Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Proper Use of Cover during Airsoft Training

Putting something solid —or better yet, something that will slow if not stop the penetration of bullets (cover) between you and the bad guy — is a wise tactical choice. Why then, is the use of cover so frequently ignored by officers in their firearms training? Go to any law enforcement range and watch a qualification course. Chances are that only one stage, if that, will encourage or offer the officer the use of cover. Yes, many deadly assaults occur out in the open. But even in those incidents cover may be within a step or two, and can be gained after you draw or while you’re drawing your pistol, or, for that matter, while you’re shooting. Furthermore, cover should be sought as soon as tactically possible after shots have been fired (bad guys have been known to fake and also have been known to use back up). airsoft shooting technique
The use of cover is a good way to gain and keep the tactical advantage. We will call this “cheating,” and in the context of a gunfight, cheating is good! Dueling (standing at 10 paces as you and your antagonist lob projectiles at each other) is a sure fire way to get yourself killed.
While conducting training for my agency’s detectives, I was astounded as to how many of their techniques fell apart when they, while armed with Simunitions® had to 1) neutralize a threat; 2) from cover, while; 3) getting shot at by a suspect (yours truly) armed with a paintball gun. As I fired paintballs on their positions of cover, they were instructed to make hits on me while minimizing their own exposure. All manner of contortions and positions were assumed, but what won time after time were the following tactics:
img alt="shooting technique" src="http://www.officer.com/article/photos/1135116928215_387-sm.jpg" />
Modify your stance based on the type of cover. This means that if you have narrow cover you must get narrow. Short cover requires you get small. Just get the most that you can behind the cover position. This requires that you practice getting into positions wherein you can properly use cover and accurately fire. You never want to do something for the first time while in a gunfight. This is why we practice and why we must practice using different heights, sizes and types of cover.
airsoft shooting
Stay at least an arm’s reach away from cover. If you hug your cover position you are limited in your movement and may be hit by secondary projectiles or shrapnel, if bullets hit the surface in front of you. It seems that some people equate being close to cover with safety, but just the opposite is true. Closeness limits your response options and is actually more dangerous.
Don’t quick peek. I was taught the use of the quick peek in officer survival training years ago. It is vastly overrated. The theory is that, with a quick peek, you can find your assailant while minimizing your own exposure. The problem is frequently the quick bob-out-and-back doesn’t let you get enough visual input to see much of anything, and if you do, once you’re behind cover the suspect may move. Also, when peeking, you are in no position to shoot. I had numerous detectives that tried to use this technique repeatedly, only to catch a paintball on their face mask. In training we call this “learning.” On the street we call this “getting shot.”
shoot airsoft
Be on your sights before exposing yourself from cover. Align the sights behind cover. When you roll out, find the bad guy and place that alignment on the suspect (this is called “sight picture”). Don’t try to move out from cover, then align the sights find the suspect, and make the shot. This takes too much time and exposes you while you’re doing it. Reduce the process by already having the sights aligned.
Roll out. I’ll credit John Farnam with recommending this technique. The idea is to roll your upper body out from cover versus stepping out. It is accomplished by getting a solid base behind cover with one or the other foot forward, and rolling out from the waist. I’ve seen it successfully done with a variety of foot positions.
Shoot around, not over, cover. The exception is long low cover, like a wall where you cannot shoot around. Our eyes are positioned one third of the way down from the top of our heads. When we shoot over cover, we expose a lot of target before we are able to see and return fire. So, shoot around cover by rolling out from the side.
Reload behind cover. If at all possible, do all speed and tactical reloads behind cover, as well as any malfunction clearance drills. You are susceptible to fire while reloading. If cover is available, while not perform these pistol operations while safely ensconced? In my opinion, all malfunction drills should be done behind cover. Think of it—do you really want to be clearing a double feed out in the open while the suspect is busting caps in your direction? Even if your double feed clearance drill is drawing a second gun, wouldn’t this be more safely accomplished from behind cover?
Now that you’ve learned the lessons my officers and I did, go out and practice the use of cover. As you go through your daily routine, be cover conscious. Work around your house, car or other points of cover. Use Airsoft or Simunitions® for a safe force-on-force training exercise. While on the range, increase the amount of practice in which you use cover, move to cover, and shoot while moving to cover. While doing simulation training, if you have a bad guy role player armed with a marking cartridge pistol ready to tag you if you give him or her the chance, I guarantee you’ll approach the use of cover with a little bit more realism and not like some TV detective.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Punishment handed out for airsoft gun incidents at Bettendorf school

