View Full Version : Question for LEO's

IHMSA Shooter
August 29, 2008, 01:33 PM
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.

Scattergun Bob
August 29, 2008, 04:13 PM
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

August 29, 2008, 05:03 PM
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.

David Armstrong
August 29, 2008, 05:23 PM
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.

August 29, 2008, 06:09 PM
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.

August 29, 2008, 06:27 PM
"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.

IHMSA Shooter
August 29, 2008, 06:45 PM
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.

Scattergun Bob
August 29, 2008, 07:05 PM
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!

David Armstrong
August 30, 2008, 11:12 AM
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.

Superhouse 15
August 30, 2008, 12:19 PM
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.

Brian Pfleuger
August 30, 2008, 12:22 PM
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.

August 30, 2008, 12:38 PM
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.

September 2, 2008, 07:12 PM
The issued weapon is a Glock 19.

September 2, 2008, 08:47 PM
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 !

September 2, 2008, 10:04 PM
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.

September 2, 2008, 11:43 PM
It's the one in a thousand incounter that gets LEO's killed.

September 3, 2008, 01:34 AM
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.

September 3, 2008, 10:33 AM
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."

September 4, 2008, 10:23 AM
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.

September 4, 2008, 11:05 AM
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.

September 4, 2008, 11:10 AM
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.


September 8, 2008, 04:47 PM
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.

September 8, 2008, 05:36 PM
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.

September 8, 2008, 06:42 PM
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.

September 10, 2008, 11:25 PM
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....

September 11, 2008, 12:07 AM
I strongly advocated and encourage range shooting every chance I could get in the Service. I will happily do it even now. If there are any LEo's in the Belair, Md area who need one on one hand gun training just PM me. I put twenty years in the Army doing this business so why stop now. I can and will teach the finer pionts of hand gunning. PM me.

September 11, 2008, 12:59 AM
You know, all of these posts hit very close to home--unfortunately.

To all non-LEO reading this, you would probably be VERY surprised to know that the folks who do the hiring for police--the screeners, psychologists, and others--will in some places actually DISQUALIFY your application, if you show too much interest in firearms!!

And, it doesn't end there. When I started shooting with my Department, on the third qualification I ran into something disconcerting.

First, a little background...

I've been attracted to, and interested in, firearms since I was 8. I got into the Army, and volunteered for range details so that I could burn up some ammunition. Along the way, I met some folks who knew how to shoot well, and they passed on their knowledge to me.

Somewhere in the mid-80's I started reloading and casting my own bullets. I managed to make it to the range at least 3-4 times a month. A close friend got me interested in IPSC, and I started shooting that on a casual basis. Never formally qualified.

In 1997, I got into Law Enforcement. The requirements for qualification at that time (to me) were ridiculously easy.

Fast forward to 1999, when I got into NRA Conventional Pistol, also known as Bullseye shooting.

Now (to the point I'm mentioning in this post), my attitude was this at qualifications: "Let's think about this...they give me a target with an X ring that looks like a dinner plate, at 3 to 25 yards, and the let me shoot it with BOTH hands. Ooo-kay.....is this supposed to be hard?"

So, during this qualification, I had just finished doing my second double hammer on the B27. Our first stage consists of two rounds COM, followed by two rounds to the head, from a fully secured holster within 4 seconds. For me, that was the draw, roll the trigger twice centered, let the recoil of the second shot carry the pistol up to the head, roll twice more.

I was feeling good until I heard another officer behind me, say--with considerable VENOM in his voice, "That's all he (bleeping) does is shoot!"

Suddenly, I didn't feel so good about cleaning the target.

I later found out that the Chief of Police had been told by some of the officers that I was a PSYCHO, and that I was obsessed with guns!!! I decided to meet the problem head on, and asked for a meeting with the Chief.

After going into his office, I asked him if he had some misgivings about me, with firearms as a main concern. He was up front with me, and relayed the things he had been told about me.

I was quiet for a second, and then I asked, "Chief, you follow pro sports, right?" He said that he did. I asked, "So, if you wanted, you could probably quote the stats on your favorite teams and players, and you probably know the games cold--right?"

He said that this was the case.

I said, "Chief, I am the same way--but my focal point is what I term the science of firearms and ballistics. I have been an active student of this since I was a child. I can discuss internal, external and terminal ballistics; ballistic coefficients and sectional densities, the effect of pitch, yaw and roll on a projectile at high speeds. I can discuss with you the steel used in the manufacture of firearms, its fabrication and the heat treatment to turn the steel into metal suitable for containing the pressures and stresses generated upon firing. We can also talk about plastic and permanent deformations, and Young's Modulus.

"I am an active competitor and sport shooter; I relax by taking a precision rifle to the range, and trying to shoot a tiny group as far away as I can.

"To prepare for patrol, I have taken my duty gun and practiced my draw stroke over 3000 times, over the course of two weeks. This is to keep me safe and my fellow officers can count on me, if they need to.

"I am also a nationally ranked competitor--at least in my class--and in 2002, I won my class in the Washington State Pistol Championships.

"Chief, I hope and pray that the only thing I ever shoot is paper--and maybe a tin can here and there. But if I have to draw my service weapon and deploy it, you can bet that I will be ready, dependable--and damned accurate."

(Not long after that, I was offered the spot for precision rifleman.:))

I've spent considerable cost over the years honing my skills--and I am nowhere NEAR as good as I think I should be! I'll consider myself competent when I can shoot as accurately as a Rob Leatham or Todd Jarrett, and as fast as Jerry Miculek (with a Colt semi-auto, that is!)

September 11, 2008, 08:39 AM
Normal, I would say so. In Summit, NJ I recently asked a LEO if he liked the Smith and Wesson M&P (that he was carrying on his waist, I was intrested in buying one). He responded "Oh, I've never shot one of those." I looked at him like he had 10 heads. I said "well, thats what you're carrying" and he responded "I just know it has different size grips and is comfortable." HAHA and NJ wonders why I want to carry a gun? Even if this LEO showed up in time on a call I would NEVER trust him to save my life in a shootout. How can you be competent at shooting if you dont know what gun you carry every day?

September 11, 2008, 09:20 AM

Sounds like you handled that sticky and uncomfortable situation very wisely. Kudos.