I was letting my son pick out a candy bar in a convenience store when I saw a shady looking fellow wearing a hood and carrying a bulky object come through the door and head towards the rear of the store.
I looked back at my son and told him to, “Get down, don’t move!” Then another man stepped through to door brandishing a large revolver. He pointed it at the clerk and started demanding cash. I drew my sidearm and yelled, “Police! Drop the weapon!” He turned his attention toward me but didn’t stop waving the pistol. I gave the same command a second time, and I saw a determined and crazy look come over his face. I fired my weapon 2-3 times until he dropped. My attention turned back towards my son and the hooded perp was behind him on the aisle raising a shotgun in our direction. I again commanded him to stop when I saw a muzzle flash and heard a boom. Another 3-4 shots from my pistol put him down on the ground.
Fortunately, this all happened in a training simulator and there was no lasting trauma or aftermath. The FBI in Alexandria, LA had allowed me to visit their law enforcement range and put me through several scenarios in their video training simulator. I went through over a dozen unique situations over half an hour armed with a Glock style laser gun that would indicate hits on the large video screen. The sessions were driven by the officer in charge of the computer system, and the scenarios could each be unique and either extinguish or accelerate on my actions. I was put to the test on traffic stops, drug busts, bank robberies, active shooters, and even innocent kids who discovered a revolver on a playground.
I surprised myself with my actions and emotions in these simulations. First – I’m a quiet guy, I didn’t think I would be able to use a commanding voice in front of these FBI Agents and police officers who were watching me. Boy was I wrong. The simulator draws you in to these situations and I was yelling commands at the top of my lungs to the video screen. Next – I was surprised at the emotions that it pulled. I watch action movies all the time, but to be close to the trauma in the simulator where I had a part was shocking. I felt an instant sense of guilt when I was unable to stop a criminal from hurting someone, I had to keep reminding myself – “It’s ok, that really didn’t happen. The no innocent life was lost.”
My total respect goes out to all the law enforcement and military officers who go through real situations that I only simulated. It must be tough. So train to the fullest. And to the rest of my fellow civilians out there – if you carry a firearm for protection, get training! There is a huge difference between shooting at static targets on a range and shooting for defense. This video simulator was an eye opener for me, and I know several businesses are installing them . If you get a chance to experience one, do it.
Train hard, shoot straight, and stay safe.