Federal Gov't Pistol Qualification

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by Rentacop, Jul 23, 2009.

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  1. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  2. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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!!!!
     

  3. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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

    Jack
     
  4. hydrashok

    hydrashok New Member

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    +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.
     
  5. orangello

    orangello New Member

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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.
     
  6. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    That is right on right there. It is very difficult to remove any federal employee.
     
  7. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  8. ranger_sxt

    ranger_sxt New Member

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    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.

    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.

    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.

    Yet this is not a bad course of fire. It is one of the best that I have seen...

    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."

    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?
     
  9. ranger_sxt

    ranger_sxt New Member

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    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.

    Until you can convince people to be walking down range, this is as close as you will get...

    But you're not point shooting. You are using alternate indexing points, that Cooper discussed often in his earlier works...

    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.

    Yes, and the same can be said about shooting at closer ranges...

    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...
     
  10. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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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. :eek:
     
  11. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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    ranger sxt :
    Some of your posting looks to me like devil's advocate-style picking.

    In the real world of security, we are taking people who have often never handled a gun before and expecting them to pass the test after maybe 40 hours of training and anywhere from 50 to 500 rounds fired. There isn't enough money budgeted to send the guards on a vacation to Gunsite. You may dream of a world in which every guard is a pistol master but it doesn't exist and it isn't necessary.
    There isn't anything realistic about firing a set of two or three shots and stopping when you have 18 to use / Tactical reloads are a garbage idea / Administrative reloads won't happen in real life / Mechanically stepping up to a flimsy plastic pole " barricade " to fire is laughable.
    True, the target may be realistic, but it confuses people who are still trying to understand the fundamentals of marksmanship and it is helping cost people their jobs.
    I don't think it is reasonable to expect every guard to buy a gun, join a range, and practice at his own expense, just to meet a minimum standard, but that is what the guards are having to do. ( Company guns are normally not available for practice use ).

    It is also not necessary to pull a shooter off the range for one safety violation. You can warn people the first time. Other ways to be disqualified include firing after the whistle or drawing before the whistle, as well as shooting on someone else's target.

    Let's not be absurd about reloads. Reloading could be taught and tested separately from the firing segment. That would cut down on the games and allow the shooter to concentrate more on hitting the target.

    We have never been told that the 1.5 YD. distance simulates a charging man. As far as we know, it represents Tom Ridge pointing a gun at us close up.

    I did not ask for a bull's eye target ; I just wonder why the old Transtar II can't suffice.

    I can't recall Cooper talking about " alternative indexing " but I'll take your word for it.

    And don't get me started on the Gov't " Safety Test " ( We'll save that for another time ).
     
  12. ranger_sxt

    ranger_sxt New Member

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    And your thread looks like you're whining. It is not a perfect test, but it does test good real-world skills.

    I'm sorry, but when Yeager and Suarez (and I presume all of the other people who you mentioned as trainers) can put forth information in 16 hours and between 500 and 100 rounds that will allow people who have never fired a pistol before to pass this test, then there is an inherent problem in the training of your guards. If that is the case, the government's ICE test is not to blame, but rather lazy companies.

    That tends to test accuracy, and reduces the amount of time that people spend on the range. In your world of training, where each phase takes 18 rounds of ammo, 36 if you need to reload, you would spend all day at the range.

    I disagree, as does most of the training world. But that's a completely different thread...

    No, they won't. That's why they're called administrative.

    It probably is. Yet it still tests the skill of shooting around a barricade.

    But you were just complaining that the plastic pole isn't realistic enough. Which do you want: a realistic course, or one that everyone with a pulse can pass.

    I think that is very reasonable, especially when there are other qualified candidates who are willing to do just that. I have held four different jobs in my life. In three of them, I have had to spend some of my own time and money in order to keep up with everything involved, either more time studying or time selling off the clock. The fourth I had to spend time politicking. If they want a job that does not require self-sacrifice, Wal-Mart is hiring...

    All of those are very valid reasons to be pulled off the line. Safety with firearms is something that warnings should not exist for. When I work with the Boy Scouts, one safety violation has them thrown off the range. If pre-pubescent boys can handle the rules, I would assume that grown men can as well. Firing early or late can be seen as cheating...

    Why make two tests? They have you on the range, with ammo and your weapons.

    What would you do if Tom Ridge were pointing a gun at you close up? Presumably, you would get your gun out of the holster and put bullets into him as fast as possible.

    Psychological reasons. If you are qualifying on something that looks more human, you will be more mentally prepared to use deadly force on a person. More and more trainers in the civilian world are stepping away from "Center of Mass" and describing exactly where you need to shoot: heart or brain. They often include a basic crash course in anatomy as well. They are trying to mentally prepare you for ending someone's life.

    It was in his commentaries from about 1995, and in his book from the 60s(?), before Modern Technique of the Pistol was written.

