Phoenix Police Firearms Training Produces Experts Who Win Shooting Matches On Target Ranges And Against Criminal Gun

Chief Thomas, unlike some chief executives of police in other large cities, who think that "cops shoot so poorly they shouldn't have guns," has decided that Phoenix police will be well trained. He encourages weapons proficiency within his department by personally providing and presenting three different yearly awards: a trophy and pistol for the highest maintained average; a pistol for the second highest average; and a pistol to the policeman who shows the greatest improvement in shooting.

The shooting program owes its beginning to a former officer, Earl O'Clair. While O'Clair was a patrolman, he was unexpectedly involved in a shooting fray with two robbers. The gun fight, which occurred during his off hours, made him realize his own inefficiency with the sidearm he carried in his every day job. As soon as Earl O'Clair became the chief of Phoenix police he, helped by other officers interested in shooting, caused the firing range to be built, using city prisoners to do the work.

Earl Dean, one of the first instructors and now a supervisory officer working under Chief Thomas, developed many of the instruction techniques. Such a simple principle as sighting a revolver correctly is often difficult to get across by word or example to the rookie, so Dean adapted

Simple things in life are stressed in Phoenix program, like how to reload quickly when gun empties in a fight.

Usual holster for Arizona lawmen is F.B.I, or Jordan model worn high and tight with butt to rear, gun tilted for speed and aim.

Phoenix officers demonstrate variety of unique poses in fast shooting. Silhouette targets are fired on at all ranges. Coach in fower calls time, studies performances.

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Duelling at electronic targets reveals safely which officer is faster. Coats swing aside at step which begins draw designed for officer wearing plain clothes off duty.

the Army triangulation method to handguns. The officer's revolver is placed in an eye-level rack, pointing at a target board a few feet away fixed to the same rig. The instructor moves a black disk bullseye over the paper until the officer declares his sights are right on it. A mark is then made through a tiny hole in the center of the disk. After three tries, these dots are connected by lines. The smaller the triangle, the better the "score."

Instant firing at man targets from short distances is also highly important to the modern "gun fighter," the policeman. Accurate aimed slow fire at distant targets—a running man or an auto gas tank or tire—is important. But the most important skill to the officer is his ability to decide quickly on shooting and then hit who he shoots at.

in firing at point blank range, the shooter points his forearm and the gun at the target, and both should be in perfect alignment. This is not "hip shooting" as is commonly believed, but point shooting in which the gun is held out in front so the barrel can be seen without taking your eyes off the target. The correct position if seen from overhead would show the elbow brought in to the point of the hip. and pistol and forearm extended in one simple line. The Phoenix stance recommended for such shooting is a half crouch. The weight is evenly balanced between the shooter's two feet, enabling him to pivot on the balls of his feet to follow a running or moving target without stepping forward. If the officer can learn to hold the barrel of the gun in a level position, and to hold his gun straight, the belt buckle of his enemy automatically becomes the target for his bullets.

This stance, once learned, perfected and practiced, enables the shooter to obtain remarkable accuracy at point blank range, shooting the revolver double action. Some of the better marksmen with the Phoenix department can put a string of five shots into a space no bigger than a man's palm, and do it consistently.

Shooting from behind barricades is stressed, because nine out of ten gun fights occur in alleys, in and around buildings and doorways. In a correct stance for barricade shooting, the officer places his foot near the base of the barricade (wall or door frame,) then leans forward placing the palm of his free hand against the barricade. The shooting hand's wrist is placed in the crook of the thumb, as a rest, allowing good aim without wobbling. When this position is properly assumed only the sighting eye, a bit of shoulder and a bit of hip are exposed as targets for the enemy. All Phoenix policemen are required to shoot with both right and left hands from behind barricades. Throwing too much weight on the supporting hand has the

Pistol a prolongation of forearm and that in line with eyes is formula for accuracy.

i revolver in the left hand, palm cupped underneath to catch any spilled cartridges. These can be pocketed for later use. The method of throwing shells into the chambers, after punching them out with the ejector, is literally that—a motion almost like tossing them at the empty chambers.

Dry fire, double action, reloading drill, and live shooting are all part of the Phoenix program. So much shooting takes a lot of ammunition, and this is reloaded by the Department.

Each policeman receives instruction in the use of the rifle, submachine gun and riot and tear gas guns, but particular attention is given to shooting the revolver double action. The police revolver is considered by the Phoenix officer as a "part of himself" from the day he pins on his badge, until he retires. The FBf holster rig, worn slightly high, tipped forward, on the right side, is recommended for Phoenix officers. Occasionally, when police knowingly go into a hot spot, they may wear extra revolvers in shoulder holsters, pants pocket, or elsewhere.

Public interest in the pistol shooting abilities of their Department is encouraged among Phoenix citizens by exhibitions of skill. In addition to exhibition shooting, the Phoenix Police Department is represented at matches by its own pistol team.

While the ordinary day-to-day work of the policeman is routine: visiting used car lots to check vehicles, checking the passenger lists of airlines, and other chores, Phoenix Police know the revolver is the officer's constant companion and must be ready for instant use. Their training program keeps it that way.

effect of exposing too much of the shooter's body.

In addition to competitive target shooting, duelling with pistols is sometimes part of the Phoenix schedule. Two targets are used, made of plywood and faced front and back with copper screens which are connected electrically with lights, bell and horn. The targets are out of sight at the start but can be flipped upright simultaneously by push button control of the range officer. The two "duellists" stand shoulder to shoulder and draw and fire, at the same signal, at the flip-up targets which each have their own backstops. When the bullets from the duellists pass through the targets, the electrical connection between front and back screens is made, and the lights flash while horn and bell sound, telling which man scored first.

Minor details in shooting must not be overlooked. Reloading after firing five shots rapidly is practiced in a way that prevents dropping cartridges. The officer holds the

When officer lies down on job it may save his life. A stable gun platform gives high percent of distance hits.

Phoenix training began when officer O'Clair survived shooting scrape with two hoods: began target shooting.

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