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Old June 8, 2013, 03:36 AM   #1
1911Alaska
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Percentage of cops who hit their targets?

Hey guys, I am looking for a statistic here because I am in a debate on Facebook about high capacity magazines with somebody. Of course I am for them and she is against them, her response is rather ignorant but I am typing up my response to her now. This is what she said

"If you need three or more rounds (in the city) to defend your home, you suck at aiming and don't need to have a firearm. I think that kind of speaks for itself.
If you need three or more rounds to defend against an intruder (again, in a city), several of the following apply to you:
1) your area sucks and you should move. At that point, it's your (plural) life or your ideals and I would think that your life or your families' lives override that.
2) you suck at aiming and could therefore be a liability to your neighbors or your own family.
3) your "hazardous environment" training needs work. In this case, hazardous environment refers to a situation that requires a firearm--being robbed is an example.
Every cop and service member goes through training to be able to use their weapons; civilians should too. It take a grueling MONTH to acclimate an average private to a weapon And longer than that to perfect its maintenance and use. If someone grew up with guns, it may take longer. The military has a specific way to use and handle firearms; if you're "set in your ways", it takes longer to break and remold you. In a split second of combat, months and years of training come to the front and you find out what you're made of. Read "on combat". It's a book describing what it's like to be at war. It describes your body's reaction to terrifying situations in general.
The point of the matter is this: most Americans don't know how to properly use the firearms they have. Being responsible isn't just keeping it in a safe if you're not using or maintaining it.
It takes YEARS of training to prepare for what could be a split second decision."

I remember reading a statistic on here about Police Officers and the percentage of their bullets that actually hit the target when there are actually in a gun fight. Does anybody remember? I searched Google and on here and can't seem to find it.

Thanks!
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Old June 8, 2013, 04:29 AM   #2
1911Alaska
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And if anyone else has any other statistics/facts that you think would be worth adding in feel free to share
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Old June 8, 2013, 05:30 AM   #3
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Here's a thread on the topic.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=512975

Here's a discussion of success probabilities in a very simplified gunfight simulation.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=494257

In addition, here's a way to shake people up when they try to imply that "need" is really what's at issue in this case.

One can start off by talking about need in terms of topics most people can readily accept as at least somewhat reasonabe. The concept of illegal deaths involving guns being balanced by the positive effects of firearms. Self-defense, national security (remember Yamamoto's quote from WWII about a rifle behind every blade of grass and the Swiss national defense paradigm), note that they provide some level of defense against tyranny, note the deterrent value of an armed society in discouraging certain types of crimes (e.g. burglary of predominantly occupied homes in "gun-free" societies vs. burglary of mostly unoccupied homes in "gun-rich" areas).

You may want to touch on the idea that the "equalizing" factor provided by firearms has a civilizing effect on society by elevating it from the state where the biggest, strongest person rules by virtue of nothing other than his physical prowess to a level where democracy is possible and decisions must be discussed because even the physically weak and unimposing can't be ignored.

Then you note that it is hard to quantify those benefits and state that the easiest way to justify firearms is via their recreational value--and pause to give them a little rope.

When they jump on that one, interrupt and ask them about the need for drinking alcohol, owning jetskis, or trampolines. We, as a society, tolerate the decidedly negative aspects that these things (and other similar and common things) often bring in terms of death and injury in spite of the fact that the only real point in their favor is that they provide recreation--people like them and want them.

If society can turn a blind eye to DWI deaths in the name of recreation, why is anyone even daring to talk about restricting firearms when everyone knows that they provide important and quantifiable benefits beyond recreation.
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Old June 8, 2013, 06:21 AM   #4
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She's convinced me.

With all the training soldiers get (really?) it follows that they could do quite well with 5-shot rifles with bolt actions.

And police with all the training they get (really?) should go back to 6-shot revolvers.

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Old June 8, 2013, 06:37 AM   #5
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Re: Percentage of cops who hit their targets?

