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Thread: Ben S. Has Some Advice for LE Firearms Instructors

  1. #21
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    @Sal Picante.....dude, you're a way better shooter than me (especially now!), but if you think LE instructors 'get it' about practical shooting training as a group, your exposure has been limited. My biggest fights, and my biggest sabotuers, were my own staff. Laziness, mindset stuck in institutionalized, inbred training methods, and fear of ego bruising were the main problems. The look on an instructors face when I told him that standing behind a student and shouting 'Stop slapping the trigger' was doing absolutely nothing to help, and maybe he should actually demonstrate proper technique told me everything I needed to know. There are some guys in some agencies doing the Lords work in this area....but they stand out because they're the exception. These problems are actually bigger in the profession than just firearms training. It's LE training across the board.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Picante View Post
    I'm not so sure I agree... I think they get it. Honestly, I think there is hesitancy "whipping" some "USPSA style" stuff onto the 4 folks who can't figure the qual out. Those 4 folks are such a time sink and the RO crew job is to make sure they pass the bare minimum.

    I see folks like Paul Sharp, Matt Little, Ray Peidra, Cody Hudson and Andrew Keith doing a lot to move the needle at their agencies.



    I think the fundamental skills required for moderate success in competitive shooting, specifically reflexive gun handling, sighting, trigger management are massively important in ANY shooting application.

    An additional benefit is that "gameifying" shooting incentivizes folks to continue doing it, which usually leads to practice, refinement, etc. Taking the severity or sting of failure out of shooting might make it fun for some folks. The issue a lot of times, I think is that the really weak performers bog down the rest of the group who might actually benefit from a faster-paced self-learning session.

    I think LE quals suck for the bottom 3rd tier because it is embarrassing, difficult, tedious, too hot or too cold, or confusing.
    @AMC is spot on here.

    Iíd also note that a couple of the people you mentioned are retired and are actually having more positive impact in retirement than they ever did at their agencies. In fact, itís not uncommon for those in LE Firearms (and other aspects of LE) that donít get it or want to protect their egos to go out of their way to do as much as possible to eliminate or reverse the impact people like @AMC and those you cited had as soon as they arenít there to defend it. Itís can be super toxic.

    There is definitely more resistance to adding performance shooting elements from certain instructor cadre then there is from the majority of officers.

  3. #23
    During my brief stint in LE I saw many of the same issues as teaching M9 quals in the Army. Including bad instructors, people pulled to the side to reshoot a million times, and some who were likely pencil whipped to make it.

    I also saw a lot of LE instructors who blamed absolutely everything on the trigger pull and never gave any individualized instruction to students. For example my class had an 82nd guy who was obviously very skilled with firearms, but hadn't dealt with handguns very much at all. This guy isn't dumb, and wants to do better but something isn't working for him. The primary instructor (also 82nd back in the day and genuinely wanted the recruit to pass) could not help him. Not didn't want too, couldn't. The instructor can shoot great groups, and has been to a class on how to run a firing line. But he didn't really know how to teach. He demonstrated shooting a Glock upside down to show that if you just get the trigger right nothing else matters... That's great. But the recruit had a grip problem. After briefly talking with the guy about canting his support hand forward (more like his rifle grip) he immediately had better control of the gun to make his already good trigger pull work for him. He never struggled again with qual, but in typical go-getter fashion wanted to get faster and more accurate.

    That instructor is a full time firearms guy at his agency. He is easily 350lbs. He can't draw fast, but can shoot great groups. He will tell you that 9mm used to bounce off windshields, and that having mental discipline will make you slow down and get your hits. He doesn't know the history behind weaver, isosceles, or modified isosceles. He doesn't understand what a Vogel crush grip is, and doesn't care. He can't explain a slightly different technique to help a recruit who is struggling adapt even when he likes that person and wants them to succeed. As far as his agency is concerned he has been in a lethal OIS, shoots great groups, and has the appropriate LE cert to teach, so he's eminently qualified.

    Some agencies are better. Mine had a much better instructor/student ratio and tons of ammo. The main instructor could talk you through several types of grip and trigger techniques each in various ways. Other agencies have awesome shooters. Guys like Les mentioned are doing awesome work. But the bulk of LE has a serious issue because they don't have a vested interest in having capable shooters. It's just another one of a million skills that their patrol guys need to have a reasonable working knowledge of in order to close calls for service. And those calls more often will require a 20 year old kid to have a conversation with another human being where the kid can act mature and even with some degree of authority. If they find a kid who can do that much more difficult task they really don't care if they can run a confident FAST under 10 seconds because it's not required anywhere near as often.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cory View Post
    ]And those calls more often will require a 20 year old kid to have a conversation with another human being where the kid can act mature and even with some degree of authority. If they find a kid who can do that much more difficult task they really don't care if they can run a confident FAST under 10 seconds because it's not required anywhere near as often.
    So much this... The reality is that firearm skills are not often used in most LE careers. It truly is a perishable skill that needs to be honed and maintained. The same argument as for civilians holds "it isn't the odds, it is the stakes".

    For @HCM and @AMC I'll add this empirical fact: Florida department of LE just recently changed the FL qualification. This is the qual that everyone will shoot going forward for duty. (Sure, there are some "older quals" that are being used for LEOSA, detectives, etc, but, bear with me...)

    The new qual has some acceptable par times, acceptable hit standards, has some basic movement and does far more shooting from the holster/incorporating a draw.
    While all of this is far from hit factor scoring and performance shooting, IMHO, it is an acceptably designed basic qualification. I can't help but think that whoever had heavy input into it had some background in competitive shooting/drills.

