The new ranges, which were designed and installed by Action Target, include 50-yard and 75-yard bays with 14 lanes each as well as a 50-foot long tactical training range with 11 lanes. There is also a large classroom to accommodate the thousands of concealed carry permit applicants expected to come through the doors when the new law goes into effect on January 5.

“We foresaw a need for a full service training facility in the area,” GAT Guns General Manager Randy Potter said. “There’s nobody else around here that can take care of customers from A to Z as completely as we can. We have the training classes, the firearms inventory, the accessories, and now we have one of the most advanced firearms training facilities in the country.”

With the new Illinois concealed carry law requiring 16 hours of training (including live fire training on a shooting range), GAT Guns provides the ideal venue.

GAT Guns 4

The new shooting bays include steel funnel bullet traps which safely collect and contain lead debris, bullet proof shooting stalls, an advanced air filtration system and Mancom target retrievers that allow for complete control over target distance, lighting effects and 360 degree random edging from an LCD control screen in every booth.

“Customers are blown away by the quality of the ranges,” Potter said. “The technology on our ranges allows shooters to control every aspect of their training. It’s an entirely new shooting experience.”

GAT Guns, which was founded in 1979, is already known as the Illinois headquarters of all things firearms with more than 6,000 guns in stock on any given day and 2,500 unique pieces on display.

“We consistently have folks from 150 miles south of here to the Wisconsin border and even as far west as the Mississippi River,” Potter said. “I attribute that to us being as unique as we are in size and scope as well as our commitment to professional customer service.”

GAT Guns 2

GAT Guns originally began in nearby Hanover Park and moved to the current location in 1989 where owner Greg A. Tropino (and thus the acronym “GAT”) bought an old restaurant and retrofitted it into the two-story gun supercenter it is today.

“Greg’s told me in the past that when he originally bought the building, he had no idea what he was going to put upstairs in the original footprint,” Potter said. “We’ve outgrown that by 10 times now.”

With 63 total lanes and shooting bays located on both floors, GAT Guns has quickly become one of the most talked about ranges in the country. It’s even attracted the attention of R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey from Glock who spent a day there in May to promote the range and sign autographs.

“We had over 1,200 people wait to meet The Gunny that day he was here. It was a very fun event,” Potter said.

GAT Guns 1

Even more than entertainment and retail, however, the mission of GAT Guns is to provide a central location for firearms education and quality training.

Training courses provided at the range currently include NRA First Steps, women only classes taught by women instructors, five phases of tactical pistol, five phases of tactical carbine, introductory handgun, practical holster and soon, Illinois concealed carry classes.

The new shooting bays recently opened up to the public and are also available for law enforcement qualification as well.

LETC 2013: A Week of Advanced Firearms Training

With so many lives on the line, proper law enforcement firearms instruction is absolutely crucial to any police department’s ongoing training efforts. That is why Action Target has hosted its Advanced Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) for more than 20 years. This September, from the 9th to the 13th, marks another year as law enforcement departments from across the country and the world meet at Action Target’s headquarters for unparalleled advanced firearms training.

LETC is designed to aid department firearms instructors in their training effectiveness and skill – and to pass that on to officers in their own agencies. Classes are geared toward getting participants out of their comfort zones and pushing beyond their current skill levels. Past classes have enabled even the most experienced professionals to excel further and improve.

J.C. Boylan, Range Master from Maricopa County, Arizona, participated in LETC 2011. “The firearms training and range were excellent,” Boylan said. “I have been a firearms instructor since 1984 and trained with some outstanding trainers…I can say because of Action Target’s LETC, I became a better and more confident shooter as well as a better firearms instructor.”LETC 111

Participants choose four eight-hour classes to attend from the 11 offered.

This year’s classes include:

  • Advanced Practical Handgun
  • Ultimate Shotgun
  • Extreme Close Quarter Battle Tactics with Hands, Knife, and Pistol
  • Rapid Deployment Patrol Rifle Operator
  • Training for the Fight with the Pistol
  • Emergency Medical Response for Firearms Instructors
  • Shoot, Move, Communicate
  • Glock Armorer’s Course
  • Reactive Shooting
  • Shoothouse Training – Instructor Training
  • High Performance HandgunLETC 013

Classes will be held both at Action Target headquarters in Provo, UT, and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range – just a short drive up the canyon in Thistle, UT.

Action Target has selected some of the best firearms instructors in the industry including instructors from Safariland Shooting School, Hoffner’s Training Academy, Spartan Tactical Training Group, and others. These instructors offer decades of experience in firearms and tactical training.

“The intensity of the conference was welcomed, and it was a true privilege to be among the world’s best instructors in the business,” Detective Juan Lopez said. “The training was beyond thorough, [Action Target’s staff’s] hospitality was over the top, and this training was hands down the most bang for your buck. The detailed lesson plans helped me to document and remember what I learned at the conference so I can continue to develop my skills as well as pass this training on to our officers who were unable to go. This was nothing less than the ultimate training experience and every range instructor’s dream.”LETC 072

A $500 tuition provides:

  • Four eight-hour classes taught by world class firearms instructors (choose from selection of 11)
  • Six meals (four lunches, BBQ dinner, and the closing banquet)
  • LETC “Dirty Harry” competition
  • LETC collectible T-shirt
  • Official certificate of completion signed by instructors
  • Collaboration with training professionals across the country

Attendees are required to bring their own weapons and ammunition. If the current ammunition shortage is preventing you  from attending, please contact us as we may have a solution for you through Salt Lake Wholesale Sports for most common handgun and rifle calibers.LETC 198

Registration is currently underway. Go to www.ActionTarget.com/calendar and follow the link under the “More Info” column for Sept. 9 – 13. Submission instructions are located at the bottom of the page. Contact Dallon Christensen at dallonc@actarg.com for any registration questions or concerns including ammunition needs. LETC is limited to the first 160 paid applicants, and classes are first-come first-served. Slots are filling up fast, so register today!

While primarily geared toward law enforcement firearms trainers, all law enforcement are invited to attend. Join us for a week of top-notch firearms training!

Shoot Houses and Shoot House Training

By Bob Schneider

I was first introduced to live fire shoot house training in 1986 at the world famous Gunsite Academy in northern Arizona. I had already been a Denver, Colorado, police officer for more than 10 years and was then a member of its full-time special weapons and tactics team (SWAT). Prior to transferring to SWAT, I was a patrol officer assigned to the northeastern quadrant of the city and county of Denver.

As a police officer, I had to search many businesses after silent alarms had been tripped as well as respond to calls that put me inside someone’s house. I had been trained to conduct building searches and how to handle calls inside structures, but I had not been exposed to firing live ammunition in that training arena. Was I sufficiently trained to conduct such police actions? I believed I was, but my eyes were opened to a higher level of training that my department had not exposed me to.LETC 187

In 1993, my department received a civil judgment against it for not providing adequate training to its police officers. My department had not provided “periodic target course shoot/don’t shoot live training under street conditions, particularly for officers on the front line.”1 We had required our officers to qualify once a month (later changed to quarterly) on a live fire course on a square range. This traditional range is exactly the same as all firearms ranges in the country used for law enforcement qualification and training. But our qualification courses did not require decision making, had little to no movement by the shooter, and was performed under adequate lighting conditions. The qualification target would turn and face the shooter which initiated the officer to present his/her weapon and fire the required number of rounds into the target before it edged away. This is the standard for all law enforcement agencies in the country. Then, some type of score is given for the officers’ records. If the officer passed, no further action was required. No additional training was given.

We know today that periodic qualification is just the beginning for our officers’ records. Continuing education is required in subject areas such as changes in the law or department regulations relating to the use of force, other options available other than the use of deadly force, and the list goes on. We now know we have a responsibility and obligation to expose our officers in training to as many situations as possible that they may encounter on the street.

If you believe you do have a responsibility and obligation to train your officers to the highest possible level, and your officers may find themselves in a structure like a building or house or business, then you need a live fire shoot house.LETC 190

Historically, live fire shoot houses have been made out of old automobile tires, plywood, cinder blocks, and other material that stops bullets. My SWAT team even made portable bullet traps that allowed us to make any building into a live fire shoot house. With today’s modern technology in clean ammunition and live fire shoot house construction, we have no excuse not to train our officers in live fire indoor simulators.

