Tactical Patrol Rifle, WSLEFIA Conference


Tactical Patrol Rifle, WSLEFIA Conference

I spent last week out on the range with instructors from around Washington State and the surrounding region at the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor’s Association Conference. The conference is held on the range, and is an annual regional get together for agency law enforcement instructors. All of the instructors I met were dedicated and hard working, and it was a great experience training them.

I was asked to teach Tactical Patrol Rifle at the conference. I started with a quick review of the basics, just to make sure everyone was on the same page. Safety is the most important aspect of any weapons training program.  That is where we started. Some people are under the misguided impression that tactical training is not safe and that tactical training cannot be safe. Tactical training does have a higher inherently dangerous activity factor.  I work very hard at making sure everyone goes home in the same condition they showed up.

Sight picture, targeting, zero offset, basic weapon handling procedures, hot and cold zones summed up the admin portion… and then we were onto the fun part. Big kid rules apply.  It was a hot range, come ready to rock and roll. You have a jam, malfunction, etc, you fix it and you finish the fight. Oh, and one more thing, in the real world every round counts, so same thing goes here. Weapons start at the low ready until you are ready to fire, then the weapon is raised, selector moved to fire, and rounds placed down range. Once you are finished firing, lower your muzzle, scan and cover until given other orders.

All of the targets were photo targets of bad guys presenting some form of threat. Deal with what you see, just like the real world. Most of the targets I chose also had innocents and hostages in them, just to keep things real and interesting, bad guys never choose victim free zones.

Initial firing sequence was a zero check from 3 yards. I know, 3 yards, how can you miss from there, right? Sure. We followed that up with recoil management drills with controlled pairs, then left and right turning controlled pairs, all at 3 yards. Once people had that tuned up, we moved onto shooting while on the move. Approximately one third of the personnel in attendance were trained and experienced in this; the majority was not. A simple demonstration and explanation of the what and the why. Then with coaching, students started doing it. We moved back to the 15 yard line and started with moving direct to threat, because that drill is simpler and allows people that are new to it to tune in their movement and groups fairly easily. No rush, no race, just smooth and steady.

We then ran 45 degree lateral movement in both directions from the 15 yard line. After the students had that dialed in, we started pushing the stress factor just slightly, trying for that transition from the speed of training to the speed of a gunfight. This is where things typically get interesting, and these sessions proved to be no different. Once they had that down, we ran the same drill in both directions at 30 degrees, continuing to push for accuracy and speed. 30 degrees is much easier to run than 45 degrees, and they continued to pick up the pace as they maintained effective accuracy.

Static shooting for precision shot placement after moving up quickly on the threat was also covered, and at this point it was the students discretion how to shoot, when to shoot, and how much to shoot. The last session of the conference I setup a simple 3 target course, two courses side by side with opposing targets at 5, 15, and 25 yards. A vehicle was placed at the cold line for cover, and every run was 2 responders and 2 safeties moving at their own discretion and speed. This portion stress reaction was the goal, and the safety’s job was to both maintain safety on the course, and keep the stress and response notched up as far as possible. The shooters and the safeties all did an excellent job.

The biggest point that I try to drive home in my training is realism. We have to train how we fight, or we will fight how we were improperly trained. Training scars never go away. It was great working with the regional law enforcement instructors and range staff. I had a great time, and I hope they all took something useful home that they can pass on to their officers.

Jeff Pierce is LET’s Tactical Contributor. He has 12 years direct law enforcement, military, and emergency response experience including tactical operations, counter terrorism, WMD and critical incident response; 11 years direct Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Instruction and Curriculum Development experience; and 6 years direct Intelligence and Anti Terrorism experience. Jeff served extensively as a federal tactical officer including entry team, precision marksman team, team leader, team commander, range master ,and lead instructor. He has trained all levels of civilian, military, and law enforcement personnel since 2005. Jeff founded Double Diamond Tactical in 2006 to further help responders build critical use of force skills in a controlled training environment.

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