Marines Turn To Airsoft For Active Shooter Training
The new normal is that airsoft guns are now part and parcel of any right thinking military or law enforcement organisation's training tools. The pros totally outweigh the cons, and it gets personnel trained at a lower cost, safely, and still have the realism that is required for training situations. We often see airsoft as the most suitable and the safest tool for active shooter training --- a scenario where a gunman is active in a certain location which is just getting too common these days in the US.
Even military facilities are not immune to such situations, with about 14 documented shootings in military facilities in the US since 1994 according to NBC Washington before the US Navy Yard Shooting in Washington D.C. last September 16, 2013 where twelve were killed. The prominent of these was the Fort Hood Shootings in Texas last in 2009 which killed thirteen making it the largest number of victims in the history of shootings in US military facilities.
Within this backdrop that the US Marine Corps Provost's Marshal Office in cooperation with the Military Police and civilian personnel at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort conducted an active shooter training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island last October 15 as reported by Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel.
According to Roethel:
To make the training as realistic as possible, they used airsoft pistols, handcuffs, simulated OC spray and fake electroshock weapons to suppress their target. The training teaches the Marines and officers to determine their course of action and respond while in a fast-paced and unpredictable situation.
The Marines have been doing active shooter training even before the recent incidents of shootings in US Military facilities, and mentioned that the Columbine school shooting was the incident where they started doing active shooter training. The article of Lance Cpl. Roethel mentions the use of airsoft guns which indicates the use of airsoft for the first time in this type of training in the Marine Corps.
Though there are airsoft guns used in the training, the primary purpose of such situations according to Roethel was to resolve situations before deadly force is used. This trains the personnel that the preservation of human life takes precedence and ensure the unarmed and innocent people are moved to safety first before putting an active shooter situation to its conclusion --- either the shooter is caught alive or had to be shot in order to prevent more casualties.