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Old February 7, 2014, 12:42 AM   #26
JohnKSa
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...the VAST majority of those situations are ones in which the officer has intentionally inserted himself. That singular fact is the one thing that completely eliminates any meaningful comparison to civilian situations, IMO.
We should expect that it will alter some aspects of LEO shootings vs non-LEO shootings, but it seems quite a stretch to assume that it would completely eliminate any meaningful comparison.

Getting back to your specific argument, it's true that in LE shootings, the LE has generally inserted himself intentionally into the situation. That's different in one sense than non-LEO shootings.

HOWEVER, in any self-defense shooting, it is ALWAYS true that at least ONE of the participants has intentionally inserted himself into the situation. How would the fact that the defender is the one who made that decision dramatically alter the distances involved?

Logically speaking, if anything, it seems more likely that if the defender voluntarily entered into the situation, the distances might be expected to be shorter, since both the attacker and defender could have at least some interest in continuing the engagement.

In general, it would seem to be a wash if the LEO's target is attempting to escape. In that case you'd have one participant trying to continue the engagement while the other is attempting to escape.

As tipoc points out, we should also consider the fact that some of the shootings are totally non-analogous to non-LEO shootings. It may be that some of the longest shootings fall into that category for one reason or another.

I guess what I'm saying is that on the balance, it doesn't seem reasonable to assume that the average distance will be significantly different than what one would expect in non-LEO shootings. Some might be closer due to both participants wanting to continue the engagement, some might be farther away due to the fact that not all LEO shootings are self-defense type shootings, but most of them will probably be good analogs for typical non-LEO self-defense shootings.

All in all, it seems pretty reasonable to expect that if anything, LEO shootings might tend a bit more towards being shorter than typical non-LEO self-defense shootings.
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Old February 7, 2014, 06:01 AM   #27
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Hal is right. I love my brothers and sisters but I have 24yrs on the job and Hal is right.
Thank you..

As I said, it's not a slam against them.
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Old February 7, 2014, 10:22 AM   #28
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Distances involved in shooting instances by LAPD, etc.

I'd have to disagree, John. I really can't see any meaningful connection. This table is just a bunch of numbers so we don't really know anything about the specifics. I stop and consider as many LE shootings as I can remember, from here, YouTube, news or my LE friends and I honestly can't think of a single one that reasonably mirrors what I would expect to see happen in the civilian world.

As an example, we had an incident near here a year or two back with a guy shooting into the air, LE responded, couldn't get him out of his truck verbally, they barricaded and took cover, he eventually fired two rounds at an officer (who I think was trying to close and talk) and about 10 officers responded with something like 127 rounds in under 2 seconds. That seems to be a very typical LE encounter and would quite obviously be a very, very atypical civilian encounter.

Just counting shots fired per incident, I see no reasonable correlation.
Looking at the NRA Armed Citizen Analysis, every stat is almost completely backwards from this report. Very few shots fired (2, mean and median) and distances were "...short but beyond touching..." and "... it appears that most defenders will make the shoot decision shortly before the criminal comes within arm's length."

It appears to me that LE is much more likely to be outside, much more likely to be shooting at a barricaded/covered/hidden (or even fleeing) opponent, likely to fire far more shots and much more likely to be well beyond contact range.

Just the fact that 40% of LE shooting were beyond 30ft tells me it doesn't apply to civilians. What are the odds of scenarios that a civilian would be shooting beyond 10 yards? Sure, it's happened, but I'd bet the odds are closer to 4% than 40 and probably lower than 4.
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Old February 7, 2014, 11:33 AM   #29
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Below is a link to an article by Claude Werner which attempts to draw conclusions on civilian shooting incidents based on the reports published in the "Armed Citizen" column of the "American Rifleman" magazine. From "The Thinking Gunfighter".

http://thinkinggunfighter.blogspot.c...-findings.html

The original article by him was written in 2002 as I recall. Someone may have a link to the original.

A word of caution though. While the information is good it is drawn on only reports published in the NRA magazines column. A good many things are not reported there.

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I'd have to disagree, John. I really can't see any meaningful connection. This table is just a bunch of numbers so we don't really know anything about the specifics.
All tables are just a bunch of numbers. Were you referring to the reports from L.A. or N.Y.?

Seems that there is some interest here beyond what applies immediately to any single civilian with a gun.

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Old February 7, 2014, 11:52 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by tipoc
All tables are just a bunch of numbers.

