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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Southeast TX/Gulf Coast
    Posts
    7,301

    Default Fail and You're Fired ( Can You Really Teach Part II )

    As some of the tribe knows I've been made the Head Rangemaster for my S.O. A few weeks ago we had our qualifications. This ends up being a week of working the range and running quals for handgun, rifle, and shotgun. Many officers aren't expert marksmen, but they are fairly competent. One problem I run into is some officers only shoot their weapons when they qualify. We all know the necessity of being skilled with your handgun and I don't cut these officers any slack. Having been a officer for 17 years in TX I fully understand our pistols are the second least used items on our belts. That doesn't change the fact it's the one item we carry that has no substitute and when it's needed it's NEEDED RIGHT NOW. On to the situation.

    Each deputy or corrections officer gets two chances to qualify. The vast majority make it in one try. If they don't make it in their 2nd attempt they're suspended for 10 days. During the 10 days they may take an 8 hour remedial course if they haven't had one in 36 months. I was sick with the flu and bronchitis the first day of qualifications and wasn't able to attend. While I was out we had four employees that needed remedial training and three of the four faced termination if they failed. Have you ever had to work miracles under pressure?

    Employee #1 wasn't going to be a problem. She's young, athletic, and aggressive. I've coached her just a little in the past and know I can get her tuned up in short order. She didn't put in the practice and has a few bad habits. No worries, I know she'll be good. Problem was she was worried and I had to get her settled down and guide her to regaining her confidence.

    Employee #2 I was very concerned. This deputy is in his middle 60's and near retirement. He has some health concerns and tremors in his hands. He wants to retire but not today! BTW, those tremors get worse when he's nervous. When your job is on the line it has a way of creating a little stress.

    Employee #3 is in his late 50's. He has issues with tremors as well and his condition is exasperated by stress. He's been so upset about his current predicament he's begun cleaning out his office.

    Employee #4 Is young and strong. He just has bad habits that feel normal to him. Yeah, the worst kind of habits. I know he can make it, but he's corrections so he's not facing termination, just limited job assignments.

    MORE TO FOLLOW
    Jon Payne
    Ambassador, Suarez Group of Companies
    Suarez International Law Enforcement Instructor

    Shotgun Gunfighting (SGF-1) Orange TX Apr 29-30, 2017

    Close Range Gunfighting (CRG-1) Orange TX May 20-21, 2-17

    The Two Most Dangerous Places in Today's World:
    1.) A Gun Free Zone
    2.) Your Comfort Zone



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    14,915
    If the shooter was willing to try and not give up on themselves, I could usually find a way for them to qualify. The ones I hated were the ones who would not try or practice or listen to me and all they wanted to do is blame everyone and anyone other than themselves for their failures. I had on lady who could get her self so shook up she would be in tears. I was able to calm her down and talk her through it, but if one of the other instructors got near her, he would push all her wrong buttons (on purpose) and I would have to start all over again.

    What I could never understand why a person who was making 25 bucks an hour for a very simple job would not make the effort to get and maintain the skill they needed to keep making 25 bucks and hour. It was as if they thought they were entitled to the paycheck with out having to do anything. And when that paycheck was in jeopardy- it was some how my fault.
    I rather you hated me for who I am than love me for who I ain't!
    This Ain't the Movies, and You Ain't John Wayne!

    Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a 12 pound sledgehammer!
    TRAIN HARD= SOONER OR LATER YOU"LL NEED IT!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    255
    I work as a part time range instructor for my agency. I probably do two or three days a month, nothing more, and certainly do not have the burden the full-time staff has. I work exclusively with those who have failed their qualifications. Our agency is rapidly moving towards the concept of pass or fail. I give them my best effort, hold nothing back and spend a considerable amount of my own time with them even off the clock. There are some that simply cannot master the tool of the trade.

    I have seen men terminated from employment or from the Academy for not mastering the use of a firearm. At one time I felt bad about this but that changed the day I did my first death notification for someone killed under my command. Now, I firmly believe if they cannot master the tool they need to move on to a career better suited for them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3,037
    Ive often found that something as simple as reminding those nervous people that they've "done this before", calms their nerves enough to complete the task at hand. Though I will admit that when a pilot or crew chief doesn't qualify with their handgun, it's just embarrassing and they're made fun of mercilessly...but they won't typically lose their position in a flight company. Though it does prevent future promotions.