I'm guessing she missed the part of military training that utilizes the phrase "Victory through superior firepower".

Edited to add:
It may take more the 3 rounds if there are multiple bad guys and or if they are shooting at you. This doesn't even consider the fact that bad guys on methamphetamine have been known the continue an attack after receiving multiple rounds.
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Old June 8, 2013, 06:39 AM   #6
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About 10 years ago an NYPD study showed in actual shootouts about a 10 % chance of of hitting your perp.
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Old June 8, 2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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The most recent figure I have seen was in an article by Massad Ayoob, which I believe I found from a link on this forum. He indicated that for a 5-year period in the early 2000s the hit rate for police officers in officer involved shootings was 29 percent. Older stats were worse, so perhaps police are getting better.

But even 29 percent is not impressive when you consider that that's just hits on target. Not all of those hits were necessarily to center of mass, or capable of producing an injury or wound serious enough to even slow the bad guy down.

And 29 percent is still less than one-third. In today's world of gangs, bad guys often travel in packs. Suppose I carry a pistol with ten rounds (perhaps by law ... unlikely by choice). I am assaulted by three bad guys. If I'm good for a 30 percent hit rate, that's three hits out of my ten rounds. That means I maybe hit each bad guy with ONE round (which is unlikely to effectively stop him), or maybe I get one of them twice -- which leaves one of them untouched.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; June 8, 2013 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old June 8, 2013, 11:48 AM   #8
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I don't know those stats, but having been with LEO at qualifications, many struggle to make the minimum score, and some have to take it more than once.
I would submit that the average guy on this forum is better than 75% of professional LEOs.

So I can imagine that the percentage of hits is very low in a stressful situation. I suspect all of us would suffer the same much lower % of hits than at the range.

Jerry
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Old June 8, 2013, 03:43 PM   #9
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Massad Ayoob...

Noted gun writer, tactics instructor & sworn LE officer Massad Ayoob of NH as a few articles & blog items about this topic.

Ayoob wrote about a sworn LE officer who emptied a pump 12ga at a violent subject less than a car length away and MISSED.

Stats change often. In general I heard US police miss the target with the first fired duty round 75% of the time.
That may seem high but keep in mind that working cops draw firearms 100s of times but rarely if ever fire the sidearms.

Research the recent New York City Empire State Bldg event in 2012. A few bystanders were wounded by the NYPD officers shooting 9x19mm pistols.
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Old June 8, 2013, 03:55 PM   #10
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Was this lady in the military?
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Old June 8, 2013, 07:00 PM   #11
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Percentage of cops who hit their targets?

For a capacity related discussion review NYPD's 2011 (most recent) report on firearm discharges. It has been awhile, but I recall something like 30% of events requiring 11+ rounds fired. I believe more than 2/3 required more than 5 rounds.

Equally relevant is the way handgun rounds work. In simple terms, they poke small holes, so you're either waiting for someone to A) change their behavior so you'll stop shooting or B) bleed to death from those little holds.

If this person thinks 3 is all anyone should need, she is completely disconnected from the realities of physics and biology.
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Old June 8, 2013, 08:06 PM   #12
bob kk
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We used to shoot at our local armory. They let the police dept shoot one time only. Electric outlets on the walls were shot. How could they hit them while shooting at a target in front of the shooter and the outlets on the side wall. I do know of one police shooting that three police officers fired one round apiece and had three hits. One cheated and used a slug shotgun. Other two used 45's.
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Old June 8, 2013, 08:31 PM   #13
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A couple of Sundays ago, some friends and I went to an outdoor range in the area. The owner knew a couple of the guys I was with, and came out to chat with us. One of the guys made a joke about the number of holes on the target frames, and the owner grimaced. He said that a local PD (not Portland PD) had reserved the range from Mon-Fri for quals, and that it had been a mess. Things were so bad that they actually reserved the range Mon-Fri the following week, as well.

Thankfully, some LEOs take the time to develop skills independently of department requirements, and some departments have better training than others. At one point in time, Portland PD was tops in the nation with a hit % somewhere in the high 40s, iirc.

