Friday’s Heroes: Lt. Monty McCord

Lt. Monty McCord

Monty McCord is a retired police lieutenant in Nebraska. His 23 years of service included deputy positions for two rural sheriff’s offices (one of which was a four man office), and then retiring from the Hastings Police Department. Duties included ambulance/rescue, patrol, paper service, investigation, jail, and communications. In charge of department training for many years, he specialized in firearms training. He participated in Police Pistol Competitions in the late 70s/early 80s, and later was active in Cowboy Action Shooting.

McCord is a graduate of the 174th Session of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.An avid interest in law enforcement history led him to writing.  He published his first book locally in 1982, Hastings Police – 110 Years of Public Service. McCord researched the history of police vehicles from the horse drawn paddy wagons of the 19th century to the current day for his second book, Police Cars – A Photographic History, published by Krause Publications in 1991. A follow up book, Cars of the State Police and Highway Patrol, was released three years later. In 1999 Krause published Law Enforcement Memorabilia, a guide for the hobby. Other books include, Hastings – The Queen City of the Plains, and I Christen Thee, Nebraska – History of the USS Nebraska.

He began collecting law enforcement badges in 1974, inspiring him to write many articles for Police Collectors News during the 1980s and 90s. McCord has written law enforcement related articles including “Marshal Capone”, for the Texas State Peace Officers Journal and “The Crimes and Trials of Print Olive”, for The Journal of the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association.

He has had additional articles published in The Nebraska Police Officer and the Historical News of the Adams County Historical Society. In 1997, McCord was interviewed for a segment of “Police Cars”, one of a three-part documentary called, “Wheels of Survival” for A & E’s History Channel. He owns two restored vintage police cars, a 1962 Plymouth and a 1973 AMC Matador Los Angeles PD “Adam-12” replica. He was contracted by Liberty Classics, Inc. of Illinois to do the research and design for a series of 1/25 scale die-cast vintage police cars for collectors.



McCord is currently at work on a modern crime novel and has two historical crime novels outlined and partly researched. His favorite period for these types of works is 1870-1970. He is a huge fan of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and historic crime stories written in both creative non-fiction and novel styles. McCord serves as president of the Friends of the Hastings Public Library and as a board member of the Adams County Historical Society. A member of the Nebraska Writers Guild and the Kansas Writers Association, he lives in Hastings with his wonderful wife (& editor), his pal Buddy the Basset Hound and two cats who haven’t managed to escape their human captors yet.

Monty McCord:


First of all, I’d like to thank Lee Lofland for asking me to be featured on his blog, I am honored to be here. Many congrats brother on a valuable site for all of us.

I was trying to decide whether to talk a little about police firearms training or police vehicles, I decided on firearms training. I’m happy to answer questions on any of this, and if I don’t know, I’ll make something up. (No, not really!).The 1970s and 80s was a time police firearms training started to evolve into useful instruction. At least it was around here. Many larger jurisdictions were already progressive and we learned from them, albeit slowly.

I received my certification as a police firearms instructor from the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center in 1979. The officers of the department (many, were older veteran officers) were used to the old Camp Perry style of handgun shooting, where they would stand erect, left hand on hip, right arm straight out pointing the revolver at the target, giving no thought that the bad guy might be shooting back at them. In fact, at the time, the thought didn’t center around deadly encounters with a suspect. It was more of a typical “target shooting” environment under ideal circumstances. Wonderful.

To make matters worse, they NEVER reloaded their duty weapons from the leather ammo pouches or bullet loops on their Sam Browne duty belts then in use. (Like they would on an actual shooting situation on the street). When ready to qualify, they would grab a handful of .38 cartridges and dump them into a shirt pocket. To be real professional, they might even shoot from one or two different distances. When I took over this training I made them reload from their ammo pouches during qualifications. I had to literally take a pocket knife and scrape out the green corroded cartridges that had resided in them since the Eisenhower administration.

To add insult to injury, I also required them to do some running and utilize cover and concealment while firing at the target (suspect). Since you couldn’t have someone shooting at the officers for training, physical exertion (running) and loud noises (siren, loudspeakers blaring) and time limits were the things used to increase stress. The weather was no longer a factor either. Rain, snow, or sunshine, when I scheduled a qualification, it was rarely cancelled.

