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Since retirement I’ve fallen into the AR pistol rabbit hole, which will probably branch into SBRs in the near future.  I was discussing them this week with the range officer at my old department while shooting my LEOSA requal.   Apparently the captain who presides over firearms training doesn’t permit anyone to qualify with anything other than a traditional “pistol” citing the “concealed” intent of LEOSA carry as the reason.    Since the language of LEOSA is vague about how concealable a weapon needs to be I’m curious how you esteemed gents have seen this handled in your neck of the woods?



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Original Post

There is an argument to be made that you only have to qualify once, and that covers you for all other "pistols", but that's for the attorneys to review.

I could understand why many if not most LE administrators would frown on what you are asking, and it'll be the rare one who would approve it.

There's simply not a lot of options for recourse.

Suggest you read further here:  https://www DOT


Not sure what State you are in and if they have language to mandate that you have to qualify with your parent agency.... but I believe there is now a waiver in the Act that allows you to qualify with anyone who can give a certification test within the State you are in and it does not need to be your 'parent' agency. The onus is on you to prove that you have 'qualified' within the last year, the Act itself (Federal) does not say it has to be on a specific pistol(s)

I have seen some dumbassery where an agency requires its LEOSA shooters to qualify with the current duty issue handgun, whatever that is.

Same agency was spreading the word that that duty pistol was the only one that could be used under LEOSA law.


Jesus. It isn't that hard. Agency: All you have to do is follow the law, you don't have to add your own policy onto the law or interpret the law.

It isn't until someone beats down the good idea fairy in a very public and $$ litigious manner with those that felt the need to "add a bit here, add a bit there" does that crap stop.

To anyone who claims that an AR-15 pistol isn't concealable, is Egyptian and living on Denial. I might have a harder time concealing mine with a Magpul D60 standard capacity magazine than with a 20-30 round reduced capacity magazine, but it is doable.

Thanks guys.

FWIW I attended a short seminar on LEOSA a few years ago put together by the NRA legal department.  Their opinion was that LEOSA applied to any weapon, pistol, rifle or shotgun that could reasonably be concealed. 

I’ve also found references to the arguments around LEOSA in the House and Senate where they struck down amendments that would have excluded “assault weapons”.  Even an opinion by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy lamenting that fact.

I have a 5.11 sling pack for SBRs that fits my 10.5” pistol and I don’t think it screams “gun!” , just politely whispers it.  It’s still more discrete than a fat man in a photographers vest with no camera.



Not quite as nice as the pack Domestique  is showing off in this thread

But I swaggered into a motel last week with it slung over my back and nobody blinked an eye. 

LEOSA only requires that you qualify with a "type" of handgun, revolver or semi-auto; it is not necessary to qualify with a specific handgun to be authorized  to carry that specific handgun.  I qual each year with a revolver and then, again with a semi-auto and that allows me to carry any big or little revolver or auto that I own.  Since there is no national LEOSA qual standard, states are deciding what that state standard will be and in some cases states are not deciding what that standard will be and then it seems to be left to individual agencies to decide their standard.  Hence, as stated above, knuckleheads keep adding bits and pieces that only screw up the intent of the law by complicating the issues.  There is no requirement that you need to qual with your former agency or even in the state that you worked/retired from; in the great state of Washington, you are allowed to qualify with any "certified" firearms instructor, not even a LE instructor.   When the WA State legislators got around to codifying this issue in 2010 they left the standard vague by mentioning a LE qualification.  I wrote up a course of fire that was similar to what several agencies already used as an agency "back-up gun" qual, not designed as "enforcement" qual as retireds have no authority to enforce laws, but as a self-defense qual which would be the usual scenario that retireds would be able to act in.  This qual was designed around a 5-shot snubbie, did not require reloads under time, was 20-25rds, with a max range of 15yds.  The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission adopted this qual and offers it periodically to any qualifying retired LEO if they can't get qualed anywhere else.  I don't know if they still use that standard as I qual yearly with my former agency as they are nice enough to hold a yearly LEOSA qual for their retired guys and they are still using a BUG qual course that is like what I originally designed for the State.   The WA statute also allows retired LEOs to carry concealed within the state on their retired credentials, the LEOSA qual only is necessary for armed travel outside of the state. 

I run our LEOSA program.  I've never had anyone show up with an AR pistol to shoot.  The hiccup for me would be the 40 round state mandated qualification course, which specifically states "draw from a holster" at several points during the course.  While the text of the law doesn't seem to prohibit AR pistols, my state course of fire would seem to exclude them without a holster.

K.O.A.M. posted:

The hiccup for me would be the 40 round state mandated qualification course, which specifically states "draw from a holster" at several points during the course.

I also ran our LEOSA program prior to retirement.  Here in WV there isn’t any mention of LEOSA in state law and the only guidance we got from the entity that certifies LEOs was that retirees should qualify in both full and low light.  That bit is universally ignored.  Also, while there are guidelines there isn’t a state issued qualification course  

The range officer and I discussed which qualification course to use.   To my mind any of the large frame pistols should fire the carbine course because that is the niche they fill. 

The reason I even thought of doing a LEOSA qualification with my AR pistol is I make frequent trips from WV to PA and there is that sliver of gun unfriendly land in between called Maryland.  

