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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to make something clear before I explain my question. I have total respect & appreciation for the police. I have family & friends in the profession & have also done ride alongs (which I recommend to ANYONE who ever questions what these cops go through on a daily basis, it will open your eyes). This is not meant to disrespect anyone that is a LEO.

Are the Police really trained on how to use their firearm? I personally think a large majority (at least 80%) really aren't properly trained on the use of their firearm. I have been shooting IPSC for a little over 2 years now and I have shot with several law enforcement officers that have come to the matches & weekly shoots. I am amazed at how many officers have a problem reloading on the move and also their shot placement. I think that the public has a very large misconception on an officers actual ability to use their firearm effectively. I am not saying I am some expert top shot, but I can definitely shoot/reload/aquire my target faster than any of the officers I have shot with. My scoring is usually in the middle to the lower middle of the pack. When the officers come shoot, they think that these stages we have are awesome and that they wish they had these types of shooting scenarios to practice.

Why is this? Shouldn't the LEO's be practicing once a month with different types of scenarios? Can some LEO's on this board help answer this?

To be honest, I find it disturbing (especially in todays world with terrorist threats) that our LEO's aren't having mandatory weekly/monthly training with their firearms. Am I wrong on this? Am I being too critical? Do any LEO's agree with this statement?
 
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Dwindling tax revenues and rising costs have put most jurisdictions in financial crisis. This has resulted in an across the board reduction in services and layoffs among civil servants.

In light of this you honestly wonder why cops don’t get more training.

Seriously?
 

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Shot with lots of police officers. The ones that I have shot with all take classes and practice on their own dollar and time. They all know their stuff. Have shot with a couple of officers that are casual shooters and were pretty scarry. IMO what the department teaches does not make them proficient.

No different than society as a whole. A few people go out of their way to learn and practice but the majority don't bother. Look at how many people carry a gun that have never even read article 35 let alone taken a class that covers it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Shot with lots of police officers. The ones that I have shot with all take classes and practice on their own dollar and time. They all know their stuff. Have shot with a couple of officers that are casual shooters and were pretty scarry. IMO what the department teaches does not make them proficient.

No different than society as a whole. A few people go out of their way to learn and practice but the majority don't bother. Look at how many people carry a gun that have never even read article 35 let alone taken a class that covers it.
Jeff, I do agree with some points of this statement. But the difference is that a LEO is required to carry a gun & know how to use it. All LEO's should be somewhat proficient in their handling of firearms. A regular citizen that decides to get a firearm is different (but they should also know how to properly use their firearm as well).
 

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I was at GCL a couple months ago and I think the people shooting near me were city police. 1 guys was giving advice to the others trying to get them ready for qualification.

I agree with all of the above. They do need more training to keep up proficiency and I think department budgets like Kmussac said are the problems. Not only is it important for the safety of the civilians that police are proficient but its also critical to officer safety in my opinion. The last thing we want is for an officer to second guess taking a "easy" shot because he hasn't shot since qual, and that second guess cost him his life because he was shot.
 

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I know plumbers who have leaks and electricians who have shorts, every profession has people who are good at it and people who suck.
 

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State mandates 40 hours at the academy and yearly quals. Academy training is safety, reloads, immediate action, barricades, low light, one hand, kneeling, retention, moving and shooting and a few other things I'm forgetting. Quals are at various distances from 25yrds in shooting with one and two hands, barricade, kneeling, reloads. No one leaves the academy w/o 2 passing qual scores (175/250 on a B27).

Some depts may have additional qual courses for their officers. After the academy some depts may offer more instruction or free range time for the officers but that will vary greatly from dept to dept.

The biggest issue isn't the initial training, but that it's a perishable skill, if you don't practice but once a year at quals you are never going to be good at it.
 

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You take a perishable skill, and add that up with someone doing the bare minimum due to not "liking" guns and you will get someone that severely lacks the skills to do the job.