We required four qualifications a year (now it’s monthly), and every officer had to qualify each time, or go through extra training. Later I built walls from old tires which simulated rooms and used “shoot” or “don’t shoot” targets on swiveling holders. These targets were printed with the picture of an innocent civilian or an armed bad guy, and the officers would have about a second to recognize the danger, or not, and fire, or not. In 1988, the department made the switch to semi-automatic pistols commonly used today. Unfortunately, unless they had served in the military, the officers had never touched a semi-auto. Before I entered law enforcement, I assumed (and you know what they say about that) that police officers were all gun nuts like me. Not so. Training started again, from the ground up.

Many took to the new pistols with ease, and some did not.To load the semi-auto, a full magazine is firmly seated into the grip, and then the open slide is allowed to slam shut, thus chambering a cartridge making it ready to fire. It then needs to be de-cocked (hammer lowered), safety off, for carry. Many officers had a hard time with that, thinking that once the magazine was slammed home, it was ready to fire.

To make sure they were extremely comfortable with the operation of the pistol, I ran them through hours of unloaded drills in the station as well as at the range.  Immediately detecting a jam and quickly clearing the pistol so firing could resume was pounded into them. It doesn’t happen often with good quality pistols, but sometimes it does. To make their pistols jam during training, I would load their magazines, inserting one or two empty cartridges. When an empty came up, it always jammed the slide, adding stress to the officer who was under a time limit as well. For many years I heard lots of complaints about having to go through all this “rigomorole” as they put it, telling me all this running and hiding stuff wasn’t necessary.

The complaints evaporated on October 9, 1993, at 10:04 p.m. when one of our officers was shot and killed in the line of duty.


Monday – NY Times bestselling author, Allison Brennan, takes us to the FBI Citizens Academy

Tuesday – Scott Hoffman – Owner/agent Folio Literary Management in NYC

32 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hi Teeshur. Thanks for stopping by. Sure, I know Jeff Deaver. He’s a fantastic writer and really nice guy. In fact, I’m reading one of his books, The Bodies Left Behind, right now.

    By the way, Jeff wrote a nice blurb for my book.

  2. Teeshur
    Teeshur says:

    Feb 17, 2009
    Hi! I was researching MCCORD (my last name) for genealogy and found your nice write up. My brother Dan went through LA Police academy in the late 60’s or early ’70s. He worked in Newport and Manhatten Beach.
    One of our great-great grandfathers was one of the first sheriffs in Kern County, CA. Seems like the MCCORD clan has lots of teachers and policemen.
    You like to write and research in the crime fields…..have you read Jeffrey Deavers novels? They’re great! The kind of book you cannot put down.
    Good Luck to you. Alice McCord
    Fresno, CA

  3. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Way to go!! My only suggestion…you should have sandbagged to start with….participated….and kicked their butts!

  4. Peg H
    Peg H says:

    All this is very familiar to me since dear hubby was a Police Tactical Firearms Instructor. He made sure I had plenty of training in the use of firearms.

    One day, he brought me along to a ‘friendly’ shooting competition between his department and another. One of the officers on the opposing team knew me, and before they actually began the competition he told dear hubby to let me ‘plink’ a bit, maybe I could shoot in the competition too.

    Ten minutes later, after scoring my targets, he said that I was only allowed to be a score keeper. He later told dear hubby he didn’t want me shooting because he knew I’d embarrass some of his team members by kicking their butts.


  5. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:


    Wow, it sounds like you’ve done your necessary homework. Yes, a .22 is a great one to start with (and still have fun with later!). Ref the Sig, don’t tell my wife, but I have one on my wish list… And thanks for the tip on the website. I just did a quick glance, and was glad to see a number of important issues on their contents list including moral, ethical and legal issues. We have a right to protect ourselves, just do it with some good education and training.

  6. jenifer
    jenifer says:

    To get in on the discussion of handguns:

    I’m becoming a bit of a “gun nut” myself, as you put it, Monty. My husband works for a company that manufactures sites and scopes, so many of his coworkers shoot. They’ve gotten us both into it.

    From what I’ve shot, the Sig P226 is one of the most beautiful guns. I’m a smallish woman, and it fits my hand beautifully, but my 6′-3″ husband loves it as well. It handles recoil better than some other 9-mms that I’ve shot (like the Glock 17), and the double-action/single-action option is pretty cool. But really, I just love the way it feels.

