Why Cops Can’t Shoot Straight

 

I’m pretty good at spotting cops. I see enough law enforcement types down at the range to ID the serve-and-protect-types in a New York minute, regardless of dress. These guys were different. They were young and rake-thin. They wore jeans that actually looked like jeans (as opposed to pressed khakis). The smaller, more wiry of the pair open carried; he strode past the rental counter with some sort of SIG strapped to his hip. The guys clued me in: State Troopers. Neither man had the swagger or stature of the State po-po that I’d known and not necessarily loved. What I saw out at the range was even more surprising. Or not . . .

I didn’t really pay much attention to their shooting at first. I was deep into one of those me-focused shooting excursions, starring our testing and evaluation Ruger SP101 .22LR. But the noise coming from the adjacent lanes was terrific. Despite double ear protection, the reports were physically painful. I could feel the shock waves passing through the bullet resistant divider in my eyeballs.

I looked at the ammo on the shelf behind them for confirmation. Yup, .357 SIG, going nowhere in particular, fast. The cops aimed their P226 handguns at bowling pin-shaped targets some twenty yards out. Their bullets perforated the paper. But a championship marksman couldn’t have created such an even dispersement of holes.

There were no groups. None. Nor were the guys shooting to any particular purpose—other than firing bullets downrange. No drills. No stance or pace variations. No challenges of any sort. Load, shoot, wash, rinse, repeat. Dozens of deafening rounds downrange without rhyme or reason.

These are the cops you read about in our crime report posts. The ones who fire a lots of rounds at bad guys to little effect to no effect. Which made me curious. Why? Why were they so bad at shooting?

I resisted blaming the SIG for the cops’ accuracy (or lack thereof). The P226 has that funky double-action to single-action trigger pull favored by law enforcement agencies that don’t trust their officers to keep their finger off the trigger until it’s time to shoot. That’s a ten-pound initial trigger pull followed by a four-pound pull. It’s also a looooong motion with a looooong trigger reset.

To my mind, the P226 shoots like a revolver. Well two different revolvers. BUT— U.S. Navy SEALs use the P226. Jake Zweig aside, those boys don’t mess around. And just about any gun can deliver minute-of-bad-guy accuracy with sufficient training.

I loaded-up my Glock 20 with 10 rounds and invited one of the cops to shoot at a target ten yards away. After a couple of “flyers,” he settled down into an eight inch group. I reloaded and told him to let fly. Fast as you can. Go! Go! Go! Twelve inches.

So the cops could shoot. But they weren’t shooting. Judging from their targets, they simply didn’t care about accuracy. Or anything remotely combat-oriented. They just wanted to make sure they had enough skill to re-qualify. To keep their job.

That had me puzzled.

I’m an OFWG who studiously avoids stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places. My chances of actually needing my concealed carry weapon are pretty close to zero. And yet I train regularly, taking instruction from the best people I can find. And I take it seriously.

In contrast, it’s only a matter of time before the Troopers face a life-or-death armed confrontation. Why the hell wouldn’t they want to be ready to use their gun quickly, efficiently and accurately? If it was me, I’d be, well, doing what I’m doing. And then some.

The easy thing to do here: blame the cops’ training. The boys and girls in blue don’t get enough of the right kind of training from the right kind of people on a sufficiently frequent basis (if at all). And I’m sure that’s right. But that failure masks a much bigger problem. Institutional corruption.

It’s not exactly a secret that a large number of police officers get into the police academy because of who they know, rather than who they are. Or sometimes who they are (gay, minority, women) rather than what they can do. Not to mention the central role played by envelopes stuffed with cash. I kid you not.

[For the record, I wish to state that the Troopers that I watched shooting went though a rigorous selection process based entirely on merit. The same applies to any police officer reading this post, obviously.]

In fact, the selection process for most of America’s urban police forces is so political (i.e., profoundly corrupt) that the academies are populated with a significant percentage of cops who shouldn’t be cops. Men and women who lack a general aptitude for exercising authority with an instinctive understanding of the demands of deadly force.

Training? I don’t need no stinkin’ training. I’m bad ass, me. I made the cut. Done.