    I feel a little sorry for the older gentlemen. But I have faith in your ability, as I'm sure they do as well. Let us know when they all qualify.
    Last edited by H60DoorGunner; 04-21-2017 at 10:23 AM.
    Isaiah 54:17

    Deus dea traballo, dixo o enterrador.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    The Once Free State
    Posts
    11,265
    When I started as a MP (Jimmy Carter was President), virtually everybody had shot before, most had hunted game, and everybody was up to speed on which end the bullet comes out... Years later when I went through the Police Academy, even then more than half the class had shot before; the few notables who had never touched a gun before were obvious.

    One was a girl that I went through the initial screening with. She was cute, and mixed race (that mattered even back then). She couldn't even pass the trigger pull (had to run a DA trigger 30 times with the strong hand in a minute and 15 times with the weak in 30 seconds)--she failed BOTH. She also couldn't lift a spare tire (had to do a tire change on a alredy jacked up and loosened "flat"). Instead of telling her she should consider a career in typing or topless dancing (she was "equipped" for that), they told her to squeeze a ball and come back next week (for testing without the group). She obviously got stronger in a week, because she passed the "private" testing.

    When we went through the actual range phase she and another similar recruit failed. After two weeks and 3500 rounds of training, we were given 10 boxes of ammo and told we had to get passing scores with three boxes in a row. Passing was a score of 76 (each hit was 2 pts--you either hit or missed, no added value for specific regions). Both failed with all ten boxes. While the rest of us cleaned up the range, those two were taken into the IN DOOR (private range with the Sargent), they came out 30 minutes later with dirt on their knees--somehow they passed.

    Ten years ago I started noticing a lot more new cops that had never shot before "the job". They didn't take their gun home, they didn't carry off duty, and they worried about going to quals. Five years ago it got even worse. We hired cops that were actually afraid of their gun, cops that refused to go inside buildings for alarm calls with the door open (NOT wait for back up; but "I aint playing Hide n Seek). Theyd fail have their gun taken away, then go back the next day for re-quals and suddenly pass and be back. This group was also vocal about gun control and "Why do they (citizens) need guns/mags like that..."

    ********On a side note I had an instructor score one of my targets with an 88. I had a hole in the center of the chest, the size of a baseball. When I complained, the instructor said she could only count 88. I said I can only count 1. She said then next time shoot'em in the head because bad guys wear armor too---I took her at her word.

    It always amazes me that poor shooters, who know they are poor shooters never take the time to train. They never take the time to go to the range on their own. Our department says they'll give 50 rounds a month to officers BUT every time I went they were dumping ammo on me, because they budgeted 50 for every officer and maybe 5% showed up.

    Hahaha the ranges guys almost never wear armor for quals but they ALL do when the command staff comes. How do you manage to shoot holes in the tower (50+ yards BEHIND the line) and still get promoted???

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Western WA state
    Posts
    927
    Tagging for interest. I`m glad to say the people to whom I`ve taught the basics (I`m not official, nor will I call it training because it`s not) have had a lot of good to say about their experiences on my range. I was worried that maybe I would be coming down a bit hard on them or being too permissive but these stories? I`m like Edward James Olmos in "Stand and Deliver" compared to some of the ass clowns mentioned here. I`m so fortunate.
    "they have no basis of comparison and have trouble understanding how an education in violence is presented and have to struggle through the internalization of the topic."
    -Greg Nichols

    "mediocrity is the order of the day and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up."
    -Shooterb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    262
    Life is much simpler for the Warriors.

    They aren't burdened by beaurocracy, politics and hypocrisy of those with shiny armor and rusty swords.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    Fletch Fuller
    Suarez International Staff Instructor

    “Train Like Others Won't, So You Can Do Those Things That Others Can't.”

