View Full Version : About that 2.3 average rounds per gunfight...

Blue Duck357
July 18, 2001, 11:56 PM
I heard on another thread that this DOJ statistic is invalid because it takes suicides into account when tabulating the data. Because so many people kill themselves with one shot to the head it really warps the numbers, and that the real number of rounds may be 6 or greater.

Anyone know if this is true or not?

July 19, 2001, 12:02 AM
All I know is that I better get it done in 6. I think you have to take into account the stats on civilians vs. LEO for a better understanding.


David Scott
July 19, 2001, 12:27 AM
My Ruger P95 holds 15+1, the spare mag another 15. What's your point? :)

July 19, 2001, 12:41 AM
I never considered that but it makes a good point. Kind of like all of those 25 year old children that are shot while raping a woman as they attempt to steal the jewelry from her home to support their cocaine habits.

July 19, 2001, 01:07 AM
Remember, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. :rolleyes:

July 19, 2001, 03:27 AM
I believe that in real firefights there is a tendancy to empty the first magazine. So back when everybody was carrying a revolver, the average was 5-6 rounds.

Now that there are so many semi-autos, the average is higher, I think in excess of 10 rounds. Of course some still carry revolvers, that 1911 and some compact carry guns have less than 10 rounds, and yet others have the presence of mind to control their fire better (the benefit of the more advanced training availible now, I guess). I think these combine to keep the average just about 10 rounds.

don't have a link, but I know I read them somewhere. Those are FBI stats, if I recall correctly.

I have been told by one who knows that when you run dry, realize it, and reload that you finally think. So people do things like run and surrender. Getting my scrawny butt out of Dodge sounds good, if its not my home and I can do it safely.

July 20, 2001, 04:09 AM
As I said in another thread, I read it in an issue of Guns & Weapons For Law Enforcement a couple months ago. You guys can look it up if you have old issues. It was in the front of the magazine, like the editors page, just a one page article in the very front of the mag.
As stated, it says that the 2.3 rounds per fight is a wrong statistic because that is the "average number of rounds per incident" which includes one-shot suicides (which obviously beings the average way down). The real number, according to this article, is somewhere between 9-13 rounds per fight if I recall correctly. Studies are ongoing to find the real number. I am told that the FBI has been researching it and came out recently with the number around "12". I don't know (and apparently neither does anyone else right now) what the exact number is, but it is a hell of a lot more than 3 and best estimates from data so far is probably at least 10.
You can look at police shootings yourself, look at all of them you can in newpapers for months and you will see very quickly that there are a lot of rounds fired on average.
Yes yes, "we are better shooters than the Police", but lets not be arrogant Rambos here. Are we so sure that when we are being shot at that we are going to be Joe Cool and not at least blaze off a few rounds at a time? Maybe even (gasp!) miss a couple times against a moving target that is shooting back? Who knows, some of our shots might just not hit center mass, but limbs etc? 10 rounds adds up real quick when you are crapping-your-pants scared, getting shot at, shooting at a moving target while you dodge bullets, possibly miss, possibly make hits on limbs etc. There are a lot of variables that don't always add up to perfect COM hits with every bullet.

I have heard time and time and time again from people that have been in real scary shootings, that you will be so scared for your life that you will probably empty your magazine, whatever it holds, and you will swear you only fired a couple shots! The tendency for people to empty their first mag leads me to always carry a second. You may not realize how much you are shooting until that mag runs dry and you have to change it. I try to always carry a reload because I realize I am human and under fear I may just empty my mag. I happens to many many people, and it would be arrogant for me not to think it could happen to me.

July 20, 2001, 05:23 AM
thats why i dont carry an extra mag or bullits.whats the point.you will never get to the point of reloading in a (SELF DEFENSIVE)SITUATION..

July 20, 2001, 06:16 AM
Does anyone have a source for civilian shootings? The dynamics are totally different than police shootings. I would think there round count would be higher per incident than civilians. They are required to stop/arrest the suspect (we stop or disingage), they often have backup who are also shooting (this would double the rounds fired), Often they engage from farther away (at least at the start, which would also raise the count).
I think the numbers are interesting, but unless the LE and civilian shootings are seperated, they meaningless.

