Police Handgun Qualification Testing Target Requirements - I passed even when sick
Within law enforcement, the FBI, and other Government branches who issues firearms there is a handgun qualification process. The process, scoring, and accuracy requirement vary greatly among law enforcement branches and government agencies, however typically there is a reduced sized silhouette target presented at various distances from 25-yards to 3-yards. An instructor moves the qualifying shooter though a number of two-five round drills, including reloads, and some level of tactical movement. The qualification process is not particularly difficult and in fact some agencies have actually been sued because they have increased the difficulty to a point only proficient shooters can pass the 80%-85% scored hits. It is a bar, but a low hanging one.
Our church is one of the many who are taking advantage of a law many states are now passing which allows for armed security within a church provided that the pastoral board has approved the person, and that they have received some type of training including passing a Police Handgun Qualification test. I am now part of that Security Ministry team. We are fortunate that our team was not formed with the intent to let everyone who has a gun join, but to provide realistic training should the unthinkable happen within our house of worship. We are also blessed that within our 3000+ congregation we have a few top level government agency people who carry guns for their job, have had extensive and receive ongoing intensive training, and we also have a broad law enforcement membership within the church. The training process is well thought out and occurs over a 4-6 month process including everything from intensive tactical training, monthly training events, in church scenarios, and of course Police Handgun Qualification testing. I am excited to be part of the team and hope that the skills and knowledge I bring to the table can be helpful in some way to the overall safety of the church.
A few night ago, the team gathered for their monthly meeting and I wanted to run the qualification test with the instructor for my Salient International Glock 17. Unfortunately I was not 100% after recovering from walking pneumonia and several other related respiratory infections and still on three different antibiotics. My sinus and right ear infection was still raging and I was dragging tired. Not my best showing, however the thought was doing the qualification and pushing though the test would show me what my performance looked like when I was not optimal.
The result was the target noted a 95% passing score. The instructor noted I was pushing it really pretty hard and fast with the note "You are shooting at a gunfight pace, which I love to see." He further noted that I only had two round just outside the silhouette, only six rounds outside the first vital organ box and the majority of rounds inside the innermost box. Heck, I could qualify for the FBI with this target. He was happy, I passed, and life goes on right? For me no.
My performance bothered me in that I knew I can shoot better than what the target was showing. My standard that I practice to is the innermost square and I have many days that I can bring home a 3" group at 25-yards shot offhand with this same gun. Most of my handgun training is done on 4" or 6" steel plates at distances from 10-25 yards. I had a power bar and something to drink and put a fresh target up to somehow convince myself it was the ammo, or show I could marginally improve my performance. This time I could see the sights and they were moving. I was not stable, my body still weak from the freaking plague I had been fighting for two months and it was making me just a bit shaky all while making concentration difficult. Indeed this was the best I could do in my current condition and I delivered everything I had. An interesting experiment I do to myself occasionally. How do you shoot when you feel like crap? How about on the windy, rainy, cold day when the range is not the sunny fun day?
I will see you at the range. Apparently I still have some practice to do.