    For my own gun, as a beginning shooter, I chose to buy a .22. I can always go up in caliber, but this really lets me practice aiming and shooting accurately (and clearing jams, and whatever else) without having to thing about overwhelming recoil. I’ve got the Browning Buckmark Camper, and it feels like music in my hands. It fits perfectly for both strong-hand and weak-hand shooting, or one-handed.

    But it took trying several guns out to find it. Everyone told me what I should get, and when I picked this one up, I absolutely knew it was the right one, even though some people thought it wasn’t as good a choice as, say, the Ruger Mark III.

    If you can find a good class near you, it’s amazing how much you can learn from the right instructor. And if you want good instruction online before you go (or as a reminder), I’ve found that the info at is amazing as far as handgun handling is concerned. It’s aimed at women shooters, but it’s just really great basic info for anyone wanting to shoot, or just wanting to learn more about guns for writing purposes.

  7. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Several years ago I studied a batch of police involved shootings, and it was amazing to me the luck some of these______ people have shooting at the police. One thing that is different, is that life has no meaning to this group of people, and cops aren’t wired that way. When necessary, law enforcement will take a life, but it’s something we all hope never happens. On the same note, the most important thing in an armed confrontation is that, “the officer goes home at the end of his shift.” Few people realize that approx. 100 law enforcement officers per year die in the line of duty in this country the last time I checked.

  8. SweetieZ
    SweetieZ says:

    It is amazing and sad that these things happen to innocent people. I work in Oakland where a young lady, 22, was shot once by an errant bullet. She passed away 2 days later. Another young boy, 10, had the same misfortune. He is now in a wheel chair, paralyzed waist down. He has a great attitude. Lee had the unfortunate task of taking on a bank robber who took five bullets before falling down. Is it that gangs are using an ammunition that is more damaging ?

  9. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Safety with a gun is an absolute priority. One mistake can cost you or someone else a life. No take backs. And, even the pros have accidents. Just a few years ago a Nebraska State Trooper was killed in training by a gun that was supposed to be unloaded. What a shame.
    I responded to an interesting gun accident one time. Two guys at home, one in the basement in a recliner watching TV. The other was upstairs in a bedroom looking at a loaded .44 magnum. He accidently fired it into the floor and the bullet struck the guy downstairs in the side, it went through the chair and bounced off the floor striking the wall in two places… The guy was gravely wounded but survived.

  10. SweetieZ
    SweetieZ says:

    You are right about the class Monty. There is a class here in San Francisco, however you must take a class of two or at least have a friend with you at all times. They said you are less likely to commit suicide in front of a friend. Never would have thought of that. Not sure if that is city, state or all over.

    Joyce, LOL !

  11. Joyce Tremel
    Joyce Tremel says:

    SweetieZ, I haven’t tried the pink nail polish yet. But the first person at the station who calls me Pinky will never do it again. I’m out of practice but I can still do a head level front kick!

  12. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Hi Will,

    A few years ago, when our department was re-issuing new Sigs (same model) the company offered officers other weapons at a cheaper rate (for personal use, not to carry on duty) and I bought a P230 .380 cal. It’s a nice gun, and a little smaller than the 9mm.

  13. Wilfred Bereswill
    Wilfred Bereswill says:

    I have small hands. A Glock with it’s “Squarish” butt, is uncomfortable for me. I fired a Sig P229 and with it’s thick grip, it’s a stretch for my finger.

    The first gun I fired was a Beretta .40 DA/SA w/decocker. Of the .40s I fired, S&W, Glock, Sig & Beretta, the Beretta was the most comfortable and, for me, the most accurate.

    I actually considered an entry level S&W Sigma Series 9 mm. It was the most uncomfortable gun I’ve used and seemed the least accurate. I swapped it out for an M&P & I really liked that. The grip fit my hand nicely. Still looking though.

  14. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I had to switch the grips on my Beretta, too. The factory grips were just too wide for my hand. Also, the distance from the butt of the gun to the trigger was at the limit for my finger to reach the trigger. I discovered that I really liked the feel and control the Pachmyr grips offered. Didn’t need them on my Sig Sauer, though. The Sig is still my top pick out of all the firearms carried by police officers. A Beretta’s nothing to sneeze at, either.

    Will – I carried a Sig P228, a 9mm.

