View Full Version : Just goes to show how effective the range is

May 20, 2011, 10:58 AM

This is an interesting read from Handgun Magazine. Shows how effective or ineffective training at the range may be.

January 4, 2012, 10:48 AM
Thanks for the post here. I found it helpful, and will change what some of my focus is at the range.

January 4, 2012, 11:11 AM
This is very interesting, especially in light of the constant chorus of voices insisting you should take your sharpest point of focus from the assailant to your front sight.

January 4, 2012, 11:22 AM
Interesting, but not surprising.

Bear in mind, though - SWAT guys tend to be shooters. Odds are those guys have lots and lots of muscle memory, and a tactile feel for where their guns are pointed. Odds are they don't need to do more than check a flash picture at reasonable range.

Most new shooters can't do that, hence the chorus singing "Focus on the fundamentals!"

When you have decent basic mechanics, try USPSA or IDPA. Find out where those shooters get to practice draw and shoot, move and shoot, etc. Try to practice there.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 4, 2012, 12:03 PM
I think Mleake assessed it correctly. The article says that SWAT officer's eye movements are consistent with a flash sight picture while rookies spent too much time re-verifying sight alignment. SWAT officers, who have more rounds downrange/experience, spend less time confirming their sight alignment and once aligned, shot the target instead of checking alignment yet again. Shocking findings.

How did they get to that level of confidence and speed? Probably with a lot of time spent verifying the sight alignment in training so that it was second nature.

January 4, 2012, 01:10 PM
The "Flash Front Sight Picture" has been one of the four fundamentals of Jeff Cooper's Modern Technique of the pistol since the 1960's.

He was teaching it when I was at Gunsite back in the dark ages. :)


January 4, 2012, 01:42 PM
Range???? I'm not sure its the Range, I think its more of an attitude.

Lets take the Cop Vs SWAT concept. Most SWAT guys shoot better then most cops.


Its Attitude. There are shooters and non shooters among cops. Some want to shoot, some don't. SWAT guys are volunteers, never heard of a department that forces cops into their SWAT programs.

Most SWAT volunteers come from the group of cops that are shooters. SWAT on the average are better shooters then the average cops, because SWAT is made up of officers who want to shoot.

Most departments have some sort of range for their officers. The cops who shoot these ranges regularly are going to be better shooters. If you have a non SWAT cop,who cares, he's gonna shoot. He's gonna be as good as the SWAT guys.

See where I'm going?

Here's an example, My son was a relatively new cop (fed cop) in Portland. I asked him to find a rifle range in the area. My grandson (his nephew) is in his Jr Year at Portland state on a ROTC scholarship. I wanted a range where I could work with my grandson in rifle shooting before the army got to him.

My son asked around his cop buddies and no one knew of a rifle range. So last fall I was in Portland, and like most gun people I check out the gun stores. I found stacks of flyer's from several rifle ranges and clubs around Portland that was offering Sight In Days for hunters. Yet none of the cops my son contacted knew of a range in the area. I found the ranges in short order.

If cops wont even try and find a range, how are they suppose to be able to practice.

So in short, I don't think its about the range, I people cant shoot because they wont put in the effort to find a range and practice.

My local club has about 300 members and an indoor and outdoor range. Right in town, easy to get to. No hassles what so ever for anyone who wants to shoot, BUT, except for a few days before hunting season, you go to the range you'll find you have the range pretty much to yourself.

People just don't care. The ones that do, will practice and train.

As to Sight vs No Sight shooting, that's another topic, I'll just say you need to practice both.

January 4, 2012, 02:26 PM
If police have access to police ranges, why would they be expected to know where private ranges are? Why would they care?

January 4, 2012, 03:25 PM
What I’ve noticed is this is frequently overdone. In defensive shooting in particular, a threat or threats will overwhelmingly be at conversational speaking distance. Realistically, then, fine sighting is not only unnecessary but doing so in self-defense can be fatal.

And yet we still read stories about people unloading a gun at those distances and missing every shot.

