This week, nearly 400 law enforcement professionals from all over the United States and the world have gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the 53rd National Police Shooting Championships.
It's the ultimate test of personal and team firearm skills and it's valued by our men and women in blue not just for being a fun competition, but because it acts as training for skills they may one day need to employ.
In 1960, the NRA created its Law Enforcement Division to provide the law enforcement community with a "certified" and standardized law enforcement firearm instructor training program. Instructors who graduated from the program would, in turn, teach other officers valuable firearm skills that could save a citizen's life or even their own. To date, we have over 12,000 active law enforcement firearm instructors and have trained a total of more than 65,000.
Two years later, in 1962, the National Police Shooting Championships were born as a continuation of the training process. Because trigger time is training time, the championships were designed to encourage officers to practice and enhance their firearm skills via fun competition. By using NRA-standardized law enforcement courses of fire, officers would have the ability to assess their skill levels and departments could evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs.
And that's how it's been ever since.
NPSC is not an Invitational Only Match, there is no Point Series that you have to gain to be allowed to come, no lottery slots you have to try for, and no club slot you have to be selected for. Any public or private law enforcement professional may enter and shoot just one match or stay for the entire multi-day event.
What does it take to win? The competition to become Grand Champion is comprised of sixteen different individual matches which fall into one of four categories: Open Class Revolver, Open Class Semi-Automatic Pistol, Individual Service Pistol, and Law Enforcement Shotgun. Put up the highest total score and you've won it all... until next year.
But only a fraction of officers put up those incredible scores as Master and High Master classifications. Everybody competes against officers at their skill level and there are many categories, including city, county, state, wildlife, retired, and more. Most importantly, the top shots in these categories still win great prizes.
Today is the final day of competition for 2015. Will defending champion U.S. Border Patrol Senior Agent Robert Vadasz claim his seventh win, or will a new name appear at the top of the scoreboard?