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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
Movement Shooting
Rapid assumption of various shooting positions
Pivots and turns
Low light & Flashlights
Vehicle Issues
Patrol Rifle and Tactical Employment Considerations
Sling usage
Shooting Positions
Sight and Distance Considerations
Position Shooting
Moving and Multiple Targets
Transition Drills
Rifle & Handgun Malfunctions
Reloads & Tac-Loads
Firearms Safety
Qualification Training Course and Test
Instructional Guidelines
Rapid Deployment
Employment From & Around Vehicles
Team Concepts
Teaching Fundamentals
Working with Problem Shooters
Policy & Procedural Issues
Ballistic Issues
Maintenance
Setting Up Rifle Programs
POST Board Issues & Lesson Plans
Policy, Procedure, and Legal Issues
Weapons Maintenance

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.   


CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
TheDefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123

Original Post
@Community Member posted:

As always, a thorough AAR of the class, Sully.

While I'm sure you have posited somewhere on LF,I'd be interested to learn why the three-point sling is your preference.  I know the three-point adds some complexity to rifle manipulation, but I never found it to be the tool of the devil some believe.

Slings and how they're mounted is kind of like underwear, it comes down to personal preference, and often times the mission drives the gear.

Ask the question of boxers, briefs, thong, or regimental?  
Biden's answer: Depends
Bill Murray's answer:  I usually don't wear underwear, but when I do it is something special.

As to why I prefer the 3-point sling, the simple answer is versatility.  The 3-point sling gives me the most options as compared to other slings. 

If I use 3-point sling as it is designed, where I put the buttstock up to my shooting shoulder and open up the sling into a loop and place my head through the loop, then place an arm through the loop as well, the shoulder weapon is basically now attached to your torso.  This use of the sling keeps the buttstock by the shooting shoulder, with the muzzle hanging downward and off to my support side (Where a single point sling would have the muzzle hanging straight south where it would hit Jim and the Twins). 

From this position of whatever armpit the sling is under, is where the shoulder weapon will hang off to that side, and I can have the sling over either shoulder of which is nice to switch if the sling and weight of the shoulder weapon starts to bother me I can simply switch the sling over to the other shoulder (You can do this with a single point sling as well, but not with any of the tactical 2-point slings).  This sling set up also me the option to keep the sling under the support side armpit so the shoulder weapon hangs to that side of the torso and doesn't interfere with me transitioning to a handgun if needed.  If I put the sling under my shooting armpit, the shoulder weapon will hang to my handgun side, which also allows me to place the shoulder weapon behind my back to get it out of the way, but if needed I can use my shooting hand to index the grip and bring the shoulder weapon out from behind me and use it.   

When used like it is designed to attach the shoulder weapon and sling to your torso, I can also choose to carry the shoulder weapon with the muzzle hanging down and canted to my off side, and I can pick the gun up and shoot it and then set it down and it goes back to the same carry position.  I can also level the shoulder weapon into a horizontal carry position of what I call a patrol carry, which is nice when having to stand with the shoulder weapon for long periods of time so I can rest my arms and hands on it, but if needed I can simply pick the shoulder weapon up and then set it down and it will return to the same horizontal carry position.  I can also go high port carry with the muzzle up across my torso at 45 degrees and the buttstock down, which I can simply pick the shoulder weapon up and use it, then set it back down and it will return to the same starting position.

If the 3-point sling is attached at the back of the receiver, it will allow me to shoot off either shoulder if I simply roll the sling under the stock when needing to switch shoulders.

I can use it like a traditional 2-point sling and carry the shoulder weapon muzzle up or muzzle down behind the shooting or support side shoulders.  I can use it for supported shooting as a hasty sling. 

Since the 3-point sling has 2 straps of webbing, I can use these to carry the shoulder weapon like a backpack (Choice of muzzle up or down).  This is nice should I need have my hands empty if needed to perform tasks like rappelling or having to carry someone.

