Lance Biddle is a friend and fellow shooter who also dropped his couple of rubles about Police Firearms Training.
As you know, I’ve been an active L.E. firearms instructor for 37 years now. 1978 – 1995 in Ohio; mostly in-service training and qualification for my agency’s staff, including a 32 hour block I taught to bring “newbies” up to the standards of our agency, from the level they came to us from the academy. Since I moved down here in 1996 until I’m too old to continue, I’m teaching basic academy firearms to recruits. Again, as you know, I’ve also been a S.O. and match director for a little while, and I’ve seen what you describe many times. When the students leave our firearms block at the academy, they have basic (Did I say Basic?) gun handling, safety and marksmanship skills in their box. Whether they improve or decline in skills from that point depends on the agency that hires them and continues their training. It’s apparent, in general, that improvement is not on the agenda in many agencies. (This ain’t just Fla., most states are similar; Ohio has lowered their minimum standards significantly since I retired.)
I, too, have seen many LEO’s come to matches, usually their first action shooting competition; often letting us “civilians” know that they’re about to show us how it’s done… only to have some MM(*) with 5 matches under their belt, hand them their asses on the first stage. Now; we know there are good LEO shooters, I work with quite a few, even though they aren’t involved in competition. And then there’s the guys like Officer Vogel; among others, we know of.
But too many fall into what I’ve come to recognize as the LEOFTW (Law Enforcement Officers Firearms Training World). They have little or no defensive firearms/pistol training outside of the LEO range, and have no idea what the action shooting competition world is like. They are “good” in relation to the basic firearms standards of the state, and so they think they are “good”; having no realistic idea of what the term “good” really means.
A couple years back, I ran a stage called “Can You Qualify?” It was the 48 round Florida basic academy course, modified for IDPA. I used IDPA targets, and had the SO give a PE for any shot over the state course maximum time limit. (I took them off when scoring, but it told me how many shooters didn’t make the par time.) There were about 20 shooters, from NV(*) to EX.(*) None had any prior formal LE training. Applying Fla. LE standards, NO ONE failed to qualify, and many shot it clean. Now that I’m running some non-IDPA matches, I may run it again, using official Blue Smurf targets and the state’s par times.
FWIW, back in 2011, we were running a basic firearms class during the IDPA World Championships, and the class had that weekend off. I invited them all to come out to Frostproof and look me up so I could show them around. Most didn’t, but three did. I took them around to various bays and let them watch the Ex and Ma shooters run the stages. It really opened their eyes to the reality of what “good” means .(* NV: Novice, MM: Marksman, EX: Expert. IDPA shooter classifications)
It is sad that life-saving training is neither required nor encouraged. But with everything Government, it comes down to money and it may cost us, the taxpayers, more in the long run if we are socked paying for lawsuits or medical expenses. This kind of disconnected bean-counting leads to stupid and more dangerous solutions such as NYPD’s horrible trigger for their duty Glocks in the hope officers will not have negligent discharges. That such trigger makes for a much harder gun to shoot accurately seems to be secondary and miss another basic principle: What needs to be fixed with training, cannot be fixed with gear.
One thought on “Firearms Training from a LEO Trainer Perspective.”
Just this past week in VA we had reps from everytown, moms demand and csgv screaming that people with guns need to prove “compitance w guns” this would be accomplished by mandating the NRA or DoJ course. Yes the same NRA that they hate and blame for all deaths on planet earth. When I stood up and pointed out that there were many other ways to prove you can handle a gun including competition in the Boy Scouts a cult member was so incensed he ran over and started yelling at me to the point the chair was pounding the gavel which the culty ignored for some time. The good thing is the smarter Del. on the committee killed the bill.
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