Ten months ago I wrote an article entitled Shooting the FBI Handgun Qualification. In that article, I outlined some reasons for shooting law enforcement—in particular the FBI—qualifications. I also described the course of fire, which consisted of 60 rounds fired over 15 stages shot from 3 yards out to 25 yards. The course incorporated one reload, some one-handed shooting (strong and support), and some shots from the kneeling position, all from a concealed draw and under time constraints. Agents are required to achieve a score of 80%, and FBI instructors must achieve a 90% score. Shooting this qualification several times last year with several different handguns, I never scored less than 90%, and in the Rangemaster Three-Day Instructor course I took in June of 2018, I scored a 100%.
Tom Givens visited the FBI Academy in Quantico last year, and I recall him mentioning in one of the classes I took with him that he made some recommendations to their instructors. Last week, he posted on Facebook the new, 2019 edition of the FBI Pistol Qualification, which incorporates at least some of the recommendations he made to their training cadre.
The Course of Fire
This is the new course of fire. It is shot on the same QIT-99 Target as the previous pistol qualification. Fifty total rounds, 2 points for each hit for a total possible score of 100. Any shots fired over time are not counted (the FBI range uses turning targets, so the targets disappear when the time is up). There are no scoring zones or rings on the target; anything in “the bottle” is a hit. Required scores are the same as they had been (80% for agents, 90% for instructors).
FBI PISTOL QUALIFICATION COURSE, revised Jan 2019
3 yards Draw and fire 3 rds strong hand only, switch hands and fire 3 rds support hand only, all in 6 seconds
5 yards Draw and fire 3 rds in 3 seconds
From the Ready, fire 3 rds in 2 seconds
From the Ready, fire 6 rds in 4 seconds
7 yards Draw and fire 5 rds in 5 seconds
From the Ready, fire 4 rounds, conduct an empty gun reload, and fire 4 more rds, all in 8 seconds
From the Ready, fire 5 rounds in 4 seconds
15 yards Draw and fire 3 rds in 6 seconds
From the Ready, fire 3 rds in 5 seconds
25 yards Draw and fire 4 rds from Standing, drop to a Kneeling Position and fire 4 more rds from Kneeling, all in 20 seconds.
First, I must say that I like the reduction by ten rounds. It is nice to be able to use a single box of ammunition to complete a qualification course of fire. (It also makes the math at the end easy!) Second, I like the fact that, round count aside, this course of fire is more streamlined (10 strings or stages versus 15 on the old one). Was it really necessary (in the old one) to have you fire one of the stages four times and four other stages twice each? Can we not assume that if you can do it once, you can do it four times? As no stages in this qualification are fired more than once, it just keeps things more interesting. One aspect I am ambivalent about is the number of strings that are shot from the low-ready position. On the old qualification, every string was fired from the draw. I also do not like the fact that there are still no required headshots and no strings involving a deliberately set up malfunction, which I regard as much more likely to occur in a real fight than a slide-lock reload.
Givens posted this qualification course of fire on a Thursday, and I went to the range the next day to try it out. My local indoor range lacks the true QIT target, but still has the old “full bottle” Q target. So, as I did last year, I bought a Q target and drew a line across the bottom (using a box of ammunition to measure up from the bottom….not exact, but as you will see in the photo, none of my shots ended up near the line anyway). I used my OD Gen 3 Glock 19, modified as per this article. I used Blazer Brass 115 grain FMJ ammunition, drawing from a Raven Concealment Systems Eidolon holster mounted AIWB on my Megingjörð-AIWB Specific-Conceal Carry Belt. I used a button down shirt (buttoned down, not open) as a cover garment. The results are as you see below:
As you can see, I missed three (and nearly a fourth, but it did cut the border) shots, all a bit to the right (odd for me). All four of those shots were fired from 25 yards. If you look at the time, I had an additional 5.01 seconds available at the end of that string, and so had plenty of time to get my hits. I could blame the fact that I kneeled down hard on the concrete floor with a piece of brass right on my right patellar tendon, but the misses are mine and mine alone. I should have made those hits. I expect of myself that I should be able to shoot a 100% on this qualification on demand. Nevertheless, I suppose a 94% is not terrible. I will leave it to our readers to decide for themselves whether or not it is a good thing that our nation’s preeminent law enforcement entity has instructors that can miss up to 5 out of 8 shots at 25 yards, and agents that can miss every shot at 25 yards plus several others from 15 yards and in, AND STILL PASS.
EDIT: I discovered after publishing this article that the fourth shot that split the edge does NOT count as a hit (this per Tom Givens in a Facebook post). All hits must be fully inside the edge of the “bottle”. Thus, I actually shot a 92%. Oh well.
I have now shot this qualification course with the rest of my Glocks. As noted in some other articles, all of my Glocks have the same Ameriglo I Dot Pro sights, and I used the same ammunition in these five iterations of the test in order to eliminate as many variables as possible (not the same as the above test, however). I shot these next five qualifications during three separate range sessions, all at the same indoor range at which I am a member, and nothing about my dress, belt, etc., differed significantly from the first time I tried this test above.
Generation 4 Glock 19:
Black Generation 3 Glock 19:
Generation 3 Glock 26:
Generation 3 Glock 17 with Streamlight TLR-1 HL attached (this is my “nightstand gun” that, frankly, rarely gets shot):
- I am not particularly skilled with the Glock 43. While I still made the “instructor” level, I am not at all pleased to lose five shots off the “bottle”. That is unacceptable, and I expect more from myself. However, this does show that the Glock 43 is definitely less forgiving of errors at the user end (me). The short sight radius and trigger that feels noticeably heavier than all of my other Glocks seems to magnify all errors, however slight they may be.
- The Glock 26 continues to be a great performer in my hand, as it was one of the two Glocks I used with which I scored a 100%. As my midline continues to expand, the Glock 26 may get more carry time. Other than on-board capacity, I do not in any way feel undergunned with the 26 on my belt versus a 19.
- My very first Glock, the black third generation 19, continues to be my favorite Glock. Although the fourth generation models have grown on me (particularly the magazine release), there is something about this one that always just feels like “coming home”.
I will revisit the 2019 FBI Qualification from time to time in the future. It is easy enough to do at my range, and provides at least one metric to measure progress, stagnation, or even regression over time.
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse. Also, I would encourage our readers to try out this qualification, and we hope you share your results with us.