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When I first started out in law enforcement, we had Mossberg 500 pump shotguns in our squad cars. Those gave way to H&K MP5 9mm's with two mags jungle clipped together offering 30 rounds each. They had 10" barrels but were semi-auto only. For a patrol rifle, I always felt a shotgun wasn't a rifle and using it with slugs was too much recoil. If you're going to use a shotgun as a rifle, why not just use a rifle? The MP5 is too heavy for what it is. The 10" barrel doesn't give the 9mm handgun round much more energy and the only advantage of it over a handgun is more rounds and the ability to fire it from the shoulder. Again, a compromise while trying to make it into a rifle.

Why not just use a rifle? So our department used some drug seizure money and bought 10 Rock River AR-15 .223 semi-auto rifles with 16" total length (with flash hider) barrels. All brand new. The range officers cleaned them and lubed them before training began. Maybe in 10 years we'll move up to a bigger and better caliber, but for now these are what we've got.

Today was the first day of training and my shift was the first to be the test guinea pigs. The guys doing the instruction have to teach this again Tues, Wed, Thur, and Fri. Ugh. The range was an outdoor one I've never been to before. It was a perfect day. Temps around 75 with a gray overcast sky, no rain, and a nice breeze. We got lucky. The rest of the week will be hotter, around 80-85, and there may be thunderstorms.

The range was horrible. The roads getting to it were through terrible neighborhoods. We had to drive off the road to avoid potholes 8 feet wide. The neighborhood was so lousy, we joked, "No wonder they don't mind the range's gunfire, it probably just blends in with the street violence."

There were actually two ranges. I'm curious how some of you feel about this. We drove up to the range and saw the berm. Typical berm about 15 feet high. But we drove past it and around to the other side. When we stopped our convoy of cars, I saw there was another range on the other side of the berm.

When we got out of the cars, I said, "You're kidding me, right? We're going to shoot toward the berm and another police agency is going to be shooting toward us from the other side?"

"Yep. That's how it works."

I said, "What's the idea, that we're too close to each other so that if a round goes over the berm, it can't hit us anyway?"

"Yep."



Oh boy. The day of 8 hour training and familiarization was not without incidents. We all fired about 500 rounds each. 7, 15, and 25 yards, single shots, double taps, hammers, drug & armour drills, malfunction drills, standing, kneeling, and prone. We also transitioned to our duty handguns when the rifle was out of rounds. Our necks hurt from the single point slings and "go bags" we had ourselves wrapped up in all day. I wore a collared dress shirt instead of a t-shirt because I knew the slings would abrade our necks all day long.



While the Alpha team of four shooters performed their drills, my Bravo team stood behind them. At 15 yards, my A team counterpart fired into his target and his .223 round struck the berm. In the berm was a mostly intact 160 grain, copper jacketed .40 S&W round. The .223 hit it and somehow made it fly back and whack me just above the knee. Enough to make me jump and hard enough to hurt like...well...not quite like being shot, but like someone threw a .40 bullet at me as hard as they could. Ouch.

One big guy like me, but thankfully not me, lost his balance while trying to stand up from prone while holding the AR-15 in his right grip. He fell and did a complet 360 degree roll. The barrel swept me but his finger was off the trigger and his safety was on. I hate being swept no matter what.

The same guy let a round go into the dirt about 2 feet in front of his own toes. He was taken off the line and sternly spoken to. He said he put the gun on safe and it just went off. The range officers told him that wasn't possible and that he had to have had his finger on the trigger. When he came back on line, his AR-15 went full auto on him.

The range officers took the gun and found it did the same to them. When the range officer test firing the gun put it on safe, it went off! Just like before. The officer who let the round hit the dirt before said, "SEE! I told you so!" He was redeemed, but the brand new Rock River sure wasn't in our eyes. That rifle was put away. Carefully.

I, of course, had lots of fun because I got to shoot a whole bunch. Qualification was 5 rounds standing and then 5 rounds kneeling at 7 yards. Then 5 rounds standing and 5 rounds kneeling at 15 yards. Then 5 rounds kneeling and 5 yards prone at 25 yards. Not hard. I got 100% of my rounds in the kill zone and we only needed 80% to pass. The time frames were pretty quick though (I forget what they were).



At the end of the day, we took a shift photo of us "old guys on dayshift" for posterity. Don't we look happy to be done with our training?



I'm the "other" big guy in the middle with the blue dress shirt and the HK hat (it was lighter and worked better with my Pelton hearing protectors compared to my other "gun" hats).

-Steve
 

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Looks like fun. I like fun. Not a sterling endorsement of the Rock River AR, though. Full-auto?! Ooooo, that sounds like some one could get hurt. I'm glad nobody did.

All's well that ends well.
 

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As for the range setup, I've shot IDPA in similar ranges before and it is not the least bit unsafe so long as the berms are properly built.
 

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Steve, looks like you are getting some trigger time in ...good for you. I love shooting up the city's ammo.
Which rifle are you going to get to carry with you..the Rock River AR or the Ruger AR that you posted on a while back? It sounds like you got that Ruger rifle of yours rigged up right for patrol carry.
Did you like one rifle better than the other? What kind of grab bag for the extra mags were you using?

Hopefully in the next month or two I'll get my patrol rifle course taken and will be able to carry a patrol rifle as well.
 

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Great story and pics, as usual. Interesting range indeed.
 

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One good sign of progress,
Our department in the 1980s had a policy that a rifle could NOT be brought to a crime scene without the specific permission of the Chief. Fortunately now we have an AR locked in the Cruiser. They are great little guns and a lot of fun to Qualify with. weiweinp
 

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Discussion Starter #8
m58, the Ruger is my personal rifle. I can't carry it when I work. Bummer. After shooting the Rock River, I like my Ruger even more. The piston is the way to go. Not that the .223 recoils much anyway, but the SR-556 with the piston system has lighter recoil. It also doesn't get hot. The standard AR-15 gets hot very fast. The only positive thing I took away was that I really like the Trijicon tritium front sight dot. That's easier for me to line up inside the rear peep sight. Circles lining up circles. Very fast!
 
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