LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Open Carry is now allowed for permit holders in Texas, and one Lubbock business is helping shooters prepare for the worst.
They're easing minds with a unique Military Grade Laser Range Simulator.
On the Mark Enhanced Tactical Training uses laser training guns and a projector system to add "accuracy, speed, and the judgmental aspect" in the facility at 214 122nd Street.
You can learn more at their web site: otmchl.com.
"Judgmental training gives you the opportunity to practice "shoot or no-shoot" skills in real life scenarios. Our equipment is state-of-the-art and has been used by many professionals across the State. The importance of being able to protect you and the ones you love is a priority and this training gives you the confidence to do just that."
OTM has churches, courthouses, and schools administrators using this technology to test their employees' limits – to see if they could act to save a life.
"You don't take a knife to a gunfight," said Harold ISD Superintendent David Thweatt. "You take a gun to a gunfight."
David Thweatt takes no chances when it comes to the safety of his students.
"You're going to have to have somebody protect them," he said.
Thweatt has made national headlines since 2007, when he first decided to arm his teachers after the Virginia Tech shooting.
"If they're going to take a gun, which is against the law, into a school, which is a gun free zone," he said, "then there needs to be somebody there waiting to stop them for breaking that law. Because that particular law broken has deadly consequences."
Thweatt drives to meet Ray Dunn, the CEO of OTM in Lubbock, to train himself for the last position he ever wants to be in.
"I find it to be very reminiscent of having to deal with violence in a school situation, which I have over the course of my career," Thweatt said.
That's why Ray invested in this laser-based active shooter simulator: not just to save bullets during their CHL courses, but to save lives.
"There's a lot of teachers that if they're in a stressful situation, it may sound good at first, 'Yeah I'll put on a gun, I'll protect my kids,'" Dunn said. "But we put them in the situation of can you really do it?"
Ray takes this technology to school and law enforcement conventions along with his son, Joe Dunn, chief operations officer for OTM.
"We just want to know that that person has the muscle memory and the ability to deal with the stress of a situation," Joe said, "if it should arise."
These are emotions that a former trainer in the military, Craig Mann, can talk them through as a training specialist for OTM.
"This is an excellent vehicle to teach them how to use their sights, teach them how to use their handgun, teach them how to pull and draw, teach them how to just engage the target and where to hit on the body and things like that," Mann said. "Had I had this in the military, I would have been a lot better off."
It is a physical challenge to perform when lives are in danger, Joe said.
"There are studies that show the effect on the body, what happens when that adrenaline starts flowing," he said, "what happens to you mentally, to your bloodstream, your fingers start tingling, you lose a little bit of your strength in your hand, and after a certain amount of time people lose the ability to function."
The simulator provides a more realistic training than the typical CHL course, Ray said, because they do not use stationary targets.
"That's not really effective because the silhouettes don't move," he said, "and they don't shoot back."
Ray recommends CHL holders to come in and practice with the simulator to keep their skills fine-tuned in case they ever have to be used.
"I know people that haven't shot since their CHL class, which was two to five years ago," he said. "They still carry, that's very dangerous. Because this is definitely a diminishing talent. If they don't use it, they forget how it works."
Playing these scenarios never gets easier for Ray, because unlike the actors on the sceen, he knows in reality…not everyone walks away from an active shooter.
"In Sandy Hook, the first person to approach the shooter was the principal," Ray said, "and she didn't make it. She had no way to protect herself, but she used her body."
With more districts following Thweatts' lead, Ray says the best result of OTM training would be for trainees to never use a weapon at all.
"Nothing would please me more than to have one of our customers call us and tell us, 'You know, we had a situation, we realized from the training we got from y'all the action that we needed to take, and we diffused the situation and did not have to use our weapon,'" he said. "That would be perfect."
To find out how to utilize these on the mark tactical training programs, visit otmchl.com/classes/.