It is December in Nebraska–30 degrees (Fahrenheit) out, with nice gusty winds so that the weather folks say it actually feels like 20 degrees out. Obviously, it is a good day to shoot the FBI Firearms Qualification outdoors!
I decided to do this for a couple of reasons:
- I haven’t shot this in awhile, and I’ve never shot it on camera while freezing, so I thought it might be interesting to see how I’d do, and how much the cold would affect me.
- In my last article, I talked about how this is a good qualification to run for “court value,” which is something that Greg Ellifritz mentions in his article, linked above. As such, it seemed like a good idea to show what it looks like for those who don’t know the course of fire.
It was so cold I couldn’t talk correctly. My face was numb, and I was having problems forming words correctly. No, I don’t have a speech impediment, but you couldn’t tell that from how I was talking….
When I shot those last two strings at 25 yards, each time it was the first shot that I pulled low, and at the time, I thought I’d dropped both of them out of the scoring area. It still would have been a passing score (matter of fact, still passing at the instructor level), but it annoyed me greatly. In both cases, my hands weren’t working well and I just crunched the trigger. I had plenty of extra time (the par was 15 seconds, and I finished in under 9.5 both times) so I should have simply TAKEN the time to do it right.
Turned out that the Modified Q bottle (the QIT-99 target) actually extends down a little further than I thought, so I still managed a 100% on the qualification—but it was certainly close on those two shots!
In general, the par times are pretty generous, once you get out past the one-handed stuff at 3 yards. I need to work on my one-handed draws—I finished all shots within the par time, but it wasn’t nearly as smooth as my two-handed draws. If I had been drawing from an IWB holster from an open-front shirt, there would have been no time difference between a one-handed and a two-handed draw, but with AIWB, it is just so much easier and faster when drawing two-handed. I’m glad I shot this, because it shows me what I need to work on!
The rest of the qualification course, up to the 25-yard shots, was no problem. Other than the 3-yard SHO shots and the one string with the reload, I shot everything in under 2/3 of the par time, if not faster. (And I had a really bad reload, so that’s why that string was so slow.) If you happen to try this course of fire, remember to actually USE the time you have–beating the par time by a lot doesn’t get you anything. If I instead had slowed down and taken the time I had available, my target wouldn’t have looked so much like a poor shotgun pattern–and had I taken the extra 5.5 seconds I had left on both of my 25-yard strings of fire, I certainly wouldn’t have those two almost-out-of-the-scoring-area hits.
The FBI qualification is a good test of fundamentals. If you have good fundamentals, the par times are no problem and as the scoring zone is NOT small, getting a 100% is not difficult. It is a fun course of fire to shoot, and for those folks who don’t have barricades of your own, you can simply use a target on a stand. Try it sometime!