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Marksmanship: Police vs. civilian

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jpruitt, Aug 29, 2008.

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  1. jpruitt

    jpruitt Member

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    Can anyone point me to any statistics regarding how often police hit their target in real life shootings vs how often civilians hit?

    % of hit for police vs % of hits for civilians.
     
  2. csmkersh

    csmkersh Member

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    *


    I don't have info on percentage of hits civilian versus police, but Cato Policy Analysis No. 284 by Jeff Snyder states the cops are 11 times more likely to shot the wrong person than a "civilian."*

    *When did the word civilian's definition change to mean police, firefighters and military rather than just military?
     
  3. UhKlem

    UhKlem Member

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    I think the situation that Jeff Snyder refers to has more to do with the fog of war and the mindset of police once guns are drawn rather than marksmanship (which I assume the percentage of hits question relates to).

    Armed civilians have no ambiguity as to who the bad guy is, who the property owner is, and the circumstances that led up to the confrontation.

    This is one of the risks an armed CCW defender faces after drawing a gun in public: to many cops drawn gun always spells 'bad guy'. Plainclothes or UC cops face a similar risk.

    I believe Massad Ayoob had some anecdotal (or maybe even statistical) info that when departments adopted full capacity semi-autos after revolvers, the hit percentage went down. It might have been the Illinois State Police.
     
  4. everallm

    everallm Member

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    +1 on

    *When did the word civilian's definition change to mean police, firefighters and military rather than just military?

    Apart from annoying the hell out of me as an ex-squaddie it also fosters a "Them and Us and Us is special" mentality
     
  5. ge0624me

    ge0624me Member

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    i know that the majority ,of cops get alot more training, in real life confrontational mock's vs the avererage civilian, when i say average, i dont mean ,Todd jarret ,or Doug koeneg, etc, i mean the guy that that goes out to the range and punches holes in paper like me...
     
  6. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    I can't remember where I read this and thus cannot give you the source or a URL, but I read of an F.B.I. study which indicated than police hit the wrong person (or mistakenly shot someone) in 11% of the cases in which shots were fired.Comparing this to civilian cases in which shots were fired ordinary civilians shot the wrong person in 2% of the cases.
    It is important to remember:
    (A.) In most defense cases no shots are fired, and,
    (B.) As UhKlem pointed out before, a lot can be explained by "the fog of war." Consider: in your house, you know who is supposed to be there, and if you see a stranger with a gun skulking around after hearing the sounds of a break-in, you can be fairly sure he is the bad guy.
    Police, OTOH, get dispatched via radio with only a sketchy report often reported via a code number, sometimes possibly with inadequate or possibly misleading information, and even if it's good by the time the police arrive, things may change. If they have to look into a house, and see a man skulking around, is that the robber, or is it the homeowner who's armed himself and is (possibly foolishly according to some defense theories) searching for the bad guy himself??
    The point is the people on the scene itself will possibly have a far better idea of what's going on than the police, who nevertheless are charged with preserving the peace and taking down the criminal.
    So I am not going to pretend we should bash the police. The have a tough job and are rarely if ever rewarded properly when they do get it right.
     
  7. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    "civilian"

    Can't tell you just when the change occurred, however, police and firefighters, every bit as much as the military, need a word to differentiate between "those who are in on the training, know the radio codes, and of whom we know what to expect" and "those who will act however they will act, and who we can expect to have less training--and skills--than ourselves."

    What better word is there for the "untrained, unpredictable, unskilled," than "civilian"? In the sense of "one who is not in our uniform."

    The word, when referring to a person, originally meant "an ordinary citizen." Isn't that how firefighters and police--as well as military--are using it?

    I suggest that we not get upset by the generalization of a word; it happens all the time in most living languages, English more so than most.
    "We" ARE special! We're on "the home team" and "they" are not! Some of "them" like us and support us, but some of them lie to us, commit crimes, set fires, shoot at us, etc, etc.

