SLR15 Rifles / DETC Law Enforcement Patrol Rifle & Handgun Instructor Course
When: July 20-24, 2020
Where: SCALE Facility in Jordan MN
Weather: 76F-98F daily, with sun and high humidity.
We conducted a 5-day (50-hour) Law Enforcement Patrol Rifle & Handgun Instructor Course at the SCALE Facility in Jordan MN. This is a working course, we do spend a little time in the classroom, but most of the course is spent on the range doing hands on learning. Our emphasis is to give a hands on understanding of how to be a better shooter, how to instruct others into becoming better shooters, apply tactics, diagnose and work with problem shooters, etc.
The SCALE Facility has plenty of classrooms, with projectors that we were able to project some powerpoint onto in air conditioned comfort (which was appreciated by all). We used both the 25yd range and 200yd range.
The student base was all Law Enforcement Officers for different areas of Minnesota. Rifles represented in this course were SLR15, Sig Sauer 516 piston with Silencerco Saker suppressor, APF Armory, DPMS, Bushmaster, Smith & Wesson, JP Rifles, LWRC, and a few custom builds. Handguns were all Glocks in 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP.
Day-1 started in the classroom with and introduction to what the week entailed. Everyone was issued our Instructor Manual, and a sample of Slip2000 “EWL” Extreme Weapons Lube & 725 Cleaner/Degreaser. We covered common range training rules, and then went through our rules and range etiquette. We went through a session on dealing with First Aid & Trauma issues that might happen during range training, which is something we believe that every Instructor should know, hopefully they never need to use that knowledge.
We had a discussion where every student presented their agency’s current firearms training & qualification program, police academy & FTO training, which then led into a question of has our current training prepared our Officers to win a gunfight. Most agreed that their current agency range sessions only are qualification shoots, and isn’t really training.
The rest of the day was spent at the range working on handgun. Everyone was tasked to shoot a short course of fire while everyone else watched. This included lots of several draws & reloads, which were also measured using a shot timer. We like to have everyone shoot and reload how they normally do things, as this gives a base line of where everyone’s individual skills are at. Then as we progress through the week, we will see if there are improvements. Students are tasked with watching the shooter, how they manipulate the weapon, how they shoot, reload, manage recoil, etc. Learning to watch the shooter and read the finer points is great skill to obtain, imho. The rest of the day was spent working on fundamentals of draw, stances, strong hand & support hand issues, grips, trigger work, recoil management, sights vs sight picture issues, etc. We also dispelled a lot of myths on diagnosing missed shots, and how to apply this when working with problem shooters.
Day-2 started in the classroom. We went through state requirements and lesson plans, along with watching some videos. The lesson plan session is gone through to make sure everyone knows how to put together a POST Board lesson plan and get it approved for continuing education training accreditation. We also went through all Minnesota State requirements for training & records keeping. We also went through legalities in great detail. Everyone in this class is tasked writing a lesson plan with the required POST paperwork as part of the class, and submitting them to us by the end of day-4.
We then got back on the range with a review of day-1. We showed our methods of working with problem shooters, and have everyone work with everyone in the class. Things covered on day-2 were shooting & doing manipulations with two hands, strong hand and weak hand only, malfunctions & how to deal with them. Working with both hands is nice, but we need to be able to shoot and do manipulations one handed, with either hand, should it ever be necessary. We also dealt with motivating shooters & tactics. The rest of the day was spent working on flash light techniques, going through multiple concepts, and showing our own spin. An observation is that many people rely on weapon mounted handgun lights, which are great imho, but we believe that people also need to know how to use a hand held light as well.
Day-3 started in the classroom viewing some video and a review. We showed some videos of the things we did on day-1 & 2 at the range, slowing it down and looking at fundamentals of trigger work, grip, stance, sight alignment vs sight picture issues, etc. Letting students see things in slow motion, imho gives a greater understanding of fundamentals and mistakes, which allows this to be applied to working with problem shooters.
