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Old January 9, 2012, 07:19 PM   #1
nate45
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What makes some people think all criminals are bad shots?

I've noticed over the years that many posters on TFL and elsewhere, seem to make the assumption that criminals are bad shots and/or firearms handlers.

That they never practice and don't know how to effectively use their weapons.

"Lol, he'll be hold'in his gun sideways", "Some guy on drugs with a Saturday Night Special", etc are the type comments I'm referring to.

Personally I think that type of assumption is a dangerous one.

Below is an excerpt from a blog post I came across recently. It lists some of the common misconceptions. Its pertains mostly to gang members, but its informative nonetheless.

Quote:
Criminals, particularly gang members, are normally not frightened of being confronted by a citizen with a firearm. I read an FBI report where exhaustive interviews were held with incarcerated gang members. Incidentally, convicts often have nothing better to do to keep busy in prison but to practice taking guns away from you by distracting you and executing well-rehearsed moves. armed citizens v gangbangers

3. Crooks never practice and are really bad shots. Since I just spent $$$ on a training course, I’m superman, in comparison.

False. Gang members may not use the latest techniques, they do indeed practice, and some are quite good. They use their firearms in confrontations regularly- you don’t!

The guy in the ski mask robbing the jewelry store, or bank could be ex-special forces for all we know. For example Matix and Platt of the infamous 1986 Miami Shootout were both ex-Army. Matix was a ex-military policeman, Army Ranger and ex-Marine. Recently we've seen incidents of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans committing criminal acts. The members of the Zeta cartel are ex-Mexican Special Forces. Those are just a few examples off the top of my head.

I remember several years ago watching an installment of 20/20, or maybe Dateline and they were interviewing inner city kids about firearms. One young man, who was all of 12-13 years old produced an S&W Model 60 from concealment. He handled it in a safe manner, even indexing instead of touching the trigger. I don't know how good a shot he was, but from the way he handled his weapon, from 2-5 yards I'd say probably good enough.

Anyway I don't want to make this too long, or too boring. I think most readers will get the idea. Not all criminals are bad shots and making that assumption could be fatal.
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:24 PM   #2
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I don't think that. One time I was in Bass Pro and getting ready to use the range and this gangsta type dude walked in. He had a Sig 9mm (I asked), and a dirty box of some brand of ammo I had never seen. He had no eye or ear protection and no range bag to hold the gun or the ammo, he just carried them in his hands.

He talked like a street thug so I am assuming he was one. Plus he had an expensive gun and no case or holster for it!?! I watched him shoot a little and he was a decent shot. I think I was better though.
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:24 PM   #3
Young.Gun.612
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Most gangsters I've ever talked to laugh about the gun sideways thing.

I don't claim to be any sort of firearms expert in any capacity. I also don't allow myself to think that criminals are simply armed idiots with no skill in regards to marksmanship, weapon retention or disarming. Complacency will get you killed
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:25 PM   #4
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I guess they think everyone shoots like them.
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:28 PM   #5
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I also think that stereotype got out because of all of the shootings where innocent people were killed instead of the intended target. All I know is that I have the element of surprise on my side with my CCW should I ever be robbed again.
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Old January 9, 2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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It's the same thing that drives otherwise-intelligent people to say that the "average gunfight only takes three shots three seconds three feet" so they don't need to be prepared for more than that.

In one word: denial.

The world is a much more comfortable place when we have all the answers -- and when the answers are all simple ones -- than when we don't, and they aren't.

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Old January 9, 2012, 08:10 PM   #7
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I would say "some" bad guys can shoot, some bad guys even shoot better than your average cop. The reasons are numerous, some practice, some are naturally good and some are ex-military. IF the bad guys were "all" such good shots, why is it that 10-25% of the victims seem to be innocent bystanders? I would hazard a guess at the bare minimum you have one clueless bad guy for every one who knows how to shoot but realistically it is probably more in the 1-4 or 1-5 range.
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Old January 9, 2012, 08:34 PM   #8
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The first time I ever fired a gun was a practice run for a qual that was two days away. It was a modified FLETC pistol course which included weak hand, point shooting, headshots, and barricade shots at 50 feet. I had about an hour of classroom time teaching me about firearm safety and then proceeded to shoot an 86 percent. The next day a 90 and for the qual a 94. (with a G22).

