Officer.com: 'The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training'

Officer.com: 'The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training'

This is a discussion on Officer.com: 'The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training' within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Officer.com Home > Operations & Tactics 12 Elements of Firearms Training The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Updated: ...

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    Officer.com: 'The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training'

    Officer.com Home > Operations & Tactics

    12 Elements of Firearms Training
    The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training

    Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
    Updated: November 16th, 2009 09:14 AM EDT

    BANK MILLER
    Training Contributor

    It can easily be argued that the job of a law enforcement firearms instructor is more difficult today than ever before. With everything now required from our already strained training resources, it has become increasingly difficult to even establish what the right questions are, let alone find the right answers. To help build a solid foundation and establish some basic criteria for what a law enforcement training program should include International Training, Inc. has adopted the 12 critical elements outlined below.

    The information gathered for this analysis was obtained from several surveys conducted by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) and the FBI. The FBI has collected data on officers killed and assaulted since 1945, and California POST started collecting such data in 1980. The surveys cited in this study encompass those conducted by the FBI from 1995 through 2004. After summarizing these studies, the following guidelines were drawn for police firearms training.

    FBI Analysis of Officers Feloniously Killed from 1995-200

    545 total officers feloniously killed with firearms

    Broken down into two category distances: under seven yards and over seven yards.

    Under Seven Yards:

    * 0-5 feet, 268 officers killed, 49% of total
    * 6-10 feet, 107 officers killed, 20% of total
    * 11-20 feet, 65 officers killed, 12% of total

    Note that the percentage totals indicate that 440 officers killed (81%) with firearms in the time frame specified were killed at distances under seven yards.

    Over Seven Yards:

    * 21-50 feet, 47 officers killed, 8% of total
    * over 50 feet, 41 officers killed, 7% of total
    * distance not reported, 17 officers killed, 3% of total

    Totals for officers killed at distances over seven yards (or not reported) was 105 officers or 19%

    1. Prepare officers for immediate, spontaneous, lethal attacks

    Why?
    Based on the above statistics, one can see that close quarter tactics and techniques are a must for officer survival. Personal communication with unknown individuals is a big part of our officers' daily routine, and they have to be close enough to them to do it effectively. The difficulty arises when these unknown individuals turn out to be bad guys. When this happens, a mastery of drawing and firing from various close quarter positions, weapon retention, physical strikes, and other close-quarter combat skills are obviously critical.

    How?
    To satisfy the close distance issue, a basic cardboard target holder that is sturdy enough to withstand muzzle blast, palm strikes, and an occasional flying ticket book should serve you well. As far as sudden and spontaneous goes, a high-speed turning target system that suddenly presents a threat just when the officer glances away can add a tremendous amount of stress to the situation.

    2. Prepare officers for assaults by multiple threats and uninvolved subjects

    Why?
    Statistics tell us there is about a 60% chance that an assault will involve more than one attacker. At the same time, we need to be aware of uninvolved, innocent bystanders as well. In many domestic abuse calls, the spouse or other family members can start out as uninvolved, but then join in against the officer if a conflict ensues. Learning to break the tunnel vision phenomenon and engage multiple threats with total awareness of uninvolved subjects justifies shoot / no-shoot training, increases survivability, and decreases liability issues.

    How?
    The most obvious approach here is lots of targets. Tall ones, short ones, some closer, some farther away, some clustered in a group, and some off by themselves. Another particularly effective technique also employs turning targets, but they have to be individually controlled. As your officer is engaging targets 1 and 2 as they edge and face right in front of him, try facing target 6 and see if he notices. Better yet, use a 180 degree turning target that can show you a bad guy or a good guy in the same place at any given time.

    3. Integrate the sudden transition to firearms from arrest and control techniques, including searching and handcuffing

    Why?
    Many potentially lethal assaults occur as the officer is searching and/or attempting to handcuff the subject. This sudden shift to a deadly force situation can be exceptionally dangerous if the officer has not been conditioned with the proper response techniques. Glaring examples of insufficient training and conditioning would be the officer failing to create distance if the chance arises, or attempting to draw his firearm with his handcuffs still in his hand.

    How?
    The use of drag dummies, CPR dummies, and turning targets are all effective here. The dummies provide realism and a platform for practicing control techniques, while the turning targets provide the sudden visual indicator that the situation has escalated.

