View Full Version : Who says cops can't shoot?

April 17, 2005, 04:08 AM
Check out the way the guy on the right in this video (http://www.xmastree.34sp.com/images/mvm.mpg) nails those poppers.

Double Naught Spy
April 17, 2005, 07:45 AM
Of course some cops are fine shooters and the cop population does a pretty good job of mirroring the general population of gun owners. The vast majority of cops are not terriby skilled shooters just like the vast majority of the general population. Those that do not practice regularly and properly will not be all that good of a shooter.

April 17, 2005, 11:51 AM
The same can easily be said of your typical infantry shooter versus one of your operator types. The regular guys don't get the same time behind the trigger. Budgets, time restaints, etc.

It's a wide brush to paint with, but it does generally prove to be true.

April 17, 2005, 06:24 PM
They are not very far away, either.

Four years ago, I was an observer of the NH Police Association's annual handgun shooting competition.

There was NOT ONE good shooter among them, and many where downright unsafe in their handling of pistols. Not a whole lot of gun etiquette.

The winner scored less than 80% of the possible score.

I say it now, and I'll say it again. The last place one should go for gun knowledge is a close tie between Hollywood and the police. :)

April 17, 2005, 08:05 PM
The last place one should go for gun knowledge is a close tie between Hollywood and the police.

...or the Internet. :D

This is a competiton forum is it not? If so, let's talk about cops in competition circles. There are some very accomplished law enforcement shooters who would make most of the forum regulars look like beginning plinkers. In the world of IPSC, Phil Strader comes immediately to mind. Heck, in my home state we have Ara Maljian. Just across our border we will find Ron Avery. All of those guys are IPSC Grand Masters.

I haven't seen the video, but yes poppers are big. However, line six of them up at ten yards a couple of feet from shoulder to shoulder like a big plate rack and guys like Phil, Ara and Ron will knock them down from the holster in 2 seconds and change. How many of you can do the same? In fact how many of you can even shoot half of them down in two seconds? OK, go for two of them.

Frankly, I think superior pistolcraft is something that should be complimented regardless of a person's vocation.

Double Naught Spy
April 17, 2005, 08:54 PM
Frankly, I think superior pistolcraft is something that should be complimented regardless of a person's vocation.

Frankly, I think those who carry pistols should all have superior pistolcraft and that complimented should not be necessary as it should be the norm.

Of course, I won't be getting any compliments anytime soon.

April 17, 2005, 08:54 PM
with a stock Glock 17, but it came with practice. And I am almost 50. :)

I believe that EVERY LEO who depends on his shooting skills for his/her very life and those around SHOULD BE ABLE TO SHOOT WAY ABOVE AVERAGE.

Anything less is negligent. If an LEO with a hi-cap 9mm is drawing down on a perp, he had better not spray and pray in front of my store or home. No stray bullets allowed!

Carry a gun, shoot it better than average. One OWES it to the public that has entrusted you with the uniform or CCW.

LEO's above all people, should be the best shooters in any town.

April 17, 2005, 10:01 PM
The reason most cops aren't real "good" shooters, is time and $$$. Of all the skills a cop needs, shooting is WAY down on the list of priorities. Most of us will NEVER fire a shot.

So police departments put more emphasis on the law, procedures and dealing with people. I'd rather have a cop that is skilled with his mouth than with his guns any day. A "bad" shot MAY very rarely get people hurt or killed, but a "bad" talker can CERTAINLY get people hurt and or killed, that includes the public.

In a perfect world, cops would be experts in both areas.

Billy Sparks
April 18, 2005, 06:57 AM
A "bad" shot MAY very rarely get people hurt or killed, but a "bad" talker can CERTAINLY get people hurt and or killed, that includes the public.

There is more truth to this than a lot of us want to admit.

You have to realize that most LEO's you see in competition are doing it on their on time and their on dime. Most of the LEO's I know that are young are generally working a second job or extra shifts to make sure they have the money for a family, etc. Therefore they do not have the time to compete. Heck the local PD here doesn't even allow the officers to fire their issued weapons anywhere but the department range. Which has been shut down.

April 18, 2005, 07:52 AM
Looks like an IPSC shooter. :)

April 18, 2005, 01:22 PM
Since both shooters are in uniform, it seems that the one on the right has practicing.

April 18, 2005, 02:41 PM
This is supposed to be a competition forum, but it looks like we have drifted right back into the perennial debate over LEO requirements.

