Range Day: The Lousiana POST Patrol Rifle Qual

Getting up close on range day.
January 19, 2023  
Categories: Learnin'

Louisiana is humidity, heat, mosquitos, alligators, Mardi Gras, and rifle quals. Well, at least today we are tossing rifle quals into the mix. The Louisiana Post Patrol Rifle Qualification is the subject of our range day. It is a six-stage course of fire designed to test the police officers of Louisiana with their patrol rifles. Today we are going to shoot, and then discuss the POST Patrol Rifle Qual.

Rifle shown on the range for rifle quals.

Before we start we have to try and define what a patrol rifle is. Most would say an AR 15, but that’s not entirely accurate. An AR 15 can be a patrol rifle, but as we’ve seen in San Bernardino, the Ruger Mini 14 can be a patrol rifle. And in Alaska, we’ve seen AKs run as patrol rifles. A patrol rifle is typically a semi-automatic firearm, in an intermediate caliber, that feeds from a detachable box magazine.

Most patrol rifles these days wear some form of optic, with red dots seemingly being the most common, but prisms and LPVOs aren’t exactly rare. I’m not a police officer, but I’ll be tackling this drill with a Colt EPR equipped with a Holosun 512C. You’ll need some form of a semi-auto rifle at the very least.

Tackling the POST Patrol Rifle Qual on Range Day

Outside of a rifle, you’ll need 42 rounds of ammo and two magazines. Don’t forget a way to carry your spare magazine. You’ll also need a holstered handgun with at least two rounds of ammo. Yep, you’ll be shooting your handgun in the POST Patrol Rifle Qual as well.

We need a target and the Lousianna Police use the LA P-1 Target. It’s a pretty solid target that’s available online if you want a 100% accurate recreation of the POST Patrol Rifle Qual. However, if not, a simple silhouette target will work. Admittedly the internal zone of the LA P-1 Target is necessary for keeping score when it comes to qual-ing.

All the gear needed for range day.

You’ll need just a little gear for this qual, plus it’s only 42 rounds of ammo.

You’ll also need a range of at least 100 yards to do the course with 100% accuracy. Although, the qual does allow for you to use a 50-yard range with some adjustments. Additionally, the course of fire mentions the use of cover. You can use your own cover, like a PTSB barrier, or use ‘notional’ cover and get the same result.

Don’t forget the necessary shot timer, eyes, ears, and all that jazz. Make sure your rifle has a sling as well.

All in all, besides the need for a 100-yard range, the qual isn’t demanding logistically. It’s one of the better quals I’ve found from police agencies. It seems rare to find one that stretches the legs of the rifle.

Popping off with the POST Patrol Rifle Qual

Stage 1

March your ass back to 100 yards for stage 1. Hopefully, your rifle is zeroed correctly, if not, you’re about to find out. At stage 1 you will assume the Low Ready position.

On the beep, assume a good prone position and fire four rounds center mass of the target.

You have 60 seconds to assume the prone and engage with those four rounds. 100 yards isn’t too long of a range, but if you’re not used to shooting beyond those CQB ranges then it might feel like a long walk. Just focus on the basics, 60 seconds is a lot of time.

Looking 100 yards down range.

100 yards looks a lot farther when you step it out.

If you only have 50 yards of range then you’ll do the exact same drill, but reduce the time to 30 seconds.

Stage 2

At 50 yards you better get ready to move. This part of the POST Patrol Rifle qual might require a little stretching beforehand. You’ll start in the high ready, and on the command to fire, you’ll fire three rounds in the following positions:

Shooting from standing on range day.

Going from standing to kneeling to sitting to prone brings movement to the qual.


So twelve rounds total with four-position changes and you have two minutes to accomplish it. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but believe it or not, you’ll find it to be fairly generous. Moving fast and assuming a good position is the key to success here.

Shooting from kneeling on range day.

Moving between four positions is a nice move-under-fire technique.

Stage 3

Move from the 50-yard line to the 25-yard line for stage 3. Get ready to reload and make sure you have your spare magazine on hand. The magazine in the gun should hold three rounds with a fourth in the chamber.

Reloading quickly on range day.

The Qual needs more reloads, heck you can do two of them in the time the Qual provides.

You’ll start in the high ready and on the beep you engage the target center mass with four rounds. Now with the gun empty, you’ll reload and assume a kneeling position, and fire four additional rounds into the target.

You have 25 seconds to do so. Heck, I feel like I could reload three times and still make it within this time limit.

Stage 4

We’ve closed the range once more and are at 15 yards. At 15 yards you’ll start in the high-ready position. At the beep, you’ll fire two rounds center mass in the standing position, then transition to the kneeling position and fire two more rounds center mass.

The POST Patrol Rifle qual gives you ten seconds to get it done. Again, I feel like the time is way too generous.

Stage 5

For stage five of the POST Patrol Rifle Qual you start in the ready position at seven yards. At the beep, you’ll fire a failure drill. A failure drill is two shots to the chest and one shot to the head. After firing the failure drill you’ll move one step to the right ‘behind’ cover.

Getting up close on range day.

You get nice and close during this qual.

Hold cover and hit your shot timer’s go button again. At the beep, fire another failure drill and step to the left. You have three seconds to complete each failure drill. That’s not a lot of time, but at this range, with a rifle, it’s easy.

Stage 6

You’ve done it. You’ve made it to the final stage of the POST Patrol Rifle qual. At four yards you are within smelly-breath range of the bad guy. Repeat the above drill and fire a failure drill, then step to the right behind cover. Hit the timer button again and fire another failure drill and take a step left. You have three seconds for each failure drill.

Transitions are important on the range.

You’ll do one transition to the handgun and fire two rounds.

That’s Phase 1. For Phase 2 you’ll need to ensure your rifle is cleared and empty. It’s time to work on those transition skills. At the beep, attempt to fire your rifle. Since it’s empty, you get a click, and then you’ll need to drop and sling your rifle, transition to your handgun, and fire two rounds center mass.

Shooting handguns as well as rifles on the range.

The P365 isn’t your average duty pistol, but I wanted to get some training on it.

You’ll have five seconds to do so. Not too bad, and you must have the world’s slowest draw to fail this qual.

Downsides of the POST Patrol Rifle Qual

Not to sound like a broken record, but the times are way too generous. I’d like my police officers to be faster than these times provided. I think most quals are lavish with the times produced and professional gun carriers should be faster. Cut the drills time in half and you’ll start to get something a little more challenging.

I do like the fact that they challenge shooters out to 100 yards. One of the main advantages of a rifle over a subgun is range and having some skills out to 100 yards should be a no-brainer. I like multiple positions shooting as well, but I’m not sure how tactically sound the sitting position is in the modern world, but prone, kneeling, and standing are worth mastering. Overall I think it’s one of the better rifle quals I’ve seen for police forces and is a ton of fun to shoot.

It’s worth a trip to spend a day at the range. What do you guys think? I’m really curious as to what our LEOs think of this kind of qualification. Share below!

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike

About the Author


  1. Bemused Berserker

    The biggest obstacles I face with a lot of these drills is the moving. I’m disabled, from Degenerative Joint Disease, not wheelchair bound but getting up and down takes me a little bit of time. Same for running or weaving.
    The limitations don’t get any better with PT, if anything it only gets worse as time passes.
    I wish I could engage in more of these drills, but it’s not in the cards I reckon.

  2. Seymour Butts

    As a LE who has to shoot this annually, I agree the times are way too generous. But yet, every year I see people struggling to pass this and the pistol qual. It’s concerning, to say the least.

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