View Full Version : On Hit Rates in Police Shootings

December 9, 2007, 09:32 AM
Excerpt from an interesting piece in today's New York Times.


New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year.

In 2005, officers fired 472 times in the same circumstances, hitting their mark 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate. They shot and killed nine people that year.

In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance. In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them.

Bad marksmanship? Police officials and law enforcement experts say no, contending that the number of misses underscores the tense and unpredictable nature of these situations. For example, a 43 percent hit rate for shots fired from zero to six feet might seem low, but at that range it is very likely that something has already gone wrong: perhaps an officer got surprised, or had no cover, or was wrestling with the suspect.

“When you factor in all of the other elements that are involved in shooting at an adversary, that’s a high hit rate,” said Raymond W. Kelly, the New York police commissioner. “The adrenaline flow, the movement of the target, the movement of the shooter, the officer, the lighting conditions, the weather ... I think it is a high rate when you consider all of the variables.”

John C. Cerar, a retired commander of the New York Police Department’s firearms training section, was more tempered in his assessment of the hit rates. “They’re acceptable,” he said. “In pristine conditions, you are going to get better hit ratios.” He said handguns were an imperfect weapon. “As long as the handgun is the main tool for the police officers to use, you are going to have misses,’’ he said.

December 9, 2007, 09:53 AM
I would agree that in certain situations, stress, lighting conditions, all other ambient & factors would lend to what these numbers represent.

Another factor to consider might be that not all police officers are "into" the gun culture as many of us are that frequent sites such as this. The vast majority of police only fire their duty weapons when qualifying each year, how many times is whatever their department mandates.

If you take the small percent of Tactical officers, and smart street officers they are proficient with all the weapons they carry, the percentages go way up.

It's rather disingenuous to represent these #'s off any article quoted from the New York Times....;)


Marty Hayes
December 9, 2007, 10:00 AM
The training that the rank and file NYPD gets is not reflective of the type of training that most officers get throughout the year in most other police departments. The last time I looked at the NYPD training, they shot once a year, at a stationary target. If I am wrong here, someone with more information please correct me.

What is known about police shootings, is that the better the training, the higher the hit ratio.

I follow police shootings in WA state pretty closely, and I would estimate the hit ration in WA state is up around 90%, with many less shots fired per encounter.

December 9, 2007, 10:40 AM
I hate the new york times. It's a propaganda rag.

Wonder what their intentions are with this article. Does this infer that us regular Joes should not carry as cops can't even hit a target?

matthew temkin
December 9, 2007, 11:11 AM
The NYPD has always had a lousy hit rate--somewhere between 8-17% in actual gunfights ( as opposed to suicides, homicides and dogs)
Actually some of my friends on the job tell me that it is worse than reported.
For example, 6 cops may surround a car and open up with a full magazine each, yet the number of shots officially listed in 5-10.
Yes..they only get to qualify once a year on a stationary target from 3-25 yards.
Personally I think the problem is a lack of realistic training as opposed to anything else.
Then again, the NYPD nearly always wins their gunfights with minimal good guy casualties and bystanders are hardly ever hit by stray bullets.
Perhaps we NY'ers are good at ducking?

December 9, 2007, 11:23 AM
I'm no fan of the New York Times either but if you follow the link in the originating post and read the entire article you may have a different take on the intent and purpose. I didn't find it inflamatory at all.

As for the hit ratios, well, folks do tend to get all riled up about it when they find out how many rounds do not hit the perp during an Officer involved shooting. If an individual department 's ratio is anywhere above 20% they are doing well (not that the department should not strive to improve it). As for Officers in Washington State having a 90% hit ratio, I will hestitate to call BS on that because it was not stated as a fact just as an estimate. I will say however that if that were the case it would be so extrordinary that documentation should abound. I would love to read some.

Lots of things come into play in these situations and usually in combination. Low light, close range, rapid movement, perp on drugs, shock that this is actually happening, fear, anger, pain. The perp usually has the drop and has decided to hurt or kill you before you know he does. You are already behind the 8 ball. Situational awareness has quite a bit to do with all this but it ain't magic. Folks can armchair quarterback all they want but I absolutely guarantee you the song would change the first time some ninny had to get in a scrap with some crackhead round about 2 am. Ask them then how they think they would do if it degenerated into a shooting.

December 9, 2007, 11:38 AM
Last I heard was the hit ratio was around 18%....

December 9, 2007, 11:59 AM
I get tired of reading and hearing about the tired, old "police are lousy shots" stuff. We only eat donuts too, after all, everyone knows that :rolleyes:. There are a lot of reasons for misses, mainly the conditions in which police gunfights take place. I would another important and often overlooked reason is that the bad guy usually gets the first shot making conditions less than ideal for the officer having to return fire.

December 9, 2007, 01:46 PM
A lot more goes into shooting somenoe than being a good shot! Training is great but it must be the right kind of training. There is a reason the Marines train the way they do, They put recruits under a kind of stress that you wont get in a weekend warrior school. Same with all the special ops people. If you can think under stress you can act under stress. You must keep your mind clear and be able to think as well as react. Speed is one thing that is important but not at the expense of hitting your target. A fast miss means nothing. On the same hand you dont want to get shot trying to draw a fine bead.

December 9, 2007, 02:13 PM
As for Officers in Washington State having a 90% hit ratio, I will hestitate to call BS on that because it was not stated as a fact just as an estimate. I will say however that if that were the case it would be so extrordinary that documentation should abound.

Not necessarily, though you might be able to dig some out if you looked hard enough. Marty's got good LEO contacts throughout the state, however, and I'd trust his eyeball estimate in the absence of more compelling data to the contrary.

Here's a quote from a typical study, published in August of 2005 and reported at http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/ForceScience/articles/117909/

An ex-cop with 23 years' training experience, Aveni now heads the Police Policy Studies Council, a research, training and consulting corporation based in Spofford, NH, and is a member of FSRC's National Advisory Board, as well as a busy expert witness in police litigation. Like other trainers, he says, he "made a lot of assumptions that are not true" until his research provided "an epiphany for me" about some of the nuances of police shootings.

He was struck first by how tough it is to find out anything meaningful on the subject from law enforcementagencies. Most don't compile detailed data on their shootings, fearing in some cases (perhaps rightly) that it would be misinterpreted and misused by the media and "agenda activists" if available. Of the few departments that do collect deadly force information, "even fewer freely share it," Aveni claims. If they don't outright suppress it, they tend to present it in bare-bones, "sterilized table formats" that have no standardized consistency and that "make detailed analysis difficult." Aveni observes: "The devil is in the details, and the details of police shootings have always been lost."

After refusals to cooperate by a variety of agencies, he finally was able to secure 350 investigative narratives of officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles County, CA. These concerned incidents experienced primarily by L.A. County Sheriff's deputies, plus cases investigated by LASD for smaller municipal agencies, across a 5-year period.

Aveni spent more than 6 months dissecting that material according to different variables. That information, combined with limited statistics he managed to obtain related to shootings on other major departments, including New York City, Baltimore County (MD), Miami, Portland (OR) and Washington (DC), has allowed him to spotlight a number of deadly force subtleties that have not been so thoroughly examined before.