For the record, I agree there are way too many LEOs out there who need to improve their gunhandling skills. Even LEO trainers won't argue that point. The problem comes when we set standards of performance. I think LEO standards across the board (excluding my home state and a few others) are way too low. The new course adopted by our academy is one of the most difficult in the country. On the flip side, there is no degree of firearms proficiency (beyond proof of a safe gunhandling program) required for "civilian" carry. We have a great example of two extremes. Where do we draw the line and who sets the standards?

For those of you who carry guns as "civilians" do you possess superior pistolcraft? In comparison to to what I consider "superior" I would dare say most of you probably suck, lol. Does that mean we need standards for civilian carry or would that fly in the face of 2nd Amendment rights?

Back to the competition thread. I viewed the video. The run the guy on the right makes is OK but it's certainly nothing spectacular. Sound off if you could beat him if you were the guy on the left, lol.

Zak Smith
April 18, 2005, 04:27 PM
He shoots about the same speed as a middle "C" class USPSA/IPSC shooter.

In other words: way better than your average recreational pistol shooter, but a little sub-par in the world of practical shooting.

And yes, I could beat him.

April 18, 2005, 05:19 PM

From what I know about you, there is no doubt you would smoke him like a cheap cigar. :)


Guessing the class could be fun. I counted off the cadence. A "C" class shooter would shoot transitions in the realm of 1 and 2 and 3 and... The shooter in the video has a snappy 1,2,3... That and his reload, I would put in in B class or maybe even A.

April 18, 2005, 07:31 PM
Things enter into LEO's as shooters. Go to matches, ask around, not many officers are shooters, a firearm is another piece of equipment on their belts. Some the nations top shooters in several disciliplines are LEO's. But the average LEO, as the average gun owners aren't shooters. I catagorize shooters as those who particapate in organized events. Money, upbringing, priorities, area of abode, family obligations, all enter into equation for reasons. Although, in my mind, survival enters, as does responsibility to family, as reason to shoot. Most LEO's go their whole career and never need to utilize their skills as acomplished shooters, which we should all be thankful for. Also many LEO's are taught that guns and ownership of same isn't proper, this in the larger dept's, cities, some states.

April 19, 2005, 09:39 PM
Pretty good considering it he was probably using a beretta 92 DAO.

April 20, 2005, 09:23 AM
Man you have good eyes. It looks like a Glock to me. :)

April 20, 2005, 09:54 AM
F350Lawman, great post. It would seem there are a few informed persons who share there insights into the misunderstood world of law enforcement.

The county i work in there are what i would classify as average pistol shooters [ i include myself in that group] and one deputy who i very good, and two or three that are piss poor. We do a standard FBI qualification, having to shoot 80% or better - twice a year. It really ain't all that hard, but some seem to get tense everytime they have to shoot? But from what I've seen most LEO's are not really into the gun culture, it's just something that goes with the job.


April 20, 2005, 09:33 PM
I was assuming because their standard issue is a beretta 92 DAO :cool:

April 21, 2005, 01:16 AM
bulm5 is partly right, the standard issue is a Beretta 92, but this guy uses a Para Ordnance P16

Joe D
May 4, 2005, 07:32 AM
The pistol qualification course is designed to pass LEs not fail them. In today's job market good officers are hard to come by. When I lived in Atlanta I worked with several PDs. The common thread was 99% of the guys did not practice. You would see them hit the practice range a week before qualification.
The sad fact was my wife could out shoot all of them. Of all the guys I worked with only two practiced as if their life depended on it. I would rate the two guys as a high D or low C IPSC shooter.
The reason you never see LEs at either IDPA or IPSC matches is two fold. One they can't shoot and ego. There is a 12 year old girl that shoots IDPA with us that can out shoot 80% of them. Talk about bruised egos. Most of these guys would need an IV of testosterone.
One of the Hoover PD training officer came to our recent IDPA State Championship match just to watch. Was he shocked. He never realized how much better civilian shooters were than his own men.
Another problem I have with the typical LE training is all targets are shot from a static position. LEs are not taught to move and shoot.
The BGs are getting smarter. They shoot at the head, thigh and groin areas. No vests there. Get the Officer down then finish him off.

May 4, 2005, 08:26 AM
Joe D, that is an excellent idea - inviting police to IPDA/IPSC matches (particularly ones that have at least a few very high-level shooters) to simply observe.

Although thinking about it, it could go one of three ways; either they think "Hey these civilian shooters are really good, and I need to start practicing more", "Hey these civilian shooters are really good, perhaps I should support CCW laws more", or "Hey these civilian shooters are really good, I need to keep them out of my precinct."

Old Shooter
May 4, 2005, 10:55 AM
I suspect that their attitude would be more like "Sure they can hit a piece of paper that isn't shooting back but that's not real life."