Companies such as Action Target make an excellent portable bullet trapcart Small. Its design and construction allow law enforcement agencies to tailor a structure to their environmental and economic needs.

I call it the “pay now or pay later” program. You can either pay now to build an indoor live fire simulator or you can pay later for not providing this level of training to your officers. You make the decision. If it was my decision, I would pay now. I would play every possible card in my deck to get a live fire shoot house.

Contact Action Target for options about getting your shoot house. I am confident that they will help you with your needs.

About Bob Schneider

LETC 191
Bob Schneider conducting training at the Action Target Law Enforcement Training Camp in 2012.

Bob Schneider retired from the Denver, Colorado, Police Department after 21 years of service. He spent 18 years assigned to his department’s full-time special weapons and tactics team. He is a certified firearms and less-lethal weapons instructor and has taught classes to federal, state, and local law enforcement officers as well as to U.S. and foreign military units here and overseas. Bob has developed several firearms and tactics courses to include training scenarios that are being used by popular simulator manufacturers. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with his two sons, Dylan and Jake.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.

1. Zuchel v. City and County of Denver, Colo., 997 F. 2d 730 – Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit 1993.

Keys to a Successful Shot

By George Harris

Much has been written about precision shooting in the world of combat skill development and pistol shooting in general. Perspectives and definitions of how and why we hit the intended target vary so greatly that two people involved in a heated discussion regarding precision shooting may be very parallel in their thinking, but they don’t recognize it. In this article, I will talk about how and why our views concerning this subject work. Ultimately, the goal is to bring us all a little closer in defining this controversial subject and understanding what we need to see in order to deliver a successful shot.

All of my training methods stem from simplicity in firearms training. I like to cut through all of the fluff, and present concepts that make sense and are easily reproducible by the average shooter. Most of us subscribe to the age old premise that most likely originated with the invention of firearms in that the objective of shooting is hitting your target.LETC 018

Let’s start by discussing the two absolutes of hitting a target. They are muzzle management and trigger finger discipline. Since the bullet exits the muzzle on the way to the target, it seems likely that from zero to fifty yards (plus or minus), if the muzzle is pointed at the target when the bullet exits, then we will have ourselves a hit where we want it. Trigger finger discipline refers to how we release the bullet toward the target. If you stabilize the muzzle of the pistol on the target and operate the trigger without disturbing that stability, you will experience success. Make sense? My students think so!

Precision shooting is a total mystery to some simply because they are confused about what they must see to consistently hit the target. Sight alignment and sight picture are two regularly used terms in the precision shooting world, but they aren’t always fully understood. Sight alignment is nothing more than the front and rear sight as viewed by the eye. Perfect sight alignment is the front sight vertically and horizontally centered in the rear sight notch. Sight picture is the target, front sight and rear sight as viewed by the eye. Perfect sight picture is the front sight centered vertically and horizontally in the rear sight notch superimposed on the desired point of impact of the target.

In studying human vision, we find that the eye can clearly focus on a single plane, plus or minus an inch or two. Everything else ranges from a little to a lot out of focus. Relate this to a camera lens. The camera has clarity at its primary point of interest and everything closer or further away is less than perfectly clear. A little known fact is that the eye can pick the center of any object, regardless of its shape. It can do this without having total visual clarity of the object and can be accurate down to one minute of angle (a half inch circle at fifty yards).

Shooting Shoot045Now, let’s take a closer look at how and why precision shooting works. The muzzle of the pistol must be square with the target to hit the target. Think perpendicular with a very slight upward angle to account for the effects of gravity on the bullet, and horizontally centered. We use our sights as a guide to position the muzzle on the target. The more precisely we align our sights, the closer the muzzle is to square with the face of the target, and the more likely we will hit our desired point of impact, assuming that the pistol is already zeroed. The clear focus on the front sight as viewed through the slightly out of focus rear sight allows us the best chance to position the muzzle square to the target. The target should be out of focus, but its shape should be apparent. As stated above, the eye will automatically find the center of any object.

What this boils down to is that precision sight alignment will square the muzzle (where the bullet exits the gun) on the center of the target, which our eye automatically finds, for a hit in the desired location.

Bull’s-eye shooters that shoot the blank side of their target and shoot better groups than when they are shooting the target side prove the concept that the eye will naturally find the center of an object consistently. By keeping the eye focus on the sights through the release of the shot, the muzzle remains square with the target, and a consistent impact point is hit again and again.

A simple and extremely effective sight picture that we developed for the aged-eye shooters (those in bi-focals and tri-focals) has become the standard sight picture for all of our students who aren’t happy with their present method of hitting the target where they want to. We recommend a dot on the front sight and the widest notch available for the type of rear sight to be used. This allows us to use the eye’s natural ability to center round objects in square openings with incredible precision. We zero the pistol for the strike of the round to hit whatever we put the front sight dot on, just as we would a red dot sight system. The regimen is to center the dot in the rear sight notch and float the dot on the target. With a smooth trigger press to release the shot, the thrill of a center hit is felt again and again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.

About George Harris

George Harris has spent his entire adult life working in the world of firearms. For over 30 years he has been a successful and motivational educator and trainer in all aspects of small arms. His simplistic approach to firearms training has an unarguable track record in extracting performance from his students of marksmanship, tactics, and maintenance.

As a business developer in the firearms field, George co-founded the world renowned SIG Sauer Academy and led it to become a profit center before retiring after twenty-one years of service.

George has the enviable record of leading industry test programs for multiple government and military agencies achieving successful results and contracts for firearms 100% of the time.

Many of his innovations and ideas in firearms design features have evolved to production firearms improving function, ergonomics, and aesthetics.

George has served as the subject matter expert involving firearms and related matters on television, radio, and in legal proceedings.

Among his personal accomplishments, George earned the coveted U.S. Army Distinguished badges for both Service Pistol and Service Rifle. He also coached and was a firing team member of the World Champion U.S. Army Reserve International Combat Team before retiring with 40 years of continuous Military Service.

School Shootings – What are we doing to protect our children?

By John Krupa III

The Sandy Hook school shooting shocked the very psyche of this nation. I was numbed by its impact, and as a father of two grade school children, it was heart breaking to even imagine what those parents had to endure in the loss of their children.

As the nation mourned, my feelings quickly turned to anger as I began to analyze the incident. I began to visualize as an Immediate Action / Rapid Deployment (IARD) trainer what possible law enforcement (LE) response solutions could have resolved this situation without loss of life. My conclusion was – none.

Since the shooting, school administrators and law enforcement agencies across the country have become overwhelmed with the task of developing more effective measures to prepare school personnel on how to respond to active shooter incidents.

Where do we start?School

To find the answers to this question, we need to look at the commonalities among previous school shootings from Columbine to Virginia Tech. A close inspection will show that many of the same circumstances existed in just about all of these incidents.

Here are some common traits in many of these incidents:

  • The shooters were aware that teachers and faculty were unarmed. (In some instances, “Gun Free Zone” signs were posted outside the school.)
  • The shooters were aware of the “lock down” procedure and knew that children would not be evacuated or removed from the scene, but instead, would be herded into classrooms behind locked doors.
  • The shooters were aware that law enforcement would eventually respond and knew that they only had minutes to inflict casualties before LEO’s would arrive on scene.
  • The shooters had predetermined that they would not allow themselves to be captured alive and that they would commit suicide to avoid contact with LEO’s.
  • Specifically, in the Columbine incident, the shooters attempted to buy more time to “hunt and kill” people by planting improvised explosive devices and incendiary devices to impede LE response.
  • Also, in the Virginia Tech incident, the shooter chained and barricaded the doors to the building he was in to, again, buy more time to “hunt and kill” people.

What have we learned from these incidents?

In analyzing these gruesome incidents, particularly Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Sandy Hook; unarmed teachers, professors and faculty members were summarily executed when they attempted to resist or confront the shooters.

Many good people – adults on scene at the initiation of these incidents – who tried to do the right thing (unarmed) and protect children and students from being massacred, did so at the expense of their own lives!

So the question that needs to be asked is – “Who really is the first responder?” Is it the LE officers arriving on scene minutes later to handle the situation, or is it the adults capable of taking action that are actually on scene when the incident initiates?

Situational7Maybe we as law enforcement officers need to reevaluate our IARD strategies and reconsider other solutions in defining who the first responder should be.