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

    Fletch's Upcoming classes in SW Florida:

    CRG-2 Close Range Gunfighting- Naples, Florida June 3-4, 2017

    CRG-5 Zero to Five Feet Gunfighting- Naples, Florida August 5-6, 2017

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Rural suburb of southern California
    Posts
    1,831
    There is a trick I have used in the past for getting some through a last ditch effort, but ...nah, forget it...if a currently employed cop cannot pass the typical LE qual course after multiple attempts and one on one coaching, they need to find another profession. They will always be a liability.
    Dave Sauer
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    "The path which leads to truth is littered with the bodies of the ignorant." --Musashi

    Onward & Upward!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    NWFL
    Posts
    11,792
    As a non-leo person, just how difficult is the qualification to pass. I knew one fellow that shot all of his life and said when his eyes aged and his near vision went, he could not see the sights. But, he still could pass the local qualifying test by sighting over the slide of the gun when firing. Maybe some departments have much more difficult qualifications.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
    ...at the end of the day its not about anything else but YOU AND YOURS..... Gabe Suarez
    ....WANT not NEED is what America is all about. ..... Gabe Suarez
    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    235
    So, within the last month I have served as an assistant instructor for firearms training at quarterly in-service for both of the agencies I work for.
    Some observations, some of which observations I have made for years:

    (1.) If you don't shoot very well, consider buying some ammunition and walking your happy ass to the range and practicing a little bit. Even if you have to buy the ammo yourself. Even if you have to pay the range fee yourself. Even if you aren't getting paid to do so.
    Investing a little time and money to increase your skills is much more adult and productive than whining or complaining or being stressed out because your performance is going to be evaluated and you suck.

    (In truth, this isn't much of a problem at either department right now, and actually I work with more young guys who have an interest in tactics and firearms and who actually keep in shape and shoot in practice occasionally than I ever have in my almost 36 years as a cop. But there are always a few . . . )

    (2.) You're going to be going to the range to shoot four times a year for the rest of your career. You might consider investing a few bucks and buying a decent range bag, and a set of active hearing protectors so you can hear the range commands and also your own safety glasses because the ones the range provides are all scratched up. That will make your time on the range a more happy and productive experience.

    (3.) If you are going to qualify with a new duty or off duty weapon, consider cleaning and lubricating the gun and then shooting with it a little bit before attempting to qualify with it. Buy a decent holster and decent magazine pouches and buy some spare magazines. If you are carrying off duty or in plainclothes, make sure you carry at least one reload. Make sure your gun works before you try to qual with it.

    (Years ago (early 90s) a guy showed up at suburban in-service with a Bryco .380 auto that he bought for some reason, and kept around the house for his girlfriend to use for "self defense". He had never fired it. She had never fired a gun in her life. He had it loaded with Winchester Silvertips. That gun would absolutely NOT run with anything other than FMJ RN ball. He brought the gun to in-service just to try it out, and embarrassed himself because he had a POS gun that wouldn't work. About the same time another guy had a Bersa .380 that he was real proud of. He kept saying "I don't need a fancy gun to go target shooting with, I just need a gun I can use in an emergency to save my life . . . " The illogic of that is stunning but he was one of those guys who knows what he knows and he knows it for sure and that's all there is to it. After experimenting a little and experiencing some frustration he DID find some hollow point ammo that was 100% reliable in that gun, so ultimately that story had a happy ending)

    Some of these issues have since been corrected through revisions to policy. About damn time.

    (4.) Your training day starts at 0800 and ends at 1600. (Probably 1530). If you are required to participate in training, DO NOT schedule personal appointments for the doctor or the dentist for the afternoon just so you can get out of having to shoot for record. You will be required to come back and complete the training anyway.

    In actuality, most of the training I was involved with for this cycle ran pretty smooth and people were reasonably cooperative and attentive and of good cheer and shot fairly well. But there are always a few who just don't get it.

    (5.) Shooting is a perishable skill. some few people can get by without practicing and their basic skills remain pretty good, but that is not true for most people. So go out and shoot once in a while. Get a copy of the courses of fire that you may have to shoot on for record and practice them in advance. That will give you a basis with which to structure your training. If you don't like guns and don't like to shoot and don't like to do defensive tactics then perhaps this is the wrong profession for you and you should be something else.

    If people would just go shoot in practice once in a while their lives would be so much simpler . . . And the lives of the training staff would be simpler, too.
    If you show interest in your job once in a while then you might find life to be more interesting & productive. Who knew?
    Last edited by Jeff22; 04-22-2017 at 12:17 AM.
    "We should always try to do the right thing and the moral thing and the legal thing, but first we should do the SMART thing."
    --John S. Farnam
    Defense Training International

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