Range Day – Rifle and Shotgun Qualifications

I love getting the opportunity to work with new shooters and to help experienced shooters hone their skills.

Last week was my department’s scheduled qualification day for our patrol rifles and shotguns. I thought I would share a few pics and explain a bit about the process. I am the range master and one of the firearms instructors for my department and it is by far one of my favorite duties. I love getting the opportunity to work with new shooters and to help experienced shooters hone their skills.

Everyone in the department who can demonstrate a basic understanding of shotgun operations and handling procedures is issued a 12 gauge shotgun. We carry two types of shotgun, one is a longer framed pump-action shotgun and the other is a shorter barreled pump-action shotgun. Each year every officer who carries a shotgun must qualify on a varied course of fire with a minimum score of 80%. The course consists of 5 rounds of buckshot, five rounds of rifled slugs, and two pistol rounds(for a transitional stage from shotgun to pistol). The furthest distance with the shotgun is 25 yards and the closest is 7 yards. The course places emphasis on accuracy, tactical reloading, and moving while shooting.

To be issued a patrol rifle, an officer must complete a minimum 24 hour class on basic patrol function and operation. Additionally, each officer issued a patrol rifle must qualify each year with a minimum of 80% with no rounds landing outside of the target area. The rifles we issue are Smith & Wesson M & P 15 rifles that will shoot either 5.56 or .223 rounds. We issue them with pop up polymer sights and red dot optics. Each officer is issued 3 30 round magazines. The course of fire for the rifles consists of shots being made from 50 yards, 30 yards, and 15 yards from standing, kneeling, and prone positions. The rifle qualification also has a transitional stage where the officer will fire round from their rifle and then transition to their pistol for additional rounds. The rifle course of fire concentrates on marksmanship, magazine changes, moving while shooting, and precision round placement.

Most officers really enjoy the range days and although we maintain safety as a priority, it is quite a bit of fun as well. In addition to rifle and shotgun qualifications, officers are required to qualify each year with their duty pistol. We also have various “open range” days throughout the year to work on other shooting skills such as moving and shooting, moving in teams, etc. I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our firearms training.

A version of this post was previously published on Steemit and is republished here with permission from the author.


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Photo credit: Philip Nelson

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