While the Bettendorf School Board is deciding on punishment for five students involved in bringing two look-alike guns to the high school last week, three more students are accused of bringing knives to the building, officials said Thursday.
The two girls and a boy have been suspended and face potential expulsion as well, officials said.
“This does not happen often at all, but to have this many in a couple-week period …,” Superintendent Marty Lucas said.
On Monday, one student was expelled for the remainder of the school year for involvement in one of the gun incidents. Two will be expelled through the end of third quarter, Lucas said. Hearings for the other two students involved in the gun incidents will be held next week.
“I think the punishments were appropriate for the amount of involvement the students had in the incidents,” Lucas said.
On Tuesday, a student reported to an administrator that he knew of a girl who was carrying a knife, Bettendorf High School Principal Jimmy Casas said. Another girl and a boy subsequently were found with knives that had blades 3 or 3 1/2 inches long, he said.
The boy brought the knives and gave them to the girls, he added, commending the students who told an adult about the weapons.
No one was threatened with a weapon, and the students who brought the knives did not bring the knives because they felt threatened, Lucas said.
“They did something stupid,” he said. “They just weren’t thinking.”
Last year, the school had two weapons incidents, Casas said. One involved a student bringing a knife, the other a lighter that was used in a threatening manner. The year before, a loaded handgun was brought to the school.
This year’s gun incidents involved an Airsoft pistol and a pellet gun that was brought to school last week, officials said.
A student brought the Airsoft gun to return it to a friend who had left it at his house over the weekend. The gun was kept in a locker until the end of the school day, when one of the students reportedly put it in his waistband. A student who saw the gun reported it to her parents that evening.
The next day, the two students were picked up as they came to school and were taken for questioning, at which time they admitted to having had the gun on Monday, Casas said.
The gun looked real except for an orange marking on the end of the barrel, he added.
A third student then brought a pellet gun with him, Casas said, adding that he believes it was done to show off the weapon.
That student saw the two students with the Airsoft gun being apprehended by school officials as they walked into the building. He became scared and handed the gun to a girl, Casas said. She kept the pellet gun in her locker all day, overnight and into the next day, until a fifth student came to her to retrieve the weapon for his friend, Casas added.
A student who heard about the gun through word-of-mouth came to an assistant principal to report it Wednesday, he said.
Ann McGlynn can be contacted at (563) 383-2336 or amcglynn@qctimes.com.

Friday, December 09, 2005

UNCW police confiscate Airsoft guns

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Police on the U-N-C-Wilmington campus would like to see an end to the latest fad -- students carrying B-B guns that look like the real thing.
At least four of the Airsoft guns, which shoot plastic B-Bs, have been seized since Thursday. Retired U-N-C-W police Captain Wayne Howell, who still works part time at the department as an investigatorm says the guns carry a Smith and Wesson trademark and resemble the real thing.
Weapons are forbidden on campus property. The issue is particularly sensitive after two students were shot to death last year on or near the campus.
Three of the guns were taken from students last Thursday in Honors House. Another gun and a container of B-Bs were confiscated from a student Monday afternoon in Graham Hall.
Howell says the students carrying the guns were not criminally charged with carrying a concealed weapon but were referred to the dean's office for possible disciplinary action on administrative charges

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Make it a airsoft gun holiday for your children

