Swift | Silent | Deadly

Shooting Drill: I Failed the Old Air Marshals Qual (FAMS TPC)

By , on

The old Air Marshals Qual, aka the FAMS TPC (Federal Air Marshals Tactical Pistol Course) is reputed to be one of the most difficult qualification courses in law enforcement. In this installment, I demonstrate…and fail it.

This article contains affiliate links. Please consider supporting Swift|Silent|Deadly using our Amazon affiliate link!

The Old Air Marshals Qual

The Federal Air Marshals Tactical Pistol Course is an incredibly demanding course of fire. One article I read in Shooting Illustrated indicated that JSOC officer said that shooters passing this course were among the top 1% of shooters in the world. I don’t know if that’s true, but it is a tough drill. Keep in mind also that Air Marshals had to shoot this drill, cold, on demand to fly. The scoring for this drill is also fairly unorthodox. This one is just…different, but in a good way.

All stages of this qualification are fired at seven yards. You need three targets, set up 3 meters (9′) apart. A specific target is called for (FBI-QIT-97), but since I didn’t have one I used an IDPA target. I consider the -0 zone to be anatomically relevant, and small enough to be meaningful for this drill, even though it is round rather than a vertical rectangle. In the test 150 points are available, for 5 in the “bottle.” I used the -1 zone as the bottle and considered.

Oh…and time has priority in this qualification course. The failure to meet the par time on any stage is not only a failure of the stage, it is a failure of the entire qual.

Lets get into the course of fire.

Old Air Marshals Qual COF

I retrieved the course of fire for the FAMS TPC from that same Shooting Illustrated article. It does a great job of explaining it. This one is odd in that most stages of fire are fired twice and the total time of the two runs is calculated as the final score for that stage. The course of fire requires 30 rounds, and again, all stages are fired from the 7 yard line.

  1. From concealment, draw and fire 1 round.
  2. Repeat stage 1, total par time for both runs of 3.3 seconds
  3. From ready fire two rounds
  4. Repeat stage 3, total par time for both runs of 2.7 seconds
  5. From ready, fire 6 rounds in 3 seconds.
  6. From ready fire 1, reload, fire 1
  7. Repeat stage 6, total par time for both runs of 6.5 seconds
  8. From ready, fire 1 round on each of two targets
  9. Repeat stage 8, total par time for both runs of 3.3 seconds
  10. Facing uprange, pivot, draw, fire 1 round on each of 3 targets
  11. Repeat stage 10, total par time for both runs of 7 seconds
  12. From ready, fire 1 round, drop to kneeling and slide-lock reload, fire 1 round
  13. Repeat stage 12, total par time for both runs of 8 seconds

And that’s that! Passing is a 135 out of 150. I shot a 145 out of 50…but dropped a shot off the cardboard, so I’m calling that a FAIL. Enjoy!

Keep Reading