View Full Version : Rant from LE Firearm Instructors

February 22, 2009, 05:16 PM
Stolen from another site, but Right On

Look, boys and girls, we wanted to be instructors because we were the guys who showed up on every open range date, went to "schools" on our own dime, competed in local, state and even national matches and because we care about cops.
We are sick and tired of going to police funerals.
We do this job because when we do it right, it can save another's life, and we are committed to doing it right!.
We are frustrated when we see rookie classes full of applicants who only know guns from TV and movies.
We are frustrated with veterans who act like they only know guns from TV and movies!
We hear officers talk about how they are comitted to being better gun handlers, but we see the same lack of attention and grab-ass going on at each in-service range session.
We are tired of hearing cops and agents inevitably ask the first quetion when they arrive at the range, "Is this going to take very long or can I just shoot one day-fire and roll out, Sarge?"
This job ain't a game!
The graveyards are full of cops who thought that it was or who failed to prepare themselves for the inevitable.
We are not just a band of "those old wheelgun" cops who just like to nitpick and yell at you.
We love all of you and we want to keep you alive.
Please come to my range alert and eager to train. I don't know everything and if you are on your game, you may teach me something new.
Please understand that every time you put your hands on the gun, it is an opportunity to train.
There is no such thing as an "administrative" load. Bring that sucker out to full presentation, then back into your "workspace" where you insert that mag and operate that slide!
Please do a 360 dgree scan!
Please stop looking the holster, ok? There are no potential BG's down there but there may be all around you so scan and scan again. Then holster up with your eyes down range or continue to scan, but stop staring at the holster.
Hell, there are alot of other complaints but the bottom line is that we care about cops and we want to make you professional, competent gun handlers. The way we look at it, we did our jobs if you survive a gunfight. A flag-draped coffin means we failed to reach you, but communication is a two way street. Stay alert! Stay alive!
God Bless....

February 22, 2009, 06:18 PM
sounds about right! having classes isn't too bad because most of the people WANT to be there, but doing requals is a test in patience. the way i see it, if you don't want to practice and become proficient and hate requaling every year, find another line of work!

February 22, 2009, 06:36 PM
I love it and don't think it can be improved on. I think I have taught some of them

February 22, 2009, 07:48 PM
I think there is a mindset with some of the blue. I have met some who are fantastic and great. I would ask you to continue to do a good job of it. For yourself keep a journal. It helps you out in the long run. Why? Because you notice some of the mistakes and attitudes of students and actually yourself class after class. In the long run after reading that journal you tend to fine tune just what you are doing.

Scattergun Bob
February 22, 2009, 08:04 PM
I understand the sentiment, but, most departments train to a minimum standard established by the brass and bean counters of a given jurisdiction. Until one convinces the bean counters and Brass to be point-men on the street, firearms training is all about cost, not growth.

Good Luck in your training, perhaps the budget gods will smile upon you. :)

February 22, 2009, 10:08 PM
Been an instructor/training officer since around 1981...been so long I've forgotten, actually.

Thanks for letting us know there are "challenges" in other departments!:D

Boy, the way these guys can point the muzzle right at someone....:eek:

February 22, 2009, 10:57 PM
I dunno. As an outsider looking in, it sounds like an awful lot of whining to me. :rolleyes:

March 8, 2009, 06:31 PM
No, I wouldn't say there was much whining in this at all. It's just about spot on for the majority of students I teach.

Problem is, not matter how many cops die or get hurt, no-one changes their tune.

March 8, 2009, 06:36 PM
Some Officers get so used to pointing their gun at people on "Felony Stops" that it becomes second nature and they don't notice it until you hit them upside the head a few times.

Brian Pfleuger
March 9, 2009, 10:20 AM
We should be thankful that the environment in which we live allows for police officers to become complacent.

Wait! Hear me out!

The reason that our officers are even ABLE to let down their guard is that there are relatively few instances where they get hurt by so doing. THAT is a good thing. The number of officers killed on duty is relatively low, not low enough mind you, but it could be much worse. I wish it were zero and I wish our officers would NEVER let their guard down but I'm glad that our nation is, as a whole, a safe enough place to allow them to get away with it. The irony being that it is the result of a generally excellent police force that allows the nation to be safe enough for those same police to let their guard down.

March 9, 2009, 03:13 PM
Peet's right. A long time ago I was stopped in Detroit. It was something I'll never forget. Back in those days it was common to "meet the cop halfway" so to speak, taking your wallet out to show your ID, etc. Of course, this is no longer done, anywhere, I believe. Let's just say it was NEVER done in Detroit, as I found out back in '72 or so. The somewhat complacency of the suburbs never found it's way to the big city.

March 11, 2009, 02:29 AM
I think its an insiders view but my comment would be far more cops get hurt and die from traffic accidents than shootings. Triple your training on how and when to pull someone over and how to fast but safe. Get with the times and get out of the 1950's era crown vic's for cars. North of St Louis every squad should be AWD.

I am not putting down good firearms training but let's look at the old school model of respecting the Citizen not fearing them and maybe we can get back to police careers like my Uncle who retired after 35 years and never pulled his gun in anger.

