Video from TTAG’s School Shooting Simulation

This video, courtesy of the Record Journal, shows one of the scenarios we ran this weekend in order to gather data about school shootings and whether an armed teacher would be effective in stopping or slowing down an active shooter. In the video, an armed teacher successfully keeps a shooter from entering the room even when he has no advanced warning, must draw from concealment and has no idea whether the next time the door opens it will be the shooter. Sure it may be on a smaller scale, but I think it will give us enough data for a quick analysis and let us start thinking about how we can do something like this on a larger scale. We have tons of video from yesterday and we’ll be posting it along with a full analysis of our findings shortly. And by “shortly” I mean as soon as RF can FedEx the cameras to me.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

30 Responses to Video from TTAG’s School Shooting Simulation

  1. avatarCoyote Gray says:

    Any chance you could share the test details? Assumptions? Scenario? Premise? Any write up to accompany the video?

    Thanks

  2. avatarSanchanim says:

    Yes as soon as any data can be presented all the better. My hope is this will shed light on what we have been saying all along.

  3. avatarTim McNabb says:

    Your “teacher” sure got his piece out in a hurry. Very interested if the threat was neutralized.

    In IDPA shooting, the targets have to have two shots in a “neutralized” zone, typically in center of mass or head.

    Here, the bad guy here got the first shots in, and the “teacher” got return fire in. I count seven adults in very tight quarters. It looked like fish in a barrel. Appears to me that at least three were hit.

    Still, if the BG was lethally hit, then the casualties were limited to only those in the room. If this is the case, epic win compared to 26.

  4. avatarRob says:

    First, that looks like it was very fun, and I’m a little jealous.

    Okay, now here are some, hopefully helpful, criticisms for next time perhaps.

    These are just for that short video, I don’t know what else you did that day.

    1. That isn’t an completely accurate setup for a classroom in my opinion. The chairs are too close together. You’d need to add small desks, and the needed space for those desks for more accuracy.

    2. Likewise, you’d need to add some backpacks to the simulation to make it more realistic.

    Google images for “college classroom” or “high school classroom”, or even just go into any high school/college class, and look at the set up that students have for themselves. They all have backpacks at their feet, books/laptops/ipads on their desks, and there is a lot more space between them to have some level of “wiggle room” to move around.

    3. You should try a different set up for the chairs, not all classrooms have chairs facing the front, some have a ring of chairs, some have a circle of chairs, some have groups of desks to make larger work areas, some even have the chairs with their backs to the door (an incredibly stupid and dangerous setup to me…) so that the teacher can face the door.

    I look forward to seeing something like this on a larger scale!

    • avatarg says:

      What Rob said. Pretty small for an actual classroom… if you need an advice about how modern classrooms are usually set-up, especially elementary, let me know – but the number of kids that would be working in a room that small would probably be 5.

      For a classroom of about 20 kids, you’d need a room at LEAST 3 times as big. And many teachers organize their kids in table groups / pods besides the traditional “rows”.

  5. avatarMark W. says:

    One thing – I hope that the “shooter” did not know that the teacher would be armed. You have to set this up so that it’s double blind – the person carrying concealed does not know who/what/when and the shooter does not know who/what/when. This makes it more complicated to setup but it’s a better test. As the “shooter” if I know that we’re testing to see if an armed teacher can stop me then who do you think I’m going for first? At the most I should only know that someone may be armed and even then that might be too much to accurately test.

    All that to say that I hope your “shooter” did not know who would be armed, where they would be in the room, etc.

  6. avatarhasdrubal says:

    Two points. First, I think this was more to show the concept in action instead of modeling a specific classroom layout.

    Second, if this ever becomes common practice, then it’s good for the attacker to know the teacher is armed. Where a competent, trained, and courageous man would attack the threat, mass shooters are historically cowards who seek out helpless victims and kill themselves at the first sign of a challenge.

    As others here have said, this is why they go to gun free zones.

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      I have to agree. This is a great first step.
      Imagine in real life as frightening as that is, 20 or so scared, freaked out kids scrambling.
      Of course it is hard to simulate the real thing, but having said that, this is an attempt to show that while it might not stop everything it certainly has a good chance of stopping the carnage.
      Now we also need to consider what if the person in the front of the school was armed, the shooter might not even make it to the class room.
      I know they did multiple scenarios. I am interested to see the statistics.

