Redefining Survival: Innovating Active Shooter Training Beyond Traditional Methods 

By: Ryan M. Desilets, MBA 

With the increase in active shooter events recently, the urgency for effective active shooter preparedness is extremely important. The “run, hide, fight” mantra has been the longstanding method for responding to active shooter situations. However, every active shooter incident is different and, thus, relies more on one’s situational awareness and decision-making skills. In a paper done by students from Iowa State University, there were differences in the way law enforcement would respond and how civilians would respond. The paper concluded that while “run, hide, fight” is an effective method, there are alternatives that work just as well. 

Beyond Run, Hide, Fight: Embracing Innovation in Training 

To truly enhance active shooter preparedness, we must encourage alternatives approaches to “run, hide, fight.” This includes introducing a broader range of situation awareness and decision-making techniques, as well as building resilience. 

One alternative to “run, hide, fight” is “move, escape, act.” Instead of running away, move in strategic places that cover and conceal you. Instead of running and hiding, escape with a purpose. Know your exit routes in your buildings and make mental checkpoints. With attacking, there is a difference than fighting. In a article done by Police1, fighting can be seen as defensive while attacking is seen as offensive. We always want to be on the offense. If you or your family’s lives were at stake, would you want to be aggressive and proactive in saving them? 

Additionally, we can combine the alternative above and the OODA loop to make the most optimal decision when in an active shooter situation. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. It’s not just something you do once; it’s a way of life. And if you train yourself constantly to use OODA to make decisions, when the time comes, you will more than likely be able to respond quickly and properly. Remember, making a decision even a millisecond faster can be the difference between life and death. 

At Harbinger of Sovereign, we train individuals on “run, barricade, fight” and “move, escape, act.” Barricading offers a strategic approach to preventing an active shooter from infiltrating your area. We offer a comprehensive, integrated approach to our training that is grounded in the latest research and best practices in emergency management, crisis intervention, and behavioral psychology. We believe effective active shooter training goes beyond physical survival tactics; you must understand human behavior, communication strategies, and proactive threat mitigation techniques. 

Virtual Reality Training 

In the world of evolving technology, one technology that has made its way into active shooter training is virtual reality (VR) training, which is technology used to act like you’re in the situation as if it were real. Typically, students would wear a headset and goggles of some sort with a first-person view of a “victim.” In a study done by students from the University of Southern California, they found that incorporating VR in active shooter training scenarios elicited emotional responses and increased heart rates as if the subjects were in an active shooter situation. 

At Harbinger of Sovereign, we understand the major benefits advanced technology has in active shooter preparedness training. Our training provides cutting-edge scenarios and challenges our customers to critically think and discuss ways to approach different active shooter scenarios. We also provide refresher training because this is not something that should be trained on once; you must consistently train and stay up to date on updated guidance, updated technology that could benefit your organization, and best practices to effectively respond.  


By redefining our training methods to embrace innovation, technology, alternative methods, and incorporating decision making skills, we empower people to think differently, smarter, and faster. As a community, we must reshape our approach to active shooter preparedness training utilizing methods that are effective based on most recent research and subject matter expert guidance. 

At Harbinger of Sovereign, we are dedicated to revolutionizing the way we approach active shooter training, empowering individuals and organizations to face the unthinkable with the resources mentioned above. If you would like to know more information about the services we provide or book a consultation session with us, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 843-593-6208. 

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