For example, it has long been believed that officers overall have a dismal 15-25 percent hit probability in street encounters, suggesting truly poor performance under the stress of a real shooting situation. Actually, this figure, while essentially true in the aggregate, is markedly skewed by certain shooting variables, Aveni found.

During a 13-year span, the Baltimore County PD, which Aveni regards as one of the best trained in the country, achieved an average hit ratio of 64 percent in daylight shootings - not ideal, but clearly much better than commonly believed. In shootings that occurred in low-light surroundings, however, average hits dropped to 45 percent, a 30 percent decline. The data from Los Angeles County (LAC) reveals a somewhat comparable 24 percent decline.


Boris Bush
December 9, 2007, 02:28 PM
I am not defending the police, but only those who have been in shoot outs should be able to comment. Paper targets stand still and dont shoot back or come at you. You can practice all you want, but the first time you get shot at it will not be anything like the "practice" you are used to. Best way I could describe it would be to go rabbit hunting with your carry or duty weapon (I do it all the time). THey zig and you zag, twigs, branches, trees get in the way, and if you do it without a dog, and start from the holster you get used to the surprise of draw, sight and shoot. It realy works, go try it............

And try and keep track of your hits and misses, all bets are on you will miss more than you hit.....

David Armstrong
December 9, 2007, 04:16 PM
Just a few comments on the issue:
NYPD training is fairly typical for LE training across the country, AFAIK. Some places are better, some are worse, but it is within the norm.
"Hit rates" are not always "hit rates." Always look at how the term is defined and what is included. One agency might define the hit rate as number of BG hit thta they shot at, another agency might define it as the number of bullets hit out of the total fired, and various other combinations.
The data reported is from the NYPD, which is one of the best in the business about collecting and analyzing that stuff. The fact that it was reported in the Times doesn't alter the data.
I too would doubt the 90% hit rate from Washington State, with all due respect to Marty who I think is one of the better trainers out there today. The problem is that unless one can really get into the official data it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get an accurate set of numbers.
Fortunately, as Matt points out, the good guys end up winning most of the time, low hit rate and all!

Spade Cooley
December 9, 2007, 04:57 PM
When an officer gets into a shooting it is a dire situation. Sometimes he is beeing shot at or someone elses life is threatened. Conditions are not ideal like they are at the range. I wonder how good we would be if someone was shooting at us? The LAPD qualifies once a month and they remain profieient. But when the du du hits the fan, a lot of cops miss.

Double Naught Spy
December 9, 2007, 05:22 PM
Of interesting note, while depts count the number of rounds fired and the number of hits on bad guys, they don't always consider the number of rounds fired. For example, in one incident, the Texas Department of Public safety fired 30+ shots from pistols and long guns at short range in one incident without hitting their suspect. Sounds bad, but they were shooting truck tire to disable an 18 wheeler. Those will be 30+ shots that didn't hit the suspect.

Not necessarily, though you might be able to dig some out if you looked hard enough. Marty's got good LEO contacts throughout the state, however, and I'd trust his eyeball estimate in the absence of more compelling data to the contrary.

Here's a quote from a typical study, published in August of 2005 and reported at http://www.policeone.com/writers/col...ticles/117909/

So I take it that in Washington State, the general cop population overall is better than the Baltimore PD, reputed to be one of the best in the country? Just what is the entire WA state police population doing that is not being done in the rest of the country?

December 9, 2007, 05:30 PM
The NYPD rookies suck IMHO.....many of them get out of the academy all
gung ho and ready for their power trip.....

come on, whats with the low hit rates?

and if they are not "gun buffs" like we are then they should probably get another job...I see too many rookies on the street that look like they just barely completed community college, and that they had nowhere else to go....

In a field where your life is at risk, or where you have a duty to serve and protect others, your pistol is your friend, what good is it if you dont know how to use it?

I recall an incident that occurred in brooklyn a few months ago when a russian cop was shot in the mouth while making a routine traffic stop. (3 car theives were in a stolen BMW X5) His partner responded by firing like 10-13 times and guess what??? None of the bullets hit!!!!!!

When I read this on the news I was pissed cuz what if there were bystanders
in the background, or what if the cops bullet ripped thru somebody's house??

The way I see it as a cop, If I'm gonna fire my weapon, my goal would to make a kill...not to miss...

December 9, 2007, 05:35 PM

The remainder of the article details some of the inherent difficulties with data collection, difficulties which you yourself refer to in your initial paragraph.

As with so many other demographic data-collection efforts, almost everything depends upon how you define your terms at the outset.

*shrug* As I said, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, I'll take Marty's eyeball estimate over even the most rigorous study that may not be measuring the same things with the same definitions.


Double Naught Spy
December 9, 2007, 09:55 PM
pax, that is nice and all. I just want to know how it is that cops in WA are so much better than everyone else. What are they doing that is so special and doing it on a statewide basis that other departments, let alone states, have yet to figure out?

Or, is marty's method of estimating somehow different from how the other ranges of stats are compiled?

December 9, 2007, 11:02 PM
I have been to a few qualifications for S.O.s' and have worked with many cops over the years. The number who do not practice on their own is staggering. Perhaps understandable. Police work is not a high paying job, shooting is not a cheap hobby.

Still cops make more than I do and I get my big butt to the range. Since I keep guns handy for HD I consider it a duty to get as much practice as I can.

I have not actually had to fire under stress, but I have come close. I count myself lucky that the other actors decided not to push the envelope. I can say that knowing I can put a shot on target gives a great deal of confidence when push comes to shove.

How do I know this? When I started in Security I was a 260 score of 300 type of shooter. I did not practice. I remember the fear the first time I had a whiff of adrenaline. All of my rounds did not find the massive B27 on the range. That did not help calm me down.

After that I read, read some more and practiced until I shoot High 280s to 300 with anything and everything. I sought informal and formal training.

May not sound like much, but it made a difference to me. I honestly believe the confidence is a turn off to BGs in some cases.

I can not help but wonder what would happen if agencies pursued marksmanship, training, and tactics instead of the latest pistol/round/load to tickle fancies.

People say you don't know what you will do when SHTF until it happens. Perhaps they are right. I like what Colonel Cooper said about that:"Within a small margin of error, one will do what one has trained to do" and "In a crisis you do not rise to the occasion, you default to your training".

Once or twice a year just does not cut it. Every 90 days is a joke. Once a month is enough to stay familiar with your weapon. Once a week and you start to see steady improvement until you reach your potential.

What if every cop followed Bill Hickock's example. Emptied all mags into targets before every shift, cleaned and loaded the weapon before going to work. I bet we would see more hits and eventually fewer bad guys willing to throw down with the blues.

I agree that the range is not combat. But if you can't get it done at the range........

December 9, 2007, 11:48 PM
I dont know, I wonder what kid of rigorous training do swat team members have to go thru?

Is the SWAT team supposed to be comprised of elite, higly trained cops, who are marksmen at using their weapons?

IMHO, I think every LEO, cop, sheriff should be subjected to this kind of training.....

kinda like the US Marine Corps philosophy of "every man a rifleman"

anyhow, I hope to see our police officers perform better on the job when the situation presses them to use deadly force.... by this I mean when they draw their weapon and pull the trigger, every shot should count and land on the intended target.....

