Wednesday, November 23, 2016

AAR - Patrol Rifle 11 21-22 2016

As I write this it’s November 23rd . . . the day before Thanksgiving.  Our contribution to the Thanksgiving Dinner is complete, arrival times confirmed as well as letting our hostess know that we are indeed coming.  It’s a time of gathering families together and giving thanks to God for all our blessings . . .

Unless you are the family of one of the 131 law enforcement officers that have lost their lives so far this year in the line of duty . . . 11 this month with the latest death this very morning.  Officer Collin Rose of the Wayne State University PD.  Their tables will have an empty place setting that will never again be filled.

Our officers are at war . . . actively being hunted . . . and yet they show up for work, tac up and do their patrols.  They respond to calls for help and hold the “Thin Blue Line” against pure anarchy in our streets.  Thank you seems so trite . . . so little . . . but, thank you for all you do.

An officer’s begins his shift with a number of weapons at his disposal . . . Taser, ASP, Knife, duty weapon, backup sidearm, shotgun and patrol rifle.  Each officer must be trained on each weapon – from “less than lethal” to lethal, and they must qualify annually with each weapon. 

We had quite a range of experience in our course from one officer just a year out of the academy to officers with decades of experience.   Our community is just introducing the patrol rifle to their officers giving them one more means to respond to a potentially lethal threat.  The course is foundational in nature along with significant range time allowing officers to shoot qualification courses of fire for Marksmanship, CQB, low light as well as low light handgun.  Total round count was 800-ish over two days.  Weather was in the upper 30s with rain for virtually our entire second days’ range work – including all the low light shooting.  It was certainly challenging as well as rewarding.  My whole purpose of going through the course was to see what was taught, how it was taught and then to shoot the drills and the qualifying courses of fire.  A qualifying score is 80% for officers and 90% for instructors.  On the Marksmanship Course of fire I shot a 27/30 – 90%.  On the QCB I shot 48/50 – 96%.  This will allow me to lend a hand going forward in helping to teach their Patrol Rifle coursework.  Honestly our local department is simply stretched thin, as are most departments across the country.  If I can lend a hand, free up some hours . . . my time here at the course will be well spent.

The course is “busy” to say the least . . . let’s look at some of the objectives.)

·        Know the nomenclature of the patrol rifle

·        Know how to safely operate it

·        Know how to load it in both tactical and administrative situations

·        Understanding the fundamentals of marksmanship

·        Understand the rifle bullet’s ballistics

·        Be able to perform immediate action drills

·        Be able to perform basic rifle retention techniques

·        Understand Iowa law and use of force while deploying patrol rifles

·        Be able to disassemble and reassemble the patrol rifle

·        Be able to hit targets while shooting on the move

·        Be able to accurately shoot a patrol rifle in low light

·        Be able to successfully engage multiple targets

·        Be able to use the four basic shooting positions

·        Be able to use cover and concealment

·        Be able to transition from patrol rifle to duty pistol

As I said . . . a busy 2 days.  To complete the course the officer needed to attend the entire course, pass a written test with a minimum score of 80%, pass the ILEA required courses of fire with a minimum score of 80%  (100 yards, 30 rounds and 50 yards with a half sized Q-Target, 50 rounds), the ILEA CQB 50 round course of fire  and the VPD low-light QCB qualification course with 50 rounds.

The first half of the first day was going through all the foundational material – how do projectiles perform, how do they wound, FBI ballistic information, methods of testing different projectiles and their typical penetration performance.

Case studies were evaluated – the 1986 Miami FBI shootout, Columbine, 1997 North Hollywood shootout and the Keokuk County 2011 shootout. 

We then moved on to rifle nomenclature and the various components of a standard AR platform patrol rifle.

This was followed by working towards our range work.  Range safety was discussed, methods of clearing the AR platform as well as second-person clearing checks.

Shooting fundamentals were covered – mounting the rifle, hand position on the grip and foregrip, placement of the trigger finger, position of the adjustable stock, position sul, the low ready position.

The basic shooting positions were reviewed – Prone, Kneeling, Sitting and Standing.  Methods of sling carry and types of slings were discussed.  Loading and unloading the AR and finally zeroing.  We used the 10 yard, 50-200 yard zero method and insured that everyone was zeroed before we moved to shooting our various drills leading up to the qualification shoots.

