Only the police are trained to carry guns. This is the common cry of people who just despise open and concealed carry. What does it really mean? Just how trained is law enforcement? I have a rather unique insight into this. I am one of those trained LEOs, and, I gotta tell you that LEO firearms training is pitiful.
My initial basic training was 40 hours, this was classroom and range time. We spent hours going over the types of firearms, how each action works, how to clean a gun, and yes we covered basic safety. We also spent class time on the specifics of our facility's range rules and procedures as well as our qualifier.
Once we got to the shooting facility it was a slow go. We did everything unloaded as dry/cold drills. After a few hours of this we went to having two rounds in each magazine. Our drills started as close as 1 yard and went back as far as 25 yards. At no time did we have more than 6 rounds in a magazine. The entire round count for the basic training is just 500 rounds over a week. A whopping 100 rounds a day. Don’t worry, it gets worse. At no point in the training did we do anything but shoot from an upright standing position. No kneeling, no prone, nope just upright and standing. There was no movement to the training or qualification. We only ever engaged a single static target that was right in front of us. No moving targets, no non-threat targets.
Let's take a look at the minimum qualification standard for municipal officers in my state.
As required by 37 Pa. Code §203.12 (3) (i) and §203.52 (b) (1) (i), the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission is hereby publishing police firearms course requirements:
The handgun course of fire for the police firearms course that all Waiver of training applicants must successfully complete with a minimum score of 75% and all police officers must successfully complete annually in order to satisfy mandatory in-service re-certification requirements will meet the following minimum standards:
A handgun course of fire must be considered a generally accepted police qualification course consisting of at least fifty (50) rounds of duty ammunition. A minimum of ten (10%) percent of the rounds must be fired at a distance of 25 yards or greater.
The course shall include stages to determine the applicant's or officer's overall proficiency; including, but not limited to marksmanship, safety, weapon operating procedures or tactical skills (i.e., use of cover, tactical reloading), with the weapon s/he will use in the performance of their duties. Requirements for distances of firing positions are: Stages no closer than one (1) yard and at least one stage of fire from the twenty-five (25) yard line or greater distance.
So PA only requires that 5 shots be taken from 25 yards and a paltry 75% is passing. The state isn’t even specific on what targets are to be used and how targets are scored. Is this the kind of training the gun grabbers are talking about when they say it’s only the police who are qualified to carry firearms? PA also has 7 different qualification and training standards depending on which act you’re certified under (Municipal officers, Sheriffs, Constable, Fish and Boat, Game Commission, AG Agents, State and County Probation/Parole). The Pa Game Commission Game Wardens are the most trained with 176 initial hours of firearms and defensive tactics training.
Annual training isn’t much better than the basic training. My annual training is 20 hours and 300 practice rounds before a 60 round qualifier. Now, we do get to do situational training with a laser shot simulator and those sessions are valuable in the shoot don't shoot decision. Our basic and annual training should really be called “how not to shoot yourself in the foot”.
I will say, we do have an optional advanced firearms class we can take. This class does have more movement and tactical shooting in it. But, this is optional and most do not opt to take this class.
Does this sound highly trained to you? Does this sound more qualified than the average everyday CCW guy?