IMHO, I dont want to hear of of read anymore stories where a cop unloads 2 full magazines and not land one shot... for this I would be very embarassed to call myself a cop...

December 9, 2007, 11:48 PM
I have talked to some officers here where I live and found that most only fire their firearms when they have to. Most have no real training in high stress situations when they do fire them. Most lack training, lack of funds and most just not into firearms.

December 10, 2007, 12:11 AM
Paper target training alone wont get it done. You have to train under stress. You can shoot paper all you want and be a great shot but give me a guy who can operate under stress and you have a guy who will win a gunfight every time. All the plans go right out the window when the crap hits the blades. Its your training that takes over and the better the trainin the better the results. I get a kick out of the guys who go to the weekend warrior camps and think they are Rambo JR. It just does not work that way!

December 10, 2007, 12:49 AM
I can at least make some observations. (And a Federal Judge once took judicial notice of the fact I am edumacated and can count to at least six. How many of you can say that?)

Most troops working for law enforcement agencies are not shooters, let alone good shots. The men and women on this forum - the lawmen, I mean - are probably very good shots, and head and shoulders and armpits above the average. Most agencies train to a minimum level of competence to be able to say "Our people are trained to the demanding standards set by [fill in the demanding authority here]". But any more training that that is hard on the budget. It takes both budget money and troops off the line. Bad juju to the bean counters and 'administrators'. (If any 'administrator bean counters' are reading this, I'm sorry to sound so critical, but you all know damn good and well I'm telling the truth.)

On the other hand, when it comes to shooting, consider this: Shooting at paper targets that don't move and don't shoot back is a limited skill; but if one cannot connect reliably with a stationary target, one is certainly not going to do better with a hostile, moving target. Unless one is far more lucky than I, or has the magic shooting fairy in one's pocket to bonk one on the head with the magic 'now you can shoot' wand. I for one, will not make book on that bet.

I still maintain a good portion of the problem is the weaponry issued. Far too many people (lawmen and laymen alike, not excluding lawwomen and laywomen) have the I've-got-fifteen-shots-I'm-bound-to-hit-something theory of shooting in mind. Some actually admit it.

If'n I was emperor, I'd issue them all cap and ball guns. When any of them could hit reliably, I'd move the ones so meriting up to cartridge guns.

December 10, 2007, 02:04 AM
Separate from all the other issues of being in a gunfight, such as sudden attack, low light, multiple assailants, shooting while moving, shooting at a moving target, etc. the amount of firearms & tactics training that police receive varies greatly from State to State and Department to Department.

Some agencies only shoot once a year. Some bianually or quarterly (which is what's common in my county) and others do training once a month. How the training is conducted, what the round count is, and how much tactical training is incorporated varies significantly.

For learning skills, distributed practice is better than mass practice, i.e. 150 rnds quarterly is probably better for skill development than shooting 600 rnds in one session once a year.

Some departments do role playing training with AirSoft or FX Simunitions. Others don't because they don't have funding to purchase the equipment, or their administration may not be interested or understand the benefits of such training.

Lots of departments don't have the budget to conduct comprehensive training themselves, and instead combine with other local agencies for in-service training. (That can work pretty well as long as each training session is properly planned in advance. "We'll make it up as we go along" can kind of work if you limit the training to just marksmanship exercises (provided that your instructors are competent and have a good file of courses to work from) but doing training involving building searches or high risk vehicle stops or response to the active shooter takes more coordination to locate an appropriate facility for the training and an adequate supply of properly briefed role-players.)

Training is one of the first things that gets cut when the budget gets tight or staffing levels drop.

In general, the more training the cops get, the better they should perform, provided that the training is of reasonable quality. HOWEVER not everybody absorbs the material and benefits from the training process. (As one guy I used to work with often said "They can order me to go, they can't order me to learn.") Some people just shouldn't be the police.

December 10, 2007, 02:51 AM
anyhow, I hope to see our police officers perform better on the job when the situation presses them to use deadly force.... by this I mean when they draw their weapon and pull the trigger, every shot should count and land on the intended target.....

First, it ain't gonna happen. Why? First, because as long as we use handguns and things get hairy for the cop's life, he's gonna miss occasionally. Secondarily, you aren't willing to pay for it. Yes.. you. And me and your neighbor. The amount of time spent training is paid time not on patrol. And to perform at a level where your miss rate in dire circumstances is below 10% requires a LOT of training. Governments don't have the budget for it and rarely the manpower.

I have talked to some officers here where I live and found that most only fire their firearms when they have to. Most have no real training in high stress situations when they do fire them. Most lack training, lack of funds and most just not into firearms.
Sadly, I think you'll find a lot of police officers are this way. They practice enough to know they'll pass qual and that's it. For most of 'em, firing the gun at the range also means that messy cleaning time when they'd rather be having a beer in front of those NFL cheerleaders. ;)

Archie +1 well said.

I once proposed to our local PD training captain (at a nice BBQ) that he could save a pile of money, which got his attention. Rookies should be issued .38 Special M&P's as their duty weapon until they can shoot better than 75% on a rigorous course of fire. Then they graduate to .357 Magnum, like a 686, until they can fire 75% with duty ammo. Guys who can do that get to graduate to carrying their issue Sig .40. but have to maintain a minimum of 70% or they drop back to the .357. The advantage was that .38 ammo can be had cheap and .357 reloads emulating service ammo can be made up fairly cheap too. For officers wanting more practice, let them buy their own ammo at cost thru the dept. This way, you force the officers to "compete" to be allowed to carry a Sig pistol but they have to maintain ability to stay there. Into the bargain, the cops with six-shooters have to learn to hit their targets without spray & pray tactics. They learn to use their guns effectively instead of like a freakin' hose!

What was the response? "That'd make a shambles of our policy on ammo interchangeabilty! We can't have different calibers in the field!" :rolleyes:

I asked him how many firefights he personally knew of where officers gave another officer extra ammo. I dunno about you guys, but if my partner just squandered 18 .357 rounds without effect and wants more, he can have the shotgun instead. This would be even worse if he'd gone through three 12-17 round magazines without scoring a hit. Why the hell should I give him one of my magazines when he can't hit squat?

But what stunned me was his ignorant retort to that idea - Well, revolvers are so unreliable, we can't use those for duty! :confused: I found out later that this particular captain grew up with autoloaders for duty and had never fired a revolver. Why confuse him with facts? :rolleyes:

Oddly enough, during the time when police were transitioning to pistols from revolvers, it was the mark of a "seasoned veteran" to see a wheelgun in the holster. :D New graduates were being given 9mm's while the senior guys could still carry their .357's. Some agencies completely transistioned to autos, but allowed the senior guys to carry 1911's if they qualified with them. But standing around a bunch of cops you could tell who the real shooters were -- no 9mm in the holster.

