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Thread: Karl Rehn's Tactical Scenarios AAR at FAS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Western US

    Karl Rehn's Tactical Scenarios AAR at FAS

    Karl Rehn’s Tactical Scenarios AAR
    September 14th - 15th 2019 at FAS

    DAY 1

    I arrived at the Firearms Academy of Seattle (FAS) at about 0830 on Saturday morning. Class didn’t start till 0900, but I was eager to catch up with some friends that I knew would be attending this class as well as talk with Karl. I had met Karl Rehn back in 2018 at FAS during the North West Tactical Conference organized by Tom Givens and his crew from Rangemaster. I took Karl’s Historical Handgun live fire qualifications course. I found that seminar to be extremely insightful, and found Karl’s instructing style professional and very friendly. Later in 2018 when FAS staff instructor Belle McCormack told me Karl would be coming back to FAS to teach a Force on Force scenario class I knew I would be attending.

    At 0900 Marty Hayes, the owner of FAS began with an introduction of Karl and safety briefing. Karl’s been a firearms instructor since 1991, and runs a training facility (KR Training) in central Texas. KR Training teaches a variety of courses, but this weekend we would be focusing on force on force (FOF) scenarios. Karl informed the class (16 students in all) that we would have to completely disarm and be checked by FAS staff with a metal detector wand to ensure no live blades, guns, or any impact devices would be carried or used during the weekend. If we went back to our vehicles during the lunch break, or left the facility, we would have to be checked again to ensure no live weapons would be used. I later found out that during the same weekend at another facility in the eastern US another FOF class was being held where the staff weren’t so thorough and a student was negligently shot and seriously wounded!

    Karl instructed us that Day 1 would start with a focus on scenarios with one on one actors, but that as things progressed he would have students facing multiple people (both good guys and bad guys mixed in together). Karl would give each person in the scene their role and directions privately and then they would have to stick to the script for the scene to play out. He told us there would be some scenes with Airsoft guns and protective equipment, as well as some with red training guns without any masks so that we could work on picking up visual cues from the body language and facial expressions of our opponents. Some scenarios the students would be facing FAS staff instructors who had been previously trained by Karl, and other times we would be facing our fellow classmates. Karl would yell “Action!” to start the scene, or “Cut!” to end it. He didn’t want anyone yelling “Stop!” as that would be a common phrase for someone to verbally challenge an aggressor with in real life. If there were any emergencies during the scenario, anyone could yell “Cease Fire!” as a way to quickly stop the scenario. Karl also informed us he might yell “Pause!” if he wanted to temporarily stop the scene to critique the student or analyze the scene. After the briefing, we disarmed, got our airsoft guns, masks, and other protective equipment and met up at the FAS Tactical Shoot House.

    For the morning scenarios Karl focused on home invasion situations. The FAS shoot house is a building with several rooms joined with doors as well as a hallway. Karl and the FAS staff had previously set up each room with chairs, tables, and 55-gallon plastic drums to represent book cases, dressers, fridges and the like. He had props for TV’s, as well as laptops, cash registers, and common items found in convenience stores that we would be using later in the weekend. While Karl ran each scenario, FAS instructors Belle McCormack, Erik Knise, Larry Blackledge, Rick Bressler, Jennie Van Tuyl, and Charles Neely would be assisting. Marty Hayes was present and had the duty of being the unofficial photographer for the class. He is also writing an article about the class which I believe will be posted in the Armed Citizens Legal Defense (ACLDN) monthly newsletter. Initially Karl had one student act as a homeowner taking a nap in the bedroom when a single intruder broke in to burglarize the home. The homeowner would have to decide what to do. While the scenario unfolded, the other students were allowed to observe. Some training schools don’t allow students to watch scenes they’re not participating in, but Karl believes that there is a great deal other students can learn by watching what happens. Students were going to make mistakes, and sometimes we would not ‘win’ the scenario. But Karl believed it was far better to learn what does and does not work in the class then on the streets in real life.