    And there is no use crying out against the generalization of a word (military types disliking firefighters and police using the word "civilian" in the present instance) because it is going to happen whether or not we like it. That's part of what people speaking languages do.

    BTW, not that it makes any difference, but in a perfect world, what common, easily understood word would you have firefighters and police use in reference to the general populace, instead of "civilian?"
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
  8. Headless

    Headless Member

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    You really think that all 'civilians' are untrained, unpredictable, and unskilled (all 3? Really?) and that all 'non civilians' which you now imply would be any firefighters, police, military personnel are trained, skillful and predictable? What a pile of donkey feces. I'd love to see how a firefighter, simply by being a firefighter, is any better skilled, trained, and more predictable in their actions when they need to shoot a thug who's trying to bust in my front door than I am. Are all civilians without any training? The last I saw there were numerous schools available to civilians that relate to self defense and weapon familiarization.

    How about they call police 'police officer', firefighters 'firefighters', military personnell 'military personell', and other people...uh.. gee, this IS hard. How about "an individual", "a suspect", "a Person", "a citizen", "a witness", "the intruder", "the assailant", "a victim",...depending on which fits the best.
     
  9. Shung

    Shung Member

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    you should see how mainy "unskilled" civilan I know... they would beat the hell out of most cops I shot with..
     
  10. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    I wondered if this thread was going to become a gripe session about cops using the word civilian. Which is why I no longer use it. I will use either citizen or perhaps private citizen.

    Seems to keep most people happy.
     
  11. yeti

    yeti Member

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    I hope I missed the sarcasm in that, otherwise that is just a frightening statement.
     
  12. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    Uh, we already have a plethora of terms for them... "peace officers", "first responders", etc.
     
  13. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    So, I'm curious ... is the ultimate purpose of this thread to display the "fact" that private citizens shooter shoot fewer innocent people than law enforcement officers? Or that non-LEO gun-owners can be more proficient marksmen than LEOs? That the term "civilian" is always mis-applied on the internet and that all non-military people are civilians?

    And the obligatory 11% Snyder "statistic." Let's not trouble ourselves with the fact that cops respond to at least 11 times more incidents where bad people have guns they just may want to use against the cops.

    Knew someone would come up with this one ... Yep, but how many of your "unskilled civilian" acquaintances are responding in the middle of the night to situations where people are shooting back at them?

    Yet another senseless thread pitting the anti-cop faction against those that may have actual experience. But, let the games go on ...
     
  14. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Didn't mean to start an argument...

    Of course not; it's a collective term, a generalization. Like all generalizations, it isn't going to fit perfectly. But again, like all generalizations, it has its usefulness.
    I thought we were talking about a general term for the NON peace officers, first responders, etc.

    Firefighters, dealing with a fire or a traffic collision--in other words, doing what their team does--know what to do more so than the general populace. They are trained and predictable; the general populace is not.

    Police, dealing with a break-in, a teen-ager in the park high on drugs, a rabid dog, an erratic driver, a child molester, speeders, a bar brawl, etc, etc, etc--in other words, doing what their team does--know what to do more so than the general populace. They are trained and predictable; the general populace is not.

    In either case, a specific member of the general populace may be specifically well-equipped and trained to handle the particular emergency at hand. But we aren't all police. We aren't all firefighters. And we aren't all military. Those of us who are not in uniform, who are not specially trained for emergencies, who are not part of the team set up to deal with those, are ordinary citizens. Civilians. (Please, check the original meaning of the word.)

    I do not mean in any way whatsoever to denigrate the heroism and the sacrifices of military personnel, past or present--quite the contrary, I honor and respect them. Likewise police and firefighters--heroism and sacrifice there aplenty as well, in addition to simple every-day just making thing run smoother, and I honor and respect them for that as well.

    I also never meant to denigrate those exceptional private citizens who are ready to defend their homes & loved ones, and who take the time and trouble to learn, train, and maintain preparedness to do this.