The point is I could have just as easily been born and raised 8 miles to the east and made worse life choices and I'd still be a decent shot. I try to never discount anybody.
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Old January 9, 2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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Sometimes it's oversimplification of a situation, "gun shoot, bad guy dies." Sometimes it's just as Pax said denial, they don't want to think a criminal is good at something. I think a lot of it isn't even denial, I think quite a bit of it comes from the people who think they are better than people/criminals.

Example: I have attended X amount of gun courses, and plan to compete in Y shooting competition. After all of this, I am an amazing shot under pressure and therefore better than a criminal if I need to draw my gun in defense.

Instead of worrying about the ability of their opponent, tactics, or anything else, people want to think they are BETTER. In thinking they are better they discount the abilities of a possible opponent. People like to think their training or regular practice makes them a better shot than the "average" person/criminal. Sure, it may, but does it mean you will win?

I see this a LOT in martial arts. Some people think their training is better than others, then in a nice sparring match they don't know how to handle it. When we get knife guys sparring you see the cocky ones who think their style is better get destroyed by the person who has better empty hand skills regardless of knife training. They focus on one thing, the knife as a weapon, not the fight, not the tactics, and not the empty hand skills of their opponent. Slashing/stabbing wildly is like just pulling a trigger in a random direction.

I could be wrong, but that's what it looks like from here.

By tactics I am speaking of situational tactics, cover, concealment, people, escape routes, multiple assailants.
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Old January 9, 2012, 08:51 PM   #10
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2 Infamous USMC Expert Marksmen

Charles Whitman 1966
Lee Harvey Oswald 1963
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:08 PM   #11
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It is a correlate of when we have a rampage shooting or other gun fight, where our good guy says they will intervene and "Take them out".

Watched folks this weekend launch rounds at IDPA targets at a reasonable distance and miss them, shoot in noncentral areas etc.

But on the Internet the Good guy will take them out.

It could also be a denial of your own mortality. Don't want to admit that you will not make it out of the fight.
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:18 PM   #12
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People often forget that video games have evolved over the years and some games actually have a gun shaped controller. Which allows kids, thugs and anyone else with time on their to get good at aiming . Just think about some games from the past that have incorporated this .... Hogans ally and Duck Hunt. Just my .02 worth
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:58 PM   #13
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Sure there are some bad guys that are good shots but...

Go look at the police shootout stats.

Far more bad guys DIE that cops. And the bad guys get to shoot first many times.

No, even with the cops poor hit rates they outshoot the bad guys by a great margin.

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Old January 9, 2012, 11:26 PM   #14
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the thugs around here in the freakin boonies grew up shooting their neighbor's cats. I doubt that there are very many bad guys here that have any level of expertise, but i think nearly every criminal raised in this area will be at least capable of aiming and pulling a trigger.
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Old January 9, 2012, 11:33 PM   #15
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Never underestimate the enemy.
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Old January 10, 2012, 12:28 AM   #16
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My response to an armed enemy would be exactly the same whether i felt he was trained or not, to do otherwise would be retarded. Ive had plenty of training but i would never make the mistake of thinking im a bullet proof superman

the graveyards are filled with men who thought they couldn't die
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Old January 10, 2012, 06:17 AM   #17
wayneinFL
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I think it's a reasonable assumption there are a lot of bad guys who can't shoot. First, there is a large cross section of any other group in society that can't shoot. Second, bad guys are lazy- otherwise they would have jobs.

Of course, that doesn't mean the guy I run into is going to be untrained, so I'll do everything I can to prepare myself.
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Never underestimate the enemy.
This.

Regardless of who he/she is. If it's armed, assume he's the best shot of the world. Period.
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Old January 10, 2012, 08:45 AM   #19
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I've seen that study before. It's hard for me to believe a lot of it.

