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Thread: N.R.A. Handgun Instructor School...running commentary

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    N.R.A. Handgun Instructor School...running commentary

    Hey all - I'm reallly tired and a bit unhappy with my performance. I told the CO guys I would share this week of my current course, held in Highlands Ranch.

    Our class of 25 is full, with cops from as far as Wyoming and Iowa. Most are local. Our instructors are both named Mark...one from Prescott, AZ PD and one from the Sacramento, CA area. Both are retired LE. AZ mark is the most experienced and has been through the Gunsite Ranch three times. He's also a patrol rifle and sniper rifle instructor. CA Mark is lucky to be alive, after being taken out by a DUI driver. CA Mark has only been teaching (for NRA) for the last 18 months.

    We had classroom session for most of the day, from a textbook the size of a moderate city's phone book. I have to remember that we're not here to learn to shoot. We're here to learn to coach and teach others how to fight to win, while stressing SAFETY, at all times.

    I'm probably the oldest active police guy in school, at age 56. Everyone else seems like they just got out of high school. I feel my age when doing some of the drills. One young guy is already an NRA certified instructor, buut is going through the school, again, with a revolver. He's the one wheelgun in out class. Glocks and 1911's rule the day, with a couple of Sigs, and my Baretta 92FS standing alone.

    On the firing line this afternoon, we probably put about 50-60 rounds downrange. The afternoon was devoted to recovering from misfeeds, failures to fire, tactical and combat reloads, field-stripping and also doing it one-handed with our weak hands. I had never done any of those drills left-handed. Frustration abounded amongst us all. I'm beat, but look forward to tomorrow.
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    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

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    I am assuming this is the LE Handgun Instructor class, and not the one to teach you guys how to teach the CCW, First Steps, etc classes? Sounds like some intense drills!
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    I've heard nothing but good things about Mark F. I graduated high school in a town near Prescott and later worked a civilian job with a LE agency after I left the Marines. He has his own company (which you know since it's running your class ) Consider yourself a lucky man. I'd give my juevo izquierdo to take his classes.

    Have fun with that boat anchor of yours!

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    Good luck buddy, sounds like fun. I did frontsights pistol course last year, tell you the truth by the end of the week I did terrible as I was exhausted. But learnt a lot of good stuff in the middle!!

    Keep us filled in!
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    DAY TWO - My mind is a blank about the morning classroom...pretty sure it was about the NRA history, membership benefits, range building resources, and lesson plan creation.

    Off to the range where we did "Safety Circle & Sewell drills"...how to position our handguns in a non-offensive and more importantly SAFE manner, while "friends and family" walk in front of our weapon, then we might have to suddenly point it at a bad guy. There we were, 25 of us, walking circles around each other with loaded weapons. Really an out-of-the box experience.

    We moved on to challenges: Drawing our wepons and shouting "Police, don't move!" or "Police, drop the weapon" sometimes our coach said the bad guy complied and we then replaced our gun in our holster, sometimes our coach said he refused, so we fired.

    We did timed touble taps and timed draw with double taps. Did pretty well for a guy with a Safariland triple retention holster and a Baretta with a long trigger pull on it.

    We then went on to shooting and moving drills, followed by transition to our weak/support/non-dominant hands. Then there was lots of one-handed shooting....while moving....and with weak hands....and challenging...,keep in mind our weapons were constantly loaded with dummy ammo among our live rounds, so as to cause us to clear the problem and do it quickly.

    I'm still very tired and sunburned but I felt as though I had a very good day on the range. Compared to a couple of the local SWAT guys, I kicked butt. Chances are they will beat me out tomorrow.

    I'm not the oldest in the class, BTW, but the 60 year-old is a GLOCK company representative who does the same stuff for a living. He's just required to take other courses as a part of his employment and instructor certification. He was incredibly fast drawing and firing double taps. He beat all the active duty cops. He's retired LE.

    Tomorrow we have a long day in store for us...classroom at 8 am, with shooting until way after the sun goes down, so we can do some night shooting.
    Last edited by Kieth M.; 04-10-2012 at 10:31 PM.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Keith,

    Let me know how the Wheel Gunner is doing. I have switched to a 627 2 5/8 8shot 357. Easy qualify, non-of the Rack/Tap/Slap stuff. Just pull the trigger until you go click. With Moon Clips I was reloading faster than some of the semi-autos with mags.
    "Don't make perfect the enemy of good."

    There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.

    "Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."

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    you have my permission to punch my rookie Gary in the face.

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    Day three - After about an hour's classroom rehash of yesterday's activities, my wife called to let me know she was taking our 14 y/o daughter to the E/R. Long story short, a migraine headache knocked our girl down and she was experiencing some facial paralysis on her right side. She's was drugged and the pain went away. The MRI and MRA (A for angio - arterial) took place. I stayed around to await the results. Bottom line, she's fine...not MS, no stroke, no Bell's Palsy, no drain bamage. She will now need to keep a migraine diary to help figure out what her triggers are.