May 4, 2005, 01:43 PM
Old Shooter is right; if someone was coming to rescue me, I'd prefer it was someone who was pretty good at shooting, but who knew how to face the potential danger, to an IPSC Grand Master.
One of the better shooters in my area is a cop (top ten at USPSA Nats, a couple of Area championships), and he "uses" his position as a department trainer to attend shooting schools and "conferences" on the department's tab. He becomes a better shooter, and can make his officers better shooters.
There is a big civilian and law enforcement charity 3-gun match in our area, and while I wasn't too impressed with the shooting abilities of some of the LEOs, or being swept with a few muzzles in the parking lot, I wouldn't want to have to employ my skill in the places where they go.

Zak Smith
May 4, 2005, 01:46 PM
Rhetorical question:

Who would you rather have rescue you from drowning: a lifeguard-trained average swimmer, or a lifeguard-trained Olympic-class swimmer?


May 4, 2005, 02:17 PM
I'll take the one who's closer.

Joe D
May 4, 2005, 03:01 PM
The problem is most are not "pretty good at shooting".
Igloo, I have even offered to pay their entry fee just to get them shooting. I think it is more of a macho/ego thing. I hope the Hoover TO starts shooting with us.
What I have seen in the past is a LE will shoot one IDPA/IPSC match and never come back. Most usually finish at the bottom of the list. Even telling them before hand that they should not expect to do well seems to have little bearing on future match participation. A typical new civilian shooter views his low score as an opportunity to improve, practices, and returns for more matches. Not so in the LE community. I think the ego/macho bruising is too much to bear, especially at the hands of a civilian/woman shooter.

Capt. Charlie
May 4, 2005, 03:04 PM
F-350Lawman hit the nail right on the head. Today, a cop can best be described as "a man of many hats". We play the role of counseler, pastor, auto mechanic, locksmith, wild animal tamer, utility repairman, etc. etc. etc. etc. You name it, we do it. It used to be we recruited people as big as gorillas, with the same mentality. Today, it's what's upstairs that counts. Far better to think and talk your way out of a situation than shoot your way out. Other than on the range or dispatching an injured or sick animal, most cops will never fire their weapons in the line of duty. But when it does happen, a cool head and experience is every bit as important as shooting ability, if not more so. Most police shootings occur at very close range and are over in seconds, so being an IPSC grand master really isn't necessary. A cool head and a survivor's attitude is. Still, because the service pistol is the final option and because human lives hang in the balance, it is important that every LEO be reasonably proficient. Our dept. qualifies twice yearly and our course of fire is one of the most difficult going. If you can't qualify, you can't carry, and that means a desk job until you can. My watch is made up of a bunch of avid deer hunters, so I've never had that problem with my people. We have a few that moan and groan when re-qualification rolls around, and a few that chomp at the bit. Most fall somewhere in the middle, and I suspect that's the case with most departments.

Old Shooter
May 4, 2005, 04:07 PM
Olympic swimmer or average swimmer...That would assume that an IDPA or IPSC expert shooter was used to having someone shoot back or at least was capable of taking a life.

Zak Smith
May 4, 2005, 05:27 PM
For those arguing against having more skills at one's disposal, what exactly is your point?

Capt. Charlie
May 4, 2005, 05:43 PM
For those arguing against having more skills at one's disposal, what exactly is your point?

I don't think anyone's against having more skills. Hell, I wish I WAS an IPSC Grand Master! And maybe someday, if I keep working at it... in a thousand years or so.... :D

Only pointing out that to be a good cop, you don't have to be a grand master (even though you just might be a little bit better one if you were. Then again, maybe not. ;) )

May 5, 2005, 06:51 AM
Interestingly enough, I was talking to a local LEO the other day about coming and shooting with our fledgling IDPA club. He had never heard of IDPA, so I described it to him and told him that he was more than welcome to come with his duty gear. He was obviously into guns and shooting as I ran into him at the local gun shop talking to the owner and admiring his new rifle.

Anyway, he proceeds to tell me that most of the officers in his department shy away from ANY extra training or competition in fear of it being used against them in the event of a shooting! :confused: I told him that I believed that a good lawyer could argue that the man that took the time to be proficient with his weapon was safer than the man that didn't. My two cents.

Further along in the conversation I asked if he carried a gun off duty. His reply was "I don't go the the bathroom, church, or ANYWHERE (emphasis his) without my gun"!

Scared to leave home without it, scared to train with it. :confused:

He was a very pleasant fellow and didn't seem to have an ego problem. He also seemed interested in shooting with us before he left. So hopefully he'll be out this weekend and we can work on that training attitude.

