Tactical Training Scenario- The Birthday Party Shooting

Written by Greg Ellifritz

Topics: Tactical Training Scenarios

  • SumoMe

Written by: Greg Ellifritz



Read about this attack on a large outdoor birthday party.  Could that happen to you?


Imagine that you are enjoying an outdoor birthday party in a friend’s back yard when a man gets out of a car wearing a ski mask and carrying an AK-47. He shoots 30 bullets at anyone he sees in the area. All of your friends and family are falling to the ground with gunshot wounds. What would you do?


Some things to think about here:

1) This type of thing is usually gang or drug related. Don’t go to birthday parties with drug dealers and gang members.


2) With that said, it could happen anywhere. Think about possibilities of mistaken identity (the bad guys THINK it’s the dealer’s house), disgruntled co-workers, angry ex spouses, etc. This really could happen to you.


3) Do you carry a gun to large parties and gatherings?  What about a child’s birthday party?  I bet many of you don’t. Maybe you should. I bet some of the people at this party wish they had one.  How do you carry a gun when you are going to be in close contact with children?


4) Whenever I am in a large group of people, the first thing I do on arrival is look for all of the exits and look for something to hide behind that stops bullets. It just takes a couple of seconds, but now I have a plan if things go bad.


5) How good is your long range pistol shooting? We know that most shootings take place inside of 20 feet, but in a case like this you may have to reach out farther. Can you take a 50-yard shot with your pistol? Try it sometime. You’ll quickly stop carrying the snubby .38s and little .380s as primary guns!


6) What about spare magazines?  Do you carry at least one?  There is some indication that there was some return fire coming from the party goers.  If you were going up against am AK with just your pistol, there’s a good chance you might need some extra bullets.


7) Keeping the above in mind, do you have a long-gun handy? What if the guy had multiple magazines and decided to stay put and keep shooting rather than fleeing? You may need something a little bigger to take care of things. I almost always have a rifle in the car with me.  The chances of me getting to it in time are exceedingly slim, but if the attack is of a longer duration than this one was, it’s a possibility.  I would most certainly want to have a long gun to defend against any additional reprisal attacks.  Remember, the attackers may come back.


8) In reference to the above point, do you even have a fighting long gun in your house? If things get really bad, I promise you will need something with more accuracy and firepower than any of the pistols you own. Get a good fighting rifle now, while you can. You can pick up an AK-47, and a couple of magazines for around $700.   You can get really nice AR-15 rifles for around $800 currently.  There really is no excuse not to get one. You may not be able to do that in the future. After you get the rifle, get some good training with it.


9) If you don’t have a fighting rifle, at least have enough ammo for your hunting shotgun or rifle in case it needs to be pressed into service as a fighting gun. A nice AR-15 is great, but a well trained person with a lever action .30-30 or even a slug-loaded 12 gauge and enough rounds can be a force to be reckoned with.


10) What about medical supplies and training? If this happened at your house would you have the skills and supplies to treat eight gunshot wound victims until the paramedics arrived? No, the box of bandaids, roll of medical tape and tube of neosporin won’t be enough!  Learn military tactical medicine and have plenty of tourniquets, pressure bandages and hemostatic agents available.


11) Call 911 as soon as possible. If it were me, I’d concentrate on shooting and have someone else call. I don’t always carry a cell phone anyway, so as I’m moving to take the shot I would designate someone else to make the call.

If you are shooting (or even have a gun out) make sure the caller gives your description to the police so that you don’t get mistaken for the shooter by responding officers.


12) There will likely be numerous non-combatants in the area.  It is likely that if this was a birthday party, many will have cameras out and potentially recording.  If it’s possible, get one or more of the party goers to record the attackers from a position of cover.  That will be very helpful for prosecution if the attackers are caught by police.


Don’t think that this type of event can’t happen to you.  Fundamentally, the response for this attack is no different than the response to the recent active killer in Dallas.  You have at least one mobile attacker with a rifle working against multiple surprised and unarmed victims.


Work on your plan.




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