    My homeowner scenario was the second one of the morning. Karl gave me directions that I had just returned home from a night shift and had just gone to bed. I had my airsoft pistol and phone on my bedside table as well as a tourniquet. I wasn’t supposed to react until I heard the intruder break in. It had been about 10 years since my last airsoft FOF class, and I must admit I was a little amped up especially since I was one of the first students to participate and was being watched by my fellow classmates. Upon hearing the initial crash of the intruder breaking in, I ‘woke up’, retrieved my pistol and stayed behind the cover/concealment of my bedroom bookcase with a line of sight to the bedroom door. I verbally challenged the intruder with phrases like “Get out of my house! I am armed! I will shoot you if you come in here!” After repeated warnings the intruder did come to my bedroom doorway which was open holding my ‘TV’. I repeated my command to get out of my house. He stated he knew I wasn’t going to shoot him and proceeded to draw a pistol and attempt to point it at me. Upon seeing his gun, I fired several shots into him. He dropped the TV turned and ran. Then I heard him fall down in the next room over apparently due to his wounds where he lay motionless. At this point I picked up my phone and dialed 911. Karl responded as the 911 dispatcher and I gave a brief statement describing the event. I set the phone down while covering the bedroom door from behind my cover. Then Karl and Marty knocked on Tac house outside door identifying themselves as police. I was instructed to place my pistol down and slowly come out with my empty hands raised and the scenario ended. During debrief Karl asked me how many shots I fired. I told him I wasn’t sure, but I believed I had fired 3 rounds. The observing students stated I shot the intruder 4 times. And Charles who played the intruder said he felt a few airsoft BB’s hit him in the helmet as well as his hand holding the gun. Karl took this opportunity to remind us how common it is to get fixated on weapons and that in real life lots of people are shot in the hand.

    After my scenario, I got to watch other students perform. To avoid getting predictable and repetitive, Karl mixed things up for each student. Sometimes the intruder had no gun. Sometimes he had an impact weapon like a wrench, or knife, or was even unarmed. Sometimes he ran away if the student verbally challenged him. In a couple of cases Karl placed a prop baby somewhere in the house, forcing students to leave the bedroom and protect the baby or challenge the intruder if he found the baby first and picked it up. Some people had to negotiate with the intruder to release the baby in exchange for cash, jewelry etc. Some students were shot in the scenario and had to apply a tourniquet to an arm or leg while attempting to cover the doorway or keep the phone handy to call 911. I found that each student made their choices based upon their level of training. While this was an advanced class with skilled students, not everyone thought things through when the adrenaline was pumping. Some people would not use cover, or stand inside a doorway for a while, others didn’t verbally challenge the intruder. To be fair, I think the home invasion scenarios got more difficult as the day went on, and I think I would have had a rougher time had I not gone second.

    Since the homeowner scenarios each took a while to set up and then debrief, Karl had previously planned out several other scenes involving vehicles in another section of the FAS facility. Students had to go one at a time to an area where FAS instructors were the actors. When it was my turn I walked over to find Erik, Belle and Jennie waiting for me. Erik informed me for this scene we would be using only red guns and no protective equipment, and he double checked that I had removed my airsoft Glock. He told me the scene was that I was a car owner who had just walked out of the Post Office and discovered my tire was flat. I had left my pistol in my vehicle under the driver’s seat, and was working on fixing my flat with a wrench. I was told to react however I thought it would be reasonable based on the circumstances. When the scene began, I was working on the flat when another vehicle pulled up behind me and stopped. I looked up and saw to female occupants. The passenger side opened and Belle stepped out smiling. I stood up with the wrench in my hand held down behind my leg. Belle slowly approached saying that it looked like I needed help and that I should get in the car with her and her friend. I stated that it was just a flat and that I had it under control. She continued to slowly advance at which point I created a little distance and walked over to the driver’s side of my vehicle where I could still see her as well as keep an eye on the driver who was still seated in the vehicle. Belle kept telling me I should come with her and that they would take me to a mechanic. I repeated my reply that I did not need any help. Again, she repeated I needed to come with her at which point I put up my left hand in the stop position and firmly said no. At this point she stopped, looked back at her driver for a second, cussed me out and then walked back to her vehicle. At this point Erik called ‘Cut’ to end the scene.

    Upon debrief, I was informed that that scene was based off a real-life incident in Texas where someone was kidnapped from a parking lot, tortured and murdered. This particular scene Karl had us do one at a time without observing so that we wouldn’t know what would happen. Apparently, some students were able to verbally defuse the situation like I did. Other’s retrieved their pistol from their car and got in gun fight with the two suspects who were both armed with handguns. A few people were kidnapped and taken away. And at least one student got into the suspect’s vehicle before disarming one of them and getting in a gun fight with the other inside of the vehicle!

