Episode 145: Bill Vanderpool – Guns of the FBI, Firearms Training

Retired agent Bill Vanderpool served in the FBI for twenty years. He was initially assigned to the Dallas Division and to the Washington Field Office where he was a sniper on the SWAT team, before being transferred to the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia as an instructor in the Firearms Training Unit. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Bill Vanderpool reviews his experience and years of research regarding the evolution of the bureau’s firearms, equipment, training facilities, and tactics. His book, Guns of the FBI: A History of the Bureau’s Firearms and Training, is a comprehensive study for history buffs and gun collectors. With eleven years with the State of Florida as a vice investigator before he joined the Bureau, Bill is the only agent in the FBI’s history to have fired a “Possible,” an official perfect score under strict conditions, in both the FBI and the FBI’s National Academy. For fourteen years, he taught thousands of FBI agents firearms, arrest techniques and street survival at the range and Hogan’s Alley. In addition to his book, Bill Vanderpool has written numerous magazine articles on firearms training and history. In retirement, he continues to shoot and reload, and share photography and travel.

Special Agent (Retired)

Bill Vanderpool

11/17/73 – 12/3/93









“I was one of the team that went down from Quantico to Miami about three months after the shooting to talk with the survivors to find out what the Training Division could do better to improve tactics and equipment.”


The following posts and videos provide additional information on how new agents learn to shoot a pistol, shotgun, and carbine at the FBI Academy and the FBI Academy’s mock training ground Hogan’s Alley:

FBI.Gov Website: Becoming an Agent: Firearms Training (VIDEO)

Guns of the FBI: A History of the Bureau’s Firearms and Training is a comprehensive study for history buffs and gun collectors. This beautiful “coffee table” book can be purchased here.














Prior to transferring to the FBI Academy, Bill Vanderpool was a sniper on the Washington Field Office SWAT Team.










This Colt Pocket Positive was FBI Director Hoover’s personal handgun.









A Thompson Sub-machine Gun.












Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, attempts to relive her glory days by writing crime fiction and hosting FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast available for free subscription on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and other popular podcast apps. Her nonfiction book FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives and her FBI corruption squad police procedural series featuring Special Agent Kari Wheeler are available wherever books are sold.


  1. Damion PaukstaOctober 11, 2019

    I believe that it used to be an FBI policy that if an agent wanted to use a handgun other than the bureau’s issue handgun than they could if they qualified with it. Is this policy still in effect? Can an agent today use a pistol other than the Glock?

    1. Jerri WilliamsOctober 15, 2019

      Yes. I believe this policy is in effect for all pistols. If agents want to carry their personally owned weapon, they must qualify with it at the same time the qualify with their Bureau issued weapon.


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