I recently was invited by the LAPD firearms training unit to participate in a focus study group with the goal of improving LAPD’s existing firearms qualification course. In addition to myself, four former SWAT officers that I worked with also participated in the meeting. The history among all of us is amazing (but that’s a story for another time). Collectively, were instrumental years ago in ushering in the modern gunfighting techniques, which proved to greatly improve LAPD’s existing firearms program. We were all thrilled and honored to be invited to take part in this effort.
The current LAPD qualification course is a 30 round course of fire with set times distances, staging of the pistol, courses of fire and standard LAPD silhouette. As far as I can tell this course of fire is the same that I conducted in 1976 and it certainly extended on well before my time. In other words, this course of fire is entirely predictable. It has been conducted multiple times and is guided by continual range commands via a loudspeaker.
The streets are anything but predictable. No one can actively predict precisely what an officer will face. Many times, distances, targets, impediments are all subject to the erratic nature of police work. One theorem proposed is to have a portion of the qualification course devoted to problem solving in conjunction with a shortened qualification course of fire.
As with any endeavor this project will take time to sort out. It will be an ongoing process and I, along with others, will render what input we may toward an enhanced qualification program. I truly believe the future well being of our young officers depends on it.