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Discussion Starter #1
Having been in contact with a fair amount of instructors around the nation I have seen quite a few qualification courses.

While there is a reason to have a fairly "passable" Qualification, the problem is that the troops start thinking that an excellent score is sufficient reason to think he is "hot stuff" and does not need to learn more.

One of the local PDs makes up their own courses and their good guys wear "Pistol Master" badges to show off thier proficiency. One day I happened upon a copy of their qual. on the range we used and I shot it clean.... with an 1858 Remington Muzzle loader (using a spare cylinder to reload) from.

Seems like most quals would be better titled "Field Sobriety Tests"
Anybody ever run into a difficult one?

Cheers,
Jim Higginbotham
 

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There are some cops who regularly compete in two IDPA clubs I shoot with monthly. There are one or two who are really good, and I mean REALLY good. Lots of others have come and gone. The majority sort of fade out and stop coming. I think it's because they don't do as well against citizen shooters as they think they should. I do remember my first IDPA club match. I was astounded at how much more difficult the scenarios were and how much more difficult it was to do well than any qualification course I ever shot as a cop. Of course, my last LEO qualification was more than 15 years ago.

Ironically, I shot with my brother-in-law, a cop in a So. Cal. city last week. He never competes and isn't an avid shooter but he was absolutely outstanding at everything we set up. I was really surprised I did learn that his department requires monthly qualification and has an IDPA/IPSC competitor for a rangemaster. I wonder if there is a connection?

Bob


[This message has been edited by ocbizlaw (edited 04-20-2001).]
 

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OK, just what do you consider hard? I see all sorts of wild scenarios in IDPA but the bottom line is that we usually get blasted at night and at very short range. We’ve had some long-range ambushes out here in Ca., within the last two years but I am at a loss as to how and practice for those. Those particular officers were dead the second they stepped out of their cars. We’ve had officers shot while sitting in a car writing a report. Hard to practice for that kind of incident unless you see it coming and I am not convinced the officers did.

Most of the shootings I know about were within arms length and went down in the flash of an eye. My evaluation of those incidents was that there were plenty of warning signs from the perp.; it’s just that the officer(s) didn’t pick up on them or didn’t believe what they were seeing.

I don’t believe in the fancy crap. Keep it basic and work on recognizing the warning signs and then emphasize speed and reasonable accuracy. Cover, position of advantage, two officer tactics, and cover fire w/ maneuver or cover w/ second officer reload should be part of a basic course.

I can only tell you this. My encounter was nose to nose, I saw it coming and I beat him to the punch. All the shooting through knot holes, standing on one foot engaging multiple targets, or reciting the alphabet while speed loading in the world wouldn’t have helped me in my time of trial.
 

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Qualification courses of fire for police officers are designed to test the proficiency of the officers in terms of accuracy and basic firearems handling. The time slots are for the most part adequate for the average officer to get off the required number of shots with the minimum required accuracy to "pass" the qualification course.

IDPA/IPSC etc. are more suitable as training as opposed to qualification. An officer must possess some level of handgun savy to pass the qualification course. I would like to see more IDPA/IPSC type training for officers and incorporate some of it into the qualification process.

I have no idea what kind of qualification course you found but I suspect a lot of paper shooters would find it a little difficult to pass. I know a lot of shooters, and when you put some of them under the clock they tend to fall apart.

The best way to teach an officer or anyone for that matter to shoot well is thru continous training. The sad fact is most police/law enforcement agencies dont fund firearms training as well as they fund some of the community "feel good" or P-R programs.

------------------
No man is above the law and no man is below it. Nor do we ask any mans permission when we require him to obey it.
 

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My dept has a different course of fire for each quarter. The first quarter qualification is basic and it gets more advanced as the year goes on. This way it seems to keep the people more proficient. Before we start a qual course we go to basics with some bullseye type shooting. The top dog in that bullseye excercise doesn't have to brass either. Now thats an incentive!
 

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There are distinct differences in qualification (or proficiency) and firearms training. Qualification should be to demonstrate the ability of the officer to perform a specific task. Qualification courses should be designed to do this.

Training is to reinforce an old skill or to teach a new one. Unfortunately too many times "combat" training courses are designed with a time element as part of the measure. In the real world is it good to leave a position of cover and run towards the threat? Yet we build courses which "train" our officers to do this.

Just some thoughts from an old war horse.

Bill
 

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BillW,

My point exactly, training and qualification are two different animals. I think too many "trainers" fail to see that difference. I can show that I know how to shoot thru the qual course, but when I train I add some other problems to the course of fire. These additions are the "training" that all officers need. But if they cant shoot in the first place, the training is an excercise in frustration for them.
 

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Bill W and Ken beat me to the punch. Many departments have a difficult time understanding the difference between training and meeting a standard (qualification).

Some years ago, the trainer for Kokomo, In police department invited me to see and shoot on his range. During the course of the interview, I learned about his program. KPD qualified with both pistol and shotgun. they also shot a different training scenario each month. Shot during their shift, and usually short--12 to 20 rounds, usually with their carry ammo that was replaced with new after shoot. I also shot a couple of his scenarios, and while not tough for me, they did make the shooter think. GLV
 

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You people are absolutley correct about training vs. Quals. We train every quarter for about 6hrs. We then later qualify. My dept understands the difference and encourages people to shoot on their own time by giving out ammo if you request it. Qual courses are designed so one does not fail. Thats why training is important.
 

