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Hi gang,

Another thread piqued my interest. How much actual shooting does the average Law Enforcement Officer get officially each year? I assume it varies widely, but could you give us a ballpark idea on rounds expended, recurrent qualifcation, etc?

How about SWAT, FBI etc. How much do you guys get to shoot?

Grinch
 

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On my department we qualify every quarter. The basic qualification course is 250 rounds at various ranges. No course is ever the same. Numerous and stressful situations are set up and officers have to respond as individuals and as teams. To keep it difficult only the individual or team and the Range Master are allowed on the range. This prevents others from doping out the event and preplanning.

We qualify with our shotguns and AR’s twice a year. Again, real life situations are encountered and on average 50 rounds of 00 and 200 rounds of .223 are expended. Once a year we spend the entire day on the range busting clay birds with our shotguns on a skeet range in the morning and engaging targets out to 500 yards with the AR’s in the afternoon.

We have also now incorporated what is called “Active Shooter” training here in California. This training has been developed for the street officer to respond as a team in the event of a school campus shooting incident. We do not wait for a SWAT team anymore in this type of incident. The patrol team immediately forms up and goes in and terminates the problem.

For Active Shooter training we are using “Simunitons” and actual school campuses in the area. One of the instructors is the bad guy and the team must negotiate different scenarios. I would estimate that each officer would expend about 30 rounds during this training.

There are also 4-hour training periods once a year on the “Force Options Simulator.” This is basically a projected incident on a screen and the officer must respond to each incident appropriately.
 

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Wow Patrickl! That sounds like your department is very progressive with its training regimen. You may have screwed laws, but it sounds like your training is top notch.

I just completed a pistol course where about half of the students were LEO's. It depended on the city, but more than one of them previously only fired 100 shots per year, 50 for each semiannual qualification. That department just underwent a political change, and training is becomming a priority again.

The course I took was about 1000 rounds, and everyone showed vast improvement. I also learned that I needed night sights.

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-Electric Armadillo-
 

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I can only dream about training like Patrickl described. My department has us qualify only once a year with duty weapon. If they remember we get to qual with shotguns. We expend 50 rounds on a basic course with pistol that any idiot could pass.Five rounds with the shotgun. I dont think it has changed in the 10 years I've been with the department except they stopped shooting 25yards and low light. I have to go out and try and find training at resonable prices close to home. I shoot at least 1 time a month at least 200 rounds on my own to stay proficent. Great training huh?

[This message has been edited by cwm1150 (edited 10-09-2001).]
 

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TheGrinch, my department qualifies 8 times (8 months) each year.

One shoot is the standard department 25 yard course for qualifications.

One shoot is our yearly shotgun qualification course, preceeded by two 50 yard PPC run throughs.

One shoot is our yearly qualification night shoot.

Our five other shoots consist of whatever the firearms instructor desires (me). This usually consists of combat, or even fun, type shooting, stressing movement, cover, reloading, speed, and accuracy. We have employed pepper poppers, balloons, bowling pins, and steel plates into these shoots. We have also mixed it up to include the handgun, along with the department Remingtons 870's and M16's/MP5's.

About 5 years ago we changed to what the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board was shooting at the Academy at that time, which was a standard 48 round 25 yard course of fire. I was concerned at that time that totally eliminating the 50 yard line stage would hamper our marksmanship at closer ranges. Good shooters can "cheat", or slap the trigger at the 25 yard line and still obtain possible (perfect) scores on the 25 yard course. My concern was the average, or below average shooter. Indeed my concerns have proven correct. At one time, throwing a round out of the 9 ring at the 25 yard line on a B-27 target would have been unacceptable for most shooters. At the 25 yard line everyone should have a perfect score. We have found that only shooting up close, officers are beginning to throw shots out of the 9 ring at the 25 yard line, which in my opinion shows a total lack of understanding of the handgunning basics, such as grip, breathing, trigger control, etc. That is why we have thrown in a couple of 50 yard PPC courses again. Weaknesses in a shooter definitely show up at 50 yards more so than 3,7,15,and 25. The young guys like it, it reinforces the basics of shooting, and our scores should go up on the 25 yard course. I agree that speed coupled with accuracy is probably the most important aspect of handgunning (along with mindset), but hopefully throwing in a dose of target shooting will make our younger officers better all around marksman. So right now I feel we have a very good mix of all aspects of LE handgunning.
 

