Los Angeles Sheriff Department Historical Firearms Training Video

I stumbled upon this colorized version of a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) training tape from the late 1930s (the description says 1936 but the video says 1938).  The tape is available on the LASD’s YouTube page is a worth watching for the trick shots, training methods and historical context.  I’m going to point out a few great parts in case you don’t have the 15 minutes to watch the entire thing, but here is the video:

Here are my favorite parts:

At 0:30 the trick shots start.  Yes, they actually shoots cigars and cigarettes out of each others mouths and ears.  Total win.

At 3:35 “a rookie arrives for gun instruction”.  Note his muzzle awareness, he is quickly corrected.  Nice touch!

Around the 7:30 mark you’ll see a some rapid fire strings of fire.  They actually have a butt system for targets at the 25 yard line.  I thought this was amazing since you only see it on known distance rifle ranges in modern times.

The video gets even better at 10:18 with the introduction of combat shooting.  At 10:55 they show the drill above, “gangbusters” which was the “el presidente” without the head shots years before it was standardized.

If you’ve spent anytime shooting ISPC matches, you probably started a stage like this, known as “merchants lunch” at 11:00.

They had bigger budgets back then, at 12:12 they want you coming back once a month, instead of the 1-2 times annually in many big departments nowadays.

A good part of the video deals with reloading.  A progressive pistol press in the 1930s?  Yep, LASD had one at 14:02, with two guys running it.

Things get good at 15:00 with the Tommy Gun and tear gas gun training.  Note the heart on the target.

At 15:15 more officers rush targets with 1911s!  How cutting edge is that?

The video closes with what appears to be a change of command ceremony with the a sword being exchanged.  How cool is that?  A sheriff’s department with swords?

It appears the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I was joking with a buddy that we could travel back in time to the range and start working it without missing a beat.

Thank you to the LASD Sheriff for sharing this video!