Not to pick on you in particular, but this drives me crazy. Why must people pick out a single sentence that's really not related to the point and take it out of context so they can disagree, while ignoring the main point?

Of course all tables are a bunch of numbers, I really think everyone understands the larger point of the entire post.

Your link is the exact study I was referencing and it has been discussed here a number of times.

The implications of it's data from civilian defensive shooting is almost completely opposite of the data from LE shooting in the OP of this thread. As I explained in my previous post. There may be a number of things not reported but I doubt those things are going to change the data to the COMPLETE and TOTAL OPPOSITE of what it now says, which is what would have to happen if it were to match the LE data.

I don't think it applies, in any relevant way. That's all. Enough said. You all can continue with your extrapolations. My point is made, there's only so many ways to disagree without going in circles.
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Old February 7, 2014, 01:06 PM   #31
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I completely agree with Brian.

Not only are the intentions of cops and civilians different, but the intentions of criminals that engage cops and civilians are very different. A bank robber who expects police attention is prepared in an entirely different way from a mugger or a bottle wielding drunk that a civilian might end up having SD shooting with.

It would be absurd for a cop to carry a .32, but there may be nothing better for a civilian because it makes them more likely to be armed.

Stats on off-duty or plain clothes officer shootings might be a little more appropriate, but still skewed. The main thing they would reflect back on civilians is how rare an SD shooting is, and how arbitrary the circumstances.

The application of statistics to extremely rare events is usually a bad idea. The extremes of the bell curve do not behave in a mathematical way.
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Old February 7, 2014, 01:52 PM   #32
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The Police shootings tell me one thing, no one can predict what circumstances are going to govern their particular gun fight/shooting, as a LEO.

Which now should govern my choice of weapon I carry, because I also can not predict an incident, if one ever takes place.

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So I shoot a Glock 19 in IDPA competition, I carry a Glock 19 every day. A couple of months ago, at my own large Gun Club, I was the most accurate shooter, out of 68 competitors.

So we can take it as read, I can hit what I aim at, most of the time.
Using the same gun I compete with, I carry. My pistol has 16 rounds? Because it does, and more is better, always.

I have fiber optic night sights, TruGlo, to my mind the best on the market.

So when I hear people (lots of them) say the average gun fight is ten feet, and 3 rounds? That's why they carry a Chief Special, 5 shot revolver? I smile, and pat my spare G17 magazine, and my bright LED Flashlight.

I broke my Crystal ball years ago.

Totally agree. The big difference between police shootings and civilian shootings are the events leading up to the shooting. The fact that 14 officers fired 127 shots in one incident is irrelevant because each officer should be looked at individually for accurate comparison.
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Old February 7, 2014, 11:07 PM   #33
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As an example, we had an incident near here a year or two back with a guy shooting into the air, LE responded, couldn't get him out of his truck verbally, they barricaded and took cover, he eventually fired two rounds at an officer (who I think was trying to close and talk) and about 10 officers responded with something like 127 rounds in under 2 seconds.
This is an outlier example even for LE shootings.

Part of the problem with trying to assess the value of a collection of statistics based on personal memory of various reported incidents is that the LE shootings that make the news are the ones that are out of the ordinary for some reason. The more "typical" shootings either aren't reported or get only a line or two of exposure that reveals nothing of substance about the details of the incident.
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I stop and consider as many LE shootings as I can remember, from here, YouTube, news or my LE friends and I honestly can't think of a single one that reasonably mirrors what I would expect to see happen in the civilian world.
The standard for having some utility in this context isn't that each LE shooting needs to "mirror" civilian shootings, merely that some parameters, (in this case shots fired and distances at which they are fired) need to show at least a rough similarity on average.
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Looking at the NRA Armed Citizen Analysis, every stat is almost completely backwards from this report.
The NRA ACA is actually a fairly poor source for compiling data on self-defense shootings because the incidents are very carefully selected for inclusion. They report only incidents that are clearcut self-defense and only ones that are successful.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:57 AM   #34
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Just remembered a shooting incident, on a Seniors Development. I am sure a few of the readers might remember it (better than I!)

