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Sig Sauer Academy’s Bullets Versus Cars

Written by Steve Tracy

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.

The Sig Sauer Academy 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 factory.

Sig Sauer 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 instruction.

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 Grounds

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 Facility

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 Course

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, sitting position.

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 car.

Top-Notch Training

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 cars.

The Sig Sauer Academy 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 steventracy@hendonpub.com.

Published in Tactical Response, May/Jun 2014

Rating : 10.0


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