Couple of things...
I spent quite a bit of time in the military (US Army) and as an additional duty ran 4 arms rooms in different units. I learned what I could then--in my first unit (Infantry, Korea) I got lucky--by volunteering for range detail I got to help shoot up ALL the excess ammunition left over after quals or training. I got to be pretty handy with M16's, M60's, 1911 pistols and good ol' Ma Deuce. I can say with satisfaction that I have melted a few barrels.
Fast forward to when I first broke into law enforcement. Was I salty? Oh, heck yes! I was a serious reloader by then, and I put a lot of rounds down range. Thought I knew it all.
My first academy taught me otherwise, and it started the germ of the idea that practice is OK, but perfect practice is better. I started holding myself to a higher standard, and started practicing to actually HIT what I was supposed to.
I progressed in my law enforcement career, landed the armorer's spot, and continued to learn. Then, I started shooting NRA Conventional Pistol--good old boring Bullseye shooting.
I REALLY became anal retentive about hitting my targets then. I started realizing where I was on the proficiency curve--and I wasn't impressed. I started loading handgun ammunition in big bunches. I would head to the range and shoot 100 rounds practicing for bullseye matches. This was the warm up. I then put the competition stuff away and put on my duty belt. At the range, I started practicing my draw and engaging targets.
Then I was selected to be my Department's precision rifleman--as in, sniper.
I went to my first sniper school kind of cocky. After all, I was a former Infantryman--right? I knew this stuff cold.
After my first day at school, I crawled back to my hotel room, tail firmly tucked between my legs, and camped out under a hot shower. I didn't sit in the corner and whimper while playing with the dog toys--but I came close.
This stuff was HARD!!!
After the school, and returning to my Department, I went through the Colt course for the M16 series of firearms. I learned that there are a TON of teeny tiny parts in that M16; that they seem to have a life of their own, and that they will run off with glee and hide in the carpet at the first opportunity. (Don't ask me how I know. Please....
So, what have I learned?
1. Most cops are not gun people. In my quest to set maintenance schedules for the Department firearms, I cringe at some of the guns I see. Some are bathed in oil--even the firing pin channels (Glock pistols, which is a big no-no). Some are bone dry, without even the required lubrication. I've pulled some apart and gotten sheepish looks when I clear the pistol, pop the slide assembly off and LINT and DUST fall out. I've seen barrels that were clogged with debris. I've pulled apart AR15 carbines that dropped plates and chunks of carbon fouling when the bolt carrier group was disassembled. I've had officers tell me "I don't trust this gun, because it jams." A few drops of oil inside the bone-dry rifle, and it runs like a Swiss watch.
2. A lot of the command staff look askance and anyone they THINK is a gun enthusiast. I finally got tired of being referred to as "Tackleberry".
One time, when I was doing a qualification shoot, I was on the way to cleaning the course for the sixth time. (My thought was, "Hey, they're giving me a bullseye as big as a dinner plate, starting me at 3 yards, and letting me use both hands? Riiiight.....) I heard one of the officers behind me say "That's all he ever (bleeping) does is shoot!" And he said it with some REAL venom in his voice, too.
No, all cops are not gun guys--neither are soldiers. My favorite yarn is still, "Soviet weapons are designed so that they can shoot OUR ammo, but we can't shoot theirs." (Hm. I want to see someone throw a 7.62x51 NATO into the chamber of an AK. Let me know how that works for you.)
As far as Nicky Santoro's statement--whatever, fella. You may have the opinion that cops have little or no integrity. I know better. I don't get mad when I hear this--because I seem to hear it from quite a few people, who usually have had a run in with the law. I know better, friend. I know that if I get into a pinch and I'm in uniform, if there's a brother or sister officer anywhere near, in uniform or not, I have backup. I know that I hold my badge and my oath inviolate. And I can go home knowing that each day I have acted with compassion and integrity toward my fellow man or woman. And--that's all I need to know.