FBI and Air Marshal Pistol Qualification Drills Can Help Your Concealed Carry

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FBI and Air Marshal Pistol Qualification Drills Can Help Your Concealed Carry

Do you believe that the current Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) Qualification Drills realistically represent situations, distances, and the necessary skills needed to survive deadly-force encounters?

Do their Drills represent the kind of gunfight situations that their agents and officers and you might typically encounter when you carry concealed?

Which has the toughest Pistol Qualification Drill, FBI or Air Marshal, and can you pass it? Not that you want to actually be in harm’s way and serve as an agent, but from your general interest and concealed carry improvement goal perspective and as a personal challenge for yourself.

More importantly, can you use these Drills as baseline standards to improve your concealed carry practices to better defend your life and the lives of loved ones?

A lot of hearsay, supposed “facts” from several unsupported studies indicate that typical deadly-force encounters happen at a very close tactical distance, i.e., close combat quarters, usually (if there is such a thing) from about 3 to 7 yards away. NYPD firearms expert Frank McGee says the typical police gunfight involves about a three yards distance, conforming to the “Rule of Three,” three rounds fired, at three yards or less, and in three seconds. My Dad completed the FBI training, worked with the FBI, and he probably would agree with this, but he has passed on.

Generally, this does make self-defense sense to me. But, we should also be prepared for our personal protection at longer distances out to about 20-25 yards with a pistol. My basic understanding is that it is not common for most deadly-force encounters and for these particular agents to fire their pistols frequently at these longer distances. But without any doubt, they and we should be prepared to defend ourselves and foremostly have the necessary pistol skills in a close encounter at distances of about 7 yards or so. Both of these agencies have developed and implemented new standards within the past few years, recognizing these necessary skills, distances, and preparations. So, are the distances used in their Qualification drills realistic, what distances are used, and specifically what is involved in their drills? Insight into these queries follows.

In this article, I will present the new FBI and Air Marshal Qualification Drills currently being used for new agents. So, I will give a summary of each standard Qualification Drill, present a video of each Drill for your understanding, and then shoot them myself and show you this old codger’s Air Marshal Target Hits results, which I consider more challenging. I am not trying to display my inferior skills, and certainly not brag about my less-than-stellar probable results. I just want to have fun and give you a general idea about what these fine, respected agents go through to get qualified, to give myself and you a challenge, and to help you improve your concealed carry practices and encounters.

Since I did not have QIT-99 law enforcement targets and this was for fun, I used my on-hand official IDPA targets. So you can see the comparison between the two targets, I superimposed the QIT Target on the IDPA target and evaluated my hits accordingly. All hits had to be in the superimposed area of the IDPA target, i.e., the down zero and down 1 zones.

So have fun and try these two Drills to help improve your concealed carry practices. I suggest you use an electronic timer for more accurate results. Which Drill do you think is the most difficult? Decide for yourself which one has the most realistic skills, distances, concealed carry applicability, baseline standards, and challenges.

QIT Target Superimposed on IDPA Target

The FBI Qualification

General Requirements

  • Fire 60 Total Rounds
  • 8 Stages with Various Courses of Fire
  • Distances Range from 3 Yards to 25 Yards
  • All Shots are Draw from Concealment; Cover Garment is Required
  • Use Strong Hand, Weak Hand, or Both Hands as Specified per Stage
  • Use QIT-99 Targets
  • All Hits Must Be Within the Bottle Target Outline
  • Hits in the Bottle Target Outline Count as One Point
  • Passing Score is 48 out of 60 (80%) Total Possible Points; 90% for Instructor Qualification.

FBI Qualification Course of Fire

Stage 1

  • Distance- 3 Yards
  • 6 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 3 Shots Strong-Hand Only in 3 Seconds;
  • B. Repeat: Draw & Fire 3 Shots Strong-Hand Only in 3 Seconds
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 6 Seconds

Stage 2

  • Distance- 3 Yards
  • 6 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 3 Shots Strong-Hand Only; then
  • B.Transition to Support-Hand Only & Fire 3 Shots.
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 8 Seconds

Stage 3

  • Distance- 5 Yards
  • 12 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 3 Shots Using Both Hands in 3 Seconds;
  • B. Repeat 3 More Times (4 Total Times): Draw & Fire 3 Shots Using Both Hands
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 12 Seconds

Stage 4

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 8 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 4 Shots Using Both Hands in 4 Seconds;
  • B. Repeat: Draw & Fire 4 Shots Using Both Hands in 4 Seconds
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 8 Seconds

Stage 5

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 8 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 4 Shots Using Both Hands;
  • B. Perform Emergency Reload (Mag Falls to Ground);
  • C. Fire 4 More Shots Using Both Hands
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 8 Seconds

Stage 6

  • Distance- 15 Yards
  • 6 Total Rounds
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 3 Shots Using Both Hands;
  • B. Repeat: Draw & Fire 3 Shots Using Both Hands
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 12 Seconds

Stage 7

  • Distance- 15 Yards
  • 4 Total Rounds
  • Sequence- Draw & Fire 4 Shots Using Both Hands
  • Total Stage Time Limit- 8 Seconds

Stage 8

  • Distance- 25 Yards
  • 10 Total Rounds; Fire from Behind Cover
  • Sequence- A. Step Forward to 25 Yard Line;
  • B. Draw & Fire 2 Shots Standing Behind Cover Using Both Hands;
  • C. Transition to Kneeling Behind Cover and Using Both Hands Fire 3 More Rounds;
  • D. Repeat Stage for 2 Total Times
  • Total Stage Time Limit- 15 Seconds for 5 Shots (x2)