  7. avatartjlarson2k says:

    Are there going to be multiple cameras for all scenarios so everyone can see how this plays out from the student / teacher perspective along with the active shooter perspective? Hopefully you also have first person perspective views so we can really see what we’re dealing with regarding shooter engagement and FOV?

    Because that’s a worthwhile secondary study to conduct:

    How to setup a classroom to be as tactically disadvantageous to an active shooter entry as possible. And how to set it up so it’s as advantageous as can be for an armed teacher to respond to a threat — that’s something that can be implemented sooner than later.

    Also, it may be a good idea to include a running timer so people have an idea just how fast things really occur in an active shooter scenario.

  8. avatarFelix says:

    I’m curious how much time elapses from when the teacher and students enter the classroom and when the shooter invades, and what the teacher and students are doing. A proper simulation ought to have the class going for anywhere from a minute to an hour, and actually doing classroom stuff, like drawing on the board, reading from books, and maybe even shooting spitballs :-)

  9. avatarSam says:

    I think you also need to look at the door. The current configuration gives the teacher a second or two to react. If the door opened out, instead of in, the shooter has more range to fire. Additionally, if the teacher is facing the door as it opens the teacher could be first to be shot. Not all doors and classrooms are configured like your model. Most of the schools I have been in the door opens out.

    And I agree this need to be double blind.

    Also, some one who is not well practiced with the gun should stand in for the teacher.

    The target audience for these results should not other gun enthusiasts. The audience should be those who are undecided or slightly against. With that in mind, I think you need to be more objective, and slightly biasis against yourself, in your model setup and the corresponding analysis.

    • avatarg says:

      Because of hallway space, most classroom doors open inward, instead of out in the hall. Then again, it depends on the age of the building and the size of the room.

  10. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    Why wasn’t anyone talking during the lead-up to the attack?

  11. avataruncommon_sense says:

    Please keep in mind that an attacker is pretty much guaranteed to injure/kill the first few people that they attack because the attacker has the element of surprise and any defenders are somewhat relaxed.

    As soon as any defenders hear gunfire or victims yelling/screaming, defenders will then be able to promptly stop the attacker — or at least greatly slow down the attacker and seriously reduce the number of victims.

  12. avatarDavid says:

    Much respect for the class and those taking the class. The easiest thing to do is nothing and you have chosen a different path (again kudos). The next easiest thing is to sit behind a keyboard and criticize those who do something – which is what I am about to do :)

    Most of the security for schools, both real and potential, is aimed at a perpetrator committing his/her deeds on school grounds. It is a different ball game when something resembling a stand off attack goes down. In fact this has happened a few times already. The Stockton Schoolyard Shooting in 1989 had elements of a stand off attack.

    Stomping a shooter(s) who never has to get through security is harder – granted the perp is not in a confined building when that happens (usually to his disadvantage). Or how about a field trip? Or just off campus 5 minutes after school is let out? How about a million other soft targets that are not schools?

    We cannot merely plan for the attack that just happened. We have to prepare for
    numerous scenarios, especially the one that has not happened yet -because it will.

    If this task seems to daunting its because it is. No society has the recources for this many people going crazy and starting to randomly shoot people. I do not think armed guards will help much and I think gun control will help less.

    • avatarjwm says:

      Society does have the resources to minimize the damage caused by these spree killers and run of the mill bad guys. It’s called constitutional carry. If the average citizen has the right to tool up each and every time he/she leaves home that makes the spree killer and bandit the target. Not the other way around.

      • avatarrightontheleftcoast says:

        This. IF the President and Congress would use their time to standardize CC permits, and training requirements, MUCH more good would be done for school safety, and crime reduced.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        JWM,

        Excellent. Although not a perfect simulation, this study is much more scientific than asking ‘what if’ from a Senator’s on high office protected by armed security. It is obvious to me that a trained teacher or aide, carrying concealed, is clearly capable of stopping an armed threat.

        However, I can see the anti’s saying that their are no books out, appears to be no conversation, and it doesn’t look like the teacher is trying to teach anything. Some of that would add a much greater degree of realism.

        Still, I’m excited about this study, and TTAG making this bold move. Cheers, guys. I’m curious how Frankenstein would view this. Oops, meant to day Feinstein. It’s really tough to type on an iPhone keyboard sometimes.

