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Discussion Starter #1
Last Saturday, I was working at the range after shooting a match when a pleasant guy (black, mid-forties, small hands, average height and build, fit with vision correctable 20/20) asked if I could help him with a few shooting issues.

He was recently hired as a VA Police Officer (Federal LEO) and is issued a Beretta 92D. He showed up with a Beretta 85F .380 at the range and tried to feed it 9mm ammo. After correcting this, I realized he had almost no experience with handguns (retired Army for pete's sake) and to further the problem, he needs to qual by Dec. 7 to be able to travel for his academy. He's a nice guy and very determined to make it but this guy has no game whatsoever...

Qual is 50 rds on FBI Q target with most of them at 5-7 (RH, LH, freestyle, reloads, timed strings etc.) and a few at 15 yards and 2 rds at 25 which I haven't done with him yet. He needs 44/50 and came to me doing 24. I have him up to 31 but he just doesn't *&^%$#@ get the trigger pull. He's got till Friday morning... has to qual to travel.

I have tried nearly every trick in the book with him but he still pulls low 6-8" low fully 60% of the time and about 80% under duress. He has great sight alignment and his duty gun and my guns are perfectly sighted in... but no trigger control. We are using a revolver tomorrow. He can't take his gun home and he doesn't own one for himself, yet. He is proving to be the biggest challenge I have ever had as an instructor... now I'm feeling the pressure... I have about 4 hours with him thus far... gonna be a long night tomorrow. Advice?

coltlover
 

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sounds like he needs lots of dry fire practice. if he is that new, dry firing correctly will get a decent trigger pull without the bang to " scare" him.

im kind of amazed that he has to qual first before going to the academy to be trained?!?!?!

your the instructor, so i wont pretend to know more than you, but by friday seems to be a short amount of time unless you and he can devote a lot of time at the range between now and then.........

im sure someone else will have better advice on it, i still cant get past that he needs to learn to shoot before they will teach him to shoot....

russel
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I was a VA cop 1998-2000. I still keep in touch with the officers at the local VA as my dept. has jusridiction in the surrounding area. I have never heard of having to qualify before attending the VA academy. Neither has the local VA officers I talked to. Maybe it is something his Chief requires. The VA will not allow the issue firearms to leave property but they did issue a letter stating the officers can carry under the LEOSA act. While the VA Police are centrally directed from Little Rock, each region or "VISN" is a world unto its self.

Gene
 

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Well if he doesn't make it it falls on him not you. Surely hes known about this for a while now and didn't practice or make arrangements to learn what he needed to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
They just brought him up here, paid for his relocate and everything. His chief was with him yesterday doing the qual. They both seem like pretty good guys and thankful I brought them in out of 50 mph winds. That's the skinny... he has to qual before he gets his plane ticket to AR. He has small hands and is shooting a large handgun. Lots of dry fire is what I told him. I wish I had one with laser grips. Then he could see his own mistakes as they are being made. I'm calling a buddy with a 92D... my old one and we'll see if we can get him on par.
 

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I've NEVER heard of an agency requiring qualification before academy training. Usually they'd prefer shooting virgins, so they can teach them their own preferred style and techniques.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
AZ Husker said:
I've NEVER heard of an agency requiring qualification before academy training. Usually they'd prefer shooting virgins, so they can teach them their own preferred style and techniques.
I'll get the reasoning from them tonight and post later. From what I gather, the academy doesn't involve very much handgun training.
 

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When I was in the VA police they spent two additional weeks on firearms at the academy. When they came here to arm the officers who were previously working unarmed, they spent a week and 1000+ rounds per officer. When I went through an academy to get my MI MCOLES certification we fired just over 1000 rounds during the course of the academy. Seems to be a similar level of training.

They are very serious about proficiency at the VA. You have to remember they work around all those medical types who have a great fear of firearms. That is a generalization but from my experience the higher you go in the medical community, the greater the fear (with some exceptions).

The VA police is evolving and a lot of inconsistancies are being worked out. Maybe this is just one of them for this particular station.

Gene
 

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Get him on a .22 RF to start and double up on hearing protection (plugs and muffs). Sight alignment, sight picture and trigger control are first and foremost. Work on grip, stance and follow thru. Once he has those items down with the .22, move on to the CF and run some ball and dummy drills. He needs to learn how to shoot correctly before being taught how to shoot fast. I would suspect recoil anticipation problems, trigger control problems, sight alignment problems and added to that are problems from trying to shoot fast in timed scenarios. NQC qual had timing such as 2 rds in 4 seconds from the holster and a lot of people thought that was really fast, hence not aligning sights and slapping triggers, chasing targets, etc;. Check for eye dominance issues and look for consistency in his performance before moving on to the CF. We managed to get nearly everyone who "had no chance of qualifying" qualified but it proved to be a LOT of work and even more work before we got the .22 RF's and government supplied ammo approved for use. Personally I avoid lasers for use in these situations as the student learns to focus on the target rather than the front sight, hence they don't learn proper sight alignment which will be necessary for qual without the laser. Bi-focals add another issue to vision corrected folks.
 