Joe D
May 5, 2005, 06:59 AM
I probably need to clarify one point. I do take my hat off to the guys and gals that put their life on the line everyday as LEs.
I just wish they could shoot better. Might save their life one day.

May 5, 2005, 07:14 AM
I suspect that their attitude would be more like "Sure they can hit a piece of paper that isn't shooting back but that's not real life."

And you're probably right. I wonder if it would help to point out to them that while the IPSC champions might have their competition accuracy and speed reduced by stress, it is unlikely that an officer that barely qualifies every six months (but handles stress well) is unlikely to shoot better than their range shooting because of stress.

Out of curiosity, what is an average qualification standard for state-and-smaller law enforcement?

Capt. Charlie
May 5, 2005, 03:51 PM
Two words: Politics and Liability. And just like politics, the issues... and "solutions" change with the wind. We used to keep records of scores, based on the PPC 600 point system. Then some genius lawyer somewhere said if you can shoot in the 500's, you could have shot to wound. The argument went back and forth, along with the lawsuits. So, the "solution" was to grade strictly based on a pass/fail basis. No scores are recorded. We are also no longer permitted to wear our sharpshooter/expert/master medals either (previously earned). But our major defense is in how we're trained. Simply put, we are not trained to shoot to wound. We are trained to shoot for center mass. Thus the liability shifts from the individual officer to the Dept. As long as you're within dept. policy and training methods, you have a solid defense. Also, the emphasis used to be tight groups in the X ring. Now it's speed, tactics, use of cover, and judgement (shoot/don't shoot decisions). Our objective is multiple rounds in multiple targets in minimum time and in center mass. The course of fire went from bullseye to PPC to IPSC style to unconventional variations of everything. The state standard applies to every dept. in that state, but some dept's go far above that. Along with night shoots where the only light for sight alignment comes from the muzzle flash of the previous shot, we do the "wounded man" shoot, both weak hand and strong. A mag is loaded randomly with live rounds and duds. One hand goes in your pocket and stays there. On the "misfire", you have to jack the slide and chamber a new round by placing the front of the slide by the muzzle either against your gunbelt or edge of your boot and pushing the frame forward. I admit that one make's me a little nervous, having the muzzle that close to my body. It all depends on the range officer. He can set up his own course of fire, however exotic, as long as minimum state standards are met. We've got a great range officer who tries to make it as close to the real world as possible. One thing he does that has done a lot towards encouraging non-shooters or "ho-hum" shooters to get involved is our fun shoot. After each qualification course, the steel plates, bowling pins, etc. come out. No scores are kept, but the top shooters do get a nice trophy and everybody has a good time.
As far as cops not wanting to shoot, you have to remember that after about 5 years on this job, most guys want to go home and forget everything dealing with the job, including guns. Every cop with any time on at all has a lot of memories. Most of them aren't pleasant. I personally don't associate range time with the streets, but neither do I watch "Cops" or other cop/crime shows on TV. :( :mad: :barf:

May 6, 2005, 09:40 PM
I have shot with several of the local departments and Sheriff's Office and most of them do quite well. I might add we have a large per centage of law enforcement officers shooting IPSC with us locally. If a person is intertested in competition shooting, they will shoot regardless of occupation.

Like Zak, I too wonder just exactly why so many folks seem to delight in bashing the competition world when it comes to shooting for defensive purposes. Good grief, if you take a decent IPSC shooter and make their skills "reality based" you have the best of both worlds.

Joe D
May 7, 2005, 06:01 AM
The ones that bash the competition world are the ones that are afraid to shoot in it.

Tim R
May 16, 2005, 03:13 PM
I'm a cop who shoots Bullseye and High Power with a stronger leaning towards the High Power. I'm also the department's range officer. In a perfect world we would all be better shooters but here's the deal.

I would like to give the guys/gals more range time. But not everyone works 9 to 5 and on range days and it cost us over time. Some are unhappy because I broke into their sleep time. Not everyone has weekends off to go shooting matches. I have to take a day off or days off if a 2 day match to go shoot a match and I only get so many days off in a year. Plus I get off at 6 am....I can't even get a good nights sleep before going to a match. Then there's drive time.....need I go on?

I'm a gun guy at heart but on my days off I'm burned to a crisp and have other things to do for the wife and range time is a low priorty even when I need practice for a pending match. But I do love to shoot so I take 3 of 4 weekends off during the season. It hurts the shift as that leaves us 1 guy short. Where does a guy draw the line?

I also instruct EVOC....thats for the driving part of the our job. In the perfect world we wold also be better drivers. But again, over time and someone is loosing out on the sleep. (like me) Most don't mind coming in on a day off as the running the course as it's a great deal of fun but you can only do so much.