In retrospect, what if these very same teachers, professors, and faculty members that ran to the gunfire in these incidents were properly trained in the use and application of handguns for personal defense? What if these “first responders” were trained in basic IARD concepts so they could react accordingly and take the appropriate actions to stop the active shooters before they could inflict casualties?

Something has to change! People can’t wait anymore for an LE agency to receive a 911 call of shots fired in a school, dispatch that call to units in the area, and then have it take precious minutes for officers to respond and deploy while the shooter indiscriminately executes his victims. We’ve seen this reactionary response repeatedly in these incidents, and it’s just not working!

Thousands of officers across the country, including myself, have been trained in IARD tactics. I run the officers at my agency through an eight-hour in-service IARD training program annually, and it’s just not enough. The time has come where we need to look beyond reacting to school shooting incidents and find a way to have first responders on-site, ready to go when an incident starts.

Where do we go from here?

Since Sandy Hook, I’ve had many discussions and debates with other officers and trainers from various LE agencies on how to resolve this issue and here are some of the solutions that have been brought up in these conversations.

School Resource Officers (SRO) – The knee-jerk reaction after a school shooting incident is always to put police officers in the schools or hire campus police.

The problem with this solution is budget cuts and man power shortages just won’t allow LE agencies to provide enough personnel to adequately cover all the schools in all the school districts. Think about how many schools are in your school district and ask yourself, where will those officers come from?

Also, because of the thin blue line, each school will be lucky if they have one officer assigned per school day. Keep in mind that the SRO will only be there during regular school hours – 0800 to 1600. There won’t be coverage for after school functions or evening sports events.

There are a lot of holes that need to be filled in this solution process. Grade school, high school, and college students should not have part-time or partial protective coverage – it should be constant. We haven’t even included student coverage for off campus events such as away games or field trips!

Off-duty and retired LEO’s – This is a great idea to resolve the man power shortage issue, but again, where is the money going to come from to fund their payroll budget? Paying off-duty or retired LEO’s at an hourly rate would cost a small fortune, and we’d still have to deal with the coverage issue as discussed above.

Security guards – In addition to the previously expressed concerns, now we’re looking at a cheap “deterrent” and the question is, will they be armed? Having unarmed security guards responding to a shooting incident will have the same results as unarmed faculty – and we’re back to square one.

Armed teachers and faculty – Of all the buzz words that have drawn debates across the country, “armed teachers” has been among the most controversial. While this is nothing new to some school districts in Texas and Arizona, the overall concept, in general, has been met with rigid opposition.

In reality, it makes sense. School districts can have a select group of teachers, professors, and school faculty trained in the use of handguns for personal defense as well as basic IARD tactics in how to respond to and deal with active shooters and how to interact with officers arriving on scene.

Advantages of using armed teachers and faculty:

  • There is no need to hire extra personnel, but instead use existing school personnel with more responsibilities.
  • There is no need to seek funding or create new budgets, but instead rely on the use of school personnel already on salary.
  • School districts can rely on select teachers and sports coaches to provide coverage during and after school activities, sports events (home and away games), and field trips.
  • Having more than one armed teacher in a school (possibly two or three at a time) will allow for coordinated first responder engagements of active shooters.
  • Allows for use of school personnel that have extensive knowledge of the facility they work in and have a better chance of controlling and dominating terrain.

Conclusion

Armed teachers may not be the answer to every scenario, but having the advantage of trained school personnel on-site and ready to take immediate action is the true definition of first responder!

Ultimately, it’s not a question of “if” another school shooting is going to happen, but when and where? Will we be ready?

As always, stay safe, remain vigilant and fight to win!

John Krupa III
Master Firearms Instructor (ILETSB)
President / Director of Training
Spartan Tactical Training Group, LLC

About John Krupa III

John is an active duty police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL.) and has more than 22 years of experience in law enforcement. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, field training officer, and firearms instructor with Chicago PD. He is a graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA, and FLETC. John is founder and president of Spartan Tactical Training Group and has previously presented at training conferences across the country with the AFTE, ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MidTOA, MTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA.

For more information about training courses offered by John Krupa, visit his website at www.TeamSpartan.com

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.

Rob Leatham Training with the Action Target Torso

World champion Rob Leatham shows how to train on a static torso target.

As a 24-time USPSA national champion and 5-time IPSC World Champion, Rob Leatham knows it takes dedicated training and quality equipment to be a good shooter. To build the speed and accuracy he needs to stay on top of his game, Rob uses Action Target steel targets to train. In this video, he explains how he use the PT Torso  in several training drills. Check it out to see how you can improve your skills!

Omaha Law Enforcement Trainer Recognized For Exceptional Performance

Officer David Staskiewicz receives Range Master of the Year Award from Action Target

PROVO, Utah – Officer David Staskiewicz was recognized by Action Target as the 2012 Range Master of the Year for his continued excellence in law enforcement training.  Action Target founder Addison Sovine presented Staskiewicz with the award at a ceremony held in his honor on December 13th.

“Officer Staskiewicz has done an incredible job in with the Omaha Police Department,” Sovine said. “Action Target has had the pleasure of working with him on several projects in the past, and we hope to continue our relationship in the future.”

For the past ten years, Officer Staskiewicz has been the Omaha Police Department’s range master. During that time, he has overseen the closing of the department’s 30-year-old indoor range and was instrumental in the opening of the new Public Safety Training Center ranges four years ago.

The new center includes a firearms simulator room, rooms for weapon, ammo and target storage, a room with 20 stations for weapon cleaning and two indoor shooting ranges equipped by Action Target with advanced tactical training technology.

“Coordinating the fair use of all three ranges can keep you busy, but these facilities are an incredible training tool,” Staskiewicz said. “We have up to 25 local and federal agencies that train on one of our ranges throughout the year.”

According to Staskiewicz, the last thing a police officer wants to do is discharge his or her firearm, but training for those occasions where force is necessary is extremely important.

“Shooting is a perishable skill that needs to be practiced on a regular basis”, Staskiewicz said. “It’s extremely important to train our officers under similar conditions, especially elevated heart rate shooting.  It’s our job to prepare our officers to react to a situation so they can go home to their family at night.”

In addition to running his agencies three ranges, Staskiewicz oversees the firearms curriculum for his 800 officer department.  He has always been willing to share his lesson plans and training tips with other agencies and trainers over the years.   Some drills they conduct on the indoor tactical range include split-second threat identification, accuracy and speed training, as well as ambush drills in a patrol car with the windshield removed, drop targets and flashing lights to add to the stress.

“Along with providing common sense firearms training, our goal is to provide a safe training environment,” Staskiewicz said. “I’m honored to have won Range Master of the Year, but the best reward is seeing our officers go home at night after a situation.”

About Action Target Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.

New Rimfire Targets Are Coming!

Check out this video to get a sneak peek of the whole new line of Rimfire Targets coming out this January.

In addition to the Rimfire Dueling Tree, Rimfire Plate Rack, and Rimfire Spinning Jack, Action Target will be releasing seven new reactive steel targets specifically designed for rimfire ammunition. The targets will first be available for purchase online January 15th. If you will be attending the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, you can see the targets in person and get free shipping on any Action Target product by visiting our booth. Hope to see you there!

New Miami Gun Range Promises a Unique Experience

Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range focuses on being clean and friendly

Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range has teamed with Action Target to build a progressive shooting range families can enjoy. Located near the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, the new facilities include a firearm and ammo retail store, two indoor shooting ranges and classrooms for in-depth instruction.

The idea for the range came in 2010 when three friends started playing with the idea of building a test range for their growing ammunition company. The idea soon evolved into something bigger, however, when they realized how few resources were available to shooters in the Miami area. Instead of building a range like all the others they had seen, they decided to create something that would have a positive impact on the shooting community.

“Our main goal is not to sell guns or ammo or memberships, but to offer people entertainment, training and therapy,” managing partner Adolfo Vivas said. “I wanted to make the best range in South Florida, and I think we’re finally going to get it.”

Stone Hart’s features two eight-lane 75’ ranges (one for handgun shooting and one for rifle shooting) equipped with the latest technology like target retrievers from Action Target with digital distance control and a Carey’s ventilation system that removes 99.7 percent of contaminates and lead dust from the air to keep shooters and the environment safe. But the owners believe the most unique aspect of their range is the family friendly environment.