Total Course of Fire FBI Qualification Drill Rounds: 60

Federal Air Marshal Qualification

General Requirements

  • Fire 30 Total Rounds
  • 7 Stages (Drills) with Various Courses of Fire
  • Distances for All Drills is 7 Yards
  • All Shots are Draw from Concealment or from Low Ready; Cover Garment is Required
  • Must Reload, Pivot 180 Degrees, Kneel and Shoot Multiple Targets, per Stage Requirements
  • Need 3 Targets: QIT-99 Targets – IDPA Official Targets; Score IDPA Target Hits Only in -0 or -1
  • Time Requirements are Strict and Challenging
  • All QIT Hits Must Be Within the Bottle Target Outline or IDPA -0 or -1 to Count (O Points if Outside)
  • Hits inside the Bottle Target Count as 5 Points; Hits Touching Bottle Outline Count 2 Points
  • No Overage Shots Allowed; No Re-Shoots Allowed
  • Total Possible Points is 30 Total rounds @ 5 Points Each = 150 Total Possible Points
  • Minimum Passing Score is 135 out of 150 (90%) Total Possible Points

Air Marshal Qualification Course of Fire

Stage 1

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 2 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Draw & Fire 1 Shot from Concealment; Hands at Side;
  • B. Repeat: Draw & Fire 1 Shot; Hands at Side
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 3.3 Seconds

Stage 2

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 4 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Raise Gun & Fire 2 Shots (Double Tap) from Low Ready;
  • B.Repeat: Fire 2 Shots from Low Ready.
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 2.7 Seconds

Stage 3

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 6 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Raise Gun & Fire 6 Shots from Low Ready;
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 3 Seconds

Stage 4

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 4 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Raise Gun & Fire 1 Shot from Low Ready;
  • B. Reload;
  • C. Fire 2nd Shot;
  • D. Repeat: Raise Gun & Fire 1 Shot from Low Ready; Reload; Fire 2nd Shot
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 6.5 Seconds

Stage 5

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 4 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Setup 2 Targets at 3 Yards Apart;
  • B. From Low Ready, Raise Gun & Fire 1 Shot into Each Target;
  • C. Repeat: Raise Gun & Fire 1 Shot into Each Target
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 3.3 Seconds

Stage 6

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 6 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Setup 3 Targets at 3 Yards Apart;
  • B. From Concealment Facing Away from target, Pivot 180 Degrees, Draw & Fire 1 shot at Each Target (left, center, & right);
  • C. Repeat: But Turn in Opposite Direction, Draw & Fire 1 Shot at Each Target
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 7 Seconds

Stage 7

  • Distance- 7 Yards
  • 4 Total Rounds for Stage
  • Sequence- A. Setup Gun with 1 Round in Chamber & Empty Mag Inserted;
  • B. From Low Ready, Raise Gun & Fire 1 Shot, Slide Locks Back, then Drop to Knee while Reloading, & Fire 2nd Shot from Kneeling;
  • C. Repeat: Fire 1 Shot, Slide Locks Back, then drop to Knee while Reloading, & Fire 2nd Shot from Kneeling
  • Total Stage Time Limit: 8 Seconds

Total Course of Fire Air Marshal Qualification Drill Rounds: 30

My Air Marshall Qualification Target Hits- 140 Points Out of 150 Total Points for All Targets = 93%
My Air Marshal Qualification Target Hits- 140 Points Out of 150 Total Points for All Targets = 93%

Conclusions

Both the FBI and Air Marshal Qualifications are challenging, especially for the time requirements. While the FBI Qualification challenges you firing 60 total rounds and the Air Marshal Qualification has 30 rounds, both have their individual unique skills tests, requirements, times, and distances. For example, shooting from the Low Ready position and drawing from concealment for the Air Marshal test and shooting with only the strong hand and with two hands in the FBI test. The FBI test requires shooting from behind cover while in the kneeling position. The Air Marshal test requires you to shoot three targets from concealment while facing away from the target and pivoting 180 degrees in two opposite directions. And the Air Marshal test also requires that you do a reload when dropping to your knee to fire your shot.

While both the FBI and Air Marshal Qualifications were challenging, I must admit that I practiced each test once before I shot them for time and final scores. So while my times were accurate, my scores very good, and I passed, I did get one practice in for each test before the finals. Twenty-eight of my 30 rounds hit within the superimposed bottle area on my IDPA targets, giving me 140 points out of 150 possible points for a 93%, above the 135 points to pass. Almost all my hits were on my main IDPA target as shown above. Not great, but decent.

For me, the Air Marshal Qualification was most difficult and thankfully I did practice beforehand the kneeling and reloading, shooting three targets for time from concealment, and pivoting in two different directions required in the test. Recall, I did not have any smaller QIT-99 targets to use, so I superimposed that target on top of my official IDPA targets and only counted hits in the down zero and down 1 zones. I did not aim for the down 3 zone, but did have two hits there for no points. I recommend that you do use the QIT-99 law enforcement bottle targets, to assess your performance better. Also, I recommend that you not practice them before like I did, so you do not have any possible advantage before your final test and scores, even though this is for fun. And that you use an electronic timer.

Also, I recommend that you view the above FBI and Air Marshal videos just one time each before you actually shoot them. You can print out the above Stages for each Qualification for reference. I hope these drills and Qualifications help improve your concealed carry practices and skills and maybe contribute some to saving lives. Be Safe and try a dry run without ammo for each qualification, prior to actually shooting them!

Continued Success and Congratulations on Your Qualification!

Photo Credits: Author; www.FBI.gov; www.usmarshals.gov.

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2018 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].