You guys like to moan and grown about how bad of shots cops are. Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge.

May 16, 2005, 05:11 PM
Personally I would prefer it if you guys didn't talk about the subject.

If they find out they aren't so good, I'll have a hard time getting them to shoot against the wife. That would seriously cut into my beer fund.

Sam :D

Tim R
May 16, 2005, 05:59 PM
Good one Sam. I never said I wan't a half way good shot. I won the last match I shot by 26 points.

June 9, 2005, 04:28 PM
Anything less is negligent. If an LEO with a hi-cap 9mm is drawing down on a perp, he had better not spray and pray in front of my store or home. No stray bullets allowed

Believe it or not, here at my local police dept. they train the policemen to give, return, 'cover' fire by firing several rounds in the general direction of a bad guy! That may be fine on the battlefield, but in a town or city I think not. That's why policemans job is hard cause you can't do things like that.

June 9, 2005, 04:56 PM
It is a common thread to bash competition shooters because it is assumed that we will somehow lack that magical ingredient of "mind set".

Okay... What about a comp shooter, who practices his butt off, who also happens to have the proper mindset? Hence the Olympic swimmer line.

I think Joe and Zak nailed it. It is easier to bash competition shooters than it is to become as good as they are. If you can't play the game, malign the game.

I'm not bashing cops. Some of the best local shooters we have are cops. (Sheriffs deputies mostly). More power to them. I've been beaten by CoreyACP more times than I can count. However most of the cops I've seen come and and compete shoot one match, lose badly, and then never come back. Certainly part of it is scheduling, or lack of down time, or money, but that applies to those of us in civillian vocations as well. Heck, that is why most of the best shooters I know are young, single or at least don't have kids, and make good money. :)

It isn't just cops vs. comp either. I work with Army SF people a lot. (God bless them, great guys) and I work with a lot of the hard core "tactical" crowd. But there is often an attitude amongst those folks that comp guys are just gamers who just don't have that magic "mind set". I'm willing to wager that there are just as many gamers with the "mind set" as there are in any other gun toting group. But surprisingly, when I get the Army guys out to a 3gun, they have a blast, and often comment how it is awesome practice. Go figure.

June 18, 2005, 02:04 AM
To start off, this is my first post on The FiringLine and I enjoy reading thorugh all the forums. I can see the merits of several of the views expressed here. I myself am a LEO in SW Ohio. I have recently competed in a USPSA formatted league localy and enjoy every minute. I know that for my department, most of the LEOs are average shooters and would place in the of the pack if they were to compete. Should they be better? I think so. I am one that believes that you should strive to improve yourself and become more proficeint in every aspect of your job. Some in my department look at carrying a firearm as just another piece of equipment and cringe at the thought of going to the range.(these are usually the same people that its safer to stand directly in front of the target than on the firing line while they shoot!) I think that even though competition shooting doesn't have the element of danger that a real life encounter has, it is still forcing you to perform well under stress, namely in the form of a timer. To win, you need to focus on the fudamentals of marksmanship: sight alighment, sight picture and trigger control. These things become second nature with continued and regular practice, part of which I get from competing. Not to mention its a great way to relieve stress and make some new friends. I would not bash a competitor's abilities to handle a firearm. It shows dedication and determination to improve one's skills.

Tim R
June 20, 2005, 02:51 PM
SVDEP, Good point.....I enjoy being with other shooters who often times are not Cops. We still think the same though. I think I would rather hang out with fellow shooters anyways. We know they are the good guys for the most part, with a few odd balls here and there. ;)

Larry Ashcraft
June 20, 2005, 09:03 PM
Ron Avery
Or Eddie Rhodes.

June 20, 2005, 10:50 PM
I don't know the answer, but I would think that LEO's are probably better on average in marksmanship than civilian gun owners. The discussion here has focused on competitive civilan shooters and comparing them to LEOs. That may be a fair comparison if that's how it's stated, but it doesn't imply that civilian shooters are better than LEOs.

I've never seen LEOs shoot, nor have I competed... but I've seen plenty of ordinary civilians shooting at perhaps half a dozen ranges, and I know that I am not a marksman, and yet I know that I am better than most of these guys, who are dangerous as much as anything else - and those are the civilians who go to the range. :eek: Instead of picking out competitive IPSC players, pick out all the civilian guys who are hitting the ceilings, walls and posts at ranges - and then imagine what the guys are like who don't show up :eek: :eek: :eek:

Personally, I can imagine that a little more emphasis on firearms training would still be useful for LEOs, as it would be for private citizens.