“Any NCO with the FM”

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From Mike Lewis

Here’s the problem as I see it. The primary role of the NCO is training Soldiers, yet NCOs in general are lacking. This isn’t their fault because one can’t effectively teach what one was never taught. I didn’t get to attend MMTC before retiring and it was still a pilot then, but 200 NCOs a year doesn’t get the Army healthy.

Drill Sergeants come from all over the Army. They get marksmanship in DS school, but at what level and from whom? How much time out of those few weeks is dedicated to learning things never previously learned in any formal training environment before coaching and diagnosing problem shooters, or is it just the bare basics? I say this because a vast number in the formation never got any formal instruction in weapons employment after BCT and much of the stuff floating around is “I learned this from my buddy in Group or Regiment” while not giving context and/or getting it wrong.

This leads to what we see here. It won’t get fixed until the Army takes small arms training seriously and quits collectively lying with green blocks on Command and Staff slides then never progressing beyond baseline skills for qual.

I’m a Responsible Gun Owner? Seriously?


The description given in the article below is not uncommon and it often applies to military, law enforcement, and hunters as well.

While living in San Antonio, I was a TCOLE (formerly TCLEOSE) certified instructor and worked part-time at the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy. As a Texas resident, I took the TxDPS – License to Carry course described below. While living in Wisconsin, I was certified by the state Department of Natural Resources as a Wisconsin Hunter Education instructor and taught classes. I’ve been in the U.S. Army in various capacities for a quarter century and with the US Army Reserve Marksmanship Training and Competitive Program since 2004.

I’ve been fortunate to have been involved with many skilled people in all of these experiences but that was largely due to my seeking them out and knowing what to look for. I already had higher-level shooting experience via organized competition and held Classifications from national-level organizations before doing any of this. The then-director of the DNR Hunter’s Ed program attended HunterShooter events I held. I applied for that Academy after having a fellow Shooting Team member speak well of the training director and his program. My Texas LTC course was taught by a fellow instructor and USAR Shooting Team member. I specifically took the class from him to avoid the clown show described below.

Gun owners are often their own worst enemy. The level of incompetence described here is not uncommon. Military, law enforcement, hunters, and concealed carry people are often at novice levels. Mandatory qualification levels are only useful if they’re difficult enough to assess useful skill. That means people incapable of displaying minimal useful skill must be failed. The other approach is for the program to intend to pass everyone. This means standards are adjusted down until everyone can. This article describes the results of that.

Yale Police Protest Over Firearms Test


Yale Police Protest Over Firearms Test
More than 70 police officers at Yale University are protesting a new policy that allows them to be fired if they don’t pass a firearms test in 30 working days after having failed it twice.

How difficult is this test, really? The article doesn’t mention, but it’s almost certainly the rudimentary levels found throughout law enforcement. In one formal study, it was found there is a tiny 13% difference in skill between complete novices that had never fired a handgun and academy-trained police officers. Academy-trained police officers are still novices, and these police officers at Yale University are protesting being held accountable for this 13% improvement because they can’t do it, or the academy that graduated them couldn’t teach them to do so, or both.

“Training” at this level is just an introduction to concepts. Passing such a qualification is merely routine hygiene that introductory concepts have been retained at a level 13% above complete novices, not training.

Note for all instructors: This is why maintaining reasonable but challenging standards coupled with semi-regular competition is important. It prevents underskilled “instructors” from working with recruits by revealing with numbers how unskilled they actually are. It puts a performance goal that indicates when low performance is happening and identifies those that are doing better and best. Encouraging and hosting competitive events creates a culture that reinforces skill development for recognizing and rewarding those that do well, which identifies potential candidates to help teach the others.

These police officers at Yale University are protesting for the “right” to remain underskilled and to never find better qualified firearms instruction at their academy.

Qualified to teach Tactical Training: NRA CCW


The following video is a promotional and demonstration video of a small arms instructor. The NRA and the state of South Carolina recognizes this instructor with certifying paperwork, which is more official documentation than some military and police small arms instructors may have.

Some maintain that only taking formal instruction is valid training while competition should be avoided as it is not training (ignoring how dictionaries actually define the word training) and that it leads to bad habits/ training scars. So you should only take a class from a certified instructor to avoid bad habits.

Only Police and Military are Qualified to Carry Guns

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This one from John Tate.

Polícia Militar are a type of preventive state police in every state of Brazil. The Military Police units, which have their own formations, rules and uniforms depending on the state, are responsible for maintaining public order across the country including the Federal District and its capital, Brasília. Deployed solely to act as a deterrent against the commission of crime, units do not conduct criminal investigations. Detective work, forensics and prosecutions are undertaken by a state’s Civil Police.

In Brazil, all firearms are required to be registered with the minimum age for gun ownership being 25. It is illegal to carry a gun outside a residence, and a special permit is granted to certain groups, such as law enforcement officers. To legally own a gun, an owner must hold a gun license, which costs BRL R$1000, and the owner must pay a fee every three years to register the gun, currently at BRL R$85.

– Wikipedia

Here’s a video segment of Polícia Militar, one of those special-permit groups, on the range. You’ll need to be signed in to a Facebook account to see this.


Good thing this officer never attended competition shooting events. Wouldn’t want to develop any bad habits or training scars!

Qualified to Teach Tactical Training: SEALs

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All good instructors and coaches must be serious students of their craft and this requires demonstrated performance at higher than novice levels. Sadly, within the firearms world this higher level performance is rarely required or found outside of organized competitive shooting. Regardless of the instructor or coaches background (claimed or real), this is reason enough to demand some sort of reasonable level of success in something like competitive shooting, if only to demonstrate the person is capable of doing more than merely qualify.

If you’re foolish enough to believe a military or police service record is enough, watch this video. Skilled people will note his demonstrated gun handling and shooting and realize he wasn’t worth considering, regardless of the claimed experience.

Qualified to teach Tactical Training, Again


So it turns out a “trainer” for a security company is notably unskilled with firearms and managed to shoot one of his fellows while conducting routine maintenance just after returning from teaching a class. Shocking to hear, I know.

Yet another tactical trainer managed a negligent discharge, causing critical but (luckily) non-life threatening injuries. This one just days after another misguided tactical trainer posted (and then removed) a missive concerning imagined issues about competitive shooters. Following the posting of that one, I managed to find eight (!!!) videos on YouTube of police/tactical “trainers” causing actual, real negligent discharges (as opposed to a remote chance of possible, imagined ones) that were caught on video and made public. This took me 30 seconds after typing “police tactical negligent discharge” into a search box.

Also notice the distinct lack of these stories concerning active, skilled competition shooters, or the complete lack of these incidents occurring at competitive events. While no amount of skill can make a person immune from mistakes, training for and competing in higher level, organized events greatly increases skills and significantly reduces the chance such mistakes will be made.

At least this security/tactical trainer that shot his comrade didn’t develop any bad habits by attending competitive shooting events…


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