REVOLVER / PISTOL PRACTICE FOR THE POLICE
REVOLVER PRACTICE FOR THE POLICE
THE revolver is a part of the regular equipment of the police force of nearly every city in this country. Unfortunately the general lack of any regulations for the care of and the practice with these arms largely nullifies their usefulness. Even in the large cities, members of the police force frequently admit that they have not used or cleaned their arms for six months or more. An inspection of the arms under such conditions not infrequently reveals the fact that center-fire arms are loaded with rim-fire ammunition, and viceversa. The mechanism is often so badly rusted that the cylinder will not revolve and the barrel so corroded as to seriously impair its accuracy. When occasion requires the use of the arms under such conditions, accidents almost invariably result, either to the policemen who attempt to fire the arms, or to the innocent bystanders and property.
The records of every large municipality show that large sums are annually disbursed in litigation and to individuals who have suffered either personal wounds or property damage from accidents of this character.
By adopting suitable arms, and regulations governing practice shooting with them, it is entirely practicable and comparatively easy to train a large police force to become good marksmen. The possibility of accidents is thus reduced to a minimum and the efficiency of the men increased to a maximum. The moral effect of a high order of marksmanship of an entire police force, when generally known, cannot be overestimated. Practice and skill in the use of the revolver embodies the essential elements of rifle shooting, so that in case of riot, insurrection, or war, a large police force could be made quickly available for duty with very little additional instruction, by arming them with rifles.
A practical plan to develop such results is as follows: The services of a competent person to teach the men must first be secured. This man should be an experienced and skillful marksman with the revolver and be qualified to maintain proper discipline and teach the subject in all its details. A suitable range must next be provided. Two men from each precinct selected for their fitness to become instructors should then be detailed to take a prescribed course of training and practice under the teacher referred to. Each of these men should devote not less than four hours a week to this course. In four months' time these men should be qualified to undertake the work of training and instructing others under the inspection and supervision of the original teacher. After providing sufficient range facilities, squads of men from each precinct should then be detailed for practice and instruction under their own instructors, devoting at least two hours per man per week to this work. At least one and one-half hours of this time should be devoted to actual practice shooting. After sufficient skill has been developed, teams of the different precincts should shoot matches with each other, which will keep up a friendly rivalry and promote interest in their work.
By adopting such a plan it is possible, within a year from its inception, to convert an entire police force into perfectly safe and reliable shots of good ability; i. e., such ability as would enable all of them to hit an object the size of a man every time at 50 paces. The mistake is sometimes made of requiring the men to practice during off-duty time; this has never proved successful.
After the first year, or after a sufficient degree of skill has been developed, the efficiency of the men can be preserved and maintained by devoting an hour every two weeks to regulation practice. There is little doubt but that the cost of the time and ammunition devoted to such a course of training would be more than offset by the elimination or a large portion of the accidents, litigation, etc., that result under the present conditions.
Much of the efficiency that it is possible to attain depends upon the character of the regulation arm that may be adopted for police service. Such an arm should be of large caliber and sufficient power to fulfil the requirements. When carried in the pocket the perspiration of the body causes rust, and a nickel finish will therefore generally be more serviceable than any other. The sights, hammers and other projections should be of suitable form, and as referred to in the text under " Pocket Arms." In order to secure suitable accuracy, the barrel should be 4 inches in length and the trigger pull 4 pounds. A first-class weapon for police service is the .38-caliber Smith & Wesson safety hammerless, the .38-caliber or .32- caliber Colt Police Positive or the .32 caliber Smith & Wesson hand ejector revolver. The 38-caliber Smith & Wesson safety hammerless is particularly well adapted for police service, the safety feature making accidental discharge almost impossible, and being also a decided advantage in case the weapon should fall into the hands of an unskilled antagonist.
In all cases a regulation arm' and ammunition should be adopted so as to secure uniformity and involve the purchase of only one line of supplies and ammunition.
Regulations.All members of the Department are obliged to practice shooting with the regulation arm, at least two hours in each calendar month. The captain of each precinct will designate the time and place for instruction and practice for each individual under his jurisdiction.
Every member of the department will be expected to qualify in one of the three classes: Marksman, Sharpshooter, or Expert, and will be rated accordingly. Decorations of suitable design will be awarded to those qualifying; the decoration to be worn directly under the shield. Ratings in any year will be determined by the average scores made by each individual in the three months prior to January first of that year, on which date decorations will be awarded annually. A member failing to qualify in any class shall be rated a Beginner, and if holding a decoration awarded the preceding year shall surrender same.
All practice shooting shall be in the prescribed order in each class as given below. Entries unlimited. Each individual must qualify at each stage before he can be advanced to the next stage.
All shooting to be done under the following:
The position shall be standing, free from any support, the weapon being held in one hand with the arm extended so as to be free from the body. Target, standard American aoo-yd. rifle target with 8-in. bullseye, outside dimensions 28^ in. by 28^ in. Ammunition shall be the regulation full charge, factory loaded, brought to the firing point in the original package. Arms shall not be loaded except at the firing point, when the competitor is ready to shoot his score. All scores to be 10 shots, fired in two strings of 5 shots each. Slow fire to be timed after the first shot of each string. Rapid fire to be timed as follows: The competitor standing at the firing point with the arm loaded, not cocked, and the barrel pointing downward in a direction not less than 45 degrees from the target, when ready to begin each string shall say, "Ready." The scorer, watch in hand, when the second hand reaches an even to-second point on the dial, will give the command " Fire," after which the competitor raises and cocks his weapon and begins his string. Just as the time limit for each string expires the scorer shall announce, "Time." If a shot is fired after the time limit has elapsed, the shot of highest count shall be deducted from the string. In case of misfire, accidental discharge, or defective ammunition, it shall be scored as a shot and if the bullet does not strike the target it shall be scored zero. Ties and all other details not covered by these conditions to be decided by and to comply with the Rules and Regulations of the U. S. Revolver Association.
Slow Fire:10 shots at 10 yds. One minute for each string of five shots. Possible, 100; qualifying score, 90.
Rapid Fire:10 shots at 10 yds. 30 seconds for each string of five shots. Possible, 100; qualifying score, 80
Slow Fire:10 shots at 20 yds. One minute for each string of five shots. Possible, 100; qualifying score, 90.
Rapid Fire:10 shots at 20 yds. 30 seconds for each string of five shots. Possible, 100; qualifying score, 80.
Slow Fire:10 shots at 20 yds. 30 seconds for each string of five shots. Possible, 100; qualifying score, 90.
Rapid Fire:10 shots at 20 yds. 15 seconds for each String of five shots. Possible, 100; qualifying score, 80.
Inasmuch as regular instruction and practice in revolver shooting has been instituted in only a few of the larger cities of this country, the police of other cities in the absence of such training, or its equivalent, have so little knowledge as to the proper use and care of the revolver that the arm adds little or nothing to their efficiency. To assist such policemen individually who have the ambition to increase their efficiency by their own initiative, the following practical suggestions and general rules will prove helpful:
Himmelwright, A.L.A.. Pistol and Revolver Shooting. New York: MacMillan, 1922.
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