Police responded to a shooter, and ended up swapping shots with this person (who had mental issues) a fellow resident, retrieved his large bore revolver, and hit him twice at a measured 125 yards! Not fatally, but caused cease and desist to set in. If I was in that same persons shoes, I would stand a good chance of hitting the person (with the 16 rounds in the Glock 19, and an extra mag with 17!) more is better always.
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Old February 8, 2014, 11:30 AM   #35
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Useful information that may or may not transfer to the civilian world. No one rapes, robs, carjacks, or mugs you from 21ft.. I think we can agree most of these situations do not on a very regular basis happen to LEO's. Other than a home invasion most situations a civilian will get into are much shorter.
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Old February 8, 2014, 11:37 AM   #36
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These statistics along with the others in the report tell us more about the NYPD or LAPD than what non leos may be likely to face but that doesn't mean that there are no lessons to be learned. Just not a one to one correlation across the board. There may be in some areas though

The same is true for about any set of statistics gathered. The study based on the NRA articles, Ellifitz's "study", etc.

I've been hinky on the oft repeated on gun forums 3,3,3 standard that the average gunfight involves 3 shots or less, in under 3 seconds, at 3 yards or less. Maybe, drive bys, rare in NYC more common in L.A., happen at longer distances tough.

Another factor involved is that these statistics are like cancer statistics. An average tells you noting about what will happen to you. For no individual is there an "average" gunfight.

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Old February 8, 2014, 12:05 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
This is an outlier example even for LE shootings.



Part of the problem with trying to assess the value of a collection of statistics based on personal memory of various reported incidents is that the LE shootings that make the news are the ones that are out of the ordinary for some reason. The more "typical" shootings either aren't reported or get only a line or two of exposure that reveals nothing of substance about the details of the incident.The standard for having some utility in this context isn't that each LE shooting needs to "mirror" civilian shootings, merely that some parameters, (in this case shots fired and distances at which they are fired) need to show at least a rough similarity on average.The NRA ACA is actually a fairly poor source for compiling data on self-defense shootings because the incidents are very carefully selected for inclusion. They report only incidents that are clearcut self-defense and only ones that are successful.

It doesn't seem like an outlier to me, John. TOTAL shots fired, yes, but not average or the distance or the basic scenario.

I agree that what matters are the parameters but I conclude that those parameters are not sufficiently similar, in fact seem opposite.

I also agree that the LE incidents that make the news are typically "extraordinary" but the ones we discuss and can watch on YouTube, etc, aren't all that extraordinary.

Yes, the NRA numbers come from "confirmed " SD and only successful ones but isn't that what we want to know?i don't want to know about claimed SD that was criminal. Unsuccessful events are not included but I don't know why that would skew the numbers, except that perhaps the more shots you need the less likely you are to succeed?

I don't know. I just don't see any relevance.

I've watched a boat load of police shooting videos and talked to officers who have been in shootings or have debriefed officers who have, and obviously all have trained for it.

I've also watched a boat load of SD videos, discussed scenarios, etc. They're not similar, at all, IMO.

SD is usually very close, very unexpected and very short duration. Police shootings tend to be longer distances, planned in the sense of intentional involvement, longer ranges and far more shots fired.

Ultimately, I conclude that while there almost certainly is valuable information in specific LE statistics, the value is not in a table of numbers because the average incident is very much different than an average SD incident.

Specific scenarios, yes. Averages, not helpful.
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Old February 8, 2014, 12:27 PM   #38
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Only paying attention to successful SD is dumb. If all the unsuccessful SD happens at a certain range or caliber or shots fired, that's the MOST useful information we can have.
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Old February 8, 2014, 08:03 PM   #39
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It doesn't seem like an outlier to me, John. TOTAL shots fired, yes, but not average or the distance or the basic scenario.
I can't imagine how a barricaded suspect or officer with multiple officers on the scene could seem like a typical LE shooting as opposed to an outlier. I think this speaks strongly to my comment about trying to judge what is typical by personal recollections.
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Yes, the NRA numbers come from "confirmed " SD and only successful ones but isn't that what we want to know?
Well, it's part of what we want to know. But we really need to see what goes on in ALL the shootings, not just the ones that turned out right. It's not possible to find out what is typical if we only focus on the ones that were all easy enough for the typical, untrained, unskilled, gun owner to survive.
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i don't want to know about claimed SD that was criminal.
First of all, it doesn't appear that they even include the ones that might appear questionable, so the fact that they only include the clearcut ones doesn't mean that they're only eliminating criminal shootings. It means they're eliminating anything that might even appear to be questionable.

