By Lars Dalseide | April 25 2012 14:47

Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Schools teach the necessary set of skills police officers require to safely and effectively perform their duties on the streets every day. Mike Lane, an NRA Tactical Police Competition volunteer out of Lewisville, Texas, is attending one of those classes in Horton, Kansas this week. Here's his Day One report:

Instructor Gary 'Hoot' Gibson teaching at the Kansas NRA Law Enforcement school

Horton, Kansas - Class started at 07:30 hours and I didn’t want to be late. Honestly, I can’t think of a single LE school I’ve attended where a few officers didn't straggle in after the morning bell. I’ve been that guy before, but never for a class I was this excited to take.

I stopped at a convenience store for a bite on the way in. This place was so small I figured it would be a quick in and out — that wasn’t the plan for the woman who greeted me at the door. She inquired as to why this fellow from Texas and all these police cars from far away had descended upon her tiny town. She was so nice that I promised to come back for a cooked breakfast later this week.

I arrived at my location, settled into my seat and waited for class to begin. The three instructors – Darrel Schenck, Jerry Rollings, and Gary “Hoot” Gibson – introduced themselves and pointed out that they certainly didn’t know everything when it comes to the world of training & tactics. Their combined experiences, however, made them uniquely qualified to pass along the most efficient and effective training methods around. After all, isn’t that what training is all about? Gathering as many tools as possible so that you’ll be better equipped should a problem arise?

After a short overview of the course, the instructors dove in. First was a review of the Four Safety Rules followed by the Fundamentals of Handgun Marksmanship. Including key points of Grip, Stance, Sight Alignment, Sight Picture, Trigger Control, Breathing and Follow-Through, the presented the lesson from the coach's perspective rather than the shooter’s. That's when we realized this week would focus on the coach and not the shooter ... in short, this was not going to be a traditional shooting school.

Police Officers taking an NRA Law Enforcement Instructor Class in Kansas

The next block focused on Handgun Handling Techniques. Just like marksmanship, this block taught us what to look for while instructing students in the four step draw, holstering, coming to the ready position, proper loading and unloading procedures, differing reloading methods dependant upon the circumstances and the clearance of various malfunctions. Each method was explained so an instructor would be prepared to assist a student carrying a semi-auto or revolver in either the right or left hand.

Now it was time to put it all to practice on the range. We headed outside, stepped to the firing line and watched as everyone switched back and forth in their roles as student and coach. I learned several new methods for spotting potential the cause of poor shooting performances. I also noticed some of these characteristics in my own techniques that need correcting. A true Win-Win situation.

We also picked up a notable quote which I plan to pass on to my future students:

"Everyone has the will to win. It is the will to prepare which makes the difference!"

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