On Friday, the class got a chance to fire our guns for the first time. I haven't shot a gun since I was a kid and that was with a rifle.
We posted our human-shaped targets and lined up on the range just before sunrise. It was cold and I was anxious to see if I could handle the .40 caliber Glock model 22.
After reciting our safety rules and a exercising a few 'trial' runs, we were instructed to load a magazine of live ammunition into our guns. I was excited and nervous as I loaded the magazine and racked the slide to move a round into the chamber. I raised my arms, aligned my sights on the target and partially squeezed the trigger until all of the slack was taken out. A final alignment of the sights and a smooth completion of the finger-squeeze and 'BOOM' -we were off and running.
Our instructors spray painted a red circle about the size of a tennis ball on the target for us to aim at. From about 22 feet away, my first few shots were centered correctly but were a bit low. My aim improved throughout the morning as we fired dozens of rounds. Even though I was hitting low, most of my shots were very close together and eventually created a large hole on the lower half of the red circle. Next, we aimed at the head and shot fifteen times at the bridge of the nose.
I was told that I did very well for a first time shooter. All of my shots hit inside the main body area and were fairly close together. Now I need to learn how to stop dipping the muzzle of my gun downward as I press the trigger. This is causing my shots to hit low on the target.
On Sunday, my class volunteered at the Fiesta Bowl half marathon in Scottsdale. From 0600 to 1100I was posted at the finish line funnelling all of the runners through the chutes and recording their race times. I kept expecting to see someone I knew from my former employer (you know who you are) but I was wrong. I liked helping out but missed the opportunity to sleep in (I'm still trying to get used to waking up at 0430 every day and relish getting up at 0800 on the weekends).
Today (Monday) was our second day on the firing range. We did several different shooting drills to improve speed and accuracy. I'm still shooting a bit low but have maintained the ability to keep my shots close together.
Other than shooting, we've been spending a lot of time on handcuffing techniques. In a week or so, we'll be tested as we participate in field problems (scenarios that are acted out by off duty officers that require us to solve whatever situations arise).
Word of the day: RANGE HICKEYS
These are caused when the hot brass shell casings that are ejected from someone else's gun land on your neck and cause a mild burn. If you're real lucky, the bullet casing will slip through the collar of your shirt and fall down your back.