FAMTP-PPC pre-2001: grounded or not

twa flight 800

The Federal Air Marshal Training Program, the FAMTP, includes an FTP, a Firearms Training Program, which includes the Practice Pistol Course (PPC).

  • The pre-September 11, 2001 pre-flight qualification course demanded agents get a score of at least 90% or they were grounded. They could only get 50 agents to do it. In the world. After 2001, it was decided to get some thousands of agents. Pretty much none of them could do the course before flights, so they ditched it.
  • The post-September 11, 2001 training program has a 60 round exercise that sounds exactly like the comparatively very easy FBI qualification course. They also have some double-tap drills in specialized flight cabin or air tower situations.

The pre-2001 version of the course is fun to practice with because it’s so difficult. What’s difficult is not the individual drills, whether double-taps, rhythm, multiple targets starting from cover turned away at 180◦, speed-reloads, slide-lock-back reloads while dropping to a knee, and so on, or the tiny size of the targets (all nervous system [the inside QIT] bottle [can’t touch any part of the line]) or the distance (all just 7 yards as one might expect inside a plane at 35,000 feet).

What’s difficult in the pre-2001 version of the course is the very short time allowed for each drill (a timer is utilized). If you go overtime, just .01 seconds with even just one bullet with even just one drill you fail the entire course and you are grounded from flying, and that consequence is, of course, a big deal for both your job and the passengers if there are special risk factors with whatever flight. If you wanted to be a FAM back in the day, you needed to be at ease in getting close to or right at 100% cold barrel, any time, any where, under any circumstances.

I’m not at all a FAM wannabe. No. But, again, the challenge of the pre-2001 course makes it fun on a day-off. My own score is edging up. 87% yesterday, just off by 3%. But that was a fluke. It wasn’t cold barrel. And I did go overtime just a tad with one bullet on one of the drills. So, a long way to go. And that’s not even including contorting oneself into impossible positions in specialized circumstances as they do also today.

At any rate, keeping frosty in what ways one can is good if one carries. Along with good situational awareness. Otherwise, this is just some fun for me on the day-off.


Hey! Wait just one nanosecond! I just saw this video of an example of the old FAM course being shot by some guy. He’s really pretty good. Better than me. But I think he’s cheating:

Let’s take a close-up of the results on that target:

FAM course video

He’s using the body-bottle, not the nervous-system bottle. For the latter, see the inside bottle for this QIT-97-99 combo:


If I’m not mistaken, it’s the inside bottle that counts (5 points each clean hit). Any line or outside the small bottle but inside the larger is just 2 points. Get a bunch of two pointers and you’re out. He’s definitely out. I’ve been using only the small bottle. I think that’s right.

Here’s an example of the targets I put up (just the small bottle) held up with a couple of wire sign-holders available at Lowes:


No, I don’t fire my gun with Shadow-dog in back of the target. And I don’t fire my gun in the back yard of the rectory inside city limits. Anyway, you can see from this that if a bullet was stray from the small bottle more than an inch or two, I wouldn’t even count the 2 points I would otherwise get as it would miss this smaller target altogether. Better to practice with the more difficult target so that the easier target really is easier.


There is an ulterior motive to putting up these posts on gun stuff on this personal blog of mine. It is recommended by the USCCA, of which I am a member, that one keeps a log of one’s practice, one’s reading, one’s training. So far I’ve done little in posting about the reading and training, but I have burdened readers with these target practice posts. ;-)


1 Comment

Filed under Guns

One response to “FAMTP-PPC pre-2001: grounded or not

  1. sanfelipe007

    I don’t feel burdened at all. Your yoke is easy.

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