|Deputies fire their weapons during training at the sheriff's gun range near the landfill.|
Practice makes perfect so the saying goes and the Emery County Sheriff's office takes this to heart as they spent three days last week in firearms training.
The deputies are put through a rigorous workout by trainers Det. Sgt. Robert Blackburn and Capt. Kyle Ekker. Each of the training sessions began with classroom instruction. Trainings are held three times each year and each training has a different focus and teaches a new skill or refreshes already learned manuevers. This time the focus was on lead contamination and making sure the proper cleanup procedures are adhered to such as washing hands after handling lead before eating or putting items in the mouth.
Deputies were instructed on skills needed to win in a gunfight. Hitting what you are shooting at as quickly as possible is the most critical skill in a gunfight. A good grip is needed on the weapon and deputies must be in control of the trigger. A shaky trigger finger will fail you, if you aren't in control of your target. A good body position is essential and deputies learned to draw smoothly in one consecutive motion. Other skills taught were a fast reload, dealing with weapon malfunctions, learning and using cover, becoming invisible and to fire while moving.
After the classroom instruction the deputies hit the gun range. One relay involved them running 80 yards and doing pushups to increase their heart rate; loading their gun and engaging targets from 10 to 30 yards in a timed event.
Also on the course they practiced in all positions standing, kneeling and prone.
The deputies also completed a review of fundamental weapons training. They worked on grip, holding the finger off the trigger, supporting the gun at chest level, holding the finger on the trigger, trigger press, tactically scanning a scene and holstering their weapon. A focus was also placed on reloading skills. They learned how to have another magazine ready before dropping the one from their weapon. They also learned tactical reloading techniques that save the magazines with rounds still in them.
Some drills were for accuracy and some for speed. The deputies learned the proper care of their weapon and proper lubrication procedures.
The deputies have the firearm safety rules memorized and they are asked to recite them at each firearms training. They are: treat every gun as if it were loaded. Never point your muzzle at anything you do not intend to destroy or replace. Keep your finger off the trigger guard until you are on target and ready to shoot. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond your target.