Maine Urban Rifle Qualification Course: Lobsters and Blasters

Let’s head to Maine, get some lobster, and find a town that’s a setting for a Stephen King book. While we are there, let’s try out the Maine Urban Rifle Qualification course. The Maine Criminal Justice Society puts this course together and hosts it as a standard for police forces in Maine to follow. “Urban rifle” is an interesting term, and as far as I can tell, it’s another way to say patrol rifle. A patrol rifle is a lightweight, magazine-fed, semi-auto rifle of an intermediate caliber. For most police forces, that will be some form of AR carbine.

I’m using my Colt EPR rifle with a 3X Prism optic. Since we are starting to talk guns and gear, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to run this qualification shoot.

Guns and Gear Needed for the Maine Urban Rifle Qual

Obviously, you need an urban rifle. The qual calls for a magazine-loaded rifle, but I could see this qual being adapted for lever action rifles. Believe it or not, it’s fairly friendly to these guns with its low round count requirements. If you are a normal person, then any modern rifle will work, and you will need two magazines and some form of pouch to carry your spare magazine.

You’ll also need 36 rounds for your chosen weapon. That’s not terrible, especially when you consider ammo prices these days. Thirty-six rounds won’t break the bank, and I do enjoy low round count quals that get me moving and training. Sometimes it’s quality over quantity.

Rifle and gear
You don’t need much to complete the Maine Urban rifle qualification

You will also need something to act as cover. They call it a step wall, and it’s a short piece of cover designed to get you kneeling. It needs to be big enough to kneel behind. You also need at least 100 yards of range. That’s all you need to shoot this qual. While not required, a sling is a nice piece of gear to have.

Don’t forget your eyes and ears, as well as your shot timer. Without these, you won’t get far!

Scoring the Maine Urban Rifle Qual

They don’t list a specific target in the qual, but I’m sure they have one. In fact, if you do a bit of searching, you can find the Maine State police targets. These are targets featuring armed men and women that have an FBI Q-style target overlayed against the target. You could use the Maine State Police qual, or just an FBI Q Target will work.

Scoring is simple. You have to hit the target 32 times out of 36 to pass as a student. If you want to meet the instructor’s grade, you have to hit 34 shots out of 36. I know our readers are brilliant and great shooters, so they won’t have a problem finishing this qualification.

At the Range

Every stage starts with the shooter in the low ready with the weapon on safe. Low-ready means the rifle is in your shoulder with the muzzle pointing down into the dirt. We are going to start at 100 yards and move in as the course of fire progresses.

You’ll also be firing failure drills. A traditional failure drill is two shots to the chest and one shot to the head.

Stage One: 100-Yard Line – Six Rounds

At 100 yards, you need to ensure your rifle is loaded with six rounds. Start in the kneeling position with the weapon in the low ready. At the beep, fire three rounds to center mass. You’ll then transition to the prone position and fire an additional three rounds to center mass. You have sixty seconds total.

Prone position with a rifle
A good prone position and a good optic make the longer-range shots easy.

Stage Two: 50 Yards – Six Rounds

Now we are going to huff and puff our way up to the 50-yard line and regret that third supreme breakfast burrito. Don’t worry. You get to rest in a kneeling position once more. From the kneeling position, you’ll need to fire three rounds into center mass.

Kneeling with a rifle
I should have really made better use of my knee for providing support.

Once again, we’ll transition to the prone position and fire three more rounds into the center mass of the threat. You have sixty seconds total.

Stage Three: 25 Yards – Nine Rounds

For this course of fire, we will be reloading. Have your spare magazine loaded with three rounds and the magazine in your gun loaded with six rounds. Start in the standing, but behind your small bit of cover. At the beep, assume a kneeling position behind the cover and fire a failure drill into the target.

Now transition to the prone and fire a failure drill into the target. At this point, you should be empty. Conduct a reload and assume a kneeling position using the opposite side of cover and fire a final failure drill.

You have 45 seconds to do this.

Stage Four: 25-Yard Line – Three Rounds

Stick to the 25-yard line. Load your rifle with three rounds and assume a low-ready position in the standing. At the beep, fire a failure drill to the target. You have five seconds to do so.

Aiming an AR 15
Precise aiming is required to make your shots count.

Stage Five: 15-Yard Line – Six Rounds

Trot up to the 15-yard line with six rounds in your rifle. You’ll be firing two failure drills. You have four seconds for each drill, and each drill will be individually timed.

Stage Six: 15-Yard Line – Six Rounds

With six more rounds loaded into your rifle, you will be shooting and moving. The qual doesn’t detail how you should be moving. They likely mean forward, approaching the target, and that’s what I’ll assume. You’ll move towards the target, firing a failure drill. You have no time limit.

Moving with rifle
Get ready to step it out.

Repeat this drill once more, and do the exact same thing.

My Thoughts

I do like that the course of fire starts further outward and closes the distance of the encounter. This is how most violent encounters work–start from far away and maneuver on the enemy. It also makes you work your hundred-yard skills and assume practical positions at the range that increase accuracy.

It’s also a big fan of the failure drill and have you shooting it in something besides the standing position. It feels odd to do a prone position failure drill, and odd is good as far as I’m concerned. The course of fire only mixes in one reload, and the low round count keeps things fairly simple. The round count is restrictive, but I’d do reloads between strings of fire to increase the practicality of the drill and to get more out of it.

ready to shoot
Since it’s only 36 rounds of ammo, it’s worth shooting twice.

Overall the times are fairly good, but I never felt pressured by the time constraints. I did get nice and dirty thanks to lots of rain and a sand range, but I’ll get over it. Overall this is a low round count qual that can provide some good training, although the hundred to 15-yard requirements might be difficult to find.

If you can, give it a try and let us know what you think below.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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