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What is involved in LE "qualifying"? Login/Join 
The Quiet Man
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Qualify yearly by shooting a 50 round daylight course, a 50 round dim light course, and a 33 round flashlight course. Course of fire includes distances of 3 to 25 yards with shooting from the holster and one handed with strong and weak hands. Uniform patrol qualifies twice a year. We additionally shoot an annual qual with the shotgun, a separate slug course, and qualify twice annually with the patrol rifle if rifle certified.

Minimum score with the handgun and shotgun is 80%. To qualify for the rifle you must maintain a 96 on the handgun. You can throw a maximum of 2 rounds on the rifle course. The shotgun course is a joke and is more familiarization fire than anything else.

Fail any course once and you get a second attempt. Fail it again and you are placed on non enforcement until the next training session. Fail it a third time and you're loose your commission and will be having a meeting to discuss your job future.

The courses aren't particularly difficult for a competent shooter, but every range session will see a few re-fires. Maybe a couple times a year someone will get their weapon taken. I don't know of anyone who wasn't able to qualify after remedial training. After all, everyone on the job has sucessfully passed these courses before or they wouldn't have made it through the academy.

In addition to the qual courses we try to include scenario based shooting that are a bit more realistic. Shoot/don't shoot scenarios both in the class room and on the range, shooting from and around vehicles, multiple target drills, that sort of thing. Best one in my opinion was we would take a shooter into one of the small one person bays with their back to the down range area. The bay would be set up to simulate them ordering lunch at a fast food counter. A simulated gunshot would initiate the scenario, at which point they would have to turn, identify the armed target, determine if there was a safe angle to engage the target and if so engage the target. We'd have dummies set up at different ranges in the bay, one of which would randomly be armed with a cardboard cut out of a shotgun. A barricade was set up as a "drink tower" for those officers keen enough to immediately go for cover while processing. It was a great training scenario, especially when you watched the video and debriefed it. Unfortunately it also ate up a lot of time to run 50 shooters a day through so it fell out of use.
 
Posts: 1763 | Registered: November 13, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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North Carolina and Virginia are similar, though NC is much more strict and slightly more real-world applicable.

30-60 rounds from 3-25 yards depending on the course. Qualification is about marksmanship, combat ranges and other training are about actual skills.

Virginia doesn't even require night time shooting after the academy, and that's embarrassing.

I've worked for agencies that trained hard and beat up their guns, putting thousands upon thousands of rounds through them every year, and I've worked for agencies that act like the absolute bare minimum to keep your certification is some kind of gross imposition. Those agencies required one trip to the range per calendar year for a total of 50 rounds.
 
Posts: 1138 | Location: Southeastern Virginia | Registered: November 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I know a guy who used to be an armed guard at a nuclear power plant. He said their qualifications on pistol and rifle were very frequent and rigorous. I think that's a good thing.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: toivo,
 
Posts: 577 | Registered: December 07, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Having taken firearms training from retired LEOs, the qualifications seem to vary according to the state and locality. Some Sheriffs departments as noted require minimum training others much more. I have been told that some LEOs have said that firearms training is the least favorite part of their job and they seldom practice.

I am certain that Jjones will have some inside knowledge on this topic.
 
Posts: 5828 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Orive 8
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It varies from agency to agency. Some states have a state standard, others don't. It really depends.

The agency that I worked at had several courses that we shot each year (Quarterly Quals with duty guns and rifles, we qualified 2x each year with BUGS, one of the duty gun quarterly quals was a low light qual).

I remember an instructor from a neighboring agency came to our range and asked about shooting our course, we ran him through it and he shot a score in the low 80s - percentage wise. We informed him that he just barely qualified by our standards, to which he replied - "wow, that was a tough COF, I usually shoot in the high 90s on my departments quals".

Again, qualifying really varies from department to department, agency to agency.

And to those that say that it isn't training, I will disagree to some extent. It can be training, its depends on what you are doing and how you are doing it.


------------------------------------------------------------
Tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice.
 
Posts: 1384 | Location: Collier Twp, PA | Registered: June 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Res ipsa loquitur
Picture of BB61
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LEOJ qualification in my state requires a course similar to what has been described plus 100 rounds of additional rounds on your own time. Typically, the training officer for the local sheriff's dept lines the suits up and runs everyone through their dept. course. Typically, it is at the local LEO range and run by the host county. As each county is different, you never know exactly what you will be doing. It's not hard.


