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AAR: GoRuck Active Shooter Intervention

On July 20th, 2019, I attended GoRuck’s Active Shooter Intervention training course, as well as a night fire. The event took place at the Richwood Gun & Game Club in Richwood, Ohio. The weather was a brutal 105 degree heat index. 

Note from Matt

If you didn’t catch the byline, this isn’t my report. This is the first post for community member BDover, and I want to take a moment to think him for putting this together. 

Be sure to let him know what you think down in the comments!

Personal Background

This was my first formal course, I shoot matches fairly regularly and carry regularly, but this was my first formal pistol class.

I chose this as my first formal training mostly due to proximity.  This range was only about 30 minutes from where I live just north of Columbus OH.

When its that’s close its hard to say no.

I’ve got two little boys and a wife which sort of precludes being able to attend anything longer than a day away. 

The other reason was that this is billed as an all-experience-level event, so I didn’t think I’d feel left out. Of interest to me was also the night shooting portion.

Course Description

GoRuck’s website describes Active Shooter Intervention course for shooters of all skill levels. It’s unique in that it approaches the events through scenario-based training

The cadre, a military term for instructors, reinforce the fundamentals of safely operating a semi-automatic pistol, stance, grip, sight picture, sight alignment, and trigger squeeze. For each lesson of the course, the instructors physically demonstrate each drill prior to having the students repeat it.

All of the firing drills are based on real world scenarios and cover various distances, positions, and single shot or rapid-fire engagement

Students learn basic counter-terror strategies that will better equip them to react to active shooter situations.  

The night fire portion was very similar content, but performed in the dark.

The Instructors

For this event, GoRuck sent two instructors.

Garret “The Machine” is former Israeli Special Operations.

Image courtesy of GoRuck

“Mocha” Mike is former US Army Special Forces.

Image courtesy of GoRuck

Gear List

To be honest, I over-packed for this one.

For pistols, I brought two 4th-Gen Glock 17s and two 4th-Gen Glock 19s. For each pair, one had fiber optic sights one that had tritium night sights.

My holsters were either Raven Concealment or Safariland, two of the well-established companies in the business.

A Blade-Tech double mag pouch carried my spare mags during the event.

Active Shooter Intervention Course Breakdown

We arrived on Saturday morning to start roll call. In all, there were 22 people in attendance. Among the class was your usual mishmash of careers and backgrounds, but we had five medical professionals, including two nurses, one physician’s assistant, an EMT, one state trooper, and six lawyers.

After roll call we covered administrative issues like safety procedures for the hot part of the range, location for an ambulance, designated individuals to help anyone who needs it, etc.

I thought these were pretty good basics to get out of the way

Once all this was done, everyone dispersed to grab their gear from their cars. Most of the class used striker-fired pistols such s Glocks, M&Ps, and Sigs.  There were two red dot pistols, no revolvers, and one dude brought along a Makarov. 

I’ll get to that.

Safety Checks & Procedures

Once everyone had pistols, less mags and ammo, the cadre passed out barrel plugs and assigned battle buddies. Buddies confirmed that those to their left and right all had plugs in place before everyone was allowed to reassemble their pistols.  

At this point everyone moved to the firing line in a bay about 50 yards wide. The cadre thoroughly reviewed procedures to ensure the pistol is clear and re-holsters. 

Prior to this, I thought I was novice level, at best, among the group. To my surprise, though, many students seemed wholly unfamiliar with the process of ensuring that you are clear & safely re-holstering.

Once everyone had that down pat, we worked on draw and aiming. I thought this was pretty basic with nothing special to see. The cadre verified that everyone knew to get a good grip prior to drawing, and that you shouldn’t be trying to re-grip after the draw.

Personally, I found this helpful. I realized  that I wan’t gripping it very well prior to the draw.

The fundamentals portion of the course spanned from from 8:30 AM to about 10:30 AM. This allowed most of the class to develop a good handle on the basics before firing any live rounds. 


Live Fire & Baseline Testing

After a short water and snack break, the cadre directed everyone to load mags and proceed to the firing line. It was time for baseline testing.

The test used three magazines of ten rounds each. We used one magazine each for 25, 15, & 5 yds onto an x-ring style target.

