The Georgia Police Officer Backup Weapon Qualification

How good are you with a smaller gun? Can you pass an official qualification with it? Give this one a shot.


Police qualification courses of fire can be a great way to sharpen your skills and allow you to test yourself. Most are made for duty firearms and don’t factor in concealment or small guns in general, most, but not all. I recently dug up the Georgia Backup Weapon Qualification and found it to be a great starting point for concealed carriers to test their skills.

It uses cover, drawing, movement, and more to push you to your limits and stretch your skills. Plus, it’s rather low intensity.

What You’ll Need

  • Small Firearm (I used the Springfield Hellcat)
  • Holster (I used the Hybrid MT2)
  • 20 Rounds of Ammunition
  • Two Magazines
  • Magazine Carrier
  • 2 Man-Sized Targets (I used the Free Sage Dynamics Targets)
  • Shot Timer (Phone App with Par Time will work)
  • Some Form of Cover (I used the PTSB Lite)

Shooting It

First, the Georgia Backup Weapon Qualification is written with commands being given by a range master. If you have a range master to issue commands great, if not, you’ll need a shot timer to give you the ‘Beep’ command to fire. I figure most of us don’t have a Rangemaster, so I edited the Backup Weapon Qualification slightly to incorporate a shot timer. If you want to see the Georgia POST variant of the entire qualification, unedited, click here. (PDF Warning)


If you aren’t comfortable going fast, moving or drawing, then eliminate the shot timer at first. “Walk” through the course of fire dry, then slowly live, and add speed when you safely can.

Stage 1 – 15 Yard Line

Stage 1 of the Backup Weapon Qualification is all about using cover and cover. Stage one has two iterations with a total of 4 rounds fired. Set your par time for four seconds. Shooters start with their weapon holstered and outside of cover.

On the beep, the shooter moves to cover while drawing and shoots around the right side of the cover. While using cover correctly, fire one round to the right target and then round to the left target, all under four seconds.

The second run is the exact same, but you use the left side of the cover and shoot the left target then the right target. Make sure you are using cover correctly and staying as far behind it as possible.

Stage 2 – 10 Yard Line

Stage 2 of the Backup Weapon Qualification mixes it up a little more, and you’ll fire one iteration of four rounds. Shooters stand outside of cover with their guns holstered. Set the par timer to eight seconds. On the beep, move to either side of cover while drawing your Firearm.

Once behind cover fire, one round on the right target and one rough on the left target. Now drop to a knee and fire one round to the right target and one round to the left target. You can shoot the target in any order you want.

I like a challenge, so for this drill, I went for one body shot and one headshot.

Stage 3 – 7 Yard line

Stage 3 of Backup Weapon Qualification eliminates the use of cover, and you’ll fire eight rounds total with four iterations. You’ll start with your Firearm in the low ready, and you’ll need your spare magazine ready to draw and reload. Set your par time to five seconds

String One – On the beep, give a verbal command to the target to stop and then fire two rounds into the right target and two rounds into the left target within five seconds. After the drill ends, conduct a reload.

If you are only using two magazines, retrieve your previously fired magazine and reload it and reset it into your magazine pouch. String Two – Set your par time to 3 seconds with your weapon holstered. Draw and give verbal commands, then fire one round on the right target and one round on the left target with your dominant hand only!


String Three – Set your par time to 3 seconds with your weapon in the support hand. On the beep, give verbal commands and fire one round on the right target and one round on the left target with your support hand only!

At the end of the third string, reload your Firearm to full capacity. When you give these verbal commands, do so with gusto and enthusiasm. When you command someone, you need to be commanding, believe it or not.

Stage 4 – 3 Yard Line

Stage 4 of the Backup Weapon Qualification is another no cover shoot but expect to be moving. You’ll fire two iterations with a total of four rounds fired total. Set your par time to three seconds. You’ll begin with your weapon holstered.

Standing in the open, alone but unafraid, wait for the beep. On the beep, draw, give commands, and take one step to the left or right. Fire one round on the right and one round on the left target in the order you choose. Do this all within three seconds.

Firearms Class

Now for the second string, we are going to repeat the drill above but set your par time to four seconds. An extra second is not a reprieve by any means. Movement, commands, and all, but now you have to fire one round into the head of the right target and one round in the head of the left target. Do so in any order you choose, but do it in four seconds.

Fun and Effective?

That’s it. That’s the end of the Georgia Backup Weapon Qualification. It’s not too tough by any means, but I think it provides a nice challenge for new shooters. Pros will blaze through it without a doubt, but it’s a good starting point. It works on some essential skills like using cover, drawing, and even issuing commands.

It’s fun and does work on some of the basics. The low round count makes it affordable to run more than once. Personally, I’d even shoot the Backup Weapon Qualification with 20 rounds of my chosen defensive ammunition to best mimic the ammunition I’d use for defensive shooting.

It’s not too tough, and your skills will likely excel past the drill quickly. If you don’t have a range that allows movement and fire, you can easily pair this with an airgun and modify it as necessary to get a little training out of it. The Georgia Backup Weapon Qualification is a great place to start your concealed carry journey. Let us know what you think below!

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.


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