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(VIDEO) ‘Live’ pistol training with a loaded handgun and ‘real’ target


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Last year I attended the most realistic firearms training I have ever experienced.

This training was different than any of the other training classes I’ve been involved with. It involved a reflective ballistic glass that reflected images of live people and gave you a real defensive confrontation to deal with. To top it all off, you use a loaded handgun, shooting live rounds at a real person (or at least at their reflection).

Two expert trainers were placed on both my right and left sides to prevent an unintended mistake. The idea of this training is to increase stress and to learn, under increased stress, how to best handle your defensive firearm tactics.

Here is how it works:

You are given the situation that you will encounter beforehand. I was told that I was walking to my vehicle at night when a stranger engaged in a discussion. I was looking directly at this person in the ballistic glass reflection as I engaged him in discussion. He asked me for some smokes, then insisted that I give him some money. As I was speaking with this individual, he reached in his pocket, drew his gun and hit me with four shots before I had a chance to respond. I quickly pulled my gun and responded with a double tap of my own. My only hope for survival, or least to prevent serious injury, would be if his shots missed. If he missed, I won; but if he hit me, I lost.

Like most all defensive situations, the victim usually says, “it all happened so fast.” I can definitely attest to that truth; however, like all good training, several lessons were learned.

I learned that I made some critical errors. First, I was speaking with my hands waving around. This is normal for me, as I use my hands to communicate quite often. But in an encounter like this, it would be best to keep my shooting hand close to my gun. Second, I engaged in discussion with this person. There is nothing to be gained from a discussion with a person who is begging for money or anything else, so it is always best to avoid that encounter and move on while keeping a keen eye on that person. Third, when the man reached into his pocket, I should have recognized that as a threat. At that point, I should have put my hand on my gun and been prepared to use it if the situation required.


These lessons may be discussed in a typical firearm training class, but by experiencing it first hand, with increased heart rate while looking at a “live” person, it creates a sense of stress that cannot be duplicated.

Overall, I have to say this training was excellent.

It drew out some of my defensive faults that I never considered before. It also taught me what to look for in regard to body movements from a potential criminal.

This reflective ballistic training is the next evolution in training and will be used extensively with law enforcement officers in the future.

Shooting live rounds at what appears to be a “live” person is a situation that doesn’t happen much in firearm training. This system is an excellent training tool to sharpen defensive skills under stress with a real person, and I highly recommend you giving it a shot if you ever have the chance.