Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Firearms Week

Well, three weeks in and things are definitely starting to get interesting. This week A Squad (my squad) spent all week in Firearms Training while B Squad was in Defensive Tactics. This is how every day's schedule looked:

Monday 01/19/09 - Friday 01/23/09
0700-0800 Breakfast
0800-1150 Shooting Range
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1650 Shooting Range
1700-1800 Dinner

Monday morning we spent the morning inside handling our pistols, learning the intricate parts of taking one apart, and then proceeded to undergo some "dry fire" drills. We learned to shoot from various positions including "officer down" ones where we may be on the ground (or other compromising positions). In the afternoon (after a delicious salad, of course) we went out into the wonderful weather... mind you it only got above freezing on Thursday... and began to shoot. Some of us had some gun experience but others had never even touched a weapon until now; regardless, we all shot fairly well from the three yard range. It's not too hard, of course. We also shot from the ten and fifteen yard points as well. We then shot a couple of rounds from the twenty-five yard line before heading in for the day.

Tuesday we focused more on our distance shooting with focus on the twenty-five and fifty yard lines. I had never shot at the fifty yard mark so I was fairly impressed that I shot as well as I did (nonetheless his the target). We were then introduced a bit to the concept of using cover for support at such distances which also made a big difference. In the afternoon we ran through the qualification course a few times with none of the time limits applied just to get a feel for it. The entire course is worth 240 points I was shooting 227-234 all day. Seeing as expert is 228 and above I can't say I was too upset.

Wednesday we were introduced to shotgun shooting (and later qualified on the ten point course, where less than 80% was a fail). This was fairly quick but plenty fun - I hadn't had much shotgun experience prior to coming to ILEA so I did miss a couple of times at the bigger distances. One of my squad mates, Joe from Alexandria PD, happens to be fairly proficient with a shotgun... so after a bit of coaxing (and some boasting of his own) I cleaned up my act and shot a perfect score on my qualification. Apparently, Joe could hit a deer from a half-mile away with a shotgun; I don't think that's physically possible, but I'll take his word for it. The rest of the afternoon we re-shot the pistol course and I was shooting above 228 all day. Expert seemed pretty plausible at this point. The nasty food tonight, which I tried, was spaghetti - it tasted a lot like what I imagine soap and tomato paste mixed together would taste like. We ordered Chinese again. The delivery driver must be loving me and the roommates.

Thursday morning we warmed up a bit (the weather finally got decent) and we started shooting pretty well. I had been shooting 240s all morning so I was pretty stoked. In the afternoon we ran our three qualifications rounds [where the average of the scores was our final] and most of us seemed to choke up a bit. I shot a 230, 220, and a 222 - not quite the Expert I was hoping to be. I don't remember most of the day because I was pretty steamed about everything. I do remember my roommate Scott, from Madison PD, complaining about how beat up he was from Defensive Tactics. One look at his arm and me and Keith, my roommate from Martin County, decided to stop making fun of him - bruises, cuts, and bite marks as far as we could see up his arm and into his chest. Needless to say, we weren't thrilled to be in his shoes.

Friday, which happened to be a pretty awesome day, was more for fun than anything else. In the morning half of us shot inside in low-light situations: using flashlights, dim lighting, and flashing squad car lights we got to shoot at moving targets. I felt pretty good putting most of my shots into the center of the target (and putting a few in the eye sockets) which relieved the stress from my horrible shooting the earlier day. We also used the FATS system for a while, but I chose to participate less seeing as most of the guys don't have the luxury of using a FATS system as often as I do. In the afternoon we ran drills at the outdoor range. Shooting backwards, under cover, over cover, and one handed shooting was pretty fun. The best part was... we got out an hour early!

That's it for this week! I would have updated a bit earlier but Defensive Tactics kind of kicked my butt yesterday. Trust me, next weeks blog will be filled with plenty of griping!