K.O.A.M. posted:

I run our LEOSA program.  I've never had anyone show up with an AR pistol to shoot.  The hiccup for me would be the 40 round state mandated qualification course, which specifically states "draw from a holster" at several points during the course.  While the text of the law doesn't seem to prohibit AR pistols, my state course of fire would seem to exclude them without a holster.

Time for us to dust of the old Eagle MP5K sling that tucks the weapon under and armpit.

For what it is worth.....which isn't much....I qualify an AR pistol for exactly this I teach frequently and travel for business (and pleasure) as well. I don't want the hassle of the ATF permissions to take a Class III across state lines and want at least 'some' protection although I'm still active so there is some minor difference.

I qual it on the backup gun course (LEOSA Retiree Course) as well as the in-service (LEOSA Active) primary handgun course. Keep in mind, my Dept policy would allow me to use this should I not have access to or the primary handgun (G17) not be practical given the circumstance which is why I run multiple quals with it.  While it could and has run carbine courses I do NOT qual it for record on the in-service carbine course. Mixing the streams is bad (for a lot of reasons).....Ghostbusters told us so...

Not my lane, but let me throw in a minor concern as a civilian.  I am not worried about the shooters and operators, nor those who want to qualify so they can travel.  You all are good to go.  But a friend of mine is a trainer here, and I hear about the amount of time and effort he sometimes has to spend to get a retiree qualified. My concern is that SGT Methuselah(RET) would come in with an AR pistol precisely because it is easier to (barely) qualify on, and then after getting qualified, go back to carrying a pistol he has minimal ability to hit with. With some of these guys, it seems safer to be the target than the hostage.  To me, that seems to be the whole reason  for the qualification requirement--to keep qualified people armed, and protect everyone else from the unqualified.  My two cents, worth a little less after taxes and inflation.

The only issue with that stance is, if Sgt Methusala (ret) can't pass the LEOSA qual, he can still carry on a CCH. Just like the bazillion other non switched on LF type citizens carrying.  For example: NC passed CCH in 1995. 8 hour class, no mandated COF, no time limits, you dont even have to draw. 30 rounds on a silhouette or bullseye target. Must be fired at 3, 5, 7 yards. Once you get your card, you renew it every five years with no training. The law has changed since inception, so the changes may be unknown to the average bubba. Additionally, once you get the card, you can carry any hand gun you want on it. So, Mr. Fudd could have gotten his CCH in 1995 at age 50 with a .22, then strapped on a .44 magnum and continued carrying it today, into his mid 70s, with zero follow on training or firing a single round. I dont have a problem with it, as it goes with our way of life. Additionally, if Fudd screws the pooch, the legal system will deal with him.

As a trainer, I wouldn't spend an inordinate amount of time on the LESOA qual. I'd give them the standard, let them shoot the course,  and if they failed I would send them on their way with the advice to just get a CCH.

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Our LEOSA and off duty qualifications were (and still are) the same as the normal duty qualification course.   And yes, I sent older retirees home when they couldn’t qualify.   The up(?) side is that retired LEOs get free CCW permits (and we have Constitutional Carry).

I think the course needs to fit the weapon and a handgun course that requires drawing from a holster doesn’t fit the large framed pistols.  

On the flip side our carbine/SMG course consists of two portions.  From 5 to 25 yards it is on paper. Then from 50, 75 and 100 yards it’s on full sized steel torso targets.   For what it’s worth, I can easily “pass” the carbine course with a normal carry pistol like my VP9 or 1911, and I’ve shot the steel portion using an MP5 with a collapsed stock and tensioned sling.  

I don’t see a problem shooting a large frame pistol on any legit carbine COF if the shooter can do so without violating the NFA. 

I picked up my new LEOSA card with my normal pistols on it today.  I may look into finding a private training company to document qualification on the AR pistol.  Until then it’ll ride in the trunk while traveling. 

MCorbin posted:

The Captain is an idiot. But that is to be expected. He’s a Captain and obtained that position by being incompetent. 

Actually he’s one of the most competent Captains I ever worked with, and I was a Captain once upon a time.   We saw a lot of people who rose to their level of incompetence over the years.

He was ripped kicking and screaming out of the drug interdiction unit and put in charge of road patrol when he was promoted.   But he is a conservative type. 

I plan on further research then chatting with him at some point. 

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For the OP I'd point out you can easily "conceal" an AR pistol in a bag there by fulfilling the language he likes. There is nothing prohibiting it under LEOSA that I see and I'd have no issue qualing someone on it. I myself will be running a pistol config backpack gun shortly when I get it all sighted in and such. I think another benefit would be its a bit easier to run effective FMJ if I ever go to Jersey. 

We run one off duty course for LEOSA quals. Shoot it with semi-auto, revover or both. If someone wanted to use an AR pistol, hasn't happened, I suppose I would allow it but there is some 1 handed shooting involved so the afore mentioned  Sgt. Mathusala would probably have some issues. I would however encourage someone that talked about carrying one. The idea is to be able to cary a weapon concealed for defense.  Nothing in the law says you can only carry one nor that it has to be concealed on body. An AR pistol makes for a great truck gun.

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