“Our approach is family-oriented. It’s not like a men’s club,” Vivas’ business partner Augusto Luna said. “We want to make it welcoming to families. We want people to be comfortable bringing their kids so they’re aware of firearms at an early age and can learn how to handle them safely.”

Stone Hart’s managing partners have gone out of their way to provide firearms education by hiring three professional trainers including former Top Shot contestant Gabby Franco to teach classes on self defense, concealed carry and shooting safety. Free seminars for children on gun safety will also be offered.

In addition to educational classes, future activities will also include competitions, contest, games and ladies’ nights.

“We want to be a 5-star range, so we’re working toward that right now,” Luna said. “We’re just scratching the surface right now for what we want to do. We have big plans for this place.”

Among their big plans are a deli sandwich counter in the pro shop, free cable and wireless Internet and future ranges for archery and tactical training.

“Now that people have options,” Luna said, “it’s opening people’s eyes as to what a range should be.

Find out more about Stone Hart’s Gun Club & Indoor Range or register for classes by visiting www.stonehartsgunclub.co.

About Action Target Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store.

PT Pepper Popper Rubber Kit

Take the unnecessary banging and scraping out of your PT Pepper Popper with a rubber add-on kit that’s easy to install.

The PT Pepper Popper Rubber Kit is designed to make shooting PT Pepper Poppers on indoor ranges or concrete pads more convenient. Because the PT Pepper Popper has a steel base, it tends to slide a little with every shot if placed on a hard surface. The PT Pepper Popper Rubber Kit eliminates the possible damage to floors as well as the target face with four rubber feet and an additional rubber bumper to cushion the fall of the steel target

Functions / Uses:

The PT Pepper Popper Rubber Kit is an optional add-on and is designed to be compatible with any Pepper Popper produced by Action Target. The package comes with four rubber feet that easily attach to the bottom of the base of the target to prevent the target from moving when placed on a hard flat surface like a concrete floor. The package also includes a rubber bumper that attaches to the top of the base to prevent the target face from getting marked up by repeated hits against the steel frame.

Technical Overview:

The feet and bumper of the PT Pepper Popper Rubber Kit come bolted onto steel brackets which can be easily connected to the frame of any Action Target Pepper Popper using the provided hardware. The rubber used in the feet and bumper is specially hardened and designed for long life and durability.

Specifications:

  • Total Weight: 9 lbs.
  • Rubber Feet: 1” diameter by 3/4” tall
  • Rubber Bumper: 3.5” tall by 6” wide by 3” thick
  • Steel Brackets: 13” long by 3” wide (foot bracket) / 6” long by 3” wide (bumper bracket)

 

New Product: Action Target Introduces New IPSC A-Zone

Action Target is pleased to introduce the newest member of the Torso Family, the IPSC A-Zone.

The IPSC A-Zone was designed with competitive shooters in mind. With a torso made to the exact size and dimensions of the standard IPSC Metric Target and a reactive A-zone cutout for immediate visual feedback, the IPSC A-Zone is a great target for competition training.

Because it combines the scoring benefits of a paper target with the immediate visual and audio feedback of a steel target, the IPSC A-Zone can save you time and frustration. Instead of having to constantly go downrange to switch out paper targets, you can shoot thousands of rounds at this steel version of the IPSC torso without having to reset or replace anything. The A-Zone cutout also makes scoring simple with a reactive swinging plate that allows you to instantly see if you hit the right spot. The swinging plate is gravity reset and can be repainted with a spray paint of your choice to show shot placement.

The torso and swinging plate are made of through hardened AR550 armor steel with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets allowing you to shoot just about anything you have at it without fear of ricochet, splatter, or damage to the target. The rear hinge brackets are also made of armor steel (AR500) to minimize wear and tear from daily use and provide you with a lifetime of tactical training.

Because all of the shooting surfaces are made of AR550 steel, the IPSC A-Zone is compatible with rifle shooting from distances greater than 100 yards and with ammunition that does not exceed 3,000 fps. Shooting the target closer than 100 yards and/or with rifle ammunition exceeding 3,000 fps may cause dents and deformities in the shooting surfaces rendering the target unsafe to shoot.

Be the first of your buddies to get the new IPSC A-Zone!

Combat Mindset – Are You Ready for the Next Active Shooter Incident?

By John Krupa III.

Our nation was shocked yet again by another senseless mass murder on July 20th when deranged psychopath James Holmes walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and murdered 12 unarmed citizens and wounded more than 100 others.

With the increased frequency of mass murder incidents in our nation – Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, and now Aurora – are you prepared to deal with the next active shooter incident when it happens in your backyard?

As a police officer and professional trainer, I can’t emphasis enough (law enforcement officers and armed citizens alike) how important it is to remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness, and be ready for anything – anytime, anywhere!

I teach personal defense courses to law enforcement officers and civilians across the country on how to respond and react to active shooter situations, and while the rules of engagement may differ based on situation, the combat mindset is the same.

There is a long history in the evolution of combat mindset and how we prepare the mind for combat going all the way back to World War II with Rex Applegate’s publication Kill or be Killed. This was followed by two excellent short books in the ‘70’s by Jeff Cooper: Principals of Personal Defense and Color Codes of Awareness.

Fast forward to the late 90s and early 2000s and we have Dave Grossman’s fascinating research On Killing: The Psychology of Killing in War and Society as well as Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge by Bruce Siddle. Do a quick search on the Internet and you’ll find a plethora of articles and publications by writers from all over the country supporting combat mindset research and development.

But once we have absorbed all this combat mindset information, how do we use it, and how is it applied in real world situations such as active shooter incidents?

I like to break it down the same way I learned it:

Situational Awareness

A catchy phrase, but what does it mean? I think the Color Codes of Awareness best summarizes how you should be conducting yourself in your everyday travels – stay out of condition white (the lowest awareness level of Jeff Cooper’s color code), be aware of your surroundings, identify specific problems or threats, and be prepared to execute a tactical plan to deal with each threat as it presents itself.

Visualization

Part of being prepared to deal with a situation is to play the “what if” game in your mind everywhere you go. As a field training officer for the Chicago Police Department teaching new recruits how to work the mean streets of Chicago, one of the first things I would teach them is to always be prepared for the unexpected. I challenged them to think about locations we would respond to for calls before we arrived. Visualize the interior of a structure or building upon approach, and always play the “what if” game. Think to yourself, “If this or that happens, what would I do?”

The same game can be played off-duty or as a civilian. If you walk into a store, bank, mall, theater, etc., your head should be up and on a swivel. You should be looking around for things out of the ordinary (running through the Color Codes of Awareness), looking for things that are odd or out of place, paying attention to detail, and always looking for a point of egress. I call this the “Krupa relaxed paranoid mode,” because that’s exactly how you feel, but this is what you need to do to develop Situational Awareness.

Vigilance

A trait that can’t really be taught but is learned through life experience. Alertness is the first principal of personal defense. Some people have it, some never will.

Obviously, victims are never to blame when tragedy strikes, but there are some actions and habits that may decrease your chances of survival in dangerous situations. The people in the most danger are what I like to call “sheeple.” We’ve all seen them – people that walk around every day like wandering sheep in condition white, oblivious to their surroundings. Just stand outside on a busy street, public transportation hub, or in a mall. Everywhere you go, people are walking around with their heads down, texting or operating one of the many electronic devices that have become an integral part of our daily routines and way of life.

People are walking into each other, walking into obstacles, walking into oncoming traffic, falling off train platforms, and falling down stairs because they are oblivious to what is going on around them! In order to avoid this dangerous distraction, people need to put those devices away, minimize their use in public, and get back to being aware of their surroundings. You will never have situational awareness if you are not vigilant.

The Winning Mindset

To avoid becoming a victim, there may be a time when you have to use various levels of force, up to and including deadly force for personal defense.

The last three principals of personal defense are needed to accomplish this task – decisiveness, aggressiveness, and ruthlessness. Jeff Cooper was specific in selecting these last three principals, and he combined them as the primary elements of what he believed is necessary to win the fight when you’re at the phase where the meat meets the metal.

Once you have made the decision to execute a tactical plan, be decisive in its execution. Aggressiveness is needed to overcome your adversary – dominate the threat! Ruthlessness is necessary in the application of ANY level of force that may cause death or great bodily harm to stop an assailant’s deadly actions.

