Police Qualification Standards, Debunking the Myth

So Joe talked about it at the beginning of the month.  I did as Ry suggested and put some extra effort into the video this time around.  It isn’t professional quality by any means though my skills are improving.  It was new unfamiliar software and there were tons of little features I wanted to play with.  I’m getting better with Adobe Premiere, next is After Effects.

So let me start off with a rehash of what we did and why we did it.

Last January a reader on Joe’s blog commented about the LAPD qualification being exceptional and that since they have to qualify every month it’s stringent.

Joe and I weren’t able to find a detailed description however she did and linked us to it. Joe then set about making stages.  You can find the stages here and here.  At this point we had everything we needed to run “a bunch of beer guzzling, uneducated hillbillies“, many of them were the same as before, through the course and see how they did.

Now Joe noted earlier that we had a 90% pass rate for those who scored above 60% and he’s right.  We did have a 90% pass rate at that score level, which is for qualifying in the dark.

Three people were just under the 70% mark, which is the LAPD pass requirement for daylight.  There however is another difference I couldn’t easily cover in the video.  You see the LAPD uses automatic turning targets for their qualification course.  For them it is impossible to have a scoring hit after the time limit is exceeded.

We didn’t have that option, instead we had to fall back on USPSA rules and penalties for shooting a fixed time course of fire.  What this means is that any shot fired after the second buzzer carries with it a penalty of -10 points.  Note the highest possible score for a single shot is 5 points.  So if you make up that shot the best you can do is be down 5 points if you hit an A.

This becomes a serious issue with single shot strings because most likely you will only fire one shot after the buzzer.  You have no extra shots to even out the debt and you just continue to decrease the score.  To give you an idea of how quickly this adds up, 5 penalties will result in a failing score.  So if you have trouble with the 2 shots in 2 seconds and are right on the edge, there’s three penalties.  Couple that with 4 misses on top of that and congrats you have failed.  It doesn’t even need to be full misses, just the aggregate non Alpha hits can add up and shove you under, especially if you’re shooting a minor caliber instead of major.

I know that at least 2 of the three failures had penalties for exceeding time limits, I would need to get the raw score sheets to see exactly how many there were for each shooter.  Though I suspect given their scores, if you change the penalty to -5 from -10, IE subtract just the best possible hit and just turn that shot into a mike, the three in the 60% region would most likely pass.

I think this quote from Tam puts it better than I could.

 I have yet to run across a standard LE qual course that couldn’t be passed by anybody who could stand flat-footed, aim at the ground, and hit it.

In twenty years of being in the firearms industry, I have had the opportunity to see LOTS of police officers shoot. Those that are good are generally good because they are also firearms enthusiasts and sport shooters in their spare time. Most cops aren’t.

In other words they are good shots in spite of being trained and certified by their department, not because of it.

Yup, that’s about how I felt about the LAPD course after I shot it.  Next on the list though is shooting the bonus course.  I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be able to do that but I’ll draw up the stages and may do it over a couple matches.  Doing it all in a single match makes for a lot of “standards” and much less puzzle solving.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

About Barron

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.
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12 Responses to Police Qualification Standards, Debunking the Myth

  1. Old NFO says:

    Good one! :-) And yes, ANYBODY who shoots regularly can pass…jc

    • Barron says:

      Honestly I don’t even think the word “regular” is required in that statement.

      I honestly think I could get a new shooter passing that course in a day.

      I could have passed it even after spending 6 years in college and having an ammunition budget of 0 dollars. Sure I shot like hell growing up but I still had to get the dust off the holster. 3 seconds, gun on target finger on trigger… really!?

      2 seconds for 2 shots from low ready!? Seriously WTF!?

  2. Rolf says:

    Looks pretty good to me, in terms of video quality, production, narration, and overall effect. as you say, maybe no pro quality, but good enough to link to next time I hear someone saying non-cops are not good enough to carry.

  3. Mike Logan says:

    If you are going to question and challenge the LAPD qualification course then you should also dress like the patrol officers do to include a duty belt, holster, dual mag pouch, dual handcuff pouch, radio holder and radio, vest, etc., not your couch potato best. The added weight and restrictive clothing do make a difference.

    • Barron says:

      More than happy to. Send me an email and I’ll give you an address to send the donated equipment. I don’t have a bottomless pit of cash, so if you want to donate for the experiment I’ll do it.

      It’s worth pointing out many were using standard duty equipment for most concealed carriers. While technically I was shooting limited, if I only loaded 10 round mags I would have been shooting production, except every set of strings was 6 rounds so that doesn’t really matter. I was wearing 4 mags, and if you’d like I can go do it and wear my buddies hard plates and flack jacket from Iraq.

      Honestly, it won’t make a difference on me passing the course and I’ll still do it from the holster.

    • BobG says:

      “The added weight and restrictive clothing do make a difference.”

      That could be true; a lot of the police I’ve seen have a lot of weight around their middles and tight shirts…

    • Tam says:

      Mike Logan,

      Sell that $#!+ to people who don’t know shooting. I’ve been on the line at plenty of classes and matches with guys running their duty gear.

      At the last open enrollment course, IDPA/USPSA/steel/bowling pin match you attended, how many guys were running duty gear?

  4. Pingback: LAPD Combat Qualification | Shall Not Be Questioned

  5. Cargosquid says:

    When was the last time that cops had to QUALIFY in duty gear, including body armor? Is that actually the requirement?

    • Barron says:

      The only specific statement I saw which we violated was “no race holsters”. We also shot from the holster on the other 3 parts that they don’t.

      I do find it kind of entertaining as I go back through the AR15.com thread and a bunch of people seem to think that we had a bunch of A class shooters out there for this. Never mind the fact that the majority are Unrated, only about 10 of us are actually regulars, and even then only about 6 are above a C rating. Welcome to the world of a the small local match in a rural area.

  6. Lyle says:

    Good job, Barron.

    So the anti’s argument is that police are typically too constricted to do their job properly then? Hmm. That’s a defense of police? Methinks they may want to re-examine their line of reasoning.