Shooting proficiency of the average police officer


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HOOfan_1
August 29, 2012, 11:34 AM
There is somone on a non-shooting themed message board trying to convice everyone that civilians should not use handguns for self defense.

He is trying to back up his reasoning by pointing to several recent New York police shootings. In one shooting he claims that officers no more than 3 feet from the suspect with guns already drawn, missed the suspect several times. The other incident is the recent shooting at the Empire State building.

He reasons that if "highly trained police officers cannot hit their target, there is no chance civilians will be able to hit their target with a handgun".

Having known several police officers who were also shooting enthusiasts and by the admissions of police officers on this board. I am aware that not all average beat police officers are "highly trained" in markshmanship. I know one officer who says he is only asked by his department to shoot a couple of times a year.

I keep trying to convince the poster on this other board that he is completely and utterly overemphasizing police training in his argument.

Anyone else have any input on how proficient the average, non gun enthusiast police officers are with their side arms?

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Skribs
August 29, 2012, 11:38 AM
I know Sam1911 posted his personal experience in another thread, even regarding how good SWAT members are, but I've heard that some cops have to get special permission to even practice with their duty weapon. My understanding is that if the cop isn't a gun nut, chances are he'll shoot the minimum amount to qualify and wear that god-forsaken-brick until he needs to qualify again.

The poster on the other board should probably also be enlightened as to how much training there is for the "non-elite" (i.e. civilians), and how that training might be more practical than shooting at stationary targets 1-2 times per year.

dom1104
August 29, 2012, 11:44 AM
Although its in vogue to say that cops cant shoot well, my experiance has been the opposite.

I shoot at a range, most often the only other folks there are police.

And they are shooting pretty damn well thank you very much, and I notice it is full powered +p 40 cal HPs, not walmart bulk pack.

The whole "Civilians shoot better than cops, cops are just a bunch of unskilled donut eaters" thing in my experiance has been largely false.

Sam1911
August 29, 2012, 11:44 AM
Let me say something first off, to anyone thinking of replying: We do NOT do cop-bashing threads, so don't let anything you say be construed as such. Keep everything as factual and unbiased as possible. Your actual understanding of and experience with police training procedures and schedules, and qualification requirements, is entirely welcomed. Bashing is not.

Also, something to keep in mind:

One of the very best shooters I've ever met (a guy who finished the first Sanctioned IDPA match I ever shot with not only the winning score, but a total points down count of THREE :eek:) is a NJSP Detective Sargent. He once told me, "If you offer a cop a new pen or a new gun, he'll take the new PEN. It's something he'll actually get to use."

Cops are issued guns, of course, and most folks believe that the gun is somehow the primary factor in their job. But many cops go through their entire career never having to fire a shot in the line of duty. To be good at their jobs, cops have to be masters of a lot of different tasks. They have many skills they have to employ every day or every week. Shooting is not one of them.

We train cops to do many things, and spend as much time and money on that training as budgets and schedules will allow. But that's not "enough" and it never will be "enough" to insure that they will be able to meet the challenges the might face. And shooting skills are pretty far down the list.

"Good cop" and "good shot" are neither mutually inclusive, nor mutually exclusive.

HOOfan_1
August 29, 2012, 11:47 AM
I shoot at a range, most often the only other folks there are police.



Are they average police officers, or are they also gun enthusiasts, or just officers who want to be more proficient.

"I know a lot of police who shot a lot" is not even remotely the same as "all police train a lot"

Like I said in the original post. I also know several police officers who are gun enthusiasts and shoot a lot. But they all tell me that they are not getting that experience because their departments are asking them to.

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 11:48 AM
I shoot at a range, most often the only other folks there are police.

Those might be the gun-nut police, and not the non-gun-nut police. I am not of the belief that putting on a badge is going to lower your accuracy. I am of the belief that someone who treats guns as something to qualify with and then wear is someone who isn't really paying attention to the required skillset for marksmanship and probably won't hit very often.

Sam1911
August 29, 2012, 11:50 AM
Oh, and here's a thread we just had to close on more or less the same question: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=674336
This thread touches on the question as well, toward the end: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=674030

HOOfan_1
August 29, 2012, 11:54 AM
Oh, and here's a thread we just had to close on more or less the same question: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=674336
This thread touches on the question as well, toward the end: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=674030

Sorry Sam I missed that one.
"Cops are bad shots" is not my message.
I am more trying to refute the assertion that civilians should not use handguns because they can not possibly be as proficient as average police officers.

Anyone can be as proficient with a handgun as they decide to be and as their training allows them to be. Civlians can be just as proficient as even the best police marksmen. I just don't agree with the assertion that missed shots and collateral damage in a few police shootings points to the fact that handguns are a poor tool of self defense for civilians.

Sam1911
August 29, 2012, 11:58 AM
Anyone else have any input on how proficient the average, non gun enthusiast police officers are with their side arms?


I'd like also to make a call that we avoid SPECULATING in this thread. That really does no one any good. If folks can post actual training procedures and qualifying requirements for departments they know of, that might be more helpful.

The bald truth is that relatively few people who carry a gun get a great deal of what many would consider "good" training, and even the square-range proficiency of gun carriers is far below what might make us all comfortable when we consider that those people may be faced with a shooting problem in a public place at any time.

This applies to both police officers and to average citizens who carry a weapon.

While it may be useful to burst the misconception that police are "highly trained" it probably won't help your argument much to also point out that only some small minority of the shooting and gun-carrying public are either.

kimberkid
August 29, 2012, 11:59 AM
Our range has about 10% of LEO members so over the last 20+ years I've the opportunity to relax and shoot with many of them. The private range I'm a member of is closed to all but LEO's the first Friday of every month and a lot of them use it ... as well as their own department ranges and they appreciate it because its less familiar to them, which in itself is good practice.

taliv
August 29, 2012, 12:02 PM
http://www.wokv.com/news/news/local/customer-shoots-robber-dead/nRLjK/

the plural of anecdotes is not data, but we have two recent examples that turned out quite different.

dom1104
August 29, 2012, 12:15 PM
To those who think my relating my experiances is of no value because they are only the "Gun nut cops"....

well how the heck am I supposed to account for the cops I DONT shoot with?

My Magic 8-Ball?

Bikewer
August 29, 2012, 12:19 PM
I've been in police work for 40+ years. Seen an awful lot of coppers shooting at the range, and talked with a lot of them about firearms and shooting.
I think you can make the case that there are essentially two types of police officers regarding proficiency/interest.
There are officers that tend to be "involved" with firearms. They achieve a high degree of proficiency. They are interested in the weapons, the gear, the ammunition, the training. They see this as an important part of their job.

There are also those who are not "involved". They carry the weapon because they have to. They are not interested in firearms or shooting, and only attain such proficiency as necessary to qualify. (and that's a pretty low standard on most departments)

The question would be... What is the percentage of each? I think it varies considerably by department. In some, there is a "culture" that fosters proficiency. It becomes a point of pride. The department has good training facilities and supplies the officers with ammunition and time to train.
Others don't. You may qualify seldom and with minimal standards, and actually using the weapon is not looked on favorably. This is mostly a matter of where the department is and what it does.... A small department in a "bedroom" community might not feel the need for proficiency as great as one patrolling the "mean streets" of a big urban area with lots of gang and drug activity.

Another factor.... For about as long as police departments have kept records of such things, officers have scored about 25% hits on opponents in combat situations. That's regardless of practice or training.
Reason? It's well-known now that the stresses, both mental and physical, of combat badly affect fine motor control and accuracy.
Any number of physical and psychological phenomena may take place. Tunnel vision, hearing deficit, time compression, physical rigidity.....
Doesn't happen to everyone, of course. Some people remain calm and collected in combat and are highly effective. Others become essentially useless. This has been known for a very long time.
Remember the Chuck Yeager comment about "only 10% of fighter pilots actively engage the enemy; the rest are just along for the ride"?
Seems that goes back to some Greek lad commenting on soldiers way back then.....
I suppose we do better on average than soldiers... I understand during WWII it was reckoned that at least 100,000 rifle rounds were fired per enemy casualty.....

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 12:23 PM
I think someone more familiar with police training methods would be better able to answer, Dom. But the point is, the cops that you see at the range - unless they're required to be there - are there by choice, and are therefore not the stereotypical inaccurate officer.

Although, if you're from a small town, being able to say that you see the majority of the deputies in the local range, you can say that you know the majority in your area practice regularly and are proficient.

Owen Sparks
August 29, 2012, 12:33 PM
Not to get to far off topic but I was at the local range about a year back and two young cops were there shooting their Glocks. I was shooting a Ruger Security Six .357. Both young men seemed really interested in what I was doing. After talking for a while they told me that neither of them had ever fired a revolver! I had to show them how to open the cylinder and then how to eject the empties. They had no idea of the difference between double and single action either. I let them both shoot it and they both liked it. In fact they liked it so much that I let them shoot up all my ammo. That is OK though, they let me shoot all the 'free' department issue ammo I wanted through their Glocks plus I kept all the brass. By the time I left both of these young officer wanted a .357 Magnum for personal use. I just can't get over the fact that two young policemen in their mid twenties had never fired a revolver before.

Ky Larry
August 29, 2012, 12:36 PM
Don't forget that just because you see a L.E.O. it doesn't mean he is a patrol officer. There's a lot of jobs in police work that don't have much to do with using firearms, such as fingerprints, evidence collection and storage, and admin. Ideally, these folks should be good shots but the cost to train them is just prohibitive and what would be the purpose?

Please don't criticise until you've walked a mile in their shoes. Are you sure that, when the crap is raining down, you could do better? A real shootout at bad breath range ain't like a relaxing day at the range.

Walkalong
August 29, 2012, 12:43 PM
I just can't get over the fact that two young policemen in their mid twenties had never fired a revolver before.
These days there are many 20 something folks who have never shot a revolver. More for us.

People are people. Some shoot well, some don't. Some react to surprise and immediate danger well, and some don't. Some train a lot, and some don't. Some need to train a lot to stay proficient (Proficient, not top of the game), and some don't. Cops, fireman, lawyers, truck drivers, doctors, mechanics, it doesn't matter.

In general, police have more training than civilians, but that does not mean civilians should not be able to own guns. Pure foolishness.

ny32182
August 29, 2012, 12:53 PM
I have the unique opportunity to help officiate a police only outlaw action pistol charity match every year that is put on locally. It is a great event that raises money for a great cause.

I get to see ~120 police shoot this match every year. I can say the average skill level at this match is unquestionably lower than the average skill level at club IDPA and USPSA around here. But the trick with the "averages" there needs to be accounted for. You are comparing the police who like shooting enough to volunteer to go to this match, against a subset of non-police who are FAR more motivated to shoot than the average handgun owner.

All the winners of the police match are invariably competitive shooters also.

What does this tell you; probably not much other than whether you are employed as a police officer does not dictate whether you can become highly proficient with a handgun. It requires self motivation and dedication either way.

The average police is not what I would consider "proficient". Nor is the average handgun owner in the USA. If I had to guess I'd say the average police is probably a little better than the average non-police. At least the police have had some training and have to shoot 100 rounds a year or whatever. Virtually anyone I know who owns a handgun who is not police and not a competitive shooter has most likely purchaed the gun, put 50 rounds through it (if that) and promptly stuck it in the sock drawer where it has remained for "home defense" since approximately the late Cretaceous period. These people, who in my experience account for at least 99% of all handgun owners in the US, are certainly not going to be BETTER than the average cop.

Malamute
August 29, 2012, 01:00 PM
I've known a number of LEO's that were interested in shooting, and pretty good. A couple that were outstanding. It's all been pretty well covered in the above comments, though as to the original post, we do have some reports of average people doing some very good shooting, such as the guy in Texas recently that made 5 hits for 6 shots at about 50 yards or so (reported as 165 yards, but more likely 165 feet), and the one several years ago where a guy shot a guy off an officer, making, from the account I read, 100% hits of the 5 rounds fired while the officer and man were wrestling for control of the officers gun and the man was beating the officer. Years ago, Cooper wrote of an incident where two officers encountered an armed man, both shot their 9mm magazines dry I believe, making a half dozen hits of the 30-32 rounds fired, he fired 4 rds from a 44 mag revolver, making 2 hits on each officer (their vests saved them). This isn't trying to make a point about police officers in general, but simply points out the inaccuracy of the argument that untrained citizens can't hit as well as a police officer. Some of both do very well.

