A local retired law enforcement officer (LEO) recently asked me to assist him with a LEOSA requalification to demonstrate that he met his former California agency’s qualification standards. At the range, he provided me with a copy of the prescribed course of fire on his former agency’s letterhead.
We set up the target and I ran him through the qualification course with his Glock 9mm and his S&W .38 Special J-frame revolver. He scored 100% with his Glock and 86% (passing) with his snubbie.
I asked him about the course of fire and he assured me that it was the current standard for his former agency and that the agency had used this qualification standard when he had been an active LEO.
I was so impressed with the qualification standard’s complexity and difficulty that I asked the retired LEO to witness me shooting the qualification—blindfolded. I did it blindfolded to ensure that there was no question about me being able to see the target in any way. I scored a 100% on the qualification.
The qualification course of fire was as follows:
-- 1-yard line: 5 shots, two strings of fire. String 1: draw and fire 3 shots with the primary hand only within 6 seconds. String 2: draw and fire 2 shots with the primary hand only within 6 seconds.
-- 3-yard line: 5 shots, one string of fire. Draw and fire 3 shots with the primary hand only, switch the pistol to the other hand and fire 2 shots using only that hand within 8 seconds.
-- 5-yard line: 5 shots, one string of fire. Draw and fire 2 shots with the primary hand only, switch the pistol to the other hand and fire 3 shots using only that hand within 8 seconds.
If you objectively look at this course of fire it would seem that it would be impossible to fail. The retired LEO assured that that he had in fact seen colleagues in his former agency fail.
When we compare this course of fire to the standards for the Texas License to Carry (LTC) test the differences are stark. The Texas LTC qualification requires 50 rounds at distances of 3, 7, and 15 yards.
My experience with 1000+ LTC applicants is that very few fail the Texas LTC qualification. I have literally had students take a brand new pistol out of its box, remove the tags, and qualify; even though that was the first time they had ever touched a pistol in their life.
Many police officers are competent with their sidearms and some maintain their skills through competition and practice. Others, like people in many professions, are satisfied with the minimum standard. Although the California agency in question may have budgetary or other reasons for this simplistic qualification, I cannot help but think the agency is doing its officers and the public they serve a disservice.
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