    I returned to class a little after they had finished lunch and were on the range. We fired at multiple targets (three bad guys) employing the "boarding house method" of shot placement, that means that "everybody, in no particular order, got one right away and those who needed more got some after everyone had a share". Again, there was lots of lateral movement. Some of my fellow students are cheating and not placing dummy rounds in their weapons, so they never have to clear misfeeds, etc.

    We then returned to the classroom for techniques of teaching. When they broke for dinner I stayed behind to get caught up on what I had missed. I used a inert pistol to simulate "slicing the pie" and for the three kneeling positions.

    After dinner we were lectured on flashlight and weapon-mounted light techniques. It was soon dark enough to go to the range and do some night firing. While preparing for the night shoot, I managed to drop my iPhone and shatter the glass cover (dang it!). We took turns coaching and shooting. We shot in absolute darkness, using our glowing night sights (if so equipped) and our only muzzle blast illuminating the targets.

    We then took turns utilizing flashight and weapon techniques, firing dry at first, then doing live fire. We had to switch to our weak hands. It was a good night exercise.

    This is our hump day...three down, two to go!

    Above all, I'm glad my daughter is okay. I'm lucky, the range was 15 minutes from the hospital. Remember, we have students from Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming and Iowa...I can't imagine if one of their kids had the same thing happen.
    Last edited by Kieth M.; 04-12-2012 at 12:57 AM.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    [QUOTE=IAM Rand;3031611]Keith,

    Let me know how the Wheel Gunner is doing.QUOTE]

    I have not been near him, but hear he's doing just fine.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieth M. View Post
    I'm probably the oldest active police guy in school, at age 56. Everyone else seems like they just got out of high school.
    But you did take similar courses during your career? I was just wondering.

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    you have my permission to punch my rookie Gary in the face.

    Best post ever, did you attend my PTO(FTO) course too? I suggested this as a regular discipline method, but it was strangely rejected. Although my last rookie would hate when my wife packed chilli for me, if he messed up I wouldn't let him roll down the windows....
    "Well, I never had an invisible friend when I was young, but I'm sure that if I did, it would be Constable Smiley."

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    DAY FOUR - Started with classes on LIABILITY issues in regards to training (document, document, and document some more) and a class on off-duty holsters. Have to say I'm very disappointed, with myself, in one way. I've pretty much been a police chief "in name only" at times. Although I have sought and obtained many training opportunities for my officers, I have been lax in getting them any firearms training. This is a situation I need to resolve SOON.

    Range time was a mix of drills on shooting from walking past, or being approached from behind by an armed suspect. Intsense drills on engaging in a gunfight from three feet away (close quarters drill).

    That 60 y/o guy I mentioned? His name is Dennis Tueller (Salt Lake City PD Retired), now working for Glock. Dennis is the father of the "21 feet" theory. That's the theory which shows that an attacker armed with a bladed weapon/blunt object can stab/beat a police officer with a holstered weapon before the officer can pull a weapon and fire. Sure enough, we performed the 'Tueller Drill' where we started to run behind the shooter a distance of 21 feet before the shooter could draw, fire, and hit the targer 21 feet away. Even this old guy beat the time....running the 21 feet before the officer on the firing line hit the target. I think we all did it.

    Many of my fellow LAPD members, and other police friends will not believe what we did last: Performed contact hits with our semi-autos. Remember how we were instructed that trying to make a contact shot to an attacker might not succeed due to the slide being forced back. We were instructed to pull backwards on the grip, and HOLD ONTO THE SLIDE WHILE PUSHING IT FORWARD, and fire. I was absolutely incredulous. But I did it and it worked without any injury, or possibility of injury to the shooter.

    We finished up with a quick student presentation on revolvers, then a dozen of us met for dinner. Again, had a very good day on the range. Tomorrow is the last day.

    EDITED TO ADD: Please do not try any of this stuff w/o instruction, please.
    Last edited by Kieth M.; 04-13-2012 at 08:47 AM.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Che View Post
    But you did take similar courses during your career? I was just wondering.
    Never, ever llike this one. And remember, it's not about making me a better shooter...it's about me learning to teach other how to prevail in an armed confrontation.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Dennis taught my armorer course. He's a great guy and was very humble. I'm not sure if anyone else in my class knew what he is famous for, but I did.

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    DAY FIVE (the finale!) - We started the day at the range, shooting the NRA 20 round qualification course. 15 yards is their max distance. It's a combo of drawing, firing, one-hand and weak hand drills. I failed the first time out, although all my hits were where they needed to be, I had fired 21 rounds instead of 20. I was not alone, about half of the 25 were required to shoot again. Round two was no problem for me. Five guys had to shoot a third relay at lunch. All 25 of us passed.

    Next up was one-on-one shooting drills, where we drew against our partners shooting at the same target. One was the good guy, who could only draw and fire after the bad guy went for his gun.

    The final hour at the range was devoted to off-duty guns and carrying systems. Making sure we could shoot with whatever we carried off-duty. Badges and ID's needed to be displayed, either while engaging the bad guy, or immediately afterward. We also had to follow the directions of the Rangemaster when he played the role of a responding on-duty officer arriving at the scene of our shooting.