March 12, 2009, 06:48 AM
In training Police Officers there are some assumptions you can not make.

The main one being how good or how safe are they? First job, find out.
You have to start slow, and make the training fun!

A Firearms Instructor I knew, major City in the South, used to go to a class, then come back and the first requal after that class, show the new and improved way of shooting.

One of the class's I was at with him (visiting from up north) a comment of "Why don't you forget the new and improved method, and let us do the same thing we did last year!" was very embarrassing.

If you start with some drills to test safety and proficiency you can then see how far you can go, in the time you have. Dissecting shootings involving Leo's from around the area you are training at is a good system.

Reproducing the actual scenarios on the range is easy enough, mechanically, if the class is big you might have a problem in time, but as most shootings are a few rounds only, it can be done. Get their interest, you can have a good experience (so can the class!) if you work in uniform COME IN IT!

March 12, 2009, 09:27 AM
Kraig's point was lost on a few here. He's talking about officers taking advantage of training to increase skills, to survive a gunfight.

Ben Towe
March 12, 2009, 09:38 AM
Kraig's point was lost on a few here. He's talking about officers taking advantage of training to increase skills, to survive a gunfight.

I think you are right about that since I re-read the OP. I may have jumped the gun, so to speak, but these things had been on my mind and this looked like a good place to put them into words. I apologize if I was out of line in posting them here, though I still stand behind what I believe. This may just have been the wrong thread to have posted them in.

March 12, 2009, 10:21 AM
If I may add to the rant

Don't show up to my range with anything different than what you carry on duty. Belt with all accouterments! I don’t care if you are faster with a belt slide with no retention device whatsoever and all that stuff on your duty rig is heavy. If you carry a Level III retention holster, you will train with a Level III retention holster. If you are that bad with the thing, you have nothing to worry about because we will teach you how to use it!

If I tell you are jerking, bucking, flinching, thumbing etc. that is what you are doing! Listen to us when we tell you how to correct it. If you still do it, we will give you a loaded mag with a dummy round in it or short load your cylinder. If you don't see how much the sights move when the gun dry fires, we will put the camera on you and play it back for you. Do not argue with us, we are here to help you and you will lose the argument!

There are also requirements for instructors, along with some teaching techniques that work.

The first thing I do is give the officers some positive thought and let them know they are appreciated by most good people. The cop/soldier hating trash is the minority and someone has to have the courage to wear the badge and do this dangerous but necessary job.

I do not talk "down" to the officers. Yeah, I'm the one in charge, but "we", yes; "we" are all here to learn something. Even the kid that just checked into the academy knows something I don't know because NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING. If an instructor treats his students like they are lesser beings, the students will not pay attention to a satisfactory degree. They are not there to be out shot/out drawn by another man, hear what a hotshot superman I was back in the day etc.

Initially, the instructors should demonstrate every drill prior to the student doing so. I will not ask them to execute a drill without them seeing that each and every instructor can execute said drill with a high degree of speed and accuracy.

Give recognition to the shooters when they shoot the drills correctly-"Good job Jones!!" Be positive if an officer misses-"Hit it again Smith!!" They will listen, they will become keener marksman and they will achieve greater accuracy which may enable them someday to survive being outnumbered and outgunned!

Last but not least-
Do not be intimidated by the rare instance of a student that can out draw/out shoot you! The students that are really proficient are given even more recognition; I may even have them demonstrate a drill. Remember, some of these guys are future weapons instructors.

Set them up for success! Their lives or the lives of someone else may depend on it!

March 12, 2009, 10:32 AM
Moderator Note

I just deleted a few off-topic comments. We'll have no cop-bashing on this forum, thankyouverymuch. Take it somewhere else!

The purpose of the Tactics & Training forum on TFL is to discuss the tactics and the training people need in order to survive criminal encounters. That's it. It's not to tear each other down, to speculate about politics, to gripe about police activity, or anything else of that nature. It's to discuss tactics and training for criminal encounters.



March 12, 2009, 04:54 PM
PAX: As Elvis would say. "Thanky, thanky very much, thanky.":D

March 12, 2009, 10:03 PM
I am not putting down good firearms training but let's look at the old school model of respecting the Citizen not fearing them and maybe we can get back to police careers like my Uncle who retired after 35 years and never pulled his gun in anger.

My own father was a cop, right out of WW2, and carried a S&W .38 with a 3" barrel for most of his career. He drew it in anger on a handful of occasions, and fired it in anger only three or four times in his entire career.

That said, I must disagree somewhat with your comment. I mean no disrespect to yourself or your Uncle, but times have changed. We as cops have to change with them, or find ourselves behind the eight ball.

Of course we should use courtesy whenever we can - the more folks on our side, the better! But when it doesn't work, we have to be prepared to do whatever is reasonably necessary to protect and preserve our lives, or the lives of others.

As was illustrated by the post that kicked this thread off, too many cops are unwilling to change from the "training is a lazy day" approach. We have to work with them to change that. I say with them because if people come in with a negative attitude, we have to meet it with something positive, and show them that training is for a purpose - keeping people alive and in one piece, including themselves.