December 10, 2007, 06:34 AM
"Shooting at paper targets that don't move and don't shoot back is a limited skill; but if one cannot connect reliably with a stationary target, one is certainly not going to do better with a hostile, moving target." (from Archie)

ABSOLUTELY!! If they can't perform to a high level on the square range in the training environment, they probably won't do very well in the midst of a gunfight at 2 in the morning. Conversely, just because you CAN perform well on regular marksmanship drills doesn't necessarily mean that you'll do well out on the street, it just means that you've begun the journey to mastering the necessary skills.

There are always budget limitations in most any training activity that the police or military services are involved in. Some agencies have lots of money and others can barely keep their squad cars running, and most are somewhere in between.

And there are usually staffing issues as well -- anybody in training is NOT on duty answering calls. If your agency is running at a staffing level significantly below what is required, you won't be going to any specialized training and regular inservice training may be condensed or eliminated.

Marty Hayes
December 10, 2007, 12:26 PM
First, the 90% figure is an estimate only based on no research, but simply recalling a few of the recent shootings that I remember. It may be too high, but since no one tracks them here in this state, my estimate is as good as any.

As far as what WA state does differently, first off we have an 80 hour academy training course, taught by professionals who actually are current in tactics and techinques. The academy staff rotates through from different departments, and the individuals who do the basic training are first rate, or they wouldn't be there. We have no institutionalized doctrine or stodgy range instructors protecting their fifedoms.

Secondly, we have an active instructor association, which is one of the best in the country, and who put on instructor training several times a year. Each year, hundreds of trainers get undated training material to take back to their agencies. People who have taught at these association gatherings include, John Farnam, Bank Miller, Phil Singleton, Massad Ayoob, to name just a few off the top of my head.

Additionally, the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (of which I am a charter member) came up with a recommended training regime for departments, consisting of at least 16 hours of in-service training annually, with the following subject matters being addressed in this training.

Moving Targets
Low light
Shooting while moving
Multiple adversaries

This is just a few of the subject areas I remember off the top of my head, and I am not saying all departments do a good job of training, because I know they don't, but the majority do make a good faith effort to train well.

We don't have a lot of shootings in WA state. I attribute this to good training and tactics first. But, what shootings do occur, are invariably handled with just a few shots fired, and those shots striking the target. I cannot recall the last time an officer was shot in an actual exchange of gunfire.

I am not saying we have better officers here, nor do we necessarily have better training than other states, but we do a pretty good job here.

December 10, 2007, 02:29 PM
If'n I was emperor, I'd issue them all cap and ball guns. When any of them could hit reliably, I'd move the ones so meriting up to cartridge guns.

+1+1+1 and an AMEN! I was thinking more along the lines of Taurus 82s....

Secondarily, you aren't willing to pay for it. Yes.. you. And me and your neighbor. The amount of time spent training is paid time not on patrol. And to perform at a level where your miss rate in dire circumstances is below 10% requires a LOT of training.

True that - BUT we already have payed. first they dumped the revolvers and got nines. Now they are getting "more stopping power". Our staties just went from Sigs to other Sigs in the same caliber with some gizmo added or subtracted. FOR G-D'S SAKE JUST MAKE THEM SHOOT MORE!!!!

A man with a revolver is not "outgunned" by a thug with a high cap unless he can't shoot. Way back in the day law dogs with single action colts acquitted themselves against crooks with all manner of fancy gadgetry.

IMHO Don Johnson on Miami Vice had more to do with cops getting semi-automatics than anything else. I now use pistols regularly. AFTER becoming competent with a wheelgun.

December 10, 2007, 07:20 PM
Yes, a 17 or 18% hit ratio is terible. Yes, many cops only fire their weapons when required. Yes, more training would be a darn good idea.

So what is the solution? More training takes time. So do we have officers spend less time on the street, or skip court appearances, or throw some of the paperwork in the trash, or give up more of their family time?

December 10, 2007, 07:37 PM
Well when I was an SPO I had less money than a cop, no departmental facilities, and much more hassle getting my weapon to a range. But I managed.

I firmly believe that my not having to shoot at anybody was directly related to my confidence with my weapon. Might be wrong, but that's what I believe.

The Secret service builds training time, including physical fitness into their schedule. Not all departments have it like that is my guess.

You are right, nobody wants to pay for it. We need to find a way. Or simply set higher standards for armed officers and let them earn it. Enough people want to wear the tin and the iron that they will do what they have to do.

Right now what they have to do leaves them coming up short.

It's even worse with armed security officers/guards. That rank and file generally makes cops look like training fiends. Again, raise the standards.

Making the min qual 280 or higher would stop a bunch of nonsense if accompanied with a strong written exam.

Right now I can out shoot most Security and LEOs. If I were working I would want my skill much higher.

I ain't working and I still constantly try to improve my skills. I owe it to the people around me for my right to have a gun. I am seeking more instruction and practice daily, try to get live fire once a week.

Why should somebody who does less get a gun and a badge?

I know the hard realities are hard to get by, just talking idealism here.

Double Naught Spy
December 10, 2007, 08:17 PM
Why should somebody who does less get a gun and a badge?

Because being a cop isn't all about shooting. That is why. My pop did 21 years with Dallas PD and never fired his revolver in the line of duty. Many cops never do. For most cops, counseling skills are more critical to their daily activities than shooting. Hand to hand personnel control is more critical. Driving skills are more critical. Lots of skills are either more critical in that they are used on a daily basis or that they are used far more frequently in officer defense than firearms. It is hard to find a cop that is good at everything the job requires and the job requires being good at a lot of things.

Deaf Smith
December 10, 2007, 08:48 PM
Keep in mind these things:

1. Cops tend to have to react to being attacked and are not the ones starting the festivies.

2. Yes, bad lighting and other factors make it hard to shoot strait (like the attacker just won't stand still!)

3. 15 shot autos tend to allow the shooter to fire more rounds faster, even if they hit the attacker the attacker may take time to drop, and thus the cop keeps shooting to make sure the threat is down.

4. All organizations, cops or civilian, teach at least to fire twice (and there are those that teach to shoot them to the ground.

If the NYPD actually get past 30 percent hit rate with the little training they receive in shooting I say that ain't bad at all considering.

December 10, 2007, 08:55 PM
Double Naught,

Well said!

When you look at what cops need to be able to do, shooting is a very small (probably about the smallest) part of their job. Not all cops are alike. Some are very "people oriented" and their skills at defusing a situation are excellent. Others know the law and the procedures but couldn't calm down an angry little old lady. Still others can shoot the gonads off a fly, but they write lousy reports. And on it goes.

One thing common to most cops is an ego. They do consider themselves "better" than civilians (for the most part) and they can be competitive.

That's why I think starting rookies out with a wheelgun will teach them ammo management during training and force them to avoid letting situations escalate because they don't have a bunch of ammo to rely on.

I'm glad your father never had to fire his gun in the line of duty. I'm sure he was able to use his "people skills" along with some other skills to avoid it.

December 10, 2007, 08:56 PM
Any of you previous posters:

What was your hit ratio the last time you were in a shootout? Not your paper target score, your hits on another person in a shootout, using a handgun? Were your hits on another person shooting back at you as well centered as from the three-yard line during your last practice session?

The only gunfight I was ever in I was off-duty and unarmed, until I dragged the wounded officer (shot three times with a .357mag) from the kill zone, THEN I went and armed myself.