We are lucky to have some very pro gun officers here on the site, several of which train a TON outside of the job. One of which I have shot with and he never fails to impress with his skill and willingness to continue to learn and seek out additional training. Though I must say he needs to work on his wall scaling skills... :)

First one must understand that USPSA or IPSC or even IDPA are all games, it is hard for those stuck in the "tactical/defensive" mode to get past that. This creates a rift among the "gamers" and the "tactical" shooters as those who have shot a good amount of both have seen. I will say that shooting to much in "game" mode can be detrimental to some other skills, I have seen that personally in my own shooting. BUT any shooting done under stress/time forcing the shooter to think and work through a problem is a VERY GOOD thing. I could go on and on about this topic as it really really interests me.

Also I am not sure I want the "anti" cops with poor skills shooting along with the competitive shooters. They might get to much of an eyeful as just how well the "middle America" can shoot. :)



I think budgets should be made so that outside training can be sought by those interested or at least ammo can be supplied for them if they choose to seek outside training. I was supprised to learn that not all forces supply officers with ammo if they wish to train.
 

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Some they shoot well due to interest and training in their own budget and time, but most do not practice enough. Some they are even afraid of guns.
 

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No, its cheaper to bury police than it is to train. Municipalities train their officers for insurance purposes not to win gunfights. If they budgeted to really train your local department the taxpayers would be screaming about the cost of ammo, overtime, outside professional instructors fees, etc. The guys that can shoot are the ones smart enough to go out and get training on their own time and dime.
 

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At my job we are required to qualify 4 times a year for the Feds and 2 times a year for the state. We still have people that nearly fail everytime. Some don't think they should have to train on their dime, some think they'll never need to use their firearm and some are just plain lazy. As for the ones that qualify consistently with the highest scores, they don't take many classes or anything formal lik that, they just get out and shoot often. They know how the firearm acts, handles and reacts to any occurrence. IMO that's the single biggest thing people in the LE profession can do to better themselves. Shoot more.
 

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Delicate thread this one.

I Train & train with Law Enforcement more than the vast majority of people on this site so I am sort of well placed to make some observations here. And frankly could make this a VERY lengthy dissertation on the why's and wherefores of the original OP's observation and whether they are factual (valid) or not.

I will attempt to not do that and bore you.

The truth is that the LE community is not any different than our civilian shooting community in many ways.

Funding for training ammunition is often not what it should be. It's an easy thing to cut from a budget. This is true of the civilain shooters world. When ammo got expensive, most of you shot less than you would have liked to. I saw this as a trainer over the last couple years. Folks found it difficult to afford the ammo costs involved in taking a full training program.

Training monies in general are typically the first thing to get skeletonized by the powers that be. This is true in family budgets. Groceries or bullets?

For LE here are minimum training mandates and those get addressed but beyond that, things get chopped quick. The State mandates minimum firearms training and often departments will not go beyond that for financial reasons.

Remember the costs of training are about salaries, including the OT salaries to cover a shift for an officer at training as well as ammo, travel, meals, instructor costs, etc.

While there are no "mandates" on civilians for training there are associated expenses to being well trained. Gas to drive to the training site. Heck, last weekend I drove 2 hours to Odessa for an F-Class shoot and only dropped 60rds. My wife's cousins came with me and they drove up from Poughkeepsie, NY (4+ hrs). There are possibly a hotel room, food and or cigars to consider. And then there are range fees even if you are not taking a formal program.

There is a thread that is also very common between LE and Civilian shooters which is lack of desire/ motivation to get out there on your days off.

For both groups, days off are complex periods of time spent balancing family and "life" obligations with spending half a day or more at the range. There is more than one Cop whose wife/ husband will hand them a whole truck load of "Crap eye" for going out on the weekend to "train" when they "don't have too." This makes it a pressure point issue at home and that can be a serious deterrent for the Officer. ESPECIALLY where the Officer's department doesn't supply the ammo.

Last of the items I think needs observing is probably the oddest angle that needs to be considered.

There are a fair number of Police Officers who are just not "gun people." They carry because they are required to and allow themselves to be lulled into a sense of complacency on the gun topic and see the annual quals as a requirement no different than their physical agility test. An unpleasantry that they put up with as part of the job and not something they look forward to.

The civilian similarity here is the gun owner out there who once was interested in shooting etc but over time has lost the interest or worse yet married someone who frowned on the gun topic and now they have allowed themselves to be people who "keep a gun for home defense" but do not or have not trained with or even touched the gun in who knows how long. "Ahh what the hell. I used to shoot that ole shotgun (insert pistol/ rifle here) all the time, I don't need to train with it anymore."