Range work on day one began with the zeroing process and then steadily moved each shooter back starting at 25 yards (I think) and then moving back to a maximum of 75 yards.  Our shooting range is a tad short of 100 yards.  Add in the cover over the rear area of the range and a vertical baffle, it becomes simply impossible to shoot a full sized Q-Target.  The solution, use a half-sized Q-Target and then push the distance out to 75 yards during the practice rounds.  Once we had worked through all the positions multiple times we shot the actual qualification course of fire. 

The ILEA Rifle Marksmanship course of fire is as follows:

30 rounds – minimum score of 24 to pass

100 yards – or 50 yards with half sized Q-Targets

100 yards      Supported Prone                5 rounds slow fire       5 min

Un-Supported Prone          5 rounds slow fire

100 yards      Standing                             5 rounds                     1:30 (for all 15 rounds)

                      (Starting with safety on – 1 magazine change)

                      Kneeling                             5 rounds

                      Sitting                                 5 rounds

100 Yards     Standing                             2 rounds                     :30

                      Kneeling                             3 rounds

All shooting was done with either iron sights or a “red dot / green dot” non-magnified sights.  While not a particularly difficult course of fire – shooting in front of peers always ups the ante just a bit as well as the requirement that the officer must shoot a qualifying score if he/she wants to be able to carry a patrol rifle while on duty.  Everyone passed and, as I stated earlier, I was pretty darn happy to shoot a 90%.

Next up – the ILEA Rifle CQB course of fire – 50 rounds – 2 magazines, 25 rounds each on a full-sized Q-Target.

Stage 1 – 50-yard line – 15 rounds – 50 seconds

On command the shooter takes an unsupported prone position and fires 5 rounds, moves to the standing position and fires 5 rounds and then moves to the kneeling position and fires 5 rounds.

Stage 2 – 25-yard line – 15 rounds – 50 seconds

On command the shooter takes a strong side kneeling position and fires 5 rounds, moves to strong side standing and fires 5 rounds, performs a combat reload while dropping to a support side kneeling position firing the last 5 rounds.

Stage 3 – 15-yard line – 10 rounds – 15 seconds

On command the shooter fires 5 rounds then drops to a strong side kneeling position and fires the final 5 rounds.

Stage 4 – 7-yard line – 10 rounds – 10 seconds

On the command “MOVE” the shooter raises his rifle and begins to move towards the threat.  ON the “FIRE” command he fires 2 rounds – scans and then returns to the 7-yard line.  This process is repeated 4 additional times.

This is the exact same course of fire for the low-light course with the only difference being that there is a police cruiser just rear of the 50-yard line with headlights and flashers on.  Once the 15-yard line is reached the shooter could use their weapon mounted light as well.

I ended up shooting a 96% for the daylight course and a 94% for the low-light course.

The officers were also run through the low-light pistol course as well.  Here murphy reminded me to pay attention.  We began the course of fire with three magazines loaded with 15 rounds each and an additional 5 rounds in our pocket.  I ran the course of fire – hear the training officer say something about managing our magazines and ammunition – I think what the hell, I know where they all are – no worries.  The final drill is to fire 6 rounds as fast as we can from the 5-yard line.  And . . . after a single round . . . I’m out . . . cause the other 5 rounds are still in my frickin’ pocket!!!!!  Heavy sigh!  Anyway, I only dropped 2 so even with the 5 unfired rounds I shot a 43/50 or an 86%.  No problem qualifying . . . but if my head would have been outta my ass it would have been a 98%.  Crap!!!!

The low light shoots were all done on the second day along with several shooting drills including a rifle version of “el Presidente” and a moving and shooting drill that forced transitions to the shooter’s duty weapon being conducted while we were waiting for “low light” to arrive.  The entire second day was also blessed with a constant rain.  Not a down-pour but a steady light rain that added a bit of discomfort to the mix as well.  Temps were in the mid to upper 30s.

Classroom time on the second day was spent on weapon retention, malfunction drills, taking the final written exam and then an After Action sit-down discussion.

Some take-aways for me.

