Tuesday, February 19, 2013

But DHS needs the practice!

By Donald Sensing

My post yesterday on how DHS is not buying billions of rounds of ammo after all (at least, not as quickly as it first appeared) garnered the following email from a range officer with first-hand knowledge of the training of armed DHS personnel. At the emailer's request, I have deleted information that might identify him or her.

I'm a [snip] rifle instructor at the [snip] Gun Club in [snip]. During the week, the ranges are often rented by DHS units and other agencies for training and qualification. The DHS units include the Coast Guard, affiliated Sea Scouts, and various DHS contractors. I haven't attended their trainings, but I've picked up a fair amount of information:

They are definitely burning up .40 and .223 ammo. Easy to verify because they leave piles of empty .223 boxes and .40 crates around the place, and don't pick up their brass. (They also leave the live rounds ejected during drills lying on the ground - it's not their money!)

They definitely need the practice. Based on the amount of damage to target frames and other range equipment, the DHS contractors in particular are some of the worst shots who use the place.

How much ammo are they burning? I got my hands on a course of fire for a day's worth of training for a local police hostage/SWAT team. These guys train monthly. Their burn per one day is 350 rounds of pistol ammo and 350 rounds of .223 per officer. This group has 12 officers, so 12 * 12 * 350 = 50400 rounds per year each of rifle and pistol for a small elite unit.
(Italics added) Just to be clear, what my correspondent means is that the SWAT team shoots 50,400 pistol rounds yearly plus the same number of rifle rounds. That's 12 officers burning through 100,800 rounds in a year.
Typical training and qualification for rank and file is more like twice a year, so then figure 700 pistol and 700 rifle rounds per armed officer per year, if they use a similar course of fire.

So if someone can get staffing levels for the agencies buying this ammo, they could be compared to these (rough) usage rates to see how reasonable the purchasing rate is with respect to likely consumption.

BTW, I did a little poking around the (in)famous Las Vegas DHS ammo vendor [see endnote - DS]. It appears to be a 'shell' company set up to capture the minority/women/disadvantaged set aside portion of a larger purchase. This seems to be fairly common in Federal contracting - the same people have been involved in other smallish set-aside purchases of rather diverse products - and it's a great way to profiteer as a 'minority' or to effectively pay off such from the agency side.
Endnote: The Las Vegas ammo vendor concerned is Evian Group, Inc., to whom DHS awarded an ammunition-procurement contract on Jan. 2. However, Evian was formed just five days before the announcement of the solicitation in December. As others have documented, Evian Group seems to be little more than a front organization and doesn’t appear to have any real business assets, a genuine physical address, a website, or even a phone number. In other words, just what my correspondent says.

I thank my correspondent for this information!

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