There are several more topics that could be brought in here but I think for the most part my point is made.

So ultimately while we would like to think that all Police Officers should be highly skilled with guns, the truth is they are humans like the rest of us and like us are a spectrum of gun enthusiasts from the disinterested, to the hamstrung by political budget wrangling, through High speed low drag gunfighters because of personal commitments to excellence and supportive family and agencies.
 

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While not LE the Reserves is the same way. Once a year you get 49 rounds (9 to zero and 40 to qualify with) and no practice during the year.Fail to qualify rates are really hard to know as many units will just lie and misreport, but it is up there. Even for MOB outs the unit I was reassigned to had 20 of 110 not able to qualify, so after 5 or so tries the CO had good shooters replace the failures wearing their tops (for the name tags) so we could pass that part of the MOB and get deployed. And in people in every unit I talked with, it happened to most units. Except the 11B guys (I hope).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thats a good explanation and something that I kind of already figured. Again, I want to stress this point I am trying to make:

When someone decides to become a police officer, they know that they are going to have to use a firearm. That isn't a surprise part of the job. The police handle dangerous individuals (who are armed sometimes as well) on a regular basis. After the last 2 years seeing police officers at the range, the majority ARE NOT proficient with shooting a pistol. Since a police officers job is to protect the public, I always "thought" that police officers were trained with a pistol more than twice a year. If the budgets need to be allocated, then the welfare people will have to find jobs I guess. I don't know why having a better trained police force would be on the chopping block to begin with. I can think of a million other things to go before proper training for someone who has to protect the public. I guess that is even more reason for everyone to get their CCW.
 

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Thats a good explanation and something that I kind of already figured. Again, I want to stress this point I am trying to make:

When someone decides to become a police officer, they know that they are going to have to use a firearm. That isn't a surprise part of the job. The police handle dangerous individuals (who are armed sometimes as well) on a regular basis. After the last 2 years seeing police officers at the range, the majority ARE NOT proficient with shooting a pistol. Since a police officers job is to protect the public, I always "thought" that police officers were trained with a pistol more than twice a year. If the budgets need to be allocated, then the welfare people will have to find jobs I guess. I don't know why having a better trained police force would be on the chopping block to begin with. I can think of a million other things to go before proper training for someone who has to protect the public. I guess that is even more reason for everyone to get their CCW.
Maybe you should write the A$$holes in Albany and tell them this.
We qualify once a year, and as far as training ammo........plz we haven't even had a contract for the last 4 yrs.
But they just passed a 24% raise for themselves over the next 3 yrs.
The sad part is, when the ecomomy slumps civil service are the first cuts.

Most guys I associate with train on their own dime, some don't care about guns until it's time to qualify.
 

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We get to use the range once a month and get a limited amount of ammo. It's only static targets but at least it's a hot line where you can draw and shoot.

I remember after the firearms portion of the academy the instructors even told us it's up to us to stay proficient. We have use of the range once a month but we should do something outside of that to keep up with all the skills.

I don't go every month (but I do get to A range at least twice a month on my own dime) but when I do I see the same guys there, until the week before quals, then people come out of the woodwork.
 

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I would assume they do, my cousin is a corrections officer somewhere in westchester, he told me one of his training qualifications was to to be placed in a dark room for half an hour, then quickly shoved into a room with flashing lights like strobe lights, pepper sprayed, properly defend himself against "attackers" (guys with those big Q-tip looking things they use in combat training trying to knock him down) and then shoot his side arm down a range at a target and have at least 80% of the shots hit the optimal zone. (he isn't armed during this exercise until he reaches the shooting table and at that point there is another guy there making sure he isn't going to shoot a round off somewhere random.)


My cousin usually isn't the type to lie but this **** seems pretty hardcore to me too haha, but I guess suffice to say I'm sure most do if a corrections officer does that (or maybe not EXACTLY that but he does train)
 

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Have you ever been OC'd?

That training evolution there seems like something out of a movie.

I was the least affected person in my group when we got sprayed and there is no way I could have hit a target unless I was holding it in the other hand. OC burns so bad you struggle just to blink your eyes to see to "fight off" your mock attackers.
 
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