    There IS a special word for former military, which I don't think will ever refer to any but those honored persons: VETERAN.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
  15. jpruitt

    jpruitt Member

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    I had overheard someone at the gun store claiming that non-LEOs (is that better than civilian?) missed their target less often in actual gun fights than LEOs. That seemed hard to believe, so I wondered if anyone knew of any statistics that could either support or refute that claim-that was the ultimate purpose of this tread.

    Sorry if I started any trouble here.
     
  16. CWL

    CWL Member

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    There are 400 million Americans now right? Every one of them is going to shoot differently, whether LEO or Joe-citizen.

    You can't lump shooters into 2 groups only. What about LA SWAT v. 2-member police force? Do Feds count like FBI bank robbery task force, or US Marshall fugitive recovery? These guys all will differ from regular patrol cops.

    Their chance for armed encounters will also differ.

    Just way too many variables.
     
  17. Hook686

    Hook686 Member

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    To me the term 'civilian' simply means 'ununiformed', as opposed to 'uniformed'. That the term expanded from military to include police and firefighter does not seem like a big deal to me, as I still view those folks as 'uniformed'.

    Don't sweat the small stuff.
     
  18. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    I have yet to meet a cop that was any better or worse than your average 'skilled' shooter. The same can be said for those who have been involved in violent altercations. Not even a cop knows how they will react or handle it until it actually happens, and the same can be said about the non-LEO shooters as well. Considering that alot of cops and non-LEOs alike only practice to keep from forgetting how to shoot or to keep their qualifications instead of trying to get better, there really isnt much of a solid skill gap to be shown between them.
     
  19. Lady with a Gun

    Lady with a Gun Member

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    Jeff Cooper observed:

    1. Criminals hit their target about 1 round in 10.

    2. The police hit their target about 3 rounds in 10.

    3. Civilian shooters hit their target about 9 rounds out of 10.

    Cooper's observations do have the possibility of unintentional bias. Cooper may have only been utilizing statistics for experienced civilian shooters (experience competitive shooting, etc.)
     
  20. Kragax

    Kragax Member

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    No doubt at any rate we are all citizens.
     
  21. Norinco982lover

    Norinco982lover Member

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    So we agree that it is in theory the same? The topic is simply too broad. Are CCW's in Texas more accurate than those from my state in KS? Idk. Interesting question. The answer is probably that cops are about the same as most CCW holders. Like anyone can even know that.
     
  22. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

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    You better check to see what that "training" consists of. Police officers are for the most part not interested in "training" only interested in "certification." Certification means they met some arbitrary minimum standard that often has nothing to do with reality.

    Typical arrogance. More often than not, I would prefer a civilian (of my choice) to back me up in a lethal confrontation than a run of the mill "trained" officer.

    That says it all doesn't it. Civilians are too stupid to be allowed to wander around loose; we cower in fear until the big strong sheepdog policeman can come rescue us. What a bunch of baloney!
    Must be having a bout of "badge fever."

    Maybe 15% of the police (for whom I have the greatest respect) are actively going out and doing something. The rest are hiding for their entire shift.
    (I got that statistic from "Police Chief" magazine.)
     
  23. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

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    At the Vermont Police Academy shoot in 2006 out of a field of about 80 "highly trained police shooters", from all over the country, there were two civilian employees of a police academy, a "Media Generalist" (think A/V nerd) and a custodian. The two civilians place 12th and 18th overall. So let's not here anymore about "Us vs. Them".
     
  24. Erik

    Erik Member

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    "Marksmanship" suggests technical shooting ability. There are some very good technical shooters in the public and private sectors.

    But... technical shooting ability is only one component in gun fighting.
     
  25. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    Personal observation ... "better training of police"

    I wouldn't count on it.

    My class at Front Sight two years ago, I was "muzzled" twice while on the range ... both times by cops. 0 times by the "civilians".
     
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