First, it's based on "interviews" with criminals. I know plenty of people who AREN'T criminals that embellish every story they ever tell. Yet, we're supposed to believe a bunch of tough guys in jail saying how much they practice and how their not afraid of confronting armed good guys.

Second, them not being afraid of the armed good guys is directly contradictory to OTHER interviews/studies with bad guys who say they specifically target people who look weak, unsure or oblivious. If they're not afraid of the armed ones, why target the unarmed?

Third, where are these bad guys who "use their firearms in confrontations regularly"? Yes, obviously they exist but any BG who uses their firearms regularly is almost certainly deep, deep inside gang and drug infested neighborhoods of large cities.
Large-ish cities near me, Syracuse and Binghamton for example, have fairly regular instances of convenience store or bank robberies. Never do these turn into shoot outs and even in the worst of the bad neighborhoods you're not hearing gunfire on any scale. Syracuse has more than its share of murders but I recall ONE shoot out between rival gang members being publicized. Hardly "regular use in confrontations".

The lessons of under estimating the enemy are clear, that doesn't mean they're all Wild Bill just because they brag about it in prison. Train like they're going to be... but they probably aren't.
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Old January 10, 2012, 09:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
In one word: denial.

The world is a much more comfortable place when we have all the answers -- and when the answers are all simple ones -- than when we don't, and they aren't.

pax
Right. It is seemingly important that as the good guys that we feel that we are better than the bad guys, not just morally, but with skills. We may not be stronger, but we know we are smarter and shoot better and use better guns.

Quote:
Second, bad guys are lazy- otherwise they would have jobs.
More denial with all encompassing derogatory statements. For many, being a badguy is a job and one they work very hard at being a bad guy.

Quote:
2 famous USMC Expert Marksmen
Charles Whitman 1966
Lee Harvey Oswald 1963
I think if you check back you may find that Oswald did not qualify as Expert Marksman in the USMC.

Quote:
Go look at the police shootout stats.

Far more bad guys DIE that cops. And the bad guys get to shoot first many times.

No, even with the cops poor hit rates they outshoot the bad guys by a great margin.

Deaf
I am not sure this is particular correct either, though it sounds very comforting. Many bad guys do die in gun battles with cops, but there are often multiple cops fighting just one bad guy and the bad guy gets overwhelmed by numbers and positions. Take the LA North Hollywood bank robbery. No cops died but the two criminals did. How many cops were the criminals fighting? What was it...about 70 with another 200-300 operating in supporting roles?

Less cops do die in fights with bad guys. Of course this is helped made possible by the use of ballistic vests. Since 1987, 3000 cops have been saved by Kelvar. Most of those saves were from ballistic insult. Would we not think bad guys were better shots if there had been 2900+ LEO shooting deaths?
http://www2.dupont.com/Kevlar/en_US/...aveslives.html

So it isn't just shooting prowess that has cops defeating the bad guys, but also numbers, organization, technology, etc.
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Old January 10, 2012, 09:33 AM   #21
jibberjabber
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Prepare, yes, but ...

In a gunfight, I'd rather be lucky than good.

Fate doesn't care how much you've trained.
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Old January 10, 2012, 09:44 AM   #22
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I think Pax nailed it; people like simple answers, and they want to reassure themselves.

Others brought up critical points, too. Underestimating the enemy's capabilities is poor tactics, and poor strategy. I don't know any military that preaches the minimization of the enemy's abilities when training. They may try to dehumanize the enemy, so that troops find it easier to pull the trigger, but if anything, they portray the enemy as a monster, not a hamster.

Sun Tzu also nailed it. Don't underestimate the enemy; don't overestimate yourself.
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Old January 10, 2012, 10:10 AM   #23
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Not sure what happened--my entire post got blown away somehow while I was editing

Last edited by hangglider; January 10, 2012 at 10:49 AM.
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Old January 10, 2012, 10:11 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibberjabber
In a gunfight, I'd rather be lucky than good.

Fate doesn't care how much you've trained.
The better your training, the luckier you'll be.
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Old January 10, 2012, 10:18 AM   #25
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Quote:
The better your training, the luckier you'll be.
+1
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