Blue Duck357
July 20, 2001, 07:01 AM
Thanks 1031, must have been your post I read the info in. Remmebred it, but not which thread I had heard it in.

Double Naught Spy
July 20, 2001, 07:23 AM
Some suicides take more than one shot to cause death. Also, some people who commit suicide will fire a test shot. The shrinks say that the test shots are fired for a variety of reasons such as to make sure the gun works, to get accustomed to the noise (I know, stupid, but apparently it happens), and as a means to verify that they can actually pull the trigger.

So the information is ancillary. Two shot suicides would also skew the stats considerably as well.

For the DOJ stats, is total 2.3 rounds the number fired in the fight by both parties, the average number fired between the two parties, or the number of shots fired before a hit?

Smith at Thunder Ranch gave us some 1980s and 1990s information, but not a source for it. Supposedly, in the 1980s, police fired 2.8 shots on average before making their first hit on the suspect and 5.7 shots for the engagement. In other words, they usually emptied their revolver. In the 1990s, 12.9 shots before first hit and 17.5 shots fired in the engagement, once again, emptying the magazine. The differences in the stats is due, in part, to having high capacity mags in the 1990s.

July 20, 2001, 07:28 AM
Scoops, I hope you never have a weapon fail on you. Many malfunctions are tied to magazine failures and most clearance drills I'm familiar with include dumping the mag as a corrective action.

Not carrying a spare magazine is like not having a spare tire. You never need it until you REALLY need it.

July 20, 2001, 07:44 AM
What this all points out to me is that a high capacity anything is NOT going to save your bacon if you can't hit what you're trying to put down in the first place. If or when I end up in another firefight and all I have is my wits and a firearm, regardless of what that firearm is, I'm going to make myself very small and extremely hard to get to, and the bg is going to have to expose himself in order to take a shot at me. I'll be waiting..............

July 20, 2001, 12:09 PM
Lot of good stats and a lot of bad stat presentations.

One of our members was nailed in the sturnum by a 9mm at near contact range, while falling back he dumped six .44s in perp. Stats that could be derived from that encounter include. 9mm failed to stop. .44 required six shots to stop. Non LEO fired one shot per engagement. LEO fired six shots per engagement.

Nuther local one. Leo fires 15 rounds at very close range, does not stop perp. Therefore 9mm is worthless.


Warm Bore
July 20, 2001, 12:59 PM

I've gotta agree with buzz_knox...

3 is 2
2 is 1
1 is none
and none is just kinda' dumb. ;)

Not a flame, just an observation. Carry what you're comfotable with.

Regards and stay safe,

Warm Bore

July 20, 2001, 01:30 PM
How do you get .3 of a shot?

Jay Baker
July 20, 2001, 01:43 PM
Scoops, I agree with Buzz Knox & Warm Bore. It seems apparent to me that you believe that you're the only person in the gun-owning world, upon whose shoulder, Mr. Murphy DOES NOT ride.

I know a man who got into a self defense shooting, ran his revolver dry against two bad guys, and when he was outta ammo, one of them blew the good guy's daughter's head off with a shotgun.

As the old saying goes, "Ya pays your nickel and ya takes your chances." As for me, no one will ever catch me without an additional spare loaded magazine, or speed strip for my revolver.


July 20, 2001, 09:47 PM
This data is from the NYPD. So, we must consider a few things:

1- These shots were all fired by cops. And we all know that most cops aren't good shooters. Ok, I know we're not the best shooters in the world, but I still think that we shoot much better than cops that don't like guns and don't practice frequently.

2 - Cops many times face situations that involves multiple BGs. Civilians hardly ever have to do that.

3- Standard ammo was LRN and, if I'm correct, SWC too for a long time. Speedloaders weren't even allowed, until a cop was shot and killed by a drug dealer, while trying to reload the empty revolver. That leaves our cops with a bad gun/ammo combo, usually requiring more rounds to stop the BG.

That's why I don't get too much worried about the data shown by the NYPD...

July 20, 2001, 11:05 PM
4 out of 5 people = 80% of the population

(don't beleive statistics, ever wonder how three different toothpastes can be recomended number one by 70% of dentists...)

