Home Invasion Prep (Sims 1)™
Length of Course: 4 hours
Taught at these locations: Belleville, Area 51, and Windslow. Mobile training for this course is also available.
Course Level: Novice (What's this?)
Never heard of Simunitions? Make sure you read the story Popular Mechanics wrote about Gun For Hire Simunitions Force-on-Force class below. The course is recommended for anyone who is thinking about bringing a firearm into their home or someone who owns a firearm and wants to train for different home invasion scenarios. Great for husband/wife training. This class is highly recommended for anyone who has a CCW license.
Gun For Hire was the first civilian company allowed to offer this type of training for civilian/civilian scenarios, which was previously only offered to the police and military.
It is the closest you can get to train for real-life scenarios. The guns are real and the ammo is "simunitions," which offers a “pain penalty.” Come try it and see how you perform.
Who teaches this course? All of our high-level courses are taught by experienced professionals with the credentials to prove it. They are all trained and certified by the N.J. Police Training Commission, N.J. Department of Criminal Justice, and posses Federal Law Enforcement Instructor Certifications. They are experts in N.J. Use of Force Policies, and are always updating the course material with the latest use of force guidelines and case law. At GFH this is not a “hobby” but a full time, legitimate vocation. Any " instructor” can teach you anything, but only a select few can teach you the "why" or the "root of law" to justify your actions. If you were to use your newly acquired skills and you were required to justify your actions, at GFH all of our instructors are ready, willing, and able to testify in your defense as long as you had followed the training and procedures we provided. It does you and your loved one’s no good if you survive the fight, and then spend the next thirty years in prison because of the wrongful advice you were given by a part time amateur “instructor”.
Gun For Hire Simunitions Instructors:
A Belleville police officer for 12 years. Certified to teach deadly force and is lead investigator for home invasions. Also currently assigned to the Tactical Narcotics Unit as assistant team leader for the Belleville Police Department's Emergency Services Unit.
Joe serves as our lead firearms and tactics instructor. A U.S. Army combat veteran, Joe has served as both an infantry team and squad leader with the 10th Mountain Division. During his military service, Joe served on multiple deployments, including a combat deployment with Joint Coalition Task Force 180 Operation Enduring Freedom IV Afghanistan where he conducted both ground and air assault missions in search of Taliban and terrorist forces.
Popular Mechanics: By Joe Poppalardo
I'm lying on a strange bed, staring at the ceiling. My breath, echoing in the hollow parts of a full head mask, is not quite steady. There's someone out there who wants to hurt me. And he's armed with a Glock.
But so am I. It's in the nightstand, loaded. I hear noises: A loud crash, a strange voice, and the scuffle of feet that sounds like someone running down the hallway toward my bedroom. Home invasion. My hands are moving without direct command from my mind, sliding open the nightstand drawer and cocking the Glock with a reassuring snap. I tuck myself to the right of the door, where a nice right angle juts from the wall to accommodate a hallway closet. I jam myself into that corner, aim the pistol at the open bedroom door (Why didn't I close it?) and steady myself.
A wide black form darts into the room, gun raised, and swinging my way. I aim for center mass and the gunfight is on.
With a Glock in the nightstand, I'm prepared for anything that can happen, right? Wrong. Having a gun doesn't mean jack unless you have the tactical knowledge to use it properly. That why I'm here at a simulated series of gunfights, in a class run by Gun For Hire. Staffed with experienced cops, the New Jersey–based firm hones the skills of other police officers with what they call force-on-force training. Their world is populated by "good guys" who are preyed on by "sh*tbags." They are caught somewhere in the middle, teaching the good guys how to handle a firearm.
This year, Gun for Hire became the first such training firm to open up their methods—previously used to train law enforcement officers—to the public. They use actual firearms converted to fire Simunitions, high-velocity paintball pellets placed at the tip of actual brass casings. The guns bark and kick, not as much as a real Glock, but just enough to get the point across. And they leave bigger bruises than paintballs do. Paintballs travel at about 300 feet a second; Simunitions move 650 feet a second. To open this training to the public, the company suffered a gauntlet of insurance authorizations and also runs background checks on prospective students.
