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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With a recent promotion, I've become a Sergeant and my chief sent me to the NRA's LE Firearm Instructor School, so I have become the department rangemaster. Because of all of the large schools in our area, I've tried to ramp up the "precision enviroment" mindframe that I believe our officers should have. During the course, I got to talking with the lead instructor, who is a Police Chief in a neighboring town. He's former Blackwater (I know, they don't have the best rep, but he's a good guy) and we talked about designing a new course that sort of melds LE carbine stuff and Precision Rifle stuff. Many progressive departments out there are putting officers on the streets with a more "precision" or "sniper" based setup (usually in .308 with at least a 3X optic). These officers that are cross trained through several different courses have a response time of 1-5 minutes, compared to a normal big city deployed SWAT/SRT officer, who probably has a response time of around 45 minutes like our area.

Any way you look at it, I'm wanting to help develop an NRA certified "Patrol based Precision Rifle" course and I'm looking for any good advice from both civlilians and LEO's. As I've always said, the "gun guy" civilians I know are much better shots than most LE guys, so I'd love input from both sides of the fence.

I'm looking for stuff/ideas to put into a curriculum. I don't want to bicker about which gun, which scope, etc., other than a general range to give departments advice on what to get. I'm looking for ideas on LE patrol based drills, unconventional shooting positions, department liablities, when to deploy a weapon like this (both bolt action and a more SR-25 style semi), etc. Bear in mind... this would be a course that goes beyond a normal LE carbine class. I'm talking about training officers to make command stress shots (if need be) at sub MOA at 100 yards, and much further distances (imagine that shooter in the mall and he's down the mall hallway 300 yards away), as well as using the same weapon for much closer moving targets, and then transitioning to a sidearm as well.

If you guys feel up to it, let er rip...
 

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My buddy is the range-master for his department here in the Denver area and two things they struggled with (post Columbine) was hall way situations. They played hell (1) reloading and (2)clearing malfunctions without "muzzle f#cking" each other.
Buddy or not he didn't tell me what they came up with as a solution (Op Sec I guess) but thought I'd share one of his biggest headaches.
 

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I think you and your guys can gain a lot from participating in a tactical precision rifle match. It would be great for identifying your deficiencies then working on them. Positional shooting takes a lot of practice (use your sling!) so keep up on them, maybe even go nuts with a .22 before starting the drill with center fire rifles. You guys might want to spend a good amount of time in semi-supported positions (barricade, divide, car..ect.). If you will likely be shooting in urban areas too you will probably all wanna know how to dope for angled shots. In most cases its a non issue because it has to be a substantial angle but you could find yourself needing to make a 200 yard LOS range with a 30 degree angle shot.

I'll brain storm on the subject some more.. you know my Dad could probably really help you out if he wasn't so busy.
 

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Congrats on the promotion.

I would say anything that could help prepare for active shooters in urban settings would be the most important. Im thinking of the recent Carson City shooting in the IHOP. Drills with "friendlies" all over with the one bad guy target. Also like JFC said using different types of supported shooting would be good too. I know angled shots are good practice for some urban settings.

I will think more on this and come up with some more ideas.

It's cool you want feedback from us too, some LEO's I know are kind of snooty when it comes to LE stuff, even though I can outshoot them on the range. They laugh and say that my paper targets are not armed and shooting back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"They laugh and say that my paper targets are not armed and shooting back."

Neither are theirs. They need to shoot a LOT more and not just qualify once or twice a year. All my non-LE friends will smoke most of my cop buddies in combat drills.

All great info guys. Several of us (instructors, 2 snipers and a carbine instructor) are getting together next monday at our county range to practice and brainstorm some more about this.
See the following article that I saw on Policeone.com...

"Beyond the patrol rifle: Adding a 'Designated Marksman' capability"

The U.S. military refers to them as 'Designated Marksman,' and I propose we adopt similar terminology and the same weaponry for perhaps one in 10 patrol officers
I saddled up my first patrol rifle, a Colt AR15, in a Chevrolet Blazer 4x4 patrol vehicle in 1985. The other two patrol deputies in my county had their own semi-auto rifles in locking racks, one carried a Beretta AR70 (also in 5.56mm caliber) while the other had a H&K Model 91 chambered for the much more powerful 7.62x51mm NATO round (.308 Winchester). While more than one potential human target saw the business end of our rifles over the years, no one ever challenged their authority.

Now we see patrol rifles in the hands of many U.S. police officers, generally a variation of the AR15/M16/M4 system. I have long believed a rifle is the long gun “answer” to most police shooting situations, now it seems most agencies agree. So, I’ll try to stay one step ahead by suggesting we now need to move a few of our officers “beyond the patrol rifle.”

The other dominant rifle form in U.S. police usage has been the sniper rifle, generally referred to as a counter-sniper rifle in its earliest days following the “Texas Tower” massacre committed by Charles Whitman in Austin, Texas on August 1, 1966. What I propose now is that we equip and train a percentage of our patrol officers to a capability midway between those equipped with a patrol rifle and snipers who generally only deploy as one element of a SWAT team. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps are fielding these intermediate-level marksmen in significant numbers and they are proving to be extremely effective in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. military refers to them as “Designated Marksmen,” and I propose we adopt similar terminology and the same weaponry for perhaps one in 10 patrol officers.


