Recently, I had the opportunity to complete the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) Master Instructor Development Program. This course was sponsored by the Georgia Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (GALEFI) and was held at the Clatyon County Police Department range. All participants in the class are currently firearms instructors, and true to IALEFI being an international organization, there were a several participants who teach outside of the continental United States.
The program is a 24 hour workshop with eight hours devoted to pistol, rifle, and shotgun respectively, and the rifle and shotgun portions included some transition to handgun drills. Most of the drills were conducted on a par time standard, and there were quite a few drills run on a competitive basis.
One of the participants in the course was Erik Lund, a USPSA Grand Master. Erik was a good sport in the face of friendly but merciless harassment for the duration of the course. Erik was also nice enough to let an out of shape Chief Deputy type sneak up and beat him on a drill (sorry Erik, you know I had to include that 🙂 ). The drill is called “The Crucible”. It consists of a pistol loaded with two rounds with a reload magazine with four rounds. At the start signal, the shooter draws and engages the IALEFI-Q target with two rounds to the head, performs an emergency reload followed by four shots to the body all from a distance of five yards. Erik’s time was a 4.92, and mine was a 4.87 for a whopping .05 second win. He turned it up after that, and I didn’t beat him again, but I do now claim the title of “the guy that shot next to Erik Lund”. This was the first drill that we shot on the pistol day. We shot it again at the end of the day. He got his score down in the 3.3 seconds range. My time on the second run was a 3.89 seconds, but one of my shots was an eighth of inch outside of the circle for the head shots.
While we did some accuracy work, most of the pistol drills were focused on speed based on the adage that most law enforcement shootings consist of three to five rounds fired at three to five feet in a time frame of three to five seconds. Some of these drills consisted of one shot and two shot draws at five yards on the clock. The par time standard for a one shot draw was 1.25 seconds, with my time being .89 seconds, and the par time for a two shot draw was 1.75 seconds with my time being a 1.14 seconds. Other drills consisted of shooting on the move and one handed shooting.
In the rifle portion of the class, we began by checking to make sure our rifles were zeroed properly. We then worked through a series of drills involving one-handed manipulation, multiple targets, grounded weapon, support side shooting, and shooting on the move. We did weapon transition drills in which dummy rounds were randomly loaded into our magazines. As we proceeded through the drills, anytime we got a failure to fire due to our rifle feeding a dummy round, we transitioned to our pistols to complete that drill.
For decades, the shotgun was the prevalent shoulder weapon available to peace officers. Traditionally it consisted of a pump action shotgun with a cylinder bore barrel and buckshot and maybe slugs. In recent years, the patrol rifle has supplanted the shotgun, but the shotgun still has a place due to its versatility. In addition to buckshot and slugs, the shotgun is also capable of delivering a wide range of less-lethal munitions.
Our drills with the shotgun also mostly revolved around speed, but we also concentrated on some one-handed manipulation and transition to handgun drills. One drill that we did on the clock involved five steel targets. We were loaded with four rounds in the magazine and had to put one shot on each target with the fifth round being a combat load. My time on this was 3.88 seconds shooting a Remington 870P. This was topped buy another participant who was also shooting an 870P. He broke the 3.0 second barrier, and the aforementioned Erik Lund did it in 2.5 seconds shooting a Benelli semi-auto.
We finished up with an extremely fun drill called Rolling Thunder. We formed teams of five shooters. Each shooter started with a loaded pistol and one round in their shotgun. On start signal, the first shooter fired their shotgun round, then it went down the line. After each shooter fired their shot, they combat loaded two rounds. When the fifth shooter fired, they gave a “clear” command and it started over with each shooter firing their two shotgun rounds. This continued all the way through the combat loading of five rounds, and on the final relay each shooter combat loaded one round and when their turn came they fired their shotgun round and transitioned to their pistol for one round.
All in all this was a very good experience. Some of the material was dated, but the friendly competitiveness on the firing lane more than made up for it. The shooter that you were competing against one moment was legitimately trying to help you improve the next. The professional connections made were invaluable. I already have commitments from several of the other instructor for some training for the Sheriff’s Office, and I brought back quite a few ideas to improve our own in-house training.