Shooting the FBI Handgun Qualification (2019 Edition)…..with a Ruger LCP!


About one year ago I posted the (then) new version of the FBI Handgun Qualification. I shot this course of fire almost as soon as Tom Givens “published” it on one of his Facebook pages. Over time, I went back and edited the original article each time I shot it with a different handgun. Since those edits, I have revisited this qualification a few more times just to test where my skills were or to compare/contrast results as I made subtle changes to either the pistols themselves or to my own technique.

As noted in that article, 90% is a passing score for FBI instructors, and 80% is passing for agents. I have never scored below 90% with any of my Glocks (43, 26, several 19s, and a 17), scoring 100% on several occasions.

Near the end of 2019, I posted a photo on our Facebook page of a USPSA target after I had shot a few magazines from my Ruger LCP.


I had shot at the target from a variety of distances, at a variety of cadences (mostly determined by distance), all either strong-hand only or support-hand only. The photo and caption garnered a few comments, and in one of my responses I dared myself to shoot the FBI qualification with the LCP. Now, I doubt anyone was holding their breath to see if I would actually see this resolution through, but here we are.

The Pistol

My LCP is “the original” version of the LCP. Not the LCP “Custom”; not the LCP II. Other than painting the front sight, it is stock from the factory and had recently been cleaned and lubed.


I used PPU 94 grain FMJ ammunition. Prior to shooting this qualification, I had never before shot the LCP (with any ammunition) beyond 15 yards. I had generally found that, at 15 yards and in, PPU ammo tends to shoot well for me.


I only own Ruger factory 6 and 7 round magazines, so that is what I used for the qualification.


The only holsters I own for the LCP are pocket holsters (the only role for which I use the LCP). One is the one that comes from the factory with the pistol, and the other (the one I used for this event) is a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.

Shooting the Qualification

The strings of fire for the 2019 version of the FBI qualification are shot either from the ready position or from concealment. For those requiring me to shoot from concealment, I felt it fair to start with my hand on my pocket-holstered pistol, i.e. my hand was already on the grip inside my pocket (kind of the whole point of the pocket pistol!). I was wearing khaki pants with a fairly wide, side-opening pocket, not jeans with their top-opening pocket.

String One—At 3 yards, draw and shoot 3 rounds strong-hand only, switch hands, and shoot 3 rounds support-hand only, all within 6 seconds. No issues here, getting all hits in 4.8 seconds.

String Two—At 5 yards, draw and shoot 3 rounds in 3 seconds. Again, all hits in 2.43 seconds.

String Three—From the ready position at 5 yards, shoot 3 rounds in 2 seconds. Again, all hits in 1.45 seconds.

String Four—From the ready at 5 yards, shoot 6 rounds in 4 seconds. Again, all hits in 2.86 seconds.

String Five—At 7 yards, draw and shoot 5 rounds in 5 seconds. I got all hits in 3.08 seconds.

String Six—From the ready position at 7 yards, shoot four rounds, execute a slide-lock reload, and then shoot four more rounds, all in 8 seconds. Here there was an issue, as I suspected there would be. First, the LCP does not lock back on the last round. Second, lacking a magazine pouch or carrier meant fishing the spare magazine out of my off-hand pocket. Finally, the LCP has small magazines, a small magazine opening, and a small slide to rack. I got all my hits, but in 8.57 seconds. I went back through my shot timer and determined that it was the last two rounds that were late. Since the real FBI qualification is shot on turning targets, those last two rounds never would have hit the targets. Accordingly, I counted them as misses.

String Seven—From the ready at 7 yards, fire 5 rounds in 4 seconds. Again, all hits in 2.62 seconds.

String Eight—At 15 yards, draw and shoot 3 rounds in 6 seconds. Again, all hits in 4.33 seconds.

String Nine—From the ready at 15 yards, shoot 3 rounds in 5 seconds. Again, all hits in 3.14 seconds.

String Ten—At 25 yards, draw and shoot 4 rounds standing and 4 rounds kneeling in 20 seconds. I completed this string in 15.82 seconds, but had SIX hits outside “the bottle”.

(One note: for those whose lives afford the time, counting all hits on my target will reveal more than the 50 allotted rounds. This is because, on String Six, the first time I shot it I forgot to have a loaded spare magazine on my person. So I shot the first four rounds—all hits—but then stopped that string.  I then reloaded my magazineS, and re-shot the full 8-round string).



Having never before shot the LCP at distances beyond 15 yards, I had no idea where my rounds would hit. In addition, I am not by any stretch a “trigger connoisseur”, but the LCP trigger is not what I would describe as “good”. Add to the equation poor sights and ridiculously short sight radius, and frankly I am happy my “misses” made the full sheet of paper. Overall, the rounds seemed to hit a bit low compared with where I was aiming; the rest is clearly user error.

Despite my lackluster performance at 25 yards, the six misses at that distance and the two on String Six still had me scoring an 84/100, meaning that I passed at the agent level. Cleaning up at 25 yards a bit and/or figuring out how to get a faster reload could have me shooting at the instructor level. However, I must say that I am not so sure that my range is okay with drawing from a pocket holster. I am not going to say I was sneaky about it, but I shot this on a day the range was not busy and when the RSO I get along with was there. So who knows if I will ever try this again?

Overall, I feel like this was instructive on a number of levels. First, I cannot ever recall shooting any drills with my LCP on a timer. So it was good to see that I could shoot relatively accurately “on the clock”. Secondly, my painted front sight really helped me pick up the front sight quickly in the relatively dim indoor range in which I shot this course of fire. Third, my overall performance at 25 yards notwithstanding, this does go to show that the LCP is more than just a tool for arm’s length encounters. Though it is not the pistol I would choose to have with me if I KNEW I would be in a fight I could not avoid, it certainly fills the role I need it to fill.

Final Thoughts

If you carry some sort of pocket pistol, I would strongly encourage you to try it out through a qualification such as this FBI qualification, the Tom Givens Core Skills Test, or some other metric. You might be surprised (in a good or a bad way).

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. I can be reached privately at

5 thoughts on “Shooting the FBI Handgun Qualification (2019 Edition)…..with a Ruger LCP!

  1. I like this. Nothing flashy, nothing “tactical”, but extremely relevant to 99% of the readers. How many of us actually go out and perform standards and metrics with the guns we carry the most?

    Oh, and good shooting too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sunshine,

      Thanks for the kudos. I wish I’d shot a little better (now that I know where to aim at 25 yards I’d probably do a little better, and may just revisit that portion of the qual in the future), but I probably did better than I’d thought I would.



  2. I think I am going to have to take a wack at this with my own pocket pistol. Then maybe the RM Instructor qual if I pull off the FBI qual.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s