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Thread: Accountability for Missed shots in LE Qualifications

  1. #41
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    If someone else has better information, then please correct me. It's my understanding that police qual courses came about when lawsuits were filed and won against agencies for allowing "an untrained person" to patrol the town/city/county etc. I get the fact that administrators would love the 100% hit qual. The city could say in court, "We trained 'em to that standard. They even passed that standard six...eight...forty times straight over the last twenty years, so that miss is strictly on them. Now, pretty please Your Honor, let us out of this law-suit." Then, they can turn to the officer and say, "Hope it works out for you, bud!"

    To me, a 100% can't miss qual sets the officer up for the lawsuit to be solely dumped on them when an officer, reacting to the extreme stress of realizing that someone is suddenly trying to kill them, might throw a shot off. There is no way to train an officer fully for that instance, as you can't shoot at them as they qual. We're not even talking about shotgun quals, where buckshot might be the normal issue ammo. Now, do I think there needs to be a qual? Yes! You need a standard to judge if someone is absorbing the instruction, especially since so many recruits have never shot a gun before attending the academy.

    Now, having said that, my agency was conducting quals twice a year when I started more than 20 years ago. We also have 2,000+ officers. They changed the policy when ammo became scarce in the early 2000s and the price shot up for what was available. Now, if you're command level or a detective, you qual once a year. Patrol officers that qualify as expert also only qual once a year. Otherwise, it's twice a year. All stages have a time limit. An officer gets three tries to qual on qual day. If they can't do it, they are placed on non-enforcement and required to attend remedial training, then tested again. If they can't do it after that second round, command staff will determine if they are retained and given one more shot at it or terminated.

    My agency uses these quals:

    Flashlight pistol - 15 yds and in - 33 rds - 80% or better
    Dimlight pistol - 25 yds and in - 50 rds - 80% or better
    Daylight pistol - 25 yds and in - 50 rds - 80% or better
    Shotgun - 15 & 25 yds - 5 rds total (3 @ 25, 2 @ 15) - 90% or better

    Our issue weapons are the Sig P229R DAK and the Rem 870 shotgun. The older shotguns have 18 1/2" barrels, while the newer ones have the 14" inch version.

    We have patrol rifles (AR-15 types), alternate duty guns (usually allowed only for command staff or detectives but all are DAO), and BUGs. The patrol rifles have a different qual, of course. The officers issued them also have to have qualed as Expert with the pistol. Alternate duty weapons have to qual to the daylight pistol qual course and score. BUGs are 15 yds and in - 50 rds - 80% or better.

    We do offer three free boxes of ammo a year to officers to practice with and one Saturday a month the range is open on the weekends for practice. We offer the incentive of 1 bonus day to be used at the officer's discretion for qualifying as Sharpshooter (88-93) and two days for Expert (94-100).

    Overall, I think this is reasonable and achievable for most officers, especially since they will have shot 1200+ rounds through the pistol and about 250+ with the shotgun as they go through our academy.

  2. #42
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    While I agree that some agencies use the 100% standard as a risk management tool, I don't think they do it to be able to throw their officers under the bus. Firstly, it wouldn't work. The agency still trained and armed the officer. It's the reasonableness of the training, and how thorough (or not) the training was that will count.

    Again ..I'm not advocating for or against a 100% qual standard. I'm just trying to get some data on how common it is for agencies to hold missed shots accountable...somehow...in their Quals, and what are the ways they do so.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Chemsoldier View Post
    One thing that irritates me in qualification is when some shooters deliberately do not engage at a particular distance to save rounds to fire extra shots at an "easier" distance. You see it in US Army rifle qualification, where some Soldiers do not even attempt the 300 meter engagements to save rounds for extra shots at the closer targets.

    Maybe, something a little less than "any miss is a DQ" and more than the status quo would be that a shooter would get an automatic failure if they fail to get at least one hit at a given distance in the course of fire. There are some COFs where out of 50 rounds there might be only 6 at 25 yards for instance. Incentivize the need to practice at all distances.
    My agency actively encourages officers not to shoot at the 25 yard qual targets if they think they're not going to hit it. Think about it; if you're not confident of hitting a target beyond a certain distance, should you be shooing at that distance on the street? There are plenty of reason why a shooter might choose to not take longer range shots; skill being one of them. Also, your 50 year olds don't have the eyesight to clearly see the target and the sights, like the 25 years old do.

    We also have a +1/0/-1 scoring system.

  4. #44
    Member HopetonBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john c View Post
    My agency actively encourages officers not to shoot at the 25 yard qual targets if they think they're not going to hit it. Think about it; if you're not confident of hitting a target beyond a certain distance, should you be shooing at that distance on the street? There are plenty of reason why a shooter might choose to not take longer range shots; skill being one of them.
    Think about it, train them so they can. Because otherwise that thought process could be applied to the whole qual.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by KeeFus View Post
    When I was in the Army that was a common problem.

