By Lars Dalseide | April 29 2012 09:54

Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Schools teach a specific set of skills police officers require to safely and effectively perform their duties. Mike Lane, an NRA Tactical Police Competition volunteer and police officer of Lewisville, Texas, is attending one of those classes in Horton, Kansas this week. Here's his report from Day Four:

Matt Rivera firing a 12 gauge shotgun at NRA Instructor School
Matthew Rivera, a military contractor out of San Diego, California, hits his mark then cycles another 12 gauge 00 Buck round into his shotgun's barrel.

Horton, Kansas - Maybe it's just me, but there's something about a shotgun that puts a smile on my face. That's why today was such a thrill to begin. See, today we were finally asked to break the shotguns out of their cases and take them out to the range.

Everything we've done up to this point involved either classroom activities or handgun drills. Injecting a long gun into the mix really changed things up. The one hand shooting technique we worked on and refined earlier this week were really put to the test as we started incorporating shotgun-to-handgun transitions.

Throughout the day, coaches evaluate their student's performance and offer tips to correct any detected mistakes. Although the fundamentals may have been the same (grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger control, etc…), the margins of error were much less forgiving. A student not assuming a good, aggressive, forward leaning stance will have much more difficulty maintaining proper sight alignment and trigger control if being pushed off balance by the recoil of a shotgun.

Another dramatic difference is the incredible appetite these devices have for their ammunition!

NRA Law Enforcement Instructor class students shoot shotgun from the kneeling position
Coaches line up behind their students and critique their abilities of shooting from various kneeling positions.

Drills orchestrated by the Staff Instructors really challenged the students to keep the shotguns supplied with ammo. Many times, while under pressure, students (including me) braced for the anticipated impulse only to hear that disappointing "click" and see the muzzles dive down a bit. Luckily, these missteps gave the coaches more opportunities to detect and offer correction! By the end of the day everyone had dialed in their shotgun capabilities and had two things to show for it....a completed qualification sheet and a bruised shoulder!

Tomorrow will be Day Five and completion of our training. It's been a great experience so far and I am really looking forward to returning to my agency and implementing many of the things we've learned this week. More to come...

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