Firearms training: Integrating no-shoot targets
While we need to enhance the realism for our street officers and push that envelope, we need to run a safe range and learning environment
Solid firearms training programs have “depth.” Integrating “no shoots” into your weapons qualification courses is one way you can provide this depth. During the regular or advanced courses you go through imagine how you might react if there were designated “no shoot” targets downrange. What does that do to your focus? Do you think of it as not shooting the ‘no shoots” or just hitting the suspect targets? Perspective is an interesting thing.
Now, you can spray paint a big “X” on them or turn a standard target backwards, but why not have the same type of targets as the ones you’re shooting on? Drape some old clothes on your range “population” and use coat hangers to allow arms to hang realistically. Don’t just put weapons in their “hands.” Put cell phones, keys, flashlights, wallets, and whatnot in those “bystander’s” hands. Not to say that some of these items cannot be weapons, but you need to put them in context.
The next time you’re out and about, look around and note the potential weapons carried by everyday people. Of particular note, do you notice an increase in the number of people carrying knives?
Not All Conditioning is Bad
Placing a “no shoot” target in front of a suspect target may force the student to sidestep or otherwise move to make that important shot. Closing or, in some cases, increasing distance might be other options. Including rifles and shotguns will also prompt certain actions or adjustments. Sight holdover on an AR-type rifle and the use of buckshot or slugs in the shotgun can further challenge the LEO. The positioning of these no-shoots might even prompt the student to yell a warning for everyone to “get down!”
I’ve seen Deputies push a no-shoot out of harm’s way and engage the suspect target. For this reason, formulating a range safety plan to anticipate any such action is paramount. Additional range staff may also be needed. And while we need to enhance the realism for our street officers and push that envelope, we need to run a safe range and learning environment.
Big Dividends in Confidence Levels
Ultimately, how do such courses play out in court (because they always end up there…right)? Would you rather be defending a static course of fire or one that involved real-world realism? Include as part of your drills aspects of your Department shooting policy. These policies do not only specify when not to shoot but when to shoot. Knowing these policies and regulations allows for affirmative and confident action on the part of the Deputy. It’s important to craft scenarios that reinforce these policies and strengthen their understanding of them.
A quick check of the internet shows a lot of officer involved shooting videos and it’s important to note that in many of them civilians are present. Whether they’re pulling out their cell phones to record the event or just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, the chance of having “friendlies” within your incident field is more than likely.
Doesn’t it make sense to include this in your training?
|Back to previous page|