The Virignia Patrol Rifle Qual: Shoot Like a Virginian

Virginia has an excellent history of raising riflemen when needed. The Virginia rifleman, the Loudon Rangers, the 29th infantry division, and many more have served their country well. When I went looking for quals this month, it was a pleasure to run across the Virginia Patrol Rifle qual that’s used by the police forces of the Commonwealth. Does the Virginia patrol rifle qual hold up to the great state’s reputation for riflemen? There is only one way to find out!

Gearing Up for The Virginia Patrol Rifle Qual

First and foremost, we need a gun! Specifically a modern rifle. The qual says you need a law enforcement type and caliber rifle. What exactly does that mean? Well, I can’t rightly say. However, I will use an AR-15. I imagine a magazine-fed semi-auto rifle is the way to go. The qual states if the officer is using an optic, they have to use it during the qual, so optics are allowed.

AR-15 and magazines
One mag is all you need, but two mags make it easier.

The range required is 50 yards, but there is an option for 25-yard indoor ranges. If using an indoor range, you have to use a smaller target. Target-wise, we are using an FBI Q target for 50 yards and the reduced FBI Q-R. We’ll need two target targets for this course of fire. We also need a minimum of 60 rounds for this qualification.

Gear needed for qual
Grab your gear. Let’s shoot!

You only need one magazine, but having multiple will make the course of fire move faster. Ensure you pay attention to the loading requirements for each stage and plan accordingly. A sling is also a part of the qual, and the sling carry is used for a few stages. On top of all that, as always, we will need our eyes and ears, as well as a shot timer, and go ahead and bring a good attitude with you.


Scoring doesn’t get much simpler than this. Shots inside the FBI Silouhette count as five rounds. Anything outside the silhouette counts as zero. You need 255 out of 300 potential points to pass. For the crayon eaters out there, that means 51 shots on target; not too bad or too hard.

Shooting the Virginia Patrol Rifle Qual

Stage One: 50 Yards

We’ll be starting with the hard part first. LPVO boys are laughing with their various magnification settings, and red dots without magnifiers might be getting nervous! No need to feel that way! It’s only 50 yards. Make sure your magazine is loaded with 20 rounds. Slap in your rifle and make ready. We’ll be firing on the left target.

prone position shooting
Who doesn’t love the prone?

Assume a sling carry position. This is basically low-ready but with a sling. On the command to fire, you’ll snap in and fire five rounds standing. Now we will move to the kneeling position and fire five rounds. Finally, we’ll finish things up by hugging the dirt in the prone position and firing the remaining ten rounds.

You have an entire minute to do so. Rush the movements but not the shots.

Stage Two: 25 Yards

We’ve cut the distance in half. No excuses. Load your magazine with 15 rounds, and make ready. Assume a sling carry position. Get ready for a little deja vue, but this time we are shooting at the right-hand target.

Kneeling position with rifle
A supported kneeling position really helps with accuracy.

On the command to fire, the shooter will fire five rounds standing, then five rounds kneeling, and finally five rounds in the prone. You have 45 seconds, which is more than enough time. Don’t rush your shots. You don’t get extra credit for doing it in 30 seconds.

Stage Three: 15 Yards

We’re trimming down that distance once more. Load your rifle with a magazine of 10 rounds. We’ll be engaging both targets this time. At 15 yards, you really have no excuses with a long gun.

Shooting rifle wide shot
The standing position isn’t easy to master, but it always needs practice.

On the command to fire, you’ll launch five rounds on the right-hand target, then assume a kneeling position and fire five rounds on the left-hand target. You have 15 seconds to make it happen. On a target as big as an FBI Q, this is not a challenge.

Stage Four: Seven Yards

At seven yards, the red dot boys are feeling the advantage. LPVO guys will be hoping the eye box is generous for them. Keep in mind your height over bore at this range. It’s a big target, but it’s always nice to remind yourself. Load a magazine of 20 rounds and get ready to let it rip.

Man shooting rifle
Be quick, but you don’t have to be that quick.

On the beep, you’ll fire two rounds on the right target. You have two seconds. No time to waste. Move and shoot fast. You might have realized that’s not 10 rounds. Don’t worry. You’ll be repeating this drill four more times for a total of ten rounds fired.

Stage Five: Five Yards

Time flies when you’re having fun! We are at the last stage and within bad breath distance of your targets. Load a magazine with five rounds and assume our sling carry stance. At the beep, you are going to aim and fire one shot at the left target’s head. You have two seconds to do so. Remember that height over bore offset as you lay into it.

That’s a Wrap

So what did I think of the Virginia patrol rifle qual? Well, it’s way too easy. It’s great for a beginner, but I have higher standards for armed professionals. The times were absurdly generous, and the accuracy standard was an entire FBI Q target. That’s a big target. I’m betting my kids can pass this qual with their .22LRs. I would cut the time or use much smaller targets overall. This patrol rifle qual could basically be done with a handgun if we exclude the 50-yard line. Even if we include the 50-yard line, a good handgun shooter can probably conquer it.

A rifle should be used at longer ranges, and shooters should see a great jump in their capabilities with a rifle over a handgun. I would also involve reloads and a transition to the handgun.

I will praise the course for its use of multiple positions and its snapshot-style shooting in the last two stages. Those close-quarters skills are good to have and are tested here. Overall it’s fun and very easy. If you need a little guidance on how to train a new shooter, this is a good route to take. If you are even a little seasoned, then you’ll be left disappointed. Let me know below what you think of this qual and share how you’d improve it.

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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