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Shooting the LAPD Pistol Qual Course


I stumbled across this the other day and thought it was an interesting read...I too have encountered people who assume police officers must be extremely well trained with their firearms, just as many people assume veterans (at least from certain MOS') must be very proficient. This of course isn't necessarily true. I think most people in the profession of arms would agree that every profession - LEO, soldier, armed citizen, whatever - have both types of 'those guy' in their ranks.

There are 'those guys' who take their training extremely seriously and put in much of their own time and treasure into improving themselves. Unfortunately those guys are frequently outnumbered by 'those other guys', who do the absolute minimum required to remain qualified. 'Those other guys' have many different motivations (laziness, disinterest, procrastination), but they're certainly not the guys I'd want going to rescue my family (or watching my back in a fight). Naturally it's the ones who fall somewhere in the middle who are the greatest in number.

In any case, many courses of fire -  like this one from LAPD - are far less challenging than the layman might expect, as this author discovered. Note: I know full well the course of fire for any agency is a departmental issue, and I am not slinging mud at the LAPD or its officers. I've been on the range with several LAPD officers and found myself sorely wanting. That doesn't change the reality of the basic qual course:


"...someone was making the age-old argument that police officers, simply because of their training, were the only ones who should be allowed to carry guns.  One supposed proof of this conceit was the "qualifying course" that a cop has to pass in order to carry a weapon while on duty.

The argument suggested that those of us who aren't cops, who don't have their training, couldn't pass such a qualifying course, and therefore shouldn't be allowed to carry guns.

So we put it to the test.

I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the LAPD course.  We didn't have access to turning targets, for one.  And we don't have any of the other job related stresses that cops all have, especially those who serve in LA.

But the timing is accurate, and the difficulty is a reasonable equivalent.

The First Stage

  • PHASE ONE - 12 rounds in 25 seconds on the 7 yard line. Start with the weapon holstered, snapped, and both hands down by your side. When the targets turn, draw and fire 2 rounds at the right body, 2 rounds at the left body, 1 round at the left head, and 1 round at the right head. Perform an in battery speed reload with the 5 round magazine and repeat the sequence; 2 right, 2 left, left head, right head. When the phase is completed, perform an out of battery speed reload with the second 7 round magazine, decock and holster. Load two magazines, one with 6 rounds and one with 5 rounds, then place them in the magazine pouches.
This is a bit comic.  As I didn't have internet access at the range, I'd made some notes about the stages and times to take with me.  I'm dyslexic, and prone to transpose numbers.  Shooters have 25 seconds to complete the first sequence of shots and reloads.  I had written down 12 seconds. ...

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