Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The FBI Qualification with a Five Shot Revolver?

I routinely carry a S&W Model 342 .38 Special revolver in a pocket holster when I am at home and not otherwise armed. 

The Model 342 is a J-frame revolver with a 2-inch barrel similar in design to the many other variations of the Model 36. This pistol has an enclosed hammer and is double action only with fixed sights.

Just for the sake of doing it, my friend Steve and I decided to shoot the 2019 FBI qualification with our J-frame revolvers. We started with the pistol in a pocket, hand on the grip of the pistol.

The 2019 version of the FBI pistol qualification course of fire is as follows:

3 yards

- Draw and fire 3 rounds strong hand only, switch hands and fire 3 rounds support hand only, all in 6 seconds

5 yards

- Draw and fire 3 rounds in 3 seconds

- From the Ready, fire 3 rounds in 2 seconds

- From the Ready, fire 6 rounds in 4 seconds

7 yards

- Draw and fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds

- From the Ready, fire 4 rounds, conduct an empty gun reload, and fire 4 more rounds, all in 8 seconds

- From the Ready, fire 5 rounds in 4 seconds

15 yards

- Draw and fire 3 rounds in 6 seconds

- From the Ready, fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds

25 yards

- Draw and fire 4 rounds from Standing, drop to a Kneeling Position and fire 4 more rounds from Kneeling, all in 20 seconds.

Scoring: 50 rounds, two points per round for a total of 100 points possible; 90 or above is a pass for FBI firearms instructors. 


Obviously with a five shot revolver we could not do the six shots in one string at the 3-yard line. We fired 3 shots in 2 seconds, reloaded, at the second start signal passed the pistol to the support hand and fired the additional 3 shots in 3 seconds. We did the same thing for the 5-yard string firing two, 3-shot sequences in less than 2 seconds each.

I fumbled a bit on the first run and did not make the 8-second time limit for the 7-yard string of four – reload – four in eight seconds. I also discovered that the pistol was printing low and left at 25 yards with the ammunition I was using. My score (not counting any time penalty) was an 88. The circled round is a miss. According to Tom Givens, all shots must be inside the bottle to count as hits.

On the second run I borrowed Steve’s speed loader and made the 7-yard reload time. With fixed sights you get what you get, so I also adjusted my 25-yard aiming point and scored a 92. 

This light little pistol and its siblings have served and protected many police officers and private citizens alike for decades. I generally don’t carry it when I go out in public anymore in favor of my compact SIG P320. Not that it would not serve for most potential incidents; however, I prefer a larger pistol with greater ammunition capacity given the buffoonery that is going on now days. 

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