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Visiting the Caliber-3 Israeli Counter Terror & Security Academy

caliber-3-entrance

Caliber-3 was established in 2003 by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Col. Sharon Gat (Res.) and has since become the leading  Counter Terror & Security training academy in Israel. Today Caliber-3 offers top security solutions, high threat protection, intelligence operations and tactical training to military, law enforcement, government agencies and commercial clients around the globe.

MY VISIT TO CALIBER-3

Caliber-3 isn’t just for military and law enforcement. Last spring, I had the opportunity to visit Caliber-3 for their Shooting Adventure tourist program. To say that it was enlightening would be an understatement. The academy, located in Gush Etzion about a 45 minute drive from Jerusalem, offers several other programs aimed at tourists including courses in Krav Maga and Survival and Navigation. However, the academy’s primary focus is to provide counter terrorism training to security and law enforcement personnel. My impression is that the tourist programs are a form of outreach to educate the public as well as providing an additional revenue stream.

Caliber-3 has facilities for training close quarters combat, shooting, Krav Maga and much more. When you step foot on the premises, you can tell it’s the real deal.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE TOURIST PROGRAM

When arriving for the tourist program, one is greeted by an IDF soldier in full tactical gear. Participants are brought to a room where they’re given an overview of the history of the facility as well as an explanation of the complexities facing security personnel in the region.

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Our instructors at Caliber-3

After, the group moves to one of the shooting ranges where a live fire active shooter drill is enacted, followed by a question and answer session designed to demonstrate the chaos that can exist in such situations. At the conclusion of our program, one of the soldiers even stayed a little bit later to show me a new knife disarm technique.

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Learning a new knife disarm technique

The participants are then shown pictures of various possible enemy combatants and are asked to identity who is and who isn’t a terrorist. This is where it gets very interesting. Nearly everyone in my group, when shown a photo of an IDF soldier in full tactical gear, identified him as someone who is NOT a terrorist until I raised the issue that it’s entirely possible to purchase the uniform on eBay along with most of the other gear. The same goes for the Arab looking figure wielding an ax. While most in my group identified him as a terrorist, I brought up the point that he might have been preparing to chop wood and that we can’t tell the whole picture from what was presented. This presentation was very enlightening as it highlighted the complex decisions that security, military, and law enforcement personnel must make in a split second.

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Active shooter exercise at Caliber-3

The final part of the program involved shooting a .22 caliber rifle. We were taught some basic drills and protocol for picking up the weapon and we were taken through a vaguely military feeling exercise involving running, pushups, and shooting. This part was lots of fun, though my biggest takeaway from the experience was the educational portion.

CONCLUSION

I’m very much looking forward to returning to Caliber-3 on future trips to Israel. As a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I’m hoping to do their Krav Maga program. I’d highly recommend a visit to the academy, especially by anyone who is a law enforcement officer, as it would be incredibly interesting and inspiring.

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