An Expert At Averages
Greg and Tam both talk about how the pistol skills of “the average gun owner” compares to what cops can do.
So how good is the average cop? He or she is likely much better than the average CCW permit carrier who takes an eight-hour training class and doesn’t shoot much after that. He is likely better than the average recreational shooter. Not many casual plinkers shoot 100-500 rounds a year. If you are a decent level competitive shooter, you’ll probably shoot better than the average cop. If you are a recreational shooter with a few professional shooting school classes under your belt, you will probably shoot better as well.
Greg uses a law enforcement test from Ohio as a standard of measurement. I use the FDLE Pistol Qualification, and it’s… not hard. Pretty much anyone who shoots about 100 rounds a year, has taken an eight hour class and has their CCW can pass it.
How do I know this? Because that’s the training my wife has, and she shot 38/40 on it with her Ruger Security 9 Compact.
Another standard to consider the Marine Corps Combat Pistol Program qualification. It’s not long (less than a box of ammo) and the time allotment is very generous. The accuracy requirements aren’t tough for a good shooter, but they can take a tool on people who lack trigger discipline. Rather than shoot my usual 50 round bimonthly workout this week, I shot this qual along with three failure to stop drills and a 25 yard headshot from concealment in three seconds or less. To make things even more interesting, I rummaged around in the safe and used my Colt 1911, shooting from an OWB holster at 3 o’clock rather than my daily carry AIWB Glock 19 with a dot.
The Combat Pistol Program uses its own unique target, so instead I used a standard IPDA target, which has very similar scoring zones. The time limits are extremely generous, but the scoring can be cruel to people who can’t shoot good groups, especially at longer ranges. I scored this drill as 10 points for Down Zero hit, 8 points for a Down One hit, and 4 points for a Down Three hit. The Marine Corps standards for this test are 364 points for Expert, 324 for Sharpshooter and 264 to pass the darn thing. My results were :
Stage 1: Made par time, 60 pts
Stage 2: Made par time, 60 pts
Stage 3: Made par time, 40 pts
Stage 4: Made par time, 118 pts
Stage 5: Made par time, 32 pts
Stage 6: Made par time, 72 pts
Which totals up to 382, or Expert.
I gotta be honest, I’m a little bummed I didn’t shoot it clean. That’s easily within my skill set, and I had the time to do it. I was at least a couple of seconds under the allotted time on each stage, so a few more tenths of a second concentrating on trigger and front sight would probably have yielded a better score.
The nice thing about this qual is how it relates to the civilian world. The Marines have a reputation as good marksman, so if your students can pass this test and do well on it, they have some bragging rights, and feel like they’ve accomplished something.
Which they have.