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Old August 29, 2008, 01:33 PM   #1
IHMSA Shooter
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Question for LEO's

I just had a disconcerting conversation with a LEO from a smaller city department.

He told me the only time he prctices with any of his 3 duty weapons is during his annual qualification. He said every once in a while his sergant will grab some department ammo and take someone to the range, but that is very rare.

Is this normal?

I know you can never completley prepare for an armed confrontation, but it would make sense to me if our local LEO's were proficient with their duty weapons. I don't see how one can gain any level of proficency by sending a few rounds down range once a year.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old August 29, 2008, 04:13 PM   #2
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Before the mid 1970's this was common with most small departments, a yearly or bi-yearly qualification, many departments had no qualification AT ALL. During the late 70' early 80' a number of very expensive wrongful death law suites on a national level effected the mind sets of risk assessment folks and training was re-thought.

I do not know where you live, however, many of the western state have mandated very progressive training programs. The problem is the mid set of many in the leadership roles within departments believe that "training to a minimum legal standard" is good enough. Budgets, local politics, departmental infighting and much much more can affect how frequently training occurs.

Many officers (including myself) spent their own $$$$ to attend additional training. To latter pass it on to their peers.

Sounds to me like the folks in power at your location, have not been bitten by the law suite bug. Unfortunately sometimes there has to be LEO blood on the street before BEAN COUNTERS get it!

Good Luck & Be Safe
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Old August 29, 2008, 05:03 PM   #3
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Not normal around my part of the country. In fact, the range I go to is closed every monday specifically for law enforcement to use the range. Whether there are LEOs there every monday or not is questionable, but it doesn't sound unreasonable considering the range is going without civilian patronage on those days.
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Old August 29, 2008, 05:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Is this normal?
Sure. Most LEOs aren't gun people, and the gun is just another tool that they have to carry around "just in case". Fortunately for most LEOs (and society) police having to shoot others is rare, and most of those shootings don't require much skill. Some agencies have become very progressive, but I'd bet the national norm is still qualification once a year and that is about it.
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Old August 29, 2008, 06:09 PM   #5
kraigwy
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I was a cop for 20 years, and a LE Firearms instructor.

Yes your friend is correct, its normal, most cops arnt gun people, and getting them to the range for the monthy qualification was like pulling hens teeth.
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Old August 29, 2008, 06:27 PM   #6
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"Is this normal?"

No, but there are still many agencies trapped in the past, and behind the training curve because of it. But, that's little comfort if you're located in an area where the training standards are sub par. A law suit or two often is what is takes to force the change, unfortunately.
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Old August 29, 2008, 06:45 PM   #7
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Location: SE Michigan. That is as specific as I care to get.

I understand that most LEO's probably aren't gun guys.

I don't know what an annual qualification entails, but I don't see how once a year "practice" builds any kind of proficiency. Especially when auto loaders are so prevalent. His duty sidearm is a Glock 19.

I guess I was just a little shocked when he told me this, and it was no big deal to him. He thinks he is more than adequately prepared should the need arise to use his weapon.

I am not so sure I agree. Knowing this gentleman as I do I hope he never needs to use his weapon on many different levels.
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Old August 29, 2008, 07:05 PM   #8
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You Said "I guess I was just a little shocked when he told me this, and it was no big deal to him. He thinks he is more than adequately prepared should the need arise to use his weapon. I am not so sure I agree."

Actual, I totally agree with you, I would also be shocked. That is a lot to say because if you read my posts I am 100% BLUE.

However, as always David Armstrong is right, most peace officers never discharge there weapons in anger.

The problem is:

"Once the combat envelope wraps its' cold clammy arms around you, there is more than enough to think about besides how your weapon works, what condition of readiness IT IS IN, or where it shoots."