We are all fortunate that we have folks in our communities willing to do the “heavy lifting” to keep us safe.  Collin Rose was attacked during on 2nd day of class.  Each of these officers are well aware of the number of officers attacked and killed while on duty this year . . . and in years gone by.  They all know the risks . . . and the do their jobs every day.  As I said earlier . .  .  a “thank you” doesn’t begin to truly say how grateful we all are that they are willing to climb into their cruisers day after day.

Coursework with law enforcement officers has a different “timber”, a different feel, a different urgency to it.  When we were working reloading drills on the range, in the dark, in the cold, in the rain . . . and the reloading process went sideways . . . it was always with the knowledge that in real life it could mean the risks to the officer would climb dramatically . . . to the point where the trip home might well be in a Ziploc.  It brought home individual training, individual range work, individual work with the patrol rifles to ensure that everyone could run them smoothly and consistently.

I allowed me to realize just how safe and easy my life is in comparison.  These officers are at risk every day in ways I have not been in well over 40 years.  Sure, I could happen upon an active shooter, be attacked in a parking lot, walk into a robbery or face a home invasion.  All of us who teach and practice defensive shooting skills accept this.  A law enforcement officer is charged with going after the “bad guys/gals” . . . every day . . . it’s their job.  It’s humbling to recognize this difference . . . and it makes me appreciate them even more.

Finally, I am probably my own harshest critic.  I expect to do better that every other shooter on the line.  I expect to exceed minimum expectations.  I expect to do my best on each and every drill.  I’m confident that every officer out there had exactly the same expectations of themselves as I did.  I am happy to have been shooting with “peers” . . . very well qualified, experienced and dedicated shooters.  We all held our own.

It was a good course, a good set of drills and a great time on the range.

Nice job Eric, it’s a very solid piece of coursework.  I’m looking forward to lending a hand any time I can.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Commentary  -  The Thin Red Line

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month . . . the guns went silent . . .

Hard to imagine what that day was like.  We have letters Uncle Clarence sent from a field hospital within a few days of that time . . . he’d been gassed . . . survived the trenches . . . and was looking forward to his return home.  He was one of tens of millions of Americans who have stood on that Thin Red Line . . . standing between the evils that might be but for him and his comrades.

In years gone by people were called to the ramparts to defend their community against those who wished to destroy them.  Wives fought beside husbands . . . children beside parents . . . their fate dependent on their family’s strength.

As populations have grown, and the power of weapons and technology have leverage the strength of a single warrior a thousand fold, fewer and fewer hear the call of the warrior’s life.  The Thin Red Line has grown thinner and thinner . . . while threats have grown steadily.  Today only about 0.4% of our citizens are on duty protecting you, me, our children and grandchildren . . . 0.4%.

They follow in the footsteps of millions that have served our nation over the past 240 years.  Men and women who heard the call of service to their country, left all that they held dear and took up arms.  The debt we owe these men and women cannot be repaid, nor do they expect it.  They served out of love, they bear their experiences with love and the vast majority would live that same life over should they be asked to.

So, what can we possibly offer them in return?  Today, on this particular day, there is a simple answer to that . . .

Love them.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Commentary - OK Kids – That’s Enough Ice Cream

In 2012 I tried to wrap my head around President Obama’s win.  It resulted in a post entitled “Commentary - They chose the ice cream cone . . . .  My theory?  The President promised “his” people all the ice cream they could eat . . . and they bought it.  The result?  4 years to increase our national debt, pretty much give nukes to Iran, continue the destruction of our military . . . to name but a few things.

 At the same time the conservative base gave the Republicans a chance to act against Obama’s policies . . . to provide some level of obstruction as our ship of state sailed towards the edge of the world.  They did nothing.

 It was time for “Mom” to step in . . .

 As Iowa was spinning up for the 2012 election and friend – Tim – and I met at the local Subway for a sandwich and to chat.  We were part of the Republican county platform committee.  We had agreed that one of the things that allowed platforms to get profoundly out of hand was a lack of foundation.  Something to anchor the party.  We came up with five fundamental parts of the foundation of the platform for our county.  They have passed the test to time remaining pretty much unaltered through the 2016 election.

 And . . . I believe they answer the question . . . “Why did Trump win???”

