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Old August 24, 2012, 07:33 PM   #1
Fargazer
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Question About Marksmanship Under Stress

I've just finished reading about the shooting at the Empire State Building today, and there was one particular part of the story that just floored me:
  • The two policemen were EIGHT FEET AWAY, and only hit the gunman 7 out of 16 times!
Now, at first glance I'm a bit shocked; I would have thought at that range the hit ratio would have been much higher. On the other hand, I've never been in a situation like that - under threat, chaos all about, and so on; I also know police officers are not necessarily shooters outside of their qualifications. My only experience has been at ranges, with only a little timed shooting, so I can't make an informed conclusion without some help.

So here's my question for the inhabitants of this learned forum: does this actually reflect the kind of accuracy we can expect from ourselves under threat? Does this reflect the tendency of most police officers to not practice much with their firearms? Or is there some other factor I'm missing?
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Old August 24, 2012, 07:44 PM   #2
Bartholomew Roberts
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NYPD's hit rate in officer involved shootings (including dogs and suicides in the average) is 33%. So those officers actually performed better than the typical NYPD officer. It also shows the dangers of a miss in that environment.
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Old August 24, 2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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Many officers are not gun people and apparently dont practice any more than whatever minimum... Also keep in mind in very close quarters the nerve factor is going to be maxed out... So even people with normally exceptional skills may lose fine motor control...
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Old August 24, 2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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The secrets of shooting under stress is nothing more then mental management.

With enough "GOOD" practice, you develop muscle memory, via mental management.

In other words, you don't think, you act, your muscle memory takes over and you react subconsciously.

Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham addresses this in their book "SECRETS OF MENTAL MARKSMANSHIP".

They relate several stories in their book showing it works.

One they mentioned relates to your topic to a TEE.

"A state trooper made a traffic stop and as he approached the rear fender the driver steps out and starts shooting with a shotgun wounding the trooper.

The next thing the trooper remembers is reloading, scanning left and right. The bad guy is laying on the ground dead. Seven rounds out of seven, lacing the bandit from belt buckle to sternum.

The trooper doesn't remember shooting, training, practice, and shooting competition took over. Muscle memory took over in this stressful situation.

Miller and Cunningham's book is full of such incidents.

They make a point the relate at least three stories to back up their point, stories of LE officers, Military, and competition shooters.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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When in the kill-zone, under heavy fire, I would empty three 30-round magazines while on full auto and hit nothing but trees and rocks.
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Old August 24, 2012, 10:45 PM   #6
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You're only as good as you practice.
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Old August 25, 2012, 12:37 AM   #7
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I would like to see police vs citizens/CCW holders friendly match or something, see how good cops are really. I heard from some high officals from the local PD[taught classes for my college] said they are bad shooters and on average 25-40% good with aim.
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Old August 25, 2012, 12:41 AM   #8
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If you watch the video, one officer appears to take a 2-handed stance, and open fire while bobbing toward a larger planter (cover). He probably was marginally accurate. The other officer (farther away), fires from a 1-handed stance while bobbing to the side and away, with large steps.
I'm going to guess the closer officer, who had the better stance probably got more hits. The other guy looked like he reverted to "level 0" training...eg. point gun, mash trigger.
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Old August 25, 2012, 01:43 AM   #9
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nothing to do with being a cop. Most have to qualify once a year and that once is the only time most even shoot. Same as gun nuts, most like guns and shoot hardly ever just drool at their guns and think in their mind how accurate they are IF they go to the range. Its that small percentage that practice month to month or week to week no matter what because they really like the sport of shooting or choose to practice and be a performer because they want to and like it that much. Thats probably the ones who would shine during something really happening. Let practice and muscle memory kick in.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:33 AM   #10
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Well, we can hope it does. I would doubt that everyone going through a given training course even at the same time will react the same way when the time comes. That's human nature. Some will do better. Everyone cannot be above average. And besides, living targets usually don't stand still and let you shoot at them, especially armed ones. I'm sure I would have done no better than the policeman.
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Old August 25, 2012, 08:32 AM   #11
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:06 AM   #12
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NYPD shooting, my input...

I read the topic posts & also saw the media reports of the shooting in New York City.
I'd start by saying, I'm not a NYPD officer or a sworn LE officer in the area so I'm not an "expert" about NYPD standards & marksmanship.
I would say that when you look at the factors involved, there may be some reasons for the way the shooting event took place.
I do know the NYPD has used DA only sidearms for decades. I owned a Ruger GPNY .38spl revolver in the 2000s. The NYPD Glocks are also given a heavy trigger pull. I've heard the NYPD P226 9x19mm trigger is awful compared to the SIG Sauer DAK system.
Heavy triggers aside, I also read that NYPD brass now only requires one(yes, one) police qualification per budget year. The agency's 34,000+ sworn members do not have strict mandates that some PDs use.
I'll close by saying this lethal force incident shows how & why doing close range or CQB type drills are important. Some violent attackers may be 20ft away but many could be 0-3ft from you. Be PREPARED!

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Old August 25, 2012, 09:45 AM   #13
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I remember a training session in which we had two teams. One team were the "range marksmans" and the other team were "the other team". The task was to clear a house. The marksman team were all "chalked" during their turn. The other team team secured the facility.

I love that training scenario.

My point is you have to train more than just shooting at paper or stationary targets. However any training is better than no training.