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 01:07 PM
OT, NY, but I know people who buy the sub-compact single stack pistols so that they can easily carry it, and then don't carry and leave it in a corner of the house.

This is mostly a matter of where the department is and what it does.... A small department in a "bedroom" community might not feel the need for proficiency as great as one patrolling the "mean streets" of a big urban area with lots of gang and drug activity.

I would have thought the opposite because of the views in those locations. When I think of smaller communities, I'm thinking of people who use their weapons for everyday life, such as hunting; and bigger cities it's generally urban locations that tend to have a bigger push for gun restrictions and a more anti feel to it. I would assume a greater percentage of folk from the backwoods would be gun enthusiasts than people from the city.

That's just an assumption, though, based on the culture of those locations. Your comment was based on the needs of the job. Two different factors to consider.

oneounceload
August 29, 2012, 01:20 PM
Cops are issued guns, of course, and most folks believe that the gun is somehow the primary factor in their job. But many cops go through their entire career never having to fire a shot in the line of duty. To be good at their jobs, cops have to be masters of a lot of different tasks. They have many skills they have to employ every day or every week. Shooting is not one of them.

Let me preface by saying my dad was NYPD for 33 years - he fired one warning shot in all that time while on duty. He qualified every year as markman with his M&P (that HE paid for Sam) and that was it

IF they employ their other skills, and successfully, they shouldn't have to employ the use of the gun

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 01:23 PM
IF they employ their other skills, and successfully, they shouldn't have to employ the use of the gun

If this were true, then the cops wouldn't need guns, and thus they would never be issued.

Mac's
August 29, 2012, 01:29 PM
I've carried a weapon and a badge for over twenty years as a full time officer with a large western law enforcement agency. I've also been the owner/operator of a firearms business since way before that time and since then. I can only speak of my own experience.

Our Department requires qualifications twice a year. Most but not all of the leo's that I know, will only shoot four times a year. Twice for qualifications and the day before qualifications to practice. Most of them will barely pass. Many of them have to do it again at least once. After the first do-over, remedial training is required. All of the ones in the "barely pass or fail" category is a non shooter..meaning they don't enjoy it.

Some of them shoot very well. Fast shots but accurate, fast but smooth reloads, good scanning, target evaluations, etc. Every one of the ones in this group are "gunners"...meaning that they enjoy shooting and do it in their off duty time.

A specialized qualification..such as SWAT or SAR, does not mean that they are expert shooters! An example of that: Our Department has open range times several times a year. You use the range, shoot "their" ammo but it's a controlled course with range masters, etc. They set up a course and then run you thru it for scores and times. It doesn't count for anything but it's fun and free!

On this particular day, the course was: Run 25 yards to a barricade, draw your weapon and shoot seven poppers, all staggered at ranges from two to seven yards. The poppers were metal plates rigged to fall down if you got a solid hit on them. On that day, I was the only "regular" to show up. Everybody else was Detectives, Command Staff and SWAT! I'm thinking oh boy: Prima donna's, brass and expert shooters. I'm gonna embarrass myself.

I end up #3 in line...behind two SWAT guys all tacti-cooled out. The first one takes off and it sounds like WW3 downrange. I'm counting rounds. 39 40 41 rounds! Then it's the second guys turn. He takes off and it's a major shoot out down range. 37 38 39 rounds! I'm thinking I don't have enough ammo. I've already figured out that there's something else going on downrange. Extra threats must be popping up all over the place down there, each requiring that it be shot.

My turn comes up, I jog to the barricade, draw my weapon while scanning for threats. Seven poppers. First shot, one down. two, three uh oh! Three was a hit but not solid enough to knock it down. Second shot into three, it's down, four, five. six and seven...all down. I drop the mag and do a tactical reload. I'm scanning for the next threats...and realize the range master is yelling at me. I'm done. I got them all. Huh? Only eight rounds? But but...

I got the high score of the day and learned several things.
Command Staff can't shoot. None of them day was any good, not even close.
Some Detectives can shoot well but most can't.
SWAT are uhmm...ahh... well...noisy! Everyone of them out there that day was just spraying and praying. They were fast on the draw, fast on the reloads and could play hide and seek really well but accuracy seemed to be a distant consideration.

The bottom line(s). LEO's are people too. Some of them can shoot well. Most are just average shooters. Some of them are just flat out dangerous to everybody around them. They get more training than the average citizen but many of them had never even held a firearm of any type prior to getting into that line of work. Unfortunately, many Departments train that you shoot until the threat is no longer threatening. Most civilian shooters that I know can shoot more accurate but not as fast as most LEO shooters that I know. (Does that make sense?) Personally, I would rather be teamed up with a hillbilly from West Virginia than a SWAT commando from New York City. Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
Tuff-Gun Finishes. The Name Says It All.
Mac's Shootin' Irons
http://www.shootiniron.com

Gunnerboy
August 29, 2012, 01:32 PM
Last police involved shooting in my hometown, the Police fired 78 rounds at a man armed with an wasr 10 and shotgun, they were exchanging fire from 40-50 yds at each other from behind each others vehicles, the Police had 6 hits in the criminal, the criminal who fired an estimated 17 rnds had 1 hit, moral of the story... sometimes accuracy isnt what brings you home its just keeping enough lead down range until someone can get the shot. ( this was in the county so nothing but trees and hills around)

Owen Sparks
August 29, 2012, 01:43 PM
Once our local IPSC champ spent a day at the range with the 6 member swat team coaching them on shooting techniques, speed reloads and such. The very first thing he did was to have them line up 10 yards away from a row of steel plates about a foot in diamiter. When someone blew a whistle each cop was to draw and shoot the plate directly in front of him. The IPSC champ was in the middle. Not only did he knock down his own plate much faster than anyone else, after several turns he drew and fanned down everyone elses plate, 7 in a row before, before any of the swat team members made a single hit! The rest of the day went much like this. It was not that the cops were bad shots, it is just that they came up against an expert who fired about a thousand rounds a week.

The department was so embarriesd that they never asked him back.

dom1104
August 29, 2012, 01:51 PM
Once our local IPSC champ spent a day at the range with the 6 member swat team coaching them on shooting techniques, speed reloads and such. The very first thing he did was to have them line up 10 yards away from a row of steel plates about a foot in diamiter. When someone blew a whistle each cop was to draw and shoot the plate directly in front of him. The IPSC champ was in the middle. Not only did he knock down his own plate much faster than anyone else, after several turns he drew and fanned down everyone elses plate, 7 in a row before, before any of the swat team members made a single hit! The rest of the day went much like this. It was not that the cops were bad shots, it is just that they came up against an expert who fired about a thousand rounds a week.

The department was so embarriesd that they never asked him back.
Do you know why?

Because he was being a jerk.

Any of us can clear 7 12" rounds at 7 yards in less then 3 seconds.

You cant expect a cop to do that, and frankly I am glad they DONT know how.

The more folks would be dead in NY thats for sure.

I would like my police to take their time, and verify who and what they are shooting.

Law enforcement is not Steel Challenge.

A teacher shouldnt use the opportunity to train folks to show off.

And Speed Shooting isnt a requirement of policeing.

big -1 to that guy as far as I am concerned.

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 01:56 PM
The department was so embarriesd that they never asked him back.

Let me get this straight. They were so embarrassed that their police officers were not proficient that they did not seek further training?

9mmepiphany
August 29, 2012, 01:59 PM
I'll share what 28 years in LE have shown me.

The passing score for handgun qualification at my mid-sized department (1500 officers) was 70%. The is 70% of the shots land anywhere on the black of a B-27 silhouette target.

When I started we shot a minimum of 6 shots from the 50 yard line (with revolvers) and were allowed to cock the hammers to SA...all the better shooters shot DA from that distance...we qualified 3 times a year. As semi-auto pistols became first the sidearm of choice and then the issue handgun, the longest qualification distances shortened first to 25 yards, than to 20 yards and finally 15 yards...and we only qualified twice a year (36 rounds/each)

Even at the generous 70% qualification score, we regularly had officers fail to qualify...we took their guns away and required them to attend additional training and requalify. I was my Divisional Guy, who worked with the borderline folks to make sure they qualified each time. The biggest factor in poor shooting among officers was a misunderstanding of technique and lack of interest in being better than needed. In their defense, driving a squad car is more dangerous and they allocated even less time to that training...and both driving and shooting are smaller parts of the job than other skills and actually have smaller exposures to liability.

The biggest improvement to departmental qualification scores was a Shooting Medal program, where officers could display how well they shot with a badge on their uniform...the highest rank was Distinguished Master which actually used the scoring rings on the B-27 and required a 97% score (350 out of 360). We tried to get the department to pay a performance incentive for higher rankings...didn't happen.

To give you an idea of the course; I once qualified at 84% without being able to see my front sight...brought wrong glasses and too lazy to go back to the car

Having said all that, I'll also not that my observation at the local ranges is that most of the weekend shooters...who, by definition, would be more interested in guns than the average...do not shoot as well as the median LEO

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 02:03 PM
We tried to get the department to pay a performance incentive for higher rankings...didn't happen.

Was there some self-interest in this request?

In their defense, driving a squad car is more dangerous and they allocated even less time to that training...and both driving and shooting are smaller parts of the job than other skills and actually have smaller exposures to liability.

Off-topic, but I had considered potentially going into LE until I remembered how poor of a driver I am.

GambJoe
August 29, 2012, 02:03 PM
This might sound a bit off but didn't the US military start using M1 carbines as a subsitute for hanguns. One of the reasons being carbines are easy shoot than handguns. A small light weight carbine with modern sights might be a better choice for some officers.

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 02:08 PM
Pretty sure a lot of officers have a carbine in their car, but they're not necessarily going to carry it around all day.

Sam1911
August 29, 2012, 02:13 PM
A small light weight carbine with modern sights might be a better choice for some officers. A great many patrol officers do carry carbines these days, in their cars. But once again, a gun is a tool most officers will almost never use. So making them carry a rifle around with them everywhere is not going to happen. They need A gun with them because they may be called on to use it at any moment, but it has to be something small and holster-able so it isn't in their way while they perform the other 99.99% of their duties.

Sam1911
August 29, 2012, 02:16 PM
Any of us can clear 7 12" rounds at 7 yards in less then 3 seconds.Really? ANY of us? ;)

You cant expect a cop to do that, and frankly I am glad they DONT know how.

The more folks would be dead in NY thats for sure.

I would like my police to take their time, and verify who and what they are shooting.Hold on, flag on the play!

If you can see your front sight 7 times in three seconds (and sure, you can) then you absolutely CAN identify your target and make shoot/no-shoot decisions that fast as well.

So, yes, I do wish our officers were trained that well. Deciding who and whether to shoot isn't going to be steamrollered by rapidity of engagement.

Having said that, yeah, he was probably being a bit insensitive.

The IDPA "Tactical Journal" has published articles in the past on getting law enforcement more involved in the shooting sports (they have a monthly "behind the badge" column just for LEOs). One article dealt with the psychological issues involved. As I said, many people hold onto a certain mystique that says a cop surely must be a master of his weapon. Many cops do hold that same rather unfair standard as well -- either because they believe it and their ego is tied up in it, or because they think everyone else believes it and that a poor showing reflects badly on them as an officer.

When an officer attends a shooting match and comes in near the bottom of the heap, behind Suzie soccer mom who's using the same gun he's issued, that can be VERY uncomfortable. Combining that with the natural standoffishness of both groups toward average new people and many joe citizens toward cops (hey, isn't that the guy who gave me a ticket last week!?!) can make for a day that the officer has no desire to ever repeat.

If we want to get them out and shooting and becoming more proficient, we've got to do a better job of outreach, IMHO.

