MT. ZION – Plan, prepare, protect – that’s the motto of a new firearm training facility recently established in the greater Decatur area.
Mt. Zion’s Midwest S.W.A.T. (Simulated Weapons Advanced Tactical Training) holds simulated training programs for new gun owners on up to military or law enforcement officials. Tactical Combative Instructor Jeff DeVore says they saw a need for an establishment like this due to the high number of people seeking concealed carry permits.
“In today’s society a lot of people are trying to get concealed carry permits, but a lot of them may not know how to handle a firearm,” DeVore explains. “A lot of people are scared in today’s society and they want to protect their family and their homes. So we put them through a 16 hour course which allows them to get a permit, but then we provide continued education.”
DeVore says S.W.A.T.’s services go beyond concealed carry classes. They can teach the basics of how to hold and shoot a weapon,to full-blown law enforcement training procedures, or school or theater shooting tactics. It can be scary seeing someone with a weapon, DeVore realizes, but that’s what the S.W.A.T. facility is for.
“It’s muscle memory,” DeVore says. “You want to get good at basketball, you’ve got to shoot hoops – baseball, got to swing the bat – you want to get good at handling firearms, you’ve got to practice. In today’s society – lord forbid – you have to use a concealed carry option, you have a whole lot of decisions you have to make in a short time.”
Students don’t actually shoot any live rounds at the S.W.A.T. facility – instead, instructors teach them decision making along with holding simulations. DeVore offered the example of being in a restaurant and having a shooter come in.
“There are so many things that you have to think about in that situation if you have a weapon on you,” he explains. “Do you protect your kids? Do you engage the shooter? You have to think about what is behind the shooter because the bullet can go through the person. I would say most people that have a weapon today don’t know a lot of those answers.”
S.W.A.T. is partnered up with Shooter School out of Atwood which is where people go to shoot live rounds. DeVore says they have top-quality trainers available, making the partnership beneficial for both parties.
DeVore says their simulators are almost like video games, but it serves a much greater purpose than having fun. The training facility is only holding special request classes at the moment, and they will kick off new classes starting in April. S.W.A.T. will offer classes like their Skill Builders Series, Active Shooter Series, Concealed Carry classes, All Ladies Series, Junior Firearm Safety Series, and Self-Defense Seminars.
“Plan for the scenario, prepare for the scenario, protect yourself and your loved ones,” DeVore concludes. “We try to offer that continual education. We don’t want you to be scared – we want you to be prepared for whatever happens.”
Midwest S.W.A.T. is located at 160 Wildwood Drive in Mt. Zion next to Family Video. For more information and to learn about what they have to offer, you can check out their Facebook page, or their website here.