So much for nature (i.e. creating a genuinely talented talent pool). Thanks to the unions, the nurture situation is even worse. The unions’ main job: “protecting” officers from management. In other words, accountability. So not only are politically correct officers (I include political connections in that description) more likely to make mistakes than someone more suited to the task, mistakes are divorced from consequences.

That’s what I was watching at the range: cops who made little to no real world connection between what they were doing on the line and what they’d have to do if their lives—or ours—were on the line.

After the cop shot his group with my Glock, he went right back to banging away with his SIG. He didn’t stick around to see my skills, or watch my drills, or learn anything. But I learned something. I learned the trick to training a dog: buy the right dog. And only reward him when he does something good.

Meanwhile, I’m under no illusions. I am my own first responder. Thank God for the Second Amendment.

 

comments

  1. avatar PhilH says:

    Robert, I know of no city or state anywhere in the US that holds itself to any sort of quotas as far as the hiring of gay officers is concerned. There may be states where once you are in, you cannot be fired for being gay, but it’s just wrong to state that gays fall into any sort of special class, such as gender or race. They simply do not. The vast majority of gay cops probably do everything they can to keep their orientation under wraps until long after they are hired (and quite a few keep it under wraps long after that, I would imagine). If I am wrong, I would love to be corrected – honestly.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      comon now , do you think they publicize that sort of thing !?!?! of course not . quotas on people are like quotas on tickets. officially they don’t exsist. but for a lot of the hiring police management , meeting certian diversity “goals ” will get you a good review and a promotion. missing them and you get assigned to command an out of the way pricinct on an undesirable shift.

      1. avatar PhilH says:

        What I’m saying is, gays are not a protected class. The EEOC is not going to ask any state or federal law enforcement agency to report its breakdown of officers based on sexual orientation, the way they might well ask regarding age, gender, and race. If it’s not measured, no one asks, and no one cares. I simply cannot imagine any chief of police caring about how many gays he or she has hired, and I cannot imagine any regulatory body asking him or her, or pushing for increases or decreases.

        1. avatar Rob J says:

          You have not been to California. Diversity is measured in every way to avoid or respond to law suits.

        2. avatar miforest says:

          eeoc is only one of the many many state, county, township, and city agencies watching this. Quotas are realy only defence against the constant lawsuits brought for discrimination in hiring by the many applicants who don’t get hired. Also local pressure groups are VERY, VERY powerful in advocating for their folks and will demand to see progress reported as numbers. the last thing any senior officer looking to be chief needs is for the local commity for XXX in the media raising heck about the “unrepresentative ” police dept.

  2. avatar Richard says:

    Good article. Sad, but often true. Wish there had been a different ending with the state troopers at the range, but what you observed does fit the profile for many of them. They don’t need any civilians teaching them anything.

  3. avatar Ryan Finn says:

    All the cops I am friends with and work with actually know how to shoot. Most go to the range regularly and practice for real. Maybe its just a small western county thing, but out here it seems that firearms are looked at as more than just that annoying thing you have to prove you can use once a year in order to keep your job. (holy run on sentence Batman)

    1. avatar Jason says:

      That’s a self-selecting sample. The same applies to the cops I’m friends with, but we’re friends largely because we have similar interests. I’ve seen plenty of cops on the range who aren’t very good.

      1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

        Good point Jason.

        1. avatar karlb. says:

          . . . not a run on sentence; it is punctuated perfectly, and it only has one independent clause.

    2. avatar Totenglocke says:

      Both of my brother-in-laws are cops. One likes guns and enjoys shooting various hand guns and rifles at the range as well as hunting. The other one’s exact words were “I don’t like guns – I just carry one because I have to for work”. The one who said that was the first person to give me any firearms instruction (years ago) and refused to let me adjust my stance from the old school cop training of sticking your butt way out and holding the gun way out in front of you – needless to say I had a hard time hitting a damn thing until I went shooting with someone else who didn’t care how I stood.