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A friend of mine got what many of us would consider a "dream job" a while back. After many years as a patrol deputy, dog handler, and SWAT team member, my friend was assigned to doing training and qualifications at the Sheriff's range. When he could arrange it, he invited the whole Paladin gang down for some shooting. One of the courses we fired was the state of Ohio's peace officer qualification course. The range is equipped with turning targets and these were used to enforce the time limits. Long story short, we would shoot the drill specified and, when finished, come to the ready position and wait for the target to turn away. It felt as if we were standing there FOREVER running down the clock.

The qualification drill only went back to 15 yards and was a slam-dunk for any reasonably qualified pistolero. Still, they have deputies who struggle with it.

One bright spot was that it appears that Ken Hackathorn's "box drill" is going to be incorporated into the qualification. This drill requires shooting on the move and is challenging drill. How they'll ever get the ones who struggle with the basic course-of-fire through this, I can't imagine.

I know several people who work as LEO's who are superb shots. These people are also all competitors and/or hobbyists and would be superb shots regardless of their occupation. As many law enforcement agencies have taken to considering an interest in firearms as a disqualification for applicants, it is likely that the qualification courses of fire will have to be "dumbed down" even farther.

Rosco
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Several people have noted the difference between Qualification and Training, and of course there will always be some difference.

The important question is how do you inspire the troops to excel if you have a qualificaiton course that either 6 year old or an 80 year old can "clean it" (my son was able to clean one state agency course when he was 6).

In my experience only a small per centage of the officers pay too much attention to "training" since it the exercises are pass/fail. They wanted to compare scores on the Qualificaiton. Until I came up with a tougher "Classification" which is scored, they seemed to stagnate.... Since the Classifier cannot be shot "perfect", being on the Vickers Count, they now try harder and the number of them doing really well on the Qualificaiton is amazing.

Food for thought,
Jim Higginbotham

PS: Will be out for about a week.. take care.


Problem being
 

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interesting comments about qualification vs. training. Back to the IPSC/IDPA shooters that I know: most that are serious, in my experience mix timed course with basics. Much like when we played sports in high school, scrimmages were great practice but you must regularly practice basics out of the competition setting to develop good habits that will help you excel under the clock. Working only under the clock exclusively can get you sloppy and hinder your ultimate potential while not practicing under the clock regularly let's you forget how to deal with adrenalin. Just my two cents. Most competitors I know will often spend a day at the range consciously slowing down and practicing technique on mag changes or draw and accelerated doubles without the clock just for technique.

Bob

[This message has been edited by ocbizlaw (edited 04-24-2001).]
 

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Last I heard (from a fellow who used to be a reserve officer), the police in our town hadn't run a qualification test in over 2 years. I suspect that in the unlikely event that they have a shooting and it goes bad, that our town will lose a lawsuit so fast it will make your head spin...

M1911
 

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Originally posted by M1911:
Last I heard (from a fellow who used to be a reserve officer), the police in our town hadn't run a qualification test in over 2 years. I suspect that in the unlikely event that they have a shooting and it goes bad, that our town will lose a lawsuit so fast it will make your head spin...
Actually lawsuits resulting from a shooting are almost always based on the reasonableness of the application of deadly force. Normally, only if the intended target was missed and an innocent bystander was struck would a lawsuit be initiated for failure to train. Then the jury would have to decide if the amount of training was out of line with other departments. In other words, “what is normal and customary?” Of course there would be other factors that the jury would have to consider also.

You also have a problem even if your department shoots once a month. Then it becomes an argument between “experts” as to whether or not your particular qualification course or training is adequate. Just look at the comments here pertaining to some of the qualification courses of various law enforcement agencies. All of the experts here have a different opinion on what is adequate or realistic. I too have my own opinions on what is meaningful training. I can also assure you that I would most certainly disagree with others on this forum on what is right or necessary.

So, just because a particular department may shoot a bunch, does not mean that they have correct training. Conversely, if a department doesn’t shoot a lot, it does not mean that they have not received acceptable training. It all depends on the standard that they will be held to.

If you are not familiar with the California Highway Patrol “Newhall” incident, you should look it up. This tragic event led to a complete makeover of the firearms training program for the CHP and all law enforcement agencies in California. Until then it was believed that the CHP was giving the best police firearms training in the United States and perhaps the world. What was learned from Newhall was that the program was woefully lacking in preparing officers for street combat.

We may believe that we are doing it right but we may find out we are wrong. I was just reading an article in which the author is lambasting the likes of Col. Cooper and other aficionados of the “Modern Technique.” His argument is that men like Fairbain and Sikes figured out the best combat techniques before WWII, those techniques are proven, so why the heck did we get away from them.

Who knows??
 

