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Firearms Training: Train Like You Play

Firearms Training: Train Like You Play

Richard Weinblatt

As a firearms instructor, I have noticed a vast difference between veteran police officers and deputy sheriffs who take range qualifications and training time seriously and those who merely view it as a chore to get done with and move on. While the shooting techniques themselves may be okay and get them through yet another re-qualification stint, it seems that some gun toting law enforcers take shortcuts in these sessions that could impact their survival.

There is no demand on your time more important than your survival. Many officers seem to forget some of the cardinal rules taught by police academy firearms and officer survival instructors. Remember, you should be training like you may have to play someday.

Here are some reminders based on what I have observed at the firing range. See if you have been following these ten rules.

1. Suit up in assigned clothing and leather gear. If you are an officer assigned to plainclothes types of duty, then practice shooting in that attire and with the leather gear that you wear on a regular basis. If you are uniformed, then by all means do your training in that guise with all (and I mean all) of your leather gear on you.

2. Engage your holster fully. This is especially true for you officers who have a threat level III. Holster, snap every snap and do it each and every time you re-holster.

3. Don’t look at your holster. When you re-holster, do not look down. Practice enough so that you know where your holster is and can just place the firearm back into it. When you look at your gun to place it in the holster, you have averted your eyes from any potential danger that may become an issue.

4. Avoid the trigger until you decide to fire. Keep you finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to pull the trigger.

5. Practice weak hand shooting. Don’t assume that your strong hand will always be available for shooting; fine tune transitioning and shooting with your weak hand.

6. Give verbal commands. Much like in defensive tactics, officers forget to verbalize their commands in a loud, authoritative tone during a confrontation. Let your subject know what he or she should do. This impedes their thinking of what they want to do to you next. The issuance of clear verbal commands also helps to deflect liability and complaints from the subject, as well as others who may be observing the action.

7. Scan for additional threats. After you’ve addressed any potential threat, look for any new issues to be dealt with. Physically move as you conduct your assessment and break that tunnel vision.

8. Be mindful of foot placement. When you stand, be sure of where you place your feet. Your feet are part of a steady shooting platform. When you move, avoid crossing your feet and tripping over yourself.

9. Seek cover. Know the difference between cover and concealment. Seek cover when given a choice between the two during dynamic training segments. Make sure that your whole body is behind that cover including your head.

10. Act like your on camera. In this age of video cell phones, portable video recorders, and police cruiser in-car cameras, conduct yourself during training, and on the streets, with the thought that all that you do is being recorded. Don’t use language or engage in physical actions that would embarrass you, your police chief or sheriff, or your mother.

Did you look at these ten rules honestly? Qualifications come and go, but you may only have one chance to play in the real game of survival. Train like you may have to play someday.


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  • Photo_00002_max50

    Recondo99

    over 3 years ago

    2576 Comments

    Military folks are the same way. Some do the minimum to just get by, others are smart enough to realize that their lives may very well depend on their skills.

  • 571-0314_masp_dublin_bt_567_bc_slideshow_main_prod_affiliate_71_max50

    blessedpeacemaker

    over 3 years ago

    22 Comments

    Makes great sense to me! For the officers who don't like the range, they need someone to be patient with them and show them the basic fundamentals. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU'LL NEED TO PUT THAT FRONT SIGHT ON SOMEONE!

  • 11_max50

    DarkKnight77587

    over 3 years ago

    94 Comments

    I like #10 - "Act like your on camera". We should implement that rule into ALL training.

  • Photo_00002_max50

    Recondo99

    over 3 years ago

    2576 Comments

    Excellant article ! As a Military Officer, I frequently trained soldiers to use many different weapons. Pistol training was predominantly for Leaders. Whenever I taught handgun skills, I strongly reminded the class of the limitations of any pistol, especially its power and effective range. My position was, and still is, that their most devastating weapon was their radio. I also advised them that in a real firefight -grab a long gun if one is available. Better to use the pistol as a secondary, back-up weapon. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas FX Nugent US Army Retired Reserve

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    1Tinman

    over 3 years ago

    616 Comments

    Sounds familiar.
    I've been preaching these things (and many more) for 10 years with some successes and many failures. Most failures were due to a lack of supervisory support. Coments like "your standards are to high" have been all to common.
    For those of you new to the instructor world: Don't EVER let negativity or lack of support stop you from doing what is right, just be smart about it. Confrontation with your admin doesn't serve those you are trying to help. The first time someone comes to you and says that your efforts probably saved their life, that's when you fully understand the importance of what you do.

  • Lion_cub__masai_mara__kenya_max50

    krakin_13

    over 3 years ago

    470 Comments

    I was actually reprimanded when i showed up in full uniform and gear the first time, the range officer wanted me to 'Pass' more than he wanted me to be effective... after taking it to my commanding officer he was quickly replaced... this has also caused problems in my hand to hand training class, i won't have time to get into loose fitting cloth's when some grapples with me, train me how to fight as i am.

  • Pix_to_send_max50

    knotlt2

    almost 5 years ago

    10 Comments

    Don't forget to practice from 3 feet, thats right, 3 feet.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    OFFICERKIP

    about 5 years ago

    4 Comments

    Excellent reminders in this article

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 6 years ago

    May i use this with a friend i am teaching, and for myself, Nice reminders to etch into the brain.

  • Sharkys_max50

    beetle662

    over 6 years ago

    232 Comments

    Nice reminders for all of us

  • 24012951_1__max50

    MyMaria16

    over 6 years ago

    24 Comments

    never even gave #3 a thought, thanks for the good advice. Hopefully, it will help me train better.

  • Img0400a_max50

    nhel

    almost 7 years ago

    34 Comments

    As a senior training officer, all i can say is that this shooting techiques is very much applicable to those who are actively serving...You have to shot your target 25 percent cover on your upper turso and engage in tactical sequence. This is a defensive kind of shooting....

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    OFFICERKIP

    almost 7 years ago

    4 Comments

    AS A CIVILIAN SENIOR,WANTING TO "GIVE BACK", I WOULD LIKE TO UNDERGO FIREARMS RANGE TRNG TO
    BECOME AS PREPARED AS I CAN BE FOR A POTENTIALLY LETHAL SITUATION (ROADRAGE,ETC...)
    SINCERELY...CHARLES I. (KIP) WEBSTER III (kipwebster@yahoo.com)

  • K9sniperteam_max50

    MALIGATOR

    almost 7 years ago

    28 Comments

    I am currently attending the academy where Mr. Weinblatt is an instructor and I can honestly say that he practices what he preaches. We are taught to always act as though you are being watched and that your actions make or break your reputation. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to have him on the range, but the instructors that we did have were excellent. We went over stovepipes, doublefeed, failure to fire etc. We also did senarios that simulated being shot in your dominate hand. This required us to unholster with our non-dominate hand load and rack the slide useing our duty belt and stand ready to return fire. That liitle bit of knowledge could save my life some day! Thanks SCC W.C.G.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    pricemoe

    about 7 years ago

    2 Comments

    I also was trained as a firearm instructor and total agree with everything that was said. But not only should we safe on the shooting range but weshould also practice safety at home with around family.

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