In February 2009, only a few months after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, PoliceOne ran my three-part series on how we should be training and preparing to counter terrorist teams of active shooters. In the development of that series of articles, I ran the drafts by LTC Dave Grossman, noted SWAT trainer Sgt. Ed Mohn, and a couple of military SpecOps dudes I know, adding their valuable input to the final product. I was more than a little gratified when I saw the Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York City police departments and the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) organize and train officers in ways that paralleled our early recommendations — the most common program being Multiple Attack Counter Terror Action Capabilities training, or MACTAC. It was in part three of that series that I first suggested the need for Designated Marksman (DM) capabilities when responding to a Mumbai-style attack.

Adding a Designated Marksman (DM) Capability
The most simple and inexpensive way to improve on our existing patrol rifles is to upgrade existing 5.56mm carbines with low- to medium-power optical sights. This enhances the shooter’s ability to deliver precise fire at longer distances than we can generally muster with iron sights. In addition to optics, any 5.56mm DM rifle should be coupled with a heavy 5.56mm projectile like the 77gr MHP bullet in the Mk262 load. Most Army DMs are equipped with an M16 variant using a 4x optical sight and the Mk262 load. Many patrol rifle shooters can already quickly mount scopes or 3x magnifiers for low power optical sights.

But ideally, I think our Designated Marksmen should be equipped with a more powerful rifle to deal more effectively with both distance and light intervening cover. The AR15 platform can be upgraded to larger cartridges like the Remington .30 AR or the 6.8mm SPC, but stepping up even further makes more sense. The USMC Designated Riflemen generally shoot an updated M14 chambered for the 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester). Our LE-type DMs should also opt for the 7.62mm/.308 round, but instead of firing the 168gr Match Hollow Point (MHP) round our snipers use, we should opt for a 150 grain expanding projectile. The sniper’s match hollow points are designed primarily for accuracy and give erratic terminal performance. Choosing a round like Federal Ammunition’s P308E, which uses a 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet, or Black Hills Ammunition’s Black Hills Gold load that uses a Hornady 155 grain A-Max projectile, would provide devastating terminal performance and a reduced chance of over-penetration, coupled with the ability to switch interchangeably to military M80 Ball ammunition. The M80 Ball load is a trajectory match for a 150-155 grain expanding bullet and allows both reduced cost training as well as better penetration against barricaded targets.

The Marine Corp’s modified M14 DM rifle can be duplicated with an M1A rifle from Springfield Armory, their Scout Squad model is particularly handy. If you would prefer a semi-auto rifle with the same operating controls as your AR to simplify training, a number of AR makers offer a variation of the AR10 which is chambered for the 7.62mm round. A police DM rifle should be equipped with a scope sight of about 4x magnification (or a variable-power scope that will zoom up to at least 4x).

An alternative to a semi-auto would be Ruger’s Gunsite Scout bolt-action rifle, also chambered for the 7.62mm/.308 Winchester. If we envision a police DM as someone who will provide precision support to a team of officers armed with high-capacity semi-auto carbines, fighting in military team formations, a bolt-action rifle in the hands of a skilled shooter can provide very credible service. The Ruger Scout uses detachable magazines holding up to 10 rounds, allowing a DM to quickly switch to ball ammo for added penetration or even tracers to mark a specific target and draw “directed fire” support from his teammates.

Beyond the Patrol Rifle
When police agencies train MACTAC, they should consider upgrading the weaponry of a few officers. Going beyond the patrol rifle by adding a percentage of Designated Riflemen to the teams, using a powerful and precise .30 caliber rifle, will make your agency so formidable any terrorist with half a brain will seek out an easier target.


About the author

Dick Fairburn has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming, working patrol, investigations and administrative assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and as the Section Chief of a major academy's Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published more than 100 feature articles and two books: Police Rifles and Building a Better Gunfighter.
 

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PALADIN it might be worth wild for you to reach out to Tim on Sniper's Hide and ask his advice on the subject. He has a large amount of experience spanning from military service with the Marine Corps to active duty LEO/SWAT. He is an extremely accomplished shooter all around but has taken precision shooting to new levels as far as LEO's are concerned. You can find him on Sniper's Hide (Tim3gun). This may also be a question for forums like www.snipercompany.com Sniper Co. has a huge active duty MIL and LEO membership that I believe could offer some very good insights to your question. I think you would really enjoy the LEO community on the forum and encourage you to join up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll do that, JF. I'm currently on SH, but I'll also give snipercompany a shot as well. Do you by any chance know where Tim is based out of?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Busy last couple of days. I'll try and get on the hide tonight and PM him. Thanks again for the info, guys.
 

