HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. – After noticing a lack of de-escalation and shooter training options in the area, Mike and Jackie Deans opened their own facility to offer training not only to military and law enforcement, but to civilians as well.
Ozark Shoot-Don’t Shoot Solutions in Highlandville offers unique firearm training with shooting simulators to give ordinary civilians the opportunity to get the same protective training that many law enforcement personnel receive.
Mr. Deans is a former Marine and has an extensive military and law enforcement background. After being deployed in the Vietnam War, Deans came home and joined the Houston, Texas Police Department. Deans told The Heartlander he spent several years on a special unit involving higher crime areas and has a total of 40 years of law enforcement and security experience.
The couple focus on training for anyone from law enforcement officers to church security teams to average citizens, but never for felons, they said. Each participant at their facility is heavily vetted before they are able to begin training.
The training involves wireless guns sighted with virtual lasers, and customers shoot the lasers at a large training screen. The guns closely mimic actual handguns in size and weight, and one special training pistol even has a C02 cartridge to provide a realistic gun recoil.
The simulator is customizable and can put participants into virtual public hostage situations at hospitals, banks, churches, schools and much more. There are over 1,000 different scenarios trainees can use, and each gives them a chance to make a right or wrong choice in a specific situation. If the trainee makes the wrong decision, they are coached on why it was the wrong decision, and what would have been the correct reaction.
“With the way today’s world is going, they need this more than ever,” Mr. Deans said. “More people are buying guns for the first time. They’re pretty new at this, and no one teaches them when to shoot and when not to shoot. It’s very dangerous to carry a weapon and not know when to shoot or how to shoot. This is what we do. We prepare them way beyond the CCW [carrying a concealed weapon] level.”
Ozark Shoot-Don’t Shoot has been an affiliate of Missouri State University for four years, and will offer training classes at the Springfield campus in the near future. Additionally, Deans said the facility is able to award mandated law enforcement certificates for future officers who train there.
Hutsell family members are current customers, and told The Heartlander they use the simulators to prepare for CCW training.
“I want to know what to do in a situation when I do get my conceal and carry,” 19-year-old Grace Hutsell said. “Being a young woman out there, sometimes you want to have fun and bring friends, but there are always going to be situations that you have to be aware of.”
The Hutsells agreed that after just a two-hour training session, they feel more comfortable carrying a firearm.
“I grew up in an area where it was imperative that you knew your surroundings and had to protect yourself,” said Grace’s mother, Allie Hutsell. “I think a lot of people become desensitized to that in their everyday life. When Greg told me about it, I was like, ‘We need to do that as a family because of where the world is headed.’ We need to be prepared as a family to protect our home, our loved ones and ourselves.”
Those interested in learning more about Ozark Shoot-Don’t Shoot Solutions can visit its website.