More on Leo Gun Training

Last Saturday I posted about a Moms Demand (Florida Chapter) link to an opinion letter by a retried police officer and former firearms trainer pontificating about civilians were no good with guns and they could not compare with a trained police officer. Fellow blogger/Shooter/Safety Officer Robert The K. of Suburban Sheepdog had a small rant of his own in Facebook regarding the same piece:

This times a million. I’ve been an SO for more than a dozen years. And I know more than a few LEOs from every level who have fine pistol skills and compete regularly and well. Indeed, some of the best practical shooters I have known are cops. . . . BUT . . .

. . . .I cannot count the number of LEOs from every level who have been brought out to a match for the first time by a buddy and simply STB — they bitch about taking our 30-minute new-shooter indoc (they go home if they refuse), they are unable safely to handle their weapon administratively, they are unable to clear a malf (and I have seen plenty of neglect-caused malfs in neglected service weapons), they are unable to reload, they are unable to draw their weaposn with speed and efficiency; they are unable to employ cover, they are unable to hit the target standing still, let alone while moving. A few — too few — experience an “aha moment,” realize their agency has trained them for crap, and dedicate to make an improvement.

But far worse than merely poor performance, the majority of these guys instead become overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance, declare action shooting sports “playing with guns” and the timer “artificial” and then leave — often mid-match — with their dangerous subpar “skills,” never to be seen again — but still roaming the streets with loaded weapons, a danger to themselves and others.

I have about the same amount of years as Safety Officer and a quick calculation tell me that we probably have run well past the ten thousand shooter/runs mark and that makes us experts on deciding not only who is a safe shooter but also a good shooter in terms of handling and marksmanship.  I am willing to be that our experience is far superior than most police firearm instructors.

My personal experience mirrors those of Robert. I think that most police officer have been thoroughly convinced by their instructors that because they ran a course and were issued by the authorities a gun and a badge, they are on this side of Lethal Weapon. But when they are tested against civilians and find themselves way in the back of the pack, the egos kick in and refuse to accept the obvious: That they are under trained and over matched. This has to rock their foundations like a Richter in the 9s and their confidence becomes endangered. An unfortunate very few will address the issue by seeking further training and getting into competition shooting. The others will rather take the easy way and dismiss the whole thing as a game that has no value on the street. But they fail to see the obvious: If you cannot perform in a more or less controlled environment with a little adrenalin dump, how are you expecting to do a perfect performance on the streets with a full load of adrenalin and life on the line?

There is an immutable truth to be followed: When the shit hits the fan, you do not raise to the occasion but fall to your level of training. and if this level is low, well, it is gonna be a long fall.

10 Replies to “More on Leo Gun Training”

  1. I too am a Saftey Officer, though with not quite as many years as you. I have seen it often when a cop shows up and tells me he doesn’t have read the range safety rules because he’s a police officer. Or worse when you see him handling his firearm unsafely on the line and you call him on it.




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  2. One of the most amazing temper tantrums I have ever seen was at an IDPA event.

    There were a bunch of civilians and a few cops competing, like usual, and this one burly deputy Sheriff. Said deputy was big on talk, he was a “gun guy” and the best shooter in his department and alike.

    Well, he was getting trounced in SSP, badly. He is getting madder and madder that he is loosing to a bunch of “shitty civilians” and so on. The madder he got the worse he got and started making procedural penalties.

    Finally he has his temper tantrum. He wasn’t going to allow any “shitty civilians” (that phrase stuck with me) to beat him since were all posers who play with guns on weekends but are “too pussy” to get into a gun fight and he’s been in real gun fights and there are no rules like this in gun fights we should all just “shove it.”

    Of course he gets disqualified for this type of behavior. You don’t scream at the SO and MD no matter who you are. That just broke the camel’s back – we thought it had been broken when he went into his hissy fit, it hadn’t, it was just badly sprained.

    He then threatened to have the MD and SOs arrested. Seriously. We’re all armed on public land and we have to be braking some kind of laws, and he’s going to show us. If he’s tossed out than we’re all tossed out and some people are going to jail.

    I swear to god, this next part is 100% true, he GOES TO PULL HIS GUN AND HANDCUFFS, and gets tackled by two off-duty cops who were there competing. He didn’t get arrested (we thought he should) but a few of his fellow deputies were called to drive him home.

    Fun afternoon shooting in Indiana nearly tuned into a firefight at an IDPA even BECAUSE of a cop. But then again, maybe MDA is right and deputy “respect my authority” was the only one out there that day responsible enough to carry a gun.




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  3. I’ve been lucky to be around LEOs that took their personal safety and personal training seriously going back to when I was a kid. Most of those guys were WWII vets and they KNEW the reality of gunfights and where the level of training would fall to. The last IDPA I shot, a friend who is a VA State Trooper was, as usual, shooting the match in his duty belt with full power ammo. He didn’t win, but he was a close second, and was smiling because he was getting good trigger time AND being forced to think and move…




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  4. I, for one, blame much of this on the anti’s. How much of the “Only Ones” mindset, mixed with a contempt of actually shooting, has trickled down from Brady approved Chiefs and Superintendents over the years?




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  5. I am no expert, shooting or anything else, but would prefer that our LEOs be proficient and professional enough to KNOW they are better than most and can suffer ROE the military does and take the first shot in ambiguous situations and come out ahead (again, not that I know the military ROE, but enough that they cannot just light someone up because they appear dangerous).

    If I were Mayor for a day I would get in cahoots with a local range and offer an hour a day for a lane and a box of ammo and maybe cover rent for handgun so the LEOs can find what fits them best…

    Then again, I doubt most depts have the cash to offer pay incentives for high proficiency when they supposedly cannot afford a box of ammo each year for practice.




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  6. I’m meaner than you guys. When I helped run USPSA matches, For giggles & shitz, I’d make sure to squad the cops w/ a couple of juniors (as well as adults). Girls if they were there. Talk about ego busting! Getting smacked by a 10 year old girl……I don’t think any of them ever finished the match. More excuses than a bucket of sand.




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