This applies to folks with badges as well as to folks without them!
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Old August 30, 2008, 11:12 AM   #9
David Armstrong
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Quote:
He thinks he is more than adequately prepared should the need arise to use his weapon.
And he probably is. Most police win most of their gunfights. In large part that is because most BGs aren't any better trained than LE and LE usually has better equipment, IMO. Gunfights don't happen much, and the unusual gunfight or unusual opponent where you need lots of skill is even more unusual. And it is those fights and opponents that get officers hurt. On a more practical note, training takes time and money. How much of the officers time are you willing to pay for with additional taxes. The LE training issue is one that is really hard to work with, and it goes far beyond guns, BTW. Want to hear something really scary? A whole lot of cops out there-- driving at high speed--have only had high school driver's ed as their training in operating a cruiser.
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Old August 30, 2008, 12:19 PM   #10
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Normal?

Get to do some shooting with the local PDs in the process of selling them guns and ammo and stuff, and occasionally for fun. There are a couple of departments around me who just went from qualifications twice a year to once a year. The state (FL Dept. of Law Enforcement FDLE) requires only once every 2 years for state compliance and several departments are considering changing to this to save money. The FDLE course is a revolver-friendly course from mostly at 3 to 7 yards with one mandatory reload and 6 shots from 15 yards as the longest shots. "Hits are anything in the body (not just the "Coke Bottle" the whole body) of a blue B21 FL target http://www.pistoleer.com/targets/silhouette/ 70% passing. 40 rounds total.

People fail this. Active working patrol cops fail this. No big deal, unlimited re-shoots, but they fail it. You could fire just 40 rounds every 2 years and be good to go as far as FDLE is concerned.
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Old August 30, 2008, 12:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
People fail this. Active working patrol cops fail this. No big deal, unlimited re-shoots, but they fail it. You could fire just 40 rounds every 2 years and be good to go as far as FDLE is concerned.
That's more than a little scary. I would expect a 95lb women who never handled a gun shooting a .357mag to pass with those requirements.
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Old August 30, 2008, 12:38 PM   #12
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My agency, four times a year. One record requal every year but every time we shoot we do the qual course.

The other three times a year is a combo of low light, movement and multiple targets.

The qual course is 46 rounds, anywhere from 3meters to 15ms, some kneeling, some malfunction drills thrown in, weak hand, strong hand and all timed.

But here is the kicker, when we qualify we have to shoot 100% on target, no strays, everything has to be on the man sized target on the ink (35 out of 46 in the vital areas) . Three trys, then if you fail that, come back in two weeks for three more retrials, then if you still cant keep everything on the ink, then two weeks remedial training. Oh and if you fail to quaulify on the day of the shoot you loose your weapon until the next shoot.

Before someone writes in, a weapon is a choice on this job not a requirement.
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Old September 2, 2008, 07:12 PM   #13
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The issued weapon is a Glock 19.
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Old September 2, 2008, 08:47 PM   #14
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I am sad to report it is true !

The majority of todays LEO's handle a pistol for the first time when they go to the academy.

Firearms training is a black hole to too many police chiefs, overtime and cost of ammo has further reduced this skill set. Lack of a range nearby has become an ever increasing issue. Basic state POST requirements are met but seldom exceeded.

Departments with ranges do not have the luxury of handing out ammo for practice like they used to . Shotgun training is often once a year...patrol carbines a little better.

Smart LEO's get into the skill set by enjoying local civilian shooting sports to hone their skills.

If you are a member of a local gun club/range, encourage LEO's to become participants...they are a fun group !
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Old September 2, 2008, 10:04 PM   #15
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I'm from SE Mi, and most county departemnts...

are religious on training. The club I belong to outside Dundee it closed from one Friday a month for LEO training. THe county I lived in the instructor would make time for any officer (all departments) to get current. Even re-trained an officer that had major surgery on shooting hand, to use the weak hand.
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Old September 2, 2008, 11:43 PM   #16
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It's the one in a thousand incounter that gets LEO's killed.
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Old September 3, 2008, 01:34 AM   #17
#20fan
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Talked to my Son in Nev. on this. He said he has to qual with primary weapons 2x a year. With special weapons 2x a year. And qual the SRT course 2x a year.
Seems his team is on the range training every couple of weeks. He also goes himself at least once a month.
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Old September 3, 2008, 10:33 AM   #18
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Large County SO, AL

We qualify twice a year and have quarterly firearms training (Sims, FATS, live fire, combat courses, FUNDAMENTALS!!!, etc.). Tac Team shoots once a month. We are issued Glocks and AR's across the board, and our 870's have been painted orange and now we have to call them Less Lethal Launchers:barf:. Then, each eputy is allotted 50 rounds a month for individual training, but MAYBE 5% of the people take advantage of that... I make a valiant effort to make sure I shoot mine and then some, just so it doesn't go bad just sitting there.