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Posts: 10619 | Registered: October 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My last department ran a 48-rd course, starting at 3yds and progressing to 25yds.
We only qualified once/yr with no night qualifications. My first department qualified quarterly with at least one night qualication, starting at 3yds and progressing to 15yds.


I was paid $7.54/HR to go into harm's way so you didn't have to.
 
Posts: 583 | Location: Heart of Dixie! | Registered: April 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Our state requires at least one 50 round course of fire/state qualification for handgun and a 45 round rifle 5 round handgun for the rifle qualification. We do it once a year.we then have three “tac shoots” a year and one sims course. By state statute you have to qualify once a year. Our policy is the mandatory state qual. and at least two “tac shoots”.

State qualification is 70%. Our department policy is 80%.
 
Posts: 2768 | Registered: January 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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if the qual's were 50 % tougher would we see a lot less spray and pray on the shooting videos?





Safety, Situational Awareness and proficiency.



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Posts: 48273 | Location: Henry County , Il | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigforum K9 handler
Picture of jljones
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This morning I added some testing to my training session. I shot two guns head to head, in a series of timed drills. One of the things I did was shoot my work's qualification course (normally shot on a FBI Q target) on a 10-8 bullseye target.

Oh, and I cut the time in half.

With one pistol, out of 220 points, I dropped 6 points. With the other, I dropped 7 points. In half time as a par. Using a bullseye target.

And I did not shoot fast. I had a fast, clean draw and 2 second splits.


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"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011



 
Posts: 32876 | Location: Logical | Registered: September 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Constable
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I've been retired a dozen years but the MT Hwy Patrol did four Quals a year. A Range day to work on skills as required as well as any new information or tactics. Then 3 months later a day qual, 3 months later another range day, then 3 months later a night Qual.

If you carried a patrol rifle you shot that as well.

All qualified with sidearm and shotgun. The courses varied from year to year. It was more interesting than the same old course twice a year.

We had some courses that required rds on a silhouette as far as 50 yds. Shotgun slugs at the same distance and target.

The Range days were fun too. Challenging and a learning experience.
 
Posts: 6423 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's all a little redundant once the bullets start flying. No one really knows how they're going to react. Just don't shoot me, please.
 
Posts: 864 | Registered: October 08, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We've seen three primary handgun qualification courses in my state during my career. We are told that the courses come from the FBI as our state academy leans heavily on their curriculum for firearms.

When I started we were on a course that involved 18 rounds at 25 yards. That course remains as an optional "marksmanship" course today. We changed to what we referred to as "no cop left behind" a few years later. That course started close up and moved back. There were 6 rounds at 15 yards and 4 rounds at 25 yards. You could literally shoot all 10 of those into the dirt and pass with an 80%. At my first agency we instituted a higher, 90% standard for that course. One agency blindfolded a guy and had him shoot it...he passed. I shot it as all headshots and managed a 98%. Maybe nine or ten years ago we switched to the current course, which involves 9 rounds at 25 yards and some retention shooting at 1 yard. It's an okay course, but still extremely easy. And yet we do still have people that don't pass the first time.

If I had to come up with courses tomorrow I think I would shoot a bullseye type course like the FBI Instructor Proficiency course for marksmanship and an additional course like Wilson's 5x5 or Hackathorn's Super Test for combat type skills.
 
Posts: 2901 | Location: Iowa | Registered: February 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by bendable:
if the qual's were 50 % tougher would we see a lot less spray and pray on the shooting videos?


I suppose when you have someone run from you, fight you, point a gun at you, point a knife at you, actually try to shoot at you, and then have them hold completely still, and then you as the officer gets to stand completely still like on the square range, you will get 100% good solid fight stopping hits, right???? Please, give me a break.

Qualification is not training. It cannot be counted as training. Doing things on range day is not anywhere near the real thing.
 
Posts: 2768 | Registered: January 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by bendable:
if the qual's were 50 % tougher would we see a lot less spray and pray on the shooting videos?


No because "qualification" is not "training" and lack of hand-eye coordination "marksmanship" skills is not why officers are missing under stress. "Qualification" proves they can hit 80%+ in terms of marksmanship. That they miss under stress is due to different factors.