I then did a demo on how to clean and lubricate a rifle, showing where things actually need to be cleaned, then lubricated to make it run reliably. I had everyone lubricate with Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lube, of which will allow us to train for multiple days (especially in hot weather) and not have any issues with weapons malfunctions due to lack of lubrication where metal rubs metal. (Note: All rifles ran well over 3-days, with about 1800 rifle rounds fired, and no malfunctions occurred due to lack of lubrication).
We covered sight systems from iron & optics, sling systems, etc. We also went through zeroing, offering options of zeroing at different distances of 25M, 50yd, 100yd, etc. When showing different iron sight systems and optics, and discussing different zeroing options, we showed numerous zeroing target options, and gave everyone samples of each target to take with them.
We started with a zeroing session, and most shooters chose a 50yd zero, and few Officers stayed with their agency's mandated 25yd zero. We discussed and showed examples of fundamentals of marksmanship, things like sights, sight picture, sight alignment, trigger finger placement, trigger press and follow through, dominant eye, one eye vs two eye shooting, cheek weld, breathing, etc. We then went through our protocol of loading, changing magazines, tac loads, etc. When loading magazines into a firearm, it is our protocol that once you insert the magazine firmly into the firearm, that you follow through with a tug/pull downward on the magazine to make sure it is firmly seated, this is something that was instilled in me several decades ago at MP5 Instructor School (I am a Phil Singleton Disciple).
The rest of the morning we went through standing positions of bladed to squared up and anywhere in between. We ran everyone through a series of standing position drills, which showed strengths & weaknesses, what is natural vs unnatural, what recoil actually does and how the body works with recoil. We also spent time on showing people how to work with problem shooters, and fine tune in their standing foundation and what’s best for weapon control and recoil management. We had students perform a series of hammer fire, and controlled fire drills, of which drove a point home that everyone seemed to like controlled fire better. Lastly we used these standing foundation drills to show which foundations principles allow control of full-auto, and what doesn’t, and dispelled the myth that full-auto climbs and sprays, by the time we were done everyone was running wide open full-auto and keeping groups tight with no climbing or spraying, I did demo of a 30rd full auto magazine dump one handed to show that with proper foundation the gun will sit flat and not climb unless the shooter gives the recoil an out, this demo shows that a shooter doesn't need to steer the front end.
We went back through slings, and had people work with each style as we brought several samples of each. This included single point, 2-point traditional, tactical 2-point variations, and 3-point (my personal favorite). We showed the differences of use and advantages of mounting them in different ways and at different anchor points on the weapon, and how this will affect their usage. Once everyone was squared away with sling usage, we moved into transitions, and ran our transition drills, which allowed everyone to see how important that a good transition drill is to add to training on base fundamentals. We then covered our theory of training Officers to work on a 360 degree world, and tactical reloads. It is our theory that if you have extra ammunition present then you should do a reload when you have a lull in the action, before leaving cover, and before approaching a downed bad guy.
The afternoon was spent going through shooting positions. Everyone was taught over 20 different shooting positions that are used for stability, use of terrain, cover, concealment, and to provide the shooter an advantage. These positions are based prone, sitting, kneeling, squatting, etc. We show how to get into these positions, how to teach these positions and getting into them, how to demonstrate a show what these positions are used for, and instructor & range issues. We ran through several relays of all these shooting positions, and carried into them the follow up of working in a 360 degree world, as if you fought your way into shooting position on the ground, then you should fight your way back up.
We had everyone switch out to handgun, and we did shooting ground positions with handguns, to include proper use of cover and concealment. We showed our preferred methods, and how to get the shooter and handguns stabilized to get the best accuracy possible and use proper cover/concealment.
We went through malfunctions on the rifle, how to deal with them, showing the Military S.P.O.R.T.S. method and what it does/doesn't do and why we don't like it, we showed traditional methods, and then showed our preferred methods and why. We also showed armorer level malfunction issues that instructors may have to deal with. We also covered Hicks law and how we apply it to malfunctions & magazine changes in handguns & rifles. The end of day-3 was spent with a review and debrief.