    4. Base training on the fact that most officers are killed at short distances

    Why?
    The statistics presented earlier clearly establish where most officer fatalities occur. However, it is important to note that this element does not say Teach your officers how to shoot at close distances. It says to base your training on the fact that most fatalities occur up close. It's like the guy who tells his doctor that he broke his leg in 2 places and the doctor says So, don't go to those places! If most fatalities occur at close distances, we should all be aware of when it is appropriate to be farther away.

    How?
    In addition to the close-quarter combat techniques discussed in elements 1-3 above, a moving target that charges straight at the officer can be extremely effective at illustrating the importance of creating distance and demonstrating the best ways to move quickly and effectively in various situations.

    5. Base training on the fact that officers will have limited fine and complex motor control

    Why?
    We should all be aware of the various physiological responses our bodies undergo during a combat situation. Manual dexterity is the one we are focusing on here. As blood flows away from our extremities and towards our core, we lose fine and complex motor control in our fingers and hands. Unfortunately, elements of good marksmanship like trigger control can be the first to go. Now before a panic ensues, we believe that teaching basic marksmanship skills (like proper trigger manipulation) is absolutely vital and should not be abandoned! However, make room in your training for the fact that fine and complex motor control will be decreased, and that the officer can still make good hits despite this.

    How?
    The best way to demonstrate the effects of stress to your officers is to immerse them in it. Make them run, get their heart pumping and their adrenaline flowing, then send them into an interactive scenario with dye marking rounds and role-players shooting back at them. The breakdowns in technique will be startling.

    6. Integrate two-person contact and cover teams involved in realistic scenarios

    Why?
    Just because one of your officers knows how to safely and effectively engage multiple threats, reload efficiently, and move from one piece of cover to another doesn’t mean he knows how to do those things with 2 or 3 other officers running around him trying to do the same thing at the same time. Where is my muzzle? Where is my partner? Where is my partner's muzzle? Proper tactical communication is absolutely critical!

    How?
    Have 2 and 3 man teams go through tactical scenarios together. Use portable cardboard and steel targets in a variety of locations and configurations. Have the teams shoot side by side so their partner's brass is bouncing off the bill of their cap or down their shirt collar. Condition them to be profoundly muzzle conscious, and make them realize the importance of communication when it comes to moving, reloading, and staying in the fight.

    7. Emphasize the survival mindset and the will to win in all skills training

    Why?
    Quite often, what you bring to the fight will dictate the outcome of the fight. Having a winning mindset and a positive attitude will enhance the officer's odds of survival. While our work is dangerous, we have a high risk of being a victim off the street rather than on the street, and at times the biggest threat we face is the one in the mirror. Particularly with younger officers, movies and television have shaped much of what they perceive as the realities of a gunfight. For example, the perp that flies back 15 feet and crashes into a pile of trash cans after being hit with a single handgun round. Clint Smith said if you get into a fist fight you might get punched, if you get in to a knife fight you might get cut, and if you get in to a gunfight you might get shot. It doesn't mean the fight is over, it just means you may have to finish the fight a little differently than you had originally planned.

    How?
    Knowing how to shoot, reload, and clear stoppages with only one hand (both left and right) is imperative. Our officers must be confident in their ability to win the fight even if they are injured, and they must be comfortable with these techniques in order to gain that confidence.

    8. Integrate one-handed firing of a handgun. Include dominant and support hand, plus drawing, reloading, and stoppage clearing

    Why?
    Many law enforcement shootings occur with one hand, and using a single hand is often to your tactical benefit based on the situation. Even if you are not injured, a traditional 2-handed grip may be impractical or even dangerous if means giving up too much cover or concealment.

    How?
    Primarily for safety reasons, one-handed skills training is best executed in small groups. Because officers will be presenting and handling their weapons in untraditional and perhaps unfamiliar ways, muzzle awareness is critically important in these drills.

    9. Integrate close-quarter structure searching and clearing plus indoor combat tactics

    Why?
    When a family comes home to find their back door kicked in, they call the police. Does the call go to the SWAT team? Of course not - it goes to the nearest officers on patrol. Either alone or with a partner, every single officer needs to know how to perform basic close-quarter techniques like tactical entry, hallway navigation, and room clearing. They need to know things like which way a door swings if you can see the hinges (towards you), and they need to know not to expose body parts around corners, don't rub you back along the wall as you move, and don't hang out in doorways.

