My Citizen’s Police Academy class had the opportunity to take an optional class at the shooting range of the Metropolitan Police Department of Nashville and Davidson County (MNPD) on Saturday. Of course, I was first in line.
My personal disclaimer: I don’t own a gun and probably never will, but I had a blast learning about them and how to shoot.
First, we had a couple of hours of classroom instruction which seemed like ten minutes. Then we headed to the shooting range, where targets stood at the base of a hillside which would stop any stray bullets.
What did we shoot? (I think I have these right, but reserve the right to be wrong…as always…)
- The Glock Model 22 .40 Smith and Wesson Caliber Pistol. This is the issue firearm for the MNPD and the officers’ primary weapon.
- The Remington 870 tactical 12-gauge shotgun. This is the issue shotgun for the MNPD and is used as a back up firearm.
- The Colt AR-15 is a semi automatic .223 caliber rifle that looks like the M-4 carbine used by the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s lightweight and magazine-fed.
- The Sig 551 Rifle was probably the most versatile of all we shot. It could be fully automatic on one end of the scale or it fire a single round or three round bursts. Cool, huh?
- The Thompson .45 caliber Submachine gun from the 1920′s — I think they only use this for training purposes because of it’s cool factor.
Most interesting to me was learning about the taser. One trainer said, “The taser is the best use-of-force tool we’ve ever had.”
We didn’t get to shoot a taser (ourselves) but a sergeant demonstrated by firing one (law enforcement caliber) into heavy cardboard. That cardboard didn’t stand a chance! The police issue taser looked sort of like a gun and the blast lasted about five seconds, long enough to subdue and handcuff the bad guy. (They don’t normally use cardboard.)
I don’t know how I thought the electricity got to the suspect–I guess I’d never spent any time pondering it–but it’s transmitted through thin line, like fishing line, with a sharp, thick needle-like barb on the end. It sticks into the clothing of the intended victim (if your aim is good). The line comes out in a spring coil, like a Slinky.
We had two trainers and both have teenaged daughters who carry the civilian model taser. Did you know you can buy one at Sports Academy? Well, you can if you pass a background check similar to the one used to purchase a firearm.
Our instructor recommended models by Taser International located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The civilian unit costs between three and four hundred dollars and requires activation with background check. It looks like an electric shaver or fat cell phone and has a blast that lasts thirty seconds. Our trainers’ recommendation was to hit the target, place the taser on the ground, then, if you could get to safety within thirty seconds, to remove yourself from the situation.
The cartridges cost around $25 each. Stored behind the probes, are small round discs with a micro serial number on them. These are called AFID’s or Anti Felon Identification Discs. These discs are spread like confetti any time a cartridge is fired and the probes are deployed, making it easy to trace the cartridge and the owner.
This was a half-day class. It could easily have been a week. Recruits get twenty-three weeks of training. Of course, it’s lots more than weapons.
Oh, I hit the target every time. Great instructors! Thanks, guys!