Another good article from Kevin Creighton. It’s worth nothing that every branch of the armed forces in our Department of Defense has official, regulatory guidance on conducting competitive shooting for service personnel and this formal, written policy is that such activity is a beneficial form of training. Most police departments do as well. In addition, Title 36 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 407 spells out the legal requirements for conduct of marksmanship and shooting competition. Conduct of shooting competition such as the National Matches and Small Arms Firing School are mandated by Federal law.
The problem is illiteracy, specifically, personnel (especially those in positions of authority) not realizing what the regulations actually say and failing to implement published requirements.
A Culture of Good Marksmanship Makes for a Good Police Force
by Kevin Creighton
It’s difficult to imagine that police recruits who have never touched a gun until their first day on the training range can step up and deliver the shot when needed. Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York have turned their backs on America’s rich tradition of civilian marksmanship, and it’s beginning to affect the safety of their citizenry. I just can’t imagine that 30-plus years of trying to remove guns from the hands of potential police recruits can have a positive effect on the quality of the recruits walking onto the range. Good marksmen are made, not born, and a few days of gun safety training and pistol qualification will not make up for coming of age in the culture of safe, responsible (and fun!) gun ownership enjoyed by the rest of America.
There’s a common saying in the firearms training community that in a gun battle, “you won’t rise to the occasion, you will sink to your lowest level of training.” If the police in Los Angeles are trained to a standard that 91 percent of the “civilians” at a practical shooting match can achieve, what does this say for the quality of LAPD officers who have never touched a gun before they joined the force? I’m positive there are officers on the LAPD and other departments who are well-trained marksmen because I’ve shot alongside them at major practical shooting matches. The ones who can shoot, can shoot very well, but they are the exception, not the rule.
This isn’t the first time in our nation’s history that a lack of a trained, experienced civilians has affected the safety of the general public. The National Rifle Association was founded because of poor accuracy of Union riflemen in the Civil War due to an unfamiliarity with firearms. If we want our police to be better shots, they need make up for lost time and start training with firearms before they join the police force. After all, good marksmen are made, not born.