    How?
    A live-fire ballistic shoot house is the ultimate training tool for these situations. It provides a structure for all the tactical movement and navigation training, plus it escalates the stress and realism of the training by incorporating threat engagement with actual duty weapons. It's one thing to fire a gun in a nice straight line out on the qualification range. It is another thing entirely when you are inside a building trying to be aware of 360 or 540 degree environment.

    10. Emphasize dim or no light situations as much as daylight training

    Why?
    Because 70% or more of law enforcement shootings occur under reduced or diminishing light conditions, significant training with your duty illumination tools is a must. Target identification and threat recognition are critical parts of this training as well, and keep in mind that flashlights are needed in the day time just as much as in the night time because you never know where you may end up. The illumination tools you carry will have a significant impact on how you handle your weapon and ultimately on how you fight, so you must be extremely comfortable using them under a wide variety of tactical situations.
    Many departments have adopted the use of lasers, so your training must include the proper use of these tools as well.

    How?
    If you already have a shoot house that can be darkened, you have an ideal venue for all kinds of low-light training. An indoor range also serves this purpose well. If you don’t have access to either of these facilities, night time on your outdoor range should provide some pretty good darkness.

    11. Integrate moving then shooting and moving while shooting techniques

    Why?
    If you maintain a picture-perfect stance during a gunfight, you are not doing it right. If you are not moving to create distance then you should be moving to cover. The ability to shoot effectively while incorporating lots of movement gives you a dramatic tactical advantage, increases your chances of survival, and decreases the chance of hitting something you didn't want to hit. Remember, when shooting while moving you should move no faster than you can hit, see, and in some cases, hear.


    How?
    Effective movement techniques can be taught with just about any target equipment you have available. Running man targets and automated turning targets can make the experience more realistic and intense by allowing the trainer to control the scenario and respond to the trainee's actions.

    12. Integrate engagement techniques for moving targets, both laterally and charging

    Why?
    Training on moving targets has become mandatory for law enforcement agencies across the country, and rightfully so. When was the last time you were in a violent confrontation with someone who just stood still? Because running seems to be a part of most gunfights, the ability to fire safely and accurately at moving threats can be one of an officer's greatest assets. It is important to train for both lateral threat movement and charging movement because each requires a specific skill set and response from the trainee.

    How?
    Some portable moving target systems are very effective and flexible because they can be configured for both types of threat movement (lateral and charging). A heavier-duty track mounted system can be equipped with a steel target plate to enhance muscle memory through the immediate positive feedback of clanging steel

    Again, being a law enforcement firearms trainer today is an extremely difficult job. You have to be part teacher, part motivator, part mechanical engineer, part lawyer, part drill sergeant, part counselor, part maintenance staff, part etc., etc. We pay tribute to you trainers who dedicate your efforts to developing the next generation of warriors, and we hope the information presented here serve to focus and clarify the process.

    Source - http://www.officer.com/web/online/Operations-and-Tactics/12-Elements-of-Firearms-Training/3$49345

    - Janq

    Note: This article on the whole is relevant to all of us who keep or carry firearms, not just those who do so as part & parcel to a profession.
    I have bolded various items within the article that I myself have stated prior upon being involved in recent discussions and/or debate with persons who have commented to the contrary and or flat out disagreed. Including a few snarky people who were critical of my own real world not a training exercise application of exact same view and commentary.
    Folks this stuff is serious business. Don't take my word for it nor that of the author of this article.
    Just ask any cop who has been shot, or that of a cops widow/widower/child as left behind.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing


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    Distinguished Member Array jumpwing's Avatar
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    Good post; thanks for sharing.
    "The flock sleep peaceably in their pasture at night because Sheepdogs stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
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    RMS
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    As always, great post! Thanks for the info.

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    Great read.

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    Senior Member Array jeephipwr's Avatar
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    excellent. Thanks

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    Senior Member Array digitalexplr's Avatar
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    Thank, Jang. Excellent information.
    NRA Life Member

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    BTW for folks who are singularly proficient/skilled in conventional and traditional two handed and gun sight 'sighted' fire such as these...

    Modern Isosceles

    http://www.corneredcat.com *


    http://img.redwolfairsoft.com *


    http://demigodllc.com *

    And these conditions...


