Recently I was fortunate in being allowed to attend some firearms training courses at Oklahoma’s Council on Law Enforcement Education & Training, CLEET. I suspect to no one’s great surprise the most common firearm in use was some model of Glock and in the same type of firearm the Smith & Wesson M&P and Springfield XD were in evidence. This square peg of a pistol type is usually forced into the round hole of double action even though it’s vastly different from the traditional double action mechanism. There were a few traditional double action pistols in use along with a very few of those poor souls whose departments had acquired double action only handguns. This latter type severely limited the student’s ability to fire accurate shots at extended distances especially while under pressure.
The most common calibers seemed to be in order the .40 S&W, the 9mm parabellum, the .357 SIG and the .45 ACP.
The firearms portion of the Basic Law Enforcement Academy was approximately one week in length and included adequate classroom time for familiarization, care and cleaning along with much attention to the officer’s proper mind set. Safety is always first in the classroom and on the range. There were numerous occasions in the classroom when it would have been to my benefit to have my Webster’s Dictionary to consult. This is not a dumbed down class.
At the range paper targets were engaged from a maximum distance of twenty-five yards but steel plates were fired at from 50 yards out to a surprising 125 yards. Firing positions were standing and kneeling both with a barricade and unsupported. Much attention was placed on the proper presentation of the weapon. A two handed firing grip was used most of the time but practice with the strong and support hand only was also covered. Malfunction clearing and various reloading drills were taught. The student was kept interested throughout the training. Yes, there was repetition to reinforce the proper technique but exercises were varied and eye opening.
Of particular interest was the night firing portion of the training where students used a mixture of ambient light, flashlights and weapon lights if they had them. Observing these exercises it became obvious that night sights are very useful. I was curious if muzzle flash would overpower the light that the sights emitted but that was not the case. The lighted sights remained visible during firing.
Another interesting observation during the night firing was the difference in the amount of muzzle flash from the pistols. I expected that the .357 SIG would produce the most flash but was surprised when the largest ball of flame I witnessed was from a 1911 firing .45 ACP. The brand of ammunition used appears to make the most difference.
In all I was very impressed with the training. I’m confident that it was on a level with the best private training courses that could be obtained anywhere. The resident instructors were knowledgeable and comfortable with their classes and were able to obtain the assistance of former students who were now their own department’s firearms instructors.
Continued practice by the students will be necessary to maintain the level of proficiency they achieved. Shooting is a perishable skill.