    Off to lunch the rest of us went, while the remainng five had to shoot the qualification make-up.

    Upon the return from lunch we knocked out the remainder of the student presentations on various firearms. The after a quick review of some main points, we took on our written test. 50 questions...T/F and multiple choice. Everyone passed.

    Lastly was the awarding of our certificates and a final word from our instructors. Mark F. from AZ talked about a friend of his who was shot and killed just days after graduating from the academy and getting engaged. Mark swore he would not allow that to happen, again, if he had a chance to make a difference in someone's training. That's why he's a shooting instructor.

    Remember on day four where I talked about my feelings that I haven't done enough for my officers in regards to the shooting training that means they might not get home to their families and friends. That's why I went. I have not mentioned this so far, but my town did not pay my way for this training. This course (over $500) was on my own dime. I want to do the same for someone else. teach them the skills to stay alive if they get that call that leads them into harms way.

    My thanks to Mrs. M. for taking on the extra work at home and as limo driver, this week, while I trained. Thanks, Kathi, I hope I never have to come home and tell you "I lost one", because I hadn't done enough to prepare them for the street.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Thanks for sharing your experience Keith and glad your daughter is ok. The courses do get expensive when you're paying out of pocket. I know that the NRA LE side does offer some of their courses for free and they can be found on the NRA website. Stay safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieth M. View Post
    The final hour at the range was devoted to off-duty guns and carrying systems. Making sure we could shoot with whatever we carried off-duty. Badges and ID's needed to be displayed, either while engaging the bad guy, or immediately afterward. We also had to follow the directions of the Rangemaster when he played the role of a responding on-duty officer arriving at the scene of our shooting.
    Off duty needs to be covered more often.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and stay safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kgov02 View Post
    Thanks for sharing your experience Keith and glad your daughter is ok. The courses do get expensive when you're paying out of pocket. I know that the NRA LE side does offer some of their courses for free and they can be found on the NRA website. Stay safe.
    The Instructor Development School website was a bit misleading to me:

    http://www.nrahq.org/law/training/instructorschools.asp

    All the NRA courses cost money, $525 per course, what is sometime free is the range fees to the host agency. It was $50 to Highlands Ranch Public Safety Training Institute.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieth M. View Post
    The Instructor Development School website was a bit misleading to me:

    http://www.nrahq.org/law/training/instructorschools.asp

    All the NRA courses cost money, $525 per course, what is sometime free is the range fees to the host agency. It was $50 to Highlands Ranch Public Safety Training Institute.
    I knew i'd seen it somewhere. The only downside is all the courses are located in Virginia but they offer more than just NRA courses. Here's the link: http://www.nrahq.org/law/training/armorerschools.asp

    Also IALEFI does a great job and they keep the costs low.

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    Thanks for the narrative. I am about to do a qualification class for our department and it has given me some new ideas to cover. Qualification is not "training" per se, but I can always bring up new topics to make the class a little more interesting.
    Ut humiliter opinor

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddurkof View Post
    Qualification is not "training".
    That is one of the points they make, and one I failed to mention in my narrative.

    Consider, too, adding a "battlefield pick up" drill, where they shoot a few rounds with their own weapon, then move to another location and return fire from a bad guy's or downed security officers weapon.
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    The NRALE instructor schools are basic but a good starting foundation for a new instructor. They are widely recognized and have some good benefits as an NRA member. Also the LE side of things are much better than the civilian instructor certifications. On the downside they expire every 3 years and you need to submit documentation for ongoing training hours and pony up the money for the re-cert (more for multiple certs) or attend another NRALE course. Also maintaining NRA membership is a must. This is hard for some guys who need to pay for their own courses, with travel, ammo etc... I am lucky that my agency pays for this so I go to a new course to get all my certs updated. On the downside when you run out of different courses, you start repeating the old course and quite frankly it gets boring. I always suggest that once someone goes through an NRALE course, that they should look to other advanced instructor training, preferably from places that have no expiration on their certs.

    On the plus side traveling and doing instructor courses is a good tax write off.
    The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieth M. View Post
    Consider, too, adding a "battlefield pick up" drill, where they shoot a few rounds with their own weapon, then move to another location and return fire from a bad guy's or downed security officers weapon.
    I think that is a bad ideal. Bad guys stick whatever fits into guns. For example 9mm rounds in .40 caliber guns and in .38 cylinders. Some security guards are not much brighter either. I was on a burglary call once and the guard had a BB gun in his holster. You should go to "your" second handgun before anything else.

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    After the Indian police failed to pick up weapons which would have given them an edge in the Mumbai massacre, the battlefield pick up drill is catching on. Out here, in CO, many folks own and CCW better or equal to cops!
    "Many times, I have thoughts and feelings which can only be expressed through dance!" - Bender, Futurama

    "Ranking right up there with 'No good deed goes unpunished' are:

    'Sooner or later, we just might outlive our usefulness to others' and...

    'Sometimes it's very possible to push the most loving and loyal person, beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t'"
    - Yours truly

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    Good read man...thanks for sharing!

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