A Target Named Izzy

    The “Izzy” Diplomatic Security Qualification (DS-Q) target is currently in active usage by a number of U.S. Government Law Enforcement entities but is primarily used by the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service (shortened to DS for Diplomatic Security). In an extension of the DS role, there are a number of security contractors that supplement DS agents overseas and must qualify on firearms in use by Diplomatic Security services such as the M4 platform, Glock 19, Remington 870, and the AKM rifle. For these qualifications, the “Izzy” target is used extensively. The target depicts a man in a striped shirt with jeans on, holding an AKM, with a huge handlebar mustache looking very tired. Within the target are barely visible dotted lines that categorize the profile into point zones. Center mass is 5, while 4 is around the shoulders, head and crouch, and then 3 is the outer line of the entire profile. There are two versions of the target, one that comes in a paper form and another that comes in a cardboard cutout version wherein you can have just a silhouette stapled to a stick, stuck in the ground.

    The interesting point about Izzy is the targets origins. The shape of the man and his face in the target is based upon an actual person, whose nickname was actually “Izzy”. In the early 1990s, Izzy was a firearms instructor teaching DS agents and his colleagues created a target of him as a joke, as a sort of friendly jostling between each other. They probably went shooting in their spare time, shooting at this depiction of Izzy. However, the joke stuck, and somehow DS authorities caught wind of the target and liked it enough to make it a standard qualification target for the entire service. When I first heard this story I wanted to confirm it. Upon reaching out to a friend in government service with ties to Diplomatic Security, it was indeed confirmed, having happened around 18 years ago, and after the publishing of this post have received multiple confirmations since. Izzy the actual guy is certainly retired as he was old when the target was created for him.

    If you are an avid Youtube watcher, my guess is that you’ve most likely seen Izzy before and just not noticed it. This video of Black Water/Academi holding a force demonstration in Iraq clearly shows Izzy targets being used in the background, and has been shared throughout the internet.

    One of our readers was kind enough to send this Youtube video clip in, which I can’t decide if it’s hilarious or disturbing….

    Do you know Izzy?

    If any of our readers have ties to the Diplomatic Security Service, we’d love to see if we could get in touch with the actual person, and be able to interview them about this entire process!


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]