So you want to be a cowboy? You have gone through your concealed carry training, spent many hours at the range with your Glock 27 9mm, and practiced readying your weapon for quick use. You ready cowboy? Let’s begin.
Before that, however, let me tell you a little about me. I am a gun owner. I have used various weapons of various caliber all the way up to .50 in assorted situations. I have never concealed or open carried (other than hunting), and have never drawn a real weapon on another human ever. I have never been a member of any armed forces, nor carried a badge of any kind.
I have, in what seems a lifetime ago, been hired as an actor to train in live scenario training for FBI and SWAT teams. I have played an armed father holding his family hostage in his home due to a job loss, an armed suspect holding customers hostage in a gone bad convenience store hold up (I was not the lone suspect in that case, I had a partner), and a live shooter in a nightclub (my reason was that I had been humiliated numerous times by other patrons at the club, and was exacting my revenge). This particular scenario added some unknown twists to both me, and the officers.
These training’s took place at police facilities, and would last all day. We started with a coach who would help us get into our characters. They were there continually to keep us moving and giving us instruction as we went along. They also gave instruction to other characters, providing us with surprises that we were not aware were going to happen. We did not meet any of the officers involved until the debriefing. We then had extensive discussions on what happened, why it happened, why we reacted the way we did to either input from the instructor, or the the officers. It was an eye opening experience each time.
* WARNING – the below contains gruesome content and not for the faint of heart! If you are emotionally fragile from recent events, I do NOT recommend reading further!
The following is based on the things I learned while playing an active shooter in a nightclub. This is exactly how it went down to the point I take you. I was armed with a modified AK-47 semi automatic rifle. I was carrying 10 magazines (300 bullets total). I was also carrying other small arms and knives. My goal; take down as many people as possible in 15 min, and get out. This was not a spur of the moment decision, but a planned rampage by someone who knows the club well.
So, you want to be a Cowboy? Then get ready. You will be playing the part of one of four surprises I had to encounter. I was not aware that YOU would be there, nor were you aware that I would be who and what I was.
You are out with your friends at a nightclub dancing the night away. Being a firm believer in concealed carry, you have snuck in your Glock 27 holstered to your back hip under your jacket. No one knows you have it. Being a responsible carrier, you have NOT imbibed in any alcohol this evening. Your group is at the front of the dance floor close to the DJ and stage. There is an emergency exit 20 yards to the right, and 50 yards to your left. The main entrance is 80 yards directly behind you. It is a large open space. Bar in the back, and side bar close to you. The back area and sides are loaded with booths and tables. It’s a crowded 80’s dance night, but not packed to capacity. The music is loud, and there is an extensive light show timed with the music. Other than the dance lights, it’s pretty dark.
Suddenly, you hear from the front of the club a series of *POPS*, similar to firecrackers going off. Your group stops dancing, and tippy-toes theirs heads up toward the sound to see what is going on. Within seconds there are a LOT more pops and people screaming. A crazed wall of people begin to rush toward you. The pops continue, more frequent and louder as the herd of bodies descend upon you in a desperate attempt at escape. You and your friends now realize what is happening. An arm grabs yours and you hear, “Let’s go!”
But not you cowboy. YOU subdue the completely instinctual and natural flee reaction that fills your entire being and pull your arm away and decide to take down this beast. Your friends leave you and flee for the door as the loud pops continue and screaming herds of people rush past, many tripping or bumping into you. But you maintain your balance and position. Somehow you are able to clear your head enough to focus on exactly where those pops are coming from.
Through all the commotion of music, lights, pops and screaming people, you draw and ready your weapon. Remember, it’s still very dark, but now that things have cleared more in front of you, you can see the flash of the assailant’s gun. You can barely make out a body, and still have people dodging all around you.
You raise your 9mm glock 27 and aim. It’s not like the gun range. Focus is much more difficult with the open space and commotion, and it is difficult to sight with it being so dark. But you feel you have a good open shot and pull the trigger! Nothing. Congratulations cowboy, in readying your weapon, you have failed to take the safety off. Hey, it’s hard to concentrate with such commotion all around.
You quickly remedy that situation, and take your aim, when suddenly you are hit full force by one of the rushing people. They fall right into you, their blood spattering on your body, and dragging your arms down. You as a cowboy have NOT been deterred by this, but have now lost sight of the assailant moving toward you. There is a gap in pops, and when they begin again, they come from the other side of the room. You see the flashes, turn, aim as best you can and fire 3 shots. There are pops of all sorts from many directions. In the darkness, you see the body that you aimed at slump down to the floor. GOT HIM!
At the exact moment you decide to cautiously move towards the slumping body to see if the suspect is incapacitated or just wounded, a series of pops again rings out from the original direction you first aimed. A couple more bodies hit the floor around you, and you realize that the shooter was NOT alone. The area is pretty clear now, save a whole bunch of bodies on the floor, and you are in the WIDE open. Just like in the movies, you dive over the side bar for cover as more pops seem to head your way.
Behind the bar, bullets rip through the wood and shattered glass flies everywhere. You feel the sting of a piece of glass slicing a gash right under your right eye. The pops have a pause, and you gather yourself. Suddenly, one of the bouncers who also took refuge behind the bar grabs your gun in a complete frenzy. Totally caught off guard, you pull the gun towards you and it goes off. The bullet rips into the neck of the bouncer killing him quickly. The blood spews from his neck onto your gun, hand and you.
The pops in the club have not stopped and pieces of wood and glass continue to fly around you. Remarkably, you are able to clear your head from that, and using the bar as your shield pop up and find the dark blob that is moving towards you. In the darkness and confusion, you aim as best you can at the largest part of the hulking behemoth and fire off three rounds. One of those rounds hits squarely in the chest, and the body steps back. All pops stop, as the lights and the music continue to blare in the background.
The hulk, taken aback a bit, does not stop, and pulls up their weapon in your direction. This is the moment you realize, this assailant is wearing body armour. Your 9mm bullet certainly hurt, but did nothing to stop him. And now, he knows where you are, that you are armed and are a threat. All focus in now on you.
You are not carrying a spare clip. Do you know how many rounds you have left? Your magazine holds 9. (Don’t go back and re-read – DO YOU KNOW?? DID YOU COUNT?) This time you decide to listen to your natural instincts to flee. It’s a straight shot about 20 yards to the exit crouched behind the bar. You decide to go for it. You get ready to run, and as you do so, you slip and fall. This is when you discover that blood on a tiled floor is much like oil – extraordinarily slippery. Plus, your way is a bit blocked by bodies, of which some are crawling and screaming for help. It is not unlike a scene from the Walking Dead.
You are covered in blood, trapped behind a bar, and your escape route is not an easy out. The killer is aware of you, knows where you are, and is somewhat now focused on eliminating you. You are completely outgunned, and at this point you are not even sure how much ammo you have left. A leg shot could stop him, but only a carefully aimed head shot will kill him. You are wounded under your eye, and the music and lights distract from the continual cries and screams. You have Killed one person, and possibly two (In fact you did. Your first kill was the other concealed carry in attendance that evening). It is almost a miracle that you have survived to this point. The first officers have arrived, and though you don’t know this, Sally who escaped late has reported to them that there are three shooters inside.
What do you do now? Your instructor gives you no more orders into your headset. It is entirely up to you. In reality, you have ZERO time to think. Playing out this scenario right here, right now, you do. This whole thing to this point has taken exactly 7 min. You wanted to be a cowboy. So Cowboy, what do you do?