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True Blue: On Target

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A pistol, revolver, shotgun and rifle: four weapons every Michigan State Police Trooper may carry on the road every day. In their holsters and in their cruisers, each lethal tool is ready for use at a moments notice.

The recruits are taught how to use them with chilling precision, after all, when faced with the most extreme situations facing the most dangerous criminals, a trooper must always be ready to respond with force.

The trainers at the Michigan State Police Trooper School make sure the recruits are ready through 90 hours of firearm training inside a shooting range on the MSP campus. By the time these recruits graduate, they will have fired 1,800 rounds with a sig sauer 40 caliber pistol, 300 rounds with a Smith and Wesson 38 revolver or 357 magnum, and 350 rounds with a 12 gauge shotgun colt m4 assault rifle.

"Knowing how to use it is definitely a must. Like anything else we carry, or any other skills we've been taught, if you're not able to use it, it's no good for you to have it," said Anthony Easlick.

Using the weapons is always a last resort in the line of duty, but knowing how to use them, if necessary, is absolutely critical.

"I remember the first day we were up here, actually it was the first couple days, stood facing the wall with empty firearms and foot two hours straight at a time practiced trigger pull and grip and sight alignment and all that kinda stuff, so...it gets tedious...but it's very important," said Easlick.

The recruits are graded on their accuracy, just a few centimeters to the right or left will determine whether they pass or fail. In this class, 51 percent of the recruits passed the highest level of accuracy, another 21 percent were deemed experts.

After graduation the troopers are graded three times each year to make sure they are always sharp. They can earn honors and climb the ranks to be recognized as distinguished marksmen.

Troopers can never anticipate when they will need to use their weapons, but rest assured if they ever need to pull the trigger, they will always be right on target.

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