 Honestly, I wasn’t surprised by the win . . . in fact I expected Trump to shred Hillary.  I was somewhat disappointed, I expected higher numbers on his part . . . but I wasn’t surprised.  So here’s my take – point by point.

Here was our first foundational point . . .

1: Our nation is a Constitutional Republic.   We are a nation governed by people elected to public office that are sent to represent us, the citizen. Our Constitution provides limits to their power, explicitly details our fundamental rights and insures that only the enumerated powers contained within the Constitution are executed by the federal government. All other functions of government are left to the state and local governments.

While we were told many times that every President uses executive orders . . . President Obama took it to a level well beyond our solar system.  From ordering government officials to ignore immigration law to implementing changes to the way the ACA worked he continually reminded Congress that he had a “pen and a phone” . . . which he relished using.  Republicans gave Congress to their representatives expecting them to bring the President to heal . . . and they failed to act.  With the prospect of yet another “President Clinton” in the offing . . . and with the disastrous path President Obama and our existing congress has placed our country . . . it was not surprising that folks decided to “take the ice cream away” and put the alternative in place . . . President-Elect Trump.

One other little gem . . . it appears that Hillary may well have won the popular vote.  I’m sure the caterwaul cries will begin to eliminate the Electoral College and just use the “voice of the people”.  Just remember that one of the functions of the Electoral College was to place a check on disparate accumulations of people in a single place.  It insures that a very small region within California and the Northeast do not become the primary voice of the direction of the country with those in “fly over country” loosing theirs entirely.  This is a handy reminder that the system our founders developed works just fine.

2: We are a Sovereign Nation.   We are a Sovereign Nation with defined borders, governed by a set of laws determined by our representatives, guided by our Constitution and protected by a military strong enough to defend our borders and interests.

This . . . THIS RIGHT HERE . . . is the primary reason that today we have a President-Elect Trump.  I have friends that wonder why Cruz, Rubio and others we passed over in favor of Trump.  Three simple words account for it . . . “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.  As for Hillary, her promise to legalize the 11-million-ish (her number) within the first 100 days of a Clinton administration was a “uuhge” contributor to her loss as well.

One of the characteristics of Trump that the left hammered on since his promise to “build the wall” and his claims that countries south of the border are flooding us with criminals that sell drugs, murder our citizens and ignore our laws – is that he was “anti-Hispanic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant”.  Honestly, I’ve never heard him utter a single word against immigrants . . . legal immigrants that respect the laws of our nation, follow the rules, go through the process and become citizens of the United States.  THESE people are immigrants.  Folks that cross a border, cross a river, overstay a visa . . . are criminals.  There is a difference . . . and the difference matters.  If borders no longer matter, we no longer have a country.

I also heard the cry on how he hates Muslims . . . again I didn’t hear a single word spoken by Trump against Muslims.  What he did say was that he expected the US to fully vet anyone applying for refugee status in our country and that we should simply stop all immigration from countries that were on fire until we could figure out “what the hell is going on”.  I see this as common sense.  Presidents Obama, both Bushes, Regan and Carter had all done exactly that . . . stopped immigration from specific Mideast countries until the figured out “what the hell was going on”.

The third component of this also explains why more Hispanics voted for Trump than had voted for Romney . . . legal Hispanics, who played by the rules, applied for entry and citizenship and are now American citizens and see no reason those who committed a criminal act should be granted citizenship simply because they broke the law.  They see it as detrimental to the Hispanic community, not beneficial.

We are either a sovereign nation, and a nation of law . . . or we aren’t.  Borders matter. 

3: The Oath of Office of all civil servants - elected and employed – should guide their actions.   As citizens, we expect that our elected officials take their office and its duties and responsibilities to us, our country and our Constitution seriously and act in accordance with their individual Oaths of Office.

I took an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies both foreign and domestic” six times.  As many vets say rather dramatically . . . “I wrote the check with my life”.  With Veteran’s Day very near, let us all remember that many have done exactly that.  We, as citizens, have the right to expect that our elected and appointed officials “protect and defend the Constitution” just a vigorously. Perhaps not with their very life, but at the very least with their entire soul.

President Obama has given little consideration to our founding document.  He continually used his “pen and phone” to go around the inconveniences its restriction placed on his particular branch of government.  While he freely passed out “ice cream” for the past 8 years, “MOM” has decided enough is enough and placed someone in control that she expects to bring us, as a nation, back into line.  Let’s hope that can be done.

