SMITHVILLE, TEXAS — Combative Weapon Solutions is just one of a few select training centers focusing on training civilians on how to participate in an active shooting environment. These groups largely draw their training based upon recommendations of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Center at Texas State University — a think-tank that analyzes the statistics and applies methodology to try to get people out as safe as possible.
In a brilliant piece written by reporter Estefania Espinosa for Reporting Texas, she digs in deep to see what these groups are teaching, why, and what lessons we civilians can draw in developing our own protective strategies while dealing with active shooters in a workplace or other environment.
“Being a first responder and seeing how the world really is, what people are capable of doing, I realized the responsibility of carrying,” Lee Vernon, 42, said to Espinosa. “There’s not enough training out there … that deals with actual events that happen in the real world.”
Lee Vernon is the chief executive of Combative Weapon Solutions and he advises and oversees the execution of the class curriculum for students. Attending students are brought through a one hour safety and introduction briefing before doing some hands-on range time and then doing live-fire simulations with paintball guns and instructor supervision.
According to one FBI study cited by Espinosa, about 70% of the 160 active shooting events analyzed in the United States for the period of 2000 to 2013 happened in either a place of work or educational environment. Of those situations, 60% ended before the police arrived. And of that amount, 3.1% ended because a good guy (or gal) with a gun neutralized the attacker.
Don’t let the stats get you down. A lot of that has to do with the preparedness of the people involved in the active shooting event. Most people are either not trained or don’t have the mentality to handle a catastrophic scenario like that. As concealed carriers, it’s our responsibility to avoid conflict whenever possible. When we cannot avoid it, we fight.
Espinosa went on to speak with Chris Gray, one of the instructors for the course.
“Having a pre-existing plan drastically increases your chance to win,” Gray said.
According to curriculum instructions given by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Center at Texas State University, that plan should include the following:
- Avoid: Know where your nearest exit is. If that one is blocked, know where to find another.
- Deny: Barricade the door, turn out the lights.
- Defend: When all else fails, fight. If you don’t have a gun, find something to use. A chair leg, a heavy object wrapped in a sock — anything will do. Your job is to save your life.
David Austin, ALERRT program manager, doesn’t shy away from telling students and instructors that another big obstacle will likely be law enforcement.
“When the police show up, they’re going to have a hard time if they see two people with a gun,” Austin said. “[You should] follow commands of police officers, put your weapon down.”
Concealed Nation did an indepth article where we go more into detail about actions you can take as a concealed carrier after an active shooting event to distinguish yourself to police officers responding to the scene.
The ALERRT program and the courses that teach lessons that ALERRT researches and advocates for are essential to concealed carriers getting out into the world. By and large, your chances of ever being caught in an active shooting situation are almost negligible. Should you be in one, though, you’re going to want to know how to deal with appropriately.
“When you get a license to carry, you get very minimal training,” Austin said. “My suggestion would be to seek additional training through companies that do stress shooting.”
Learning to operate while under stress is a gigantic boon to not only you but those around you. Carrying concealed is a great first step, the next step is to train how you intend to fight.
If you’re in the Austin, Texas, area and want to sign up for some of the training Combative Weapon Solutions provides, check out their website here. Estefania Espinosa is a news desk editor for the Daily Texan and she writes brilliantly.