Let's all take training for what it is - a chance to raise our skill level and increase the odds of going home at the end of the shift.

L Puckett
March 13, 2009, 10:11 AM

Right on and thanks. It helps to know others struggle with the attitudes too. It is so tempting to just gear up, get in the car and say "find someone else to do the teaching".

Stay safe brother,

March 13, 2009, 10:33 AM
I wish we could be so dedicated. We let the shooters get away with all kinds of stuff. Our qualifications are suppose to be OPOTC approved. That includes time limits on stages. When the order to fire is given there is never an order to cease fire. All you hear is the instructor saying,"Finish your rounds". And they count too! Time limits mean nothing.

Then there is safety. We have a rule that uniform personnel may not have finger nails more than 1/4" past the finger. We had several women show up with those add on nails 2-3" long. They could not handle the equipment safely, couldn't even draw from the holster. The instructor, a woman and a darn fine shooter, told them to cut them or be disqualified. They refused and she removed them from the range. They went upstairs and called her a racist because she only removed black women, the fact that they were the only ones in violation carried no merit. She was removed as an instructor and those women were taken out by a supervisor in a special class and qualified.

Most of our instructors want to run it by the book, management won't let them. The failure to qualify rate would be too high and they won't have that. Politics has no place on the range.

I'd like to see OPOTC start randomly showing up at quailifications to monitor.

James K
March 13, 2009, 12:28 PM
As a former LEO, I would like to comment from both sides.

First, as a LEO and part time instructor, I found that most police officers are NOT "gun people." Those who are, fire on the police pistol team or become instructors. To most officers, the gun is a drag, an inconvenience, and a PITA. They don't think they will ever need it, and don't care about being competent in its use.

I have equated the police firearm to a carpenter's hammer. I do not expect a carpenter I hire to collect hammers, or fondle them in the night, but I do expect him not to smash his thumb or batter my dining room table in frustration if he can't drive a nail in the wall. In other words, I expect him to be competent in the use of a tool of his trade. I expect no less from the police.

And then, there is another group, which some police will deny exists but which does. These are the officers who want to use their guns, who became police because of the power and the idea that they can shoot people with impunity. They are not "gun nuts", they are just nuts. They stomp around, hands on their guns, deliberately intimidating "civilians."

These are the kind who love to play dressup in black "tactical" uniforms, with helmets and dark visors concealing their identity. I watched such a "show" by police, not in a drug gang shootout, but at a peaceful July 4th band concert. Officers carrying MP5's, all in black, visors down, pushing "civilians" off the sidewalk as they strutted around proving that they were "protecting" us. From what, the fireworks? What justification was there for those faceless "robocops" sending children running away screaming? None at all. Just "super macho" types who forget they are public servants, not an occupying army.

We have come a long way from "Officer Friendly." More and more police departments are staffed with military veterans who adopt an "us and them" attitude, ready to kill everyone not in police uniform. More and more police departments are training as military forces, even purchasing armed aircraft, frag grenades, mortars, belt fed machineguns, and armored cars; one department reportedly has a 105mm howitzer, just the thing when a cop spies a holdup at the 7-11.

Some of the more paranoid on this and similar sites believe that there is a master plan for police to raid homes and slaughter gun owners and their families in some massive gun control effort. I doubt that is true, but the fact is that too many police and too many police departments act like they are already at war with "civilians." The sneer of contempt with which many officers address citizens, the nasty attitude toward even the most harmless request, the refusal to understand that they are not the Gestapo and that this is not Nazi Germany. (It is obvious that many officers wish it were.)

When a proposal was made to identify gun owners in the motor vehicle records, a state police officer explained to me that if they knew when they pulled a car over that the owner might be armed, they could just machinegun the car to "neutralize" the threat and protect themselves. Nice going, Officer Friendly!


March 14, 2009, 09:33 PM
I have equated the police firearm to a carpenter's hammer. I do not expect a carpenter I hire to collect hammers, or fondle them in the night, but I do expect him not to smash his thumb or batter my dining room table in frustration if he can't drive a nail in the wall. In other words, I expect him to be competent in the use of a tool of his trade. I expect no less from the police.

Well put. There's much in what you say.

March 15, 2009, 11:15 AM
Sorry Glock Jockey, couldn't resist that bit on top!

Spent 3 years in Sydney, loved it! Had a Wife who hated it, bought her three tickets back to England! Sold them off, at a profit! She smartened up then, made life a little more bearable, but we ended up moving to Canada, anyhow.

THEN! got divorced, a bit mixed up yes? Had some great nights out in Kings Cross, a good tip, if you ever move to an other Country, right away, join a gun club, you now have a bunch of instant Buddy's, who have lived there all their lives, helps if you are a real good shot, and help your fellow gun club members (I am and did) being able to walk around Queens Quay on a Sunday morning, great!

Do you carry 9mm? Glock 19 best pistol in the World, a couple of wee modifications needed, sorry guys, just a chat to a Digger.