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.