Federal Gov't Pistol Qualification
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Old 07-23-2009, 06:45 AM   #1
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Default Federal Gov't Pistol Qualification

The word on the street is that the ICE pistol qualification course is being used by the Feds as a gimmick to disqualify and fire existing guards and Federal cops, so they can be replaced with ex-cops and ex-soldiers.

The course of fire is tricky and, ironically, poor training for real gunfighting.

The first 6 shots are fired from the hip ( bent elbow at side ) at 1.5 yards. This conditions an inexperienced shooter to focus on the target, which he may continue to do for the rest of the course. The rest of the course is sighted shooting, so the shooter should be focused on the front sight but the point shooting has taught him a bad habit.
From a street tactics standpoint, this 1.5 yard segment is dangerous. It is almost never a good idea to draw and add a gun to the equation at punching distance. It would be best in almost all cases to use empty-hand fighting to disengage and then draw while opening distance. And to always use the sights !
A course of fire that ingrains bad tactics is a bad course of fire.

The target looks like Tom Ridge. He's pointing a revolver at you. The target thus draws your focus away from the front sight and toward the threat. This target may be a realistic training tool but it is serving to confuse and fail contract guards right now.

Various stages call for firing a set number of shots and stopping to re-holster. In a real gunfight, with 18 rounds in your Glock 17, you should not stop firing until all threats are neutralized. The government has not figured that out, apparently. Reloading is not very important when you have 18 rounds at your disposal but it is part of the test.

A realistic training and testing program could be developed but it might not serve the ulterior motive of disqualifying the guards, so they can be replaced.
Here is the ice course as someone posted it on the web :
ICE's course of fire:

Target: ICE QT
50 Rounds

Stage 1: 1.5 yards (6 rounds)
Strong hand only from the holster--using bent elbow position
1 round in 2 seconds, 2 rounds in 2 seconds, 3 rounds in 2 seconds

Stage 2: 3 yards (6 rounds)
Point shoulder shooting, emergency reload
3 rounds in 3 seconds, 3 rounds in 3 seconds

Stage 3: 7 yards (6 rounds)
body armor drill
failure drill from holster in 6 seconds, failure drill from high ready in 5 seconds

Stage 4: 7 yards (12 rounds)
one hand shooting--weak and strong hands w/ emergency reload
3 rounds 2 handed, three rounds strong handed in 10 seconds
Repeat with support hand

Stage 5: 15 yards (12 rounds)
2 handed shooting from the standing and kneeling positions
6 rounds standing, kneel, tactical reload, 6 rounds kneeling in 25 seconds

Stage 6: 25 yards (4 rounds)
cover barricade shooting to the right
Move to cover, 2 rounds standing, 2 rounds kneeling in 20 seconds

Stage 7: 25 yards (4 rounds)
cover barricade shooting to the left
Move to cover, 2 rounds standing, 2 rounds kneeling in 20 seconds

MAX score is 250..lowest is 200 (80%)

220-230: Marksman
321-240: Sharpshooter
241-249: Expert
250: Distinguished Expert

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Old 07-23-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
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OMG, here come the black helicopters. Not everything is a conspiracy.

Qualification is not training. It was never intended to be training. Qualification is merely a test. It enables an agency to grade the level of proficiency with a firearm. A good Q course will force the shooter to utilize a variety of skills at a variety of distances in reasonably short times to judge the overall level of skill the shooter possesses.

You can argue that starting up close and moving back is setting one up for failure. You can argue that starting at 25 (or even 50) yards is not fair. You can argue the times are unrealistically fast. You can argue all you want but it is still just a test. You may never be called upon to perform any of the actions present in a Q course. You may have to use one of these skills the next day.

The fact of the matter is any agency must test its personnel on a regular basis. This testing is generally done en mass with 20+ shooters on the line. If you made it "realistic" and had them "use empty-hand fighting to disengage and then draw while opening distance", you would have to have one shooter at a time. With an agency as large as ICE, that would be prohibitive and still likely to end in more than a few injuries.

Decent agencies constantly update/upgrade the training and qualification programs to be fresh, challenging and topical. I can remember not too many years ago that one of our quarterly Q courses slow fire (no time limit) bullseye. Obviously this has little to do with a "gunfight". It was a test of your basic marksmanship. If the statistics tell us most gunfights occur at 7 yards or less and involve less than three shots, why do we shoot at distances beyond 7 yards and shoot more than 3 shots in a Q course?

BECAUSE IT IS A TEST!!!!

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Old 07-23-2009, 12:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
The word on the street is that the ICE pistol qualification course is being used by the Feds as a gimmick to disqualify and fire existing guards and Federal cops, so they can be replaced with ex-cops and ex-soldiers.

I find this very interesting. Do you have any more intell on this?

From a street tactics standpoint, this 1.5 yard segment is dangerous. It is almost never a good idea to draw and add a gun to the equation at punching distance. It would be best in almost all cases to use empty-hand fighting to disengage and then draw while opening distance. And to always use the sights !
A course of fire that ingrains bad tactics is a bad course of fire.

