AMTEC Less-Lethal Systems (formerly ALS), a National Defense
company, has long been serving the law enforcement, corrections and military
communities with products and equipment to meet their tactical and operational
needs. Among their latest endeavors is their new training facility in Perry,
Fla. This state-of-the-art facility includes the latest-design shoot house, a
two-tier cell block, and a corrections training pod.
Elsewhere at the training facility are live-fire ranges, an
elevated engagement platform (7 stories high), a bunk house, and a classroom
building that will accommodate up to 80 officers. These will be covered in a
Agencies wishing to use all or part of the ALS facility can
make arrangements by either taking part in one of the facility’s training
programs, having the agency’s own instructors conduct the training, and/or
having the place locked down for an agency’s own training, with only one ALS
instructor onboard for safety issues.
Currently, ALS offers over two dozen law enforcement-based
and corrections-based training classes along with the staff and facilities to
support them. As broad as an officer’s responsibility, from lower-risk patrol
stops to high-risk warrants, active shooter scenarios or hostage rescue, ALS
has you covered.
Classes slated for 2014 include Less Lethal Instructor,
SWAT, Select-Fire Instructor, Operators Tactical Firearms, Cell Extraction,
Crowd Management, High-Risk Transport, Clan Labs-WMD Tactical Operations, TEMS
(Tactical Emergency Medical Support), Precision Marksman-Observer, Breaching,
Armorers, Simunition, and even K9.
Building (Shoot House)
The need for shoot house training is simple: officer
survival. This ALS shoot house is formally called a Dynamic Entry
Building. It can be used
for many types of training including basic and advanced SWAT, less-lethal,
breaching, active shooter, hostage rescue, high-risk warrant, building and room
clearing operations, barricaded subject and just about any other tactical
training needs. It can also be used for basic police officer tactical training.
is basically an advanced, large-scale shoot house, perfected and refined from
the old days when shoot houses were made of gravel-filled rubber tires, or
plywood on a frame wall with shooting positions indicating windows and doors.
The best of the early shoot houses were built on concrete
foundations, and may have had oversized mounds of earth surrounding them and
various other ranges.
The better shoot houses might also have advanced to
2x4-backed, non-ballistic plywood walling fitted with overlapping 4x8 sheets of
steel with a Brinell rating of 400. Plywood over these steel sheets could
facilitate training using frangible ammunitions because frangible bullets would
disintegrate against the steel and the fragments would be trapped between the
steel and plywood.
Another common method employed by trainers was to train in
non-ballistic structures that had been requisitioned and modified for training,
such as condemned buildings in which either dummy guns or Simunition® guns were
used. Even tarps on 2x4 frames were used with ball ammunition, although
instructors had to know the exact directions of fire. The staff at ALS kept all
of this in mind and much more when they created their totally modern shoot
Designing the Shoot
According to Dave DuBay, the Chief Technology Officer of
AMTEC-ALS, when they constructed the Dynamic
they tried to build it so it was the best of the best. The company conducted
100 shoot house reviews before they built theirs with the failsafe design in
They can lock it down to divide it into sections so two
teams can run scenarios separately, with a double-locking system for two-team
training. In addition to an observation catwalk, there is also a video option
in which a video DVD can be burned of teams training in the shoot house. Over
the catwalk is a raised roof to deal with overpressure, i.e., the shock waves
resulting from explosions.
has many features to make training as realistic as possible. It has breeching
doors, doors and rooms that can be reconfigured, and lights that can be turned
on or left off. The furniture can also be changed around. The walls are built
of block filled with steel rebar and concrete, and sheathed with replaceable
plywood so Simunition, frangible ammunition, and some live ammunition can be
used. While the walls are .308 rated, as an added safety measure and to
maintain the integrity of the walls, ALS limits live ammo to 5.56mm frangible
and standard handgun ball ammo.
Windows and closed doors can be painted on the plywood
sheeting. Inside, the shoot house has multiple doors, which can be reconfigured
by placing plywood closures over them. Windows, doors, and other scenario
settings can also be painted on the plywood.
Outside the Dynamic Entry Building, sniper teams do their
job: covering, monitoring and reporting movement, prepared to take out a bad
guy target if the scenario calls for it. From the shoot house comes the bright,
white flash of a distraction device. A door breaching team member does his
work. Entry is made. Inside, shots bang away at paper targets and traps. SWAT
team members, wearing full tactical gear, body armor, gas masks, and helmets,
use frangible ammunition. For more active training, role players and Simunition
can be used.
