I'm fifty five, have been a shooter for fifty years and a gun owner for 48 of those years. I've owned and operated a firearms business for thirty four years and have been in law enforcement for twenty seven years. Most but not all law enforcement officers that I have come into contact with, are
IGNORANT ABOUT FIREARMS! (I did say most but not all!)
I think the reason is the upbringing and age of the recruits. In the fifties and sixties, it was common for boys and even some girls to have their own rifles or shotguns. We all went shooting sticks tossed in the river, hunting, etc. very often with no grownups around. In my personal case, I would get off of the school bus, walk thru the front door of the house, stop at the gun rack, pick a long gun, climb over the back fence and I was in the "wilds".
Most new law enforcement recruits these days are in their twenties. That means they were born in the late eighties or early nineties. By then, the damage to society was done. Liberalism was starting to run rampant. Guns were bad! Kids weren't allowed to just go shooting. They weren't allowed to "play" with them, take them apart, handle them or Heaven forbid, shoot them without 110% adult supervision. Many of them never even held a handgun until two weeks before the Academy was to start!!!!
Our Sheriff's Department has to qualify twice a year with their duty weapons..shotguns, rifles, primary side arm and back up. Yes, they are all usually very safe with their weapons. Yes, they know how their own personal weapons work...for the most part. Yes, they can shoot well enough to qualify...most of the time. Yes, they know how to field strip their own weapons....sometimes. However, hand them something that they've never handled before and they're totally lost. (Most but not all!!) I mean come on!! All firearms have a trigger, a muzzle, etc. All revolvers have cylinders. All semi auto's have something that slides back and forth. Figure it out! It's only common sense.
Some of the things that I have personally witnessed and heard would be funny if they weren't so scary. "Hey! Anybody see where that bullet went? How do I unload this thing? Which target am I shooting at? (You're standing on a numbered pad and looking at numbered targets!) Will this ammo fit my gun? I think my gun jammed. Which direction are we shooting? Can I shoot magnums in my 9mm? Why do these bullets keep falling out of my clip. (Yes, clip and they were 9mm's that he was trying to load in a .45) " I've seen people trying to load .45 mags into their 9mm's. ("But it said SIG") etc. etc. And this was with their personal duty weapons! Surpisingly, woman recruits did much better. Maybe because they know they're not experts and pay attention?
Ok, a funny story to end up with: Our Department has practice days. It's paid time and they supply the ammo so I go whenever possible. The range bosses set up a course and it's timed. So this day, I go out there and it's all high ranking supervisors and SWAT. (No, I don't like SWAT or supervisors) The course that they had set up was a barricade about 30 yards from staggered poppers...little metal plates on stands that fall over when you shoot them. You had to run down to the next barricade and shoot seven poppers. They were staggered at different distances ranging from 2 yards to 5 yards. I'm third in line. First and second are a couple of SWAT commandoes in full dress. The whistle blows, SWAT dude #1 runs to the 2nd barricade and it sounds like WW III. This guy went thru 2 1/2 high cap mags in his pistol. SWAT dude #2's turn comes up and he goes thru almost 3 high caps. That's about 40 to 50 rounds each. I'm thinking "Oh cr@p. There must be suprise targets down there. They set us up with extra "bad guys". I don't have enough bullets. I only have three ten round mags with me. I'm gonna embarass myself when I have to reload my mags on the line".
So, I grit my teeth, jog down there and begin firing at the poppers. One shot in #1, it's down. One shot in #2, it's down. One shot in #3, it wobbles but it's not down. A second shot and it's down. One shot each in # 4, #5, #6 and #7. They're all down. Eight shots, eleven in the pistol, three left...dump the mag, tactical re-load, scanning... WHERE ARE THEY AT? Then I realize the range boss is yelling at me. I'm done. I got them all. Huh? I got the high score with the fastest time that day.
It made me realize two things:
The higher up the chain the supervisors go, the worse they shoot.
SWAT can't shoot for cr@p!
Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
Tuff-Gun Finsihes. The Name Says It All.
Mac's Shootin' Irons