THE BFI's BIG CHANGE IN FIREARMS TRAINING
In the late 1940's the FBI adopted the reality based point shooting system developed in part by Applegate during World War II. It was a simple, effective, and combat proven system. Subsequently, that combat proven system was rejected after changes in instructor personnel, not in response to job requirements.
In the following years, changes in handgun shooting gave rise to competition-based target pistol shooting and the Modern Technique, which was soon equated with and called combat handgun shooting. It served as the basis for the vast majority of U.S. Law Enforcement Agency training programs for well over thirty years. (See Mike Conti's book: The Officer's Guide To Police Pistolcraft for a brief and interesting history of police "agency" training).
The accepted and long standing hit rate for police engaged in real close quarters combat is under 20%. That means that for every five shots fired, four miss the target and go somewhere else. And given that more than 85% of close range encounters occur within 21 feet, and more than 53% of them take place within 5 feet, it is fair to say that the less than 20% hit rate is atrocious. Also, it's in close quarters situations where there is the greatest chance of one being shot and/or killed. And if that is going to happen, there is an 80% chance that it will be at less than 21 feet.
The bottom line is that shooting methods, with emphasis on traditional marksmanship that have been taught for years and years for use in close quarters combat situations, are proven not to work in those situations. And nothing much has been done about that by the powers that be.
There was a shift in thinking towards using a fact based approach to determine what was needed to improve shooting efficiency in the 1990's, to better assure officer survival and reduce casualty rates.
But, it wasn't until 2013 that the FBI changed its qualification Course Of Fire to better reflect the reality that most gunfights take place at close quarters, versus the long distances that FBI agents were trained to shoot from.
The "old" qualification standard had been in place for about three decades. It had candidates shoot from as far as 25 yards, with 56% of the rounds fired at 15 yards or more. While, the "new" qualification standard has 67% of the shots fired at 7 yards and less.
Old COF (50 rounds)
Stage 1: 18 rounds @ 25 yds
Stage 2: 10 rounds @ 15 yds
Stage 3: 12 rounds @ 7 yds
Stage 4: 10 rounds @ 5 yds
See The Truth About Guns for details.
New COF (60 rounds)
Stage 1: 12 rounds @ 3 yds
Stage 2: 12 rounds @ 5 yds
Stage 3: 16 rounds @ 7 yds
Stage 4: 10 rounds @ 15 yds
Stage 5: 10 rounds @ 25 yds
See The Truth About Guns for details.
It's way past time to bring back and update Applegate's point shooting system and/or expose trainees to other point shooting methods like Aimed Point Shooting or P&S, Quick Kill, Cirillo's weapon silhouette and geometric point techniques, and Lou Chiodo's Target Focus Fighting, and force on force training.
Making COFs more reflective of reality, surely will help the current situation, but without change that recognizes and embraces the use of Point Shooting in CQB situations, and training in it, real progress will be limited or not happen. The Point Shooting methods work at close quarters and can supplement and enhance, not replace, current methods that fail in real close quarters armed encounters. They are simple and easily learned.
Without remedial action, the status quo of an Officer being shot and killed every week, and thousands wounded every year, will continue as it has been for years and years, and without much being done about it.
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