We were allotted 5-10 seconds at each distance to fire roundsAfter each string of fire, we counted hits within the inner target rings. Only hits within these rings counted for score.

The baseline test target. Only hits in the inner rings counted for the test.

I scored less than stellar, but most of the class also underperformed their expectations.

Drill Time

We began with a series of slow fire drills from multiple distances. 

I, along with most of the class, realized that when you actually focus on what you’re doing you can do it pretty well. Scores and accuracy seemed to go up, and this was a nice confidence builder. 

After slow fire we did the same drills, but faster. We were again put on the clock.

The group split roughly in half, with battle buddies sharing responsibility of shooting and timing.

This worked pretty well as the stop command was a firm tap on the shoulder, that way you knew when it was you stopping and not other parts of the line

By this time in the day, my partner was the guy running the Makarov.

It choked. It choked hard. 

This was probably the  seventh jam of the day.  The thing jammed so hard that one of the instructors had to pull it off the line and borrow some tools from club members on other parts of the range.  My partner had to borrow a pistol from one of the instructors who had spares.

After this was a lunch break and most of us stayed on the range and ate our pre-packed lunches.

Pressing On

After lunch we re-pasted targets and did some more rapid fire. The goal was getting everyone used to fairly rapid shots and to have them find their shot rhythm.
After about 50 rounds of this, we then stapled white t shirts over the target zone, this really forced me to think about front sight focus & not target focus. I found that I actually started shooting better at this point since I didn’t have a target to focus on.
At this point in the day it was probably 95 out and a few students were told, not asked, by the instructors to go chill in the shade for a bit, grab some water and rest You could definitely tell that some of the class wasn’t ready to be out in the weather all day with that heat and they didn’t adequately hydrate

We were probably 2/3 of the way through the recommended round count by this time. 

Once the instructors were confident that everyone had the basics for draw, aim/shoot, and follow up shots, we loaded mags to 10 rounds and backed the line up. We then proceeded to shoot for a while at the 20 yd line. 


I never really realized how far 20 yards is until this event. It really forces you to focus on the basics.

When we finished, it was about time to wrap up.

Day Portion Key Takeaways

So far, I felt it was a good class. It covered the basics well, and you get to practice shooting at distance with lots of drawing from a holster. Drawing and shooting which isn’t always doable at your local range.

If I have one complaint about the class, it was that this class really should require students to be familiar with their pistol of choice.  IE the Makarov guy. 

If he was experienced with his pistol and knew the ins and outs, it is unlikely it would have died mid-class.

Also, the instructors did a good job monitoring everyone on the line and getting anyone off if it looked like they were suffering.

Active Shooter Intervention Night Fire

The night portion took place at the same range with the same same instructors. However, only six students returned.
I used a Surefire X300u mounted to a G19 as well as a handheld Surefire for this part of the course.
Since the night course is focused on shooting in the dark, we covered pistols, how to use and hold them, and how to utilize weapon mounted lights.
The class started with two hours or so of dry fire and working on manipulating light controls with one hand while also holding the pistol.
As with earlier in the day, we did this portion was done with barrel plugs.  As the class was much smaller and seemed to be a group more adapt at weapon controls, things were definitely done at an accelerated pace.
For targets on the live fire portions we exclusively shot at 8″ steel plates 4′-5′ off the ground. There were no paper at night.
For the remainder of the night class it was big boy rules for pistols. 
  • Don’t load on the line
  • You’re responsible for loading your own mags (no designated mag reload points), etc. 

This was a much faster way to run a class The next drill focused on transitions. We shot a plate and then transitioned to another plate without muzzling the target that was a non-threat

After doing this a number of times you started to get a feel for making sure you don’t muzzle anyone that isn’t a target. It really made me think about how low you would need to drop your pistol to not point it at someone

One of our final drills was  a partner drill.  We set up with our guns up, loaded, and ready to fire with fingers off the triggers.  Once ready, we indicated to our partners and they would allow us to shoot until we hit the plate.

Once we hit the plate we were forced to rely on our ability to keep the pistol on target, we fired until we missed the plate.  My personal best was 5 hits in a row before I’d miss. 

Most of the class was about this point, but one of the guys could do 8-9 before he’d miss.