Indeed, bad tactics within striking distance, need distance, although I will differ with you on close sight usage.

The target looks like Tom Ridge. He's pointing a revolver at you. The target thus draws your focus away from the front sight and toward the threat. This target may be a realistic training tool but it is serving to confuse and fail contract guards right now.

Various stages call for firing a set number of shots and stopping to re-holster. In a real gunfight, with 18 rounds in your Glock 17, you should not stop firing until all threats are neutralized.

The government has not figured that out, apparently. Reloading is not very important when you have 18 rounds at your disposal but it is part of the test.

Affirmative. But unless it is mandated, not everyone uses a Glock with high capacity mags. Reload speed would be critical.


Thanks Rentacop, this interests me, and I will research this further, and if you have more intell on this, please post it.

Jack
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
...
Qualification is not training. It was never intended to be training. Qualification is merely a test. It enables an agency to grade the level of proficiency with a firearm. A good Q course will force the shooter to utilize a variety of skills at a variety of distances in reasonably short times to judge the overall level of skill the shooter possesses....
+1

That's one thing that irritates me about many police and security officers... they consider their "qualification" as "training", and in many cases, that's the only "firearms training" they'll go through all year.

I reviewed the course of fire that was posted, and it's just not that difficult. If an ICE agent couldn't pass that course of fire with an 80%, that agent should spend a little money on ammo and time on the range to improve his/her skills... because they are lacking.

Lastly, any suggestion an agency would try and weed out employees with a Q course is ridiculous... it's a LOT harder than THAT to get rid of a federal agent.
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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OT, if you work for ICE, you have my sincere gratitude for emptying Howard Industries of a number of illegal immigrants; one of my friends has one of the jobs formerly held by an illegal immigrant. Thanks

Back to the Qualification discussion.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:03 AM   #6
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Lastly, any suggestion an agency would try and weed out employees with a Q course is ridiculous... it's a LOT harder than THAT to get rid of a federal agent.
That is right on right there. It is very difficult to remove any federal employee.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:10 AM   #7
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Gentlemen-
I've heard that several FPS officers lost their jobs from failure on the ICE Course. I do not wish to name the contracts involved but I know of about 50 security guards on Federal contracts that were let go for failing it too. The new hiring standards favor former cops and soldiers and the military is reputedly using the ICE Course, so the soldiers have a head start.

The test looks easier on paper than it really is. Guards who take the test are stressed because their jobs are on the line, there are FPS inspectors watching , the inspectors will disqualify a guard who fires one too many shots in a string or commits a safety violation, the target lacks a good aiming point, it is hard to see bullet holes in the black and white sketched target and the reduced times ( from the old A-1 Course ) allowed induce inexperienced shooters to flinch. And don't let me forget to mention the cheapo Uncle Mike's holsters provided for the guards.

I've passed the test 3 times in practice and twice for the money, so I am not one of the aggrieved fired guards.

I oppose training or qualification or whatever you wish to call it, if it conditions the person to act incorrectly. I don't accept the argument that " it is only a test ". Devise a realistic test...

Jeff Cooper was right when he said point shooting seems a lot faster than it is. Cooper said to use the sights pretty much all the time. Those who study the Modern Technique know how to do so without slowing down to align the sights.

The country is littered with wasted bullets fired by point shooting cops and bad guys at 8 feet or so.

From what I can see, James Yeager, Gabe Suarez, Mas Ayoob, Clint Smith, Todd Jarett and Rob Pincus are 20 years ahead of our Federal Government when it comes to pistolcraft.

The reason you should train at distances greater than 21 feet or 7 feet or whatever is obvious. Just watch some videos of the Miami and North Hollywood shootouts and you'll see.

Final note : A security guard should be trained to draw and fire two-handed accurately and safely...and legally. Whether he can count his shots, remember the definitions of tactical, emergency and administrative reloads, transfer the gun to his weak hand and fire etc. are relatively unimportant. The recent shootout at the Holocaust Museum illustrates the real needs : Multiple shots to achieve a hit, quick draw, quick wits, marksmanship.

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Old 07-24-2009, 03:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
The word on the street is that the ICE pistol qualification course is being used by the Feds as a gimmick to disqualify and fire existing guards and Federal cops, so they can be replaced with ex-cops and ex-soldiers.

The course of fire is tricky and, ironically, poor training for real gunfighting.
I'm catching a bit of irony here. There are several things in this qualification course that are from real gunfights. Most importantly, the semi-realistic targets, firing from a retention position, alternative indexing for sighting, and using different hands to operate the pistol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
The first 6 shots are fired from the hip (bent elbow at side) at 1.5 yards. This conditions an inexperienced shooter to focus on the target, which he may continue to do for the rest of the course. The rest of the course is sighted shooting, so the shooter should be focused on the front sight but the point shooting has taught him a bad habit.
No one taking that test should be an inexperienced shooter. If they are in a position that demands the use of a firearm, then they should have the requisite training. If they don't have the training, then the companies with the contract are setting themselves up for failure.