On a sunny Monday morning, I meet the staff at the Belleville, headquarters to begin my force-on-force training. My guides are experienced gunmen. John Mcaloon is a police detective who's been with the Belleville Police Department 12 years and is advanced SWAT-certified. He has a wide frame, steady hands, and deep eyes that make him always seem sad. He's playing the bad guy in my sessions.
Joe Sente briefs us. He's former Army, 10th Mountain Division, with combat experience in eastern Afghanistan. Sente also graduated from the FBI's sniper school. These days he works on a tactical unit in high-crime towns in Central New Jersey. He tells me that he'll be raiding a crack house in a couple days, a raid his unit has spent a month planning. He says the rules of engagement are different between the military and law enforcement, but tactics are tactics. He then tosses out a quote from a former instructor: "If you're in a fair fight, your tactics suck."
I ask Mcaloon how the pros prepare for the body's reaction when it is met with stress and violence—hands shaking, heart rate doubling, breath heaving. "There's only one way," he says, "and that's force-on-force training." I pull on the full-head helmet, secure the neck armor, strap on a groin protector, arm myself, and get ready to learn some hard lessons.
Shoot-Outs and Face-Offs
In my training, I run through a variety of scenarios, each of which starts with me lying on the bed in my pretend bedroom, with the Glock in the nightstand. Some of the situations are subtle—the instructions would orchestrate a ruse or send an actor playing a drunk into the home to keep me off guard. Midway through the day, I'm tired of being shot, by Simunition or anything else. My arm and belly are welted with gunshots from an earlier encounter; one hit bare skin and opened a bloody circle on my forearm. The staff calls this "pain penalties for tactical errors." It's a good motivator.
Then it gets deadly serious. Mcaloon, in the role of home invader, has dashed into the room to kill me. My current situation doesn't seem too cerebral; there's a maniac blazing away at me in my bedroom. But, I quickly learn, all gunfights are brain exercises—the risk doesn't stop when the bullets are fired.
I shoot four times, and two Simunition rounds slam into the home invader. I feel a savage joy as he collapses to the floor. I'm on my feet, moving toward his gun, and kick it across the room. I could have picked it up and had another weapon, but kicking it seems tough and triumphant.
Then the guy starts screaming.
He's wounded and (he says) bleeding, asking for help. His hands are twitching, like he's trying to get to a second piece in his pocket. Surging on adrenaline, I say terrible things to him in response to his pleas—telling him to stay still and bleed, threatening to shoot him in the stomach, and so on. Even though he's down and no longer holding a gun, I am still stressed, until a voice from the hallway brings relief: "Police!"
But it only gets worse. The home invader is screaming, twitching, and sliding across the floor. I think I see his hand dart into his jacket, and I impulsively put two rounds into his head and shoulder.
Gunshot victims have a very good survival rate; even those who die take awhile to bleed out. This (simulated) one is still screaming at the officer, who has arrived just in time to hear me shooting and then sees me standing over a prone, wounded man. I'm not looking much like a victim in the officer's eyes, and he's in the hall drawing down—on me. And the home invader has now slid into the corner, out of the cop's vision.
Here are my choices at this point:
I can drop the gun and expose myself to the home invader's probable second gun.
I can keep the gun in hand and get shot by the cop.
I can grab some cover, drop the gun, and let the cop deal with the invader.
I like option number three, but I have nothing to duck behind. I slap the gun down on a squat TV cabinet, and pull the piece of furniture away from the wall. I drop behind the space behind the cabinet and put my hands up. Now my gun is close enough to retrieve in case this cop gets shot by the perp, but I'm not exposed to the invader's still unseen second gun.
The wounded attacker's hand keeps twitching toward his jacket pocket, and every time it does my hand automatically reaches for my Glock. He's screwing with us, trying to get the cop to shoot me.
