Brunswick Sheriff’s Citizens Academy — Week Eight

citizensacademyWeek eight of the Brunswick Sheriff’s Citizens Academy focused on the proper use of firearms.

Based on my notes from tonight’s session, law enforcement officers are typically required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of firearms training, and they must re-qualify annually.

A large portion of tonight’s discussion focused on safety.  The instructor repeatedly emphasized that safety is paramount.  He also emphasized that a “safety” feature on a gun is a mechanical feature, and that a mechanical safety feature is no substitute for safe handling by the person using the gun.  Additionally, not all firearms have external mechanical safety features.

The instructor reviewed the four cardinal rules of safe gun handling:

  1. Always treat all firearms as if they were loaded at all time.
  2. Muzzle control is paramount.  Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.  A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are ready to fire.
  4. Always be sure of your target, and what is behind it and in front of it.


We also discussed proper stances and grips for firearm use.  Additionally, the instructor reviewed the different features and nuances of several common handguns.

The instructor also reviewed various shoot / don’t shoot scenarios with which law enforcement officers could be faced.

We also participated in several role-playing exercises.  In each role-playing exercise, we worked in teams and had to search rooms or buildings.  In each mock scenario, there was the possibility of a hostile person with a weapon in the room.  Basically, we were walking into the unknown and were not sure what we would face.  In each situation, we were confronted with a split-second decision over whether or not to use the mock firearms with which we were equipped.  In a similar real-life situation, an Officer would be confronted with a split-second decision over whether or not to use deadly force.

This week’s session will continue on Saturday with a trip to the range and a SWAT demo.