Day-4 was another day on the range. We started with checking zeroes, a few tweaks were made. Then we had students teach everything we did the previous day, as a review, and we find that the understanding level goes up when students are having to think their way through teaching it. We went back through standing and all the shooting positions, sling types & uses, malfunctions, reloads & tac reloads, etc. We went back through the different shooting positions as a review, adding on some variations. We then shot several courses of fire from 7yds, and all the way back to 200yds and everywhere in between. We showed several paper targets that we use for distance shooting, working with problem shooters, confidence building etc.
We went back through the standing foundations, and allowed everyone to go back through our drills of showing how to tune and manage recoil. We spent time going back through full-auto, and how it is controlled, and dispelled myths of recoil management. From there we moved into dealing with multiple bad guys, showing some traditional theories and our own spin on it, which showed differences in performance. We discussed why each technique present has merits. This led is into a discussion on Boyd’s OODA loop, and Hick’s law. This led us into fail to stop drills of the traditional Mozambique drill, and we showed our methods, of which we used a shot timer for both responses to show peoples averages and the differences on these concepts. We reviewed malfunctions, how to deal with them, how to teach them, and Armorer issues. We then went through reload techniques of what to do when the rifle runs dry, and how to reload it. The rest of the afternoon was spent on movement shooting concepts. The day finished with some of our reloading drills, being timed, of which this group had some excellent weapons handling.
Day-5 started with a chance for everyone to check zeros, everyone decided to skip checking zeros, feeling confident that things were fine. We had shoot several qualification courses. The qualification courses are always an eye opener, as many people go into vapor lock when you mention the qualification word. We discussed State mandated requirements, department policies, qualification standards, and possible legal issues. From here we had everyone teach in front of everyone else in the class, as this way each instructor gets to be critiqued by the others in the class, and this helps to instill confidence in what they are teaching, to include how and why, plus the critique of their fellow instructors is always a learning experience. From there we shot several more qualification courses of fire, and did other skill building drills with both handgun and rifles.
The end of day-5 started with the traditional cleaning up the ranges. Once the ranges were clean, we make everyone clean their rifles and handguns, this cleaning session ensures that everyone knows how to clean and lubricate the weapons. I also did an Armorer Inspection to ensure that all rifles were ready to put back into service.
Note: The only piston rifle in this class that an Officer brought was a Sig 516 with a Silencerco Saker suppressor. I also brought a SLR15 Entry rifle with an OSS Suppressor. Everyone got to see the differences in these suppressors, and when it came time to do cleaning, everyone got to see that piston guns actually get dirty and do need to be cleaned and lubricated.
Note: All rifles ran flawless, I attribute this to making sure everything was well lubed with Slip2000 "EWL". Overall in this course Instructors shot approximately 1500 Pistol and 1500 Rifle rounds.
Here is an overview of what is covered:
Firearms safety as it pertains to Law Enforcement applications and employment.
Basics of firing, stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger press
Rapid multiple shots on single targets & rapid engagement of multiple targets, and engagement of targets from the ready position.
The draw from duty equipment, the concealed draw
Proper tactical response to single or multiple opponent situations will be covered.
Contact distance employment of the handgun and carbine
Rapid assumption of various shooting positions
Pivots and turns
Low light & Flashlights
Patrol Rifle and Tactical Employment Considerations
Sight and Distance Considerations
Moving and Multiple Targets
Rifle & Handgun Malfunctions
Reloads & Tac-Loads
Qualification Training Course and Test
Employment From & Around Vehicles
Working with Problem Shooters
Policy & Procedural Issues
Setting Up Rifle Programs
POST Board Issues & Lesson Plans
Policy, Procedure, and Legal Issues
Note: For any Law Enforcement that may be interested in this course, we are teaching this same course on October 18-23 in Sterling CO.