    In LE, the way we have addressed it is to start them at the 25 yard-line and then mark the targets (people hate shooting at the 25...and itís only 10 rounds...). As a matter of fact, when I developed our 2019 day pistol qualification, I intentionally started them at 25 to alleviate that problem. It also helps to have a manageable group of shooters with at least two instructors. Catching them cheating and they fail that CoF and have to re-shoot. Then itís only you and that person on the line and itís easy to count the shots.
    This is exactly what I do.

    We have two rounds in 6 seconds from the 25. Everything else is substantially shorter ranges. I find that it also speeds the scoring at the end up dramatically, if I am not trying to figure out if there are 48,49, or 50 holes in the targets.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by HopetonBrown View Post
    Think about it, train them so they can. Because otherwise that thought process could be applied to the whole qual.
    I think that's exactly what they're trying to do, which is put the thought process in place that if you can't make the shot, don't take it. There could be many reasons why an officer can't make the shot, like injury, line-of-sight, etc. Training them to be better shooters, always a good thing, doesn't take into consideration other factors about police shooting. Basically, are we testing raw shooting ability, or is shoot/no shoot decision making more important? Our qual tries to balance both.

    My agency qualification is different than most others I've seen. First, there are no set round counts. You show up at the range with what you normally carry in your duty belt. If you carry more, you can shoot more; less, you can shoot less. Every time the target turns (at various distances, the targets run on a track) you shoot as many times as you can while the target faces. This simulates shooting until the target is no longer a threat. For evaluation purposes, targets at shorter distances face for less time than longer distances. Our targets are double sided; one side has a figure with a gun, and the other doesn't have a gun. The non-gun side is a no-shoot. At one point during the qual, the target charges you while faced. We have two programs for the qual, with the distances and times a bit mixed up. This is good, but after a few years, we sort of know the drill.

    18 or more points passes, 17 or fewer fails. In theory, one fully loaded G17 can pass the course with no reloads. In practice, officers reload on their own, when they feel like it, during times when the target is moving. If you're reloaded when the target faces, then you miss that target.

    Basically, we tell the officers to solve the problems with the tools they have on them at the time, with the limitations they're facing.

  7. #47
    Member HopetonBrown's Avatar
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    Sounds like they're confused about the difference between a drill and a test.

  8. #48
    Fornicates with shovels Hambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HopetonBrown View Post
    Sounds like they're confused about the difference between a drill and a test.
    Exactly. Pistol qualification is a pistol skill test, not a judgment test. Given how little most officers get to practice or train, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the bar is set pretty low.

    On the original question our qual was contact to 25 yards. IIRC a miss was a fail, which sounds cool until the part where any hit on the target counted at 25 yards. So if you could hold minute of USPSA silhouette you were good to go.
    You can never beat a monkey in a poo flinging contest.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by john c View Post
    I think that's exactly what they're trying to do, which is put the thought process in place that if you can't make the shot, don't take it. There could be many reasons why an officer can't make the shot, like injury, line-of-sight, etc. Training them to be better shooters, always a good thing, doesn't take into consideration other factors about police shooting. Basically, are we testing raw shooting ability, or is shoot/no shoot decision making more important? Our qual tries to balance both.

    My agency qualification is different than most others I've seen. First, there are no set round counts. You show up at the range with what you normally carry in your duty belt. If you carry more, you can shoot more; less, you can shoot less. Every time the target turns (at various distances, the targets run on a track) you shoot as many times as you can while the target faces. This simulates shooting until the target is no longer a threat. For evaluation purposes, targets at shorter distances face for less time than longer distances. Our targets are double sided; one side has a figure with a gun, and the other doesn't have a gun. The non-gun side is a no-shoot. At one point during the qual, the target charges you while faced. We have two programs for the qual, with the distances and times a bit mixed up. This is good, but after a few years, we sort of know the drill.

    18 or more points passes, 17 or fewer fails. In theory, one fully loaded G17 can pass the course with no reloads. In practice, officers reload on their own, when they feel like it, during times when the target is moving. If you're reloaded when the target faces, then you miss that target.

    Basically, we tell the officers to solve the problems with the tools they have on them at the time, with the limitations they're facing.
    You in the southern part of the SF Bay Area?

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by john c View Post
    My agency actively encourages officers not to shoot at the 25 yard qual targets if they think they're not going to hit it. Think about it; if you're not confident of hitting a target beyond a certain distance, should you be shooing at that distance on the street? There are plenty of reason why a shooter might choose to not take longer range shots; skill being one of them. Also, your 50 year olds don't have the eyesight to clearly see the target and the sights, like the 25 years old do.

    We also have a +1/0/-1 scoring system.
    I have a number of mini "range cards" memorized for the folks I qual. It varies based on location, but I like to be able to talk about ranges that someone might shoot each of our strings in a real world scenario for the inevitable "why do we have to ____ ?"

    For 25 yards, I talk about the various common distances around our facility that are 25yards (or more) that someone might be engaged. EX: "X hallway is 37 yards long, could you Identify a threat and articulate a justification to fire if someone is stabbing someone at the other end of the hallway when you come out of the stairwell wearing your duty belt?"

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