July 21, 2001, 12:17 AM
From David Nancarrow:

What this all points out to me is that a high capacity anything is NOT going to save your bacon if you can't hit what you're trying to put down in the first place. If or when I end up in another firefight and all I have is my wits and a firearm, regardless of what that firearm is, I'm going to make myself very small and extremely hard to get to, and the bg is going to have to expose himself in order to take a shot at me. I'll be waiting..............

Life never happen the way you want it to be.

The one who fire first and fire many will be the one that is most likely be standing in the end.

July 21, 2001, 07:07 AM
Double Naught Spy,

There was a suicide in my town years ago, the person fired 3 shots into their heart, and was still able to walk a few feet and lay down in their bed before dying.

Double Naught Spy
July 21, 2001, 11:24 PM
Dead, that does not surprise except in the part that the suicidal person was very goal determined. We talk about failures to stop goal determined bad guys, but not goal determined suicides.

As a retired cop, my pop often had cop visitors. As I recall, it was in the late 1970s that the story took place. It seemed this guy wanted to commit suicide, but really did not have a good grasp on the concepts of fire power and how the gun he used was going to work. He had managed to load .22 into a .25 and proceeded to shoot himself 6 times in the head on the surface of the cranium, none of the bullets penetration the skull although most were secured in the cranium. Finally, he either fired the last shot through the eye, ear, or roof of mouth and finally did die. You have to figure that each shot to the head must have felt like getting hit by a hammer or some similary painful object.

Oleg Volk
July 21, 2001, 11:48 PM
And the .25 functioned!?

July 22, 2001, 03:21 AM
Last compilation of total, country-wide LEO firearms engagements I've heard was 1.5 shots & at 7 feet - that's the average.

Includes "state police-type" long-range through contact range "city-type" engagements.

No source, but actually sounds more accurate & without suicides & ancillaries which really have no bearing on this.

July 22, 2001, 08:27 AM
Sight alignment trigger control............as many as required.

Whether I have 5, 6, 8, 10, or 15 in my gun it DOES NOT CHANGE where I want the first shot to go -- COAM ("center of available mass").

If I do it correctly then I am not average, eh?


"all my shootings are fantasy shootings"

July 22, 2001, 11:53 AM
How do you get .3 of a shot?

That same way you get 2.5 kids!:D

Most often statistics aren't worth the paper that they are written on. And to think people get paid to do these things!

We can pretty much all agree that Civilian vs LEO "on duty"numbers are going to be totally different. I say "ON DUTY" for LEO's because when off duty they aren't going to wade into the same situation the way they would on duty. Most do not have a vest on, no radio, no heavy weapon backup such as a shotgun or AR, and of course no partner. More than likely they won't be carrying a full size duty pistol. They are still bound by law to stop the commission of a felony as well as protecting life, but how they approach this would be totally different. I've known a few LEO's who routinely carried .38's off duty because they were required to carry a weapon. Otherwise they wouldn't. And you can forget them carrying a reload.

I would like to see some numbers with the average number of off duty shootings vs civilian justifiable self defense shootings. I'm sure we would see low numbers.

Still, I carry an extra mag or speedstrip for my revolver whenever possible.

Good SHooting

July 23, 2001, 08:27 AM
I agree, but it takes practise,practise and more practise. Then do some more.......:rolleyes:

Double Naught Spy
July 23, 2001, 01:44 PM
Another point to consider is the fact that somethimes just firing off rounds will result in stopping the bad guy. Of course I would not count on this potential benefit, but more than one person has managed a one stop shot by shooting into the air or into the ground. So, there are times when you shoot, don't hit anything of consequence, and manage to stop the bad guy. Of course, that is the beauty of ambiguous terms and statistics. I would prefer that my one shot stops result in absolute and permanent incapacitation of the bad guy, not just scaring him away - but then there would be a lot of paper work and I would have to trust my life to lawyers. Hmmm.

There are also situations where suppression fire is given, not really intended to hit the bad guy, but to keep him under cover while the good guys get into better position. Suppression fire is to provide a temporary stop to the bad guy's actions, even without hitting him.