during practice, officers often fire only a single round at a stationary target (Adams et al., 2009; Aveni, 2003), sometimes up to 50-75 ft away (Kelly, 2011). This may be beneficial in practice, but a majority of gunfights and critical situations will likely involve multiple shots being fired in close proximity, usually within only 3-15 ft of the suspect
The real risks during deadly police shootoutsA study of officer-involved shootings in Philadelphia revealed that the average distance between the suspect and officer during a shooting incident was a mere 3.52 ft.... when police officers use deadly force, more often they miss the target than actually hit the target
The anti-gunners criticize LTC's as less trained than the police, but statistics clearly show that the actual firearms training that Law Enforcement officers receive is short and ineffective:
The average amount of training time spent on firearms skills in the [law enforcement] academy is a mere 60 hours, with even less time spent on self-defense skills...Understandably, the amount of education and practice with firearms in which an officer may participate, external to the police academy and training, can greatly enhance their performance.
The real risks during deadly police shootoutsThe results of this study indicate that officers had no advantage over intermediate shooters and a small advantage over novices...experts were only 10% more accurate than novices between 3 and 15 ft. Recruits were placed into the novice category if they had no experience or minimal familiarity with firearms, such as only having fired a weapon once or twice in their life....As
demonstrated, rounds fired by novice and intermediate shooters in close proximity encounters are more likely to result in immediately lethal hits, as they fire primarily at the head... Therefore, this study's results indicate an alarming need for improved firearms training for officers.
So what are realistic conditions for citizens and police to train for? Results from An ANALYSIS OF NYPD Police COMBAT show:
From Sept 1854 to Dec 1979, 254 Officers died from wounds received in an armed encounter. The shooting distance in 90% of those cases was less than 15 feet.
Contact to 3 feet ... 34%
3 feet to 6 feet ...... 47%
6 feet to 15 feet ..... 9%
The shooting distances where Officers survived, remained almost the same during the SOP years (1970-1979), and for a random sampling of cases going back as far as 1929. 4,000 cases were reviewed. The shooting distance in 75% of those cases was less than 20 feet.
Contact to 10 feet ... 51%
10 feet to 20 feet .... 24%
The majority of incidents occurred in poor lighting conditions. None occurred in what could be called total darkness. It was noted that flashlights were not used as a marksmanship aid. Also, dim light firing involves another element which is different from full light firing, muzzle flash.
In 70% of the cases reviewed, sight alignment was not used. Officers reported that they used instinctive or point shooting.
As the distance between the Officer and his opponent increased, some type of aiming was reported in 20% of the cases. This aiming or sighting ran from using the barrel as an aiming reference to picking up the front sight and utilizing fine sight alignment.
The remaining 10% could not remember whether they had aimed or pointed and fired the weapon instinctively.
65% of the Officers who had knowledge of impending danger, had their revolvers drawn and ready.
Reports on incidents involving Police death revealed that the Officer was alone more often than not and that he was confronted by at least two people.
The element reported as the single most important factor in the Officer's survival during an armed confrontation was cover.
In a stress situation an Officer is likely to react as he was trained to react. There is almost always some type of cover available, but it may not be recognized as such without training.
In 84% of the cases reviewed, the Officer was in a standing or crouch position (supported and unsupported) when he fired.
(The training doctrine developed for use in an exposed condition involves use of the crouch/point shoulder stance. The feet are spread for balance and the arms locked at shoulder, elbow and wrist. The body becomes the gun platform, swiveling at the knees. Multiple targets can be fired on with speed and accuracy through an arc of 140 degrees without moving the feet.)
STRONG HAND OR WEAK HAND
Officers, with an occasional exception, fired with the strong hand. That was the case even when it appeared advantageous to use the weak hand. The value of placing heavy emphasis on weak hand shooting during training and qualification is subject to question.
The average number of shots fired by individual Officers in an armed confrontation was between two and three rounds. The two to three rounds per incident remained constant over the years covered by the report. It also substantiates an earlier study by the L.A.P.D. (1967) which found that 2.6 rounds per encounter were discharged.
The necessity for rapid reloading to prevent death or serious injury was not a factor in any of the cases examined.
In close range encounters, under 15 feet, it was never reported as necessary to continue the action.
In 6% of the total cases the Officer reported reloading. These involved cases of pursuit, barricaded persons, and other incidents where the action was prolonged and the distance exceeded the 25 foot death zone.
Bullet placement was the cause of death or an injury that was serious enough to end the confrontation.
Risks of an unintentional discharge in the SOP-9 study were 0.14% per year.
The solution advocated by COL Rex Applegate, Gabe Suarez, Roger Phillips and others is to train in both Point Shooting and Sighted shooting, so you develop accuracy and speed at all distances under realistic conditions.
This is backed up by studies:
Numerous studies have observed that external focus promotes better performance through allowing more automatic and reflexive movements, rather than interfering with automatic motor responses ...This should be a goal in every department, to train the officer so the motor program becomes automatic, freeing cognitive resources for observation, cognitive processing and immediate decision making