January 4, 2012, 06:45 PM
If there is no place to that allows the kind of practice necessary, and organized matches don't fit your schedule or wallet, there's another way to practice.
Airguns, especially the blowback type of airsoft and pellet guns, at your own house.
They have sufficient recoil and accuracy to be effect training tools and, with a few pieces of range equipment, your garage or back yard becomes the range.
And without all the usual range restrictions.
Try it and see.

January 4, 2012, 08:21 PM
Well, don't know how it is in the States, at least in my employing agency and over here, we can't use our own ranges at will. We qualify four times a year, usually shooting 25-50 rds, depending what kind of drills are to be carried out.

I have myself asked if I could use the range on my own, purchasing my own ammo. Answer, NO. The range is to be used under the direct supervision of a supervisory officer. Reason, they don't wanna run the risk of any idiot shooting his own foot. My own supervisors agree that it's quite unfair, and that instead of assuming that we are a bunch of idiots who need to be babysitted at the range, it should be the other way around. Assume we're professional enough and take action if someone is not. But rules are rules and that's the way it is. Solution?. Join a club and shoot as much as you feel like, and that's what I do.

Among my coworkers, and we are more or less 40 guys in my unit, it's just three of us who shoot handguns regularly. Some others hunt with rifles and shotguns, but the vast majority only shoots during the qualification drills, and that's it. It's true that the average cop is not a shooter "per se", and this, I'm afraid, is this way all around the globe.

However, let me make a point. There's a BIG difference between being a cop who is an average to good shooter, and having what it takes to be a SWAT. From my American cop friends, I know that the SWAT standards in the US are different because you have so many different agencies, different in size and manpower. Put it this way, it's not the same the LAPD SWAT (as far as I know they have a fine reputation) that the SWAT of a smaller department in a smaller rural community somewhere else. SWAT standards here are HIGH. Our guys are at top level. They undergo a 9 month course in which they are taught every thing you might imagine. They train them to operate in virtually ANY condition and environment. As far as I know, they get the usual shooting, CQC and hand-to-hand combat training and physical fitness, but they are also trained in parachuting, combat diving, boat boarding/assault, bomb defusing and even train with the army in arctic, desert and jungle stuff. The unit demands, and the course takes a very particular kind of person to go through all that successfully, and most applicants just don't make it.

One of the things I like training when I'm at my club's range is placing IPSC targets at different distances and practice double-taps and transitions between targets. It's about double-tapping every target and transition to the next as quickly as possible. I like to do this without using the sights, kind of two handed point-shooting. From this, I know I can hit a person sized target at a range of approx. 8 meters without using the sights, if I was under an attack so quick and aggressive that I needed to shoot as quickly as I could. In real life, however, there's the stress factor, but I try my best to be ready for it, whilst I pray that it never happens. I also practice different stances (favourite are modified isosceles, weaver and crouch) and shooting one handed/weak hand. Some other times we simulate being sitting inside a car, getting out, taking cover and returning fire, shooting from cover, providing suppression fire for a buddy who's running for cover, etc...

That statement of "train as you fight, fight as you train" is a very wise one.

January 4, 2012, 08:47 PM
Very interesting. I think the actual thought process/visual saccades in an immediate close distance and quick reaction encounter would be a totally different process from traditional "get a tight group on paper" range work. I kinda sorta stumbled into this conclusion upon purchasing my LCP recently and couldn't quite figure out the nearly non-existent site until finding a reference to "point shoot" on another forum.

A recent friend on facebook, who is presently in Afghanistan on deployment but is also a police officer in civilian life--told me that one thing he hates to see is people who get guns and CCW permits and then think they're ready for potentially life-threatening encounters. I realized that I fit this description and need further "real world scenario" training beyond punching holes in paper.

Doc TH
January 4, 2012, 10:07 PM
The NYPD 2010 report of firearms discharges revealed that most police-perp encounters were at relatively short ranges, and that in the majority of cases the police officers did not report that they used their sights during the shootings. This is similar to NYPD annual reports dating back for many, many years.


“…the majority of adversarial conflict discharges occur when the officer is closer than ten feet to the subject. Nevertheless, in 2010, one officer reported firing from a distance of 50 feet. He did not hit the subject. More typically, the greatest percentage of officers fired at a range of six to ten feet [see Figure A.11].

