I found this article online.  It’s from 2018 but it’s still relevant.

New study on shooting accuracy. How does your agency stack up?

Researchers analyzed 149 real-life OISs recorded over a 15-year period by Dallas (TX) PD. In nearly half of these encounters, officers firing at a single suspect delivered “complete inaccuracy.” That is, they missed the target entirely.

In 15 incidents, the total number of rounds fired could not be determined. But in the 134 cases where researchers could establish that figure, they calculated the hit rate, “incredibly,” at merely 35%. In other words, more than six out of 10 rounds fired were misses.

“Unfortunately,” the study says, “the data do not provide a clear picture of what happened with these [errant] rounds, but, at worst, they struck other officers or innocent bystanders.”

Once again, “Hollywood entertainment [that] routinely depicts the police as sharp shooters” falls far short of combat reality.

From the earliest measurements in the 1970s, a wide range of researchers have documented that “police departments rarely ever achieve a 50% hit rate,” the authors report. Annual hit-rate averages in large departments such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas, for example, have typically ranged from 22% to 52% over the decades.

“Given the amount of firearms training the police receive, it would be assumed that they hit their target more often than not,” the researchers state. But the truth is that “officers are routinely inaccurate in their use of deadly force.”

Among all 149 shootings studied, officers struck the suspect “with at least one round 54% of the time.” There was some fluctuation from year to year, but the overall prevailing trend was about a 50/50 split between hits and misses—“not very accurate,” the researchers note.

Here, officers fired 354 rounds at suspects. Half the officers “were entirely inaccurate,” including one who fired 23 misses! Overall, about one-third (35%) of all officers’ rounds hit the targeted suspect. Most of those who had “perfect marksmanship” fired only one round.

The distances at which these shootings occurred was not provided but we know that 61% of police shootings happen within 20 feed and 50% within 15 feet, so we can assume at least half the shootings from the article were within 5 yards.

So three things to note.

Cops suck at accuracy.  I understand that police shootings are stressful and I don’t want to to come across as a Monday morning armchair quarterback, but in a career where we pay people to carry guns and know how to use them in stressful and violent situations, we are not getting quality results.

This really demonstrates how impressive an 80% hit rate at 40 yards for self defense shooter is.

Since we do not have qualified immunity as civilians, we are responsible for every round we send down range.  It is incumbent on ourselves to strive for perfect accuracy.

We need to train and train under stressful conditions.

Nothing matches the stress of a gunfight, but every stressed in practice helps.

Find an IDPA or USPSA match and sign up.

If you’ve never done it before, you will suck.

That’s fine.  You will practice drawing, sighting, and shooting under the stress of a shot timer.  That is good practice (and fun as hell).

You will get better and you will be better than someone who has never done it before.

Get out there and practice so you will be ready if the shit hits the fan.

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By J. Kb

12 thoughts on “On yeeting dudes at a distance”
  1. Cops don’t generally shoot competition for two main reasons. 1st, cops are mostly not gun guys. 2nd, a lot of the ones that do shoot are worried (rightly so) about getting embarrassed at a match. Your average cop would fare very poorly at at IDPA match, and people generally dont want to do something unless they think they have a chance to succeed. I have known a few LEOs over the years that regularly shoot IDPA/USPSA, but they are all firearms instructors. Generally less than 10% of police can shoot well enough to shoot SS in IDPA or C class in USPSA.

  2. “Most of those who had “perfect marksmanship” fired only one round.”

    Didn’t another Dallas Mounted Police Officer shoot someone at a long distance offhand while holding his horse’s reins in the other? Incredible shot. Something like 100 yards? I cannot find the story.

  3. Many square ranges limit your ability to practice but there are things you can do at most:

    * jumping jacks
    * pushups
    * sprint back and forth to the targets ON A COLD RANGE OBVIOUSLY
    * flutter kicks

    You’ll might get a weird look and if theres an RO clear it with them.

    If you’re sharing the range with a friend one great thing is to hold a weight or some heavy object at arms length till you’re trembling and feel like you can’t anymore then trade off with them and shoot your drill. One of the closest things I’ve found to an adrenaline dump before you go cold and smooth for reducing fine motor control and still remaining safe.

    Competition jitters are a real thing and dont worry about not leading the pack worry about if you learned something, identified a training deficit, did better than last time, and had fun. You’ll meet some excellent people at these things. Offer to help set up and break down after.

