Tactical Firearms Training for Police Officers
“Shooters on the line:
On the next facing of the targets you will draw your weapon, fire two rounds and holster”.
I am now approaching my fiftieth year behind a trigger. My father, an army marksman, taught me to shoot when I was very young. During my career with the DEA I became a firearms and tactical instructor and had the opportunity to learn from and train with the best tactical shooters in the world. I have trained thousands of cops and agents, including members of the world’s most renowned enforcement and intelligence agencies and have created shooting programs for agencies and private companies. As a person with more experience than most I emphatically urge all of our domestic law enforcement agencies to scrap their current firearms training programs and start anew. The threats we are facing today are not like those faced in years past. Rank and file police officers, not simply tactical team members, need to learn combat skills. Learning to read is not the goal of education rather it is the tool needed to become educated. Basic marksmanship is not the goal of tactical pistol training. It is the first step that must be taken in order to learn to fight with a firearm.
The New York City Police Department is among the world’s finest. It is also one of the world’s largest. Unfortunately, the size of the department has the unintended consequence of a firearms training program that is average at best. This is not meant as criticism of the NYPD firearms instructors. They simply are not given the appropriate amount of time and the resources required to properly train their officers. While I was stationed in New York, one of my collateral duties was assisting our primary firearms training staff on the range a few days each quarter. We trained and qualified both the agents and the officers from the local departments working in the DEA task force. Without question the guys from the NYPD performed the worst. They fire perhaps one thousand rounds in training and qualify twice a year. The city cops that were good became good on their own. They put the time and effort in to become proficient. That is unacceptable. Every man and woman walking out of every police academy in the country needs to be trained to a much higher level. They must be able to shoot with extreme accuracy under stress. They need to be able to shoot and move and be effective from a variety of positions and in a variety of circumstances. They need to be able to shoot in low light conditions and be able to make split second “shoot/don’t shoot” decisions.
While I was assigned as a primary firearms instructor at the DEA/FBI Academy in Quantico I had the opportunity to train former police officers from all over the country who had been accepted as Basic Agent Trainees in the DEA. I quickly observed that few departments or agencies had programs that produced officers able to shoot at a high-level. There were certainly exceptions; some departments were proactive and had excellent firearms programs. They were the exception rather than the rule.
On July 7, 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed police officers during a protest in Dallas, Texas. He was well prepared to commit this heinous and despicable crime. A former Army reservist, he was trained in the basic operation of the M-16 rifle. However, it was not his military training that made him so dangerous. Johnson sought instruction at various ranges and shooting schools where he was taught a more dynamic way to fight with a rifle. If you watch the video you can actually see him employ the techniques he had been taught. He shoots while moving utilizing the bent knee, heel to toe step termed the “Groucho”. He shoots from both the strong and support side of a barricade with practiced ease and instantly recognized a tactical mistake made by an officer he was fighting; a mistake that led to the officer’s murder.
The stark question that must be asked is a simple one. If this type of tactical shooting instruction is available to civilian shooters then why isn’t it taught to police officers? In the DEA our agents received six weeks of basic marksmanship followed by six weeks of tactical combat shooting. DEA agents must qualify four times a year with each weapon they wish to carry and also receive combat/tactical training each time they go out to the range. That is far more than virtually every other department or agency out there and yet that is what I consider to be the bare minimum. Consider this analogy. Derek Jeter, one of my all-time favorite Yankees, had a lifetime batting average of .310. Still, Derek Jeter took batting practice before every game until the day he retired. If you are a law-enforcement officer, when was the last time you went to the range? When was the last time your firearms training consisted of more than “draw your weapon and fire two rounds on the next facing of the target”?
Tactical Firearms Training – Police Officers and Law Enforcement
Please call 212-285-2400 for assistance with tactical firearms training for police officers and law enforcement personnel. You can also find additional information about tactical firearms training for law enforcement on these pages: http://globalsecuritygroup.com/training/firearms-training/