Force on Force Training: Active Shooter Scenarios

| December 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

Last Saturday, The She Shepherd and I took scenario-based force on force class with QSI Training. I’ve done force on force training with QSI, Suarez International and Defense Training International, but this was the first time we were training for active shooter situations.

Active shooters (or more accurately, “active murderers” as QSI primary firearms instructor Erik Pakieser likes to say) were the reason I started looking into short barreled weapons in the first place. In turn, this led to investigating bag carry methods and the EDC of “very” short barreled rifles (vSBR).


Class Overview

Three QSI instructors and six students participated in historical active shooter scenarios.

These scenarios included:

  • Mall attack
  • Movie theater shooting
  • Rampage at a restaurant
  • Attack on multiple police officers inside of a restaurant
  • Courtroom shooting
  • Mass stabbing on a bus
  • “Tail gunner” backup shooter similar to the Wal-Mart assault and several other incidents

There were other scenarios that were hypothetical, and many of those were generated in response to information QSI had about individual students. For example, I went through a scenario on a simulated train because I used to take the rail to  work.

No student did the same scenario. For example, The She Shepherd and I did the mall attack scenario, but no one else did. The reason behind it was to not give students who did the same drill later a heads up about what would happen. This makes sense, but I think these situations are so volatile that they could have been repeated.


All students were equipped with gas (not C02) Airsoft pistols and practice training knives. I also brought my KPOS SBR Glock enclosure. The battery for my Airsoft SBR AR-15 failed to charge properly, so I was unable to use it during the class.

Every student wore a protective mask, long-sleeved clothes, and gloves.

I wore what I do for the majority of the year, and The She Shepherd dressed as if she was going shopping. All of the students brought training clones of their EDC weapons, and wore their everyday clothes.

QSI brought many training weapons. There were many pistols, rifles, and a shotgun. There were melee weapons such as knives, a crowbar, and a tomahawk.



There were props as well, including a child that was about the same size as The She Shepherd’s youngest. He got plenty of usage throughout the day. We were at a training facility that had a bar/restaurant, a grocery store, a courthouse, a two-room apartment, a jail cell, and many other rooms.

High level observations

The class was evenly split between people who had taken FoF before, and those who had not. Regardless of experience, everyone was surprised at how quickly things could go from bad to “oh shit.” I was particularly surprised by the mass stabbing on the bus scenario. The attacker was able to draw a practice knife and fatally stab two people before the student could respond with his handgun.

There was another scenario where a knife-wielding attacker was able to easily close on an armed student and delivery multiple slash and stab wounds before the student could fire.

We all know in our heads that we shouldn’t give attackers the opportunity to get close to us, but it’s another thing to feel it.

Most of us wore fleece jackets or sweatshirts. One reason was because it offered protection against the Airsoft weapons; the other was because I wear fleece 6 or 7 months out of the year. It was interesting to watch students struggle to get their weapons clear of their clothing. I was very happy with the Stealth holster from Q-Series, and I don’t feel like I was any slower on the draw.

People directly involved in the scenario had a difficult time remembering what they did during the action. Learning “tape loops” of things to say during crisis may seem silly at first. However, being able to repeat what I was taught on “auto-pilot” when gunshots were going off, people were screaming, and sirens were wailing allowed my conscious mind to think about other things.

All of the students commented on the increased anxiety levels due to the scenarios. One student attempted a headshot during a hostage situation and hit me in the arm instead.

This week

Over the span of this week I’ll put together some posts about specific drills. I’m going to lead off with one involving us, wherein I make a big mistake. The real importance of this training is not to be boastful or only keep the highlights — but to learn  from our mistakes as well.

I hope you come back to learn along with us.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

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