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Federal Air Marshal qual/benchmark?

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by dogcaller, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. (Searched but didn't find a similar GT thread)

    Found a thread about this on a different (rifle) site, but the thread petered out. I ran across this qualification a few years ago and thought it was a great skill builder and benchmark. I even went to the extent of buying a couple of the correct targets as templates, and then spray-painted several dozen facsimilies onto butcher paper to use as my targets.

    Funny thing is, all that effort and somewhere I lost steam, or, more likely, got sidetracked by another project/idea. This has rekindled my interest.

    Two things that impressed me about this qual course were that it was a real challenge (unlike some police and sheriff courses I was familiar with, and the fact that no warm-up was allowed. Walk in and shoot it cold, just like real life.

    As to whether I could pass it, I was a little doubtful that I could do it on demand. Couple of years ago maybe, but due to a move and new job I haven't shot much in the past couple of years, and practically no pistol in 9 months.

    So I stole some time Saturday and headed up to the range. So I found the targets I'd made several years ago (described in previous post), grabbed a few guns and headed up. Luckily I was alone on the pistol range.

    The guns were: 1) Glock 19 Gen 2 I think (no finger-grooves), bone stock except for a set of Heinie Straight 8s and a shaved Glock slide stop.

    2) Glock 34, also with Heinie Straight 8s, a reduced trigger pull kit (Lightning I think), non captive Wolff recoil spring and a steel guide rod (non-weighted).

    3) CZ75B, stock except for a replacement fiber-optic (red/orange) front sight.

    4) Sig P226 9mm that I've had forever, bone stock––complete with lousy Sig finish and surface rust in the grop panel screw slots.

    5) Kimber Classic 1911 .45, also with Heinie Straight 8s. Except I forgot the ammo.

    For the Glocks I used a kydex TacPro straight-drop OWBthat I got for a good price from Brownells years ago. Haven't heard of them since, but I like it. I use it both for CCW and range use, but it does conceal well for an OWB.

    For the CZ and Sig I used a leather slide holster designed for the Sig that I got from Dillon several years ago.

    Galco leather double mag pouch for all.

    Cover garment was a lightweight fleece vest.

    What I found in running the course was that, not surprisingly, I improved slightly as I became more familiar with the course. The largest variable was getting over my nerves, meaning that in the first run I didn't know how close or far I'd be from the score, so I rushed things and were sloppy; decidedly NOT smooth. Once I recorded my scores and realized I was close, I settled down some and things went better.

    I ran it a total of 5 times, starting and ending with the G19.

    G19 ––- G34 ––- CZ ––- P226 ––- G19
    1) 1.77/1.67 3.44 (no go)–– 1.58/1.60 –– 1.63/1.57 –– 1.72/1.73–– 1.66/1.53

    2) 1.07/ .98–– 1.03/ .95–– 1.16/.98–– 1.06/1.04–– 1.14/1.03

    3) 2.19 –– 2.35 –– 2.37 –– 2.32 –– 2.28

    4) 3.26/3.28 (no go) –– 3.37/2.89 –– 2.83/3.02 –– 2.94/2.79 –– 3.03/3.34
    5) 1.55/1.36 –– 1.34/1.21 –– 1.29/1.38 –– 1.48/1.35 –– 1.40/1.33

    6) 2.76/2.89 –– 2.77/2.84 –– 3.30/3.18 –– 2.93/3.11 –– 2.94/2.91

    7) 4.28/4.14 (no go) –– 3.02/3.38 –– 3.02/3.88 –– 3.24/3.03 –– 3.21/3.50


    132 ––- 145* ––- 147 ––- 142 ––- 150

    So as you can see, my first run of the day was a non-qual. Interestingly my last run with the same gun was a clean (perfect) score. I have a feeling my second run was clean as well and I had two rounds go through the same hole, but I took the -5 just to be sporting. It just felt good, I can't imagine I missed the entire paper on that run.

    Subjective impressions were that it was definitely easier to shoot the full-sized guns over the G19. The fiber optic sight really helped the front sight stand out against the target for this relatively close range and quick shooting. The CZ was fired exclusivey SA, condition 1 to start, The 226's DA first shot pull slowed me down in string 1, and the hits were poorer quality. After that, the Sig just shoots great. It's interesting, because even though the Sig has a higher bore axis than the other three designs, in rapid fire it just returns right to zero for me and the short light reset allows for fast and accurate hits. The slight differences between runs was due to minor variations or bobbles; sometimes the difference between a slide closing when I slammed a magazine home, or not. I'm confident that if I were to go try it again now or in a month, my "cold" score would be much closer to my runs 2-5, and would be a PASS. I say this not because I improved, but rather because I now know what to expect, and so I won't rush.