The Republican Congress has certainly contributed in large measure to what many see as the most lawless administration of their lifetime.  The House simply chose to pass on using its “power of the purse” to clamp down on the Executive branch.  The Senate did little to restrict the appointment of far-left Judges – with the notable exception of SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland, a rare showing of backbone.

Bottom line, Oaths of Office matter, the Constitution matters.  They are the foundation of our country.  When our elected officials ignore both, eventually MOM will take us behind the woodshed and have a chat.

4: Fiscal Responsibility is a fundamental function of any local, state or federal entity.   All monies expended by all governments – local, state and federal – come from the labor of the citizens of the country. It is a fundamental expectation that these government entities should act in a financially responsible manner.

This is perhaps second in line to “building the wall” in reasons that we have a President-Elect Trump.

Contrary to Obama’s stump speeches on how we are well on the road to financial recovery in this country, those in the trenches are aware that those words are simply a self-serving lie, period.

During the past 8 years President Obama has collected record taxes . . . and spent every single dime.  As he quickly told Representative Paul Ryan . . . “I won!”  And he spent our money like a “winner”.  In fact, spending every single penny wasn’t enough, he borrowed another 10 TRILLION DOLLARS on top of it, and spent that as well.  10 TRILLION DOLLARS . . .

Next was the “Affordable” Care Act . . . which is proving to be neither affordable of anything that comes close to caring for the people.  “Your rates will go down by $2,500 per family” – LIE.  “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” – LIE.  “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” – LIE.  “We will make sure every American has insurance.” – LIE.  (One of the arguments to ram through the ACA was the “30 million” uninsured people in America.  Today Obama proudly claims that the uninsured number has dropped to 11% of our population. . . which is 30 million-ish.)

More people are on food stamps than at any other time in recent history. (yes, I get it, it was probably worse during the Great Depression – do we really want to go there?)  While the claim of “un-employment” is said to be 5-ish%, the actual number is that there are 94 MILLION working age people out of work.  We are a nation of 334 million souls, with 200-ish million “working age” (16-64).  Do. The. Math.  Our citizens want a pay check, not a deposit on the EBT card.

Finally, I believe a “balanced budget” came into play.  Folks understand that when their checkbook goes into the red, they can’t just print money.  When the interest rates climb, they can’t say “no, no – better keep it low to keep things easier”.  They’re tired of filling the coffers of the treasury with their hard-earned money only to have government piss it away.  Hillary’s solution . . . a $1.5 TRILLION “stimulus” program out of the chute to “get things goin’”.  That’s $15,000 per family . . . fiscal responsibility matters . . . just sayin’.

5: Personal Responsibility is the primary duty of all citizens.   We are a nation of individuals held together by a common vision. We are not servants of the government; we are not dependent on the largess of society for our survival. Our possibilities are limitless; they not should be limited by our local, state and federal government. We are individuals, we are citizens of our country and we – and we alone – are responsible for our successes and failures.

(I’m going to ask for “language forgiveness” at the beginning of this particular paragraph.  I do my best to leave the “salty” language aside . . . don’t think I can do that here . . . I apologize)

For all you little “special snowflakes” out there who need your hands held, your diapers changed, your “safe space” so you don’t feel “threatened” . . . PISS OFF!!!  GROW THE HELL UP OR GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY.  YOU ARE A WASTE OF FLESH, A WASTE OF GOOD AIR AND A WASTE OF FOOD FROM MY TABLE!!!

I am exhausted by some little snowflake having their feelings hurt because I think they’re a dumbass . . . cause they’re a dumbass.  Spend 5 years, $200,000 to get a Master’s Degree in “Puppetry” . . . and now you can’t find a job???  You’re a dumbass – don’t look at me to provide a “free” education or to pick up your tab.

Want a $30,000 a year job (the infamous $15/hour job) but didn’t finish high school, have never held a fulltime job in your life, can’t show up on time . . . you’re a dumbass – I won’t hire you and if the government simply says I “have too”, I’ll make damn sure I’ll hire as few as I can, I’ll automate every chance I can and provide nothing, zero, zip in benefits . . . cause the public won’t pay $10 for a Big Mac . . . just sayin’.