    I’ll mentor new shooters who tend to be afraid of standing out and drawing attention to themselves and dont want to do any of those things to elevate their heart rate. Thats when I break out the blutooth speaker and do Dancers Patented Cancan Dance. Either they laugh and stop taking themselves so seriously or they realize some pushups and jumping jacks are nothing compared to a large bearded man highkicking like a rockettes audition. (Of course this is after they’ve demonstrated repeated basic competency and safety. )

    1. My first shoot as a D class shooter in USPSA match was (i dont remember the drill) 6 rounds, reload, 6 more(not an elpresedente, i know that), it took me 21 rounds to finish and I had to ask someone for more ammo… I think my score was 3..I stuck with it and a year later in the last match I won my class. If you go into shooting sports with an ego bigger than your gun you will have issues. I would luv to find a local match but meantime I built a range on my property. As an instructor I have had men ask me-“ what if you teach a girl to shoot and they out shoot you? I just tell them “I did my job”..
      For some broken ego is a hard pill..

  4. As stated many times, most cops are not gun people. They likely spend as much time at the range as is required and not much more.

    The truth is that most cops will never fire their weapon at a person. The threat of the gun is enough.

    Most cops will spend most of their time sitting in their ride or sitting at a desk. This is one of the reasons we saw the rise of SWAT teams. These were suppose to be cops that actually spent time working with guns and spent time on the range and so forth.

    Add to that the horrible requirements some departments put on triggers and you have a situation where hitting a target at 5ft is likely difficult for them.

  5. That’s a good thing, when (not if) SHTF. When the cops start shooting at the unfavored class, they have at least a 50-50 chance to shoot back.

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  6. What I’m reading here is, cops are like real-life Imperial Stormtroopers: if they are shooting at you, the statistically-safest thing to do is stand still.

    This will be valuable information if/when the gun confiscation raids start.

  7. I read a story about a Chcago cop and a bad guy on a fire escape balcony 4 foot x 8 foot. Cop had Beretta, bad guy a Glock. Thats 16 and 17 rounds. They both emptied their guns at each other and ALL shots missed. Also statistics show in cop shootings a high percentage will empty their firearms. Plan accordingly

  8. “Given the amount of firearms training the police receive, it would be assumed that they hit their target more often than not,” the researchers state.
    Maybe I’m misinformed, but my understanding is that police firearms training is very minimal indeed. What’s the typical annual requirement, a few dozen rounds? Admittedly that’s a lot by European standards. But the wording indicates that the “researchers” think that police firearms training is extensive. I wonder why they think that.

  9. The 90-7-3 Rule is why cops do mag dumps and don’t hit squat. I was shooting at a local range once where another member brought a state trooper buddy to shoot as his guest. Shooting at 8″ round steel plates at 10 yards and using his duty weapon, the trooper could not hit the plates. He looks at his gun, magazine, and ammo scratching his head trying to figure out what’s wrong. When it was my turn, I went up and down the row of plates 3 times striking every single one effortlessly. Bottom line, I practice, he does not.

    Here’s the rule:

    90% of cops have one gun… their duty arm which they normally only fire annually (and begrudgingly) at qualification. This guy is most likely not happy to find out your are carrying in his presence, and will “just follow orders” when it comes to performing illegal and unconstitutional actions.

    7% of cops have their own firearms, They may hunt, shoot trap and skeet, target shoot, plink, and maybe carry for self defense. Guns are not just a thing that hangs on their Batman Utility Belt. He may question upper ranks if ordered to violate a citizen’s rights.

    3% of cops are firearms experts. They may own many firearms. They are instructors and range safety officers. They may compete at a high level, hold an FFL and sell firearms, load their own ammo, are qualified armorers or gunsmiths. They are armed at all times with a high quality defensive firearm. I actually know one of these. He is a retired LEO that was a LE firearms instructor and a member of the regional SWAT team. He bought himself a real nice Kimber 1911 for retirement and currently works at a large gun retailer in the state as an R.S.O. and safety instructor. He is a staunch Second Amendment supporter and an OathKeeper and has no problem with armed peaceable citizens. He may threaten to walk off the job before executing illegal and unconstitutional orders. His oldest son has followed in his footsteps.

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