How do you think you’d respond in the event of a so-called “active shooter” situation?

Most of us like to think that we’d be able to respond quickly, decisively, and dare I say, it, heroically. The reality of the matter, however, is that the vast majority of people who haven’t been properly trained to react would be standing there when the bullets start flying, thinking “this can’t be happening to me,” as they start taking rounds.

Fortunately, there are a number of firearms instructors who are going beyond mere paper-punching on a square range to give students a real-world look at active shooter situations using either man-marker rounds (Simunitions or UTMs), or higher-end airsoft guns in force-on-force drills that develop “at the speed of life.”

Unfortunately, these kinds of training courses, as beneficial as they are, aren’t widely known by most people. We were very impressed that New 4 out of Jacksonville, Florida did a very in-depth story on “good guys” taking the Citizen Response To An Active Shooter course offered by Aaron Cowan and his team at Sage Dynamics.

From terrorist attacks in U.S. cities to mass shootings in offices and public places, active-shooter threats are causing legitimate concern across the country and raising the questions: Should you carry a firearm? If you have one, would you know what to do?

If you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, like nearly 1.5 million people in Florida and 750,000 in Georgia, could you react until law enforcement personnel arrive?

News4Jax traveled to Cartersville, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, to participate in a course offered by weapons expert Aaron Cowan. The U.S. Army veteran and former federal officer with the Department of Defense owns Sage Dynamics, and teaches proper tactics to not only law enforcement and military personnel, but also civilians who carry guns legally.

The training Cowan provides is intense, hands-on and at times very chaotic, and shows students how owning a gun is just the beginning of protecting their families.

“I think the thing a student’s going to get is the realization that for firearms, for self-defense with a firearm, that being able to mechanically work the gun is literally the lowest level of operation,” Cowan explained. “It’s the beginning.”

That’s a hard psychological point for many people to get past. Most people have convinced themselves that if they learn how to learn the basic mechanics of how to load, unload, and shoot their firearms against stationary targets on a square range, that they’re prepared.

In reality, they’re just getting to the point where they’re ready to take off their proverbial training wheels.

“We get more and more proficient with the use of a firearm, but just being able to run the gun isn’t enough,” explained Cowan. “You need to understand when to use the gun, how to best employ the gun and then factoring in a 360-degree environment working in a real-life situation where you don’t have a convenient berm or backdrop. You’re not against a paper target. You’re actually dealing with human beings.”

To get an idea of just how fast these scenarios happen, watch the videos at the links below.

WATCH SCENARIOS: Movie theater | Bank | Doctor’s office | Conference room |
Office building | Office building with police | Restaurant | Movie theater line

If you aren’t trained for the pace of people moving at real world speeds, you’re not in the best position to train to defend yourself and those you love.

Get the best training you can afford, folks. You won’t regret it.