Handgun Safety with MPD Training
I would be willing to bet most folks who grew up hunting probably think they know the basics of gun handling pretty well by now. Maybe so, and if you keep a firearm in your home for personal protection chances are you know how to bring the weapon to ready if necessary. But how about your spouse? If an intruder broke into your home and only your spouse was there, does he or she know how to handle a gun if the circumstances arose where the use of deadly force was necessary?
Many gun owners also apply for a concealed carry license in order to legally keep a weapon on them or in their vehicle for protection.
If you are a concealed carry license holder, how well do you understand the laws governing your right to carry that firearm, especially concerning the
use of deadly force?
Luckily for residents of the River Region, the Montgomery Police Department has a program called the “Citizens Firearm Familiarization Course” designed to help people become familiar with their personal defense weapon and educate them on the use of deadly force for personal protection. My wife and I attended a recent course together and I would highly recommend it to anyone who keeps a firearm for personal protection.
Held monthly at Department facilities and taught by Montgomery police officers, the eight-hour Firearms Familiarization Course is broken up into two four-hour segments consisting of classroom and range time. Over the course of the program, attendees are introduced to basic handgun safety and handling, ammunition selection for practice and personal defense, proper shooting techniques and firearm cleaning and storage. Attendees also learn excellent, common sense tips on avoiding dangerous social situations, the first step to keeping oneself and family out of danger.
Instructors also explain Alabama laws governing concealed carry of handguns and transportation of firearms in vehicles, and discuss in detail the right to defend oneself or one’s family with deadly force. In all, I found it very thought-provoking, especially the class’s discussion concerning justification for use of deadly force. From that discussion, some attendees may decide they would rather not keep a gun for self defense but don’t want to be left defenseless. As part of the course, instructors also explain the different types of non-lethal defensive devices like pepper spray or tasers, how they work and how to operate them safely.
Before actually firing a handgun during the Firearms Familiarization Course, attendees run through the Department’s F.A.T.S. system (Firearms Training Simulator) where they participate in interactive real-world scenarios that test their decision making regarding the use of deadly force. Participants hold a full size functioning Glock pistol during F.A.T.S. exercises that does not shoot bullets but instead registers, via lasers and sensors, exactly where each shot is placed when fired. It is instructor-controlled and used to teach police officers, so needless to say it is top-of-the-line.
Once course attendees have completed classroom work and discussion and gone through F.A.T.S., instructors guide them on to the police range. Attendees must individually demonstrate proper gun safety and handling techniques. I highly recommend the Firearms Familiarization Course and appreciate the Montgomery Police Department’s offering it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s right on target.
Niko Corley is an avid sportsman, spending his free time hunting, fishing and enjoying other outdoor activities. In this column, he covers a range of outdoor recreation activities in central Alabama and beyond.