ST. PETERS, Mo. – New numbers from the FBI show that you are more likely to be carjacked in St. Louis than any other city in the country.
Most carjackings occur in residential neighborhoods or in a parking lot.
Instructors at Ultimate Defense Firing Range created a course that teaches people how to survive these frightening encounters.
Paul Bastean, managing director at the firing range, said the goal is to make people feel safe, comfortable, and confident defending themselves.
“I have three small kids that are regularly in the car with me, so being more prepared for that situation is something I would feel more comfortable with,” said Kristen Holton of Ladue.
Bastean said his instructors created after clients began to ask what they should do if they’re ever carjacked.
“’What is the best way of surviving it?’ ‘Do we give up the car?’ ‘Do we not give up the car?’ ‘Do we try to fight it out?'”
Bastean said the goal is not to teach people how to shoot but rather to teach people how to get out of the situation safely. Ultimate Defense instructors are all NRA certified use of force experts and many have law enforcement training.
“With that active duty officer training, they have experience with dealing with these types of situations and it’s in the real world,” he said.
The three-hour class includes classroom instruction where they discuss priority of life and when it’s okay to use deadly force; then they run through scenarios.
“I was trying to get out of the situation and evade having to use a firearm,” said Noah Lander of Clayton. “The attacker in my situation did present a firearm and at that point and time I had no choice but to draw and fire.”
“I’ve never been able to practice that situation of having one of my kids and having to do something to protect them,” Holton said.
“We really change the dynamic to try to get across the entire broad spectrum of what could happen,” Bastean said.
The class is open to all skill levels and for people who don’t want to fire a gun at all.
“There’s still value to people who are not firearms-minded that they need that verbal skills,” Bastean said.
“I don’t think you’re ever very prepared, but I think that this exercise gets you thinking about situations, and it gets you thinking that in a carjacking situation especially, you just want to get out of the car...and get out of the situation,” Lander said. “For me, now I’ve got the tools to think about that.”
The cost is $85 and there is space available in upcoming classes.