Category Archives: Training

Armed Teachers – A Conversation

Really! It is an honest to goodness conversation about teachers being armed. The following is an exchange I had with an old friend of mine. It started elsewhere on social media and I moved my response here. I thought it would be more easily read and understood here.


To lay the ground work, no one that I am aware of is suggesting the compulsory carrying of firearms. The idea is that teachers can volunteer. There are already teachers who carry during the rest of their lives and would like to carry or at least have access to their firearm at work. That is the population we are talking about.

The only unfortunate question we have to ask. Would a gun be used more by a teacher protecting their students or would there actually be more cases of a student getting a hold of the gun, or a crazy teacher losing it and using it on their students, etc. etc.

That’s a great question without a single unfortunate thing about it. I’m glad we’re going to talk about this. Let’s start backwards. You have me on “etc.” as well as “etc.” ;) Next is a crazy teacher losing it and using the gun on the students. Every mass killing I can think of happened after some type of planning. I have not heard of any spontaneous or impromptu spree killings. Forbidding teachers to be armed would not prevent wacko teachers from wacking the students. Too, consider the increasing number of people carrying concealed.

Growing Concealed Carry

In every case where a Shall Issue concealed carry permitting system was introduced opponents claimed there would be “blood in the streets” with people shooting each other over traffic accidents and parking spaces. They claimed it would be a return to the “wild west” (by which they meant a return to Hollywood’s version of the old west which never really existed). What happened? People responsibly armed themselves. Statistically, concealed handgun permit holders are extraordinarily law abiding and I know of zero accounts of permit holders abruptly blowing a gasket and gunning down all in sight.

From this I see that forbidding teachers to be armed will not keep children any safer and allowing them to be armed will not expose them to additional danger.

Students getting the gun. Retention is always a dynamic one considers when carrying. You are considering where to put the gun that will be easy to live with, quick to access, not be seen, and kept there in a way so the gun stays put. While there are many ways of addressing retention for a teacher carrying on-body, the simple solution is off-body “carry” with the firearm in a safe.

[Shall issue means that if you meet a predetermined set of criteria (e.g. not a felon) the issuing agency SHALL/is required to issue a concealed handgun license. As an example you can see Oregon's requirements here: ORS 166.291]

My wife is a teacher, a very good one. She’s grown up around guns as her dad and brother are both hunters, but she, and many teachers we know could never be convinced to carry a gun to school.

I’ll bet she’s great! Like I said, I’m not advocating conscription, just volunteers.

The only logical place to have the gun would be concealed on them so they could access it quickly when needed…and, teachers I know don’t feel that it’s realistic with their jobs of squatting to work with students, sitting with students, playing with students, etc.

I think it is interesting how people without training or experience think they know what is involved in carrying and using a firearm for protection. I wouldn’t dream of telling your wife of what a developmentally appropriate curriculum is for any group of kids.

Actually, as far as defensive situations go, a teacher in a room has a fair amount of time to respond. Take the teacher who lied to the murderer in Connecticut about where the kids were. She knew he was coming and had time to hide all her kids. That would be plenty of time to get a gun out of a safe, especially one like this: Gun Vault

Most folks carrying concealed need to prepare for an ambush of some type. A mass murderer shooting up kids in a school is a frontal assault. I would not spend a lot of time teaching a teacher how to draw fast and efficiently if he or she was just preparing for this scenario.

Additionally, I don’t see the impossibility of on-body carry in the circumstances you describe. There are lots of guns as well as carry options. I’ve had my gun work loose once. That was after crawling around under a house for a couple hours. Without turning this into a primer on concealed carry options I’ll just say those activities are not insuperable barriers to intelligent and responsible on-body carry.

Would you like some examples of guns and holsters that might work?

Getting Off Axis

February 25th, 2011

Brownells is offering a really cool new product, the PT 3D Target. It is a reactive 3D target without a clear target indicator. This means you need to shoot until you have an effect on the target. It may take one shot and it may take several. One of the issues with training is getting in the habit of shooting a set number of rounds at a time. If you need to shoot a person it is important that you keep shooting until that person stops being a threat. This can be pretty difficult to simulate in training but the PT 3D target looks like it provides that kind of dynamic.

However, the video provided does not show very good training. There is a maxim, “Train how you fight because you’ll fight how you train.” You don’t need to have been in heavy Blackhawk Down style combat to see this is true. You only need to be in a mildly intense or stressful training situation to see that you don’t rise to the occasion but you sink to your level of training. Police officers have died because, just like they did in training, they did their shooting and then promptly reholstered. Now they are taught to take a careful look around and reholster “reluctantly.” I have to say that I feel pretty silly looking around for bad guys and slowly and deliberately reholstering when I know darn well there is no threat. I stopped caring about feeling silly after going through a few scenarios and being real glad I had good habits to fall back on.

There are several training mistakes in that video but I want to focus on just one. If you haven’t yet, watch the video. It’s only a minute or so. You saw that one of the big suggestions was to have the target charge the shooter. This is a very real threat. People, especially crazy people, will charge someone even if they are being shot at. Training for this situation is a VERY good idea. What is NOT a good idea is to train in the response of shuffling backwards directly in line with the threat’s charge. Moving backwards has two problems. First, you can’t see what is behind you. Since you can’t see to the rear you could trip and fall, back into something, move into a worse place then you are already, etc. Second, moving backwards is much slower than moving forwards. The threat will catch you. So to compensate for these problems we move off axis. Move to one side and let the threat fight his momentum while you fight the threat.

I understand why they did it that way. It was not safe on that range to move off axis and shoot at a charging target. It certainly was not safe to have a group of shooters doing that at once. This does not change the fact that it is bad training. When I say bad training I mean that it is creating training scars that could get the one who practiced it killed. I am not kidding at all when I say that those guys would have been better off sitting in a chair doing nothing than spending all that time moving on axis in line with a threat.

When you practice, create the habit of getting off the point where you start. Take a step to the side (be sure to practice BOTH sides) while you draw and then engage the target. It feels better to get your feet in just the right spot before you shoot but you won’t get that chance in a real life self-defense shooting.