    All in all I think it's a good qual course to use as a benchmark, and to use as drills. I would have a hard time passing the first string if I was using my IWB holsters. I did shoot it with a very concealable OWB that I do regularly use for CCW, but less so than I use my IWB.

    What are your thoughts?

    Edited to say sorry for the difficult to read formatting. I tried to clean it up but no joy.
  2. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    I took a course from Matt Gram an ex Federal Air Marshal and all I can say is Not only is he fast but he never misses. I believe one of the Federal Air Marshal mantras is you can never afford t miss.

  3. threefeathers

    threefeathers Scouts Out

    Oct 23, 2008
    This is interesting, but wouldn't it be a better comparison if you used any of the above firearms in 357 Sig?
  4. RDW


    Mar 12, 2003
    Unless they have "Dumbed Down" the original test, it's pretty hard to pass.
  5. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    They had to in order to get enough people after 911.
  6. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
    What's the "old" CoF vs. the "new" CoF?

  7. My understanding is that this is the "old" Course of Fire.
  8. It would be a better comparison of my skills vis a vis a current FAM, sure. But #1, I don't have a .357 Sig, #2, I never made any claim to be equal to/better than a FAM or anyone else, but I WAS curious. Like I said in my OP, it is challenging and relatively easy to set up and score, so I was interested.

    FWIW, I'm no expert on it but I imagine that this qual course pre-dated their adoption of the .357Sig. I don't know that for certain. Also, I did intend to shoot my 1911 in .45, but forgot to take the ammo. :steamed: I'll try that next time.

    What IS much more interesting to me though is how WE do as hobbyists, martial-artists, etc. I think it would be kind of fun to compare notes, ideas, and scores; kind of like an on-line postal match. Kind of like what I take the purpose of this forum to be. :supergrin:
  9. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
    That really does not answer the question.

    What is this ("old") CoF, and what is the "new" CoF?
  10. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
  11. PhoneCop

    PhoneCop TeleDetective

    Jan 6, 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    I shot this for grins and giggles today:

    1) 1.53 and 1.48 GO
    2) 1.19 and 1.24 GO
    3) 2.32 (.29, .29, .27, .25, .28) GO
    4) 2.93 GO
    5) 1.65 and 1.48 GO
    6) 3.11 and 2.93 GO
    7) 3.95 GO

    I did not have the proper target. So, I shot it on a USPSA target. All but one shot were in the A zone, the one was a C hit on the left, just a fraction of an inch off the border.

    If you know please opine as to the difference in the scoring area between the USPSA A zone which is 20 cm wide by 28 cm tall (roughly 9" by 12.5").

    I shot it with my Comp-Tach holster and Kimber Super Match II w/ VZ Grips (Operators II). 230 grn LRN bullets. I wore a coverning garmet (safari style vest) and used my inner belt with holster at 3:00 and mags at 9:00.

    Video will follow (sometime)...

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  12. Nice shooting. I'll try to post a pic of the target.
  13. PhoneCop

    PhoneCop TeleDetective

    Jan 6, 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  14. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

    Jun 29, 2001
    New Mexico
    I shoot a version where the times are cut by 10% and the scoring is tighter.
    Here's a link to the scoresheet and CoF I created for it.
    It's in .odt file format (Open Office, it should open in any office type program).
  15. PhoneCop

    PhoneCop TeleDetective

    Jan 6, 2005
    San Antonio, TX
  16. Brad737


    May 30, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    Try shooting the course by using a weapon concealed in "Thunderwear". I'd estimate at least 60% of the FAMs on my flights wear that.
    Hope this helps,
  17. I like and use Thunderwear, but to me that seems like the worst possible application. Seated and much more difficult to access than a standard hip 9or appendix carry if you want to get creative). I doubt they qualify using it. In fact, for me simply moving from OWB to IWB would likely result in non-quals.
  18. PhoneCop

    PhoneCop TeleDetective

    Jan 6, 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    That may well be true. I don't doubt your observation... but they aren't shooting the quals with their Thunderwear. I'd think it impossible to pass the qual drawing subcompact from next to yer johnson.

    I'd demand proof if someone claimed they could.

    I'll buy ya dinner if ya can. :wavey:

    ETA: Only two of the sub-courses were from concealment craws, most were from low-ready... hmmmm.

    That would be an interesting turn with yer hand stuffed down yer pants. :rofl:
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010