Second, what we want to know about is what we need to think about in terms of preparation. The fact that a defender might have made a serious legal mistake in the process of saving his life certainly doesn't mean that there's no value in understanding and preparing for the kind of situation that put him in need of self-defense in the first place.
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Unsuccessful events are not included but I don't know why that would skew the numbers...
Generally speaking, statistics theory suggests that you're more likely to skew results by throwing away data altogether than by including outliers. The outliers tend to occur on both sides of the average and often have a tendency to cancel each other. But when you throw away an entire class of shootings (questionable legalities, LE involvement, unsuccessful self-defense), you have a very good chance of ending up with a data set that is completely unrepresentative of reality.

I think there's a little bit of a double standard going on. In spite of the fact that we all realize that the ACA stats have been "pre-filtered", you suggest we should be willing to accept the filtered results as typical of what we should expect and prepare for but at the same time, based on personal recollection of what is typical for LE shootings, you say we should discard all the LE shooting information as irrelevant.

It doesn't make sense to accept the ACA data as valid for determining what is "typical" in spite of the fact that we know for a fact it is heavily filtered before we ever see it and then use something as unreliable as personal recollections/impressions of what is typical for LE shootings to completely invalidate the use of LE shooting data for anything not related to LE.
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Old February 8, 2014, 08:37 PM   #40
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Just remembered a shooting incident, on a Seniors Development. I am sure a few of the readers might remember it (better than I!)

Police responded to a shooter, and ended up swapping shots with this person (who had mental issues) a fellow resident, retrieved his large bore revolver, and hit him twice at a measured 125 yards! Not fatally, but caused cease and desist to set in. If I was in that same persons shoes, I would stand a good chance of hitting the person (with the 16 rounds in the Glock 19, and an extra mag with 17!) more is better always.
I believe that is Brady, Texas you are thinking of. The old guy used a 6" N frame S&W 357 mag with some sort of Lead bullet in reloads if I remember correctly.
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Old February 8, 2014, 11:49 PM   #41
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One thing that is really interesting. If you compare the NYC and LA data, the differences are pretty striking.

Looking at cumulative data for LAPD 2010 shootings:

12% took place at a distance of 10 ft or less
37% took place at a distance of 20 ft or less
86% took place at a distance of 60 ft or less

Looking at the NYPD 2010 shootings:

65% took place at a distance of 10 ft or less
89% took place at a distance of 20 ft or less
100% took place at a distance of 60 ft or less

The differences in distance are highly significant between two large well trained police depts. This tells me that small changes in circumstance and location can play a big role in police shooting distance. In other words, if the NY and LA data had been very similar, I would conclude that there was probably a lot of commonality between urban police departments all over the US. But that is not the case at all.

Because there is such a large difference between NY and LA police data, I would be very hesitant to extrapolate either data set to other police departments. I would also be very hesitant to extrapolate either data set to non-police self defense shootings.

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Old February 9, 2014, 03:05 AM   #42
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This is an outlier example even for LE shootings.
This is an interesting discussion, but all the information provided seems to be outliers. As a retired financial executive that was responsible for financial forecasting (for large corporations) one of the things you find out very fast is that you have to be better than the local weather man in making your forecasts for the year ahead.

So you use empirical data (history) but as many have mentioned you throw out the outliers whether it is 10% above and below or 20% above or below your bell curve. The other criteria is that the data sets have to be for the same information, apples to apples or oranges to oranges, comparing apples to oranges just does not give good results. The third criteria is that the data sets have to be large enough to provide a statistical probability (80%) of correctness. A data set of 100 points is definitely not usable sometimes a data set of 1,000 points is also too small depending on the population (history) of the graph like when forecasting $150,000,000 in sales.

So of the 350,000,000 people or so here in the USA, at what distance and how many will have to defend themselves tomorrow I really can't say from the information provided, but I can tell you we will have 5 inches of snow tomorrow (LOL).

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Old February 9, 2014, 04:55 PM   #43
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I just finished reading through the LAPD report, and I think either I missed (I went back and still cant find it), or it was not in the report, which is how many of the incidents in question involved more than one officer discharging a firearm? If anyone can point that out to me, I would appreciate it.

I don't doubt the LAPD/NYPD stats listed by btmj, though I don't think they would be typical of my small area, in that most of the shootings I remember here over the years involved multiple officers, and varying distances before it was resolved, which would account for 7 incidents (either barricaded suspects, or armed suspect pursued on foot by multiple officers). Events involving one officer and one suspect are more the exception in my area, of which I can only think of 2.