The next drill was movement, where we had to start at the 15 yd line with a hot gun, then draw and engage the target while moving to the 7 yd line
This drill at night really forced me to ensure I had a smooth pace and was keeping the gun on target.
I would start walking normally and locking my knees out led to significant movement in the sight and light. It was enough to be very distracting.
Play Video
The final drill of the night had the entire class on the 10-yard line with all lights off.  The instructors slowly panned their handheld lights around on the target, berms, ground, etc and you would only engage when you had a clear sight picture
The best I was able to do was 3 rounds while I had enough light to engage, this is where the tritium sight came in handy as I knew pretty much where my sights were pointed at all times
We did this drill for 2 mags or so.

Lessons Learned

There were several things I took away from this class that will shift how I approach my training and gear in the future.

Tritium Vs. Fiber Optic Sights

No contest, fiber optic all the way. During daylight the fiber glows like no ones business. At night the fibers were harder to pick up, but it was more of a precise aiming point vs. the tritiums. 
The Trijicon HD tritiums weren’t the easiest to use on the 8″ steel plates due to the size of the sight. 
Fiber optics will rule the roost for me, that’s what I’ll carry and probably what I’d put on all future pistols.

Handheld Vs. WML

The WML was much easier to operate and it allowed me to keep two hands on the gun at all times. This trade-off seemed especially noticeable when we would shoot while having to utilize our own lights.
At one point in the night I used my small Streamlight stylus and kept it clenched between my support hand & the gun frame.  This seemed an OK solution to not having a WML, but still able to keep both hands on the gun.

Extended slide stops are the jam 

These were way easier to utilize one handed.  Most of the class would either sling shot the slide to chamber rounds after going to slide lock.  I could release it with my dominant hand as soon as the mag was locked it. 

This seemed to be a much faster options compared to the other.

Shooting at night is a whole lot different than shooting during the day

Ambient light may or not be present. If its not, then you have no idea if that guy has a gun, knife, phone, or walking tacos. 
Bring a light, preferably handheld and WML.

Light Selection

My Surefire was noticeably brighter than my TLR7. 
However the toggles on the Surefire are a little tricky to reach. I never thought about this before the class, but I’ll be upgrading my toggles to the Phlster ARC ones. 
The TLR7 performed well and I have no complaints other than those controls take some getting used to.
I wish I could get all my pistol lights with the toggle setup that the TRL1 has, which I find much easier to momentarily activate.

Wrapping Up

All in all, if you ever get the chance to do a GoRuck firearms course or any night course go for it. If you have the chance to learn a little bit about your pistol before hand by attending a USPSA/IDPA event, then I definitely suggest doing that. Showing up already knowing how to draw and holster is a huge benefit.
I found the GoRuck Active Shooter Intervention Course to be an excellent value for what I got. If you ever get the chance and you can afford it, do a night shooting course. 
It was a great experience since most bad things tend to happen in the dark.
Picture of BDover


Terrible pistol shooter, decent watefowl hunter. Canadian goose taste great wrapped in bacon.

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Sunshine Shooter

Solid write-up for what seemed to be an excellent class. I’m honestly surprised that only 6 of the original 22 attended the night portion of the class as it seems to have been far more interesting than the day portion. Was it an extra expense, or did the people just not have the time?

Replying to  BDover

Grammar? Where? I might have introduced some during editing and formatting.

Replying to  BDover

Fixed 😉

Replying to  Matt

There’s “Drawing and hooting” which makes for an amusing mental image.

Replying to  Pete

I don’t know what you’re talking about ;P


Nice write-up! I envisioned being there the whole time and smiled at quite a few things. Firstly, finding out kind of where you stand amongst everyone in a class. It’s so ambiguous but you find out real quick what you’re apparently better at and lacking in comparison. And to be clear, not that it’s a competition but rather a revelation if you’ve never been to a formal class before. It sure was to me. Your comment about regripping after the draw had me smiling because I forgot I even learned that, and maybe struggled with it initially. How rewarding was… Read more »

Replying to  Cutright

Agreed, I thought BDover captured the course well. There’s always going to be lessons learned from seeing how you stack up against others even in a training environment.

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