Someone (sorry, I can’t remember whom) recently pointed to this story about the trials and travails of trying to turn illiterate backwards Afghans into police officers in 8 weeks or less.
Dyncorp, a contractor that employs ex-LEOs as instructors, has been hired to perform this impossible task. The entire premise that completely uneducated, illiterate peasants could be turned into even marginally functional police officers in 8 (or, more recently, 6) weeks is ridiculous on its face, but you’d think that the contractors would at least TRY to do the job they’re being paid for.
Throughout the entire piece, the inability of the contractors to train the recruits in basic marksmanship is lamented repeatedly; on page three, however, at least part of the problem is revealed:
At Kabul’s police training center, a team of 35 Italian carabinieri recently arrived to supplement DynCorp’s efforts. Before the Italians showed up at the end of January for a one-year tour, the recruits were posting miserable scores on the firing range. But the Italians soon discovered that poor marksmanship wasn’t the only reason: the sights of the AK-47 and M-16 rifles the recruits were using were badly out of line. “We zeroed all their weapons,” says Lt. Rolando Tommasini. “It’s a very important thing, but no one had done this in the past. I don’t know why.”
The Italians also had a different way of teaching the recruits to shoot. DynCorp’s instructors started their firearms training with 20-round clips at 50 meters; the recruits couldn’t be sure at first if they were even hitting the target. Instead the carabinieri started them off with just three bullets each and a target only seven meters away. The recruits would shoot, check the target, and be issued three more rounds. When they began gaining confidence, the distance was gradually increased to 15, then 30, and then 50 meters. On a recent day on the firing range only one of 73 recruits failed the shooting test. The Italians say that’s a huge improvement. (DynCorp says its civilian police advisers are “highly qualified”; the average trainer has more than a decade of law-enforcement experience.) [emphasis added]
They were trying to teach raw recruits to shoot and DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO ZERO THE FREAKING RIFLES??????
Not to mention that anyone who’s ever done any firearms training at any time knows that you start beginners out at very short range, one shot at a time, and getting them on target first to build confidence, then backing off to more challenging ranges.
In my humble opinion, this is nothing more than the latest of a never-ending stream of evidence that even a lifetime of work as a law enforcement officer carrying a sidearm on a daily basis, does NOT make one a firearms expert or proficient shooting instructor.
Real life is not fiction. Simply carrying a firearm in a holster every day does not impart expertise by osmosis. Unless a LEO is a firearms enthusiast on their own time, the odds are they are only marginally more qualified to use and teach others to use firearms than the clerk behind the counter at your local Wal-mart’s sporting goods department.