There are numerous shooting schools around the country offering
firearms training for both police and civilians. New facilities have sprung up
due to the passing of concealed carry legislation in almost every state,
creating a clamor for instruction. While this has led to more options, care should
be taken when choosing the best instruction for your training dollars. Your
decision should be based on the quality of instruction, not just because the
school is the newest or closest.
has been training law enforcement professionals, military personnel, and law
abiding civilians since 1991. The facility is located on 140 acres in Epping, N.H.
This is just a 15-minute drive from Sig’s Exeter, N.H. manufacturing
has always geared their firearms manufacturing
strongly toward the law enforcement aspect of their business. Originally, the
Swiss Industrial Group (SIG) partnered with J. P. Sauer and Son to produce the
P220 and other double action pistols in West Germany. Over the years, the
transition has been made whereby the majority of their handguns and rifles are now
made in the United States.
While providing beginner instruction, the Academy leans more
toward advanced law enforcement training. Classes range from handgun
orientation and basic marksmanship to close quarter combat, active shooter and
long-range sniper training. Over 60 courses are offered, including several
armorer classes for Sig Sauer weapons.
Still more courses taught at the Sig Academy are shotgun and
rifle/carbine/full auto courses, police skill building, low light, reflexive
shooting, executive protection, tactical rifle, first aid for range officers,
scenario-based Simunition® training, hand to hand, home defense, competition
(IDPA, skill drills, speed shooting), active shooter, and ballistic shield
Instructor courses for pistol, rifle, and shotgun are all
taught using the Academy’s SIG (Simple is Good) principle, which is passed on
when training the trainers. All of the employees at the Sig Academy, from the
administration to the Pro Shop to the instructors were found to exhibit an
extremely high level of professionalism, safety, knowledge and friendly
attitudes. It’s obvious that the Sig Academy vets their instructors well and
selects only the best.
The Sig Academy
The Pro Shop is the first to greet guests with everything
Sig Sauer for sale at discounted student pricing. Polo shirts, tactical gear,
belts, holsters, mag pouches, lights, lasers, other sundry firearms accessories
are neatly offered on racks and shelves. Spare parts for your duty guns are in
stock, including maintenance parts like springs and roll pins. Custom parts
like short triggers and wood or aluminum grips are also on hand.
The Pro Shop showcases all of Sig Sauer’s pistols and
rifles, including their Blaser line of bolt action rifles. Sig’s double-action
P-series, 1911-style pistols, compact 380 ACP and 9mm pistols, and their new
modular 250 series are all represented in more finishes than you can count. Limited-edition
and cased P210 and all manner of X5 and X6 target pistols, with options like
gold plating and maple handles, were on display.
Sig’s law enforcement-oriented rifle offerings have expanded
greatly over the years. Their M400, 516, and 716 AR-15 style carbines in 223
Rem and 308 Win, and their Blaser bolt-action sniper rifles in several powerful
calibers were all lined up on a rack for your perusal.
Two modern classrooms with all the amenities are adjacent to
the Pro Shop. The armory is also located here and Sig can arrange the loan of
guns, magazines, holsters, and other accessories. Ammunition in all calibers is
offered for sale. An indoor range is also part of this main building to allow
low-light shooting and standard firearms training.
Touring the 140-Acre
Touring the grounds reveals more than 20 individual ranges
with even more planned or being built. Pistol, rifle, and shotgun ranges are
superbly designed with high backstops and gravel packed walls. There are
several ponds for military maritime training and the Academy offers indoor
ranges, a parking lot range for utilizing vehicles, tactical training areas,
urban environments, a shoot house, and force-on-force training.
A challenging obstacle course provides challenges prior to
shooting for added stress. The 1,000-yard sniper range provides the choice of an
elevated prone position grass mound or benches from which to fire.
Sig’s own testing ranges are also on the property where
their firearms are put through their paces to meet Mil-spec requirements and quality
check improvements in design. The assessment
of guns includes chambers that test extreme heat and cold, liquid and corrosion
resistance tanks, and sealed boxes that allow the introduction of dust, debris,
sand, and grit into the firearms’ actions.
Bullets and Vehicles
To evaluate the Sig Academy, we attended the eight-hour “Bullets
and Vehicles” course. Police officers spend a large amount of time behind the
wheel of their patrol cars and many gunfights occur during traffic stops. Shooting
from inside your squad car is a distinct possibility in our line of work.
Knowing how bullets perform around sheet metal and automobile glass is good
data to comprehend.
It is one thing to be told how a bullet’s trajectory will change
when fired through a windshield from inside the car. However, it becomes permanently
etched in your brain when you actually aim low to counter the angle of the
windshield, pull the trigger yourself from the driver’s seat, watch your fired bullet
penetrate the glass and hit your target at the front bumper in the center of mass.
The class was conducted on the Academy’s parking lot course
and was taught by Dylan Kenneson. A junked car was used as a target during the
course of the day. Various glass break tools were demonstrated as were the
techniques for breaking windows in an emergency to either gain access or to
escape if the doors fail to open.
Shooting began with some warm-up shots on paper targets and
then firing was practiced using folding chairs to simulate a driver’s seat. Shooting
to the front, rear, and both sides was demonstrated and then performed. Students
then fired out the side window openings of a minivan from a seat-belted,
Kenneson then drove the van at 20 mph on an angle toward a
series of steel targets while each student took a turn firing from the
passenger seat. The van was then driven backward away from the targets while
the student fired at the silhouettes again. The run was repeated at 40 mph and
proved how difficult it is to hit targets from a moving vehicle.
The van was then used as cover from the front and rear as
students engaged steel popper targets. Prone shooting under the vehicle was
also practiced and proved to be quite effective when performed correctly.
A junked vehicle was then employed so students could have
first-hand experience with the effects of various bullets on windshields and
sheet metal. An assortment of handgun rounds were fired and skipped off the
hood and trunk to show how easily they can ricochet. A target was placed
alongside the fender where we see cops in movies and on TV stand and fire. The
target showed how poor this technique works in real life.
Each student was then able to sit in the junker’s driver’s
seat and fire through the windshield at a target placed up by the front bumper.
Bullets that penetrate the windshield will change course upward upon impact and
strike their targets high. Actually performing this exercise permanently etches
to concept into your consciousness and reinforces the need to aim low.
Some calibers and bullet designs performed poorly while
others, especially bonded bullets, penetrated the windshield and remained
intact upon hitting their target.
Common handgun rounds from the 22 Long Rifle to the 44
Magnum were fired by class members into designated areas. Penetration through
fenders and doors could then be observed. Rifle bullets from 223 Rem to 300 Win
Mag to 338 Lapua up to the mighty 50 BMG were launched into and often through the
Students at the Bullets and Vehicles class came away with a
wealth of practical knowledge concerning how bullets act when they contact the
various glass and metal surfaces of vehicles. Shooting in and around vehicles
also instilled a useful and realistic comprehension of what works (and doesn’t
work) when it comes to keeping yourself alive when bullets start flying around
training is both a rewarding and enlightening experience. They have top-notch instructors
and an impressive facility.
Steve Tracy is a
26-year police veteran with 24 years of experience as a firearms instructor. He
is also an instructor for tactical rifles, use of force, less-than-lethal
force, and scenario-based training. He can be reached at