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Be Like Jack

What are Some Lessons Learned?

One of the things that sets the church house shooting in Texas apart from some of the other active shooter incidents was the presence of good-guys with guns, some pre-planning done by the church, and video of the entire incident.

With the terrible incident captured on video comes some opportunities for everyone to pause, watch, and learn some lessons. I hope you’ll join us in the conversation and bring your individual life lessons, observations, and constructive criticism to the table. I hope you’ll share your observations after having a read.

Draw Matters

Your ability to draw your firearm, whether from concealment or not, needs to be fast! Carry your firearm from a position on your body that you can present the firearm with a proper grip on the gun, with a proper grip, and quickly align the sights every time – from any position.

If you aren’t practicing clearing clothing from your hand, it’s going to slow you down.

If you aren’t the focus of attention of a deadly threat, maybe a very slow and concealed presentation of your firearm would be advantageous.

Practice the draw of your pistol as part of your dry-fire and range time.

Move both hands at the same time. Your support hand should be clearing out clothing while your primary hand moves to the gun. Grip the gun in the holster, achieving a proper grip on the gun and defeating all retention devices. Clear the gun from the holster. Rock and lock the gun, while still at your body in a shooting position and the beginning of sight alignment, push the pistol out towards the threat and begin taking up slack on the trigger. Confirm sight alignment and press the trigger. Your draw stroke should look like an upside down L.

Things Happen Very Quickly

Things happen very quickly

Critical incidents such as this happen incredibly quickly. This incident started and ended in 8 seconds. On average, critical incidents involving firearms are over in 3 seconds. When you’re training, add the element of time to your standards and push yourself to achieve marksmanship and tactics in a hurry!

Drawing Your Gun May Not be the Best Response

If the threat is already out and within touching distance, trying to draw your gun is probably going to be a losing battle. Close the distance and take control! Yes, this is much easier said than done. “Rush a gun, run from a knife.”

Don’t just train in firearms, train in at least basic defensive tactics.

Action Beats Reaction

Sometimes we need to risk offending someone, even if it’s in church. Protecting those around us is worth the risk. If you’re the one accepting responsibility for the safety of others or just merely in attendance, be willing to make someone uncomfortable.

This piece of excrement had already caused those in the building to be concerned. The trenchcoat, the fake beard, and the odd behavior don’t have to be ignored or looked past. I understand that churches are supposed to be a safe place and a “come as you are” type of place. With that in mind, the protection of myself, my family, and the other persons in the church take priority over the random, unknown, acting weird dude that wanders in.

Move Your Feet

Step off-line, move your feet, OODA Loop, Get off the X. However you want to say it, if you choose to draw your defensive firearm while close to a threat or if reacting to a threat where you’re already at a disadvantage and need to MOVE. Make the threat have to reevaluate you as a threat, orient themselves to you, and catch up to your unexpected movement.

Be Aware of Other Threats

Don’t assume that the known threat is the only threat. Expect for there to be more. Don’t get tunnel vision and miss obvious or maybe not so obvious cues. Hiding in place might be the absolutely worst thing you could do. Don’t be fish in a bowl! You’re strategy shouldn’t be to just hide. If you’re not fighting the threat, you should be running or hiding.

Have a Fire Escape Plan

Firefighters have done an amazing job for a very long time of preparing us for a fire in a structure. It’s time that you apply that same concept to active killers. When you go into a structure or venue, formulate a plan of how you are going to react before the threat occurs. Use when/then thinking. The first time you see a terrible event shouldn’t be when it happens. Mentally rehearse it, talk about it, think about, plan for it.

Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard

You need to know how to move around with your firearm drawn and not point it at people you’re not willing to destroy!

If you’re going to accept responsibility for the safety of others by being part of a formal security team at your church or workplace or even just carry a concealed firearm while attending – choose to take your standards to a higher level.

Could you make this shot under stress and in a hurry?

Understand angles of approach and how to prevent crossfire situations.

Have a plan that is coordinated with other sheepdogs in your church. Not everyone needs to go to the threat. If the threat is being addressed, maybe you’re better serving your sheep by moving people out of the way, directing them to safety, or watching for a secondary threat.

Practice your response to an active threat in the building you’re protecting. Make a small investment in some airsoft and create some stressful training to test what you’ve talked about and trained on.

Don’t rely on redneck engineering and Billy-Bob that shoots well to make decisions on your tactics. Seek out some professional instruction and make sure they are actually professionals.

Have a Medical Plan

Don’t just plan for taking of a life by stopping a threat, plan for saving life through the application of basic life saving techniques and equipment. Your church security team needs to have a trauma kit and the skills to use that kit. Have a tourniquet, wound packing materials, and maybe some quikclot at a minimum. You have to stop the bleed and quickly! Have a plan to get people to ALS services as quickly as possible.

Blood Lessons

Lessons learned in blood deserve to be remembered and learned from. Unfortunately good guys were tragically murdered by a monster.

What’s the average response time for law enforcement in your community. Even if the response time is excellent, would it have made any difference in any way, shape, or form in this incident or one like it? Own your own self-protection and those around you. With that being said, always yield to incoming law enforcement, don’t become confused with the bad guys.

Join the conversation with us. What else should we be talking about so we can learn?

About the Author /

Heath has been a law enforcement officer in the Great Pacific Northwest since 1993 and trains as a pistol and rifle instructor for both law enforcement and civilians. He also serves as an advanced armorer on pistols and rifles. If you're looking for training or would like to contact him, he can be reached at

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