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Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
From a street tactics standpoint, this 1.5 yard segment is dangerous. It is almost never a good idea to draw and add a gun to the equation at punching distance. It would be best in almost all cases to use empty-hand fighting to disengage and then draw while opening distance. And to always use the sights !
Umm, 1.5 yards is over 4 feet away, well outside of a normal person's reach. Drawing then would be a decent simulation of drawing at a charging person. Further, if you must use your sights at that distance, you will wind up dead. You cannot cover ground backwards fast enough to break that space, unless you have a right hook like Mike Tyson, in which case the threat would be on the ground, and you would no longer need to draw your pistol.

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Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
A course of fire that ingrains bad tactics is a bad course of fire.
Yet this is not a bad course of fire. It is one of the best that I have seen...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
The target looks like Tom Ridge. He's pointing a revolver at you. The target thus draws your focus away from the front sight and toward the threat. This target may be a realistic training tool but it is serving to confuse and fail contract guards right now.
Unless you are going to ask all of the bad-guys to not point guns at you to distract you, I don't see your point. As you said "A course of fire that ingrains bad tactics is a bad course of fire."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
Various stages call for firing a set number of shots and stopping to re-holster. In a real gunfight, with 18 rounds in your Glock 17, you should not stop firing until all threats are neutralized. The government has not figured that out, apparently. Reloading is not very important when you have 18 rounds at your disposal but it is part of the test.
So, conserving ammunition is a bad thing? If the test requires you to do something from the left, and then again from the right, are you saying that you want to fire all 18 rounds, and then restart? That seems to be a waste of my tax dollars, especially when the skill can be tested in 5 rounds or less.

And you contradict yourself here. If you need 15 rounds to neutralize one badguy, and there are two more, wouldn't reloading be a good idea?
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:47 AM   #9
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The test looks easier on paper than it really is. Guards who take the test are stressed because their jobs are on the line, there are FPS inspectors watching , the inspectors will disqualify a guard who fires one too many shots in a string or commits a safety violation, the target lacks a good aiming point, it is hard to see bullet holes in the black and white sketched target and the reduced times ( from the old A-1 Course ) allowed induce inexperienced shooters to flinch. And don't let me forget to mention the cheapo Uncle Mike's holsters provided for the guards.
If a guard commits a safety violation, he deserves to be disqualified.

And seriously, you were railing that it holds no good tactics, but now you want a bullseye? Spotting hits? No training organization I am aware of teaches that.

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I oppose training or qualification or whatever you wish to call it, if it conditions the person to act incorrectly. I don't accept the argument that " it is only a test ". Devise a realistic test...
Until you can convince people to be walking down range, this is as close as you will get...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
Jeff Cooper was right when he said point shooting seems a lot faster than it is. Cooper said to use the sights pretty much all the time. Those who study the Modern Technique know how to do so without slowing down to align the sights.
But you're not point shooting. You are using alternate indexing points, that Cooper discussed often in his earlier works...

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Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
From what I can see, James Yeager, Gabe Suarez, Mas Ayoob, Clint Smith, Todd Jarett and Rob Pincus are 20 years ahead of our Federal Government when it comes to pistolcraft.
Yet, the qualification course is something that James Yeager, Gabe Suarez and Rob Pincus would approve of. Each of them teach a similar style of pistolcraft, and use targets similar to those you hate.

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Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
The reason you should train at distances greater than 21 feet or 7 feet or whatever is obvious. Just watch some videos of the Miami and North Hollywood shootouts and you'll see.
Yes, and the same can be said about shooting at closer ranges...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rentacop View Post
Final note : A security guard should be trained to draw and fire two-handed accurately and safely...and legally. Whether he can count his shots, remember the definitions of tactical, emergency and administrative reloads, transfer the gun to his weak hand and fire etc. are relatively unimportant. The recent shootout at the Holocaust Museum illustrates the real needs : Multiple shots to achieve a hit, quick draw, quick wits, marksmanship.
No, a security guard should be trained to fight with his gun. This includes being able to fire with both hands or either one, fire from uncomfortable positions and do multiple necessary manipulations...
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:51 AM   #10
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Thank you much for saying what I was going to say robocop10mm. That course of fire is not very hard. I thank all the BP agents for their hard work. But if an agent is unable to pass the quail they might want to look at work that they will not have to defend their own lives or other BP agents lives.

I am not bragging but that qual not not hard at all. I shot a 469+ constantly on a qual much harder then that. 4 yard, vest drill two body to head, 4 sec. 7 yard, 3 round strong hand 6 sec, same yard 3 rounds support hand 8 sec. 10 yard, 10 rounds with a type one malefaction. 15 yards, 10 rounds 5 speed load then 5, 15 sec. 15 yards same drill 20 sec. 25 yard, with cover, 5 right, speed load, 5 left, tac load 60 seconds.

This year 5 people did not make it with a qualifying score or 375 75%. We train on this and combat shooting all year and still me have people that do not make it. We retrain them and they make it a second go round. It is to expensive and time consuming to fire them and replace them with new people.

With this in mind I can not believe that ICE would use this to fire people. Sorry just not going to happen. I agree this is a good course of fire.

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