Training, with firearms. (Pt. II)
When my Lieutenant told me that I was to attend Firearms Instructor School, he handed me a printout of what was required. I was at first a little surprised at the ammunition requirements:
- 1000 rounds of duty ammo for my duty pistol.
- 250 rounds of revolver ammunition for the revolver (.38 or greater, 4" or longer) that I bring.
- 50 rounds of duty-worthy 9-pellet 00 buckshot for the cruiser shotgun that I bring.
- 5 rounds of slugs for the shotgun.
I was a bit surprised that there would be so much shooting, in a class that is ostensibly designed to instruct its students how to teach shooting. Presumably, we would already know how to shoot, right? Why all the shooting?
But after some reflection, it makes some sense. Weed out the posers and wanna-be's on the first day. Make sure that your candidates can actually shoot like an expert. Because who's going to listen to what they have to say, later on, if they can't shoot well, themselves? There's a strong potential for a credibility issue.
And while the basic state-mandated peace officer firearm qualification requirement is ridiculously easy (whenever I administer a firearms qualification, I write the course a great deal harder than the state requires), I have to believe that they're going to ramp it up a bit for the initial hurdle of this class. I can't recall the last time I've dropped more than a single shot at a firearms qualification (usually when firing weak-handed), but suddenly I find myself a teeny bit nervous.
Hey, what's that? "Nervous?" You mean that I feel tension about making the grade on an in-service class? Holy cow. I had forgotten what such a feeling even felt like. How lovely! No. Seriously. Tension drives us to excel. If you don't believe you can fail, then why put yourself out by trying?
So I'll be taking my issued duty Glock 31 that I'll be shooting out of my regular duty rig.
I'll take my issued duty Remington 870P that is in my patrol car rack.
And I'll be taking a revolver. Hmmm. Which revolver?
Initially, I had thought of a certain Model 10 that my father has, which has possibly the smoothest double action trigger that I've ever felt on a duty-worthy gun. But it has a 3" barrel, and the requirements for the class specify a 4" barrel or greater. (Why? I don't have a clue. But what's the point in questioning the specifications? Just show up with what they require. First rule of the range: don't argue with the rangemaster.)
Because I have few revolvers in my stable of personal guns, I of course requested permission to run barefoot through Dad's gunsafe to find an appropriate revolver for school. While we were sighting in a rifle (another post about that, later), Dad opened up a large pistol case with some likely candidates. I tried out several Model 10's, pre-numeral M&P's, and a nice M19 with an enormous target hammer spur. We had no 4"+ J-frame .38s, so that wasn't a concern. I decided against a Colt, because the vast majority of my double action time has been behind a Smith trigger. I decided against N frames because of holster, speedloader, and ammo (in some cases) availability. (Though it would be fun to shoot the 1917 in class.) I can't deny that I was not blind to Kewl Factors while choosing which revolver to shoot. But finally, I settled on pure practicality.
Yes, of course it's a Model 10. Bonus points if you can get the dash number on the first guess, without a book. I took off the wooden gold medallion presentation stocks without a speedloader cutout, and put on these ugly-but-highly-functional Pachmayers, which also benefit by virtue of sporting a built-in grip adaptor for my orangutan-like hands.
I also tried out holsters, and was surprised that, between Dad and me, we didn't have a handy thumb-break duty-style holster available. But with a bit of practice, it's surprising how fast you can get with a snap-down holster. I tried the various snap-downs that Dad had, and liked this one the best. This is an interesting example of a very distinct style that was born in the 1960's, with a rear-sight shroud. It's hand-made by Oliver Ball, a holster-maker of some fame, of Fort Worth. My father knew Mr. Ball, and learned a bit of holster-making from him (Including how to stamp that quality of basket-weave). I hope he'll post a little something extra about the history of this holster, on his own blog.
So now, with a week before class, I suppose I should, uh, cheat.
I'm going to go practice.