Firearms training: Quiet on the line
Running a quiet range takes a lot of work but results speak for themselves
To start with, I’m a big supporter and admirer of range safety. I intend to retire with happy memories and no “extra” holes. The trends of increasing violence and a more focused and in many cases, better trained criminal force us, as instructors to adapt our drills and courses appropriately. The use of simulators, Airsoft, and Sims can augment this training, but I wanted to focus on lethal firearms for this article.
One of the skillsets I have focused on recently is the ability to “see.” Not “civilian see” but “cop see.” What I’ve found is by honing this ability, it makes us quicker and more reactive. Yelling “gun” on the range does not get us there though. It starts with giving our courses and ranges depth. Even though the possibility of having a 360 degree shooting arena is remote with lethal firearms, there’s nothing that says you cannot involve scans or movement.
In that vein, I wanted to put some ideas together.
By doing these you’re forcing the thought process — the shooter has to develop a plan based on what they see. The danger in any training is conditioning and programming. I’ve had people not shoot because they felt the gun wasn’t pointing at them or they thought they had more time. The fact is that we don’t shoot everyone with a gun. That decision to shoot is a personal one and a multitude of factors are involved.
We can use this for felony car stop, traffic stop, ped stop, any number of scenarios. Because of the width of the car, it is probable that both the driver and passenger Deputy do not have full view of the area and suspects not to mention these things in dim light. Imagine, driver sees handgun while passenger does not. What’s going to happen? If that driver shoots what’s going to happen? If the driver yells, “gun partner” then fires, what’s going to happen?
When to Stop
Imagine a shooter making that decision to stop firing when the situation changes to where that type and level of force is not needed. Do they tactically reload, transition to their TASER or other option? Do they get on the radio to update their status? As cops, all of us know that the most dangerous time is immediately following an incident. Adrenaline coursing through our bodies and the myriad emotions slamming into our head.
It’s hard to limit the ideas for an article but I hope that the ones I mentioned are of value. In my experience with this type of training, a debrief is mandatory. As instructors you also have to ask yourself what if a violation of policy occurs during these drills. This is an evolution but solid foundational policy and legal training will limit these issues.
At the beginning of every class, I ask myself, “what am I trying to do here and is it going to make our people faster, better and safer?” Running a quiet range takes a lot of work but results speak for themselves with higher accuracy, quicker (appropriate) reactions, and a more stress-inoculated Peace Officer.
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