The 3-point sling allows me to also lay shoulder weapon horizontal with the sling hanging down, then bring one side of the loop webbing up one side of the weapon, and the other loop of webbing up the other side, this creates two handles so you can purse carry the shoulder weapon (Sashay if you wish),  This purse type carry is nice if you had to carry a bunch of shoulder weapons.  

Now after taking that all into account, is why I like the 3-point slings for the most versatility.  Compare that to other types of slings, and you will that I can do everything that you can do on a single point and 2-point slings, and still have more options, so this allows the most use options.

IMHO the 3-point sling isn't for most people, as if you don't train with it then you can struggle with it, or get tangled up in it.  But if you do train with it so you are proficient with all it's uses, then it is the most versatile and a great asset.  

CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
TheDefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123

 

He's got a three-point sling!  He's a witch!  Burn him! Burn him!

Thanks for the cogent explanation.  I never had a sling on my shotgun until long after we went to rifles.  I started with a three-point sling and never had a problem with it.  When I went to a new rifle, I went with a one-point sling being as high speed and low drag as I was.  Of course, being a patrol sergeant who spent more time supervising  incident scenes with a slung rifle than I did dynamically entering terrorist strongholds, I transitioned to two-points for both rifle and shotgun.  While I prefer the two-point sling, the three-point always seemed to work in the way you described, especially as my Spectre gear sling had a quick release buckle.

Any thoughts on the three or one-point sling with a shotgun versus the AR-15?  My two-point on the 870 was primarily used to carry the weapon to and from the cruiser at shift change. While I should have followed the later heard advice to transition the forward sling mount to the opposite side of the weapon, I considered if a one or three point would have been the better option.  The rifle was my preferred long gun and the shotgun was the felony car stop, no time to get to the trunk, weapon so I did not use it much.

Again, thanks for the valuable information, Sully.  Be safe.

 

A shoulder weapon without a sling is like having a handgun without a holster, as what do you do with the firearm should you need to free your hands up to do something else.  That needing to free your hands up could be things like having to drag a wounded person out of the line of fire, climb ladders and scale fences or other barriers, go hands on with someone or your K9 (Landshark, Jaws with Paws, Fur Missile with a Bite, etc), or transition to something else on your Batman Belt (Baton, OC spray, Taser, cuffs, radio, etc).

The basic sling types are single point, traditional 2-point carry straps, what I call the tactical 2-point of which have quick adjustment sliding plate with a handle/lever, and 3-point.  All of these sling types give the use a way to carry the firearm, which means they work well for that purpose. 

For shotguns I personally run a 3-point as well.  I use a side plate mount under the magazine tube retaining cap, and a single point mounting plate at the back of the receiver.  By using the single point mounting plate at the back of the receiver, I am able to transition between shoulders by simply rolling the stock over the sling with no need for extra sling length.  By using side mounting sling plates, it allows the shotgun to lay flat on its side when slung over the shoulder when doing a 2-point style carry, and flat against the torso as well when using a 3-point carry.

If using a 2-point sling, whether a traditional carry strap style, or one of what I call a tactical 2-point with the quick adjust sliding plate that has the attached lever/handle, I also prefer to mount these on side mounting plates, as it also keeps the shotgun laying flat on its side against the torso.   Bottom mounting on traditional sling swivels with a traditional 2-point carry strap works fine, but the shotgun won't lay flat and can feel sloppy as it rolls around side to side.

The simple 2-point carry strap type sling gives the user the option of carrying the shoulder weapon behind either shoulder (Muzzle up or down), and if its length is long enough you can use it like a tactical 2-point and sling it over your torso, but having it can also be an issue should the user try to sling it over their shoulder with the muzzle up or down as now the sling being longer may allow the gun to hang down too low where it flops around or drags on the ground.    

Single point slings work well on shotguns too, as it attaches the shotgun to your torso so you can go hands free by letting the shotgun simply just hang down.  My suggestion on a shotgun is to use a mounting plate at the back of the receiver, as you can shoot from either shoulder by simply rolling the sling under the stock.  