    Glocks have some sort of little appendage on the trigger that’s supposed to be a safety of sorts, but it’s not. If you pull the trigger the pistol will fire.

  15. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    I would add one more thing here, when shopping for a pistol, by all means try out how comfortable it is in your hand. Some high-capacity semi-autos have a very thick grip, that unless you have very large hands, isn;t going to be comfortable. Thats my only complaint with my Beretta. If the grip was one speck larger, I wouldn;t have gone with it. I did install a set of rubber Pachmayr grips that helps immensely. I highly recommend them whether for police work or not. On the job, sometimes people were so inconsiderate that they caused incidents in the rain, and these grips helped with wet hands as well!

  16. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    For pleasure shooting at the range I see no reason to modify a pistol. The range instructor can teach you to handle the semi-auto pistol safely. Smith & Wesson and others offer double-action-only variants of their guns. Sig is a high quality pistol, but a little higher priced. Dealers get catalogs with many S&W police trade ins including DAOs for good prices. I bought some of them which were nice.

    For police carry, I NEVER allowed the officers to carry their pistols on safe. They were carried with a round in the chamber, hammer de-cocked (lowered). This is the SAME condition that their double-action .38 revolvers were carried in. You’re right, in an emergency, the officer does not need another thing to think about like flipping the safety off. Carried like this, the pistol could be drawn and fired immediately. This is the reason that we (& most other dept.s) wouldn’t allow single-action pistols to be carried, as they would have to be carried cocked with safety on.

    I can’t speak much about Glocks, never used them. The S&Ws and Berettas we mainly used had the safety/de-cockers.

  17. Wilfred Bereswill
    Wilfred Bereswill says:

    Thanks, Monty Lee and Joyce. One thing that I learned, or feel like I learned, that if extreme accuracy counts, a .40 or larger with it’s recoil is a one shot gun.

    I know it’s only in books and movies, but if you had a bad guy using a civilian (or friend) as a shield and you took that head shot, you’d better get him with the first.

    When I was talking with the range instructor about purchasing a gun, he suggested a Sig P226 (I think) modified to be DAO and trigger modified to 6 lb instead of 10. He said the DAO would be safer. For me, shooting holes in paper, I didn’t think that would be a huge issue. Thoughts?

    Oh, and another question. Safeties. I know many modern semi’s don’t have manual safeties. For law enforcement, it seems a safety would add to the possible confusion of an already tense situation. My understanding is that Glocks have internal safeties, but have never had manual safeties. I know my Protag’s gun Sig P229 doesn’t have a manual safety. But what the norm for law enforcement?

  18. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Excellent question. I had received some very good training when I became a certified firearms instructor, and that training showed we were way behind. When I laid this out to the Chief, he understood with a minimal of grumbling. (I think he knew the crap we would get!). The bottom line was, we had to train for street combat conditions, not a friendly target shoot in the park. The guys were unhappy any time their familiar world was changed, but especially with firearms training. Of course many were out of shape and overweight which didn’t help their performance on the range. I heard griping all the time, unitl we lost the officer (the first since 1888 for our city).

  19. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    If you’re wanting to get some experince with a handgun, but assuming from what you say that you don’t have a lot of experience, I’d reccomend taking some classes with an instructor, or somone very experienced with handguns. Covering some basic safety issues is VERY important. This is for everyone. The small size of handguns conpared to long guns makes them much more prone to accidents, and you don;t want that. When training new officers I told them to imagine a long dowel rod sticking out from te barrel all the time, and never to let that dowel touch anything they didn;t intend on shooting. Kinda crude, yes, but they usually understood right away.

  20. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Hi, Monty. I read your post with great interest and a great deal of nostalgia. When I went through the academy in ’77, we were trained with the “Weaver” stance sytle of shooting, and utilized the tac-tac method, which was two rapidly fired shots which, if done right, landed two shots within about and inch of each other on the target. The idea being to double the knock down power. The tac-tac wasn’t all that easy with the .38 revolvers we carried.

    In the late 80’s, we went to a 9mm Sig Sauer. After I retired in 2003, the Dept. went to a .40 cal (still a Sig, I believe.)

    Was your department’s administration resistant to your change in training style, or was it done at their behest.