9mmepiphany
August 29, 2012, 02:25 PM
Was there some self-interest in this request?
It was honestly put forth as a motivation for officers less inclined to practice...officers interested in being good, will always practice on their own

Off-topic, but I had considered potentially going into LE until I remembered how poor of a driver I am.
Still OT, common wisdom is that the only things that adversely affect you performance evaluations are Sick Leave usage and vehicle accidents (we drove at least 20k miles a year; working 4 days/week)

Ehtereon11B
August 29, 2012, 02:30 PM
Before I became a LEO for Alabama I trained and with other Police officers. I put many of them through a modified pistol and rifle course from my time in the military, very few of them passed on the first go around. I even gave many of them a handicap to use their service weapons rather than the M9 I had procured for the other students. How well an LEO can shoot is like any other population sample; you have officers who shoot very well, some who suck, and some who just qualify. Were the NYC officers part of the suck category? Probably. Typically your gun nut LEOs (raises hand) will score better at the range.

It is very common for most police departments to cut budgets from areas such as gear and accessories (read as ammo) so less time is spent on the range. I have several friends in small precincts in NY who had to buy their own practice ammo due to budget cuts. To make matters worse other precincts I know discourage pistol range time in lieu of less-lethal training such as Tasers. And worst case scenario range time is discouraged because police officers should "be able to diffuse a situation without resorting to lethal force."

ny32182
August 29, 2012, 02:30 PM
My neighbor is a cop; I've tried to talk him into coming out to a match several times.

I have a good buddy from college who is a NJ state trooper and comes to visit periodically... same thing.

No dice. Most of them simply aren't any more interested than your average non-cop gun owner.

Gtimothy
August 29, 2012, 02:33 PM
This logic also holds true for our military! Just because you've been in the military does not make you a marksman. I've spent my entire life, since I was six, shooting and don't consider myself anything more than an adequate shot. I always qualified "Sharpshooter" in the Navy with both pistol (1911) and rifle (M-14) right up until I retired. However the majority of people who had no interest in guns or shooting rarely tried to qualify...it wasn't required! I don't know what the other branches policy is, but for the Navy, you only HAD to shoot a gun during boot camp and that was just for familiarization!

1911Tuner
August 29, 2012, 02:33 PM
Over the years, I've known and shot with a good many cops. From small-town city officers to sheriff's deputies to state troopers, and even a couple BATF agents...who were actually pretty decent guys who fully supported RKBA.

The majority of cops that I've shot with were, and are fine marksmen...on the range.

Introduce high stress and the "Survival/Fight or Flight" response that we're all possessed of, and it can go sideways in a hurry. No one is immune. Not me. Not you. Not them.

There's an old saying that applies. (I just love old sayings.)

"In a gunfight, you'll probably do about as well as your worst day on the range."

armoredman
August 29, 2012, 02:33 PM
My Dept shoots at a B-27 for annual qualification. Yes, we don't carry as often as street LE, but we do have many armed posts and many that interact with the public.
This falls in line with the common thread here about "how accurate do you have to be at 25 yards" - the scoring ring used is the 8 ring on the target, which is 17.5 inches by 9.5 inches. Most keyboard commandos insist shooting at 25 yards should need nothing bigger than a 3" circle. Our qualification is mostly 3,7 and 15 yards, only 6 rounds are fired at 25 yards. If you get all rounds inside the 8 ring, you are Distinguished Expert, 250 out of 250, 240 to 249 is Expert.

Rarely do you see anyone score Expert, much less Distinguished Expert. 2 trys to qualify, then off to remedial. Fail to qualify in 90 days and you are out of uniform working as a secretary. Fail again in 90- days and you are out of a job.
I have done off duty instructing with some staff to help them - good thing I reload, or they would have bankrupted me! 22lr Kadet Kit adapter for the CZ P-01 also helped a LOT.
A badge and a uniform doesn't mean "firearms expert."
Now for the flip side - I worked both indoor and outdoor ranges as a civilian, and the law enforcement officers who came in on their own time and dime to practice tended to be pretty good...I will never forget the officer who stopped in to pop a few rounds in uniform, and his issued sidearm FAILED TO FUNCTION...He kinda looked a wee bit sick, but FAR better he find out there than when his life was on the line, and if he hadn't come in for some off duty practice, he would never have known until it was too late.
I had Border Patrol snipers come practice at the outdoor range on their own time/dime, and they were good, very good.
Long and short, maybe I don't have the wide experience as some here, only ten years in uniform, but I've seen a wide selection of good and bad. The "gun people" shoot better and practice harder, the rest regard it as a necessary uniform item and an irritation to come in for qualification range.

nickn10
August 29, 2012, 02:38 PM
I'll share what 28 years The biggest improvement to departmental qualification scores was a Shooting Medal program, where officers could display how well they shot with a badge on their uniform...the highest rank was Distinguished Master which actually used the scoring rings on the B-27 and required a 97% score (350 out of 360). We tried to get the department to pay a performance incentive for higher rankings...didn't happen.

I wish to test myself, I have B-27 targets available and an outdoor range to shoot at. Please tell me at what distances and if a time limit is involved. Thank you I really would appreciate your advice.
Nick

gym
August 29, 2012, 03:19 PM
My findings living in NY most of my life until the past 17 years, was that none of the cops that I hung aound with, ever even spoke about shooting or practicing. And being down the block from "central booking" the 112 PCT in Forest hills for 23 yrs, I had many "real" friends who were cops. We even had a few in our summer house in the Hamptons, although most times they would stay together, and kept to themselves. All their guns got locked up when they started drinking and playing cards, Too many things can go wrong. But no mention or interest in guns was shown by any that I remember.
I shot with some Nassau county cops at the Nassau County range, but there were far more civilians, or people who were in bail bonds, or other jobs that required shooting than LEOS back in the 70-90's.
My one friend retired and moved to Jupiter, where he joined a small dept, "3" guys.It was a real relaxing way to make another 30 grand a year.Joe never pulled his gun out in 25 years on the job. an honestlly knew less about guns than the average guy.Most of the old timers were dinasaurs, they hated what the dept had become, so they stayed low till it was time to leave.
My good friend , who I mentioned before several times over the years, was the youngest to make 1st grade detective,"at the time", and when we went out, he never took his gun with him. I found it strange, but he was always evasive about not wanting to carry it. He wasn't a drinker either. Everyone is different I guess.Some can completlly detach themselves from their job, some can't. All I knew were divorced at least once.They changed after 5 or so years on the job.Most only carry a gun because it's part of the job, IMO.

Skribs
August 29, 2012, 03:31 PM
Just because you've been in the military does not make you a marksman.

So true! When I was in High School I knew an ex-army-sniper, and when I asked what the "-06" in .30-06 meant, he told me it was because it was .30 caliber, 6 mm. I trust people based on what they say, and not what their past professions were...especially after working IT with people who have been in the industry longer than I've been alive.

This is also why I don't hold any special reverence of the abilities of a police officer compared with a normal civilian.

9mmepiphany
August 29, 2012, 04:27 PM
I wish to test myself, I have B-27 targets available and an outdoor range to shoot at. Please tell me at what distances and if a time limit is involved. Thank you I really would appreciate your advice.
Nick
If I could remember, I'd tell you. I don't even have the slightest idea what the time limits were as I was usually done and holstered before others on the line were finished...especially at the longer ranges. They used to rotate through 6 different COF

What stands out in the dim recesses of my mind is this from a Medal Round:
1. 25 yards - 6 rounds strong side barricade, reload, 6 rounds weak side barricade.

2. 20 yards - 6 rounds, reload, go to kneeling and fire 6 more

3. 10 yards - 3 rounds strong hand only, transfer gun to other hand and 3 weak hand only

4. 7 yards - 6 rounds

W.E.G.
August 29, 2012, 05:26 PM
The vast majoriity of the cops I worked with only trained with their sidearms when they were ordered to report for qualification.

This happened only about once a year.

Three strings of 50 shots.
Only had to shoot 43/50 on a man-size silhouette on one of the strings.

lemaymiami
August 29, 2012, 05:39 PM
A few words about weapons training for police officers. Those "annual standards" that every department requires are pretty much set by each state (and they do talk to each other about such things). You get the same proficiency rates with police officers that you do with most armed forces recruits.... Those with an interest will find the time to do addtional training and those particular guys/gals will usually go on to become instructors, special weapons types, etc. I was actually in charge of training (every kind from classroom to hands on, including qualifications, remedials, etc.) for a small department (100 sworn) for about three years. Finding ways to make the training interesting, street survival oriented, while still staying within budget is just plain tough for any department....

Yes I've seen more than my share of "spray and pray" police shootings... most had the common denominator of lots of action with very little results. Yes, there are officers that if required will absolutely respond with carefully controlled deadly results (and I'd like to think that I was one of them but only had one instance to find out...). The good news for us all is that unlike TV and movie stuff, in real life very few officers will ever need their weapons skills. Whether the officer is particularly skilled or not is pretty much a random proposition.....

Because I worked in south Florida during the height of the cocaine wars (and during a time when more than a few officers were indicted for police shootings) we were forced to become much more proficient both at the range and in the area of tactics. I'm proud to say that during my career our agency never had a bad shooting (but some of that was pure luck....).

For those that think anyone with range skills can perform on the street... here's a proposition for you. Before stepping up to the target line - get in a high speed chase, then run a few blocks while uncertain of what you'll actually find... then run into an area you're completely unfamiliar with (and you're not sure if the citizens on the scene are on your side or your opponents)..... then draw and fire for effect. Once you've done that once or twice...then do it at 3Am on a night when you've been in court all day. Hitting anything or anyone in those circumstances is pretty tough, but that's never how they show it in the movies....

mister_murphy
August 29, 2012, 05:57 PM
Just thought I would share a few thoughts as well...

First, some view/feel that the police should be a representative of the larger population they serve...That will also bring out personal interests that a segment will share, some more or less so. Proficiency in firearms can be inculded in these personal interests...Also, there is absolutely no way 1 single officer can be an absolute expert on everything to do with his/her work, which is not only why the differences in ranks/assignments, but also calling on another officer tor advice or help.

While carrying a firearm as a law enforcement officer does bring a level of liability, generally speaking from my experience again, is that driving is a larger problem from a liability standpoint. While there is the annual (or more often) qualification for firearms to test ability, there is no test on driving, and little training on either firearms or driving. Also, at least locally, there is no practice on qualification day. You shoot to score, if you qualify its recorded, if not its recorded as well, and 2 chances for make up, each on seperate days are allowed.

If you take a look at the regular con ed an officer goes through each year it would show how the standards, and the agencies view as most needed. Usually at least here its:

Legal Updates
Ethics
Haz-Mat/Bloodborn Pathogens
Sensitivity Training (geared toward either juvenile, domestic, or LBGT)

I have only had 1 firearms class over the years, and 1 driving class, both were very limited in scope as well.

I wish to test myself, I have B-27 targets available and an outdoor range to shoot at. Please tell me at what distances and if a time limit is involved. Thank you I really would appreciate your advice.
Nick

from memory here is the standard NC qualification. Unless noted each part is started with clear hands, and holstered pistol.

3 yards.

Load and holster. All rounds fired single handed this stage.

1. Draw (secure duty holster) and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds using one hand only. Keep target covered until ordered to holster.

2. Draw (secure duty holster) and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds using one hand only. Keep target covered until ordered to holster.

3. Draw (secure duty holster) and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds using one hand only. Keep target covered until ordered to holster.

7 yards

1. Draw and fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds, keep target covered, on command fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds, keep the target covered, on command fire 1 round, reload and fire 2 rounds with the support hand only in 15 seconds. support hand firing is one hand only.

2. Draw and fire 12 rounds in 20 seconds.

15 yards

1. Draw and fire 6 rounds go to kneeling position and fire 6 rounds in 30 seconds with required mag change in kneeling position

25 yards

1. Draw and fire 6 rounds standing, go to prone and fire 6 rounds both from behind barricade in 60 seconds.

Night time.

3 yards. Single handed, and total darkness.

Load and holster

1. Draw (secure duty holster) and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds using one hand only. Keep target covered until ordered to holster.

2. Draw (secure duty holster) and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds using one hand only. Keep target covered until ordered to holster.

3. Draw (secure duty holster) and fire 2 rounds in 2 seconds using one hand only. Keep target covered until ordered to holster.