It may be working: The cop's gun stays pointed at me; I can see the black eye of the barrel from my awkward position. I want this to end—Can't this officer see I'm the good guy here?—but the home invader is screaming that I asked him over for a drink and shot him, that the cop needs to shoot me. I can't keep up with his tirades as he vocally dominates the room. (Mcaloon is also a trained hostage negotiator, I learn later. I also find out the attacker never had a second gun.) Somehow I lost the initiative to an unarmed, wounded man. I am on the other end of what has become an unfair fight. Clearly my tactics suck.
"Index, Index, Index." The call across the test range means the scenario is over, and not a second too soon. My body doesn't know the difference between real stress and simulated stress, and the standoff leaves me shaken. There's more to shoot-outs than pulling a trigger.
The steepest learning curve of force-on-force training comes during the post-training briefings. First, the role players take on new personalities, as cops responding to the shooting. Lingering adrenaline and frayed nerves wreak havoc on memory; I don't know how many shots I've fired and botch the sequence of events.
Plus, I shot an unarmed man in New Jersey. Geography matters in home invasion shoot-outs, and a smart gun owner knows the laws that govern the state where he lives. "Every bullet you fire comes with a lawyer attached," Sente says. New Jersey does not have a so-called castle law that allows property owners to defend their homes; the law requires owners to leave without shooting if there is a way out and no other family members are endangered. In a castle law state, like Ohio, trespassers can be shot just for being there. If you own a gun, make sure to check use-of-force laws on your state attorney general's website.
When it's all over, the instructors break down my mistakes, of which I made many: the angle of my initial position, my overall lack of mobility, the dumb choice to stand in front of the attacker after I shot him the first time (rather than behind him, which would have made it harder for him to roll over and shoot at me quickly), and passiveness in allowing the criminal to dominate the room after the shooting. My biggest error, I learn, may have been leaving my finger curled on the trigger when the perp was on the ground.
"You're amped up, and you hear a noise or see someone come into the room. You could shoot your kid or a neighbor," Mcaloon says. "You'd have a very hard time living with that. We recommend you keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot."
He's thinking also of my two-round burst, fired at close range from a suspiciously steep angle into a prone man. All shootings in New Jersey go before a grand jury, he tells me. "You could have a problem explaining that one," Mcaloon says with his usual forlorn look. Even worse, he says, witnesses would have heard me saying aggressive things to the home invader as he lay defenseless. Now I'm not a defender of my home, but a danger to the community.
The instructors take a holistic view of home defense, one based on layers: shatterproof windows, a dog, home alarms, and doors that swing outward instead of in. A gun is the last layer.
The experience has taught me two things. One: gun ownership for home defense demands more than just range shooting. Two: anyone who says they are eager to get into a gunfight is either stupid, lying, or a sh*tbag.
Once you have read the additional information below, if you still have a question, please check out our FAQ Page. If you do not see the answers you are seeking, be sure to go to the Gun For Hire forum, which has several of our instructors available to answer any questions. Our Gun Forum has an optional login with facebook for your convenience
Topics covered to include:
- Prerequisites: None. The material is suitable for all. Minimum age, 18 years old.
- How to properly prepare for a home invasion
- Shoot/don't shoot scenarios
- Building search
- Legal aftermath
- Please wear comfortable clothing. Long-sleeve shirt is a must. No open-toed shoes.
Joe and the other two instructors did a great job! My hand was shaking and heart was pounding. The scenarios were very realistic and the review / constructive criticism was insightful. At the end we reviewed the videos of our scenarios which was extremely helpful in witnessing our strong and weak points.
Thanks again it was well worth it
The Sims class exceeded my expectations. As advertised, this is “as real as it gets.” One-on-one training with superb instructors in realistic, home protection scenarios is exactly what I wanted. Chuck and Joe are gifted instructors. The time they spent answering questions and addressing my individual issues and challenges was invaluable. So were the video reviews. GFH delivered. I will be back for more.