OCTOBER 30, 2012

Editor's Notebook: Firearms Instructors

By Rich Grassi
Good firearms instructors continue drill development throughout the career, making more relevant training available for their students.
Retirees and people from other law enforcement agencies now get invited to open training days at the Sheriff's Training Center - Range locally. As I am on the mailing list, I happily went out last Saturday to do a little shooting. Agency instructors, on-duty and off- were present as well as an instructor from a federal agency stationed in our area. I spent some time trying to regain some trigger control with a new semi-auto - well, kind of new - and rounded out the firing line shooting a C-POST qualification on training targets - for that I used a j-frame .22 revolver, cheater than I am. While the course wasn't for record, I wanted to work with a revolver trigger. As the training targets were the sheriff's version of the Kansas basic training target (KS-Q cardboard) and not the FBI-Q they normally use, I kept in the spirit of the thing by using the 5 -4-3 scoring on the target instead of the "balls to beanie - hit anywhere in the bottle counts." Using the scoring from basic training, I was seven points down. I wasn't sad with that, but knew I was capable of better. It was a beautiful day and I was in good company. Business was the furthest thing from my mind. I went into the country-club like setting of their building, chatted with friends and, later, went back out on the range.
This target is an example of the basic training target with scoring rings. It requires a majority of hits in high chest to pass the course. Pistol is Colt Series 70 Government.
The fed had offered up his agency's course of fire and, along with the pair of off-duty instructors, was playing "what if." The idea, as I came to understand it, was to make the course more difficult. Each of them had 100 rounds of ammo, so why not put up two targets per shooter and perform every stage as a multiple target drill? Fair enough. As I watched them, it became apparent these guys were pros. They efficiently dealt with each stage as a fresh challenge. I simply watched until they got back to ten yards, I believe. That stage was originally to be six rounds to a slide-lock reload and four rounds to finish the stage in around fifteen seconds. At first figuring they would just do ten rounds per target, I asked (being the smart ass I am) what the second target would be doing while the shooter riddled his buddy with ten rounds. Met at first with resistance, I offered this. Do one target at a time, 6 - reload - 4 in half the normal time allotted, say eight seconds. Then set it up and do the same to the second target. After a pause, that was considered a good idea and off they went. Before it was over, they had a good 100-round drill that gives shooters repetitions in critical areas, like the draw, doing singles, pairs, failures, accuracy from various distances, and reloads. Not bad. Again, these folks weren't on the clock. They were working out their own salvation, exercising their skill at arms and at developing drills to train other cops. I'd say that was a productive use of off-duty time.