Sunday, March 31, 2024

Ed Monk’s Active Shooter Instructor Class -- An After Class Review

I recently attended Ed Monk’s Active Shooter Instructor class at Karl Rehn’s KR Training facility. The counter Active Shooter Instructor class is a two-day course for firearm instructors structured to provide an outline for experienced firearms instructors to develop and teach citizens, law enforcement, churches, schools, and businesses an effective active shooter response program. The classroom training provided extensive coverage of trends, lessons-learned, and valuable insight into the reality of an active shooter attack.

The Federal Government defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” In addition to the term “active shooter,” several other terms to describe someone committing these atrocities are in use in the United States including mass murderer, active killer, mass shooter, active mass murderer, and probably others. Many within the firearms community decry the use of “active shooter” because a first responder deploying a firearm is in fact an active shooter as well. Ed stated that he uses the term “active shooter” because that term is the one most used in the United States.

Time and math. While it is theoretically possible to stop an active shooter before he causes any casualties, it is statistically unlikely. The question then becomes “How many casualties are acceptable?” This number is a function of time and math. Ed’s research indicates that the typical active shooter will shoot someone every ten seconds. Therefore in 30 seconds, on average the shooter will shoot three people.

I live in the small city of Garden Ridge, TX. Occasionally the Garden Ridge Police Department hosts short, private-citizen  active shooter response classes. In an announcement for a class, the Garden Ridge PD stated that: “Once notified, law enforcement will respond as quickly as possible with an average response time of three minutes.” Few would argue that three minutes is a good response time; however, in three minutes, the average shooter will have shot eighteen people. Some active shooters shoot many more than one every ten seconds in the initial moments of the attack so the casualty numbers in three minutes could be much higher.

Ed discusses the skills, tactics, techniques, and mindset necessary to stop an active shooter. Per Ed: “The best way to save the most lives once an active shooter attack starts . . . is to stop the shooter quickly!” The most successful technique is to attack the shooter and shoot him down. Other techniques include causing him to commit suicide and/or disabling the shooter or his weapon. Ed also discusses the unfortunate fact facing those who choose to be or are forced to be unarmed: you can fight (unarmed) or watch him shoot people.

Ed provides detailed data and analysis of all varieties of active shooter incidents and locations. He then provides an overview showing how to design and manage training specifically for the different types of locations where active shooter events typically occur.

Since this was an instructor class, the range training focused on live-fire drills and scenarios that train and assess skills critical to stopping this threat. The range training discussed how to run scenarios using both 3D and photo targets and how to manage these decision-based scenarios.

Hunting an Active Shooter


Found Him

I have taken enough training over the years that I consider the class a success if I walk away with one or two new concepts or instructional techniques. Ed Monk’s Active Shooter Instructor class was worth the time and effort to attend—I learned a lot and walked away with a wealth of new material.

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Monday, March 18, 2024

My Friend Could Not Stop the Bleed

A close friend of mine died recently—he shot himself in the left femoral artery and bled to death. It may have been an accident or it may have been intentional, the totality of recent circumstances in his life leave me and his other friends in doubt. We will never know with certainty; however, we do know that regardless of the original intent, he did try to apply a tourniquet but was not successful.

This prompted some reflection on my part. I consulted a friend of mine (Troy M.), a retired emergency room physician and my wife (also a former ER physician) and asked that given a “worst case scenario” how fast could you bleed out from a cut femoral artery? They both stated that worse case would be 60 – 90 seconds depending upon where and how the artery was damaged.

If the worst case is that you are by yourself (as my friend was), dealing with the shock and trauma from a gunshot, and with a 60 second clock ticking, digging through boxes to find the tourniquet you need to save your life is probably not going to work.

I tend to handle firearms in only two places in my home – the master bedroom and my workroom. The master bedroom is where I don and remove my every day carry pistol and my workroom is where I dry practice, clean, and maintain firearms.

Our master bedroom doubles as our safe room, so we have a complete trauma kit with tourniquets properly staged and other medical supplies ready to treat gunshot wounds and to stop the bleed.

That was not the case in my workroom. Although I do store medical supplies in my workroom, I did not have anything properly staged and ready for immediate use. I have corrected that oversight. Rest in peace my friend.