By Sarah Carling
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to go to Forward Movement Training Center and participate in a one-on-one training session in a VirTra shooting simulator often used for law enforcement training within the simulator environment.
I was presented with three scenarios to assess how I would respond in a real life situation where I may have to draw my concealed weapon.
Within the simulation the trainer is able to have the simulation respond in different ways depending on my reactions to each scenario and the people within it.
In the first scenario, I was waiting in line at an ATM, it was in a dark and in an isolated car park. A car pulled up and a man jumped out shouting at me to “stay out of it” he then pulled a knife and put it to the throat of the woman at the ATM, demanding that she give him her purse. When she didn’t comply he spun her around and started stabbing her in the stomach.
The whole time as the scenario was playing, I knew that I could respond in a multitude of ways. I could have shouted at him and distracted him from what he was doing. I had my training gun in my hands and could have shot him at any time, but I was paralyzed with indecision and I froze, not saying or doing anything. Finally I realized that the person in front of me was being killed and I fired off a single shot that went wide of the attacker (thankfully not hitting the victim) and served no purpose whatsoever.
I was shaken. I had always believed that if I were presented with a situation where I had to draw my weapon, that I would be able to do so quickly and effectively deal with a threat, yet here I was confronted with a scenario where I had every opportunity to do something and instead I simply froze. My instructor told me that this was perfectly normal and something they see all the time, our brains simply aren’t used to processing the information that’s coming in and we have no frame of reference so we are having to process every piece of information instead of acting on previous experience.
During my second scenario I did much better. The simulation had me pulling up to a house in the middle of the night where a man ran out holding a shotgun, I was able at least to respond to this threat by raising my gun when he put the firearm down and his hands up. He stood at the front of the house telling me that there was someone inside when suddenly he was shot from behind, I had to react fast to get two shots off and stop the attacker before he shot me. Only one of my shots was a hit but I was pretty pleased with myself that I managed to react as quickly as I did.
In just one short session I had already increased my ability to respond to threats when I was presented with them, but it wasn’t over yet, my third scenario was yet to come.
In scenario three, I was entering the home of a friend who had missed lunch and wasn’t responding to my calls, as I walked in I saw the friend and her husband tied up in their living room. I immediately drew my weapon and started scanning the room. An attacker came from behind a wall and I prepared to shoot him when he raised his hands and went to his knees, as I was assessing this threat a shot came from the other end of the room, there was a second attacker that I had missed, I got a single shot off that missed by a mile and turned just in time to see the first attacker getting up and reaching behind him for a weapon, I shot three times, hitting him once (for the record under normal range shooting conditions I am an excellent marksman, missing the target is not an experience I’m used to). My ability to react had improved but I was still vulnerable as long as I’m unable to hit my target.
Before I knew it my hour was up and I was left with the uneasy feeling that my ability to defend myself with my concealed carry weapon was not nearly as good as I always thought it was, I’m still vulnerable.
I now understand the importance of tactical training like never before and I will be taking advantage of every training session I can get to improve my ability to defend myself and my family.
About Sarah Carling
Sarah Carling can be found here on Ammoland and on her own blog at SimplyArmed.com. She is originally from the UK and is now an Ex-pat Brit who found her love of shooting later in life after moving to the US. Sarah is an avid firearms enthusiast and proficient in pistol shooting (especially the M1911 Platform). She started using firearms in 2010 and soon fell in love with all aspects. Sarah has quickly become an advocate for the shooting sports encouraging women to learn and improve their firearms skills both through her work as an instructor and her position as a local leader for The Well Armed Women and as a certified NRA firearms instructor.