Sunday, August 21, 2011

How Much Is Enough?

In today’s’ limited budgets there is a temptation to cut training. Firearms training can be expensive and it is very tempting to cut firearms training as a way to balance budgets. Cutting firearms training is not a good idea. Use of force is an area of huge potential liability for agencies and even though it is generally not frequent and tempting to cut training for these infrequent events an improper use of force can be devastating for an agency.

Firearms training does not have to be expensive to be good. Officers should train at least four times per year with their duty weapons. The number of rounds can be limited, the length of time spent training does not have to be great, but the training needs to happen. I have had officers go to the range and practice drawing their weapon, moving to cover and giving verbal commands; rather than shooting. I have had officers draw their weapons from a great distance, 20 to 25 yards and take one single head shot, using as much as 20 seconds to take the shot. Repeat that drill six to ten times and ammunition usage is pretty low.

Officers can start their course of fire a long distance from the firing line, perhaps a hundred yards away, have them run the distance, come to the firing line, draw their weapons and perform a failure drill; two rounds aimed at the center of mass and one round at the target head. The target should be ten to fifteen yards away. Often officers will be so tired and breathing so heavy they can’t hit the target. Have them perform this drill two or three times. That’s fewer than ten rounds per officer and the whole process takes less than twenty minutes. Cost effective training can be good training; that’s what the SGT Says.

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