5 yards. Flashlight for first 6 rounds.

load and holster with flashlight in ring/scabbard.

1 Draw and fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds, keep target covered.

2. on command fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds. keep target covered.

3. on command fire 1 round, reload and fire 2 rounds with the support hand only in 15 seconds. Support hand firing must be one hand only.

7 yards, 12 rounds Vehicle Blue lights only.

load and holster

Draw and fire 12 founds in 20 seconds with mag change.

10 yard line. Blue lights and head lights.

load and holster.

1. Draw and fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds, keep target covered, on command fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds, keep target covered, on command fire 1 round in 1 second.

2. Draw and fire 2 rounds in 5 seconds, in the kneeling position. Start standing up.

3. Draw and fire 2 rounds in 5 seconds, in the kneeling position. Start standing up.

4. Draw and fire 2 rounds in 5 seconds, in the kneeling position. Start standing up.


15 yards. headlights, and blue lights.

Draw and fire 6 rounds from standing position, and go to kneeling position and fire 6 rounds in 30 seconds.

Scoring is cumulitive total multiplied by .4 for a max score of 250 (100%) and min score of 175 (70%) though each agency may decide to set a higher min score. My agency is 80% for pistol, all shots must be on target.

jason41987
August 29, 2012, 06:11 PM
i wouldnt say the police here are necessarily poor shots.. but i will say when it comes to delivering a projectile on target, theyre as good as tebow

One_Jackal
August 29, 2012, 06:19 PM
One reason police have low hit rates is their tactics. Police shoot down doors and cinder block walls. They lay down suppression fire and use other military tactics. There is no way to get an fair and accurate count of how many rounds it takes for a LEO to hit a suspect.

Certaindeaf
August 29, 2012, 06:21 PM
^
Why do you say that? They are issued a certain amount of duty ammunition and by simple math, that answer is easily and always found by that department.

the_skunk
August 29, 2012, 06:28 PM
Cops need time in simulators for situational training. It was a one in a thousand incident, but shooting nine civilians on a crowded street isn't smart.

JustinJ
August 29, 2012, 06:29 PM
I'm by no means a master but seeing the targets of others after the shooting portion of my CHL renewal class was alarming so to some degree i see the reason for concern. In reality though the majority of people i know with a CHL rarely, if ever, carry. It seems for the most part that the people who do actually carry do also practice somewhat.

Sam1911
August 29, 2012, 07:20 PM
One reason police have low hit rates is their tactics. Police shoot down doors and cinder block walls. They lay down suppression fire and use other military tactics. There is no way to get an fair and accurate count of how many rounds it takes for a LEO to hit a suspect.

I apologize ahead of time if you meant that as a joke.

They WHAT? :scrutiny: Suppressive fire and police tactics in a society at peace have nothing to do with each other.

Entry teams do occasionally shoot locks, but they have shotguns for that task, very specific procedures, and often special ammo because they know the risks of stray rounds harming an innocent or bystander.

2DREZQ
August 29, 2012, 07:44 PM
The average police is not what I would consider "proficient". Nor is the average handgun owner in the USA. If I had to guess I'd say the average police is probably a little better than the average non-police.

Exactly.

Two cops in my hometown. Both friends of mine. Cop One shoots well, and often, collects guns and is an avid hunter-quit being a LEO and makes far more more money driving an ice cream delivery truck. Cop Two, was afraid to shoot his Beretta rapid fire after quarterly quals, thought it might damage the pistol. Shoots well enough to easily qualify, poorer than many regular shooters like myself, but better than most pistol owners I've seen on their once every 3 years trip to the range. (Is now a full-time jailer, no longer on patrol)

I think cops get a bad rap because these real-world shootings under life-or-death stress are compared to a sunny day at the range by armchair experts, both pro and anti alike.

Old Dog
August 29, 2012, 08:24 PM
One of the reasons I try to stay out of these cops-can't-shoot-well threads is statements such as this:
One reason police have low hit rates is their tactics. Police shoot down doors and cinder block walls. They lay down suppression fire and use other military tactics.
Just plain horse poop, those statements. We do NOT train to "shoot down doors and cinder block walls." As for "suppression [sic] fire" -- not even worth responding to ...

As a certified firearms instructor for my department, our main emphasis is Rule 4 and ensuring clear field of fire should one find one's self in a deadly force encounter in the community.

I warrant the average shooter in my department is easily a better shooter than the average NON-COMPETITIVE civilian shooter. As an aside, I wonder how many critics here actually ever shoot timed courses for score? With the threat of losing one's livelihood hanging over one's head as a consequence of a couple bad days on the range?

DammitBoy
August 29, 2012, 08:35 PM
He reasons that if "highly trained police officers cannot hit their target, there is no chance civilians will be able to hit their target with a handgun".



Can't this easily be proven by statistics involving civilians vs police in shootings and measures of accuracy?

Iramo94
August 29, 2012, 09:32 PM
I have several friends and family members in a large department (2500+).
They had two weeks of "use of force" training in the academy, then they requalify every year.

Can they outshoot some of the pros on this forum?
No.

Can they outshoot the average gun owner?
Hell yes.

DammitBoy
August 29, 2012, 09:37 PM
So are there records and stats that would prove or disprove the claim that the police are either better or worse than civilians in shootings?

Anybody?

razorback2003
August 29, 2012, 10:05 PM
Most police that I have seen are pretty decent shots. I have seen one that had a 5946 Smith and Wesson about 10 years ago and the target looked like a shotgun pattern from within 5 yards.

I have seen folks shoot pretty bad at the range who got a license and couldn't hit the target.

Ehtereon11B
August 29, 2012, 10:23 PM
Not all military qualifications are the same. I had a shooting qualification in the military called "Battle March and shoot." It involved team fireman carry a LIVE person in full vest, helmet, and combat load while you wore the same gear for 1.5 miles. Then you had to drop that person down, administer an IV. Turn and shoot at a head/shoulders target at 100 meters from standing with an M16. Run 100 meters and shoot at the same target from prone. Any shots that didn't strike a vital area got points deducted, drop too low on points and that meant no graduation. To top it all off this was during Georgia in August. I have not had to do a course of fire that difficult as an LEO.

Deaf Smith
August 29, 2012, 10:33 PM
Shooting proficiency of the average police officer

There is no 'average' kemosabe.

Average means 50 percentile as in mediocre ability.

Kind of like 'average height' or 'average weight'.

LEOs need to get pay raises if they make expert ON A DEMANDING COURSE. They need free or very low cost ammo. They need skilled outside instructors now and then to give classes. They need TIME to practice.

Most importantly they need to be brought up in a gun culture where guns are not bad or evil or to dangerous to touch.

Only then will you see and overall increase in real marksmanship from the cops.

Deaf

mister_murphy
August 29, 2012, 10:37 PM
So are there records and stats that would prove or disprove the claim that the police are either better or worse than civilians in shootings?

Anybody?

Well, I guess that depends on what you mean by prove or disprove....

I hear this quoted alot..."Only 2% of shootings by civilians, but 11% of shootings by police, involved an innocent person mistakenly thought to be a criminal."

Which is also on http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/6.0/Gun-Facts-v6.0-screen.pdf and states: Fact: 11% of police shootings kill an innocent person - about 2% of shootings by citizens kill an innocent person.

Another study examined newspaper reports of gun incidents in Missouri, involving police or civilians. In this study, civilians were successful in wounding, driving off, capturing criminals 83% of the time, compared with a 68% success rate for the police. Civilians intervening in crime were slightly less likely to be wounded than were police. Only 2% of shootings by civilians, but 11% of shootings by police, involved an innocent person mistakenly thought to be a criminal. [145]

The Missouri research does not prove that civilians are more competent than police in armed confrontations. Civilians can often choose whether or not to intervene in a crime in progress, whereas police officers are required to intervene. Being forced to intervene in all cases, police officers would naturally be expected to have a lower success rate, and to make more mistakes. Attorney Jeffrey Snyder elaborates:
Rape, robbery, and attempted murder are not typically actions rife with ambiguity or subtlety, requiring special powers of observation and great book-learning to discern. When a man pulls a knife on a woman and says, "You're coming with me," her judgment that a crime is being committed is not likely to be in error. There is little chance that she is going to shoot the wrong person. It is the police, because they are rarely at the scene of the crime when it occurs, who are more likely to find themselves in circumstances where guilt and innocence are not so clear-cut, and in which the probability for mistakes is higher. [146]
In addition, the Missouri study was not restricted to "carry" situations, but also included self-defense in the home. Persons using a gun to defend their own home, who know its layout much better than does an intruder, might be expected to have a higher success rate than would persons using a gun in a less familiar public setting.

So you have a link to the "news paper" study, and a clip from it...So, with that said, at what distance do most self defense shootings take place? At what distance to what police shootings take place? If both an average non police officer and an average police officer are shooting at someone at 25 yards defending theirself, will there be a huge difference? I doubt it...The main reason this study is skewed is twofold...first, its a study based on a newspaper. Secondly, At least locally speaking, most non police self defense situations are at point blank range, and also with a shotgun usually. Most police shootings are with a pistol at some distance, generally at least 10 yards, if not more, and also at a moving target. Should we compare the same event, police, vs non-police, the results would be similar, if not an edge toward the police since they generally have to shoot once a year. Most folks with a ccw do not have to shoot every year. Some folks with a ccw have not shot a firearm since they went through their ccw class.

Edit to add...

I guess it also depends on a persons view of innocent. You can search and find results for folks on death row who are "innocent" but again with this study its an "innocent person mistakenly thought to be a criminal." So...Since its based off of newspaper clippings, just what exactly is an "innocent person thought to be a criminal?" The study doesnt say...

jrmiddleton425
August 29, 2012, 11:26 PM
You're (not you personally) are really trying to compare apples to oranges. If you're even SLIGHTLY involved in competition, you will shoot more than the average beat cop.

For example, the DHS-standard basic pistol course is 25 yards standing, 12 shots/12 minutes, (2) strings of 6 rounds, 24 seconds per string, (1) string of 6 rounds, 12 seconds. 30 shots, 150 possible points, 114 needed to qualify. Quals every 6 months.

I'd bet most people shoot more than this breaking in a new pistol in an afternoon.

mister_murphy
August 29, 2012, 11:56 PM
You're (not you personally) are really trying to compare apples to oranges. If you're even SLIGHTLY involved in competition, you will shoot more than the average beat cop.

For example, the DHS-standard basic pistol course is 25 yards standing, 12 shots/12 minutes, (2) strings of 6 rounds, 24 seconds per string, (1) string of 6 rounds, 12 seconds. 30 shots, 150 possible points, 114 needed to qualify. Quals every 6 months.

I dont know abot DHS, but as I mentioned here in NC at 25 yards an officer has 60 seconds to fire 12 rounds, 6 standing, 6 prone, with a mag change, and on top of that, the "average beat cop" doesnt have a competition to worry about, he has his pay check, career, retirement, and family riding on his qualification. I wish I would have 12 minutes to fire 12 shots qualifying without risking my job! Kinda hard to compare losing your job to losing a competition. It can be more pressure then some folks realize at times...

Also, I know nikn10 mentioned wanting to test hisself against a LEO qualification type shoot. Its kind of hard to test without having the pressure of losing your job if you fail. I do better shooting the same course with friends then I do putting my job on the line when I qualify.

If a person really wants to compare an "average police officer" to an "average non police officer" lets compare stats as to 2 shootings at the same distance with a very similar target (stationary or moving for both) and see how it goes...My bet it would be similar as to the results. Also I am comparing average against average. Im not trying to compare a regular top competition shooter to a LEO who shoots only at qualification. Id love to compare several different groups of shootings, that involve an average LEO defending his/herself at "X" distance vs an average non LEO defending his/herself at "X" distance, who both have similar skill level. Again, I will say if we are comparing 2 shootings that are very similar in regards to distance, target, cover, skill, etc, the results will more then likely be similar. There is nothing that makes a LEO better then a non-LEO, and there is nothing that makes a non-LEO better then a LEO if both are the "same average" and face the same type of threat/target.

