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Training to Avoid Contagious Gunfire

Avoid Contagious Gunfire

You are a Law Enforcement Officer. You are part of a team about to execute a search warrant at a residence. You and your members announce your presence, make the entry, announce your presence again and officers begin to clear rooms, hallways, corners, and search to safely secure all persons in the home. Suddenly, you hear gunshots down the hallway or on the second floor of the residence. You are nowhere near where the shots are fired. Transmissions come over the radio that a “SHOTS FIRED, SUBJECT IS DOWN!” At this point do you begin to shoot in the room you are in also? Of course not. No threat is in your room during the initial shots fired in the other room. You hold your discipline and continue to clear while checking with other officers to make sure everyone is okay. It appears the subject in question had opened fire on the entry team who was in the bedroom where the subject was. You also learn that only the 2 officers inside the room in question had fired and in the aftermath of the incident it is determined the shoot was justified. Job Well Done!

This is an example of one of the better scenarios that can play out in any law enforcement situation. From a domestic disturbance investigation that can lead into to an actual search warrant operation, situations like this can happen in a “blink of an eye”. We always hope the outcome is not someone dying in a hail of bullets but rather taken down and secured either with no shots fired.  Moments like this can result in enhanced training on the range and training structure facilities that can replicate dangerous scenarios that can play out in real-time.

Contagious gunfire is one of the common things that occur in close quarter situations with law enforcement due to a variety of reasons such as lack of controlled shooting on the range

or in “real-time” rounds ricocheting off concrete and brick walls on the outside of a structure giving officers taking cover the illusion that it is return fire coming back at them. Certain officers, when not trained properly on the range and in scenario-based environments, will almost instantaneously return fire in the directions where they may get a glimpse of the possible threat or direction of where they assume the shots are fired. Good instructors will see this happen many times on the range when staging a shoot/don’t shoot situations on the range or in a house. Many times officers, who are far off from the proper angle of shot, are just returning fire possibly jeopardizing the lives of other officers or innocent civilians. Remember, just because one or 2 officers are shooting due to justification, doesn’t mean you and others away from the situation should be shooting.

Firearms ranges have certain use of fire stimuli such as whistles, verbal commands of FIRE, or other terms, but many times you must have visual eye stimulus, that could be silent, provide the use of deadly force application.
Shoot/don’t shoot targets in color combined with a moving target system such as MotoShot Elite can provide a powerful training tool for you and your personnel.
With a 360-degree turnaround feature, officers practicing room entry work on the range and using the MotoShot combined with specialty targets will assist in:

• Proper target acquisition on the threat target
• Proper instructor analysis of who shot and where as well as better instruction on “angles of opportunities”
• Limiting who can and cannot shoot as real-life room entry will never have an entire team of officers flooding a small bedroom leaving other critical areas unsecured unless as a last resort
• Strong (AAR) After Action Review of who shot and why they pulled the trigger
• Enhancing the use of force training objectives for your officers

Continue to work your skills and refine the “technical aspects” of your training so you are always ready for the “tactical” applications in the “real-time” environments!

Article written by Jose Medina August, 2020

About the author
Jose L. Medina is currently a 27-year veteran of Law Enforcement and 17-year owner of Awareness Protective Consultants, doing business as Team APC and Medina Tactical Dynamics. Jose has an extensive background in training and consulting for various groups such as Law Enforcement, Schools, and Corporate Industries. Jose Medina and his team at Awareness Protective Consultants LLC (Team APC USA) have traveled, trained, lectured, and consulted throughout the world from Canada to Asia. Jose Medina can be reached at 732-259-4185, WEB or

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