  4. avatar Aharon says:

    ‘I am my own first responder’

    -another great pro 2nd Amendment bumper sticker slogan that I’ve seen at this site.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    I’ve seen staties and local LEOs at the same range, and they uniformly sucked. I also watched the Barnstable PD when they were qualifying at the Town range last year. They were better, but they were shooting at no more than five yards. Five yards may be a proper distance for an SD shooter, but not for a cop. On the plus side, I saw a gaggle of Secret Service boys shooting at the indoor range a couple of months ago, and they were far superior. Their training and/or qualifying included shooting behind cover, drills from holster and a lot of other good stuff. They could actually hit what they were aiming at, which was reassuring.

    So our “protection” consists of a bunch of guys who couldn’t hit the proverbial broad side, while the politically connected get marksmen to cover their asses. What does that tell you?

  6. avatar DaveM says:

    Couple of weeks ago at local indoor range shooting my “minute of milk jug”Mini 14. 3 guys in camo pants, black t shirts, thigh holsters and M-4’s with scopes, lights, bipods and one had what looked like a suppressor. I thought they were wanna be’s until one of them started shooting and by the lack of report I realized it was suppressed and figured right then they were the real deal. Problem was even when they were using a bipod and prone on floor I was shooting better groups off hand with my iron sighted Mini.
    Guy at the counter confirmed that they were local SWAT.
    Hope those guys aren’t pulling the trigger if I am the hostage

  7. avatar Will Litten says:

    I’ve seen guys like that at the range, head to toe tacticool gear and ARs covered in accessories that are worth more than my car. The skill varies from “ok” to “I’m tell’n you man, there is something wrong with the sights, I’m not even on paper”. I pray these guys are just wannabes, not law enforcement.

  8. avatar Steve says:

    Mr. Farago,
    You make a few rather large assertions in this piece and you seem to base them on a single observation of two people at a shooting range.

    You ask “Why the hell wouldn’t they want to be ready to use their gun quickly, efficiently and accurately?” implying that they can’t use their guns effectively.

    You assert that police firearms training is spotty …“The boys and girls in blue don’t get enough of the right kind of training from the right kind of people on a sufficiently frequent basis (if at all).”

    And you then proceed to say that there are lots of cops out there that are in their present jobs because of corruption and/or nepotism.
    “It’s not exactly a secret that a large number of police officers get into the police academy because of who they know, rather than who they are. Or sometimes who they are (gay, minority, women) rather than what they can do. Not to mention the central role played by envelopes stuffed with cash. I kid you not.”

    …“In fact, the selection process for most of America’s urban police forces is so political (i.e., profoundly corrupt) that the academies are populated with a significant percentage of cops who shouldn’t be cops. Men and women who lack a general aptitude for exercising authority with an instinctive understanding of the demands of deadly force.”

    You got all this from observing two state troopers during one range trip? Apparently your powers of deductive reasoning far outstrip the famed Sherlock Holmes. Either that or you are pulling stuff out of your ass.

    Perhaps these two guys were just going to the shooting range to blow off some steam and burn up some old ammo? Maybe they are new to the particular weapons they were using that day. Maybe it was junk ammo. Or maybe these two fellows hail from the wee end of the bell curve. Hard telling not knowing.

    In any case I find it remarkable that you would toss out so many accusations without providing any supporting evidence. No studies, no links to peer reviewed reports. Nothing.

    Your name is not Jesus, and you are not the Son of God, thus your words are not Gospel. Bring data or go home.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Really? You want citations? This is an editorial, not a scientific paper. And no, I didn’t base my statements on anecdotal evidence.

      Sigh. OK. When the kids are asleep. At this point, suffice it to say Google is YOUR friend. For a start, try “police shooting accuracy” or “police training frequency” and “police recruiting scandal”.

      1. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

        They were not shooting double-action-only SIGs, were they? I had a P226 in 40 S&W, DA/SA, and I was lucky to hit any part of the target in DA. I hated that trigger. SA was ok, but that DA trigger was one reason why I got rid of the gun.

      2. avatar Handprop says:

        Our range is owned/operated by a former military/LEO guy and most of the employees are former LEO. There’s not anything in Robert’s piece they wouldn’t verify. All the bullet pockmarks in the sidewalls and acoustic tiles in the ceiling are the product of the area’s finest doing their training at this range. It’s a standing joke. We’ve been advised in our SD classes that completing the full routine offered at this range (CCW, Combat Handgun, Combat Carbine) will leave a person better trained than 70% of the LEO’s. My understanding is the LEO’s train because they HAVE to, not because they want to. Completely different mindset from the civvies with CCW. A recent incident with an armed perp in the city adjacent to ours saw a half dozen LEO’s scoring two hits out of a total of 28 fired, a 7% hit ratio. Not hard to see the connection between their training and the national average of an 18% hit ratio for LEO.