Ultimately, the person that possesses superior mindset, tactical aptitude, and situational awareness is the person that is most likely going to WIN the fight!

It’s not a matter of if another mass murder active shooter incident is going to occur but when and where! ARE YOU READY?

For more information about our training courses, visit our website @ www.TeamSpartan.com

As always, stay safe and Fight to Win!

John Krupa III

Master Firearms Instructor

President / Director of Training

Spartan Tactical Training Group, LLC

About John Krupa III

John is an active duty police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL.) and has over 21 years of experience in LE. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, FTO and firearms instructor with Chicago PD. He is a graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA and FLETC. John is founder and president of Spartan Tactical Training Group, Director of Training for the DS Arms LE Training Division and has previously presented at training conferences across the country with the AFTE, ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MidTOA, NTOA and TTPOA.

New Video: Rob Leatham Training with the Action Target Dueling Tree

World champion shooter Rob Leatham knows that stress induced training is absolutely critical to competitive shooting as well as law enforcement. In an actual shooting situation, your heart is going to be pounding and your hand isn’t going to be steady. Shooting on the Action Target Dueling Tree (a dueling tree target) puts you in a position where you have to make hard shots under stress while reacting to changes in the environment, which allows you to better prepare for real life situations.

 

Click the video player to watch the video

Action Target LETC 2012 a Great Success

Action Target’s annual Law Enforcement Training Camp ended Friday as instructors and trainees parted ways after another year of advanced law enforcement training.

This year’s LETC was attended by 147 law enforcement officers and firearms instructors from across the country and the world. More than 20 states were represented with officers from California and Oregon to Florida and New York. While LETC is traditionally a domestic law enforcement camp, as its fame has spread throughout the world, we’ve increasingly received requests to attend from foreign law enforcement agencies. As in years past, we were pleased to welcome officers from Canada, but this year was especially unique with the addition of participants from Brazil and China.

On Monday, Sept. 10, officers arrived at Action Target’s headquarters to sign in and pick up their gear which included personalized water bottles and dog tags. They were also able to tour the facilities where all of Action Target’s products are designed, engineered, and manufactured.

Classes started Tuesday morning at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range. New to this year’s training classes were George Harris’ Combat Skill Drills for Firearms Instructors, Bob Schneider’s Shoot House Training, James Washington’s Training for the Fight with the Pistol, and Brian Hoffner’s Extreme Close Quarter Battle Tactics with Hands, Knife, and Pistol. A total of 12 instructors participated from a variety of organizations including Spartan Tactical Training Group, Safariland Shooting School, Hoffners Training Academy, Glock Training Division, Police Training Division, JDS Tactical, and Fusion Tactical and Combatives.

On the first day of class, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office explosives department set up a demonstration to kick things off with a bang. A charge was placed on the hill next to the uppermost firing range and was connected to several additional charges that ran down the hill and along the periphery of the range. To demonstrate the delay mechanism’s non-electric shock tube technology, a sniper shot the main charge from atop a storage container setting off a series of explosions down the hill. The explosives department also demonstrated several forced entry explosive mechanisms as well as a unique steel puncturing technology consisting of a coil of explosives wrapped around a beer can.

Wednesday night, more than 50 officers at the camp put their skills to the test in the Dirty Harry shooting competition as they vied for free tuition at next year’s LETC. Participants were required to shoot 21 colored knock down targets from three corresponding colored boxes. Shooting the wrong color or shooting one of the six no-shoot targets meant instant disqualification. Law enforcement officers from Utah crushed the competition taking first, second, and third places. Officer Rob Wilkenson of the Utah Highway Patrol took the grand prize winning by more than five seconds with a time of 23:19.

A banquet was held Thursday evening to honor the dedication and sacrifices of law enforcement officers throughout the nation and the world. McKenzie Matthews began the banquet by singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and was followed by Provo Mayor John Curtis who gave the welcome speech. The night’s program centered around the memory of the brave men and women who lost their lives in the protection of our freedoms. The Payson High School Pipe Band performed ‘Amazing Grace’ as photos of law enforcement officers who died by gunfire this year were shown on a projector screen during a special memorial for fallen officers. A memorial was also held for law enforcement who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack. Deputy Chief Steven J. Silks of the New York Police Department, a participant in this year’s camp, spoke of his experiences that day and shared a firsthand account of the bravery exhibited by the brave men and women he served with during that catastrophe.

The camp ended Friday afternoon with a few final classes before attendees began their long journeys home to locations across the nation and the world.

We at Action Target were honored to have so many exceptional officers at this year’s camp, and we hope that each one took home something new that they can share with the men and women they serve with. Superior law enforcement training has always been one of our corporate missions, but we couldn’t make that happen without the continued assistance of our instructors and the participation of the world’s finest. To everyone that attended, instructed, or helped, we thank you and hope you enjoyed your time with us.

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New Product: Action Target Introduces New 45 Degree Static Target

Action Target is pleased to announce the release of the new 45 Degree Static. Now you can shoot on steel with high-powered rifles at close range!

The 45 Degree Static is the newest member of the AT Static family. With an AR 550 armor steel head plate slanted at 45 degrees, this static target is specifically designed for shooting high-powered rifles* at close distances. Most steel targets, even those made of AR550 armor steel, don’t stand up well to the power of rifle ammunition when shot from distances closer than 100 yards, but the 45 Degree Static’s unique design allows it to absorb the impact of high-powered ammunition from as close as 50 yards.

The 45 Degree Static uses a high angle of deflection to force bullet fragments down toward the feet of the target. Because the steep angle of the target spreads bullet impact over a larger surface area, the 45 Degree Static is perfectly capable of handling .223, .308, and even slugs from only 50 yards, giving you greater training freedom in a smaller area. The head plate is 14” tall and 12” wide making it elliptical in shape, but the steep slant makes it appear perfectly round to a shooter standing 50 yards away.

Just like our standard AT Static targets, the head plate of the 45 Degree Static is mounted to the stand so it bounces when hit, giving you immediate visual feedback and positive reinforcement for accurate shots. The head plate of the target is completely flat with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets to cause unpredictable splatter when inevitably hit, and the low profile bullet-shedding stand helps make this one of the most durable targets on the market.

*The 45 Degree Static is made of 3/8” thick AR550 armor steel and is designed for use with ammunitions that have a muzzle velocity less than 3,000 fps. Using ammunition that exceeds this limit may result in damage to the target.

Action Target’s Law Enforcement Training Camp is Just Around the Corner!

For more than 20 years, Action Target has held the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help police departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. With this year’s training camp starting in just a few days, we’re excited to get things rolling. For those of you who will be attending, here’s what you can look forward to (and for those of you who didn’t register in time, this is what you’ll be missing!).

The training camp officially begins Monday, September 10 with registration starting 2 p.m. at the Action Target headquarters in Provo, UT. Since participants will be arriving from all over the nation and a few from across the world, Monday is considered a travel day, and no classes will be held. After registration, participants will be allowed to tour the Action Target facilities where we manufacture the target systems and shoot houses trainees will be using throughout the week.

Classes start Tuesday morning and will be held every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday the 14th. Lunch will be provided at the range as well as a BBQ dinner Tuesday night and a catered banquet Thursday night. Thursday night’s festivities also include the “Dirty Harry” shooting competition and a raffle for Action Target gear and other prizes.

The greatest prize you’ll receive at LETC, however, is invaluable experience and training. All courses offered at LETC are taught by highly qualified professional instructors, many of whom have decades of experience in firearms training.

This year’s classes include:

  • Advanced practical handgun
  • Combat skill drills for firearms instructors
  • Ultimate shotgun
  • Extreme close quarter battle tactics with hands, knife, and pistol
  • Rapid deployment patrol rifle operator
  • Training for the fight with the pistol
  • Emergency medical response for firearms instructors
  • Shoot, move, communicate
  • Glock armorer’s course
  • Reactive shooting
  • Shoot house training
  • Ground combatives and weapons retention training

If you are already signed up for this year’s training camp, we look forward to seeing you in just a few days. We guarantee this will be one of the greatest training experiences you will ever have. If you somehow missed the deadline, don’t worry. There’s always next year.