    Additionally, to obtain an FDLE qualification for teaching handguns, an instructor candidate has to pass the qual. Repeatedly. Apparently, this is already starting to weed out some of the "legacy" instructors...

  5. #25
    Cory - that was a very insightful post. Somehow hitting like didn't seem adequate.
    Adding nothing to the conversation since 2015....

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Picante View Post
    So much this... The reality is that firearm skills are not often used in most LE careers. It truly is a perishable skill that needs to be honed and maintained. The same argument as for civilians holds "it isn't the odds, it is the stakes".

    For @HCM and @AMC I'll add this empirical fact: Florida department of LE just recently changed the FL qualification. This is the qual that everyone will shoot going forward for duty. (Sure, there are some "older quals" that are being used for LEOSA, detectives, etc, but, bear with me...)

    The new qual has some acceptable par times, acceptable hit standards, has some basic movement and does far more shooting from the holster/incorporating a draw.
    While all of this is far from hit factor scoring and performance shooting, IMHO, it is an acceptably designed basic qualification. I can't help but think that whoever had heavy input into it had some background in competitive shooting/drills.

    Additionally, to obtain an FDLE qualification for teaching handguns, an instructor candidate has to pass the qual. Repeatedly. Apparently, this is already starting to weed out some of the "legacy" instructors...
    Thatís good. Iíve heard of agencies having different calls for different weapons, my own agency had a separate COF for five shot revolvers back when that was a thing but Iíve never heard of different qualification courses for detectives.

    In most places LE instructors have to not only pass but make a higher score on the standard qualifications.

    In some agencies (like mine) instructors have to re-certify and attend professional development training periodically. We have to re-certify, including re-qualification at a higher standard and at least 40 hours of training every five years. But in many places you go to a two week wonder redshirt school thatís it. An instructor can go to the two week wonder redshirt school and then be an instructor for 15 or 20 years without any sort of training or re-qualification. Iíve heard it called the Rockettes syndrome since the Rockettes have to re-audition for their jobs every year but some FIs never do.

    As for LEOSA, it requires retirees to shoot the standard LE quality for their state of residence. So if the new qual you describe is ďthe qualĒ then it is also ďtheĒ LEOSA qual.

    Iím not too worried about it, there is a certain level self selection among those going to LEOSA Quals on their own time, at their own expense after retirement. Theyíll be fine.
    Last edited by HCM; 07-10-2024 at 11:54 PM.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Picante View Post
    An additional benefit is that "gameifying" shooting incentivizes folks to continue doing it, which usually leads to practice, refinement, etc.
    It incentivizes people like us, but not everybody. When my team used the range, we started adding a "competition" stage to end the day. They loved it, because they were competitive guys who worked hard to get on SWAT. The department offered OT to everyone for optional range days. Range staff came up with scenarios and other forms of training. I showed up one morning and was the only guy there. Over the course of a year, 20-25% showed up at one or more of these days. The 75% that didn't show their faces at the range unless required would cut somebody's throat to get an OT traffic gig (sit in the car with the light bar on). It has to be worse now given the difficulty departments have recruiting.
    "Gunfighting is a thinking man's game. So we might want to bring thinking back into it."-MDFA

    ďIt worked pretty good if you could shoot.Ē -Pat Rogers

  8. #28
    When my team used the range, we started adding a "competition" stage to end the day.
    Anecdote Alert:

    A young fellow here had been shooting IPSC* with us from his mid teens. When he was hired by the sheriff's department and sent to the academy, he did well but not at the top of the class on the basics and qualification type shooting. But then one day they went to the range to see a strange iron contraption and three targets in a row.
    "This is what we call a Pepper Popper, and these are for something we call El Presidente."
    "Oh, boy!"


    *IPSC. Yes, that long ago.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  9. #29
    Member Sal Picante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    Thatís good. Iíve heard of agencies having different calls for different weapons, my own agency had a separate COF for five shot revolvers back when that was a thing but Iíve never heard of different qualification courses for detectives.
    I see some with different quals that are agency-developed specifically for concealed firearms.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    As for LEOSA, it requires retirees to shoot the standard LE quality for their state of residence. So if the new qual you describe is ďthe qualĒ then it is also ďtheĒ LEOSA qual.
    Until the new qual went into effect July 1st, the old qualification could also apply... It sucks for the 5-shot JFrame crowd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hambo View Post
    It incentivizes people like us, but not everybody. When my team used the range, we started adding a "competition" stage to end the day. They loved it, because they were competitive guys who worked hard to get on SWAT. The department offered OT to everyone for optional range days. Range staff came up with scenarios and other forms of training. I showed up one morning and was the only guy there. Over the course of a year, 20-25% showed up at one or more of these days. The 75% that didn't show their faces at the range unless required would cut somebody's throat to get an OT traffic gig (sit in the car with the light bar on). It has to be worse now given the difficulty departments have recruiting.
    That sucks... Lol... If you guys are giving away free ammo, could you send me some?

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Picante View Post
    I see some with different quals that are agency-developed specifically for concealed firearms.



    Until the new qual went into effect July 1st, the old qualification could also apply... It sucks for the 5-shot JFrame crowd.



    That sucks... Lol... If you guys are giving away free ammo, could you send me some?
    I did the old one with a personal owned J frame for on duty back up. I made it happen but boyyy howdy was it challenge to reload. My 92 for off duty was actually a ton of fun.

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