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interesting topic and close to my heart. In reading the responses I find many well thought out points. My problem with the designated marksman concept is where is that officer when it hits the fan? I am also trying to solve the same issue. One response spoke of optics upgrades and heavy rounds from the already issued 5.56's. I agree. With most departments struggling with resources, optics upgrades are not overly taxing. most AR-15 platforms are capable of all the accuracy needed. Though a larger caliber may be preferable whats in the rack is most important. there are some good low powered optics out there that take away little in CQB engagements but allow much better medium range shot placement. having those in all officers hands lowers the odds of the 1-10 not being there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
C633, sorry for the delay in a response. I totally agree with you. I think that if officers are carrying 5.56 round patrol rifles, then a simple easy fix to meet my issue is to go to a variable power (don't really need bigger than a 1-4) optic of decent quality (with daytime illumination if possible for closer encounters) and also training to fire more precise shots. I don't allow maginified optics of any kind on our patrol rifles unless the officers have gone through a half day (I wish I could make it longer) of precision rifle training/qualifications by me. Anybody can advance towards a target at 25 yards with a AR-15 and kill paper. I want officers who have the right equipment and training necessary to do a command stress shot at 100 yards right on the nose with their rifle if need be.

As far as where the officer is when it hits the fan... that's kind of up to the assignments for the day and God. I'd rather have willing officers out there with the right tools and skill set then not.

Either way, I think you're right in working towards modifying officers' rifles with better optics if they can pass a more advanced training course and if they're willing to except responsibility in the role of a "designated marksman". All the LE's on this board know what the average OIS distance is. I'm only doing this because we lost one of our county deputies a couple years back due to an ambush with a .30-.30 and the responding units had no clue how to engage someone at a distance greater than 50 yards, and we also had an OIS last year where a drunk rich guy kept shooting at officers and passerbys with a scoped .223 bolt action and he was chased through a neighborhood for way too long before officers finally closed the gap and put him down.

I just want officers in our area better trained for a potentially longer shot.
 

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Sounds like you have done a lot of work and research on your program. I like what i read from you.

I was operational for nearly ten years, had the opportunity to attend a lot of good schools during that time. The basic rifle school that i attended and later taught at, was two weeks long and was right along the lines of what you are talking about. Each and every operator, either at the patrol level or something more specialized, SWAT, etc. truly needs to understand and embrace the doctrine of riflery, if ever to have the consistency and if it comes to it...confidence. Sounds like you know this, which is very reassuring. You must know that there are a lot of dept.'s who buy all manner of gear and then do not train properly. Then there are the alphabet soup agencies that to a great degree...do the same thing.

One thing you may consider, and probably, know...is that it's one thing to be able to do sub-moa work consistenly from a bench, prone, etc. but another completely to do anything close to that from a field position. Especially, under time pressure.

I always insisted that like Cooper stressed...the Speed, Accuracy balance...was critical. We always tried to get the students to try and find that balance, be able to hit a baseball size target, or MAYBE a golf ball size...RIGHT NOW...rather than taking too long and losing the shot. Generally, such a drill was done at 100yd as a measure of relative skill. One drill we had to do quarterly were the dreaded "Snap's" which was a single head shot, in the brussels target eye box, from low ready or guard position, at 100yd. in two seconds. It was a real chore some days!

Hitting something the size of a dime under pressure, even under practice conditions (sirens, yelling, cold with gloves on, full auto fire from next to the shooter at times, etc.) is a lot to ask most mortals!

If you PM me i would be happy to give you some material i have that might be of some interest.

Best of luck with the program you seek to build. I know there was a reason i liked the KC area when i was there recently!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Iceman, thanks for the insightful post. I will PM you in a day or so. Lot of craziness here. Hiring/training a new officer, etc. By the way, did you ever attend the NRA's LE Precision Rifle Instructor course? I'm looking at doing that in June, but I'm looking for some feedback from people who have taken it. There are not a lot of other LE courses out there and no civilian ones in this area... that I've found anyway.
 

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Paladin,

Have you looked into the US Border Patrol Sniper/Observer Course material? They have some good stress shoot training drills that we use at my department. Also maybe look at the CSAT sniper standards drills. They are difficult but practical.
Shoot me a PM or e-mail if you want me to send you some stuff.
 

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Do what I did when making a ccw class. Go to multiple high level precision schools with a notebook and plagiarize the crap out of what you like leave the. rest.
 

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I'm not sure why you would want a 7.62mm for this application, the 5.56 is perfectly suitable for this application up to 500m. The 7.62 is given to the SDM's of the military, due to the limitations of weapon systems in the regular army. I would look closely at your patrol carbines, there are things you can do to make them more accurate like free floating the bbls and better optics. This would save you tons of money, and give you a common rifle, and ammo for the troops.
 

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The first and most important obstacle for any person placed in the position to make a shot on another human, especially a child (shooters now days are young it seems) is if that person could take the shot. A person can train and train and train. But there is a difference between shooting a paper - than looking down the scope and seeing a persons life that is in your hands. Many soldiers and warriors train and train and train- only to find out in combat that cannot pull the trigger; even if their life is in danger or their buddy's life. Once you find away to train the human aspects out of a person, then get them some good therapy. No one is the same after that. By the way, nothing wrong with Blackwater USA- or any DODC, the [main stream media] just hates it when a soldier takes the handcuffs off and gets the job done...
 
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