    Another scenario with vehicles and rubber guns had 4 students with 2 FAS instructors. There was a stopped vehicle on a narrow road with two occupants. Behind it was two more vehicles each with 2 occupants. The FAS instructor was the passenger in the 2nd vehicle and the 3rd vehicle. Each student was discreetly given their role and directions for the scene and then we were placed in the vehicles and the scenario began. I was told that I was the armed CCW driver of the rear vehicle traveling with a good friend and to act how I would act in real life. Once we began the scene, my passenger (one of the Instructors) told me he would go see what was happening with the front vehicle and got out. I watched him walk up to the passenger side of the first vehicle and start arguing with the passenger who proceeded to get out and argue even more. I got out of my car and yelled for my buddy to return to our vehicle, which he ignored. After a couple of seconds standing there deciding what to do next, I noticed the 2nd car passenger in front of me exit the vehicle and draw her gun and point it at my friend while yelling at him to go back to our car. Instinctively I drew my red gun Glock to a low ready, but after thinking about it and watching the armed passenger’s actions I decided she seemed more scared than aggressive and didn’t seem likely to shoot. I hid my drawn gun behind my back while I walked up to my friend and physically pulled him away with my free hand from the upset gun owner and the other vehicle’s passenger while apologizing and telling her I would handle him. Once we got back to our car without any shots fired the scene ended. Upon debrief we were told that my friend’s role was to start an argument without getting physical, and that the FAS instructor from the 2nd car was supposed to act scared with the drawn gun but not shoot unless fired upon. This scene really was stressful and really made me think about my actions. I knew that I would get in a lot of trouble shooting someone when my friend was the instigator of the argument. But I really hated getting in between the other gun owner with a drawn gun and my friend who would not shut up! I think the moral of this scenario is to pick better friends who won’t start arguments with strangers and put you in these types of risky encounters!

    After the debrief another set of students who hadn’t watched were instructed to come over and try it out. Those of us who had completed it were encouraged to stay and observe. I asked if the FAS staff needed any help, and was told that if I wanted to I could act as the unruly passenger in the third car. I agreed, as getting to act out road rage is something I never get to do in real life (My job has me in a vehicle A LOT, and I have had many stupid or aggressive drivers around me all the time). I took this role seriously and really got into it, arguing with the passengers of the first car, cussing them out and acting very aggressive. The next guy who played the armed driver of the third vehicle ended up getting in a gun fight with the FAS instructor from the 2nd car. I was able to play the same part again for a new set of students, and that time no one was shot, but the CCW driver of the 3rd car didn’t engage at all and simply left me the irate friend to deal with the situation on my own. In that scene, the two occupants from the first vehicle got out and ran away, so I ended the scene by getting in their vehicle to drive it out of the way! Afterwards, one of the students came up to me and stated that even though he knew it was a training exercise he felt an adrenaline dump as I came up to the car and started yelling. He told me “I know it was just an exercise, but I kind of want to hit you right now for being such a jerk!” We both laughed at how much we had got into our roles.

    We ended the first day back in the classroom for a final debrief. Karl asked each of us to tell the class one thing we had learned. I felt that being decisive, and then executing the response seemed to work best. After watching multiple scenarios, it seemed that for the people who reacted quickly things turned out well. Those that paused too long and over analyzed the situation ended up freezing when things went sideways. After that Karl dismissed the class at about 1700. A few of us went out for dinner at a local BBQ joint afterwards for some food and a good discussions afterwards.

    DAY 2

    Sunday, I awoke early to a torrential down pour of rain. In fact, it was pouring rain the whole entire morning and didn’t let up until the early afternoon. This has happened a number of times when I’ve trained at FAS in the years past, so I was prepared with wet weather gear and water proof shoes for the day. Thankfully I didn’t need them as I discovered upon my arrival at the FAS classroom that we would be spending the morning in the classroom out of the rain doing scenarios in a simulated UPS store front with red trainer guns. Once Karl got the class started at 0900 (and after another check with the metal detector wands and pat downs), we started our scenes. Karl had the classroom set up with a cash register, counter tables, and plenty of empty boxes and other props. The classroom was divided out using stacked tables to simulate different rooms in the store front, and Karl had a number of scenarios already planned out. We went through the scenes much quicker, but they were more complicated with multiple people playing roles. Each person was given their directions by Karl discreetly one at a time, and those who weren’t in that particular scene could stand at the back and watch the action unfold. Karl was really good at letting each student play all the different types of roles. We each got to be innocent bystanders, robbery victims, clerks, or even the perpetrators at different points. Karl sometimes instructed people to act clueless at times, scared and oblivious to their surroundings, or as a trained CCW holder. Bad guys sometimes had the discretion to use deadly force or not, or simply run away at the first sign of resistance.

    These drills were more complicated, and honestly we all screwed up at different times. Since there were so many role players in the room, and you didn’t know what role the other students had, you had to make quick decisions with very limited knowledge (just like in real life!). We dealt with single man robberies, irate customers who were very loud but unarmed, a drugged out homeless person panhandling, to a robbery team with plans to execute everyone in the store! I don’t want to give away all of Karl’s scenarios, but suffice to say, you had to think quickly on your feet if you wanted to survive. Sometimes Marty or Karl would act as responding police officers and we got to practice dealing with the police after a violent encounter. After each scene, we would do a quick debrief, and Karl and Marty would give their opinion on the legality of the situation and who would likely be arrested or charged in each scene, and then we’d move on to the next. We broke for lunch with the understanding that we would be back out in the shoot house doing airsoft drill for the remainder of the day.

