Back in 2013, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that would authorize teachers at K-12 schools to carry on campuses, if they passed a special training course and met higher standards for proficiency. Under the Act, teachers would receive training on best practices for the protection of students, how to interact with first responders, tactics to deny an intruder entry into a classroom, and accuracy with a handgun under duress. This enhanced training is voluntary and only available to teachers who already have a license to carry.
In 2017, the Texas Department of Public Safety began offering a 2 day course to certify License to Carry instructors in the new course. Three KR Training instructors attended sessions of the certification class, and we held our first session of the new course on Dec 27-28, 2017. The course was developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety with input from the ALERRT program, to align it with material being taught to law enforcement officers nationwide. Both of the DPS trainers that taught the instructor course I attended were also ALERRT instructors.
This course content is general enough that it has value to anyone interested in active shooter response, and as a state-certified, state-developed course, the training it provides will be more legally defensible in court than other un-certified courses offered by private sector schools.
DPS guidelines require the course to be 15-20 hours long. It includes classroom lecture, video from actual incidents, roleplaying scenarios and range work. In order to pass the course, students in it must pass the Texas License To Carry shooting test with score of 90% (225 points) or higher, the morning of the first day class.
We were told at the instructor course that we could add material to the course, as long as we did not extend the total class hours beyond the 20 hour maximum. Prior to delivering the first KR Training version of this class, Paul, Tina and I prepared some supplemental material, to be used if time was available. Some of that additional content included discussion of medical preparedness, hands-on training in tourniquet use, and audio from actual 911 calls.
I added two additional live fire qualification courses: the shooting test from the NRA Defensive Pistol class, and the annual qualification course of fire used by a major Texas city’s police department. My decision to add these optional qualifications was to provide graduates of the course additional documentation that they meet a national standard higher than the Texas License to Carry class (the NRA test), and a standard equivalent to what a typical responding police officer in our state has met. The video shows a portion of that qualification course. The photo is of the NRA D-1 target used for the Defensive Pistol Test.
We also used photo-realistic targets from the Action Target scenario collection for some range drills. Use of photo targets was allowed under DPS guidelines.
We ended up using all of the supplemental material, completing the coursework within the 15-20 hour limits, because the students in our pilot/beta session of the course were eager to learn, and performed very well on the shooting drills.
Because the shooters in that session were performing well, I added a “walkback” drill where students shot an 18″x24″ rectangle steel plate, moving back a few yards each time, to assess the maximum range at which each student could hit that plate with their carry handgun. At each distance, the student got one opportunity to hit the plate. Only those that hit the plate could move backward to the next distance and attempt from there. All students were able to hit the steel from 50 yards, and 3 were still hitting it when we ended the drill at the 85 yard line, including one student shooting a factory stock M&P Shield subcompact. That same group of shooters fired an average score of 89% on the major metro PD qualification, with all students passing the course well passed the minimum 70% score the department requires.
Several students in class sent me their own AARs, to include in this writeup.
(Student #1) With the current Texas laws and as a teacher for higher education; I was in search for a course that could allow me to learn new skills including a deeper understanding into this subject matter. Before registering for this course, I had spoken to Karl via phone and also by email that also included various other aspects of the handgun world. There’s certainly an appreciation for an instructor who takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to you not only about the upcoming class but also other avenues for additional training and knowledge. Also his attentiveness to details is very welcomed. An example is when he sent an email about a week before class that includes the class time, range location with directions and maps, what to bring, class agenda, and even additional links to help you prepare for the class such as draw and reloading techniques. I found this very refreshing as I’ve been accustomed to a specific training methods prior to this class. One has to remember that as student, I am here to learn to what can make me better then must have an open mind to concepts that you are not comfortable with.
To disclose, I am educator but also a health care provider. There is a relation to new developments in the medical field from procedures, diagnostics, drugs, or discoveries which also hold true to the gun culture. Karl does an excellent job of not only instructing you but also explaining the reasons of their importance. Additional credits goes to out to Paul Martin and Tina. Both brought their knowledge, personal experiences, and perspectives. While the course was developed by Texas DPS, these three brought additional elements that reinforces the learning objectives of the course. It’s not only about instructing a technique but more importantly to actually teach someone to acquire the knowledge, access our progress, identify our strengths / weaknesses to make necessary modifications for improvement, and broadening our mindset the multiple facets of this arena.
Some eye openers of the class include topic matters of the various characteristics of the active shooter which can be or not even typical as highlighted in today’s media. Another is the human response of both physiological and psychological including various methods to handle stress from a gun fight. Also covered are the importance of your medical kit, medical treatment to oneself and others around you, other everyday items that could be used for self-defense, physical health & how it effects your ability, logistics of your facility, safety plan to include regular and reverse evacuation for individuals and groups, various types of hardware to deny entry, types of defensive ammunition, importance of practice both live and dry-fire, simulations, and the 911 call during and after math. Let’s not forget the live fire portion that includes drills and proficiency exams from various departments. Taking notes does help to review the vast amount of information during this 2 day class.
When reading the description of this course, one can easily conclude that it is aimed to “teach employees of a school or district or open-enrollment charter school…” and is “…applicable to anyone defending any facility (church, office, school, or home) against an active shooter threat”; I would also stress any part of the course content is applicable in all aspects to one’s daily activities. Folks, if you haven’t taken this class or sought out classes from KR training; it would serve in your best interest and especially your love ones as there’s a multitude of classes to choose from. Much appreciation to Karl, Paul, and Tina for teaching this class.
(Student #2) The material as presented (with bonus material) covered the topic quite well. The videos provided a nice accompaniment to the lessons. One bonus video demonstrated movement and room clearing in a easy to follow format. It worked well as a primer before Paul and Tina’s roleplaying exercises. The additional medical videos related to risk of death from rapid blood loss were very informative. Watching the multiple active shooter videos from different sources provided more depth than a single source could convey. The in-class portion was engaging, thought provoking and informative.
The range portion was both fun and revealing. The extra qualification shoots were great for revealing areas that need work. The walk back drill was good for me personally. After hitting the steel at 85 yards I know my hits at 50 should be better. It was an eye opener. The red gun scenario of shooter in the mall worked well for demonstrating the difficulties of finding a clear shot in a crowd. Honestly had you not told me it was a Beta class I would not have known. Everything flowed well, the curriculum was well presented and cohesive.
We’ll be offering this course again. More than half of the material is classroom and “red gun” only, not requiring a range and can be presented in any meeting room. Our plan moving forward is to offer the classroom-only portion as a traveling course that could be taught for churches, businesses or other groups, with a range day completion class offered at the A-Zone for those that want the complete course (and associated state certificate). That will make the lecture portion of the material more accessible to a wider audience, including those that may not have carry permits (yet) and may not be able to pass the more rigorous shooting requirements of the course (yet). The traveling lecture only part of the training will be available on weekday evenings, as weekends are generally reserved for live fire classes held at the A-Zone.
Contact me for additional information if you are interested in attending a future session of the full 2 day course or want a 1 or 2 weekday evening lecture version of the classroom material.