Accuracy After Injury: How Will You React in a Firefight When Suffering from the Symptoms of Shock?

By: Brian C. Smith

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Approximately 16 years ago, I had a conversation with an old “salty” veteran police officer over lunch. He was sent by his police agency to attend a firearms class that I was teaching as a way of punishment for his actions that were defined as unsafe firearms tactics by his police agency’s administration. The class I was teaching was titled “Survival Shooting Tactics for Armed Confrontations,” which was a one-day, eight-hour course at the time. The course has undergone many revisions and updates since then. In our conversation, I soon realized that this officer has probably forgotten more than I will ever know or experience in my police career. I found myself taking mental notes while conversing about details he had mentioned on how he survived in a few of his encounters with close call situations.

The officer then hit me with a question, “How would being injured in a fire fight encounter affect your firearm accuracy?” Being young and cocky, my response was, “That should not matter, sight alignment and sight picture would be the same. I still should be able to hit the threat no matter what.” The old salty police officer looked at me as he leaned back in his chair and just smiled. After a few moments of both of us just staring at each other, the old guy said, “I will give you credit for being a good firearms instructor, but I can see that there are some things you have yet to experience in this life as a police officer.” After that brief lunch, it was as if I had just been educated by one of the three wise men.

I then researched how the human body is affected by blunt trauma and what physical symptoms that person will experience as well as how these symptoms would affect a shooter’s accuracy in a fire fight. In my research, I discovered the medical condition that may apply is referred to as “neurogenic shock.” This is a condition where the human body suffers a minor injury or traumatic experience. In the condition of neurogenic shock, the most common symptoms include:

  • A fast, weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling faint, weak, or nauseous
  • Dizziness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Blue lips

The symptoms start developing approximately 90 seconds after the incident occurs. This time span can vary due to age, physical condition, or pre-existing health problems.

I have personally suffered from this condition many times when I have sustained a minor injury while playing sports or engaging in other physical activities. I have witnessed the common treatments of this condition as having the person lie on their back with feet slightly elevated to raise their blood pressure, keep them warm by covering the person’s torso with a blanket or garment, and administer fluid. A person can develop this condition by suffering a dislocated finger, sprained ankle, brachial stun to the torso, or the unthinkable – a gunshot wound.

From this research, I developed a shooting drill that we have included in the “Injured Officer” segment of our firearms training curriculum named as the “Equilibrium Drill.” This helps our training staff to illustrate two different concepts on how your condition may affect your firearms accuracy.

1. Physical reactions that may compromise your firearm proficiency due to an injury

2. Diminished firearms accuracy due to inebriation

Also, while serving in my former position as Director of Training with the Chicago Heights Police Department, one of my duties was to orientate and prepare the new recruits graduating from the academy for their new assignments. This included an orientation class that consisted of about 16-18 hours (two consecutive days) of training that was to be completed just prior to being assigned to an FTO (Field Training Officer). This Pre-Field Training Officer’s course curriculum consisted of topics such as handcuffing, expandable baton, OC pepper spray, and an eight hour handgun course on survival tactics at the range. My prior experience and perils as a young officer qualified me when I recited the common cliché, “Been there and done that.” I have an understanding of young male police officers, full of testosterone, and how they are capable of making many mistakes in the infant stages of their careers. We found it necessary to always discuss with the recruits the topic of off-duty encounters, which is included among a variety of topics on consuming alcoholic beverages and developing “beer muscles” while patronizing a liquor-serving establishment. Therefore, this shooting exercise also emphasized the outcome if a police officer were to be engaged in a firefight while intoxicated.

The “Equilibrium Drill”

(Simulating shooter intoxication or neurogenic shock as a result of an injury)

Target: 3 metal pepper popper plates or 3 large round balloons – I suggest you use 12-16 inch diameter balloons.

Distance: 40 feet (from the target to the established firing line)

Ammo: 5 rounds, no magazine exchange or reloads required

Weapon: Pistol or revolver

Shooting Position: Kneeling, sitting, or prone

Exercise

A. Shooter loads and makes ready, then places the weapon on the ground with muzzle pointed double down range.

B. Shooter steps back approximately 15 feet away from the weapon.

C. Shooter stands in the center circle of 2-3 range officers with his arms folded across his chest.

D. The range officers spin the shooter around in a circle for approximately one minute to create the dizziness effect.

E. After the one minute, the range officer will give the command “Go,” at which point the spinning will stop and the shooter must attempt to get to his weapon while dizzy and dazed.

F. Upon reaching his weapon, the shooter will take a shooting position on his knees or prone and engage the targets in a rapid fire manner.

Results

It is rare that a shooter in the class has been able to hit all his targets while dizzy, although there have been some exceptions. This exercise involves a great deal of humor, along with a certain reality among the class in witnessing each other’s reactions while dizzy.

This exercise has proven to be a positive illustration for the recruits, teaching them the risks of carrying a firearm while consuming alcoholic beverages in a social setting with other officers or their families. It also allows them to experience the symptoms of suffering a bullet wound so they can be aware of how it will affect their accuracy. Once recruits are aware, they can learn how combat those symptoms and regain a measure of accuracy when shooting. I encourage officers to assume a shooting position low to the ground such as kneeling, sitting, or prone. Experience has revealed that the longer you attempt to stand while suffering from shock the more likely you are to faint.

I also encourage recruits and veteran officers to remain in the fight until the threat is down or stopped. Fainting during the fight is not an option. The officer is expected to give 100% to the end and hope for a positive outcome.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

New Product: Action Target Introduces New Sport Plate Rack

Action Target is pleased to announce the release of the Sport Plate Rack. Now you can train like the pros without spending a fortune!

The Sport Plate Rack gives you all the training benefits of our full-size Plate Rack for only a fraction of the price. With six 4” armor steel plates that fall when hit, shooting on the Sport Plate Rack provides instant visual feedback and reinforces accurate shots. And after the targets have all been knocked down, they can be easily reset by pulling the cable attached to the reset lever.

The Sport Plate Rack’s no-weld design and reactive knock down action are ideal for serious target training, but the price makes it affordable for just about anyone. Because it is designed for .22 rimfire ammunition*, this target is also great for family outings, camping trips, or teaching children how to shoot.

The Sport Plate Rack comes with a 30′ reset cable, your choice of a 1′, 2′, 3′, or 4′ stand, and six 4” target plates made of AR500 armor steel that can be easily reversed and interchanged without tools.

*The Sport Plate Rack is made of 1/4” thick AR500 armor steel and is designed for use with .22 rimfire ammunition only. Using ammunition other than .22 rimfire may result in damage to the target.

Order your Sport Plate Rack today!

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New Video: Rob Leatham Trains with the AT Static

World champion shooter Rob Leatham knows being a well-rounded competitor takes a lot more than just speed. Accuracy is essential because it doesn’t matter how many shots you fire, it’s how many times you hit the target. In this video Rob shows how to increase accuracy while shooting fast with the AT Static Target .

 

Click the video player to watch the video

Understanding Sight Gears

By John Krupa III of Spartan Tactical Training Group and Action Target Academy

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

As a professional trainer, my research and experience have brought me to the conclusion that shooters use sights three different ways when responding to deadly force situations. I call them Sight Gears, as the shooter switches or changes “gears” in how they use their sights based on reaction to existing threats.

