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Target training for active shooter response

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August 01, 2005

Target training for active shooter response

Submitted by:
Scott Buhrmaster, PoliceOne Managing Editor

Active shooter situations—incidents in which a gunman is actively firing at people at the point of your response to the scene—can be among the most harrowing events in any officer’s career. In these situations, time is tremendously critical. Every second that passes can give the shooter a chance to claim another victim. Clearly, the main goal of responding officers is to immediately terminate the threat by ceasing the gunman’s ability to fire, which typically means killing him. However, if a fatal shot is not readily available, firearms expert John Farnham urges you to remember that ANY target on the shooter’s body should be leveraged in an effort to distract him from his intended targets. That means you should train yourself to be prepared to shoot an elbow or knee sticking around a corner, a leg dangling down from above…whatever part of the gunman's body you can hit.


When training with your firearm, Farnham suggests masking your targets to isolate sections that can represent small areas of the body—knee, elbow, etc.—and become proficient at head and neck shots. These small areas may be the only targets available to you.



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