Smokin Gator
August 30, 2012, 12:09 AM
"Also, I know nikn10 mentioned wanting to test hisself against a LEO qualification type shoot. Its kind of hard to test without having the pressure of losing your job if you fail. I do better shooting the same course with friends then I do putting my job on the line when I qualify. "

This should really only be a factor for those officers who know they have trouble qualifying. For those who are comfortably above the minimum standard, it shouldn't matter much.

Isn't it pretty rare for a dept. to actually time and score officers during qualification and identify them as Expert or whatever you would call someone who barely qualifies? From what I've seen, a very high percentage of depts. will only have pass or fail.

Mark

Steve in PA
August 30, 2012, 12:19 AM
I'm a LEO and a LEO firearms instructor, so I have lots of experience in how LEO's shoot.

LEO's are just like a slice of society; some are great shooters, some are good shooters, some and okay shooters, and some are.......well, less than okay.

All have to pass a minimum standard. Some try to score as high as possible, some are middle of the road while others are happy to make a passing score.

9mmepiphany
August 30, 2012, 12:34 AM
We always timed and scored every qualification...granted we only awarded shooting medals once a year...Expert needed a mid-80 percentile score.

My main objection were the overly generous time limits...12 rounds with a reload from 25 yards in 90 secs is pretty leisurely; I think it would be at least more challenging in 30 secs

Smokin Gator
August 30, 2012, 01:00 AM
What did they call the various levels for those that qualified? I still wonder what percentage of depts. are willing to identify officers as having just qualified or being experts vs those that stick to the pass/fail recognition. Mark

Warp
August 30, 2012, 01:09 AM
In my experience the average police officer is less skilled with a handgun than the typical avid shooter, which regulars on a forum like this frequently are.

Also, IME, the average police officer can more safely handle firearms than the average private citizen/civilian who owns guns and I'll bet the average LEO is a better shot than the average licensed citizen. But my perception might be colored by what I see at the public ranges when I go.

The fact that LEOs have a standard to pass at least goes a long way towards guaranteeing that the floor for their competency is a lot higher than it is for the average private citizen.

In terms of arguing against the antis, point out there are literally millions of licensed carriers out there, and there has been for years (many states have been shall issue for decades)...then ask them to show you where licensed carriers have shot innocent bystanders. These cases are extremely, extremely rare. It is not enough of a concern to limit carry licenses...or require training.

Personal note: I went through most of a police academy a few years ago. This included all of both basic and advanced firearms at a dept that had more firearms training than many, and more stringent qualification standards than most. (they have their own course done quarterly that is faster than the state mandated course and involves movement, cover, tac reloads, and combat reloads)

Out of my class (30 initially, 11 prior military) I had the highest qualification scores. The running joke/gag was that I learned to shoot out of a book (I did, had no training until I went there), which was hard for some to comprehend.

JohnKSa
August 30, 2012, 01:23 AM
There are officers that tend to be "involved" with firearms. They achieve a high degree of proficiency. They are interested in the weapons, the gear, the ammunition, the training. They see this as an important part of their job.

There are also those who are not "involved". They carry the weapon because they have to. They are not interested in firearms or shooting, and only attain such proficiency as necessary to qualify. (and that's a pretty low standard on most departments)This.

As an interesting aside, I've run into one researcher who firmly believes that the reason the .45ACP/1911 gained such a favorable reputation in LE was because the 1911 was not a common issue weapon during that era and officers who wanted to carry one usually had to buy it themselves. It follows that those who were willing to go to that expense fit into the "involved" group. As you point out, that type of officer generally places a premium on proficiency. Proficiency is obviously a huge asset in a gunfight.

Those carrying the issue weapon tended to fit into the "uninvolved" category and therefore were more likely to do only what was necessary to remain qualified. Their reduced proficiency resulted in a lower level of success in shootings and, naturally, that was often blamed on the gun/cartridge.

His belief was that it was the proficiency of the "involved" officers that built the reputation of the cartridge & platform and that, in reality, it had little to do with anything related to terminal effect and much to do with the associated proficiency levels.

It's an interesting perspective to consider--one that highlights the difficulty of establishing cause and effect, even after a strong correlation has been established.Only 2% of shootings by civilians, but 11% of shootings by police, involved an innocent person mistakenly thought to be a criminal."This is an unrelated issue. It has nothing to do with marksmanship. It's not that the cops miss more often, it's that they tend to arrive on the scene later than the bystanders and they are therefore a bit more likely to incorrectly assess the situation than the bystanders who saw it develop from the beginning. It's a matter of the cops mistaking someone for a bad guy more often than civilians, not of missing more often.

Warp
August 30, 2012, 01:30 AM
It has nothing to do with marksmanship. It's not that the cops miss more often, it's that they tend to arrive on the scene later than the bystanders and they are therefore a bit more likely to incorrectly assess the situation than the bystanders who saw it develop from the beginning. It's a matter of the cops mistaking someone for a bad guy more often than civilians, not of missing more often.

It's also that officers are more likely to be pro-active, more likely to take action, more likely to put themselves in harms way for the sake of others. The police are the ones who seek out the bad guys. Private citizens are more likely to be shooting when they are proverbially cornered and there is little mistaking who the threat is.

9mmepiphany
August 30, 2012, 02:13 AM
What did they call the various levels for those that qualified? I still wonder what percentage of depts. are willing to identify officers as having just qualified or being experts vs those that stick to the pass/fail recognition. Mark
Perhaps you are mis-understand. All working officers qualified, there is no recognition for qualifying...it is a requirement of the job.

Higher levels of performance are recognized with shooting medals that may be worn on the uniform...I seldom wore any of my awards or citations. The is likely a relationship between medals and department size. Smaller departments seldom have shooting medals.

Another reason for how departments track qualifying scores has to do with civil liability. There are divergent schools of thought on the pros and cons of the practice

HankB
August 30, 2012, 06:35 AM
I shoot at a range, most often the only other folks there are police.

And they are shooting pretty damn well thank you very much, and I notice it is full powered +p 40 cal HPs, not walmart bulk pack.I'd like to know what ammo maker is providing .40 ammo marked "+p" . . .

I've seen and shot alongside police on a great many occasions; when in lived in MN I shot with a pistol club that used the police range, and we had a league that used what was at that time the Minneapolis PD qualification test - but we cut all the times in half just to make it interesting. And even so, typical scores were in the high 90s . . . and the instructors told us that many officers struggled to qualify on the original test with, IIRC, a 70.

To obtain a Texas CHL, the shooting test is based on "typical" police shooting requirements, has portions fired from 3, 7, and 15 yards, and it only takes a 180/250 to pass. First time I went through this, a woman who hit my target instead of hers . . . still passed. Which is an indicator of how demanding it is.

And in local IDPA competition, most officers that show up would only qualify as "Novice."

Yes, there are some notable exceptions - police officers who are VERY good shots. But they are rare, and most likely are on the department's pistol team. (If they have one.)

dom1104
August 30, 2012, 08:12 AM
I'd like to know what ammo maker is providing .40 ammo marked "+p" . . .

I've seen and shot alongside police on a great many occasions; when in lived in MN I shot with a pistol club that used the police range, and we had a league that used what was at that time the Minneapolis PD qualification test - but we cut all the times in half just to make it interesting. And even so, typical scores were in the high 90s . . . and the instructors told us that many officers struggled to qualify on the original test with, IIRC, a 70.

To obtain a Texas CHL, the shooting test is based on "typical" police shooting requirements, has portions fired from 3, 7, and 15 yards, and it only takes a 180/250 to pass. First time I went through this, a woman who hit my target instead of hers . . . still passed. Which is an indicator of how demanding it is.

And in local IDPA competition, most officers that show up would only qualify as "Novice."

Yes, there are some notable exceptions - police officers who are VERY good shots. But they are rare, and most likely are on the department's pistol team. (If they have one.)
Haha, nice catch.

What I mean is, they are full power Federal HP rounds. Not some watered down reloads at a steel match.

Robert
August 30, 2012, 08:32 AM
When I was in the CSP we had somewhere on the order of 100 hours of firearms training. Our average Trooper could shoot pretty well. We were required to qualify once a year but could request as much ammo for training as we could use, and were encouraged to do so. Well at least my Sgt. encouraged regular training.

But it really varies from department to department, different budgets dictate different training.

abq87120
August 30, 2012, 09:14 AM
Another factor when comparing LEOs shooting situations with those of civilians is that I read that the range for 70% of civilian SD situations is just out of arm's reach. I suspect the police tend to shoot at greater distances. I cannot cite any of these "facts". But the arms-reach is one I read online recently.

DammitBoy
August 30, 2012, 09:37 AM
There is somone on a non-shooting themed message board trying to convice everyone that civilians should not use handguns for self defense.

He is trying to back up his reasoning by pointing to several recent New York police shootings. In one shooting he claims that officers no more than 3 feet from the suspect with guns already drawn, missed the suspect several times. The other incident is the recent shooting at the Empire State building.

He reasons that if "highly trained police officers cannot hit their target, there is no chance civilians will be able to hit their target with a handgun".



How do we fight this anti-argument? I want stats, graphs, charts. Real data, not stories about how well your department qualified... :banghead:

Certaindeaf
August 30, 2012, 09:50 AM
So we should allow no one to drive because they crash in NASCAR or taxi drivers crash?
I know not nearly the same but hey.

rocsteady
August 30, 2012, 10:04 AM
Thought I could add something here as requested for actual training and courses of fire.

I am a federal uniformed police officer and as such am required to qualify four times a year with our sidearm (Glock 22, .40). We also carry the MP5 (10mm, as a lot of our work is in a city environment, many times indoors) and shotgun (870), although we only have to qualify once a year with either of them.
We do "fam-fire" (familiarization) with the M4 but not on a regular basis as only some of our officers work in areas where it is carried every day.

In a nutshell, we have four pistol courses that we fire, one involves 18 rounds from 25 yd line (6 prone, 3 strongside kneeling, 6 standing and 3 offside kneeling. Given a generous 1 min and 15 seconds)

Next string is running to the 15 yard line and firing two rounds in 6 seconds, followed by strings of 2 rounds in 3 seconds from the "low ready" position.

Then we run to 7 yard line and fire 12 rounds in 15 seconds. This stage includes a magazine change.

Final stage is moving to the 5 yard line, drawing and firing 5 rounds strong hand only, performing a reload, then 5 rounds with the offhand in 15 seconds.

Total of 50 rounds with a minimum score of 40/50 required to pass.

Very few people from other LE or military pass this course the first time through. Air marshals are an exception to that rule as their PQCs must be similar.

That course puts an emphasis on marksmanship compared to our newer course which starts at the 3 yard line and works its way back to the 25 with an emphasis on drawing from concealment or duty rig and getting shorter strings of fire off in much less time. However, one can obtain a passing score before getting any further away than the 15 yard line.

In response to that we will follow this course of fire with a 25 yard "marksmanship" course consisting of 10 rounds each from: prone, strongside kneeling, standing, off HAND kneeling and then 10 from the shooter's choice.

Finally, we will shoot a "bullseye" course which consists of 30 rounds with a max score of 300. Visitors or others taking our instructor courses can pass with a score of 230 but we have to score 260 to pass. The scoring rings are 10, 9, 8, and 7.

This course starts with 10 rounds in four minutes (PLENTY of time) from the 25 yard line.
Followed by 2 strings of 5 rounds in 15 seconds from the 15 and then 2 strings of 5 rounds in 10 seconds from the 15 yard line.

The bottom line for us is that you do have to be proficient to pass each course, you must practice on your own time to score perfectly or near perfectly on all quals and we do not get paid for our range time or ammo for any other days we choose to shoot.

I passed our two week firearms instructor course this year and in order for me to keep my shooting to the level I feel is necessary I shoot roughly 100-150 rounds a week from my sidearm and usually combine that with some "play" time with a personally owned AR15 that may see 400-500 rounds a month (cash flow permitting).

We try to get into as much outside training as the agency will pay for so that we get experience with more tactical situations that involve less static targets and more dynamic environments but most of our training is done "inhouse" with just our unit using sim rounds and/or airsoft.

I hope this is helpful toward the general idea of this thread.

