Force on Force Training: Tailgunner

| December 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

In June of 2014, concealed carry permit holder Joseph Robert Wilcox was shot and killed in Las Vegas, Nevada while trying to stop one an active murderer in Wal-Mart. The problem was that the active shooter, who had already killed two police officers nearby, had an accomplice.

His “tailgunner” shot and killed Mr. Wilcox before he could stop the threat.

We replayed a very similar situation at QSI Training’s Active Shooter Force on Force class earlier this month. Here’s how it went down.

The Drill

The student (in green) attempts to buy something at the simulated grocery store. While this scenario involves an attempted robbery, it was meant to mimic what happened to Mr. Wilcox. The intent is to make the student focus on a single threat while his accomplice attacks from an advantageous position.

The She-Shepherd played the part of the tailgunner.


Some observations that I found interesting:

  • The student looked at me as the situation unfolded. This is good! I was holding a training dummy “child,” and was reacting defensively to the threat.
  • The student, however, did not look at anyone else around him, including The She-Shepherd. Just like at Wal-Mart, the tailgunner was a woman. We are conditioned to perceive men as more threatening than women.
  • As the tailgunner, The She-Shepherd doesn’t look at the threat. She is not reacting defensively. She is not running away from the situation. She is not screaming, or taking up a defensive position. She’s watching the CCW engage her partner.
  • The student stopped as soon as he heard the Airsoft pistol go off and felt the pellet hit him. The She-Shepherd only fired one round to be “nice,” but both participants should have continued the fight. The student was not hit in the brain stem, and even if fatally wounded would have had time to fight. If you’re hit, don’t stop fighting! You’re already injured, don’t let them hurt anyone else! You’re there to protect yourself and the people around you, don’t stop fighting.


As with all of the other scenarios conducted that day, the situation rapidly goes from bad to worse. The student went from getting something at a store to confronting a threat to being shot by a tailgunner in 31 seconds.

This is why force on force training is invaluable. You absolutely cannot do this type of training with live firearms (at least, not more than once) and certainly not at any static range. Active murderers may not be acting alone.

If part of your reason to prepare is to stop these kinds of assaults, you have to beware the tailgunner.

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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