  • Sight Gear #1 = Perfect Sight Alignment – Is typically used under controlled conditions where the shooter is not subject to stress related factors that are conducive with the physiological response of the body under stress. The heart rate is under 140 BPM and the shooter minimizes movement, seeking the “perfect” shot. This gear is most commonly used during shots involving distance (usually 25 yards and beyond) or surgical shot placement where the shooter needs to make a partial body shot or head shot on a threat up close.
  • Sight Gear #2 = The Flash Sight Picture – This gear rules the world of gun fighting, especially with handguns! It is considered a complex motor skill where the shooter still has the ability to see/use their sights and is not affected by vasoconstriction. The heart rate is around 140 to 160 BPM and combat breathing is required to control the heart rate and flood the body with oxygenated blood to keep vasoconstriction at a minimum. The sight picture is no longer perfectly still during execution of the shot (usually due to dynamic action) and the front sight “wobbles” in the rear sight box, independently from the overall movement of the sight picture. Combat hits come quicker using this method; however, shot placement is managed by selecting an area to hit on the threat vs. a precise point of impact. We call this application Tactical Speed Shooting. This sight gear is most commonly used with handguns from 15 yards to as close as two yards.
  • Sight Gear #3 = Front Sight Proximity Shooting – This gear is used when the shooters heart rate is roaring at about 165 to 180 BPM. The shooter is limited to gross motor skills and vasoconstriction has temporarily impaired the ability to focus on the front sight. Binocular vision and focus will remain on the threat until combat breathing reduces the heart rate and oxygenated blood is restored back to the eyes. We call this Front Sight Proximity Shooting, as the top of the handgun and front sight area are visible to the shooter in the peripheral, but completely out of focus (when the pistol is at full extension and indexed on target). Using this technique, the shooter is conditioned to be aware of the handguns proximity in relation to the threat and is able to get multi-shot, devastating hits on the threat quickly by indexing the pistol to where the shooter is looking. When we run the 6-shot drills in our pistol courses using this sight gear, we are seeing shooters get six hits on target, in about a 4” to 6” group on the threats center mass in an average of 1.00 to 1.25 seconds! Conditioned shooters are applying six rounds in sub .90 seconds! This gear is most commonly used by shooters during spontaneous deadly-force confrontations at three yards and in.

While this is a general summary of what we teach in our training courses, the goal of this article is to encourage instructors to prepare students to learn how to use their sights other than just perfect sight alignment!

For more information about our training courses, visit our website www.TeamSpartan.com

As always, stay safe and Fight to Win!

John Krupa III
Master Firearms Instructor
President / Director of Training
Spartan Tactical Training Group, LLC

About John Krupa III

John is an active duty police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL.) and has more than 21 years of experience in LE. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, FTO, and firearms instructor with Chicago PD. He is a graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA, and FLETC. John is founder and president of Spartan Tactical Training Group, Director of Training for the DS Arms LE Training Division and has previously presented at training conferences across the country with the AFTE, ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MidTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA.

Action Target’s Tactical Torso

Action Target is pleased to announce its newest target – the AT Tactical Torso. The AT Tactical Torso is the upgraded version of the popular AT Torso. With two swinging plates to simulate the lethal head and center mass zones, you get instant visual feedback from hitting the right spot. Unlike similar targets, you do not have to shoot the swinging plates back into place. The two plates swing vertically from hinges above the shoot zones allowing them to fall back into place after each hit.

The AT Tactical Torso’s target-within-a-target design is perfect for realistic tactical training situations. Instead of just firing at a large torso target where anything that hits counts, the AT Tactical Torso forces shooters to focus their aim on the small lethal areas of the torso increasing accuracy and precision.

The torso and swinging plates are made of through hardened AR550 armor steel with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets allowing you to shoot safely without fear of ricochet or splatter. The rear hinge brackets are also made of armor steel (AR500) to minimize wear and tear from daily use and provide you with a lifetime of tactical training.

Get your AT Torso today!

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Indoor vs. Outdoor Shooting Ranges: What You Should Know Before You Start Building

By Chris Hart, Action Target Range Consultant

Everybody has their own preference when it comes to shooting ranges. Some people like the open-air feel of an outdoor range where they can shoot steel targets at 500 yards while others prefer the air conditioned comfort of indoor ranges where target distance can be controlled with the push of a button. Both have pros and cons and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there are some things you need to consider before building a range to make sure you are providing your future customers with what they want and need. To better help you in the decision making process, here are some pros and cons for both outdoor and indoor shooting ranges.

Outdoor Ranges

PROS

Action Target Line of Fire with Swing Up TargetOutdoor ranges generally require less expensive equipment. An outdoor shooting range can be as simple as a shooting line and a dirt backdrop or as complex as a law enforcement proving ground with moving targets and realistic tactical simulations. Either way, the equipment you need for an outdoor range will probably be less expensive than an indoor range because you don’t need a building to house it in.

Outdoor ranges can provide a greater range of shooting with appropriate berms. While indoor ranges are generally limited to shooting straight ahead from a fixed position, outdoor ranges allow shooters to participate in tactical training with up to 180 degrees of firing mobility. The more flexibility your range offers, the more realistic your training scenarios will be.

In addition to increased firing mobility, outdoor ranges also allow for greater tactical training freedom. Training at an outdoor range can include multiple firing stations, a greater range of distance, vehicle scenarios, and terrain-based exercises.

With an outdoor range, you are less limited in the ammo you can use. While indoor ranges are sometimes restricted to bullets within a certain muzzle velocity and bullet type, most outdoor shooting ranges are virtually unrestricted. Some outdoor ranges are even capable of handling incendiary rounds and artillery fire. While training of this kind may not be necessary or even desirable at your range, the capability is available. Outdoor ranges can also more safely accommodate shooting steel targets.

CONS

Building an outdoor range requires expensive earthwork and soil engineering. Not all sites are immediately suitable for an outdoor shooting range and may require extensive excavation to ensure bullet containment. The less suitable the site, the more money you will have to spend to make sure the backdrop and containment systems meet federal regulations and local statutes. You also may have to bring in power, water, and sewage hook ups from a long distance away, thus increasing the cost and adding to the needed infrastructure of roads, parking lots, and other development.

Due to the open-air nature of outdoor ranges, however, complete bullet containment is usually impractical due to expense. This is why location is such an important element in the building of an outdoor range. Outdoor shooting ranges must be built in an area where an errant shot that goes over the backstop is incapable of doing damage; this is referred to as Surface Danger Zone (SDZ). This can require building the range in a remote area far from the city, and being far from civilization means your customers are going to have to travel a longer distance to use the range.

It is inherently difficult to contain lead and noise at an outdoor range, and as housing encroaches on formerly uninhabited areas, more and more outdoor shooting ranges are being shut down. While the location of your outdoor range may seem safe from housing development, conditions can quickly change and endanger the future of your range. You must try to plan for variables that could affect your outdoor range in the long term future.

Indoor Ranges

PROS

Because indoor ranges can easily be built in the middle of cities, they are much more convenient for customers. For commercial ranges, that means increased visibility and accessibility. For law enforcement, that means a cut in overtime costs for police departments because officers don’t have to travel as far as they would to train at an outdoor range. They can also easily train during inclement weather conditions that would be more difficult on an outdoor range.

Technological improvements are making indoor ranges a more viable option for tactical training. Ballistic doors can allow vehicles to enter the range for training scenarios, lighting can be adjusted to simulate daylight and low light situations, sound effects can be played over the loud speakers to induce stress or simulate a combat environment, and bullet traps like the Total Containment Trap from Action Target allow for increased flexibility in shooting across firing lanes or at moving targets.

For commercial ranges, an indoor shooting range can provide a significant retail avenue. When combined with a retail firearm and an ammunition store, indoor ranges can be highly profitable ventures. Customers are more likely to buy ammo at the range where they shoot and are more likely to buy a gun if there is an opportunity to try it out on a shooting range first.

CONS

Indoor shooting ranges are more expensive to build and require a building to house them. For an indoor range you need to either build a new building from scratch or find a building that meets municipal requirements for parking, sound, and zoning that can be properly retrofitted to house an indoor range. Indoor shooting ranges also often require a target retrieval system, ceiling baffles, fully ballistic walls, bullet traps, a ventilation system, and lighting. All together, the equipment and facility costs can greatly exceed that of an outdoor range.

Indoor ranges are sometimes limited in the caliber and type of bullet that can be fired, depending on the range equipment chosen. The use of old or home-made bullet traps and the increased risk of ricochet that comes with an indoor shooting range naturally limits shooting capabilities. While modern bullet traps provided by Action Target can handle up to .50 BMG, many older indoor ranges cannot allow the use rifle calibers because their old range equipment designs will not safely stop rifle rounds. Because of size and sound constraints, some ranges don’t allow rifle shooting at all.

Indoor ranges also require costly range ventilation systems to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. For the health of yourself and your future customers, I should mention that your typical local HVAC contractor usually cannot properly design and install the type of system required for a clean and safe indoor range that I would shoot in with my own family. Ask your ventilation contractor how many indoor range ventilation systems they have designed and also ask them what design criteria is required to meet OSHA and EPA requirements. If they cannot guarantee that their system will meet these requirements, you might be making a costly mistake.

