TTAG School Shooting Simulation – First Impressions

I saw something incredible at the school shooting simulation at King33 Training in Southington, Connecticut. It happened during a scenario where the teacher got a ten second heads-up that an active shooter was in the building. The shooter grabbed a student as a human shield. He opened the door to the mock classroom crouching behind the student with his rifle barrel protruding off the student’s side. Amidst all the noise and confusion, with students rushing for the corner (in lockdown mode), the teacher took aim and shot the active shooter in the face—over the hostage’s shoulder. Cease fire! Now you could say that this simulation didn’t prove a thing. I’m not here to argue the point . . .

Nick is gathering the data from some 20 run-throughs of four basic active shooter scenarios. TTAG’s Test and Review Editor (and former Department of Homeland Security terrorism risk analyst) will describe the experimental limitations involved and present his findings. You will be free to accept or reject the conclusions as you see fit.

But what I saw was simple enough: it is possible for an armed teacher without any law enforcement or military experience to stop a clever, well-armed active shooter dead in his tracks. Maybe not probable. Maybe not even likely. But possible. And that’s good enough for me.

Literally. I carry a gun because it gives me a chance—however slim—to defend myself against a lethal threat. Nothing I saw at King33 disabused me of this notion. And much that I saw made me wonder why any teacher in their right mind wouldn’t want to be armed.

Even in those controlled conditions, where everyone knew that a shooting was in the offing, I was amazed at the speed at which the chaos commenced and the ferocity of the tumult that followed. Even when the action seemed slow it was frighteningly fast.

In another scenario, an armed volunteer responded to shots fired in a classroom (without an armed teacher) from 25 yards out. The first responder seemed to take forever to get to the classroom; “pieing” this angle and that. At the same time, students spilled out of the classroom onto the floor of an extremely narrow hallway, straight towards the first responder.

I thought there was no way he’d get to the classroom before everyone remaining inside was shot. Not to mention the fact that the shooter knew he was coming.

I won’t reveal the stats involved: who shot how may rounds and how many vital or non-vital hits each shooter “scored.” Suffice it to say, the first responder got it done. He got shots on target. To my mind, that’s all that counts. Something is better than nothing.

Not the most unexpected of conclusions, I know. But as Sun Tzu warned back in 500 B.C., the map is not the territory. It’s one thing to say we should allow teachers to conceal carry a firearm, or have armed guards in our schools. It’s quite another to see what can happen when you do just that.

The result is not pretty; volunteers shared the horror of being completely defenseless against a [mock] murderer. But it is effective; in no case did an opposed shooter escape unscathed.

Again, I don’t expect anyone to take these experiments at face value. No doubt: those who are against the idea of good guys with guns in schools will condemn our methodology and reject the conclusions, no matter how carefully Nick presents them. But seeing is believing.

And we will be re-running these simulations, refining our methodology, doing our level best to make the sims more real-world relevant. To figure out not just whether or not someone with a gun should be protecting our children but who that should be and how they should be trained.

Meanwhile, thank you to all our volunteers for helping create this active school shooting simulation. I eagerly await Nick’s data and analysis, knowing that he will help us all by realizing this website’s mission to tell the truth about guns. No matter what.