Stress makes you do unusual things, sometimes STUPID things. When my buddy in this incident was shot (disarmed by a mental patient and shot with his own gun, in our small city jail) I was the training officer at the PD at the time...my first response was to run TO, not away from, but TO the gun fire and give aid to the officer, not to arm myself. Actually, I was talking to the chief of police about some training films I had showed the night before. When the first three shots went off, I asked the chief for his sidearm...but he never carried one on him! So,unarmed, I ran into the jail's booking area where the shot officer collapsed.

Had I been armed, I don't know what my respopnse would have been, but I would have been better off and better able to deal with the shooter. If I had shot, I very well could have missed him, I was REALLY jacked up at the time. (Talk about adrenenlin rush and tunnel vision!) I know that now, but it never crossed my mind while the wounded officer needed help, and I was trying to get him to safety. In actuality, the shooter was handcuffed to a cell door, but none of us knew that at the time. After I got the officer to safety and armed myself, we found the shooter cowering in his cell. He was cuffed and taken to the local hospital for observation. Not one unkind hand was laid on him, BTW.

I've been a cop for > 30 years and never had to use my weapon. I am an above average shooter in my department, a APOST certified firearms instructor since 1983, and a "gun guy", and shoot probably more than anyone in my department of 30, save one or two. My ageing eysight and diabetes is taking its toll also. I go looking for trouble way less now than I used to. But I don't run from it either.

I reload my practice ammo because I can't afford enough factory ammo to shoot as much as I do.

The dynamics of a gunfight are far and away from the conditions at the range. Til you've been in a gunfight where the very real possibility exists you may be shot and killed, please don't cast dispersions on those who have shot back, and didn't land 100% of all their rounds center-mass.

This post sounds harsh, but I've actually toned it down a little.

Mods, please remove it if you'd like, no problem with that.

NOW: Lessons learned the hard way:

For several months, some of the officers had been to the chief about setting forth a policy that each officer remove and secure his sidearm(s) prior to going into the jail. The chief, being of the old school, refused, because he believed you might need it while you in the lock-up area.

He was an "old-timer" and more importantly, he was the chief, so what he said went.

Some of us had good-naturedly "ragged" him about not wearing a sidearm(hopeing he'd catch the hint, and start "packing")...his response was that he was big enough that he didnt need one on his person, and always had one "close-by".

After the shooting, we got the gun-lock boxes, and the chief (now retired) was never unarmed again.

The officer that was shot has recovered fully, the gunshots were thru and thru flesh wounds. He serves as the current chief of that department.

I'm real careful about where I go and what I do when I'm unarmed, which is not often:cool:

I expect to catch some flack about this post, but time for some of the "pitiful-shooting" guys in blue to post back.

If combat shooting was easy, anybody could do it.

December 10, 2007, 09:25 PM
FM12, no flames from me sir, God bless you.....

you have my respect...

December 10, 2007, 10:24 PM
The point that a cop has more to do than shoot is a salient one.

Cars are more deadly than guns in my view, in total body count annually anyhow, so yes driving is important.

The ability to articulate in writing and verbally on the witness stand is huge.

Observation skills, safe driving, people skills, verbal judo, the other judo or some method of controlling violent subjects without blowing the municipal budget defending lawsuits, note taking, stamina and endurance. All of these come into play more than marksmanship.

As an armed security guard and special police officer I was mortified at the attitude of most of my co-workers and many cops regarding gun handling skills. It seemed that many thought the high capacity magazine and a through knowledge of action movies would carry the day.

When such topics come up in downtime chat sessions, it is amazing how often you hear "Hey I've got (X number of) rounds....." .

Or in D.C. where Specials carried .38s "Man, I only got six rounds and those drug boys.....". Better to stay home with that mindset. Either of the above actually.

I still say if you have a gun, and plan on using it -at home, as a citizen with a permit, as a security guard, as a cop, on the public range to cut paper on weekends - you owe a duty to exercise a reasonable level of care and hone your skill and safety habits to the highest level you are capable of.

To do less is IMHO negligent. What I perceive to be the current trend of upgrading weapons instead of raising standards disturbs me.

When crack took off, cops were complaining about being out gunned by gang members with high capacity automatic and semiautomatic weapons. So instead of making them better shots we gave them more ammunition.

My perception could be off. I could be wrong. Maybe giving out better weapons that hold more ammo is better than stressing marksmanship.

Yes many cops go a career without drawing, much less shooting their weapon. Yes it is a small part of the job.

In our current society, when it all goes terribly wrong the thin blue line are the designated shooters. How can you take that responsibility and not try to do your best?

I did not start my adult life as a "gun person". I used to hate shooting until I realized that by wearing a weapon to work I was making a contract with the client and the jurisdiction that licensed me. That contract is a serious one, deadly serious.

So just like taking notes, writing reports, learning to deal with people, knowing first aid and cpr, restraining subjects without injuring them, - gun handling became a critical skill.

I have no dispersions to cast on anybody who has had to fire their weapon for the results. My quarrel is with training and minimum standards.

If you tell an officer "you will qualify every six months with a minimum score of 80% to be able to work the street" you can't very well be upset with the results.

For sure pulling your weapon in a tense situation is way different than taking aim at a paper target, so actually using it must also be different.

No I was never in a shootout. Have been plenty scared though. Have had to pull my weapon and deal with a situation when I would have rather had a good cry and wet my pants. It is way different than the range no question.

Still say that if you can't get it done on stationary paper targets maybe carrying a gun and looking for trouble should not be your bag.

Massad Ayoob also formed a sound theory backed by data that officers who compete in marksmanship matches are more likely to survive a gunfight than those who don't.

Shooting under the stress of competition carries over from what can be derived in his quarter century of research in the realm of Officer Survival. It may exist but we haven't heard of any agency mandated competitions.

I would be willing to take a bump on my property tax to fund a league, buy more ammo etc. Heck they bump us for stupid stuff, why not for a sound idea?

December 10, 2007, 11:06 PM
Under stress, your fine motor skills go out the window, and if the assailant is armed, you tend to focus on the weapon, not neccesarily your backstop or surroundings. Add to this that most shootings occur during the night, and police are reacting to a threat, so usually the perp has the upper hand, and you have a tough situation to be in.
I doubt many on this forum, when put into a similar situation, would fair much better than the stated 18-20%.
When you look at the details 18-20% isn't that bad.

December 10, 2007, 11:32 PM
You guys need to give the cops a break here. Those stats. are taken from instances occurring under the worst circumstances in one of the most anti-gun areas. If you really want to see lousy hit rates look at the stats. for almost any military encounter the US has been in since Vietnam.
Their job isn’t to shoot people. The reason they carry a pistol is the same as you… to protect themselves in an emergency.
That being said, I was amazed when I got my Pistol Instructor certification. We had an informal match after the class was over. Without any exceptions, the shooters’ scores were grouped perfectly by their backgrounds. At the bottom were all the cops, then the security guards, and at the top were the "gun nuts". I’m a gun nut:) but I wasn’t the best gun nut.:(
The cops got their panties in a twist, and made excuses about the .22s we were shooting, how they were used to their own weapons, etc. So… we left the indoor range and drove over to the outdoor range. Everyone used their defense pistol and the results were basically the same(a couple of cops did better than one security guard).
Keep in mind this was an unscientific sample and the cops shot really well by objective standards. My take on the match is that the gun nuts were there out of a love of the shooting sports and a desire to teach others about their passion(and probably had shot more). The cops were there because it was part of their job.
In the match, the only guys under any pressure were the cops and that, because of their pride. The results might have well been different if all were under pressure … much less (God forbid) … life and death pressure.
It was really fun "rubbin it in" though.:D:D:D

December 11, 2007, 12:17 AM
The topic is hit rate in police shootouts. I say given that few departments require greater than 80% accuracy on a paper target the hit rate is where it should be. My position is that this can be improved upon.