What they need is more training particularly stressful force on force training, so that they are used to shooting in and making decisions under stress.




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 4435 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of pointman73
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Qualification standards vary State to State.

Some will have mandatory reloads during firing, movement, the Officer giving commands, use of cover, transitioning between targets, and kneeling.

Others may require low light qualification, seated fire, weapon hand only, support hand only, and even prone firing. Different States and Federal agencies will have backup weapon and off shift weapon courses different from the standard course.

There is a percentage or point requirement. For example, GA requires 80% shooting 30 rounds while PA's is only 75% while shooting 60 rounds. DE requires an Officer to qualify three times a year, 90 days apart, with one of the quals being a night fire that may be shot the same day as a regular qual.

The purpose of standards is minimum proficiency. Many use the qual standard after a physical course


Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
 
Posts: 90 | Location: From Philly, now in middle GA | Registered: June 04, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by Orive 8:
It can be training, its depends on what you are doing and how you are doing it.


As discussed at length thus far, qualification courses vary significantly among agencies. It’s said that some agencies’ “courses” consist of firing a single shot. Although perhaps an urban legend, if the goal is to demonstrate that one can handle a gun safely and effectively, that’s not as ridiculous as it sounds.

At the other end of the spectrum, and as a somewhat contrary view, we see here that some agencies have comprehensive, demanding courses that must be fired several times a year. Do they offer some training value to the officer? Certainly. Practice and “training” consist of doing what we’re trying to become proficient at. When I attend an armorer course that finishes up with a test of my ability to take a gun apart and put it together again so that it works, is that not “qualification”? And yet no one would claim that it wasn’t training as well, and even the last test is one more practice session before walking away from a gun that I may not handle again for another year (or less, if it’s a Glock).

The whole “qualification isn’t training” mantra may be true of certain programs, but if instructors are permitted to provide feedback and guidance as someone is firing a course or even without that the shooter is learning something about things she needs to correct from her results, then how is that different from any other training session? It may be as simple and obvious as, “I was almost over time on that last stage; I’d better work on my draw to speed up.” When I was in the Army and qualifications were almost the only shooting we did, I learned a lot about what worked for me and what didn’t. As just one example, I found that I did better firing the entire revolver courses double action only rather than switching to single action for the stages that permitted it.

As usual, individuals’ perception of things like law enforcement firearms qualifications are very often seen only through the filters of their own experiences. If all they experience is a very easy course that’s fired as quickly as possible by 50 officers on line followed by counting holes, then they are probably justified in saying it’s not training, or at least not very good training. But not all qualification courses are like that.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39943 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Massachusetts only requires 100 rds a year over two separate days with one day being qual and one being training. Here is the qual course of fire:
https://www.mass.gov/files/doc...%20Course%202013.pdf


DPR
 
Posts: 462 | Registered: March 10, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:

The whole “qualification isn’t training” mantra may be true of certain programs, but if instructors are permitted to provide feedback and guidance as someone is firing a course or even without that the shooter is learning something about things she needs to correct from her results, then how is that different from any other training session? It may be as simple and obvious as, “I was almost over time on that last stage; I’d better work on my draw to speed up.” When I was in the Army and qualifications were almost the only shooting we did, I learned a lot about what worked for me and what didn’t. As just one example, I found that I did better firing the entire revolver courses double action only rather than switching to single action for the stages that permitted it.


I think the point behind "qualification is not training" is twofold: 1) it is intended to test skills, not build them and 2) the feedback received is necessarily limited to the skills tested. That's not to say it can't be applied somewhere else, but if all you do is take the same basic test over and over again, all you really get is good at taking that test. We've made strides in my agency in reducing unnecessary repetitions of the qual course and spending more time actually working on skill building. When I came on, range time was filled with seemingly endless repetitions to fill time. Now we get it done and move on. Performance in other courses of fire and drills is monitored as well.
 
Posts: 2901 | Location: Iowa | Registered: February 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The best qualification I ever heard of was an agency in FL with a 1 round *qual. Hit a small target from the low ready once. That shows you have the marksmanship skill to hit a person in a gunfight...now go and use the rest of the time and ammo to actually train so you gain the ability to hit a person under stress, not just on the range.

*from the book "Training at the Speed of Life" -Kenneth Murray




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 4435 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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