What it all comes down to, of course, is that some LEOs have a very high skill level, and others have a very low skill level. They are individuals, after all.
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:01 PM   #14
1911Alaska
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Quote:
Was this lady in the military?
Yes, she was military
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:21 PM   #15
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I am in a debate on Facebook
I think that is the problem right there.
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:27 PM   #16
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Infantry?
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Old June 9, 2013, 05:02 AM   #17
1911Alaska
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Infantry?
Not sure, said she was in national guard for 8 years with one deployment. But did not say to where.
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Old June 9, 2013, 10:00 AM   #18
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While it's only one police department, the NYPD publishes a comprehensive report on all firearm discharges by officers each year. Here's the one for 2011. Others may be found with Google.

Other large police departments might publish similar reports.
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Old June 9, 2013, 10:05 AM   #19
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Just noticed that it looks like LAPD publishes an annual report on use of force by officers. Here's 2010.
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Old June 9, 2013, 12:53 PM   #20
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I had recently performed this research and the statistics vary widely. Percentages range from slightly below 10% to the upper 20%'s. Keep in mind, a hit is just a bullet that makes contact. This isn't a "stop".

Some may say that most confrontations end with no shots fired but the bottom line is that 10-shots isn't enough against someone determined to do you harm - i.e. home invasion - where the BG knows you're home but decides to break in anyway.
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Old June 10, 2013, 06:25 PM   #21
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I heard that you can't shoot fast enough to make up for missing. i know this isn't what this subject is about but it is along the same lines and hi-cap magazines. In the army we would hose down the area with machine guns throwing a lot of ammo down range. This is not what cops or civilians are supposed to do here in the world. It seems to be what some cops do. Not too long ago a couple cops shot approx. 18 rounds, hit the bad guy twice, hit 8 civilians. It's a good thing they had hi-cap mags.
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Old June 10, 2013, 06:49 PM   #22
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My gut reaction is something like this: "Let me get this straight. You're saying that because somebody else can't shoot worth a flip, I should not be able to carry a magazine that holds more than you think I should have?"
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Old June 12, 2013, 04:29 AM   #23
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consider

Please remember that police shootings and SD shootings are typically messy things. In other words, bad light, an element of fear and surprise, one is likely behind the curve of things, somebody's trying to kill you. It is not a trip to the range or another match.

That said, it has been my observation that more officers than I would have thought, are not good shooters nor particularly interested in shooting.
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Old June 12, 2013, 09:58 AM   #24
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I gotta stand with Bamarangers post.

Most police officers are qualified, and can hit what they aim at. Most police officers dont get into gunfights. We all hear about the failures. No one ever talks about the officers who did settle the situation with his or her firearm.

You can quote all the experts, all the statistics, all the opinions you want. Until you've been in one you cant even imagine all the dynamics going on at one time. Each and every shooting is different. Could you defend yourself with three rounds?... of course. Might you need 15 rounds to defend yourself?... absoloutly. Each shooting is different. Some are comfortable with a 5 round gun, some comfortable with a 15 round one.

My experience is with the NYPD. During the heroin epidemic, the dust epidemic, the cocain epidemic, and the crack epidemic we(the department) experienced quite a few shootings.. Most of the shootings were all by officers serving on the tip of the spear. When NYPD Officers carried revolvers the hit ratio to shots fired was higher than after transitioning to autoloaders.

All officers are (were) fairly highly trained. And practice ammo available at dept ranges.
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Old June 12, 2013, 11:01 AM   #25
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A couple of days ago I read the story of an officer in Baton Rouge who was involved in a scuffle with a suspect, and shot him. The suspect, George Temple, then overpowered the officer, and a bystander shot Temple 4 times with a 45, before firing a 5th shot to the head.

So your Facebook friend would be out of luck after 3 shots, even if she does have better aim than you. And I dare say, I doubt her aim is that good when the targets are shooting back.
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