MUNCIE, Ind.—A training facility in Muncie is changing the game, taking shooters from a stationary gun range to mobile attack scenarios.
Muncie Threat Assessment Center (MTAC) opened up in the summer of 2016, welcoming armed civilians and armed professionals to its unique training facility and courses.
The facility is specifically designed for reality-based firearms training. Meaning, individuals run through “missions” in which they’re confronted with a professional ‘bad guy’ whose moves and actions are unpredictable.
There is room for growth. Novice gun owners start with basic courses on gun safety, so they can comfortably load, use and shoot their weapons. When ready, they move into live-action missions.
“A lot of training occurs in a sterile environment, that way you get your repetitions in,” says MTAC Operations Manager Eric McBride, “however, when you go up against another human being you find out if those tactics are sound or not.”
McBride is a US Navy Veteran and former Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Deputy. He’s worked on Delaware County’s Swat Team and serves on the Albany Police Department as a patrolman.
“We were able to do this kind of training and quickly realize this is the best kind of training out there because it moves away from just accuracy drills on a flat range and gives you a 360 degree threat with real humans—and you start finding out how good or bad your tactics are,” McBride added.
MTAC is built with a maze of rooms and doors, some modeled like a home or large apartment. Depending on the mission, a civilian could practice responding to an armed home intruder breaking in while they were mock sitting on the couch watching TV.
Instructors watch from above as the scenario plays out. When it’s over, they offer advice on better techniques like where to keep their firearm, how to maintain a safe distance and disarm their attacker.
McBride says they end each course with a taste of what the next-level might be. The reactions, typically, are very positive: “it’s ‘oh I didn’t realize how I would feel with all that adrenaline when I had to shoot near a human or at a human being’ and they’re excited for the next level.”
There’s no live ammo in the missions. Instead, they use force-on-force ammo they call a “man marker.”
“Realism actually makes you do things a little bit different,” said Joe Overstreet, Law Enforcement Program Director at Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM), “it’s easy to punch holes in a paper target, a lot of people have issues with shooting a person.”
The man-marker ammo gives people a sense of what it feels like to fire a real bullet, and allows them to track their accuracy.
“This is reality, not a paper target when it doesn’t shoot back at you,” Overstreet most people don’t realize how their reactions and faculties change when they experience being fired back at, “that’s where the realism comes into play.”
Since opening last summer, MTAC has seen a rise in armed civilians and off duty officers come in to practice tactics. The training courses and missions are different. Instead of tackling how to protect or fend off an armed home intruder, professionals practice mock-SWAT situations, and handling unknown variables in unfamiliar model homes and buildings.
MTAC offers specific courses for law enforcement training to go over some of the latest equipment that can be used in high-risk situations they might encounter on the job.
MTAC is located at 3800 E. McGalliard Road in Muncie, Indiana.