G

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I would suggest he find a local training facility and sign up for a Basic Pistol course followed by a Tactical Pistol 1 course. He should be able to complete both in less than 6 days.

Trigger control. Stand him 4 ft from the target, no rounds, and have him pull the trigger (100 times or what eveer it takes) while pointing at a dot on the target. If the action needs to be reset before the trigger can be pulled again, you reset the slide for him while he holds it.

Next step load up. Fire at the spot from 4 ft one round on command. He should be able to make one hole for a full mag.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
He didn't show up last night so I hope he is dry firing until his fingers bleed.

Questioned him closely on injuries, vision, eye dominance. Vision is even R/L.
Used very good hearing protection with plugs.
Squeezing the trigger for him to show him that is where the problem is at.
Revovler shooting to learn trigger control of DA.
Ruger MkII 22 LR. Shoots it fine at 5-7.
He fired a few rounds of my 45 and did great.
Stance, grip, index and body position are all great.

His trigger pull sucks. Some of it is the large handgun but he is just not learning fast enough. Some have it some don't. He lacks the passion and the time needed to aquire decent handgun shooting skill. He just needs familiarization and he doesn't have the time.

I guess we'll see.
 

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Sounds like he has some real bad information from someone on his qualification. He only has to have 8 hours of "familiarization" training before the academy. Yes he should be able to qualify before then and that will take some "pressure" off. To qualify he only has to shoot 40 out of 50. Have no idea where the 44/50 came from. He will have a week of firearms training during the 5th week of the academy at the end of which time he will have to pass with 40 out of 50. Interesting thing about how they score the targets, if it touches the grey on the edge it is a miss.

He is also shooting the hardest to shoot firearm I have ever dealt with in my life.

Dry fire is the answer.

ColtLover, PM me for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
1Shot said:
He is also shooting the hardest to shoot firearm I have ever dealt with in my life.
The principles are all the same. Good grip (Iso works great on Berettas), front sight... press the trigger straight to the rear for a surprise break which is easy to get on D models. I like em and had one for a while. Long reset makes speed shooting more diffiicult. A bottom feeding revolver that goes *** instead of Bang!

His chief was there but I didn't ask him if he HAD to qual before he takes off for AR. Maybe he has it all wrong but he sure was worried and stressed over the whole thing.

We teach a couple of different courses for CCW, defensive pistol and new comp shooters.
 

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I'm a current VA Officer, I actually like the 92D. He does not have to qualify before he goes to the Academy, but alot of chiefs want to make sure their recruits wont bolo out in firearms quals or PT. He will have plenty of trigger time at the academy and the instructors will spend extra time with him if needed. A double action revolver would be the best practice he can get if a D model isnt available. The D models trigger is long but smooth so once he figures it out it really isnt a big deal. I actually bought one of my own just to keep proficient with the trigger.
 

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I am a Bowling Green,Va. Police Officer which is adjacent to Fort A.P Hill here in Va. I know several of their officers and none have heard of qualifying first.

If this fellow has problems with the trigger pull on his 92, there is a gunsmith about an hour away in Cumberland,Va by the name of Dave Sams. He is a retired MSGT. 82AB AMU/MTU master gunsmith and specialises in Berettas.
 

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Could it be the applicant just doesn't have the desire or drive to apply himself?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
AZ Husker said:
Could it be the applicant just doesn't have the desire or drive to apply himself?
He was pretty determined to make it and spent a lot of $ on practice ammo and drove 60 miles three times to practice and to see a match. He should have been motivated to do so well before hand. On the bright side, some of the VA cops are going to come to a match next Sunday.

I got to work with a few 501st troops a couple nights ago. They all had new SIG's and they were all malfunctioning with AE ball. Kind of soured me on new SIG's.

Hey, thanks for all the pointers guys. Great forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
He called me today for some more training. I only had just a few hours with him so I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'll post later on what the deal is with his academy.
 

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ColtLover said:
His trigger pull sucks.
Make sure he's pulling with the pad of his finger, rather than the joint.

I taught a friend (federal LEO) to shoot just before he went to GA for his training. He was pulling everything low and right. It was because his finger was wrapping around the trigger and pulling the gun down. Once we moved his finger, he was right back on target.
 
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