      3. avatar Lemming says:

        Data? Last month Leroy Webster fired seven times at the NYPD injuring two of them. The NYPD shot at him 73 times, missing 71 times.

        Missing your target with 97% of your shots is perhaps indicative of poor marksmanship training.

        That one of misses is likely the one the shot that killed a bystander also suggests a training problem.

    2. avatar cmd says:

      I have seen LEO’s at my local range fire at a 24″ X 24″ target at 10 yards and hit all over the target. They didn’t even try. Some care and some don’t. I would bet that most don’t.

      As for departments hiring by quota vice the right people. Google search for DOJ suing Virginia Beach, Virginia for not enough minorities. You’ll find detailed stories where the entrance exam was too hard for some minorities to pass. A local news station gave the test to some 4th graders and they passed with scores above 80%. DOJ forced VABCH to ease the test standards to make it easier for minorities to get into the program.

    3. avatar Jason says:

      Everybody who’s been shooting much has seen these guys at the range. My favorite was the uniformed sheriff practicing on a qualification target between a 12-year old on the lane to his left, and a pair of doddering old 70-something ladies on the lane to his right. They were both putting him to shame.

      But some cops are amazing shooters too. Either way, it doesn’t come with the badge. The only thing you can assume about a cop is that he or she has passed the minimum qualifications. Which aren’t very high.

    4. avatar Orvil says:

      Steve: 1
      Fandango: 0

  9. avatar Jason says:

    Cops who are also gun nuts are great shots. For cops who aren’t gun nuts, the gun is just another object on the bat belt, and qualifying with it is just another item to check off on the to-do list. Not everybody is a gun nut, and they never will be. We might as well get used to it. I’m not sure that should be a primary qualifier for police hiring anyway. There’s a lot more to the job than shooting bad guys. If a cop is honest and good at other aspects of his job, do we really want to turn him down just because he’d prefer to be at the lake or the ball game on a weekend instead of the shooting range?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I’m OK with that—as long as you apply the same non-standards to civilians. No quals for carry. How’s that for a bumper sticker? No? Never mind then.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        Um, yes! I live in Arizona. There are is no qualifier for carrying a firearm, open or concealed. It’s not a bumper sticker, it’s our way of life.

        Every additional person carrying a gun greatly increases the chances that a bad guy will end up having a very bad day. No matter how much I practice – and ironically enough, I was shooting my .357 SIG P229 just last night – I’m only going to get a few % better. But for every person I convince to carry, even if they’re only half as effective with a gun as I would be, I increase the risk to bad guys by 50%. Low-hanging fruit may not be the sweetest, but there’s a lot of it. I intend to grab all I can get.

      2. avatar RightYouAreKen says:

        Does anyone know what percentage of states require qualification or training for a CCW? In WA we pays our money and we gets our permit (after BGC obviously). No classes, no qualification, nadda. On one hand I like that, cause it’s convenient and cheaper for me. But on the other it kinda scares me. At last report, there were 341,000 WA state citizens with CCW, and I am guessing not a quarter of those have any organized training.

        http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-seattle/new-cpl-record-number-of-armed-wa-citizens-continues-to-climb

        However, from what I’ve heard about the “training” mandated in other states, maybe it’s not worth the time/money/effort unless it was stepped up in quality a bit.

  10. avatar percynjpn says:

    Their attitude toward training to improve shooting skills can explain why most cops are shameless obese slobs who couldn’t jog 2 miles at a snail’s pace: pure laziness.
    I guess that another reason a significant % of them don’t practice is that their fat fingers won’t even fit inside the trigger guard.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      HEY, HEY, HEY!!! Not a cop, but sticking up for all the lazy fat guys…

    2. avatar RKflorida says:

      You say obese and lazy as though it were a bad thing. I resemble that remark.