A trainer and the SWAT commander look down on the members of
the entry team from a grated metal walkway. Hovering overhead, the two
observers stay behind the team—it is safety protocol. An ominous and distinct
12-inch red line is painted around the walls of every room 7 feet above the
floor, designating a no-fire angle for the shooters. Any round discharged above
that line immediately shuts the drill down. If a scenario goes wrong and a
round is discharged upward, the catwalk might deflect or offer a degree of
protection against any errant bullet, but then again, because it is grated
metal, it might not.
Accordingly, the catwalk-positioned commander and trainer
never get ahead of the team. If the deputies had been academy trainees and had
not evolved in their tactical and shooting skills, neither the commander nor
any other trainer would be monitoring from above.
The interior of the shoot house is a challenging maze of
hallways, rooms, and doorways. Under the entry team’s gas masks, faces are firm
in concentration. Team members work off each other and move through the
doorway’s fatal funnel, deeply penetrating the room.
Breaking off from their stack, two-deputy room-clearing
teams work: clear the room, rejoin the stack, and move on.
Each entry team member has an area of responsibility.
Closing in on additional targets, they tend to keep their guns punched out,
since shooting reaction time takes longer when a weapon must be brought up from
a barrel-pointed-down position for firing. “Smooth is fast” is their theme.
The realistic Corrections Training Pod is a stand-alone
corrections training facility complete with a mess area, real serpentine wire,
tier stairwell, and an exercise yard. Should corrections officers need to train
for an attack on an officer or inmate in a chow hall, courtyard, or stairwell,
this training Pod has it. It can even be blacked out to simulate nighttime or
The main building in the Pod is a two-tier cellblock made up
of nine cells of various sizes. Its design concept is unique, put together by a
scientifically trained engineer after taking into account multiple corrections
pod perspectives and feedback from seasoned corrections officers.
The Pod’s steel doors have steel frames and are based upon
real prisoner cell doors; in fact, they are the actual doors used in real
facilities. Training can address every type of jail, corrections or prison door
in use, including steel bar jail doors. Among the types of doors are slider
doors that slide either to the left or right, hinge-type prison doors that pull
open to the left or to the right, and cell doors with a service/food/cuffing
hatch. Every door in the pod is different.
Training at the Pod
The Corrections Training Pod is a facility used to train
corrections officers and their special operations counterpart to police SWAT
teams, the Cell Extraction or Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT). It is
also used by police officers and other non-corrections law enforcement officers
who have cell blocks or holding cells within their police headquarters building
and police stations.
For corrections officers, today’s training is about
practiced takedowns and knowing how to control inmate body limbs to gain
complacence and control. The training involves human dynamics, approved joint
locks, strikes, pressure points, and employing the close-quarter and
less-lethal takedown tools in their arsenals. It is about corrections tactics
against street tactics. Nothing can be faked in a real fight. These are
corrections officers who work in sheriff’s departments’ jails, state and
federal prisons, and correctional institutions.
CERT teams are the last lines of defense in any correctional
institution. Every day in correctional institutions throughout the United States,
CERT is called to respond about every 90 seconds. CERT deterrence is used for
shakedowns, drug interdictions, to defuse hostage and other nasty situations,
and for inmate extraction from cells and transportation vehicles. Even in some
correctional institutions that have CERT teams, corrections officers are also
trained to perform inmate extractions without calling for the CERT team to do
These officers face danger on a regular basis: HIV,
hepatitis, shanks, fists, and even feet (one determined inmate in Virginia had a shank
taped to his hand and pointed pencils sticking out of his tennis shoes).
Inmates do not stop being criminals just because they are locked up. Instead,
they have 24 hours a day to think about how they can make correctional
officers’ lives difficult.
One corrections officer said that cell extractions take
place more than the public realizes. In retaliation, inmates can and do file
lawsuits. Consider it this way: Prisons are cities or villages in their own
right. Corrections officers in reality are the street cops who patrol these
communities. The difference is that the residents of these cities are all
ALS and its Corrections Training Pod and trainers are tools
available for correction officers to take advantage of. Trainers from an agency
using the Corrections Center can bundle the different Tactical Training
Center’s facilities, such
as the Corrections Training Pod with classrooms, various ranges, or other
elements when conducting their training needs. The Dynamic Entry
Building and Corrections
Training Pod can be leased for $500 per day, and traditional firing ranges for
NTOA Courses at
In addition to the courses that ALS offers, in 2014, ALS
will host a number of National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) courses at
this facility. These include armored vehicle tactical rescue, precision long
rifle, basic crisis negotiations, less-lethal instructor, SWAT team leader
development, and barricaded subject–hostage rescue. If you are interested in
attending an NTOA-sponsored class at facility, please see their website.
Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, Ohio
Police Department and a frequent contributor to LAW and ORDER. Mickey
Davis is a California-based writer and author.