And although only 40 percent of officers made any report of whether or not they had used their sights, it is notable that only one officer reported in the affirmative.”

January 5, 2012, 02:18 PM
If police have access to police ranges, why would they be expected to know where private ranges are? Why would they care?

I've been a cop for thirty years. As an old fat man, I'm way beyond my SWAT days, although I worked with a team for several years in the '80s. I care where the private ranges are because I shoot more than the average cop and like to stay current on a variety of weapons types. Many times I'll drive out to the agency range and it's booked for training. I know where the private or public range are so that I don't waste time looking for a place to shoot.

It's true that most cops aren't shooters. Shooters take time, make time to stay proficient, spending their own money to buy ammo, or make ammo to stay proficient on the firearms they might have to use.

We did some live-fire scenarios in a shoot house last summer, and I don't recall looking at the front sight. I'm sure that I took a flash picture, but I don't consciously remember looking at the front sight. All my shots were in the K8 ring or better, so my game was hot that day, but I honestly don't remember looking at the sights.

January 5, 2012, 02:40 PM
It sounds like you're more likely to be shot by a member of a police SWAT team than a regular patrolman but perhaps police work isn't supposed to be about shooting people very often.

If you re-read your copy of "Shooting to Live" by Fairbairn and Sykes, you will notice they had their own theory of firearms training and ordinary target shooting, as they saw it, detracted from one's gunfighting skills. But then again, they weren't so much concerned with SWAT teams. Others, not surprisingly, have a different view of the matter, and some even recommend competitions. While ordinary ranges are poor simulations of gunfight senarios, competitive shooting at least provides pressure.

Perhaps one reason policemen do so poorly in actual shootouts, hit ratio-wise, is the simple fact that hardly anyone trains under any conditions approaching a real gunfight.

January 5, 2012, 04:04 PM
To say "target shooting" such as NRA Bulls Eye is a deterrent to good SD or Tactical shooting is totally Bogus.

I do a lot of tactical shooting, and sometimes my shooting goes south.

When that happens I step back and practice a little Bulls Eye. It sharpens my fundamentals and helps my tactical shooting.

January 5, 2012, 05:23 PM
Don't know if you're responding to my post Kraig--I was never suggesting that frequent range practice isn't critical to remaining current. I'm just a beginner shooter and don't know much about anything. But to my mind there does seem to be a difference between static targets and a target that is trying to shoot at you and mere seconds are devoted to situational awareness and decision making. I've become more interested in this subject since my recent acquisition of an LCP and discussions of all-important quick-draw, point and fire in close encounters, which, if what I read is true, constitute the majority of police and civilian discharges.

January 5, 2012, 05:52 PM
But to my mind there does seem to be a difference between static targets and a target that is trying to shoot at you and mere seconds are devoted to situational awareness and decision making.

It all boils down to putting a bullet where you want it to go.

Here's an experiment. Spend a week of shooting slow fire 25yd target. Concentrate on the basics from the feet up. At the end of the week run one target worth of a quick fire tactical drill.

Take a week off.

Then repeat except doing the opposite. Compare targets.

Shadi Khalil
January 5, 2012, 07:22 PM
Like MLeake and others said, Outside of an actual class, I think regularly participating in the IDPA is the best training a civilian shooter can get. I've only done it twice but what I learned was invaluable. These days I do most of my shooting on private land so I'm able to transfer some of what I picked up into my training. As for indoor shooting ranges, the only time I go is to take my younger brother, new shooters or with my work buddy and our wives. After shooting on private land for a while, the range is pretty much a big waste of time, money and ammo.

January 6, 2012, 07:24 AM
I expect that kraigwy was responding to my post. In spite of what all I said, especially with regards to the ideas presented in "Shooting to live," practically all of the well known law enforcement individuals, especially those from the Border Patrol, were also highly competitive target shooters. But at the same time, they weren't street cops, either. I don't know. It's hard to draw definate conclusions from that.

I don't know what Jeff Cooper thought about this but I'll bet it would be interesting to hear. His point of view was certainly his own, although his history after the Marines was more about competitive shooting games than formal bullseye shooting.

By the way, I was never able to open the original link. It crashed my internet connection every time.