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We may believe that we are doing it right but we may find out we are wrong. I was just reading an article in which the author is lambasting the likes of Col. Cooper and other aficionados of the “Modern Technique.” His argument is that men like Fairbain and Sikes figured out the best combat techniques before WWII, those techniques are proven, so why the heck did we get away from them.

Who knows??

[/B]
Actually Cooper WAS doing it wrong initially. He was point-shooting from a crouch because everyone KNEW that this was the quickest way to get hits. What Cooper did to break this stagnant status quo was to set up open, freestyle competition, with markmanship challenges of a practical nature, and then OBSERVE and RECORD the techniques used by the winners. Thus, the techniques that Cooper adopted and refined into the modern technique of the pistol were techniques which could QUANTIFIABLY be shown to work better. Plus, being a teacher of shooting, he could observe which techniques could be successfully inculcated into his students.

So, in answer to the question "who knows" (whether a particular type of training is effective)?"; we can know this by the results attained in realistic simulations using the techniques in question. This, of course, will prompt the observation that we cannot truly simulate the stress of a REAL deadly force situation on the range. True enough. However, if the proponent of a given technique cannot make it work well on a perfectly safe range, how in the world can he expect that it'll work any better under deadly stress? The latter-day Fairbain fans are certainly free to enter any IDPA match and use their pet techniques. Their performance will suffer compared to those using the modern technique of the pistol and they can be counted on to whine about how the scenario presented "wasn't realistic"...the unfounded implication being that they would do better if the challenge were greater. I don't buy it.

This is not to say that matters of technique are now engraved in stone and will never advance farther. However, such changes as are offered as "advances" need to be proven in the laboratory of realistic competition and, ultimately, on the street.

Rosco
 

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Originally posted by Rosco Benson:
This, of course, will prompt the observation that we cannot truly simulate the stress of a REAL deadly force situation on the range. True enough. However, if the proponent of a given technique cannot make it work well on a perfectly safe range, how in the world can he expect that it'll work any better under deadly stress?
That is exactly the kind of debate this opens up. We cannot simulate fight or flight responses on the range. We cannot induce certain physiological responses on the range. The reason is obvious. A range cannot make a person believe that he or she is in a life-threatening situation. In just about every shooting situation we find that the use of sights goes right out the window. No matter how much technique we drum into people the first thing they do is focus on the threat and all other considerations become secondary.

The crouch that Fairbain and Sikes taught was simply using a normal reflex of the human under fire. Since humans do this reflexively when under fire, why not use it instead of trying to train it out of a person.

I have watched this reaction in military combat and on the street. Look at those who approach a helicopter. In my area there are no copters that have blades that would strike the head of an 8-foot tall person but I watch as anyone who is not absolutely familiar with the copter crouch. Several years ago we had a deranged man shooting up a neighborhood. I set up my CP out of any line of fire. Every time the suspect would fire everyone would duck or hit the ground in an attempt to breath asphalt. I was the only one who didn’t because I knew exactly where I was in relation to the suspect and knew my life was not in jeopardy. I would have probably instinctively ducked if I didn’t have that knowledge.

I am neither a Fairbain/Sikes follower nor am I a Cooper follower in technique. I am only saying that neither technique is the panacea for surviving on the street. That goes for anything else out there now or in the future. I can show all the qualification scores in the world for Officer X, who shoots consistent 100’s on the range, using Y technique, but still managed to miss the suspect on the street.
 

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Simunitions against live opponents with critique following is about the closet one can get.

Bob
 

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Originally posted by ocbizlaw:
Simunitions against live opponents with critique following is about the closet one can get.Bob
The names have been changed to protect the guilty

I can remember hearing a rumor that I and certain other members of a agency that I may or may not have once worked for, played tactical games in a certain Federal Building with a certain Federal Agency best known by their acronym. Again, it is only rumored that we used pump BB guns using 1 or 2 pumps to shoot each other with. I remember that goggles and wrestling ear protectors were part of the play uniform.

The story goes that when hit it could make you cry and pass bodily fluids. In fact according to the legend it was painful enough and caused so much anxiety that real life stress behavior was exhibited.

I guess someone in the legal department supposedly found out about this and put a stop to it.
 

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Originally posted by Patrickl:
Look at those who approach a helicopter. In my area there are no copters that have blades that would strike the head of an 8-foot tall person but I watch as anyone who is not absolutely familiar with the copter crouch.
Patrickl,
I don't know what kind of helos you have in your area, but I'll bet I've flown a variant of whatever you have. And I know that this is a bit out of context for me to focus on these two sentences, but, there is a very good reason for one approaching a helicopter to crouch.

Kinda like wearing a seatbelt. It may be unnecessary, but then again it may not.
 
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Originally posted by LW McVay:
but, there is a very good reason for one approaching a helicopter to crouch.

Kinda like wearing a seatbelt. It may be unnecessary, but then again it may not.

Oh, I'm not arguing that it isn't a good idea to crouch, one of which is for debris protection.

There is also the Cardinal rule of never approach the bird from the uphill side.

I was simply trying to point out how humans react when under stress and concerned that activity might get them killed.

I notice this when the pilot almost always stands, while everyone else is doing the "Groucho" shuffle.
 
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