-roc

nickn10
August 30, 2012, 10:05 AM
I dont know abot DHS, but as I mentioned here in NC at 25 yards an officer has 60 seconds to fire 12 rounds, 6 standing, 6 prone, with a mag change, and on top of that, the "average beat cop" doesnt have a competition to worry about, he has his pay check, career, retirement, and family riding on his qualification. I wish I would have 12 minutes to fire 12 shots qualifying without risking my job! Kinda hard to compare losing your job to losing a competition. It can be more pressure then some folks realize at times...

Also, I know nikn10 mentioned wanting to test hisself against a LEO qualification type shoot. Its kind of hard to test without having the pressure of losing your job if you fail. I do better shooting the same course with friends then I do putting my job on the line when I qualify.

If a person really wants to compare an "average police officer" to an "average non police officer" lets compare stats as to 2 shootings at the same distance with a very similar target (stationary or moving for both) and see how it goes...My bet it would be similar as to the results. Also I am comparing average against average. Im not trying to compare a regular top competition shooter to a LEO who shoots only at qualification. Id love to compare several different groups of shootings, that involve an average LEO defending his/herself at "X" distance vs an average non LEO defending his/herself at "X" distance, who both have similar skill level. Again, I will say if we are comparing 2 shootings that are very similar in regards to distance, target, cover, skill, etc, the results will more then likely be similar. There is nothing that makes a LEO better then a non-LEO, and there is nothing that makes a non-LEO better then a LEO if both are the "same average" and face the same type of threat/target.
Also, I know nikn10 mentioned wanting to test hisself against a LEO qualification type shoot. Its kind of hard to test without having the pressure of losing your job if you fail. I do better shooting the same course with friends then I do putting my job on the line when I qualify. "

Thanks for the replies. My intention was to see how well "I" can shoot, not disparage the abilitiy of LEOs. I used to be much better but age and eyesight has diminished my proficiency. I've had a CC permit for 20 yrs. and if I can't perform with at least "better than average" I should relinquish that permit. I admit some of the qualifying tests stated here are beyond my ability physically (again, age and arthritis I'm 70), as I don't foresee me stepping into a running gun fight as some LEOs may encounter I'll exclude them from MY TEST. After what happened in Arvada I know as a former MP and armed escort correctional officer the training I received would help my mind set to attempt to take action. If I would be able to, under those circumstances still is undetermined. I can only hope I would be useful, thank you, Nick

Sam1911
August 30, 2012, 10:11 AM
How do we fight this anti-argument? I want stats, graphs, charts. Real data, not stories about how well your department qualified...
Well, good luck with that. ;)

We all would like to see black and white, objective, definitive reports of defensive and police shootings, with unbiased statistical analysis to tell us what is working in training, gun selection, ammo selection, and which can somehow compare the value (and personal and social repercussions) of a gun in the hands of the untrained citizen defending him or herself with the uses of firearms in police duty.

But those numbers don't exist. There are bits and pieces of suspect data, all highly conflicting, scattered through various reports and studies by DOJ and other government agencies, as well as by individual researchers. But they don't seem to tell us what we want to know. (Or even what we want to HEAR! ;))

So it becomes tempting for any interested parties to an argument to cherry-pick some random statistic and claim it means something. This doesn't do much to convince US when the antis do it, and I doubt it will ever convince THEM when we do it, either.

Sam1911
August 30, 2012, 10:18 AM
FWIW, here is the Federal Air Marshall qual course:

http://www.thegunzone.com/fam-lawman/fam-qual.html
http://dryfiretrainer.blogspot.com/2010/03/federal-air-marshal-tactical-pistol.html

gym
August 30, 2012, 11:38 AM
I remember taking the written test, which I passed, my 2 friends who went with me, failed it, then they suspended the program, back in the late 60's early 70's. It was a good job, I remember looking forward to it at the time.

RandyC
August 30, 2012, 12:28 PM
We're missing the fatal flaw in the man's original argument.

The expertise of the police has little to do with it. Even if the police are highly trained, it's of little value if they're not there.

What exactly does this man propose you should do for the five to ten minutes it'll take for his friendly police to arrive ( this presupposing the adversary will allow you to pull out your cell phone and make your 911 call)?

Does he expect you to tap dance and entertain a potential killer until the police arrive?

Armed people save themselves in potentially deadly circumstances almost daily. I would argue that a precious few of them have any training at all. And of those who have a carry permit, I would argue the same thing. Few have had more than the minimal training.

Advanced training is good and of course we advocate it. But the fact is, few have it and armed citizens have an admirable record in saving themselves without hurting innocents.

waterhouse
August 30, 2012, 12:35 PM
When I go to the department range to practice, I see lots of cops who are excellent shots. It is usually the same general group of cops that are practicing. Same faces, every time. Just like with the rest of the population, the ones that practice often are better shots than the ones who just show up to qualify.

Isn't it pretty rare for a dept. to actually time and score officers during qualification and identify them as Expert or whatever you would call someone who barely qualifies? From what I've seen, a very high percentage of depts. will only have pass or fail.

We count our actual scores, but only for bragging rights. The only thing that gets recorded on paper is a pass or fail. I was told that this started several years ago after an officer involved shooting. He had nearly perfect scores, and in the lawsuit that later followed it was suggested that someone that shot 100% should have been able to shoot the weapon the bad guy was holding. After that came up, they just stopped recording scores. At least that is the story they tell.

DammitBoy
August 30, 2012, 12:46 PM
Advanced training is good and of course we advocate it. But the fact is, few have it and armed citizens have an admirable record in saving themselves without hurting innocents.

What record? Where?

ny32182
August 30, 2012, 12:47 PM
I wonder why all these police qual courses are based only on accuracy within a huge par time.

I feel the IDPA classifier (and specifically time+ scoring model) conveys a lot more information than the police quals described, which are basically a "bullseye" type contest given the par times.

Sam1911
August 30, 2012, 12:50 PM
Well, that's a good point. The Air Marshall course is very different and much closer to a very simple, relatively easy, version of something like the IDPA Classifier.

While any IDPA Sharpshooter or USPSA "C" shooter could ace it, it at least gets away from the "stand and fire", bullseye, PPC model.

taliv
August 30, 2012, 12:56 PM
oh look.... another incident

http://www.woai.com/mostpopular/story/Armed-bystander-stops-stabbing-outside-school/6zTYMpy8pUOeyrbElEBOTQ.cspx

The attack happened around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday outside the Bonham Academy on St. Mary's Street. Teresa Barron, 38, had just dropped off her child at the school when the child's father showed up, and the two got into an argument. The child's father, 38-year-old Roberto Barron allegedly then stabbed the woman several times in the upper body and neck area.

Police say a bystander who happened to be a concealed handgun license holder pulled his weapon and ordered Barron to drop the knife. Barron surrendered and was taken into custody by the bystander and a school district officer.


in addition to the one i mentioned earlier this week on page 1

http://www.wokv.com/news/news/local/customer-shoots-robber-dead/nRLjK/

The 57-year-old grandfather who shot Odoms was doing some late-night shopping at the Dollar General store on Dunn Avenue when all of the sudden, two men stormed in and tried robbing it.

The shopper has a concealed weapons permit, and Lt. Rob Schoonover with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says the man wasted no time springing into action.

"There was a citizen who had a concealed firearms permit that was inside the store as a customer," says Lt. Schoonover. "He fired at the suspect, striking him and killing him."

Police have not released the name of the shooter and, as of right now, he is not facing charges.

waterhouse
August 30, 2012, 12:56 PM
I wonder why all these police qual courses are based only on accuracy within a huge par time.

Our focuses mostly on draw time, at least on the closer stages. I think the first few rounds are 3 rounds in two seconds when the target turns, starting with hands in the interview position (around the breast bone) and drawing from a level 3 holster.

When we back up to the 25 yard line I think they give us an eternity, something like 8 second to draw and fire 3 rounds.

nickn10
August 30, 2012, 01:03 PM
Also, I know nikn10 mentioned wanting to test hisself against a LEO qualification type shoot. Its kind of hard to test without having the pressure of losing your job if you fail. I do better shooting the same course with friends then I do putting my job on the line when I qualify. "

Thanks for the replies. My intention was to see how well "I" can shoot, not disparage the abilitiy of LEOs. I used to be much better but age and eyesight has diminished my proficiency. I've had a CC permit for 20 yrs. and if I can't perform with at least "better than average" I should relinquish that permit. I admit some of the qualifying tests stated here are beyond my ability physically (again, age and arthritis I'm 70), as I don't foresee me stepping into a running gun fight as some LEOs may encounter I'll exclude them from MY TEST. After what happened in Arvada I know as a former MP and armed escort correctional officer the training I received would help my mind set to attempt to take action. If I would be able to, under those circumstances still is undetermined. I can only hope I would be useful, thank you, Nick

http://i316.photobucket.com/albums/mm360/jnickn10/P1010472-1.jpg

2 yds. 3 shots x 2 draw, hip shots,
5 yds. 2 body 1 head 2X,
7 yds. 3 X2 point shoot CM,
7 yds. 5 aimed CM 5 sec.,
10 yds. 5 aimed head, 10 sec.
15 yds 6 shots X 2 CM 10 sec. 1 @ 4 o'clock
20 yds.5 shots kneeling (ouch) 15 sec.The very bottom hole is from relaxing my grip anticipating the shot. duh!
25yds 5 shots behind barrier, the upper 3 in the 7 ring I held head high the next 2, 9 ring I dropped to a upper CM hold

HOOfan_1
August 30, 2012, 01:24 PM
What exactly does this man propose you should do for the five to ten minutes it'll take for his friendly police to arrive ( this presupposing the adversary will allow you to pull out your cell phone and make your 911 call)?

.

He started the argument off that he was not an anti. Then he went on to say that for home defense a shotgun with #4 buckshot was better.

Of course I shot a hole in that argument by saying buckshot won't be stopped by dry wall either and asked how he expected one to carry around a shotgun outside of the home. He never answered that, he merely restated that shooting a handgun in a potentially crowded area was not a good idea for civilians.

David E
August 30, 2012, 01:27 PM
He merely restated that shooting a handgun in a potentially crowded area was not a good idea for civilians.

"Potentially crowded?" It's either crowded or it's not. And if it's crowded, it's not a good idea for anyone, including cops, to be shooting into it.

Striker
August 30, 2012, 02:12 PM
I'd like to know what ammo maker is providing .40 ammo marked "+p" . . .

Buffalo Bore does:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/533458/buffalo-bore-ammunition-40-s-and-w-p-155-grain-jacketed-hollow-point-box-of-20

Product Information

NOTE: Buffalo Bore loads their ammunition with the highest quality components available to maximize the performance of the ammunition. This ammunition is safe to use in all 40 S&W chambered firearms with a fully supported chamber. Most Glock 40 S&W do not have a fully supported chamber do not use this ammunition in Glock 40 S&W or other unsupported chamber pistols. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer primed, reloadable brass cases.

Owner of Buffalo Bore Tim Sundles on Buffalo Bore Heavy 40 S&W +P Ammunition: All Buffalo Bore Heavy 40 S&W +P loads use flash suppressed powders that give high velocities at low pressures. Since over 90% of all human shootings in the USA happen in low light, we believe that flash suppressed powders are a potentially life saving advantage - you don't want to be blind after you fire one shot in a life threatening, high stress situation.

Warp
August 30, 2012, 02:14 PM
How do we fight this anti-argument? I want stats, graphs, charts. Real data, not stories about how well your department qualified... :banghead:

The burdon of proof is on them. Not on you. They claim people's rights should be taken away because of what they might do, which is not legitimate to begin with, but ignoring that...

Ask them to show you the real data where licensed carriers have been a problem.

You can show them the real data that there are literally millions of licensed carriers in this country and there have been for decades. Then you can show them that licensed carriers hitting innocent people almost never happens. Suggest that if they disagree, they need to come up with this multitude of examples that surely exist.

The kind of argument you are looking to counter here is very very easy to handle. It's nothing more than people sitting around pontificating about what they think would happen when we have real world data and results that prove them completely wrong.

