Years ago, our Department switched from revolvers to automatics. The transition course was given by a representative from the company that built the large-capacity automatics.
After officers had a familiarization course of fire and demonstrated basic proficiency with the pistols, the last drill that the company representative had officers do was to fill their pistols with 15 rounds, chamber and hold their pistols at the low ready.
He then told the officers that, when the threat charged at them, they should empty their pistols into the target before it got to them. Being a state firearms instructor and already having done semiautomatic transition, I operated the range equipment. When I tripped the "return" button, it took the life-sized silhouette targets about 5 to 6 seconds to go the 50 feet and reach the officer. All officers emptied their pistols at the targets.
When the shooting stopped, we checked targets. Almost every officer got 3 hits in the target.
I asked the Company Representative for his indulgence to conduct another drill. We repaired targets, sent them down-range, and I instructed each officer to load their pistols with 3 rounds. When everyone was ready, I told them to put 3 well-placed hits in the target before it got to them, and tripped the target return. Every officer successfully placed 3 hits in the target.
I then told them to write a Department Inter-Office Report explaining where the 12 missed rounds from their first course of fire went.
I'm not pointing this out to insult anyone who believes in high capacity pistols. Working plainclothes narcotics, I had a 10-round Glock 26. After reading some of Fer-Fal's excellent observations of the need for high capacity pistols in a highly volatile civil environment, it seemed prudent to get a few 17-round magazines to have handy, just in case.
It's a fact of life that virtually all agencies that have gone from revolvers to high capacity automatics have experienced a decline in the percentage of hits in live-fire situations. This seems to indicate that it's human nature to think that, if you have lots of ammo, you can use lots of ammo.
A person can train himself to take single, well-placed shots, but this requires discipline.
We later designed an outdoor combat course with traveling targets, pop-ups, and "pie plates" behind a car's engine compartment that simulated a bad-guy's head. Each officer had to neutralize each target before going to the next.
Each officer started with a 12-gauge pump shotgun, his pistol with 15 rounds in it, and a 14-round spare magazine. We ran about 120 officers through the course.
When the officers went through the course, about 2/3 of them expended all of their ammunition and still had 2 bad-guy targets not-yet engaged.
1/3 of the officers neutralized all of the targets, and still had between 12 and 15 rounds remaining.
Now here's the heresy:
The officers that did best on the combat course participated in a pistol league that fired NRA Bulls-Eye type competition.
Most points in the bulls-eye course are gained (or lost) in the slow-fire event. This is 6 minutes to fire 10 rounds. The target is engaged at a distance of 50 feet, and the 10-ring in the slow-fire event is about the size of a nickel.
Also, ironically, the bulls-eye shooters actually finished the course faster than the non-bulls-eye shooters, because they would neutralize each target with 1 or 2 rounds and go to the next. The non-bulls-eye shooters were losing more time on the targets, because they were expending more non-productive shots.
The best rapid-fire combat course shooters were slow-fire bulls-eye course shooters.
(Just something to think about.)
Last edited by Lon308; April 17, 2008 at 05:11 PM.