The Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual — More Than Maple Syrup

It’s sad to see Vermont fall to the anti-gunners. They were the OG of constitutional carry, but a surge of idiots in office has greatly reduced the rights of Vermont citizens. There seems to be an assumption that posting training from a state with gun control laws is an endorsement of those laws. I assure you it’s not. I post these qualifications because I think they are valuable sources of training information and allow shooters to expand their skillsets. Today’s look at the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual is just that.

I don’t know much about Vermont outside of its great syrup, but their patrol rifle qual is pretty solid. Vermont’s training standards come from the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. This organization establishes and dictates training standards and guidelines for police within the state of Vermont, as well as rules, policies, and regulations in regard to training.

Police officers who carry a patrol rifle are required to qualify annually and, prior to their initial qualification, must receive training in the operation of the rifle. So I’m hoping you, as an average joe, know how to use your rifle.

Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual
You’ll slowly close in over the qual.

Feet First Into the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual

In the equipment required section, the instructions for the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual states,

“Patrol rifle that is regularly carried by the officer in the performance of their duties, or a weapon of the same make, model, and caliber as the rifle carried by the officer while on duty….”

It doesn’t define what that patrol rifle is specifically, so we won’t either. You can shoot this qualification with any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. That opens it up for training with ARs, AKs, and even A-Team-inspired Mini 14s. The qual states you can use any equipment attached to the rifle you’d use during duty, including bipods, so don’t limit yourself.

Gear needed for the Vermon Patrol Rifle qual: rifle, handgun with holster, extra magazines, mag pouch, ear and eye protection
Here is the gear ya need to shoot the qual.

You will need two magazines and a means to carry your spare mag. You can whip out a belt mag pouch, a chest rig, battle belt, or heck, your jeans pocket and be good to go. You’ll also need 18 rounds of ammunition to qualify. Load one magazine with ten rounds and one with eight rounds. You’ll start with the ten-round magazine.

This is a rifle qualification, but you’ll also need a handgun with at least two rounds of ammunition. You will also need something to use as cover, be it a barrier, trash can, or hanging sheet.

sig sauer handgun, holstered
Don’t forget you need a handgun.

Most of these quals never state you need a shot timer, but the Vermont Patrol Rifle qual lists it, so you better have it. Also, don’t forget the eyes and ears!

The Targets

In terms of range, you’ll either need 100 yards or 25 yards. At 100 yards, you’ll use the full-size target, and at 35 yards, you can use a special reduced-sized target. Which target? Well, according to the Vermont Patrol Rifle qual, it doesn’t really matter.

What you need on your target is a hitbox that is 22 inches tall and 12 inches wide on the torso and a hitbox 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide for the head.

If shooting at 25 yards, the hitbox will change depending on the range. Different target sizes are used to simulate a 100-yard target at 25 yards and a 50-yard target at 25 yards.

patrol rifle with camo furniture and accessories on a rock
My patrol rifle likes optics and long barrels.

The hitbox for the simulated 100-yard target is two ⅛ inches wide and three ⅞ inches tall for the torso and 1 inch wide by 1.5 inches tall for the head hitbox.

For the simulated 50-yard target, you’ll use a 4.25-inch x 7.75-inch torso hitbox and a two 1/8th inches wide by two ⅞ inches tall headshot box.

Beyond the 100 and 50-yard simulated targets, you’ll use the standard-sized targets with standard hitboxes. You will need two targets for every range.

Shooting the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual

Stage 1: 100 Yards (Or Simulated at 25 Yards)

The Vermont Patrol rifle qual starts out nice and far away. You’ll start with a cruiser-ready rifle, meaning empty chamber but magazine inserted. At the command to fire, rack a round in the chamber, assume the prone position, and fire two rounds into each target.

Travis Pike aims patrol rifle in prone shooting position
Prone shots at 100 yards aren’t too tough, especially with this Swampfoxx Optic.

At least three of the four rounds have to make it into the hitboxes to qualify. You have 45 seconds to make your shots, so you seemingly have plenty of time. However, it will go fast.

Stage 2: 50 Yards (Or Simulated at 25 Yards)

At 50 yards, you’ve closed some ground on the threat, but you still have the advantage of the rifle. With this stage of the Vermont Patrol rifle qual, you get to choose between a sitting or kneeling position, and you’ll be using cover to do so. On the command to fire, assume your chosen position behind cover and fire two rounds into each target.

Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual stage 2 using cover
Using cover is a must in this qual.

You have to land three out of four rounds in 30 seconds to pass this stage.

Stage 3: 35 to 25 Yards

You’ll start at 35 yards behind cover, and your shooting position is dependent on the amount of cover you have. On the command to fire, fire two rounds into one target. At this point, your weapon will be empty, and you need to reload.

Travis Pike reloads patrol rifle in kneeling position
Reload before you leave cover.

From there, you advance to the 25-yard line with the weapon up and ready. At the 25-yard line, take two shots at the second target. You’ll need to do this in 25 seconds and land three out of four rounds on target.

Stage 4: 25 Yards

At 25 yards, you start in the standing, low ready. On the command to fire, you fire one round into each target within eight seconds. You’ll need to land both rounds to pass this portion of the qual.

Stage 5: 15 Yards

We’ve closed the distance, and now we are implementing a bit more movement to our Vermont Patrol Rifle qual. At the 15-yard line, stand 90 degrees to the right. On the command to fire, you pivot to face the target and fire one round at one target. You’ll have eight seconds to do so and will need to hit your target in the hitbox to pass.

Travis Pike running the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual
You’ll be doing some pivoting from right to left, and even a 180.

Stage 6: 15 Yards

We are essentially repeating the above stage with a slight difference. At the 15-yard line, you’ll be standing 90 degrees to the LEFT. On the command to fire, pivot to face the target and fire one round at one target. You’ll have eight seconds to do so and will need to hit your target in the hitbox to pass.

Stage 7: 15 Yards

Woo, we are still at the 15-yard line and still pivoting. This time you’ll face away from your target and pivot 180 degrees, and engage one target with one round. You have eight seconds, and of course, you gotta hit that one round.

Stage 8: 10 yards

Alright, folks, we’ve almost finished the Vermont Patrol rifle qual. At the ten-yard line, we’ll finally use that handgun you’ve been toting around. On the command to fire, fire the final round from your rifle. Then let the rifle hang and draw and fire two rounds from your handgun into the same target. You have 15 seconds to do so and must score all three rounds.

Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual stage 8 transition to handgun
A transition to a handgun is nice.

That’s All, Folks

That’s it, we’ve done it. We’ve completed the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual. What do I think? It’s honestly extremely efficient in its design. It should be viewed as a qualification and not necessarily a day of training. As a qual, it brings together a variety of rifle skills like range, proper shot placement, multiple target engagements, a reload, and a transition.

Most of the time, requirements are fairly long, especially once you are beyond the 100 and 500-yard lines. I’d trim the times by at least two seconds each at the closer ranges and five seconds from the 35 to the 25-yard line.

To turn this from a qual into a training experience, I’d replicate each stage three times or so to get more practice. However, if you want a quick and short-range trip, then the Vermont Patrol Rifle Qual is for you.

What do you think? Let us know 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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