The following letter was sent to parents at Grant Street Elementary School in Port Townsend. It was signed by Principal Steve Finch and 28 teachers and staff members.There is a problem in our community with the proliferation of look-alike guns. Law enforcement personnel are fearful of making a decision that could be fatal to a youth with a toy or airsoft weapon. Young people are carrying airsoft weapons, probably without realizing the concern the sight of a possible weapon elicits from those who see them. Educators are concerned with incidents of students who use angry words and actions instead of problem-solving techniques that could really end hostilities.It’s that time of year when many of us are thinking about the winter holiday season and the gifts we can give our children that will really make them happy. As educators, we would ask you to consider making it a gun-free holiday.With television, children are continually bombarded with ads for the newest and most scintillating of toys, many of which are violent. Children are asked by family, friends and even the shopping mall Santa what toys they want. Many children will ask for the toy gun or the violent video they have seen in ads or played with at a friend’s house. It is still the responsibility of the parent, however, to decide what toys will be a good match with the child, what toys will best uphold your family’s values, what toys are age-appropriate, and what toys will enhance your child’s life and experience. It may be difficult to ask grandparents and others to honor your wishes rather than the child’s, but the result will be that you have established parameters around gift-giving that will make the holidays an easier time for the whole family.When a child receives a toy weapon as a gift, he or she will understandably use it to play war games or cops and robbers. That act will not necessarily turn a child to violent acts, but the accumulation and repetition of violent play and violent images on TV or video can desensitize our children and youths to violence. Choosing toys that promote nonviolence can introduce your child to ideas that hopefully, with time, will make everyone feel more secure. When your child asks for toy weapons or violent videos, you may use it as an opportunity to open discussion about your personal values or your concern about the overabundance of violent images, play and actual incidents in our world. Simply saying “I don’t like guns because they can hurt people on purpose or accidentally” makes a statement for a young child.Here are some suggestions you might want to pass on to gift-givers: toys that promote creativity; board games for the whole family; books – both fiction and nonfiction; theater, concert, sporting event or museum tickets; a magazine subscription; enrollment or membership in a club, team or leisure activity; educational or nonviolent video games; sports equipment; materials for projects to do with a parent, such as building a skateboard ramp, making jewelry, baking, fixing an engine, scrapbooking, insect collecting, etc.; scientific games such as a chemistry set or microscope; a family activity such as a trip or other time to share together; musical instruments and/or lessons.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Teens charged for shooting airsoft gun in Campbell Co

CAMPBELL COUNTY (WATE) -- Two boys are in trouble with the law in Campbell County for shooting a gun that uses a spring to launch a plastic pellet. At issue is whether the shots were fired in fun or with malicious intent.
The plastic pellet fired by a gun didn't hurt the subject in a 6 News test Thursday. But Campbell County police consider the toy guns deadly.
"He said you know if you were 18, I'd be taking you to jail today," says Larry Humphrey, uncle of one of the boys involved, Josh Humphrey.
Josh Humphrey and a friend were shooting each other with an airsoft pellet gun bought for $15 at a local flea market.
A neighbor saw the boys playing, called police and said they were shooting at her. "The police report says you were shooting at houses and cars. Were you?" 6 News asked Josh.
"No," he says. "No. It possibly could have hit them but not intentionally."
Police charged both boys.
Humphrey was charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, a charge that sent the 14 year old to court Thursday morning.
"He's like, I didn't know you could get in trouble for playing with a toy. I was like, well Josh, I didn't either," his uncle says. "You've got a kid playing with a toy now he's looking at a class C felony if he's convicted. It amazes me."
Police confiscated both guns.
The charge surprised the toy seller at the flea market in LaFollette. "I was flabbergasted because it is a toy," she says. "I've been shot with it. They sting that's about it. No deadly injuries, no deadly injuries whatsoever."
6 News tried repeatedly Thursday to contact the officer who wrote the citation but he didn't return the calls.
Although airsoft BB guns rarely cause more than a bruise, they can blind, cripple or maim in exceptional circumstances.
It is recommended that anyone using an airsoft gun should always wear safety goggles and not look directly at the gun barrel.