Harass cops – be like all “He Man” and then flash a squirt gun . . . and get all pissed off when you wind up dead?  You’re a dumb-ass.  Yell and scream at the cops when your special snowflake gets dead while committing armed robbery at a store . . . and blame it on the cops because your boy is a “good boy” . . . you’re a dumbass.  Come through the window of a cruiser, try to steal a cop’s gun, get shot, turn to leave and fail to stop when ordered, use your 6”4” – 274 pound body to charge the same cop . . . you end up dead while proving you’re a dumbass . . . TOUGH SHIT.

We . . . the “adults” . . . are sick and f’-ing tired of your whiney-assed crap.  GROW. THE. HELL. UP.  Regardless of your age – teenage to life-long 40-year old snowflake – grow a “pair” Put on your big girl panties.  IT’S. NOT. MY. JOB. TO. TAKE. CARE. OF. YOU. . . . PERIOD.  If you are able bodied . . . of “normal” intelligence . . . and ability . . . and have simply given up and want to live off my dime . . . I will leave you die by the side of the road.  You have the right to choose . . . choose well.

All that said . . . there are those in our society who truly need our help.  The infirm, the old, the very young, the disabled, the mentally unstable, the developmentally challenged . . . and it is our direct charge as individuals, as a society, as a nation, to care for them.  Without hesitation.  Without complaint.

But . . . the “special snowflakes”?  YOU. CAN. KISS. MY. ASS.

Trump was not a surprise.  One of the other more “appropriate” candidates that the Republicans has could have taken on the mantel of being an adult . . . of taking away the “kids Ice Cream’ . . . they chose poorly and were cast aside.

Have we, as a nation, chose wisely?   Who knows.  Trump is a genuine wild card – and an indicator of how desperate our nation is to move out of the crap-hole we’re currently in.  I pray he listens, that Congress listens and that we find the strength to do the hard work ahead.

Only time will tell.

Some reference links . . .

Friday, November 4, 2016

Training - Murphy is a Bitch . . .

In 1947 Edward Murphy was involved in experiments involing measuring human stress while riding a rocket sled.  He had an assistant install 16 strain gauges to meaure the stress . . . only to have the assistant install all 16 backwards.  This lead to the very first iteration of “the law” . . . "If there's more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then he will do it that way."  Over time this has morphed into “Everything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong.”

In other words . . . Murphy’s a Bitch!

I’m going to combine a couple examples here – one noted during training some regional LEOs . . . and one where Murphy smacked me up-side the head.  As Han would say – “Don’t get cocky kid!”  First, fall qualification for some officers from a couple different communities in my area.

I have been using 45 rounds at the beginning of a qualification shoot for a review and evaluation period.  I begin with the “Drive, Touch, Press” drill and move up to controlled pairs.  Typically three “dots” are placed on the target with one for the Drive, Touch, Press drill, one for a single round engagements and the final for controlled pairs.  This gets over the initial nerves of a qualification shoot, allows me to evaluate and tweak things that have slipped a bit sideways and just to “break the ice” just a bit.  Once this is complete the qualification shoot begins.  The instructor in charge was using the marksman ship course beginning with 18 rounds at 25 yards and moving forward from there.  There were a couple re-shoots involved but by the end of the night and the low light portion of the qualification everyone had successfully qualified. 

However . . . a few areas of concern did pop up.  First off, I’m just a civilian schlub . . . I am not an officer, I do not patrol our community and am not involved is the daily encounters that may well test an officer’s ability to use their firearm.  That said – I carry every day in every location I am legally allowed to . . . and I train and take coursework throughout the year.  This is where one of my concerns come to the fore . . . I would venture that most officers only visit the range when it’s time to qualify.  Of those officers that attended the qualification shoot there were only a couple that regularly visit the range . . . and the VAST majority do not take independent training.  I shared in a “fairly direct fashion” my thoughts on this topic.  Yep, I know coursework is expensive, time consuming and that training on your own is as well.  However, an officer’s ability to respond appropriately, accurately and lethally if necessary may well be the difference between going home or going into a ZipLoc.  The same can be said for civilian shooters.  Please . . . take good coursework and train on your own on a regular basis.