    Seriously, this whole thread seems to be a complaint that you can't pass this test because it's different than what you're used to...
     
  13. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I guess we have a similar situation in my agency with Q courses designed by LE personnel and about 800 Corrections officers that have to pass. The Peace officers in Corrections get little annual training on their firearms skills unless they are assigned to a section that carries regularly.

    They get pretty comprehensive training in their Jail Academy (from LE trainers) and the PO's get additional training in the Peace Officer academy. There are those that sit at a post for 5 years and do nothing to further their training and have no aspirations to go beyond that with their careers (to many it is not a career, just a job with pretty good bennies)

    LEO's get 16 hours of firearms training each year in their mandatory training week. They Q up to 5 times annually (4 day fires and 1 night fire) + Q courses on shotgun and rifle. In all an LEO or any other officer that carries will shoot around 6-700 rds on our dime a year. That is better than most agencies.

    I take that a little farther. I shoot at least 400 rds a month in personal training, 100-150/month at IPSC matches. I probably shot 6-7000 rds a year, mostly my own ammo on my own time. The guys (and there are more than a few) that show up for Quals and whine about how difficult it is are the same guys that will end up in a flag draped casket if the SHTF at work. Their choice, I cannot fix them.

    You know the course. Practice each skill set at least once a quarter with 4X the amount of shots you will shoot in the course (do the drill four times) and you will likely see the course is a cake walk.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  14. hydrashok

    hydrashok New Member

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    I'm a soldier, and I've never shot this course of fire in the military. To be honest, the military is lacking in the handgun training department. The Q course I fired was WAY easier than this one. As a matter of fact, the military is lacking in the rifle marksmanship department. Most soldiers only fire live rounds once a year during qualification. It's quite sad, really. What's really sad is how many soldiers have to go through the basic rifle qualification several times because they couldn't qualify the first time.

    ...what I said earlier about security/law enforcement who can't shoot - yeah, apply that to the military, as well.

    So you KNOW 50 guards who were fired because they couldn't pass this qualification course?? Or you heard that's why they were fired?

    I'm a firearms instructor. I've shot Q courses that are much harder than this one. I've written quite a few courses of fire my ownself (was required for TCLEOSE Firearms Instructor Course). I'm sorry to say this course just isn't THAT hard.

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again, here. "Never get into a mindset and stay there." While Cooper is a gunfighting god, there are new and somewhat-approved "point shooting" techniques that are quite effective. Using Paul Castle's Center Axis Relock (CAR) system, I can put a pretty tight group center mass in a target 1.5yds away faster than the FPS can count the rounds I've fired (Sabre). It may go against Cooper's ideology, but it's effective. If Cooper were alive today, I'm quite sure he'd approve of Castle's methods.

    Sure, and they're also ahead of the military and most law enforcement agencies. I know for a fact that one of them (Gabe Suarez) would debunk what you're saying about "point shooting". Gabe's philosophy is "whatever it takes to put rounds into the bad guy."

    I disagree. It's one thing for the average ordinary everyday civilian with a concealed handgun license doesn't learn to be proficient with a firearm. Security professionals are in the profession of protecting life and property. Yes, the primary job is to "observe and report", but when you arm a person in the performance of their duties, they are engaging in the profession of arms. A security professional needs to be as proficient with their firearm as the soldier, police officer, etc.

    There are several "types" of security officers.

    First, have the retired old guy who does security for the sake of staying employed. Having a job makes him feel a sense of usefulness.

    Second, you have the lazy person who does security because it's not labor intensive. Security officers don't hump shingles, sweep floors, or any "real" work. They want to clock in and sit in a chair until it's time to clock out.

    Third, you have the "cop wanna-be". These guys are the ones with chips on their shoulders. They thirst for the opportunity to effect a citizens arrest. They, often times, have what some refer to as the "Wyatt Earp Syndrome". They have the gun, and they are large and in charge.

    Fourth, you have the mentally challenged. They do security because they are a warm body manning a guard shack somewhere, and they're not "smart enough" to really do anything else.

    Then, you have the security professional. This is the person who takes his job seriously, doesn't have anything to prove, and "gets it"... the fact that he's simply there to protect the client's property or personnel, mostly by being an authoritive presence. This is the person who goes to work, does his/her job, and completes any additional training to maintain proficiency in his/her profession. This is the person who keeps up with continuing education courses, and going to the firing range on a regular basis (other than time for qualification).

