New Jersey Police Subgun Qual — It’s a Jersey Thing

Before I wrote this, I only knew two things about New Jersey. First, it’s where The Sopranos took place. Second, it’s called the Garden State. Now, I’ve added a third thing by reviewing and conducting the New Jersey Police Subgun qualification course. For brevity’s sake, we’ll call it the Subgun Qual. It is fairly simple and can be done with your subgun, PCC, rifle, or braced pistol.

I love this qual course because I like shooting PCCs and subguns. I always have, and with the limitations of my home range, these guns are just perfect for me. Before diving into the subgun qual, let’s talk about the gear you’ll need to rip and roar through it.

subgun qual
Expect to master the double-tap.

Kitting Up for the NJ Subgun Qual

The qual calls for a selective fire or semi-auto subgun. I went with the FourSix once more. You’ll need at least 60 rounds of ammo and a 50-yard range. You’ll need a single target, and the course requires the use of an FBI Type Q Target. You can switch up if necessary. I would still use a smaller than average target because the Q is smaller than your normal man-sized target.

The subgun qual calls for cover, so find something you can hide behind. As always, you’ll need your eyes, ears, and shot timer.

CMMG FoursiX subgun and range gear
As always, you’ll need your eyes, ears, and shot timer.

Unless you have a 60-round magazine, you’ll likely need a spare mag and the means to carry it. I carried it via a belt pouch and called it a day. The course of fire doesn’t call for reloads in any particular string. Instead, the subgun qual notes that:

“Mandatory reloading may be forced anywhere in the course at the discretion of the supervising firearms instructor. Otherwise, ammunition management is the participant’s responsibility, including “secondary weapon transition techniques.”

You can implement as few or as many reload as you want, and you can implement transitions to a handgun if you so choose.

Shooting the Subgun Qual

We start up close and make our way back to the 50-yard line. Setup your own reloads throughout the course of fire. I tended to practice my reloads at the 3, 5, and 10-yard lines. You’ll fire several strings at this range, and I did a reload on the last string at each yard line. Let’s kick it off.

Subgun qual with CMMG Foursix
You’ll shoot both near and far.

Three Yard Line: 6 Rounds, 1.5 Seconds per String

At three yards, the target is basically in your face. You’ll start from a low ready position, and on the beep, you’ll aim and fire a double-tap. You’ll repeat this drill two more times.

Five Yard Line: 6 Rounds, 1.5 Seconds per String

This might seem like Deja Vue, but at the five-yard line, we start in the low ready and aim and fire a double-tap on the beep. Repeat the drill two more times. Yep, fairly identical, but the next drill changes it up.

Seven Yard Line: 10 Rounds, Multiple Times

From the seven-yard line, you’ll start in the low ready. You’ll aim and fire a double-tap into the body and a single shot to the head at the beep. You’ll repeat the classic failure to stop drill for the subgun qual one more time.

subgun drill with CMMG Foursix
Sometimes you get real close to the target.

For the next string, start in the low ready. You’ll aim and fire a double-tap to the body at the beep, then assume a kneeling position and fire another double-tap to the torso. You have six seconds to complete this drill.

Ten Yard Line: 6 Rounds, 1.5 Seconds

Oh boy, deja vue once more. From the low ready, aim and engage the target with a double-tap. Repeat the drill two more times. The subgun qual seems to love double taps to the torso at multiple ranges. This is why I implemented reloads for these yard lines.

15 Yard Line: 4 Rounds, 8 Seconds

Start in the standing with a good low ready position. Fire two rounds into the target at the beep, then assume a kneeling position and fire two rounds into the target. It’s fairly simple, and take note they stop using the term double tap, which means that these should be a well-aimed pair of shots.

subgun qual, kneeling at 15 yards
Get used to multiple positions…and ignore the chair!

25 Yard Line: 20 Rounds, Multiple Times

String 1: Yep, 20 rounds at 25 yards. It’s a long stage of fire, but a good one. The first string is very simple. At 25 yards, you’ll start in the low ready. At the beep, aim and fire one round. Repeat this drill four times.

use of cover in subgun drill
You’ll use cover…a lot.

String 2: it’s time to use cover. For this string of fire, assume a kneeling position behind cover. On the beep, you need to roll out and fire two rounds on target. Repeat this drill one more time.

String 3: you’ll be behind cover but now standing. You can peak over or peak around the strong side of cover for this drill. On the beep, roll out, and fire two rounds on target. Repeat this drill one more time.

subgun qual, string 2 at 25 yards, standing and shooting over cover

String 4: we are sticking behind cover and going back to the kneeling. This time we are on the support side of cover, or the weak side, if you will. At the beep, roll out and fire two rounds. Repeat this drill one more time.

subgun qual 25 yards kneeling behind cover
Sometimes you roll out from your weak side.

50 Yard Line: 8 rounds, 4 Seconds

String 1: assume a good prone position. On the command to fire, engage the target with two rounds in four seconds. Repeat the drill one more time.

String 2: you’ll need cover for this position, and you’ll assume a strong side cover position. On the beep, roll out and fire two rounds in four seconds. Repeat this drill one more time.

The Subgun Qual Is Over

The qual is fairly long as far as these things go, and it implements lots of different ranges and multiple positions. The use of cover is a very nice touch as well. It’s quite diverse in the exercises practiced. If you implement reloads or transitions to a sidearm, you can spice it up even more. Add in the long-range shots and heavy use of cover, and you get one of the better police quals.

The only thing I’d change is the fact you shoot four identical stages at different ranges. I like the tight 1.5-second time constraint, but I think we can mix it up. Why not do a failure to stop drill, or work headshots at five or ten yards? It seems like a waste of time and space throughout the drill’s course of fire.

reloading CMMG FoursiX in New Jersey Police subgun qual
Reloads are up to the shooter to do. I implemented them a lot.

Even so, the subgun qual is fairly fun and not too tough. The times aren’t tight, but they aren’t loose either. You’ll need to keep moving and not take your time with the drills, especially if you toss reloads in.

What do you think? Should New Jersey also be known for subgun quals on top of their mafia shows and gardens? Let me know below what you think, and if you run the subgun qual, share your thoughts on it as well.

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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