My January 14, 2010, Tactics & Training article generated quite a bit of feedback — I received many e-mails and there were a handful of comments beneath the article itself — from which I must conclude that a good portion of our readership have been bit by that budget bug. Everyone, it seems, is riding in that “doing more with less” bus nowadays.
Part of my job as a training consultant involves reviewing and auditing force training programs. I’ve consulted with some of the largest agencies in the country (more than 40,000 sworn) as well as some of the smallest (around 10 sworn). What I write here is principally directed to those smaller agencies that have found either their resources slashed or their facilities eliminated, particularly in the firearms training realm.
Mobile firing ranges have been around for years. I’ve had the pleasure of both visiting and using several, and most members of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) and its forerunner, the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers (ASLET), have probably had the pleasure of experiencing a few. In fact, Meggitt Training Systems, the folks who acquired FATS a few years ago, had their 3-lane, 25-yard mobile firearms training trailer, The Road Range, available for a week for interested trainers outside the ILEETA conference headquarters in suburban Chicago last year. I recently had the good fortune of touring and experiencing one of the newest mobile police firearms training facilities recently set up in southwest Florida.
Mike Christoff is a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, first cutting his teeth in the streets of Dearborn, Michigan before transferring to the Marco Island, Florida PD. Mike is also a veteran firearms trainer. Seeing the need for a mobile range after working for a number of years in southwest Florida, Mike created Mobile Tactics. Based in Naples, Florida — about 40 miles south of Ft. Myers — this 3-lane range on wheels is capable of handling virtually every handgun round currently used by today’s law enforcement officers. The armor plating in his shoot trailer can also withstand .223 caliber rifle rounds and all shotgun loads including rifled slugs. No longer is judgmental (shoot / don’t shoot) or low-light (night fire) firearms training just a pipe dream for smaller agencies. If you don’t have an indoor range or have to share outdoor range facilities with a municipality or civilian gun club, Mike will gladly bring his range to you.
As the lead instructor for Calibre Press, and a member of IALEFI, ILEETA and its predecessor ASLET, as well as a private trainer and consultant, I’ve had the pleasure of firing on some of the most sophisticated police firearms training facilities in the United States, including the FBI’s indoor and outdoor ranges at Quantico. I’ve trained on virtually every commercial computer-driven range operation around. There’s nothing that those facilities offer that Mike Christoff and his “ShootOnTheMove” staff cannot duplicate at Mobile Tactics, including “shoot / don’t shoot” training through more than 500-scenario video-based, menu-driven, decision-making CAPS system.
Several small to mid-size agencies in and around southwest Florida are currently contracting with Mike and Mobile Tactics for their training; and the Miami-Dade SWAT team recently trained in “shoot and move” techniques with their .223 caliber M4s and duty handguns via Mobile Tactics. It’s not uncommon, Mike says, for several small agencies centered around one locale to “bundle” their range time, thus sharing the cost, all scheduling their training for the same week Mobile Tactics is in their area.
Whether your department has its own certified firearms instructors who only need a place to train the troops; or don’t have credentialed instructors and might need to take advantage of Mike’s cadre of range officers, it would behoove any department to take a look at Mobile Tactics Training or Meggitt Training Systems. There’s no reason to ignore proper firearms training anymore just because you don’t have a range.
For more information, contact one (or both) of these guys:
• Operating out of Naples, Florida, Mobile Tactics can be reached via phone at (239) 825-7031 or on the web at www.mobiletactics.com.
• Suwanee, Georgia-based Meggitt Training Systems operates The Road Range and can be reached at (800) 813-9046 or at www.fatsinc.com.