    For the afternoon, we were blessed with a clear sky, and the rain stopped. Despite the shoot house having walls and a roof, the ground had soaked through and was a bit wet in places inside due to the sheer volume of rain we had that morning. The shoot house was set up as a convenience store with an adjacent deli, and a back room with a restroom, and an ATM machine. There were lots of props to make it as realistic as possible. Like before, Karl gave each of us our roles privately and then let the action unfold. Since I had done fairly well in the morning scenes, Karl had me play an unarmed customer/victim for most of the afternoon live fire drills. I found that if I initially complied with the bad guy’s demands and waited for an opportunity, I usually was able to run away and make it safely out of the store without getting shot. This reinforced my default plan to simply get away if possible in a violent encounter. Despite being armed daily, I would obviously rather not have to deal with the troubles and legal issues that would come up in a self-defense scenario. A few students who were a bit trigger happy the day before, seemed to have picked up a few things or perhaps had been inoculated to the adrenaline dump that can occur and made better choices on day two. I think we all learned something. I won’t go into detail on the scenarios we did at the mock 711, but if realistic FOF training interests you (and you’ve been patient enough to read this whole AAR), then you owe it to yourself to check out Karl Rehn’s schedule and sign up for one of his classes!

    We ended the day back in the classroom for another debrief and another round of ‘What did you learn today?’. I felt this class really reinforced my previous training. Good verbal de-escalation skills, moving off the X, use of cover, simply running away from the threat at times, and of course solid gun handling skills were critical to succeed. I definitely feel more confident in my ability to deal with an encounter after taking this class. Karl handed out class certificates, I said my goodbyes to my fellow students and FAS instructor friends, and loaded up my gear for the long drive home.

    Final thoughts. I was glad I took this class. It had been about 10 years since I’d done an airsoft FOF class, and I was due for a refresher. Karl is friendly, knowledgeable, and great guy to train with. He teaches all over the US, and I believe he mentioned he’s got another FOF class this fall in GA that still has some openings in it. Check his website: for more information. The FAS facility is great place to do classes, and their staff is great. Karl even mentioned how he doesn’t think his training facility is set up for FOF as good as FAS. So check out FAS too if you get the chance. Verbal skills! You need good verbal skills! I was able to talk my way out of a lot of the scenes without it going to guns. Make a plan, and then execute it! Standing around thinking, overanalyzing, and being unsure of yourself makes it that much harder when you’re already behind the curve in a violent encounter. And finally, since people always seemed hung up on it, gear. I was pleased with my airsoft G19 gen 3 gun which ran fine, and carried it in my Dale Fricke Archangel AIWB holster. I love Fricke holsters and have been using Dale’s stuff for over 10 years now. For a red trainer gun, I used my Blackhawk G17 trainer, although Karl and Marty had a variety of rubber guns, LaserLyte pistols, and even the CoolFire trainer system which modifies a real gun to be used with realistic recoil with CO2 gas while being rendered incapable of firing real projectiles. That’s about it. Thanks for reading, and now go get some training!

  2. #2

    one correction

    With regard to people being shot in the hand, what I actually said was this:

    It's common for roleplayers in FOF scenarios to get shot in the hand because everyone involved is trying to shoot with the gun at eye level and/or with the gun indexed at their centerline. Problem #2 is that trained people in scenarios are getting better hits in the center mass/high chest area than untrained people do in armed citizen/home defense/7-11 type incidents. My opinion as to why we don't see more people shot in the hand in real life is that there is a lot more point shooting, hip shooting, one handed shooting and trigger yanking that occurs.

    I also ran a one day FOF instructor course for FAS staff on the Friday before the 2 day weekend, to prepare them to assist me. When I do the instructor course, attendees have to assist with teaching scenarios both to observe how I do things but also to get experience as roleplayers and scenario coordinators.

    My own AAR from the weekend is here
    and Marty Hayes took 100+ photos and has written a long article about the course for the ACLDN e-journal.

  3. #3
    Sounds like a good time was had by all.

    Curse this working for a living!

    (And medical bills... without which I would have more discretionary funds for training, but would probably have done MAG80 when Mas was at FAS.)
    Recovering Gun Store Commando. My Blog: The Clue Meter
    “It doesn’t matter what the problem is, the solution is always for us to give the government more money and power, while we eat less meat.”
    Glenn Reynolds

  4. #4
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    South Louisiana
    @CZ Man - Excellent AAR!

    Going through Karl's FoF course was an eye-opener for me. I learned like I usually do by screwing stuff up and finding out how to un-screw myself.

    If anyone in the GA vicinity has the time to take Karl's class, I strongly recommend it.

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