The LAPD has quite the arsenal available to them. From M4s and Benelli M1014s to the MP5, their SWAT team has a little bit of everything. As with any governmental agency that wields firearms, you can expect they have firearms quals and standards to meet. Luckily, a lot of those qualifications are widely available online. I recently stumbled across the LAPD SWAT MP5 qualification and knew I had to get out there and shoot it up.
What You’ll Need
This qual is not ammunition friendly. It requires 110 rounds. (Bring a Speed Loader.) That’s a fair bit for a qual, but it is SWAT, and you want to be Hondo, correct? Well good! If you don’t have an MP5, I think this is a great qual for any PCC or subgun style weapon. You’ll also need three magazines and a way to carry your spares. The qual calls for you to have three, but you can get away with two. There is both a tactical and speed reload.
In terms of targets, the LAPD uses the BT-5. It’s a simple but effective target. You could use an IPSC or even a Q target as a stand-in. Anything with a vague torso and head shape. You’ll also need your eyes and ears and a range that allows movement with at least 50 yards from front to rear. Oh, and a shot timer!
Sadly they don’t list scoring in the guidebook I have. In fact, it seems to be a qualification where an instructor decides your proficiency more than a score. I’m sure there is some real value in this for LAPD SWAT officers, but there isn’t a whole lot in it for you and me. You can apply accuracy standards as you see fit.
Personally, I used the target’s designated zones and broke them into two points for a 10-zone shot or headshot and one point for a 9-ring shot. Anything else is a miss. This means that you can score 269 points. Let’s say passing is 90% or 243 points. That should make it challenging.
Shooting the LAPD MP5 Qual
This is a long qual, so bring water and a snack. Also, get used to some unusual movements and shooting techniques. The date on this guide is 04/2022, but some of it feels very 1980s. This course does well when shot with a partner, but you can improvise and just use a timer if you try hard enough.
This stage does call for some full auto fire, and unless you’re a really cool guy with a machine gun, let’s say every burst is a rapid double tap instead.
Stage One: 50-Yard Line
Stage 1 has no time limit, and you’ll be firing single shots at 50 yards. Start from the low ready and fire one shot. Repeat this five times. No time limit means taking your time and making those shots count.
Stage Two: 25-Yard Line
From the low ready, aim and fire two rounds to the torso in semi-auto. You’ll have three seconds to do so. Repeat this drill twice for a total of four rounds fired.
You should be getting warmed up!
Stage Three: 15-Yard Line
From the low ready, you aim and fire one brain shot. You have three seconds for each run, and you’ll fire two runs for a total of two rounds.
Make sure those sights are zeroed!
Stage Four: 10-Yard Line
Here we start with our full auto sections. Since we are measly peasants, we have to shoot double taps. At the beep, fire a double tap to the torso in three seconds. Do this twice for a total of four rounds.
Stage Five: Seven-Yard Line
It’s still full auto time, so rock those rapid double taps. At the beep, fire two pairs to the torso. No time limit. Repeat this drill three times for a total of 12 rounds fired.
Stage Six: Five-Yard Line
You’re in bad breath distance now. This is where our tactical reload comes into play. A tactical reload means you retain the magazine. Load the magazine in your gun with four rounds and your spare with two rounds. At the beep, aim and fire a failure drill. This consists of two to the chest and one to the head. Now reload with one in the chamber and conduct another failure drill.
Now reset and reload your magazines and repeat this drill one more time. There is no time limit.
Stage Seven: 10 to Three Yards
This is a move-and-shoot drill. You’ll begin moving from the ten to the three-yard line. As you move, fire two failure drills into the target before you reach the three-yard line. There is no time limit.
Repeat this drill twice for a total of 12 rounds.
Stage Eight: Five-Yard Line
From the five-yard line, you’ll be firing a pair of failure drills. You’ll need the magazine loaded in your gun with six rounds. At the beep, take one large step to the right and forward and fire a pair of failure drills.
You have four seconds total. After you fire the drill, perform a speed reload from the vest.
Stage Nine: Five-Yard Line
You’ll be repeating the same drill you fired in Stage Eight with a slight change. You’ll still be firing six rounds in the form of two failure drills in four seconds. This time you’ll be taking a big step to the left and to the left only.
Stage 10: Five-Yard Line
From the five-yard line, you’ll be firing a pair of failure drills. You’ll need the magazine loaded in your gun with six rounds. At the beep, take one large step to the left and forward and fire a pair of failure drills.
Stage 11: Five to Three Yards
You’ll be doing a variation of the above drills you fired in Stages 8, 9, and 10, but with a brain shot.
At the beep, take a step to the right and forward and fire one brain shot in 1.3 seconds. Return to the original position.
At the beep, take a step to the left and fire one brain shot in 1.3 seconds. Return to the original position.
At the beep, take a step to the left and forward and fire one brain shot in 1.3 seconds. Return to the original position.
Repeat all of these drills one more time to finish the stage.
Phase 12: Two-Yard Line
This will be a close contact drill. You’ll assume the assault position for a portion of this shoot. The assault position is the firearm’s stock under your arm, and the gun is pulled tight to the body.
You’ll start in the low ready at the 2-yard line. At the beep, you’ll tuck the gun under your arm and fire two rapid shots to the torso, then revert to a Low ready position. You have two seconds to take the shots.
You’ll fire another phase where you go from the low-ready to a close-range headshot.
Repeat these two drills one more time to finish the stage.
Phase 13: 13-Yard Line
This drill will use full auto presses consisting of two rounds fired. So get those double taps ready. You’ll be moving from the 13-yard line to the 3-yard line in the low ready. At the 3-yard line, start your shot timer. When the beep goes off, assume the assault position and fire two double taps into the target.
You’ll then step forward with the support leg as you assume a sighted position and fire a double tap to the head. The time limit is two seconds, so move fast.
Phase 14: One-Two-Yard Lines
Start at the one-yard line in the low ready. At the beep, assume a close contact assault position and fire two double taps into the target. Take one large step rearward and assume a sighted position and fire a double tap to the head.
Two seconds is all you get, so move fast.
The following phases are listed as alternatives to phases 12-15, but we are dedicated, so we will shoot them all!
Phase 15: 10 to Three Yards
This is a long one. You’ll need twenty rounds and two targets. It’s a multiple-target drill. Start in the low ready at any range from 10 to three yards. At the beep, fire two double taps to the right target, and then transition to the left target and fire two double taps. You have four seconds to execute.
Remain in the ready position and start the timer over. At the beep, fire a double tap to the head. You have 1.5 seconds.
Now repeat both drills, but reverse the order from right to left to left to right.
Phase 16: Five-Yard Line
You’ll be starting in the close contact-ready position. At the beep, fire a single double tap to the target in one second.
Repeat this drill two more times.
Oof, that was a long one. Not a bad one, either. Lots of good training potential. You’ll master double taps by the time you are done. It’s not exceptionally difficult, but the times are tighter than most police qualifications. That means they are generous compared to a FAST drill but tighter than the Texas Shotgun Qual.
It’s a long, ammo-intensive drill, and I wouldn’t fault you for using a rimfire. I do wish there was some cover implemented and a timer on the 50-yard shots. 50-yard shots with a stocked firearm are not difficult by any means, so put a timer on them!
Overall I had a ton of fun shooting the LAPD SWAT MP5 qual, and yes, I felt a little like Hondo.