Comparing that to the non-LE self defense incidents, all the ones I remember over the years the majority are close distances, mostly conversation distance (robbery/assault) or across the room distance (break ins), and all of which involve just one person discharging a weapon.
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Old February 10, 2014, 12:42 AM   #44
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Hi Fishing Cabin...

I did not look at the online reports, I just put the data presented in posts 1 and 18 into a cumulative form... percentage from 0 to 10 feet, percentage from 0 to 20 feet, etc.

My point was that there was so much difference between the Los Angeles and New York data that I don't think the data is applicable outside of, well, LA and NY. If similar police shooting data was gathered from Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, and Miami, would it look like NY, or like LA, or would each city be unique? my guess is each city would be unique, and there would probably be variations from year to year in the same city.

I tend to think that we can draw no real conclusion from this data regarding armed citizen self defense shootings.

I also tend to think that the vast majority of armed citizen self defense shootings are within 25 feet. No proof, just my opinion...

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Old February 10, 2014, 02:34 AM   #45
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btmj,

I mentioned this earlier in reference to the difference between the distance figures from NYC and LA. One is a city of 700 miles of subway track, 10 story apartment buildings with thousands of tenants that stretch for miles crammed on a small island surrounded by boroughs of a good deal of the same and close packed brick single family homes. The other a place stretched out over 469 square miles of single family dwellings surround and chain link fences, strip malls, and freeways. It's hard to visit L.A. for even a few days without seeing a car chase on live TV spread out over 50 miles of freeway and often more. You don't see that live entertainment in N.Y.

In general cops "roll up" on folks in L.A. They walk up in N.Y.

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Old February 10, 2014, 02:14 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by btmj
My point was that there was so much difference between the Los Angeles and New York data that I don't think the data is applicable outside of, well, LA and NY. If similar police shooting data was gathered from Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, and Miami, would it look like NY, or like LA, or would each city be unique? my guess is each city would be unique, and there would probably be variations from year to year in the same city.

I tend to think that we can draw no real conclusion from this data regarding armed citizen self defense shootings.
I tend to agree that there is no real conclusion from the data, as presented. If one did gather the needed data from the major cities, it would more than likely only be comparable to similar sized cities. More rural areas with only a few deputies or a small town with 1-3 officers would not fit the same mold as compared to a larger city, since the actions would be different considering they have a much smaller amount of manpower/resources, save for large active events when assisted by other nearby departments. Try to compare self defense incidents by non-LE as well, and the results would be even murkier.
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Old February 10, 2014, 02:23 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Hal
For your average gun enthusiast, that's probably twice the number needed -

On the whole, cops aren't real good shots.
On the other hand, your average gun enthusiast thinks he's twice as good a shot as he actually is, so I'm guessing it evens out.
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Old February 10, 2014, 06:34 PM   #48
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I did not look at the online reports, I just put the data presented in posts 1 and 18 into a cumulative form... percentage from 0 to 10 feet, percentage from 0 to 20 feet, etc.
Often when they present whole reports there is other information in them that can help a fella understand.

But, the reports don't try to draw broader implications from them then what they do. They are not meant to help civilian shooters figure out how they should train. They are meant to recap what the departments preparing the reports did and draw what conclusions for them that they can from one year to the next. They are also reports to the public on how they performed their jobs or not and fulfill a responsibility to the people that they are supposed to serve.

So you learn from them what you can but don't expect the reports to show you what they were not intended to. What they do show is interesting and useful enough.

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Old February 10, 2014, 06:47 PM   #49
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The vast majority of cops I know think way less about their gun than they do their footwear or flashlight.

They're perfectly content if they can qualify.
A target shooting bud of mine, is now a retired State Trooper, but I asked him about the attitudes of State Troopers toward their firearms and firearm skills.

He told me of several instances where he checked on the condition of the pump shotgun in Police Cruisers and the things were effectively rusted shut. The average Police man, thank God, is really is not interested in getting into gun fights and their shooting skills reflect a live and let live attitude.

I say thank God, because there are people in the Armed Services who want to go in harms way, and I mean, really, really, want to go in harms way, and if you have ever met them, you noticed it was questionable whether they have the patience to take the sort of abuse that regular Policemen take on a regular basis, and the trunk of their squad car would probably be filled with bodies after each shift.
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Old February 10, 2014, 07:19 PM   #50
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I think you're really selling both the police and military short on that one.

Fire teams in Iraq and Afganistan have constant contact with less than enthusiastic civilians, yet we don't keep creating new Mai Lai massacres. Being an aggressive soldier isn't the same as being psychopathic killer.
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