  11. avatar Javier E says:

    I’ve seen many officers at the range and have seen a good many that actually shoot well a few even better. But even in this you have to ask ” How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” If the joke is to old for you the answer is “Practice Practice Practice” In some cases Ticketron or the subway.

  12. avatar LC Judas says:

    Quite literally the tone of this article captures the average LEO ability with a handgun. It does not apply to all of them. I dare venture not exactly most even, to give the LE community the benefit of a doubt (since I’m in it) but it is an easily seen more than half. I want to believe that 60% are slackers. That the other 40% can bang it out as good or better than I can when I let my 226 in 357Sig rip the target 14 new ones.

    It was around this time last year that I realized I was as good as or better than average LE. I just noticed that much progress over time. The last time I was at the range a few weeks ago the cop I shot with only was decent because he works part time at the range. We shot comparable groups and he actually complained about the S&W M&P accuracy despite him wearing it on his belt be admits with it he’s rather bad.

    But then again…I’m the one standing there with the expensive looking Equinox in the very expensive to shoot 357Sig (without Georgia Arms I would not ever have converted it) so I cannot afford to look like I can’t cut loose with my weak hand at maximum speed and stay on paper with all rounds.

    Police, its pretty bad. Armed security are far worse. I have a colleague carrying a Model 10 that from what he tells me about 1/6 rounds per cylinder fail to fire and pin hits are off center for the failure rounds. This tells me the weapon is out of time. He tells me its been that way for three years. Each requal it fails regularly and damages his score badly. I can’t imagine carrying that in that state but he can’t find the money. That’s what I was told. I let the subject drop and lost all respect for him. Bat Belt Syndrome indeed.

    Job or career it is a personal decision to make it a craft. Bottom line.

  13. avatar Applejack says:

    Well said… I’ve taken training, even though I cannot carry (California)… the instructor’s first speech included:

    “By the end of this training, you will be better trained then 95% of the nations law enforcement. You think I’m kidding? I’m dead serious.”

    Now I know exactly what he meant. Thank you for the educational observations.

  14. avatar Texan says:

    Cops who arent gun nuts,,,,,,,,, intereasting. Well, maybe not. But even if they are not gun nuts, they do need to be VERY accurate, after all it IS apart of their job. Not being able to have enough control to hit their intended target will mean hitting something or SOMEONE ELSE instead. Cops or any form of LEO has to be able to perform far superior than the common carry private citizen. Or it could mean the life of a innocent victim or even themselves. If this lack of accuracy is true and common on the part of LEOs then the only safe place for me when they have to pull is behind them, I hope!
    Just like any PROFESSIONAL vocation, a professional HAS to do it better, cleaner and more accurate than most. We expect the same for truck drivers, pilots, doctors and so on.

    I train all the time with firearms, hand guns, I am not a hunter or a LEO. I have since I was 14. I am 52. For me its recreation and enjoy being VERY accurate, my profession demands accuracy and it has nothing to do with firearms. I demand accuracy from myself on everything I do, pride demands that. So my recreational shooting is nothing less. What has happened to having pride demanding nothing but the best from yourself and in your vocation nowdays?

    Call me skeptical, but I would have never thought that at the very least any LEO would not have had nothing but the best training with firearm use and have the best firearm that would give the best in accuracy to do their job. If this is not true, then the system needs to be overhauled! I knew a long time attitude training needs to be improved, but the safety of others depends on their life taking accuracy.

    After all, you cant take a bullet back!

  15. avatar evenflow says:

    This is a good article about staying current on your training but you make some very generalized comments about the police. I’m not a cop and I don’t really know any on a personal level but all of your assertions have no citation, studies, or findings to back them up. I really like your site but if your going to make vague generalities at least have the information to back it up.

  16. avatar Drew says:

    At my old range, they had to replace all the target frames after every S.W.A.T. session. Granted, those guys were part time but.. Which does beg the question: Why have a @##$ SWAT team if you only need them every 5 frigging years? It’s a joke. If you don’t have the need or budget for those guys to be on a real range with a real shoot house 5 days a week then when you have an incident you need to call someone that does, not send out a bunch of undertrained wanna-bes with automatic weapons. Just because you have SWAT written on the back of your jacket doesn’t mean you’re qualified to do a dynamic entry especially with hostages. You’re just adding to the problem then.

