Most Fridays are good.
Some Fridays are better than others.
Last Friday was better than just about any Friday in recent memory.
The reason that Friday was so special is that I finally saw light at the end of my "firearms-instructor-week-from-hell" tunnel. Seriously... you know I love my job, but this week has just been too much. For the past two weeks, we have been conducting a post-academy class for 21 agents and officers. During this class, each agent has to, among other things, qualify with their service weapons, which isn't a terribly onerous task, since everyone will have qualified at least once before getting to this stage in their training.
What happens here is that on the third and fourth training day, all of the trainees get a four hour block of instruction before being required to qualify on day 5. On day 5, they have to fire a prescribed course of fire, at distances of 1.5, 3, 7, 15, & 25 yards. Each sequence of the course of fire is timed. The course consists of a total of 50 rounds fired and has a maximum potential score of 250 points, with 200 points (80%) being the minimum score for qualification.
During the first week of training... just before qualification day, we knew that two shooters might not qualify with their weapons, which is about par for the course in a class that size. Our expectations were met. The two that we expected to fail, did exactly that. One of them not only failed, but failed spectacularly, falling 75 points short of qualifying. While disturbing, all was not lost because your friend and faithful correspondent, Gunfighter, was assigned to conduct their remedial training. This is a good thing for poor shooters... do you know why? Because your pal Gunfighter can teach like a MOFO!
So Last Monday (which should have been a day off for me), at 0600 (6 A.M. if you don't habla), I started their training... as you might surmise, I wasn't terribly easy on them. You see, I have a training philosophy that says that gunfighting isn't for the soft, the weak, or the faint of heart. I am not in the business of career training. I teach warriors how to fight. How to kill. If you aren't able to steel your heart to that task, you should admit it to yourself, and find a different life path.
So. We trained. They listened, they learned, they did the things that I asked them to do, and they dug deep. Our first session was encouraging, and they went on with the rest of the training day, buoyed by their progress.
What really sucked for me, was the fact that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I had to go straight from training them, to conducting regularly quarterly qualification for regular, journeyman-level, officers and agents who are in normal service. This consists of teaching a class, giving a safety briefing, and giving a lecture on the quarterly advanced training exercise that we do after qualification. We do this three days a week, at 0800 and 1300. Anyway, my section was really short-handed for those two weeks with men at training, one on vacation, and one out sick. It wasn't pretty. It was a long and dangerous week, one that I was pleased to be closing in on the end of.
On Thursday, the last day of remedial training, we did a practice round on the qualification course of fire, and both of my shooters fired qualifying scores! I wanted to hug them both, but I remained my calm, cool, aloof, self and told them to look forward to qualification the next day, and sent them on their way.
Friday... a dark morning. When my shooters arrived at the range, their ammunition was ready, their targets were set up, and we immediately got them briefed before beginning the next 45 minutes that would determine the course of their careers. I would like to brag, at this point, about how great an instructor that I am, and tell you that both of my shooters were able to qualify, but I can't. After two consecutive attempts to qualify, one of my shooters failed to come within 24 points of qualification. She had failed, and I am the one that had to tell her that she wasn't going to make it. There were excuses, displays of really bad attitude, and all of that stuff, but the bottom line is that ultimately, she isn't suited to the work, and has to go.
I wish her success elsewhere.
Oh, did you think that I was done? Oh heck no.
I had to teach my regular remedial shooters as soon as I was done... and when I was done with them, I had to take my turn as the receptionist for the training center because our receptionist was reassigned before we hired another, and then there was an ammunition delivery.
By Friday afternoon, I was well and truly beat. Beat, I say!
It was an ugly, but productive week... and I am REALLY glad that it is over!