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Realistic Training, Learning and Not Just Qualifying

Realistic Training, Learning and Not Just Qualifying

Realistic training needs to be at the forefront of police training, offering scenarios that are not just “going through the numbers” but rather “experiences” that provide a strong educational forum of constant learning.

For many years as a police officer and professional trainer, I have been driven to deliver a curriculum that is as close to realistic as possible. Currently, many agencies just provide range training for their police personnel for “mandated qualifications” whether it is annually or semi-annually. Much of the training is geared towards some practice rounds and then commencing the qualifications for “score.” When interviewing many of these instructors much of the common responses are “the administration doesn’t want to pay any overtime for better range training” or “we don’t have the equipment or budget for more realistic targets or high tech movers to build on the range.”

What these agencies need to understand is that moving, reactive, and dynamic training is now affordable. MotoShot Target Systems start at $2,600 are completely portable, and do not require A/C power or compressed air.

A good training situation was based on the famous case law “Popow v. Margate”. This case spurred the movement in law enforcement to have officers train in low light environments, shoot/don’t shoot situations and tracking on threat/non-threat targets. This case, which originated in the 1970s, became a strong standard in departments nationwide in revamping how realistic training for law enforcement needs to be at the forefront of training.

Darwin Popow was shot and killed by police in the City of Margate NJ when he stepped outside to see what the commotion was. At that time, a police officer was chasing a suspect involved in another crime during which time as Mr. Popow stepped out in front of his home the officer quickly and instinctively fired his gun killed Mr. Popow. This incident occurred during a low light environment with an officer in pursuit of a suspect and suddenly firing at a stationary and unarmed man. This case completely impacted the law enforcement community and highlighted the need to have stronger standards of training in more realistic situations.

Case law has been a strong guide to training for all law enforcement agencies for decades and yet, when you ask officers in a training setting about the reasons for realistic type training, most can never recite the critical aspects of case law and how it can affect them.

As a part of our curriculum, we present the MotoShot Moving Target System and commence our “realistic range” portion of the training. Training scenarios that support an understanding of “case law” training. In a one-room entry exercise, MotoShot is used as a “shoot/don’t shoot” situational target. In this scenario, the target system is blocked by makeshift walls where officers cannot see what the target looks like. Meanwhile, the target is a “full color” based scenario target that is sometimes made a “shoot” and other times a “non-shoot” target. Officers will make their way down the shoothouse hallway and, as they approach the doorway, the mover begins to push across sometimes startling the officers because the back of the target is the only thing in view. Suddenly the target system spins 180 degrees and reality sets in. The 3D MotoMan target can be made to hold a cell phone one time, knife the next, gun on another. Additionally, the system may be outfitted with a hostage subject. Does everyone shoot at the subject target: not necessarily. But at times you will have an officer get caught up in the “contagious gunfire” effect. Meaning: someone closest to the threat perceived it as a bad threat and fired so the other officer pulls the trigger not realizing what was there such as a non-shoot situation. Moral of this story? It is a simple educational forum where we are all learning something new, old, and in between.

One of the most impactful concepts taught using MotoShot is our “stationary hold”. In the range exercise, an officer is designated a specific colored target which is marked on the MotoShot 3D Target. The officer holds a static, centered position on the range. The goal is for the officer to utilize his/her peripherals indicating on the colored target once they “truly” get the proper specific target/threat assigned to them. They are only allowed a double-tap and once the target system leaves their peripheral view. Markers such as cones are placed on each end of the range where the MotoShot begins to move from and stops. The officers can only fire in between the cones as part of their reference.

This is only a couple of the many realistic exercises is which MotoShot can be used. The feedback from the officers is always positive and they realize there is no need for any crazy “hondo” rolls on the range to get the true effect and value of realistic training. They also get to realize how important it is to pursue the purchase of this valuable training system which never breaks the budget and only enhances the officers\’ training and education.

In summary, we want to continue to assist the law enforcement community on learning about all the important training tools that are out there for them and the MotoShot is one that every range instructor should have in their toolbox.

Article written by Jose Medina July, 2020

About the author
Jose L. Medina is currently a 27-year veteran of Law Enforcement and 17-year owner of Awareness Protective Consultants, doing business as Team APC and Medina Tactical Dynamics. Jose has an extensive background in training and consulting for various groups such as Law Enforcement, Schools, and Corporate Industries. Jose Medina and his team at Awareness Protective Consultants LLC (Team APC USA) have traveled, trained, lectured, and consulted throughout the world from Canada to Asia. Jose Medina can be reached at 732-259-4185, WEB or

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