The single point slings are simple to use, as all you need to do is throw the sling loop over your head and put an arm through the loop, now the shoulder weapon is attached to your, which allows you to shoot from either shoulder, and when not shooting you can simply just let the shoulder weapon just hang down.  

I can only speak for the Officers that I see in the field and at training and qualifications, whether they street and road dogs, or office dwellers like administrators & Detectives/Investigators (Who will solve no crime unless it's overtime), the single point sling is probably the best choice for them as it is simple (I have seem the screw it up or can't remember to put the sling loop over their head and an arm though, so they try and put it over a shoulder and use it like a 2-point carry strap).  The single point accomplishes what I need it to do for them, is it attaches the shoulder weapon to their torso, allows them to shoot from either shoulder, and if needing to transition to something else they can simply let go of the shoulder weapon and it will just hang down and allow their hands to be free to do whatever else they need to do.

What type of sling and how it's mounted is all a matter of personal preference.  For me, I like the 3-point as it gives me versatility.  The 3-point sling allows me to do everything a single point, 2-point carry strap, and tactical 2-point sling can do, and I can do more things with it that I can't do with the other slings, which for me gives me options to go to if needed or desired.  IMHO the 3-point sling isn't for everyone, as if you don't train to it to the point you become proficient with it, then people get tangled up or can't remember how to use it, which leads to frustration.  IMHO, this proficiency I believe comes from either the use doesn't want to learn and become proficient with it, or whoever taught them how to use it didn't do a good job in teaching it of didn't really understand the 3-point sling system enough to be teaching it.  Which this can also lead back to training, most LE Agencies qualify their staff on shoulder weapons and don't train, then take into consideration of how many times annually they actually make their staff put shoulder weapons in their hands on the gun range or in other training, and you see this translate to the street where we see Officers making high risks stops, dealing with armed individual calls for service, shots fired calls, searching buildings, etc, with a handgun instead of a shoulder weapon, why is always the question I ask and it comes down usually a lack of comfort as many of these Officers aren't comfortable enough in their handling skills of the shoulder weapon (To include sling usage) where it is second nature.  So if LE isn't training to the point they are comfortable, then IMHO they are probably better keeping it simple with a single point or 2-point style sling.         

 

CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
TheDefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123

 

@Community Member posted:

Thanks for the comprehensive follow-up, Sully.  If ever go for my masters, I'm going to steal your writings and do my thesis on sling usage and management.  Be safe.

Does Hillsdale give out Masters Degrees for sling usage and management, let me know as I'm in?  I wrote a thesis on slings, usage and mounting when I put our instructor manual together.  It took an entire day with the photographer to photo every angle of how to use slings and how to get into every sling position step by step, then several more days to put it into text going step by step with every angle explained.

I already mentioned that I believe shoulder weapons need to have slings, just like a handgun needs a holster.  With that similar thought process, I also view instruction and use of slings exactly like holsters.  You will see shooters be able to get a handgun out of the holster, but then struggle to get it back in, as they haven't trained and practiced with it enough to where it becomes second nature, and example of this is a lot of shooters will have to look at their holster to get the gun back in, or it's a 2-handed operation.  Take a look at thigh holsters, many people have them, but they are hanging way too low around the knee area, as nobody ever taught them.  We have one of our staff that isn't afraid to get up in peoples business and readjust their gear to get it properly set up and adjusted.

We see the same thing when it comes to slings.  Shooters often times struggle using them.  Often you will see where they are not set up on the firearm properly for mounting, or they are not adjusted correctly.  We also see a lot of lesser quality slings as well.  When doing training, we help make adjustments, and sometimes change the mounting, then get the user working with the sling with lots of transition drills, this will often times wake the user up and you see a shift where using the sling becomes second nature.    

 

CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
TheDefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123

Excellent points and definitely the way to run a firearms program.

The firearms training coordinator at my former department wears his holster just above his knee.  An excellent set-up if Greedo ever tries to jack the Millennium Falcon from him, but less useful on the streets of Maryland.  Well, since that person's targets are usually other police officers, I suppose it doesn't matter.

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