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Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement (GWLE) recently had the chance to talk with Bob Vogel, veteran Ohio police officer and winner of several world and national competitive shooting championships. The following are excerpts of the interview, giving us insights into how his competitive life and his professional life as a law enforcement officer intersect and complement each other.

GWLE: How long have you been in law enforcement and in what capacity? And as a follow-up, when did you become interested in police work?
BV: I’m 30 years old and have been a police officer since I was 21, so almost 10 years. I’m a basic street cop as well as my department’s firearms instructor. I’m also on the county Special Response Team (SRT). I realized in high school it was something I wanted to pursue. It’s a job, but it’s probably a little more exciting than most.

GWLE: You are also a competitive shooter. When did you first become involved in that and was it straight into IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) or did you start with another sport?

BV: I started with IDPA when I was 19 and in the police academy, but I was shooting competitively with friends since about age 15.

GWLE: IDPA is specifically geared towards developing real-world skills. Given your police training, how close would you say they got it?

BV:Those real-world skills are being able to shoot “real” guns fast and accurately. I think the time and scoring system in IDPA is more practical than the slower par time systems used other places. In IDPA, you learn to shoot accurately at higher speeds, and I think that’s a huge plus in real-life situations, where it’s a natural human reaction to go fast. When you’re capable of consistently hitting a target at 10 to 15 yards as fast as you can pull the trigger, you’ve got a big advantage over those out there who can’t.

To get started in competition, visit idpa.com or call 870-545-3886.

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