Higher standards are not used for a reason. One I don't understand. To my feeble mind it is simple. Practice more, train more, get better results in dire situations.

Do elite military units train harder for the sheer unadulterated thrill of it? Or because the old adage "more sweat on the parade ground means less blood on the battle ground" is a sound one?

When you have four guys in a crowded city shooting 42 times and hitting 19 at distance measured in feet, something ain't quite right.

Is it the fault of the individual officer? When I had to ask that question of myself I said yes. Companies and agencies have some culpability in the state of affairs, but it is the individual who straps on the gun and goes to work.

For seven years my guns were cased. When reality shattered my tranquil world view training resumed. I don't carry at work or ccw. My decision to keep a loaded gun at home dictates that I strive to be the safest best operator possible

Before I get another permit to carry there will be more training. Practice and training will continue as long as a gun is kept ready to use.

Should a cop do less? Given their responsibility IMO they should do all they can. YMMV.

Will doing so improve their hit ratio in defensive shootings? It can't hurt.

Cut cops some slack? Nope. I care too much about them to make excuses. If you carry a gun, be the best gun handler you can be or leave it locked up and unloaded.

In regular outings to various ranges an army of angry bikers and Al Queda members hell bent on keeping cops from practicing or competing has never been encountered. No slack.

Police get my full trust and cooperation any time they say so. In return competence is expected.

P.S. in any case, this has been a most interesting discussion. My thanks to the LEOs for their input and their service.

December 11, 2007, 07:49 AM
Well said, Perldog007, thanks. It has been an interesting discussion, I agree.

My gratitude and appreciation to all the LEOs for their dedication to everything they do--way beyond handgun training.

December 11, 2007, 08:21 AM
I think for the LEO's who cant hit their targets, their pistols should be taken away, and they should only be issued nightsticks and flashlights instead...

Marty Hayes
December 11, 2007, 10:49 AM
IdahoG36, do you have first had knowledge of this when you said:

"Under stress, your fine motor skills go out the window, and if the assailant is armed, you tend to focus on the weapon, not neccesarily your backstop or surroundings" ?

The reason I ask, is that the foregoing is for the most part alleviated by good training. This was a common myth perpetuated a decade ago by people advocating point shooting over sighted fire, but real life incidents regarding well trained officers have indicated that good training helps overcome the effects of stress. In one of our advanced level training classes, we get the student's heart rate up to 160-200 beats per minute, then force them to shoot a demanding course requiring fine and complex motor skills, and they do just fine.

Dave in AZ
December 11, 2007, 10:49 AM
I know that when the cops here in Phx use deadly force they use enought ot get the job done. I don't recall hearing any wounded perps when they go up against the PD here.

However when I lived in Cincinnati, It took 10X more collateral damage to get the bad guys to die. I recall one incident in particualt that 17+ rounds were fired at a suspect and he got hit in the arm.

Realistic training and practice. Thats all there is to it. It strikes me as odd, very odd that the departemnts would rather pay collateral damage lawsuits than to spend a few extra bucks developing a stress sceanrio 1x per month course.

I wonder how much collateral damage lawsuit costs have been over the years. Is it legal in every state to sue the PD dept for killing a family member who was sleeping behind a wall were a bad guy decided to make his last stand?

I have shot with a few cops over the years. Colorado State Patrol, Phx Pd, Ohio state patrol and Cincinnanti PD. The formal training is barely equivalent of that of an army basic recruit. Enough to get familair and not drop the weapons. Not enough to get good. That only comes on their own or with specific training.

December 11, 2007, 10:53 AM
Yeah, punching paper is easy. Everyone knows that. And some cops can't do it. Everybody knows that too. But if the average gun hobbyist thinks they are better, I seriously doubt it.

Punching paper isn't combat. And unless you've had a weapon pointed at you and returned fire, or at least played simunitions or maybe paintball you really aren't going to impress me with your record on stationary silhouettes or bowling pins. Hell, most "good shots" get embarrassed for the first 500 rounds they fire at turning silhouettes.

December 11, 2007, 10:58 AM
I think for the LEO's who cant hit their targets, their pistols should be taken away, and they should only be issued nightsticks and flashlights instead...

perhaps a sound idea, but might not work in the real world. Somebody has to wear the tin and funny clothes and drive the squad car to the address that the call came from.

Still I am frustrated when I see our Staties (the only law 'round here) at the store buying their old sigs because they are getting new SAO sigs in the same caliber.

I say to myself "Self, what if they bought the nice troopers an annual membership here and six hundred bucks of practice ammo instead?. Or how about driving them up to New Hampshire for a level 1 LFI class. Or maybe over to Craig Collins' school in Maryland for a class or three instead?"

So let's review. We have these brave officers most of whom only shoot when they have to and only carry because it is required. Their marksmanship is minimal and most gun nuts would shame them in a match.

Hey! Let's give them different versions of the same caliber pistol! That's going to save the day!! It's not a lack of skill here, it's that durn DA/SA transition that is making them miss :barf:

With management thinking like that, all over the country is the hit ratio any mystery?

All this back and forth about whether cops should train and practice more reminds me of old joke about the theater.

Everyone was in their seats waiting for the curtain when the manager of the Theater came on stage looking upset.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that the star of our show has just died from a heart attack and there will be no performance tonight".

A little old lady in the back of the house yelled "Give him an enema".

The manager said " I am sorry, there seems to be some misunderstanding, our lead actor is dead and we cannot put on the show".

Again, the voice came from the back of the theater "Give him an enema!".

The manager became agitated and proclaimed "Lady, the man is dead and an enema is not going to do him any good!".

Came the reply "But it won't do him any harm".

Some people put little stock in practicing presentations and acquiring sight pictures, dry firing with snap caps, practicing clearing malfunctions, drawing BUGs etc...

Range time, dry firing practice and competition may not help when the balloon goes up. My opinion is that it will. It won't make them any worse than no practice for sure though.

My pop did 21 years with Dallas PD and never fired his revolver in the line of duty. Many cops never do.

We know from the Lott study that most guns used by citizens for SD are never fired. Does that mean we should save our ammo money? Following that line of reasoning to the extreme why even load the gun? At home or on Duty? We know better and we know why.

David Armstrong
December 11, 2007, 12:04 PM
Right now what they have to do leaves them coming up short.
Got to disagree. As Matt said earlier, the cops win most of the time. In fact, the cops win almost all the time. So even with a low hit rate the job gets done. If you want to have them spend more time on something, shooting is way down on the list, IMO. Spend that time and money teaching them communication skills, H2H, or a variety of other things that might make a difference. My $.02.