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Old August 25, 2012, 10:17 AM   #14
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Like as has been said, officers who are serious shooters tend to be very good, and the ones who only shoot for mandatory qualification are not.
The good ones were probably good even before becoming police officers.
And which ones do you want to show up when you call 911?
Unfortunately there's no way to know.
If or when you see the cops rushing to the scene, it might be a good idea to vacate the place, like the folks in the video of this did.
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Old August 25, 2012, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
does this actually reflect the kind of accuracy we can expect from ourselves under threat?
It all depends on your training. I've worn out my keyboard typing that. Cops are no different than the rest of the population. Some are shooters, some aren't. At the minimum they have required training and a fairly stringent qualification once a year.

The general population of CCW users will do much worse than cops. They are poorer trained, have less experience with stressful situatiuons and very minimal qualifications. The total silhouette portion of a B27 target is about the size of the front door of your house. In Louisiana, you have to hit that from a max of 5 yards away with no time limit, I believe it's once every 5 years now.

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live range fire shall include 12 rounds each at 6 feet, 10 feet and 15 feet for a total of 36 rounds;

each applicant or permittee must score 100 percent hits within the silhouette portion of a N.R.A. B-27 type silhouette target with at least 36 rounds.
At least the cops are required to have in-service training and shoot the POST qualification course once a year.

The majority of CCW carriers don't practice at all, much less get ANY kind of meaningful training, and have no experience performing under stress. Why would you think they would do better than someone like a cop who at least has a little required training and practice and some experience in stressful situations?

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Old August 25, 2012, 11:02 AM   #16
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NYpost.com video...

NOTE:
The video clip(no audio) of the subject going down(shot by NYPD) is now on www.nypost.com .
The video is graphic but does NOT contain the full incident.
Just the uniformed police officers shooting at the armed subject.

CF
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Old August 25, 2012, 11:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
I've just finished reading about the shooting at the Empire State Building today, and there was one particular part of the story that just floored me:

The two policemen were EIGHT FEET AWAY, and only hit the gunman 7 out of 16 times!
I think the information you have is wrong. They only hit the gunman 7 times, maybe, but they hit 9 people which ups their hit rate considerably , 3 with actually bullets including the gunman and the rest with fragments.

One officer might have been within 8 feet, but it looks more like 10+ and the second officer might have been at 12-13 feet and opened the distance during the extent of the encounter.

Even so, none of the distances were not great at all.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?...g;mostpopvideo

Note that ALL injured/killed except the murderer's lone victim were shot by cops.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/25/justic...tate-shooting/

At the time of the shooting, the gunman was in rather casual flight, apparently trying to blend in with the crowd when the cops addressed him and he then pointed a gun at them. Before that time, as seen in the video, nobody around on the street had any sense of ongoing danger. The gunman was not activily threatening people and was not an active shooter. He had killed his coworker and was effecting his escape.
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Old August 25, 2012, 12:23 PM   #18
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One thing that comes to mind for me. The mayor said in his news conference that the LEOs were on a CT assignment at Empire State Bldg.

Is this a "seniority" posting?? part of an NYPD task force? A "my brother in law knows someone" assignment?? If there is a task force?? Do the CTTF guys shoot more/train more. The threat is certainly different if this is a dedicated CT posting.
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Old August 25, 2012, 01:09 PM   #19
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Obviously, things went sideways for the officers. I won't blame them too much for the 6 who were injured by fragments. Pieces of bullets can fly in strange ways. I know one guy who got hit by a fragment after shooting a steel target that was angled toward the ground! We think the fragment hit the target and the ground before his hand.
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Old August 25, 2012, 02:45 PM   #20
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Went sideways for the officers? They had the suspect pointed out to them and were in the immediate vicinity and took action. Things went sideways because they missed? It isn't like the bad guy was bobbing and weaving through the crowd trying to avoid the cops. In fact, he moves a whole 6 or 8 feet, slowly, stagger stepped, trying to move more into the open apparently to get a better shot at the cops. Most of the time he is being shot, he is standing still, except for collapsing, of course.

You don't blame the officers for the 6 hit by fragments, okay, but that leaves the 2 people other than the shooter who were shot by the cops. What of them?

It does't matter if the fragments were ricochets or not, they were responsible for injuring innocent bystanders.
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Old August 25, 2012, 03:05 PM   #21
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An unfortunate event to say the least. Obviously the police officers did not intend on shooting innocent bystanders. Remember now, that happened in downtown New York. LOTS of people around makes that a bad situation.
As far as the mental marksmanship topic stated earlier, it's a bit hard to replicate situations like that considering the stress level will never be the same as the real deal would be. I do agree with the muscle memory training though. Wish I could get to that level myself but can't afford that much ammo.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:05 PM   #22
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My impression from watching the video was that the two officers were at opposite ends of the proficiency spectrum. One planted himself, took solid aim, and fired. I suspect he made the mortal hits.
His partner appears to blaze away as he clears the area, in what looks to me to be panic. It's not hard to conclude HIS shots did most of the injury to bystanders.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:56 PM   #23
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With close together targets at IDPA, it is not unknown for the no shoots to get shot. Even by higher level shooters. Before someone critiques the police performance, we should state whether we are just square range Annie Oakleys or William Tells.

We had a very tight target with a bad guy behind an innocent and you only had a head shot at the BG. It was in a non moving, only match level stress. Out of a squad of about 10-12, only two people didn't shoot the innocent.

I didn't - I made the shot, so of course in an emergency I would be perfect - haha - don't ask me about the last stage last week (what a disaster!).
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Old August 25, 2012, 07:06 PM   #24
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When the police shoot 8 people other than the suspect, they are not above critique.
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Old August 25, 2012, 07:18 PM   #25
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No, they are not above critique but I never like the implication we get in threads that some shooter stinks but I would be a Grand Master when the situation is nasty.
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