As far as police being "gun guys"... 5-10% of our department fit that description. Maybe 30% if you just look at the Tac Team. Everybody on the team is very profficient with thier weapons, but there are few of us that are self proclaimed "gun fags."
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Old September 4, 2008, 10:23 AM   #19
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No, most police officers don't practice with their weapons. For me guns and shooting are a hobby as well as a tool of the job so I shoot quite a bit. I work with and supervise officers. Before a recent qualification I set up a range day for my people to practice on a voluntary basis. Not one showed up. On the mandatory day they all qualified on the state standard course.

Am I proud to work with these officers? You bet I am. Every last one of them have integrity, courage, compassion and a strong work ethic. We work the highest activity shift in the department and are short staffed, most nights they have reports stacked up waiting to be completed but they're here, every night. No sick call ins unless they're in bad shape, no "blue flu", no belly aching. Great team work and clean arrests.

While I would like for my people to be able to practice more (we qualify four times a year now) I am more concerned about their situational awareness, the ability to read body language, hear what the suspects are and aren't saying and the ability (and willingness) to take decisive action. They have this down in spades. They can and do have my back.
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Old September 4, 2008, 11:05 AM   #20
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Unfortunately sometimes there has to be LEO blood on the street before BEAN COUNTERS get it!


LEO blood is cheap for the bean counters. Its when the wrong person gets shot and the lawsuits start that the bean counters get it.
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Old September 4, 2008, 11:10 AM   #21
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I refuse to call that 'normal'. I have encouraged, coerced, bullied and shamed officers into getting out and doing some shooting, at unconventional targets and unknown ranges, for over 20 years.

"KNOW thy SIDEARM!"
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Old September 8, 2008, 04:47 PM   #22
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After 14 years of civilian LEO experience, I am absolutely convinced that 90% of officers will not train on their own. They won't even practice dry fire, quick draw or other weapon handling skills. They don't think about gunfighting unless forced to. And, I'm not just talking about administrators. This includes men and women who are on the street day in and day out. The pistol is part of the uniform. These same officers see no need for rifles and shotguns and rely only on their very meager skills with a pistol. I think most departments need to do a better job preparing our officers through regular in-service training and not just shooting at the range. Surviving arm confrontations involves alot more than skill on a paper target.

I believe that officers who aren't well skilled with their firearms due to "deliberate indifference" are not fullfilling their duties to their familes and to society. The same goes for agencies that do not institute regular training.
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Old September 8, 2008, 05:36 PM   #23
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training

My department is similar to twoxforr.
We shoot 4 times and score once a year(must score 75 to pass).
4X 52 rounds =208 rounds a year.
We are "allowed" 50 rounds a month to use for training. 50x12=600
Only about 5% of officers use these rounds.
About 10% of the officers shoot like garbage (less than 85 score).
About 60% score 85 to 95.
About 30% can score 100 on any given day.

However, Most Police shooting are within 25 feet and alot are within 5 feet.
This is how they survive with little training.
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Old September 8, 2008, 06:42 PM   #24
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I am not in the law enforcement profession so I am hesitant to criticize, but this is a little scary. Officers and anybody that owns a firearm owe it to themselves and to bystanders (if God forbid they need to use it) to practice on a regular basis. I would say 50 rounds per month is an absolute BARE minimum. Yes, it's part of the uniform, but a badge or handcuffs can't take a life from 25 yards in a split second. When you think about it, having a firearm is an awesome responsibility.
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Old September 10, 2008, 11:25 PM   #25
Striker071
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I work for a government agency that doesnt allow us to practice with our duty weapon without approval... and they dont give us approval... stupid stupid stupid...... and they can fire us if we dont qualify....
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