David Armstrong
December 11, 2007, 12:17 PM
The reason I ask, is that the foregoing is for the most part alleviated by good training. This was a common myth ....
With all due respect, Marty, that "common myth" is far from a myth. Yes, the stress reaction can be reduced/delayed with extensive training and/or advanced warning, but it has been shown to be so common in so much research that to call it a myth is a bit questionable. In fact, for the typical gun carrier I'd suggest it is common enough that it should be considered an expected response, particularly in the initial stages of a violent encounter.

December 11, 2007, 12:48 PM
the cops win almost all the time

That is a fact and a great point. Since today I am limiting my weapon handling to presentations, reloads and dry firing, and I am on vacation please indulge me while I go extreme keyboard commando on this point purely for the sake of debate.

"Sorry Suzie, your father was really good a communications person and hand to hand fighter because of his training. He won almost all the gunfights....."

It seems that we have debated ourselves into a police state. The police are what they are and can't be superpeople.

The only practical solution is to do what we are doing. Be responsible for our own safety to the extent that we are able. Give LEO our support whenever possible.

And rag on them to improve their own skills beyond department minimums. Be it hand to hand, communication and psychology, gun handling, defensive or tactical driving.

At the end of the day LEOs are just people. Like me and you. Most of us go out of our way to improve our skill at arms because we see it as a necessary skill. Most of us are smart enough to know that the gun is not an amulet and does not keep us safe just by having one.

Fortunately many LEOs think the same way and strive to improve all of their skills for their sake and ours. Unfortunately some don't.

Tragically in my estimation, too much time and money is spent on the latest gear in feel good measures and not enough on skills.

December 11, 2007, 01:46 PM
The post about security guards is so true its not funny. Most of the Agencies around here, do not even pay or provide any training. Tho they do prefreer if you get some. Only 2, one armored car company and one normal security company pay for training. albiet they only go to a Static range. Where they cant do any real practicing other then bullseye.

The situation with security guards is worse then that of the police IMHO. Most armed security officers around here get $7-$9hr. The average charge, per protected hour charged by some of the bigger companies here, is $42hr. That covers the pay of the officer and provides a hell of alot of profits. Alot of the armed companies wont provide any kind of indepth training unless the client site pays for it. Tho the people who represent the security company never push for a training budget. The only sight i know of that gets comprehensive training, is a Nuclear power plant out of state, that Securitas provides security for. Those guards get alot of pay and training.

Based on my experiance, the owners of the security companies are unwilling to pay for training, and when they do pay, they get the worst kind they can get. They wont pay for equipment, so some guards end up with craptastic guns and gear. Then, when a guard does pay out of pocket for his own training at a quality school, they refuse to pay him what he is worth.

Being a armed security guard is a dangerous profession, we dont get payed what were worth, no one thinks were worth a damn, and refuse to invest any money in quality training and equipment. Security companies have a horrible guard turnover rate, mostly due to guards getting higher payed jobs in other sectors, but they also have to fire alot of crappy guards. Then the bosses wounder and bitch and moan about all the crappy guards and lement the fact they cant find any quality guards. The problem with finding quality guards is the fact that they wont get the pay they deserve, and are treated like crap.

December 11, 2007, 01:46 PM
The good old days...

NYPD 1990 (mostly DA 38 revolvers)

Gunfight defines any incident during which both the perpetrator and the
member of the service were armed.

67 gunfights
Number of shots fired: 548
Number of hits: 105
Hit Rate: 19.2%
Number of MOS firing: 125
Shots per MOS: 4.4
Shots per gunfight: 8.2

Total number of perpetrators involved: 74
Total number of shots fired by perps: 190
Total number of hits by perpetrators: 12
Hit Rate: 6.3%

The bottom line:

Perpetrators killed: 13
Perpetrators wounded: 24
M.O.S. killed: 0
M.O.S. wounded: 13

The more things change (6 shooters to 16 shooters), the more they stay the same (hit rates).

Gunfight hit rates:

1990: 19% (67 gunfights, 105 hits of 548 shots, 8.2 per gunfight)
2000: 9% (11 gunfights, 16 hits of 185 shots, 16.8 per gunfight
2005: 8% (16 gunfights, 23 hits of 276 shots, 17.2 per gunfight)
2006: 30% (13 gunfights, 43 hits of 144 shots, 11 per gunfight)

The stress is different when it's for real. Most hunters do not shoot game in the field as well as paper at the range, and the game isn't shooting back.

Charles S
December 11, 2007, 04:52 PM
In fact, the cops win almost all the time. So even with a low hit rate the job gets done.

Right...I agree most all the time. However take a look at the outcome and the number of police it takes to win when the police are actually confronted with trained, well motivated, well armed criminals.

I will be the first to admit that it does not happen that often, but when it does the police generally have a very tough time.

David Armstrong
December 11, 2007, 05:35 PM
At the end of the day LEOs are just people. Like me and you. Most of us go out of our way to improve our skill at arms because we see it as a necessary skill.
But you are selective at what you improve, and I'll bet you improve those things you have fun at. Have you taken a high-speed driving course? How many black belts in different martial arts do you have? Are you at the peak of your physical fitness level? Probably not, even though those things are far more likely to help you survive than your gun skills. Most of us are in the same boat. Cops are no different. Some like to shoot, some don't.

December 11, 2007, 07:23 PM
Actually, I am a fat guy who hates the gym. I spent a year at the Ninja Academy in Ventnor NJ training in full contact and did two years of wrestling in H.S.

No black belts, held my own in more than my fair share of scuffles.

When I was in the trade got my chubby butt on a Nordic Track and could outrun much svelter folk in the short race. Believe me that twenty minutes was not my favorite part of the day. It was needed to relieve stress and allow me to move my big butt quickly on demand.

Never worked out of a car, but took and still take defensive driving courses for safety and insurance discounts. No use for high speed driving.

Still work out with kettlebells, nobody could mistake me for being in top shape unless you consider round the top shape.

Studied and worked hard on report writing and note taking. Played Kim's Games with other old timers during down time to sharpen observation.

Learned to do paperwork associated with arrests and behave in court.

Took correspondence courses and became a Certified Protection Officer, not required for any job I had.

To repeat myself, found no joy in going to the range at first. Pretty damn embarrassing to miss the whole target at fifteen yards when some goober in the next lane is cutting out the x ring.

Also, range fees and ammo can be pretty harsh on what a SPO/SO takes home.

Enjoyment of shooting took a while. Started out like anybody else. Wore the gun because I had to. Would have rather had a dog.

Because all aspects of the job were serious to me and staying out of jail/civil court/emergency rooms/morgues was a priority this cat tried to learn something constantly.

Yes I did spend a disproportionate amount of money on weapons, ammo, instruction, range time, reading material related to shooting. Since using deadly force is the gravest function of the trade took it very seriously.

Also read Marc MacYoung's streetfighting books and paid extra attention to the chapters about staying out of a fight. Massad Ayoobs "In the Gravest Extreme" was another good book.