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Our Department does the "once a year" thing with 50 rounds and a shotgun qualifier with 5 rounds. Unfortunately, that's all that most of the officers actually shoot. I hate to think about what the outcome would be if they ever had to actually "shoot it out" with the BG's.

Most officers here are paid rather poorly and they don't think they can afford to shoot much. They also have limited free time and the Department has a very limited budget. It all boils down to the fact that the Department doesn't require more and won't pay for more and the officers aren't motivated to do it on their own.

To make matters worse, they preclude Reserve Officers (like me) from obtaining POST certification as instructors. I shoot every weekend with either our local IDPA club or some other IPSC or IDPA club in the area. I am qualified with pistol, CQB rifle, shotgun and Long Range Precision rifle. I burn several thousand rounds a year. The only way I can help these guys is to instruct informally on their own time and with their own ammo - guess how many "takers" there are on that offer. The SWAT team does several exercises a year but very few "live fire" exercises. The SWAT Sniper hasn't fire the Department's only LRPR in months and said recently he didn't feel proficient with any of his weapons due to lack of practice (he IS proficient as any ex-USMC sniper would be). Here I sit with the training, proficiency AND my own equipment - not allowed to participate! Government Service, go figure...

Mikey
 

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I think I need to make a comment here. Although many departments have very minimal training regimens for firearms I am aware that there are reasons for this.

Budget. X dollars =’s X time and materials for training. There is also the issue of lawsuits. Departments when sued are judged against the industry standard. I am well aware that a plaintiff’s shysters will hire experts who will come in and say that the industry standard is Y. Of course the defense will bring in experts who will say the standard is Z.

There is a very logical reason to keep training to minimal levels and that is to prevent a constantly escalating level of acceptable industry standard training. Basically it boils down to this. You can’t say I am out of line with the industry standard if my course of 100 rounds per year is the same as Smithsville PD and the County Sheriff’s Office.

Consider the ramifications if cwm1150’s PD caps a skunk and I am called in by the skunks survivors attorney to testify as a firearms training expert. “Tell me Sergeant what do you think of cwm1150’s level of firearms training as provided by his/her PD?” “Geeze Mr. Oily Shyster, it sure sucks, just look at the course of training we provide to our employee’s where I work.” “Oh, and by the way Mr. Oily Shyster, I would like to see even more for our department because I am still not comfortable with the level of training and we are in the process of developing an even more intense program.” Now, if cwm1150’s PD can say that we don’t care what they do in California the standard in this state is 100 rounds a year they are building their defense.

I know most of this sounds distasteful but it is the game that Risk Managers, Insurance Carriers, and Bureaucrats will play.

As a further example of what I am talking about here in California there is a case decision that stems from a shooting in Long Beach about 15 years ago. It basically states that if an officer is within the law in his actions, but departmental policy or procedures further restricts the officer’s actions beyond the law, and the officer violates the policy or procedure, although in compliance with the law, the officer is automatically negligent and the department is liable.

What this boils down to is this: If section such and such point 5 of the Penal Code says that an officer can use deadly force under X circumstances but departmental policy says that an officer will not use deadly force under circumstances that fall under section such and such point 5 PC then if the officer does, even though the law allows it, the department will pay.

Because of this decision many departments out here are doing away with any extraneous language dealing with “moral, and justifiable use of force” and are keeping it to strictly “legal.” Since we can use force to stop a fleeing felon out here and stealing a bicycle worth more than $400 is a felony I am sure you can see the potential ramifications.