Certaindeaf
August 30, 2012, 03:05 PM
"The pressure of losing one's livelihood, retirement and a partridge in a pear treee is a pressure you can't replicate" was bandied.
It seems many here have said they've seen many of these folk shoot when not qualifying, ie "training/practicing" and it would seem that that (qualifying) would be some sort of incentive for people that carry a gun for a living to be able to at least meet the lowest common denominator to do their job.
I've seen the same thing.. some few guys and gals actually bother to have become or become good shots.. many others couldn't give a rip.. until the threat of the door is shown them. Then, they'll do the bare minimum to scrape by (remedial training) and then crow about it 'til next time.
Whatever, we all here know it's desirable to be able to hit when the time comes and that's why we've perhaps paid our dues and or practice.

Skribs
August 30, 2012, 03:39 PM
Continuing with Warp's line of thinking, we've had at least two stories recently posted on THR of civilians shooting BGs to save cops. One was a 165-foot (or was it yard?) shot with a revolver on a man preparing to snipe the cops showing up to investigate the murder he'd just commited, and another is a man who shot an already-wounded man who was attacking a police officer.

It's ironic nowadays that the civilians are saving the cops, I grew up thinking it was supposed to work the other way around!

Smokin Gator
August 30, 2012, 04:29 PM
"I wonder why all these police qual courses are based only on accuracy within a huge par time."

Even if some depts. do time and score targets, it depends on what the definition of "timed and scored" is at each dept. If the only time factor is a generous par time and a hit anywhere in the black counts the same, that's a lot different than using scoring areas on the target and recording the time an officer took, then factoring both together to come up with a score.
At our small dept. it only matters how many hits you get on target, you get no credit for doing it faster. Not that they really keep track of the scores, it's simple pass or fail. Mark

St8LineGunsmith
August 30, 2012, 04:47 PM
There is somone on a non-shooting themed message board trying to convice everyone that civilians should not use handguns for self defense.

He is trying to back up his reasoning by pointing to several recent New York police shootings. In one shooting he claims that officers no more than 3 feet from the suspect with guns already drawn, missed the suspect several times. The other incident is the recent shooting at the Empire State building.

He reasons that if "highly trained police officers cannot hit their target, there is no chance civilians will be able to hit their target with a handgun".

Having known several police officers who were also shooting enthusiasts and by the admissions of police officers on this board. I am aware that not all average beat police officers are "highly trained" in markshmanship. I know one officer who says he is only asked by his department to shoot a couple of times a year.

I keep trying to convince the poster on this other board that he is completely and utterly overemphasizing police training in his argument.

Anyone else have any input on how proficient the average, non gun enthusiast police officers are with their side arms?
that is one of the most idiotic things I ever heard
3 feet away is nothing short of a gut shot
the only way I can see someone missing the intended target fron that distance is if they are holding the pistol "gangsta" style:rolleyes:
why would anyone think a highly trained non LEO would not be proficient enough to hit the intended target?
I cant seem to get my head around this dudes way of thinking
give me any hand gun, your choice and at three feet away I can hit the target without taking aim.

Warp
August 30, 2012, 04:57 PM
I wonder why all these police qual courses are based only on accuracy within a huge par time.


That isn't how it works at the PD in my area.

One of their stages is 1.5 seconds start to finish, starting from an 'interview' stance (hands in front of you, gun holstered).

Some of the other stages are more difficult to complete within the allotted time due to distance, movement, number of rounds, and reloads. The 10 yard line sequences being the most difficult.

rugerman
August 30, 2012, 05:02 PM
From what I've seen there are cops who are good shots and some who aren't, just like in the civilian population. There are also those that are better with a handgun or a rifle or a shotgun than the other weapons, in BOTH populations. But in a situation where every second counts I want to be able to rely on my gun in my hand not the gun anyone else has that might or might not be there when needed.

ny32182
August 30, 2012, 05:04 PM
I'd be impressed if they had a 1.5 second draw requirement out of a retention holster that everyone in the department had to meet, and they did... That would be far more challenging than just about anything else in this thread, except maybe 3 rounds in two seconds from the same start position.

I'm not saying that entire PDs should have to measure up to to speed by competitive standards; that isn't really realistic. With the majority of courses stated in this thread (which are somewhat similar to the CCW course in SC if I remember correctly; it has been a while), the scoring will not differentiate between someone who can just barely make all the shots in the time alotted, vs someone who can do it in 1/3 the time or less. Many of the par times are so generous that it is simply a "bullseye" excersize.

Just wondering if there is a good reason for this, or if it just "how its always been done". You'd think time would always be considered a key factor in any kind of practical shooting.

siglite
August 30, 2012, 05:27 PM
I have not read this thread. So, that caveat being out there, I have a suggestion if anyone wants solid, quantifiable data on this. The founder of FR&I worked on a doctoral thesis on the competency and quality of law enforcement handgun training and use. He did a LOT of solid, well-backed work on this. I have heard the results of his research, but will not be sharing them without his permission. If you truly want to know, and have a legitimate academic or professional purpose behind the inquiry, he may respond to you. Steve is as good and knowledgeable an instructor, as his website is crappy. You can give it a try.

www.f-r-i.com

flyskater
August 30, 2012, 06:39 PM
I know when I took my CCW class sometime ago, there were 2 marines and 1 air force pilot in my class. I have shot 22LR rifles all my life but never a handgun. I bought my first handgun 3 days before class and put in 20 rounds. During the shooting session, I scored the highest in my class out of 18 people. All along I thought I was gonna fail the shooting section and embarrass myself.

Big D
August 30, 2012, 06:56 PM
I am an officer in south Georgia; my department issues the Glock 21C .45ACP compensated model. Before becoming an officer, I did not like Glocks in particular, because I was always used to shooting a revolver and a 1911. After going through the academy, and putting upwards of 1,000 rounds (at no cost to me) through my issue weapon both at the academy and at my department's local range, I have only praise for it. Yes, its a handful, but it sure it comforting when you're clearing a building at night. In Georgia, the POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) council annual qual course consists of firing from the 25, 15, 7, and 3 yard lines. Each officer must qualify at 80% or better, with a maximum score or 300 and a minimum score of 240. I can't exactly remember how many rounds are fired; I want to say 30, but I cannot recall the exact number. At the 25 yard line you must use a barricade, and lean from cover to fire. Then at the 15 yard line you use the barricade again, and are required to drop to a knee, reload, and fire from cover. Then your headshots are at the 7 yard line. It is a timed course, but it isn't too bad. Again, it doesn't simulate real world incidents, but we have several different training days throughout the year to deal with active shooters and a simulator. We also have the opportunity to go to the department range each month to practice; all ammo for our duty weapons are provided for by the department.

Sam1911
August 30, 2012, 08:52 PM
Steve is as good and knowledgeable an instructor, as his website is crappy. You can give it a try. Yes, indeed!

Heluva good guy.

Nuclear
August 30, 2012, 09:11 PM
I haven't read this entire thread, but it has been my experience that civilians who shoot in competitions are better shots than the average police officer. I base this on my experience when I was shooting competitively the officers who were not regulars would come out and shoot would have the worst scores. I also know a trainer and an armorer at two different departments who have told me that a large majority of the officers at their departments could barely pass the annual requirements, which weren't that difficult.

Just because you have been exposed to training, doesn't mean you are trained. You need to practice regularly. For me, I have to practice at least once a week to maintain or more often to improve.

Ken70
August 30, 2012, 09:13 PM
A friend is a gunsmith, armorer, and member of police reserve for a PD. He said the regular cops are absolutely the worse shots he has ever seen. Dopes at the local gun range look like Carlos Hathcock compared to these cops. They just don't take marksmanship seriously, the gun is just part of the uniform.

But what do you expect, PDs have to run ads on the radio, billboards, TV that they are looking for recruits. Another friend who knows said it was not being able to pass the drug screening that bounces most of the PD candidates....

Warp
August 30, 2012, 09:33 PM
I'd be impressed if they had a 1.5 second draw requirement out of a retention holster that everyone in the department had to meet, and they did... That would be far more challenging than just about anything else in this thread, except maybe 3 rounds in two seconds from the same start position.

Stand on 1.5 yard line. Interview stance. Target faces - draw while you take a step backwards - fire 2 rounds - target goes to side. Duration: 1.5 seconds. That's 2 rounds out of a total of 50 for the entire course. It's FAST but it's also ClOSE. Officers are far more likely to hold a round on some of the sequences from the 7 and 10 yard line that involve movement, cover, reloads, etc.

Patrol officers must qualify quarterly, I think admin and the like can go annually (same as state mandated course, which all have to do annually)

David E
August 30, 2012, 09:45 PM
It's longer than 1.5 seconds. If the targets are pneumatically operated, it could easily be twice that time frame. If state of the art, add at least 1/4 second to each end of the target facing.

Tom609
August 30, 2012, 09:49 PM
I posted this link when it was first reported last November. Very interesting data concerning the NYPD.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/nyregion/2010-ny-police-shooting-report-shows-record-lows.html?_r=2&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

Warp
August 30, 2012, 09:52 PM
It's longer than 1.5 seconds. If the targets are pneumatically operated, it could easily be twice that time frame. If state of the art, add at least 1/4 second to each end of the target facing.

lol. It's not 3 seconds. Not even close.

I could buy that it's somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 seconds, but those targets are fast, and if the bullet leaves a horizontal line because you hit it in transition it scores a 0

But the instructors, who are good and know their stuff, say it's 1.5...and I'm telling you, it goes FAST

ChCx2744
August 30, 2012, 09:59 PM
I'd say it varies from department to department, but from what I've observed, the larger majority of law enforcement don't practice as much as they should. That being said, I know some officers who can drive tacks, even in high stress situations...Could cover em up with quarters. The same cannot be said about many others, unfortunately.

Our local agency gives each person 50 practice rounds every 2 weeks and lets them come practice at the range whenever open range is held. It's a shame how empty it is sometimes. Skill definitely deteriorates if you don't keep up with it.

David E
August 30, 2012, 10:13 PM
lol. It's not 3 seconds. Not even close.

I could buy that it's somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 seconds, but those targets are fast, and if the bullet leaves a horizontal line because you hit it in transition it scores a 0

But the instructors, who are good and know their stuff, say it's 1.5...and I'm telling you, it goes FAST

Then it's not old school pneumatic.

They plug in the target presentation (full facing) time, so you're getting an extra 1/4 second on the front end while the target turns, adding 16.7% to the time frame. 1/4 second may not sound like much, but that's the average reaction time for someone poised to react to an impending stimulus. It's almost the same as starting with your hand on the gun.

Still, there's not much room for error and I applaud those guys for including this string of fire.

Warp
August 30, 2012, 10:35 PM
Then it's not old school pneumatic.

They plug in the target presentation (full facing) time, so you're getting an extra 1/4 second on the front end while the target turns, adding 16.7% to the time frame. 1/4 second may not sound like much, but that's the average reaction time for someone poised to react to an impending stimulus. It's almost the same as starting with your hand on the gun.

Still, there's not much room for error and I applaud those guys for including this string of fire.

Not old school. The entire firearms building was, I am almost positive, just built a handful of years ago. Mid to late 2000s, IIRC? It's VERY nice. Must've been expensive. There is also no audible for visual notice that they are about to turn...they just start doing so.

No, there is no room for error. If you have to so much as press your hood release a second time you are going to hold at least one shot, and even a relatively minor error can have you missing your chance at both shots entirely.

I am sure their standard is above the vast majority of departments.

The good news, stress wise, is that you shoot the entire course 3 times and you only have to get a passing score on two of them. You don't know scores of any until after shooting all 3. With 50 shots you can afford to drop one or two if you are reasonably skilled.

David E
August 31, 2012, 11:43 AM
The reason I brought up the added time to the target facing that is sometimes cops believe they are more skilled than they really are.

To wit: talking to a cop friend he told me he can reload his gun in less than a second. Knowing how fast and difficult that really is and having seen him shoot, I was skeptical. I asked him how he did it. He described a sequence in their CoF where the target faced for 3 seconds requiring two shots, they faced away for ONE second during which a reload was required, then they refaced for another 3 seconds, requiring two more shots.

