Combat Arms hosts local law enforcement at pistol shoot

  • Published
  • By Lee Anne Hensley
  • Hilltop Times correspondent
In recognition of National Police Week 2010, the 75th Security Forces Combat Arms Section held a pistol shoot competition May 13, hosting more than 10 local law enforcement groups on the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Range.

"As far as we know, competitions have been hosted by Hill Air Force Base since the 1940s," said Staff Sgt. James Matherly, 75th SFS Combat Arms instructor. "Our shop is doing its part to keep this tradition going."

Last week's competition presented real world scenario targets, ranging from steel plates to a low-light hostage alley course, with an overall length of 61 shots fired by each four-person team. Each team was comprised of members from local law enforcement groups, ranging from police officers to Drug Enforcement agents, and each team produced and used its agency-issued pistols and ammunition.

"Most teams used .40 caliber pistols, while some used 9-millimeter and Glock pistols," said Matherly.

With 11 teams taking approximately one hour to complete the course, Matherly reported it was an all-day event. "One DEA agent who was one of the last shooters on the course told me the course was worth the wait. Everyone seemed to enjoy working with us and shooting on our range and that makes it all worthwhile."

National Police Week is held annually the second week in May to honor civilian and military law enforcement agents who gave their lives in the line of duty and to foster camaraderie among all law enforcement agencies.

"The shoot out allowed us to mingle and network with other law enforcement units, departments and agencies," said Matherly.

Top civilian shooter of the event was police officer Travis Rees of the West Jordan Police Department who was awarded the top shooter plaque.

The top three teams were as follows:

First place -- West Jordan SWAT

Second place -- Unified Police Department of Salt Lake City

Third place -- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

At the time of this article, the 75th SFS Combat Arms personnel were still tallying scores to determine the top military shooter due to software malfunctions in the range tallying system the day of the event. Once those honors are determined, the top military shooter will receive a plaque.

Other attendees received giveaway prizes courtesy of Army Air Force Exchange Services that included gun holsters, batons, drink cozies and hats from weapons manufacturers.

In addition to cooperation by AAFES, the Combat Arms group also received help from Air Force Shooting Team member, 1st Lt. Joel Fox, of the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron. Staff Sgt. Brian Graves, 419th Fighter Wing member, and a shooting competitor with the USPSA in Utah, also assisted with the event.

"They helped us refine our course, as they shoot competition-style all the time, and they helped make our course better to shoot from and safer," said Matherly.

Due to the successful feedback the Combat Arms group received after the shoot out event, Matherly is already planning next year's event in anticipation of making it the biggest event in Hill's history. "I am aiming to make it a two-day event with about 20 teams competing overall. We usually average about eight-to-10 teams competing on the one day each year, so I am hoping to make next year our biggest event."