  13. avatarJAS says:

    Two words: Perimeter Defense…

    The first thing they teach in the armed forces when defending a static position. Any intruder that gets through the perimeter will surely cause unnecessary casualties. Every other defense inside the perimeter is last ditch and wishful thinking.

    Let that sink in for a bit….

  14. avatarIn Memphis says:

    Well its public. My mother just found an article about your simmulation on a fox news mobile site. Ill see if I can find a link

  15. avatarjoesxm says:

    There might be some flaws with the simulation but it was the best that we could do with the resources at hand.

    Being a role player I learned a lot. The arrival of the shooter is sudden. Sitting their waiting to be selected to be shot is a helpless feeling.

    The scenario where the teacher heard the shots then set up to defend the students had a close to 100% teacher success rate. A few students got shot in some scenarios but overall it was a good outcome.

    Think of this, even if the shooter manages to slaughter one room of students, if he can be take out by a teacher or school guard before starting on the next room it is better than police staging and waiting for SWAT.

    Another thing that was apparent is that the teachers need to be properly trained. You could tell the difference between the role players who could rapidly present their weapon from concealment and those who got tangled in their sweater.

    I managed to protect 100% of my students during the three scenario runs where I was a teacher, although I took fatal hits one time, using my body to block the shots on the students.

    Here is the link to a somewhat slanted NBC video. I am sure that TTAG will have better video but this has some of the scenarios, including one where I took the offensive against the shooter and neutralized him before he could shoot any of my students. I am the guy in the blue denim jacket.

    Another role player, a retired cop, executed a textbook head shot on a bad guy using a hostage as a shield. He is shown in the video in the olive jacket, but the did not show his excellent head shot. He was later interviewed on the NBC spot but they only used about 1% of what he said and skipped mentioning that he was a cop.

    Here is the link to the NBC

    • avatarg says:

      +1 Thanks for posting your experiences, and volunteering to be a part of the simulation!

      Hopefully the data will be used to convince more people that teachers like myself should be allowed to choose how to defend our students.

  16. avatarTZH says:

    +1 on looking forward to the data on this sim.

    I’m all for having defenders at a school, I prefer an armed guard depending on how many students or how big the area needs to be protected.

    Thing is I and many of my friends are victims of really mean teachers. Abusive sorts who resorted to physical violence to punish our “bad” behavior.

    The thought of them carrying a gun in class would have terrified us into some kind of trauma.

    I say stick with professional security guards.

    Teachers, I love them. Just not the bad ones, and there will always be some of those out there.

  17. avatarC says:

    I was a participant in these simulations.

    Although they were not perfect and there needs to be far more simulations run, we found that an armed teacher made a difference. I think the data will support this. Nick had a thorough list of data that he was collecting as the scenarios took place. This is just the beginning.

    In the video above, the teacher did not know when the shooter was going to enter. Students were sent out to the “bathroom” and then the shooter randomly entered. Obviously with no forewarning, the teacher was unable to take a defensive position. However, in later scenarios when shots were fired and lockdown was called in advance and the teacher was able to take a defensive position the aggressor was stopped before harming students.

    At Columbine, police took about 45 minutes until they entered the building. Active shooter response tactics changed. In Newtown it was about 10 mins until police entered the building. I think what all of us participants saw was what we need is a response time in seconds, not minutes.

    I wish we would have had more time to run a 100 of these for greater sample, but this is a start.

  18. avatarAPBTFan says:

    Maybe I’m the dick out of the bunch but given the hype so far I’m underwhelmed. In that scenario the “teacher” obviously knew the threat was coming through that door pretty quick. In a roughly choreographed scenario that everyone’s in on about the only lesson learned is how fast an expectant “teacher” in a controlled environment can pull a heater and use it.

    Compare that to a trained but unsuspecting history teacher in the midst of trying like hell to explain the role Gavrilo Princip played in the lead up to WWI to a bunch of knuckleheads then spring a shooter through the door. Even if gunfire erupts elsewhere in the school the teacher still has to deal with the whole “holy shit is this really happening?” before switching gears to “holy shit this really is happening!”. I’m not saying that armed teachers are bad in ANY way or wouldn’t make all the difference because they CAN and WILL but this sim to me doesn’t prove much.

  19. avatarjbeli dhia says:

    svp je veux savoirs les prix d’un simulateur de tir et ou je peut acheter un et le nom du société et le site web merci

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