I got shot today. Several times. (I think 7 times after I tried to remember everything.) I got shot waiting in line at an ATM machine. I got shot in a convenience store. I got shot in a church parking lot. I got shot at a friends apartment complex. I got shot in a parking garage, three times. And then for good measure I got my throat slashed. No, I’m not writing this from beyond. I’m not sitting in a hospital bed recovering from my injuries. For as many times as I got shot and stabbed there is no physical indication of any of my injuries, because none of it was real.
My wife and I wanted to add something new to our training. A way to find the gaps that we had in our skill set and learn how to fill those gaps. There is a Gander Mountain not too far away from us that has a simulator. Police use it for training, and it is available to the public as well. It was eye-opening for both of us. The simulator is 300 degrees, so you must be on your toes and looking in every direction. It’s not a flat screen in front of you. The room is about 30 feet across, in any direction and there are about 6 or seven screens that run floor to ceiling. I went first while my wife waited outside. I’ll only talk about one or two of the scenarios, since my wife hasn’t gone through them yet. In one of the ones I don’t talk about, I’m like a near sighted proctologist; I shot at and missed the asshole
First scenario. I’m in a convenience store, back by the coolers with the drinks across from the Twinkies and Mrs. Baird’s fruit pies. Two guys come in the store. One immediately splits off to the left and disappears behind the aisles. First guy that came in walks up to the register, says something to the cashier that I can’t hear, and then he pulls a gun and shoots him. I draw my pistol and drop him instantly. I scan back and forth watching for which corner this other guy will come from. I look left. I look right. I look left. I look right, right down the barrel of the asshole who just drilled me and turned me into another chalk outline. Good situational awareness, bad motor skills. I’m not moving. I will do better next time.
Chris, the trainer who runs the simulator sets up the next scenario. Parking garage. 3 guys at a car get out. The guy in the driver’s seat is holding a tire iron and they are explaining that they are having car trouble. I move back away from them, explaining I can’t help them. They keep talking and I keep telling them to get bent, but politely. Bang. Are you shitting me? I turn around, and from behind me, from behind the hood of a car, I have been drilled in the back of the head.
The gun wasn’t mine. I was a special one they have for the simulator that uses a CO2 cartridge to cause recoil, modeled after a Glock 22. The trainer, Chris, was a Marine Corps veteran, and has admitted to having his ass handed to him more than a few times in the same simulator I just went through. He’ll even admit that some of the scenarios are deliberately no win situations. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from them, and improve. I would highly recommend doing this kind of training at least once, whether you carry a gun or not. If you do, you can learn some areas where you need to work on some skills. If you don’t, you can learn just why you need to, because literally any of these situations can happen to any one of us at any time. For about $30, you can spend about 30 minutes getting stressed out, and having fun learning in the process.
Does this replace real training from a licensed instructor? Absolutely not. This is just a mid-term exam before you go back to class to learn more. I hope you never have to have a final exam in this course of study though. I hope I never have to have that same final exam. I’ll do more mid-terms though, and as a way to pressure test your skills a little bit, I highly recommend getting “shot” a few times.