    Source - http://www.amuseline.com *


    Source - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...ingedit-2s.jpg *


    Source - Police Magazine

    Should consider these eventualities...
    YouTube - Dashboard Camera Video Of Police Officer's Shooting Released
    YouTube - POLICE OFFICER SHOT DOWN BY TWO GUNMAN CAUGHT ON TAPE!!!!
    YouTube - Fatal Shooting Full Video

    As related to this kind of combat distance...


    "Queen bed frames are usually about 5 feet wide by 6.5 feet long."
    Source - How to Build a Queen-Size Bed Frame | eHow.com


    "5 Foot Long Bean Bag Sofa!"
    Source - 5 Foot Long Bean Bag Sofa!


    Source - http://www.hampshirereview.com/websi...SED-BUCKET.jpg


    "5-Foot Square Heritage Picnic Table with Four Fullback Benches"
    Source - 5-Foot Square Heritage Picnic Table with Four Fullback Benches

    To put numbers to common man understandable visuals, imagine fighting life or death as within a five (5) foot space!

    When 49% (!) of the time officers have been _KILLED_ as within zero to five (5) feet of contact distance, it makes no logical sense to me at all as to why folks would not entertain advanced and unconventional application specific firearm training methods.
    Specifically that of weapons retention firing including point shooting skill, which is NOT 'spray and pray' and is in fact aimed fire. Just not by way of convention nor tradition.

    Yet people will get all hyped up about night sights and spend coin on that as well as deem it to be a necessity when clearly as based on data (!), that assertion is not well supported as based on real world killings...of police.

    One last image...


    Source - http://www.insidesocal.com *

    As a police, civilian or 'security' for whom ever be it a client or your family one as again based on hard to refute data should ask them self a single question:

    "How many tools are in my tool box and how functional are they, real world?"

    - Janq

    Note: I use this method of imagery because it seems a lot of people forget or have no idea what five (5) feet actually is AND how much space is required to handle and fire a firearm (handgun or longgun) as under optimal conventional and traditional method of form.
    As though persons will in real life have a near infinite amount of comfortable work space as they might on a line at a range.
    Five (5) feet square is just a bit _smaller_ than a modern homes front/main entry coat closet.
    How would you fight with a handgun in a closet space, and how exactly would you manage to 'see' your sights even if they do glow in the dark?

    * Added in source URLs for the subset of images missing as much, as per commentary from Pax.
    Last edited by Janq; November 18th, 2009 at 06:23 PM.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    BGs will always have the advantage because they get to draw and shoot without justification. We have to do everything we can to tip the scales in our favor and hope for some luck.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    pax
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    I don't much like it when people steal bandwidth from my website, especially when they do so without acknowledging the source or providing a link.

    pax
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    My website: Cornered Cat

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    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    "I don't much like it when people steal bandwidth from my website, especially when they do so without acknowledging the source or providing a link."-pax

    Wait, what did I miss here?

    dan

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Pax,

    I added in a link to your site along with those of the others that were missing.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  12. #12
    pax
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    Thanks. :)

    pax
    Kathy Jackson
    My website: Cornered Cat

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    No, my apologies and thanks for pointing out my error.

    - Mea Culpa
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    ok, just as long as everyone's happy.....

    dan

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    12 Elements of Firearms Training
    The dozen critical elements of modern firearms training
    While I agree with most of what is said in the article, I think there's a pretty big chunk missing. The title itself is pretty emblematic of the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    * 0-5 feet, 268 officers killed, 49% of total
    Someone trying to kill me inside of five feet is not necessarily a problem that's going to be solved by "firearms training". This kind of situation calls for a combative or knife based solution much more than it calls for a gun. Now, in fairness, the article talks a little about this in point #1:

    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    To satisfy the close distance issue, a basic cardboard target holder that is sturdy enough to withstand muzzle blast, palm strikes, and an occasional flying ticket book should serve you well. As far as sudden and spontaneous goes, a high-speed turning target system that suddenly presents a threat just when the officer glances away can add a tremendous amount of stress to the situation.
    However, I don't think hitting a cardboard target or shooting at a high speed turner is going to give officers the skills they need. You really need to bring out the training knives and blue guns and teach the officers how to deal with an actual human trying to kill them inside of that bedframe sized space. The article has the kernel of the right idea, but I think the approach is still too gun centric, rather than fight centric.

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