Sick Burn

Last night I was saddled with my annual departmental pistol re-qualification. Now many of you would probably exclaim, “Getting paid to shoot for eight hours? Beam me up!”

Well yes, getting paid to shoot .40-caliber rounds at a TQ-21 target is pretty orgasmic, but the afterglow is diminished by the dry biscuit training videos, the instruction on items detectives never use – tasers, OC spray, etc – and the lack of competent shooters on your line. At least the weather was nice’ cloudy, but cool, and it only started raining as the class ended.

Any hoo, I am shooting a string of six shots from the 7-yard line, and after the first shot I feel a burning on the back of my neck. I figure it’s either a tick, the really cute blonde range babe breathing on my neck, or a spent shell casing.

It was the shell casing.

Somehow, the casing ejected skyward, bounced off my baseball cap, and lodged between my vest and my skin. It was rather… unpleasant. I wanted to reach behind me and yank the casing out, but we were in the middle of a live fire exercise. I needed to suck it up, finish the string, and wait until the line was clear because I could address the searing shell.

The string ended, the instructors gave the all clear, and like a lunatic, I reached into my vest yanked out the casing, and threw it to the ground with a definitive “DAMMIT!” The blonde range babe behind me laughed and asked, “Casing?” Yeah, what was your first clue, honey; the flailing arms of the wet pants?

Thankfully, the rest of the evening went swimmingly. I ended up with a score of 97, after throwing two rounds from the 25-yard line. Lousy aging eyes!

Oh, and afterward we had to take a few turns on the FATS machine, which is like an interactive video game which records where your shots land on the movie screen. It’s very lifelike and fairly stressful. I was involved in two scenarios, and fired a round in each – both killing shots.

Heh, I still got it.

9 thoughts on “Sick Burn

  1. Minus the burns, sounds like you had a good day at work. And, as you said, it’s always nice to know you still have it! 😉


  2. Mike – I’ll have you know I go off fully cocked!

    Toothy – Meh, it was okay. I’m sick about throwing the rounds from the 25-yard line.


  3. CT – The state mandates the training course, not the city, but yes, the qualification is rather easy – for me, anyway. My anger comes when I don’t get a perfect score, but there are cops who fail, or barely pass. Here’s the problem with those who fail: they get to take the test three more times that day. If they fail those three, they can try three more times the next day.

    AFTER THE SIXTH STRAIGHT FAILURE, they come back and redo the six-week recruit training course – all while getting paid to do so. The city refuses to fire ineffective officers, which is why my department is in such shambles.

    As for the six-shot string, that is for one segment of the course. We do combat magazine reloads with a four round mag and an eight, We do stoppage drills with a four round mag, and we do close quarter drills with two-shot strings. Part of it may be a holdover of the revolver era, but it has changed over time. (Especially since almost no one in the PPD uses a revolver anymore.)


  4. Ah interesting, cheers Wyatt.
    Yes I had heard some departments had quite, well bizarre, retention of officers who cannot perform at the range, nothing new there.


  5. CT – The department probably thinks they cannot afford to lose the manpower. My opinion is they can’t NOT afford to keep people who cannot shoot on the street,


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