Took courses in O.C. spray, straight baton and the pr24. Worked on blade techniques. Studied first aid and was basic first aid cpr certified. Took defensive tactics classes. None of my classes were company paid except the CPO correspondence course and the CPR class.

I also did a fair amount of unarmed work in D.C. :eek: Union Station Security carried nothing but radios and handcuffs. We got down on a nightly basis. In fact when I was first sworn in as an SPO my commission was unarmed/no uniform. Was still required to make arrests just like a real cop.

This thread is hit ratio in police shootings. I never said the job was all about shooting, that was attributed to me.

What I said and still say is that if you carry a gun, or keep one loaded to use at home, or even just shoot at the range on weekends - you owe a duty to exercise a reasonable level of care. That's common law and common sense.

To me, IMHO that means being the best safest operator you can be. My position is that such takes more training and practice than most cops get.

I feel it is foolish to upgrade weapons to compensate for lack of skill. Given the state of training requirements in general, the low hit rate does not surprise me.

People can swear to the heavens that range skill does not apply in a gunfight. Haven't been there but have come damn close and don't believe them. Practicing, training and competing makes handling your weapon second nature.

I know from unarmed combat (which I have plenty of experience at, that's what working unarmed in D.C. gets you) that practice pays off when the chips are down.

When you get the adrenaline dump because an adversary has engaged you in hand to hand combat with the intention of injuring you that is not the time to think about what you are going to do.

I know my fat butt was much more adept at taking suspects down and controlling them than more muscular men, even those with some boxing skills.
I had endlessly practiced putting opponents on the ground and controlling them and it worked even when I was pretty scared.

That put me way ahead of big muscular officers who were learning on the job.

Training no good in a real fight? That not what my son tells me. He is a Marine with two trips to the sandbox. He doesn't poo poo the value of cutting paper targets either. Haven't had much problem with him lying to me so I will accept the Corporal's estimate. YMMV.

Marty Hayes
December 12, 2007, 09:01 AM
I see I caught you in my verbal net.

You said:

"With all due respect, Marty, that "common myth" is far from a myth."

Referring to my post responding to IdahoG36, when he said:

"Under stress, your fine motor skills go out the window, and if the assailant is armed, you tend to focus on the weapon, not neccesarily your backstop or surroundings?"

When I said it was a common myth, I was referring to fine motor skills going out the window, (like they are gone from the building). Sure, they deteriate, but when under stress, if a person train sufficiently, you retain enough fine motor skills to handle just about any problem.

Secondly, when he said "you tend to focus on the weapon" I would also agree for the untrained, but for the trained, while he might initially fixate on the weapon in an assessment, he will re-focus on the sights to take the shot. That is why we so many shots clustered around the weapon, because they are pointing in that direction when they line up the sights and use their fine motor skills to squeeze the trigger.

All my best, my friend.

David Armstrong
December 12, 2007, 02:18 PM
I see I caught you in my verbal net.
Darn it, not again!:D
Sure, they deteriate, but when under stress, if a person train sufficiently, you retain enough fine motor skills to handle just about any problem.
No real disagreement. I thought I was clear with that when I said "the stress reaction can be reduced/delayed with extensive training and/or advanced warning,...."
My only real point of contention is when people call it a myth. May be semantics, but to me the myth categorization seems way off base when it is so regularly encountered.
All my best, my friend.
And to you and the better (and prettier) half. Enjoy the holidays!

December 12, 2007, 03:17 PM
There is way more to this than marksmanship skills. NYPD's hit rate on dogs (smaller targets) is 2-6 times better than on people.

Looking at NYPD and Metro Dade stats there appears to be no "statistical significance between range and street efficacy".

"Since most of the shootings examined in this research involved perpetrators who were highly animated when shot at by police, until such time that police handgun qualifications involve naturally and randomly moving targets, and until such time we can simulate life-threatening dynamics during handgun qualification, direct comparisons are largely senseless. In addition, as much as trainers may wish to pursue this angle to more definitive conclusions, future efforts at quantifying the relationship between range and street efficacy will likely be further complicated by the fact that most agencies have adopted “pass-fail” qualification protocols.
However tenuous the relationship between range proficiency and street proficiency may seem with the sparse data available, it should never be used as an excuse to short-change training. Training isn’t just a means by which we foster firearms competency, it is a means by which we attempt to assure the use of lethal force within legal and procedural parameters."

Above from:

"Officer Involved Shootings: What We Didn't Know Has Hurt Us" by Aveni of the Police Policy Studies Council.

Research Summary of Facts
To encapsulate and contrast the conclusions reached through the course of this research, the following observations are offered:
1. It appears that using officer hit ratio data from metropolitan law enforcement agencies has skewed our expectations. Individual hit ratios may be substantially higher than previously thought. Since bunch-shooting data was seldom (if ever) segregated from other officer hit ratios, we might surmise that much of the historical metro police shooting data has been misleading. Shootings involving singular officers appear to have hit ratios approaching (if not exceeding) 50%.
2. Mistake-of-Fact shootings remain a troublesome issue, representing 18-33%of police shootings.
3. Bunch-shootings seem to increase the number of rounds fired per officer by at least 45%, and reduce per officer hit ratios by as much as 82%.
4. Bunch-shootings may very well influence the nature in which officers utilize deadly force through the manner in which judgment and reactions are influenced (e.g., MOF shootings, associative threat identification, sympathetic firing impulse, etc.).
5. Low light shootings account for at least 60% of police applications of deadly force. They seem to diminish police hit ratios by as much as 30%. Low light also accounts for as many as 75% of all mistake-of-fact shootings.
6. Applications of deadly force seem to be more frequently preceded by unsuccessful attempts to employ less-lethal alternatives.

Can find the .pdf at the Police Policy Studies Council: http://www.theppsc.org/

Another good source of info is Force Science News:


And of course, there is always our own personal experience, collected war stories, and the errornet. ;)

December 12, 2007, 03:26 PM
I shall make it a point to NEVER live there. In fact that makes me fear for my sister in law's safety. If she wasn't so insistent in pursuing a career as a Broadway star I'd have her move out of there ASAP.

December 13, 2007, 12:12 AM

I totally understand man.... NYC/NYS is such an anti-gun state that it just sickens me......

I read the NYPD blotter from time to time in the newspaper. Its a list of all the crime that took place in the city each day, and its documented by the cops.

Wheter it be robbery, murder, rape, shootings, assault...... the bad guy always gets away with the crime, and the victim usually goes to the hospital badly injured, or worse ends up dead.

Why? Because the frigging NYPD normally takes about 10 minutes on average to arrive at a crime scene once the crime has been committed.
They just come, take statements, collect evidence, pick up dead bodies and send survivors to the hospital.

Why is that the average citizen is not allowed to protect him/herself??

maybe its just that we give too much reliance and trust to the NYPD to protect us when they really cant....

For example, I work in a bank, and I always feel safe, why? because there is a lot of car and foot traffic that passes by my bank all day long. There also usually is a cop or two standing in front directing traffic, and there usually is an undercover walking the streets looking for cabbies to pull over.

I need to friggin get outta this expensive, overly crowded, hell hole one of these days....