Rely on the Experts for Help

Whether you are deciding to build an indoor or an outdoor range, I recommend you contact the Action Target representative in your region and they will be happy to answer any questions you have and will help you determine what type of range and what equipment will best fit your needs and budget. They build hundreds of new ranges every year and will be able to draw on their vast experience and resources to help advise you with your project.

Please note, the tips included in this message have been found to be helpful for many clients throughout the years but may not apply in all situations. Please use judgment in determining which tips will be helpful in your particular situation.

Rob Leatham Trains with the Action Target Hostage

24-time national champion and 5-time world champion Rob Leatham didn’t get to where he is today by luck. In order to be the best, you have to train better than anyone else and that requires daily focused training and superior equipment. In this video, Rob shows how to get the most out of your Action Target Hostage with shooting drills and tips from the pro.

Click the video player to watch the video

Team Building Concepts: Training Exercises That Will Bring Your Team Together

BY SGT. BRIAN C. SMITH

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in S.W.A.T. magazine in September 1999. The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Over the years, I have trained many police and private security officers in tactical-team operations. I find that the most difficult phase of the training class is the beginning, where I stress teamwork to a group of individuals who are reluctant to cooperate during the first phase of training. This can be due to a lack of familiarity with the other participants in the class, a lack of experience with team concepts, or individual ego problems.

When the topic of teamwork comes up, my first thought, like that of most other people, is of athletic teams, such as basketball and football. My conceptualization of exactly what a team is became somewhat more enlightened when, recently, I watched a team of fire department paramedics work frantically to treat a gunshot victim on a police call that I responded to. The medical jargon, coordination, and smooth choreography of their actions while using their emergency equipment, were a strong indication that they had practiced this scenario before. This incident prompted me to inquire about how often firefighters from several different fire departments trained together to prepare for a crisis. To my surprise, they trained as a team more often than the patrol division of the police department in my area. At the police agency where I’m employed, a five-minute roll call is not sufficient time to discuss topics of survival or practice a tactical scenario that the officer might encounter during his tour.

I also recently attended a circus with my two-year old daughter and watched the high-wire event, where an acrobatic team of four balanced themselves on one bicycle and rode on a tightrope from one platform to another without a mishap. This feat could not have been accomplished without many hours of practicing together as a team, bringing all the principles of teamwork into play. These principles are referred to as The Three C’s: Communication, Coordination, and Cooperation.

Our team’s philosophy of team-building, attempts to phase out the individual mind-set and bring all the members of the team together as one to complete a difficult task. The team members must have confidence that each member will do his part in any given assignment. Each member must know his individual responsibility and what is expected of him in order to perform the task successfully.

Communication is extremely important; a team, organization, or group cannot operate efficiently without communication. This can take the form of verbal or written communication, hand signals, or facial expressions, and must be comprehended by everyone involved to be effective. Coordination follows when each person is assigned a responsibility and performs when expected to. Cooperation is the final step in this team-concept triad. Here, everyone involved is willing to perform and participate.

Discipline is another concept that helps develop team camaraderie during the introduction of the class. A series of guidelines is presented to the group, along with the degree of discipline the group will endure as a whole. In our tactical-team training class, violation of any stipulation in the guidelines would result in a maximum of five push-ups, depending on the severity of the violation.

It’s inevitable that, at some point, someone in the group will commit an infraction for any number of reasons, and, as the group is subject to serving its punishment, one can see the camaraderie developing and the group coming together as a team.

Provided in this article is a low-cost program of team-building events that has proved effective and beneficial in our tactical-team training. It has also been helpful for other types of groups that aim to create a team mind-set among their members, and can, likewise, do the same for your team. The objective of these exercises is to enhance planning, coordination, and communication. This will also create confidence and trust among team members and is what makes the difference between a mere group of individuals and a real team.

LIVE-WIRE EVENT

  • Details: Must get the entire team inside the three-sided structure without touching the ropes or poles. Once inside the structure, the entire team must exit again without touching the structure.
  • Penalty: If any team member touches any part of the structure, the team must start the entire exercise from the beginning.
  • Equipment: Rope, dowel rods, and tent stakes. Structure is in a triangular formation.

CONFIDENCE FALL

  • Details: A member stands on a ladder or platform at an estimated height of four feet. The remaining members must form a human net to catch the person falling backward. Note: the faller must put his hands in his trouser pickets, as a safety precaution, to prevent members of the human net from being struck in the face during the fall. The faller must alert the human net when he is ready to start so that they are prepared to catch him. The participants should be advised not to make jokes about not catching the faller due to the anxiety this creates. Such negative comments could prove to be counterproductive.
  • Penalty: If the faller bends at the waist as he falls, this reflects a lack of confidence and trust in the team, they must repeat the exercise.
  • Equipment: Stepladder or stationary platform.

BLINDMAN’S SOCCER

  • Details: The group is divided into two teams, which are distinguished by colored bandannas; these are also used as blindfolds. One member is selected from each of the two teams to post as the blindfolded player, and one member from the same team is designated to give voice commands for the player to follow on where to kick the ball.
  • Penalty: Player must remain blindfolded while the exercise is in session or forfeits the game.
  • Equipment: Soccer ball or equivalent and bandannas of two different colors to blindfold the players.

LOG MOVEMENT

  • Details: With a regimented effort, the team must move an eight-foot, 4″x 4″ wood beam with 16 feet of heavy rope that is tied at both ends of the beam. This exercise cannot be completed until the team comes together as one, which sometimes takes a while. You will witness frustration at the start of this event. The maximum number of members on a beam is ten; the minimum is four. Each member faces the same direction with the same foot resting on the beam, and the rope must rest over the same shoulder. The members must move the beam a distance of 75 feet without their hands, then, on command of the instructor, switch positions, facing the opposite direction with the opposite foot on the beam and the rope resting on the opposite shoulder. The team then proceeds back to the starting point.
  • Penalty: Should any member’s foot come off the beam or the rope come off the shoulder, the team must return to the starting point.
  • Equipment: One eight-foot 4″ x 4″ wood beam per ten people and one 16 foot rope per team.

BALANCE-BEAM SHUFFLE

  • Details: Six to eight members line up randomly on a eight-foot, 6″x 6″ wood beam or railroad tie. Each person faces in the opposite direction of the person beside him. Without verbal communication or stepping off the beam, the members are to determine who’s the oldest and youngest, then maneuver their positions so that the oldest person is at a designated end of the beam, with the younger members following in sequence to the opposite end.
  • Penalty: If any member’s foot touches the ground or if he makes any verbal sounds, all team members must stop and return to their original positions.
  • Equipment: One eight-foot, 6″x 6″ wood beam or a railroad tie per six to eight team members.

BLINDMAN’S FORMATION LINE

  • Details: The team is instructed to line up and sound off in numerical order. An area, such as a wall or fences, is designated as the starting point, where the team is to line up in sequence perpendicular to the starting point in the same numerical order. The members are blindfolded and spread out, then given the command to start. Without verbal communication, the members are to find the starting point and then line up in order. The first attempt will appear chaotic, but if the team is allowed to orchestrate a plan just prior to the second attempt, this exercise will appear a lot less complicated.
  • Penalty: If any verbal comments are made or if anyone removes his blindfold, the exercise is stopped and resumed from the beginning.
  • Equipment: Cloth bandannas to use as blindfolds.

BLINDMAN’S CONFIDENCE RUN

  • Details: One member is blindfolded and positioned to run toward a fixed structure (such as a wall or fence) from a distance of approximately 50 feet. The remaining team members are to line up in front of the structure to catch the runner and prevent the runner from colliding with the structure. No verbal sounds are to be made by the team so that the runner isn’t able to judge distance when approaching the structure.
  • Penalty: If the runner slows down prior to approaching the structure, this indicates a lack of trust or confidence in the team, and the exercise must be repeated.
  • Equipment: One bandanna to blindfold the runner.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

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LETC 2012

For over 20 years, Action Target has been holding the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help law enforcement departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. This year’s LETC will be held September 10-14 in Utah County.

The registration form for LETC can be found at https://www.actiontarget.com/calendar under the “More Info” column for Sept. 10-14. Instructions on how to submit your registration can be found at the bottom of page.

Registration will be reserved for the first 160 applicants, so apply today!

 

Click to watch highlights from LETC 2011.