Law enforcement continues to be one of the largest growing segments of the National Shooting Sports Foundation's SHOT Show, the biggest show for shooting sports vendors in the world. Once again, Law Officer is here. Our Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) has more sessions–with topics ranging from virtual training for officer suvivability to low-light training to SWAT tactics–and better attendance than ever.
Did I mention it's free?
Following are notes from a couple of the stand-out sessions so far.
Dave Young: Selecting Your Concealment Holster
Presented by Uncle Mike’s Law Enforcement
“In an hour-long class there’s only enough time to provoke thought,” Dave Young says—which he then proceeded to do in spades.
You can’t just have one method of weapon and concealment. Concealment carry requires different clothing, accessories and activities that must be considered.
People who carry concealed weapons often reveal the presence of the weapon with their behaviour. They pat their gun, adjust their pants, check themselves in mirrors, tie shoes that are already tied and clutch purses and backpacks.
“Should you have a retention snap when carrying a concealed weapon?” asks Young.
The audience was divided.
Again, says Young, you must consider what you’re doing. If you’re in a situation where you’ll need to shoot at a distance, retaining the weapon is less crucial. You might also consider carrying a larger gun.
But if you’re going to be in a situation where you’ll be moving, running, bumping into people—retaining the weapon is essential.
Ankle carry? If you’re working in a situation where you’ll be sitting the preponderance of your time, ankle carry makes sense because your hand is close the weapon.
“It’s called the 80/20 rule,” says Young. If 80 percent of your time is spent doing one thing, cater your concealed weapon to this activity.
John Gnagey: The Preparedness of Law Enforcement to Respond to Terrorist Attacks on Highly Vulnerable U.S. Domestic Targets
Presented by NTOA
“We can’t use strategies developed to deal with criminal organizations in the 1960s and 70s to now deal with terrorists,” says John Gnagey. “Criminals have rules, like we do. Terrorists don’t.”
Gnagey then showed links between Mexican drug cartels and international terrorist organizations, including attempts to sneak terrorists across the U.S.-Mexican border.
Drug cartels, Gnagey implies, use terrorist tactics and might be considered terrorist organizations. He showed pictures of beheadings in Michoacan, Mexico: “You tell me if that’s not the work of terrorists.”
Mexican cartels are now international organizations, with links throughout Mexico, Latin America, the U.S. and Africa. They work closely with nearly every American criminal organization, from white supremacists to Crips.
Moreover, the training the organizations are receiving through military and police connections, is among the best in the world. “Cartels are often much better trained than the law enforcement personnel who must stop them,” says Gnagey.
“This ties directly in to what’s going on in your streets,” says Gnagey, and yet we’re doing nothing to prepare for it.
Mike Webber: Virtual Training for Officer Survivability
Presented by Meggitt Training Systems
“You’ll only rise to the level of your preparedness,” says Mike Webber, a retired Ohio State patrolman who works now as an instructor at the University of Findlay.
The main advantage of virtual training is clear: “It exposes an officer to a realistic life-or-death situation, which allows an instructor to see how they’ll react.”
Meggitt strives to ensure their training system is realistic. The system also allows trainers to create their own scenarios. “I’ve put officers through a scenario and had them experience nearly the same thing when they hit the streets,” says Webber. “Hopefully we’ve instilled the right reaction in that officer.”
Another advantage of virtual training: “You don’t have to wear hearing protection. This allows trainers to get up close when instructing students.”
The Meggitt system allows trainers to evaluate:
- Judgement skills;
- Weapon skills; and
- Officer presence.
Money otherwise spent on munitions is saved with a virtual training system. Webber cites the Springfield, Ohio, PD, which, after buying a Meggitt training system in 2011, spent just $17,000 on training munitions. A similarly sized, neighboring department, meanwhile, that used live-fire training that year spent $71,000 on training munitions.
“If you haven’t seen a virtual training module in the last five years,” says Webber, “I would encourage you to go downstairs and check them out. The technology has evolved leaps and bounds.”
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