Shooting the FBI Handgun Qualification

I have not posted any “random visit to the range” articles in a while.  That is because one of the things I have been doing of late is shooting the FBI Pistol Qualification Course.  I wanted to shoot it on several different range visits with several different pistols to see how I might fair before writing about it.  Special thanks to Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training for posting his own experience shooting the FBI Qualification a couple of years back, which I think is where I first saw it outlined.

I think it is a useful endeavor to shoot some actual law enforcement qualification courses.  For one thing, much like many drills John and I have outlined in different posts over the years, shooting a qualification provides a measure by which to compare/contrast one’s performance over time, with different firearms, with different equipment (sights, triggers, holsters, cover garments, etc.), or to other people.  Secondly, if you experience success with a law enforcement qualification course (perhaps in front of witnesses), your abilities with the firearm can be documented if ever called upon in future litigation.  Finally, I also think it is useful because many of these qualification courses are not overly challenging.  Remember, passing scores on these courses of fire establish the minimum requirements for their members.  Successfully shooting many of these qualifications puts to rest the notion that the officers who pass these courses of fire are “highly trained”.

The Target

The target utilized for the FBI Handgun Qualification is the QIT-99 target, a reduced-size “bottle” target similar, except for the size, to their classic “Q” target.  Unfortunately, the range to which I now belong does not stock the QIT-99, but does have the classic “Q” target.  Each time I shot the qualification, I used the “Q” target but measured up about 6 inches from the bottom (I used an American Eagle 50 round ammunition box and drew a line across!).  Any hits inside the “bottle” count.

The Course of Fire

The qualification consists of 15 different strings of fire, shot from 3-25 yards.  Every string is fired from a concealed draw.

3 Yards

-3 shots strong-hand only in 3 seconds (do this twice for 6 total rounds)

-3 shots strong-hand only, switch hands and do 3 shots support-hand only in 8 seconds (6 rounds total)

(Everything that follows is with both hands)

5 Yards

-3 shots in 3 seconds  (do this 4 times for a total of 12 rounds)

7 Yards

-4 shots in 4 seconds (do this 2 times for a total of 8 rounds)

-4 shots, slide-lock reload, 4 more shots in 8 seconds (8 rounds total)

15 yards

-3 shots in 6 seconds (do this twice for a total of 6 rounds)

-4 shots in 8 seconds

25 Yards

-Move to cover (I just do a sidestep in my lane, which is all I have space for) and shoot 2 rounds standing, drop to a knee and shoot 3 more rounds in 15 seconds (do this twice for a total of 10 rounds)

The total round count for the qualification is 60 rounds.  Passing is 48/60 (80%), and passing at the Instructor Level requires a 54/60 (90%).

My Performance(s)

I have now shot the FBI Handgun Qualification with four different handguns:  Glock 19, Glock 26, Glock 17, and Glock 43.  The Glock 19 was equipped with Warren Tactical Sevigny sights (with the front blade painted orange around the tritium dot); the others were all equipped with Ameriglo I-Dot Pro sights.

Glock 19

Glock 19 target. Misses were all at 25 yards.

With the Glock 19 I made all of the par times with relative ease.  I rushed the shots at 25 a bit, which is where I incurred all of my misses.  The result was a 55/60.  Instructor Level.

Glock 26

Glock 26 target. A few low shots on this one.

Again, par times did not seem overly challenging, and I again pulled some shots at the longer distances, shooting another 56/60.  Instructor Level.

Glock 17

Glock 17 target. I need to shoot this pistol more often.

My Glock 17 is my most rarely fired Glock, but as it does bedside duty I thought it important to test myself out with it.  Once again, all par times were achieved and I scored another 54/60.  Instructor Level.

Glock 43

Glock 43 target. High left was off my fouled up reload. Ridiculous low left and other left miss were at 25 yards.

With my Glock 43 I easily achieved all par times but one, and that was on the reload. The meat of my firing hand kept the empty magazine from dropping free, so I had to fiddle a bit to get it out.  I ended up over by 0.5 seconds.  Oddly, on this target my score was a 57/60, with one of my misses coming off the reload as I tried to make up time.  Instructor Level (caveat of the one over time).

I like shooting this qualification as it enjoys some universal recognition and is also easy to shoot on any indoor range that allows one to draw from a holster.  If this course of fire included multiple targets for any strings, it would be a non-starter for my particular situation.  My only gripe is that I wish there were not so many repeats of strings.  It would be great if it was reduced by 10 rounds so that it would require a single box of ammunition.

Moving forward, I plan to continue to shoot this qualification from time to time with the goal of achieving 100% with all of the above handguns.  If I clean up my 25 yard shooting a bit, that should be very achievable.  As it happens, on the 25 yard shots (in each of the four qualifications above) I finished each string with plenty of time to spare.  Note that I listed the “Instructor Level” after each not because I am super proud of my performance on each.  Instead, I think the readers should be looking at each and saying, “THAT’S how FBI instructors are supposed to shoot?!”  I think anyone calling themselves a law enforcement instructor should be able to shoot this qualification at 100%.  Just my opinion.

One final note:  a side benefit of pressure-testing oneself under the timer is how “Murphy” can appear at the most inopportune moments.  Witness my issue on the reload of my Glock 43, something that a person who just casually reloads his or her handgun may never notice.  It is definitely on my radar now!

As always, thanks for reading.  If you have any questions or comments, or would like to alert us or fellow readers about other qualification courses you have found useful, please post below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse.

4 thoughts on “Shooting the FBI Handgun Qualification

    1. Sherman,

      Always a pleasure to hear from you.

      I did not shoot them all the same day/session. I shot each during a different session over the course of about a month and a half. In each of those sessions I shot the FBI Qual cold, and then shot some other drills afterwards. You can bet I worked on my 25 yard work after each of these! I’ve got to clean up that stuff, but it’s nice to leave some room for growth, I guess! Haha.

      Thanks for the comment/question. Stay safe!



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