Active Shooter Seminar Review



I attended the active shooter introductory seminar taught by Paul Varacchi; the session focused on the principles of teamwork. The counter intuitiveness, yet effectiveness, of charging and taking down the shooter as a group was proven beyond a doubt as the best means to ending the violence early and minimizing civilian loss of life.

I was the designated terrorist/shooter throughout the interactive exercises. Paul had me use a mock assault rifle to showcase the impact on the time it takes to change a magazine when items are thrown at the shooter vs changing magazines unchallenged. Other principles taught were the use of barricades, locking and controlling the door, and simple methods of charging and taking down the shooter i.e. swarm mentality. Additionally, the dangers of using the attacker’s weapon against him and being mistaken as a terrorist by authorities were discussed.

As a trained soldier and someone familiar with weapons, I was able to hit everyone in the entire room in a matter of seconds during the first exercise; however this was not the case when I was being charged and had soft t-shirts thrown in my face. The effectiveness of these methods would only be magnified should hard objects/liquids be used.

During this session we ran a few drills without the full takedowns (for safety) ending when the gun was grabbed by one of the participants. The only criticism of the seminar was that there was not enough time to do more team drills and full tackles followed by disarming the shooter. However, for full takedowns to happen everyone would need to sign waivers and participate in a warm up; treating this like a regular krav maga class and bringing judo mats for the takedowns. In the future we would also like everyone to get a chance to play the role of the shooter so they know what it feels like from the other perspective.