Their system was an older one where there was at least a full 1/2 to 1 second delay. Often, cops had their guns out waiting on the targets to fully face. Two fast shots, then they began their reload before the targets turned away for the ONE second. As a result, he honestly thought his 3.5 second reload was really ONE second because that was how long the target allegedly faced away. :rolleyes:

9mmepiphany
August 31, 2012, 01:47 PM
Their system was an older one where there was at least a full 1/2 to 1 second delay. Often, cops had their guns out waiting on the targets to fully face. Two fast shots, then they began their reload before the targets turned away for the ONE second. As a result, he honestly thought his 3.5 second reload was really ONE second because that was how long the target allegedly faced away. :rolleyes:
That is pretty funny.

I'm sure he really believed he was performing a 1 second reload

allaroundhunter
August 31, 2012, 02:19 PM
I have not read through the entire thread, but here is a response to the OP.


While my mother was looking into getting her CHL, she brought the subject up with a female counselor at one of the schools that she works at. It turned out, this counselor is a retired LAPD police officer and had actually fired her weapon in the line of duty....Not once, not twice, but three times. In total she had fired 13 rounds in the line of duty, and all of them were fired at (and hit) human aggressors.

She is not a huge gun person, but she knew that if she at any point had to use her firearm, there was no room for error. She said that she practiced once or twice outside of agency range-time (being a single mom didn't giver her much extra time). Is this typical of other police officers? Not at all. Is it typical of civilians who have found themselves in self defense situations? Also no.

There are some police officers that are great shots, and there are some that only shoot to qualify. The same can be said for civilian CHL holders. Is either group inherently more accurate than the other? We can't confirm or deny that.

David E
August 31, 2012, 03:30 PM
That is pretty funny.

I'm sure he really believed he was performing a 1 second reload

He absolutely did.

And he's a firearms instructor....

9mmepiphany
August 31, 2012, 06:40 PM
That is so sad, that he could actually convince himself that that was true...and then to embarrass himself by telling other people :eek:. Think of how much fun it would be if they shortened that COF to 3 seconds total...running 1sec; 1sec; 1sec

Although I guess it isn't any worst than folks who fire one magazine through a pistol, hit somewhere on a silhouette, call it, "good enough for Minute of Man" and never practice again

the_skunk
August 31, 2012, 07:30 PM
The main reason I go to the range is repitition - mag in, cycle slide, de-cock, shoot, and then reload. In a self defense scenerio, I think gun dependability is number one, and closing the distance is key. Get one shot off fast.

As far as a cop's proficiency - that's like a pilot's proficiency. I can't help but think a simulator is the way to go.

GLOOB
August 31, 2012, 09:14 PM
As far as a cop's proficiency - that's like a pilot's proficiency.
No, there's a big difference. People become pilots because they want to fly an airplane. Not all cops are into firearms.

Hand out free firearms to a random sample of the population and make them shoot twice a year. They probably won't score as well, compared to a group of people that choose to purchase firearms on their own.

There are other issues at play. A police officer is rarely going to be found personally liable for accidentally shooting an innocent bystander. They also always carry spare mags while on duty, and in the empire state incident, there were 9 officers. When you have 8 buddies carrying 50 rds each and almost no personal liability, you can afford to be a little more liberal on the trigger in the name of self-preservation. In fact, if I was one of those cops and the bad guy was actually shooting at me (small detail), I'd rather my buddies were shooting more rather than less.

ScottieG59
September 1, 2012, 12:44 AM
Maybe someone touched on this and I missed it. It seems the issue is that someone felt the private citizen is unable to effectively and safely defend themselves with firearms. The position was supported by reports in which police effectiveness was challenged despite the contention they were highly trained experts.

My experience with armed conflict is in the Army. It is hard to know how people will react when faced with the life and death struggle. Once downrange, there were some surprises, but, overall, the soldiers I was with performed very well, even when under fire. It was most, but not all.

Personally, I accepted the fact I may not survive and just stayed alert and ready. One of the things I learned is that one can do everything right and still fail. Real life does not offer up the well structured scenarios one sees in training, but it covers the fundamentals well enough to give you a chance.

People inexperienced with armed conflict may have unrealistic expectations. I knew guys who never seemed to miss at the range. How would they do in a crowded place? Maybe well, or maybe no better than the average.

The issue I see with civilians is that there are no defined standards of performance. I think minimal performance thresholds may be possible. In the end, good preparation can change the odds in our favor, but it will not completely determine the outcome.

gym
September 1, 2012, 05:49 PM
on that +p 40 Buffalo Bore, I copied one of the reviews from the posted website,

I called Glock in Smyrna GA and spoke to the tech guy because I was concerned about the "supported chamber" comment. I read the description of this ammo to him, word for word, and he said that I could fire this without concern. Ray, this was in no way meant to be disrespectful to you. I am posting this so we all know what the Glock tech guy says. He did say that using Plus P ammo will wear the Glock, or any auto-loader, at a faster than normal rate. His recommendation was to use the Plus P for specific reasons and recreationally shoot with standard ammo. Hope this helps.
This was in reply to the comment that Glocks should not fire this ammo because of the non fully supported barrell.
There were also several comments in the review of the ammo which denied the fact that this was a +p load, just a jacked up load. I don't know what the difference is, it would seem that a +P load would be exactlly that, a hotter load than the regular 40.
The main reason I go to the range, is to functest the guns I own, and myself. Knowing I will never have the time I once had nor the resourses to shoot enough, "at least once a week" , I do the best I can and practice at home "dry firing" most days for a few minutes.
I found that if you handle your gun on a steady basis, you will stay fairlly close to where you would be shooting live ammo.

Ehtereon11B
September 1, 2012, 06:00 PM
One of the biggest things that bothered me about the ESB shooting was something I noticed on the video. The shooter was on the left side of the screen with an officer on the right, the officer was facing the wrong direction! Your pistol marksmanship is completely and utterly useless if you aren't shooting in the right direction. I have seen soldiers in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan mess up the point of origin of a mortar attack close to a mile away, sure. But when a shooter is a few feet away and you miss it? That is just not a good sign.

I have trained a few police officers and put them through courses I have designed. They may fail the first few times but they all end up better shooters. One of my first students is a police officer back in VT who is a firearm instructor for his department. He uses my course whenever budget allows.

hyattnc
September 1, 2012, 06:30 PM
The problem is that if an officer is practicing with their firearm than they are technically "working" and so the department has to pay for it. Therefore, the department must authorize such practice time and these days not much extra time is authorized. There is also a matter of who is going to pay for the practice rounds. How many rounds would you say is enough for an officer to practice with on a monthly basis? Lets say 300 rounds per monthly practice session. Lets say $300 for 1000 rounds which is pretty much about $100+ per session of practice not to mention range fees if applicable, etc.

The final aspect is time. Officers nowadays spend a lot of time filling out reports more than anything else. Where will a department find the time to train an officer?

The average firearms enthusiast is better trained than the average officer or soldier/sailor/Marine. In fact, when I was in the US Army a lonnnggg time ago we only went to the range every once in a while and than we fired under very controlled circumstances with a limited amount of ammo. Most firearms enthusiasts go to the range a few times a month and blast off a lot of ammo...probably more ammo than most soldiers or police officers.

Ehtereon11B
September 1, 2012, 06:49 PM
You must have been in before Bush years. Before I transferred units my company went through about 7000 rounds a month for less than 70 people. When we did BN fire we would get 17000 rounds.

Queen_of_Thunder
September 1, 2012, 11:17 PM
One reason for poor shooting accuracy by police officers is most local governments dont have the funds for ammo that would allow their officers to train to the level that some of us civilians do. Also such training will take them from their regular duties creating a shortage of officers for duty. So with these restraints I doubt we can expect better performance.

Certaindeaf
September 2, 2012, 12:13 AM
^
Right. Not.

Ehtereon11B
September 2, 2012, 09:08 PM
One reason for poor shooting accuracy by police officers is most local governments dont have the funds for ammo that would allow their officers to train to the level that some of us civilians do. Also such training will take them from their regular duties creating a shortage of officers for duty. So with these restraints I doubt we can expect better performance.

I am not sure how things run in police departments around you, but my department has our own outdoor range that we can visit off duty. The budget is a concern. Some departments can only provide so many rounds to LEOs for practice.

k_dawg
September 2, 2012, 09:57 PM
It really is not a question of money, but of priorities.

There is a massive amount of money being spent by gov't at all levels. They simply choose to spend it in other areas. Such as the U.S. Agency for International Development spending over $10 million in 2011 on making Sesame Street for Pakistani audiences.

In any event, it has been my experience that LEO's are not inherently 'into' firearms any more than any other population sample. You have many who practice weekly. Others, only twice a year. The idea that all cops are highly trained marksmen, who hone their skills weekly is a myth fostered by the 'gun grabbers'.

Roadking Rider
September 3, 2012, 02:06 PM
"highly trained police officers". That in itself is pretty darned funny. I'd be willing to bet I go to the range and practice more then they do.

Old Dog
September 3, 2012, 02:17 PM
Yeah, it's only funny to those who have absolutely zero idea of what cops actually do 99.9% of the time on the job.

It's not about the gun. Most officers are highly trained; a twenty-week or so academy, lots of continuing education and in-service training -- and the purpose of police training is not to make cops the best gunfighters in town, but rather, to make them the best in town for dealing with the situations cops deal with on a daily basis. Which most of you have no clue about.

If one desires to believe that most cops are not highly trainined just because one thinks he shoots better than a cop, that's simply displaying ignorance.

Jim Watson
September 3, 2012, 05:00 PM
I can offer a few observations and anecdotes.

I am, for some reason, one of the few "civilians" invited to a monthly shoot directed at law enforcers and conducted under IDPA procedures. We get FBI, military, city, county, private security, and even a couple of mercenaries headed to Points East. It is the rare LE who can keep up with an IDPA Expert or even Sharpshooter. As our host, lawyer for the police union and the range operator, says to the LE, "These guys may not know much about investigating crimes, but they can SHOOT."
Of course we are all self selected, not average. And the cops are showing significant improvement in marksmanship because they are motivated to get out and work on it.

A deputy here once asked the sheriff if he could count an IPSC match as training time. The boss said yes, he could take two hours of paid time to shoot a scheduled match. So we would run him through the stages first so he could get done in two hours on the clock. He talked it up at the department but nobody else thought it worth his time. Too bad, he is now on city SWAT and can get a gun out of a Level III holster faster than I thought possible. But he worked at it.

A town PD dispatcher asked if he could use the department range to hold IDPA matches. The chief oked it. Some of the LE hung around to watch us in action the first time out. The second time out a number of them participated, even providing a patrol car with lights running to liven up an evening shoot. The next time or two, we got almost the whole department, everybody not actually on duty at the time. Shooting skills ran from quite good to scary bad. But not THAT good. One of our guy's 13 year old daughter beat the whole department. Part of that was on equipment, the better shooters in the department did great until their guns ran dry. Those horizontal magazine pouches with long Velcro flaps are made for security and comfort in the patrol car or swivel chair, not a fast reload and digging ammo out of them put them way down in elapsed time.
For some reason we didn't get invited back after that.

I once had a course at M.I.S.S. Besides me and an airline pilot, the rest of the class was military or LE. Or both, we had an MP who was using his leave to work on his shooting. He hoped to get on the Border Patrol upon discharge from the Army.
I learned that the sidearm is definitely secondary for the military, those troops needed the work. I also learned that New Orleans PD supports marksmanship. One NOPD was an excellent shot and the other was working hard to improve. They do have a crime rate in NO, I understand; even before Katrina.

Roadking Rider
September 3, 2012, 07:26 PM
I'm afraid you might have misunderstood where I was coming from. I was not trashing Leo's on there professionalism in general. I was just talking about there proficency with there service pistols.

wrs840
September 3, 2012, 07:45 PM
I guess I'm just lucky to live where I do. Most of the LEOs I know shoot quite well. Some of them very, very well. Fine and dedicated men and women too.

I suppose where PC has overtaken the hiring and retention process it may be different.

Al Thompson
September 3, 2012, 08:05 PM
This horse is about done. :)

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