    If you've never been convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor or above, been convicted of a crime involving "moral turpitude", or convicted of a family violence charge covered under the Lautenberg law, it's extremely easy to get a job in security in most major cities all across the country. The more "professional" the security officer is, the harder it is to get hired on with a particular company for particular jobs. For example, Silver Star Security in Fort Worth, Texas ran a newspaper ad back in 2001 for an "easy lazy job". In the article, they boasted of "get paid to watch TV". The job was low pay, and quite easy to get. Working for the Bass Brothers in Fort Worth, TX, however, is quite a bit more difficult. They have their own training, their own Q course (which makes the one you posted look like CPT Tango's Monthly Rimfire Shootout), and pays quite a bit more. The guys who work for Silver Star are (generally) "security guards" while the guys who work for the Bass Brothers are "security professionals".

    I never train as if my job depended on it... I train as if my LIFE depended on it. With that mindset, I've never had a problem with a Q course.
     
  15. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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    Guys-
    Let me remind you all that I passed the test, so I'm not whining to justify some failure of mine.
    My mention of rules and such does not mean I disagree with every rule or procedure I mention. In some cases, I'm trying to paint a clear picture of the test and the reasons people fail it.
    One thing I forgot to mention is that missing the head on a " body armor " drill results in a 5-point penalty, so if your shot misses the scoring areas entirely, you lose 10 points by missing the head shot. Also, with only 50 RDs to work with, it matters if two bullets go through the same hole and one is counted as a miss. Worst of all, FPS warns everyone not to " blow the center out of the target " because this makes it impossible to count individual bullet strikes ; so everyone tries to spread shots around while keeping them in the kill zone. ( They should patch the target a couple times if good marksmanship bothers them that much ).
    I did not say we should fire 18-shot strings. A realistic test might be...
    Load 5 rounds, draw and empty the gun with all shots on a standard sheet of paper. Perform emergency reload, come to ready position and holster.

    Load 7 rounds, fire while working up through the head until empty.

    Load 4 rounds. Take cover, kneeling behind a solid object provided. Fire all 4 in 12 seconds at 25 yards. Emergency reload and aim in again.

    Get Off The X Drill ( hard to do indoors )

    And so on...
    Hydrashok-
    One type of guard you left out is the Federal Contract Guard, who is constantly belittled and told he has no arrest powers, is expected to take abuse from Federal employees, is issued a radio that doesn't work, 15 year old obsolete ammunition, forbidden to wear body armor, issued 3 shirts and 2 pairs of trousers and is expected to look sharp and military at all times. He's ordered to sit for 8-12 hours doing nothing ( no book, no cell phone, no food, no drink, NO NOTHING. Then they decide that this person they treat like a dog must be a skilled gunfighter.
    Oh well, there I go whining again.
    Oh yes, those 50 guards were fired because government contracts require them to pass ICE Course in 2 or 3 tries or leave.
     
  16. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    Dude your arguing with two guys that really do know their stuff.

    If you don't like your job start looking for a new one.

    And on a side note: No employee can work 8 hours without time to eat and use the restroom.
     
  17. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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    Cpt -
    I never challenged the qualifications of these guys. Their expertise does not automatically mean my opinion is wrong, though.

    Most of this debate is opinion. One man's reasonable test is another's " test too tough for a beginner ". One says if you draw with your finger against the trigger, you should be sent to the showers. Another says, " Warn him the first time ".

    We disagree. So what ? I hope you guys are happy to have learned what the ICE Course is and to know about the controversy surrounding it.
    Years ago, a Federal Protective Officer was asked by a guard, how the guard was expected to sit for 8 hours without a break.
    The FPO replied, " You aren't allowed to eat or drink and if you don't eat or drink, you won't have to use the rest room. So you don't need a break. "
     
  18. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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    So I went to the range today and shot this qual. I was well with in the times allotted and found the only area that were hard for me was moving from the 7 yard line to the 15 yard line with no shooting between. I also did not like the knelling stuff. I scored a 243, 97% on the qual. I will grant you I used a B-27E target because I did not have an ICE QT target to use. I scored the target using the ICE-QT score lines. I can see how an unexperienced shooter could have a hard time with the qual. It is up and down in pace and times, the directions are not that great and you have to make several movements per section. Over all I liked it and it had a fun element to it. Thanks for posting it.
     
  19. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    We hav started a new class and coure of fire that would fail most Peace Officers, Corrections Officers or Security Guards. If an officer wants to carry a single action pistol he must be "Master" qualified for a minimum of 2 consecutive years, provide his own gun, attend a one day course that is really a 10 hour long "test". He will shoot a variety of drills to gauge his proficiency with the weapon. At the conclusion, when he is good and worn out from the Texas heat, he will shoot a course of fire that is MUCH more difficult than our regular Q course and must score 90%. Fail (89%) and you have to wait one year to re-apply for the class. Have one safety violation no matter how minor, you have wait one year to reapply.

    If you want to attend the class and expect to pass, you had better be proficient in the handling of a single action auto. Yes, this course is designed to FAIL people.
     
  20. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    Hydrashok, what was/is your job in the Military, which branch?
    When I was active, noticed that the Qualification requirements and training varied widely.
     
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