Earlier this spring, I had the opportunity to attend an IALEFI Master Instructor Development course in Shelby County, Alabama. The International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors is an organization dedicated to improving the level of firearms instruction with the goal of keeping officers safe in life threatening events. This focus on officer safety has been evident in my every interaction with IALEFI.
The Master Instructor Development program is a three day event with both classroom and practical components. The first day was shotgun, the second day was rifle and low-light handgun, and the final day focused on handgun. Each instructor provided classroom material supported by drills that could be taken back to participant’s home agencies.
Day One began with Sgt. Jake King of the Marietta, GA police department concentrating on shotguns. Participants learned drills for teaching loading, ammo transitions, and shooting at various distances. Using a variety of ammunition, we saw the different patterns and group sizes using pump and semi auto guns. Jake also brought along a “shotgun library” consisting of about 25 different models, action types, and configurations.
This event allowed officers to experience many types of unusual firearms that may be encountered in a law enforcement setting. Officers had the opportunity to fire each gun and experience the different issues with loading, firing, and unloading. Some of the more unusual versions included a SPAS pump/semi, a Browning Citori, and a sawed off Rossi (department seizures).
Day Two began with a “handgun library” session, allowing participants to sample about 35 different models of handguns. Unusual models included a squeeze cocking HK P7, NAA micro revolver, and a Styer with triangular sights.
Sgt. Denny Elliott of the Williamson County (TN) Sheriff’s Office provided instruction in the use of the patrol carbine. Students participated in drills to enhance reloading, malfunction clearing, handgun transitions, communication, and movement skills. Using the very nice SCSO 200 yard range, participants learned practical skills for evaluating various sight-in distances and techniques. Students practiced movement and communication skills using bounding overwatch exercises while delivering effective fire on steel targets. Denny’s class also included a session on the use of Airsoft guns for simulation training and the use of rimfire weapons to control training costs. He concluded the class with a “carbine library” that allowed participants to sample several AR platform weapons in centerfire and rimfire configurations.
After a meal break, the group reassembled for a low-light handgun training session taught by Mike Boyle, retired New Jersey Fish & Wildlife officer and IALEFI director. Mike’s classroom session served to prepare the students for a series of low-light drills on the firing range. The exercises included ambient light, muzzle flash drills, and flashlight aided techniques.
Following a brief session on rifle maintenance & lubrication, Day Three focused on handgun drills that could be used to improve officer speed and accuracy as well as safe gun handling skills. Like the previous two instructors, Mike Boyle concentrated on giving instructors a series of drills and exercises they could use when training officers at their home agencies.
By the end of the third day, every participant was tired, sunburned, and a better shot than when they arrived. Each participant received supplemental materials with drills and articles that could be used in their own training programs. Each IALEFI trainer was thorough, professional, and passionate about teaching skills that would improve officer safety and success under the stressful dynamics of a gunfight.
The IALEFI Master Instructor Development classes are being held throughout the United States in 2012. I encourage every firearms instructor to attend, no matter your experience level because you will learn something new that can make you a better instructor. For more information, you can go to the IALEFI website at http://www.ialefi.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ed. note: David Hicks is a firearms instructor with a municipal police department in Alabama. This is his first article at BlueSheepdog.com.