The other benefit to consistent individual range training . . . you actually run your duty gun in a “safe” environment rather than drawing in with the need to defend your life.  You increase your skill level while confirming you have a working weapon.  We had two officers who finally had to switch to an alternate weapon because the weapon they were using – their duty gun – would not function properly.  Take just a moment to let that last sentence soak in . . . their duty gun would not function properly.

In this case “Murphy” simply caused some good natured ribbing and some serious cautions  about how well things would go should their day go sideways in a really big way . . . with their duty gun inoperable.  Murphy is always waiting . . . looking for a vulnerability . . . a chance to make your life difficult.  The best way you can guard against “his” efforts is to be diligent in your training. 

No guarantee . . . but at least an opportunity to circumvent a worst case scenario . . .

So on to my own personal experience.  I am sitting with the local PD Captain who is the primary training officer.  We are laying out the local recertification schedule, chatting about some paperwork I’ve been remiss in turning in (fixed that this afternoon) and talked about an opportunity to go to an AR15 Armor’s school.  Also . . . the upcoming carbine class.

This is taught by the Captain (he’s on the staff of the ILEA) and I’ve been invited to take it so I can see how he teaches it so I can lend a hand there as well.  Cool!  So I was telling him about my recent range trips, how my carbine performed, the course of fire, how I needed to use iron sights because my batteries were dead (Murphy – always looking out for me) and how well my irons had held their zero.  As I said those words I felt just a bit of a tingle on the back of my neck.  While I had just recently evaluated myself at 50 yards, it had been probably over a year since I’d pushed out to 100 yards with either my Eotech or the irons.  Well, today was Friday, the weather was yet again specatacular and my desk was reasonably clear . . . I grabbed a hundred rounds and headed to the range.  Now I’m already seeing this in my head . . . send a quick 5 rounds down range to check the zero on my Eotech.  Then another with my co-witnessed irons . . . 15 minutes I’m done and can get on with the fun stuff!

The first part goes like glass – 5 rounds with the Eotech . . . all fall into the “high center mass” area . . . cool!!!  Let’s finish this puppy up!  5 rounds with my irons . . . and . . . nothing . . . NOT A SINGLE FRICKIN ROUND ON PAPER . . . PERIOD!!!  WTF – over!

I do the usual justification – nerves, must have just not been “on my game” . . . trigger press was probably crappy . . . don’t tell me you haven’t told yourself similar things when your shooting is just “off”.  So . . . 5 rounds . . . being VERY DILIGENT . . . and . . . nothing . . . ONE MORE TIME, NOT A SINGLE FRICKIN ROUNDS ON PAPER . . . PERIOD!!!  Heavy sigh.

So – over to the pistol side of the range, I set a target stand out at 10 yards, put up one of the 50/200 zero targets, and I send 3 rounds towards the target.  All three rounds are very, very, very far to the right.  I crank the crap out of the windage setting . . . repeat . . . crank . . . repeat . . . and I’m there.  Putting my 55 grain round 1.9 inches below my POA.  Back to the 100 yard range . . .

 I send 5 rounds down range . . . all are in the area of “high center mass” but a bit left.  One more tweak and I send another 20 rounds – in 5 round groups.  Final result – down 2 for 25 rounds – 92%.

 I followed this with another 25 rounds using the Eotech.  You’ll notice the first 10 rounds were to the left.  Again, a final tweak . . . and the remainder of the 25 rounds were just fine.  Zero rounds down for 25 . . . a 100%.

So what’s the lesson here . . . “Don’t get cocky kid!”  I “knew” that my carbine just plain held it’s zero . . . period.  I KNEW it . . . yet it had not.  I fell into the same trap . . . and had not shot at distance in way too long.  Should I have needed AR to defend against a threat at distance to protect myself, my family or someone in my charge . . . it would not have gone well.  I was NOT diligent in training on all my platforms.  Such sloppiness might – if Murphy is feeling particularly vindictive – prove fatal.

 Murphy is a bitch . . . what can go wrong – will – at the worst possible moment for you.  Train, run your gun frequently.  It is your best possible chance to keep “him” at bay.  It is NOT a guarantee . . . but it certainly helps . . .

 Hit the range folks . . . hit the range . . .