There are literally dozens of legal firms out here that specialize in taking a policy and procedures manual from a department and rewriting it in such a fashion that it strictly complies with the Penal Code with no further restrictions. They also do this with training manuals. They write so many for so many departments that San Diego PD’s basic manual can look just like mine. What we end up with is no conflicts and an expert can use nothing against one PD because all of them are basically the same.

It’s called CYA and it’s permeating the system.
 

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I work both sides of the fence as an expert witness. One vulnerable point for depts is the lack of policy and procedure manuals. Many don't have one. We also find the training is designed to protect the employer from liability, not the officer from harm.
Also one state court made it clear that a policy manual is of no consequence in a criminal matter as the depts manual is for internal use and of no content regarding criminal issues, but it may show up in civil proceedings.
Most departments know how fragile their training is and many will pay out of court big bucks rather than try to defend their policy or procedure manual.
It is easy to find depts complaing about no money for training and each year pay out high six or seven figure settlements. Strange logic.
LA after the 1992 riots spent $8 million on a study to see what the problem was. The dept said it could not implement the recomendations in the study because it didn't have the money. But it sure had the $8 Million for the study. See how it works?
 

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Thats because its easier to justify the Pound of cure than the Ounce of prevention.

One is required, the other is optional.

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-Electric Armadillo-
 

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In NJ we are required to qualify twice a year and at least 3 months apart. Each time we fire approximately 300 rounds. Not a lot for the liability involved. I also would say that the average officer on our department doesn't shoot any more than required.
 

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On the average our LEO's fire 1200-2000 a year with a handgun. Our LEO's with full auto weapons fire another 2000-5000 rds on top of the handgun. My dept is very free with ammo & trng.
 

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My Dept. only requires a State madatory qualification wich is 24 rounds at distances from 3 to 25 yards ONCE every 12 months.
I feel this is not adaquate training, especially because some of the officers only shoot when they qualify. Myself I shoot at least 2000 rounds through the duty handgun and at least 250 rounds through my tactical rifle, I wish I could afford to shoot more, but I am unable to because of money.
 

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Officially?

60 rounds semi-annually, on a target that is no more than 15 yards away at any time. (And some folks STILL can't qualify!!)

Unofficially?

On my own time, and at my own expense, I fire at least 1000 rounds per month of handgun ammunition, and at least 500 per month of rifle ammunition at various ranges, up to 600 yards, scoped and iron sights. Thank heavens for military surplus bullets, cast bullets, surplus powders, bulk purchases, and the Dillon 650.

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"Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size;

When trouble rises, call on me and I will equalize."
 

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I work for a large agency in California and we have a very good firearms training program; However, as with all things it could be better.

We qualify with pistols (9mm or 45 acp) bi monthly by serial number, odd one month then even the next. You can shoot combat, 30 rounds on 2 targets, or bonus, 40 rounds on two targets. Bonus is where you can qualify for a shooting medal. Both ranges incorporate draw and fire from holster at various distances, body and head shots, speed reload, tactical reloading, primary hand and support hand shooting.

Twice a year the entire department qualifies with shotguns.

I am also a member of my departments UPR cadre (Urban Police Rifle), and the tactical shotgun cadre. The UPR is the PC name for a Colt M-16 A1 with a surefire tac light and three point sling ;-). The Tac shotgun we use is a Remmingtom 870 with Speed Feed stocks, Surefire tac light fore end, magazine tube extender, side saddle, tritium night sights, and a three point sling.

We qualify with both the UPR and the tac shotgun every three months. Qualification is an 8 hour training day for each weapon with a qualification course out to 100 yrds with the rifle and 75 yards with the shotgun. After qualification we run tactical drills, shooting on the move, dynamic entry, active shooter, and citizen/officer rescue.

We also have Benellis with 14 inch barrels, but if you shoot 100 + rounds of 2 3/4 inch Winchester rifled slugs and Federal Tac 12 00 buckshot out of them for qualification and training, your asking for more punishment that I want to endure in an 8 hour day.

Be safe out there...

Brad

KMA 367
 
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