LPD trains with M-4 Assault Rifle - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

LPD trains with M-4 Assault Rifle

Lawton_The Lawton Police Department (LPD) has a new weapon in its arsenal, and now they are learning how to use it.  The M-4 Assault Rifle is so powerful that it can fire more than 700 rounds per minute.  The weapon is used by U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, and now officers from the LPD will use them, too.  In the department's hands-on training - part of a three-day, 24-hour course - officers will become certified to use the assault weapons if they find it necessary. 

Officers want to be prepared for stand-offs using the M-4, and it's the fourth LPD class that has gone through the training.  Each officer fires hundreds of rounds, and if he or she is lucky, the range is the only place they'll ever use the weapons.  "I hope I never have to use this weapon in my line of duty," said police officer Chris Brown.  "I don't ever want to end up taking someone's life, but if it comes to that point I want to be extremely prepared - and that's what we're doing here today, practice, so we can use it at any point."

With AK-47s and other assault rifles available for purchase at gun stores, the LPD wants to have equal firepower.  They will be able to shoot long distances should they find themselves in a standoff.  "Given the current state - Homeland Security and things like that - even the people on the street that we deal with on a day-to-day basis, we're pretty much outgunned and we're trying to even the playing field out here," said firearms instructor Ralph Szatkowski.

The officers will use semi-automatic rifles that shoot one bullet with each pull of the trigger, but the department does have some fully-automatic guns that can shoot 20 bullets in 1.5 seconds.  "It's a little bit stressful," said Brown.  "Takes a lot of patience and discipline, getting the firearm zeroed in.  It's a new experience for me.  I've never dealt with one of these firearms before so it's a lot of different techniques."

The officers tested just how accurate their shots were while lying on their bellies, shooting from behind a barricade.  They also practiced sitting down and firing two shots - in eight seconds - aimed at a 14-inch target.  The primary focus of the training is safety, so each officer must hit their targets at least 70% of the time to be certified.  "You need to make sure you know what's in front of your target, behind your target," said officer Daniel Harter.  "You're accountable for every round that goes off out of your gun.  An easy shot out on the street, you also have to think what's behind it, so safety's a very, very big issue on this."

The officers spent eight hours at the firing range on Monday, and will complete the course on Tuesday with another eight-hour session.  The LPD bought ten guns and have received a grant to purchase 12 more.  Several of the officer purchased their own guns - they say they never know when they'll need to use them. 

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