  21. SweetieZ
    SweetieZ says:

    I like the idea of going to a shooting range like Wilfred. I have only done skeet shooting once, and one other gun, I forget what it was. What do you recommend for a beginner going to a shooting range ? Hope to check back later. Bla, going to work for a bit on me day off.

    Joyce, are they calling you Pinky yet ?!

  22. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Will – There were 68 rounds fired during the shootout I was in, and it lasted for about a minute. Seemed like twenty minutes to me.

    I visited several police departments when I was conducting the research for my book on police procedure, and I learned that weapons policies varied. Some required that everyone carry the same sidearm while others allowed officers to choose one from an approved list (Officers had to purchase anything other than the department issued weapon). Almost always that list included S&W, Beretta, Glock, and Sig Sauer. One thing that was standard was caliber and ammunition. No variation.

  23. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Luckily, we didn’t have any shootouts. On one occasion some ganbangers from Grand Island came down and started shooting around the parking lot of a local fast food joint (I think they were after someone who had wronged them), but we threw them in jail. The only other time was when we lost the officer, but that was only one shot…from a shotgun.

  24. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:


    Haha, yes thats true. We had a highly specialized piece of equipment for pest control, a single shot .410 shotgun.

  25. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:


    Yes, when writing about this stuff, its great to do what your character does, and shooting a handgun, rifle, shotgun is good experience, if nothing more than getting you closer to your scene.

    I’ve heard several different statistics about police shootings, and not sure which are the most accurate. The one I’ve heard the most consistently is, most police shootings occur under 10-12 feet.

    Departments vary ref uniformity of pistols. Most larger dept.s issue the same guns, and yes, mag exchange is a reason. From 1872 until about 1994, you had to furnish your own service weapon on my dept. It only had to be good quailty, DOUBLE-ACTION. So we can S&W, Beretta (my choice), Glock, Sig-Sauer.

    Calibers vary as well, with 9mm being the most widely used. Yes, some feds are using the .40 and some .45s. Some prefer the increased knock-down power of those over the 9mm. The 9mm however, has been successfully used for 50 years by police and military around the world. Also, some find the recoil of the larger calibers unsettling. If a guy carries a big caliber and isn’t comfortable with it’s recoil, that means he may not be accurate with it (and a guy with a .22 will kill you).

  26. Joyce Tremel
    Joyce Tremel says:

    Will, here in Shaler the officers carry .45 caliber Sig Sauers. They used to have 9mm Berettas but switched because they decided they didn’t have enough stopping power–it took two shots to kill rabid raccoons.

  27. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Hi SweetieZ,

    Luckily we never really needed to carry a back-up gun, not saying that not a good idea in police work though. With our revolvers, we were carrying 18 rounds, 6 in the gun, and 12 on speedloaders on the belt. when we switched to the semi-auto pistol, that changed to 46 rounds.

  28. Monty McCord
    Monty McCord says:

    Hi Joyce,

    Yes, the Police Pistol Competitions are a lot of fun, and I brought home some trophies, but no championship. Back then, gun quality was very fine. At first I used a S&W Mod. 19, with 6″ barrel, and only had an action job done on it. I won alot with that gun and caught lots of nasty looks from the guys with expensive custom guns! (I later fell for the ‘hot rods’ and bought a custom gun.

  29. Wilfred Bereswill
    Wilfred Bereswill says:

    Really good stuff Monty. I’ve been interested in handguns since I started writing a few years ago. I wanted to know how it felt so I could write more accurately about it, so I went to a range and tried it out. Now I enjoy shooting (targets that is).

    I have a few questions.

    Do police departments or agencies issue the wame weapon to everybody in order to facilitate swapping magazines in an emergency?

    I’ve hear the average shootout last like 7 seconds and 3 shots fired. Is that true?

    What caliber is most prevalent with police departments? FBI? Seems like 9 mm for police and .40 for FBI, but I’d like to know for sure. Why the difference?

    Okay, that’s all for now.

  30. SweetieZ
    SweetieZ says:

    Good morning,

    Love the car pics. Too often you read where a character has one gun on their upper body and one strapped to their ankle. How often is this really the case ? Oh, and they have been running like mad, jumping fences …

  31. Joyce Tremel
    Joyce Tremel says:

    Very interesting! Our firearms expert here at Shaler enters a lot of the competitions they have for police officers. I think he won some kind of national competition last year.

Comments are closed.