  17. avatar Mike OFWG says:

    Wow, quite a put down of the cops. Lots of generalizations. Generally speaking, I don’t really care for them myself. Just because I don’t like authority. That being said, I don’t make judgments about their gun handling. Gunfights (from what I’ve read) seem to be something like airplane dog fights, there are a few aces, and everybody else burns ammo or gets shot down.

  18. avatar Daniel in Brookline says:

    in re qualification for a CCW: here in Massachusetts, most communities don’t require a live-fire test to qualify for the license — surprise, surprise! — but Boston and Brookline do. You’re given what we call the Moon Island test. Basically, with a .38 special six-shot revolver, you need to score 210 out of 300 with 30 shots — 12 rounds at seven yards, double-action, one-handed, and 18 rounds at fifteen yards (SA or DA, one-handed or two-handed, whatever the shooter wants).

    I didn’t find it particularly difficult to make the 70%. I’m curious how that compares to what cops have to do every year to re-qualify…

    cheers,
    Daniel in Brookline

  19. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

    Is anyone else relieved that cops on average are terrible shots?

  20. avatar Nate says:

    I don’t think the SIG’s double action first trigger pull is any excuse. For one thing, it’s quite smooth. At least it was on my older P226, I’ve heard SIG’s quality has dropped off since that asshat who ruined Kimber took over as CEO. I can’t remember his name.

    Back to the point. The double action trigger pull is heavy, but it’s smooth enough that with any level of practice it shouldn’t be a detriment. It’s also only the first pull. After that, it’s a 4-5lb single action pull. I suppose it could have been a DAK model, but I’ve not seen or heard of anyone using them.

    Not to mention…you have a 10mm and you’re complaining about .357 SIG being loud?

  21. avatar Mike says:

    Not sure I believe your assertion for *why* they are spotty. I’m pretty sure that a combination of incompetence and not thinking they’ll need to use the gun explain plenty.

    The vast majority of police officers never need to fire their gun. Obviously, the guys working the gang or drug divisions in major cities are going to see a bit more action, but there’s a lot more cops just dealing with traffic tickets. For them, a defensive driving course is going to be a *lot* more useful than more handgun instruction. Especially if they’re someone who just regards the force as a paycheck. But hey, we’ve got funding from the state for a new SWAT squad, and it’s a bonus every month if you can barely quality for it.. and we only really use it to break down doors to search for dime bags.

    I guess what I’m saying is, the vast majority of cops are only slightly more likely to get shot at than citizens, and most citizens don’t carry or train, either.

    And there are still plenty of cops who are gun nuts… most shooting competitions have a few of them. My cousin was on the police sniper team for the city of Xenia, OH (I never did figure out why or how often Xenia, OH needed a sniper team) and placed in national competitions. It’s just that most don’t think they’ll need it, and policy doesn’t require them to need it.

  22. avatar Jericho941 says:

    Statistically, a cop is likely to go through his or her entire career without firing a shot in anger. Depending on the community they work for, even drawing “on the job” can be very rare. There are a fair number of cops who also dislike, even hate, guns.

    Having said that, that mostly applies to city cops. Generally state troopers are more on the ball. But that’s beside the point.

    A lot of people genuinely love their jobs, but loathe certain aspects of it that are, nonetheless, requirements. A lot of people can’t understand why the Air Force’s PT program is seen as stupid and onerous by many of the airmen who do just enough to get by. After all, it’s the military, right? Shouldn’t you be “fit to fight”? But tell that to the aircraft maintainer who’s working 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week, for weeks or even months on end at home station (that is, NOT deployed), out in the weather, lifting parts that weigh 70 pounds or more by himself. Tell HIM that he has to “make the time” to work out, do push-ups and sit-ups, to meet the standard, when he has barely enough time to get home and sleep and face another day of that without being a zombie. To face another day of stressful, back-breaking work. Tell HIM he’s unfit, that he’s “jeopardizing the mission” because he can’t fulfill arbitrary fitness requirements that have no bearing whatsoever on his real job, because he might cost the Air Force some healthcare money some day. When you deploy him to a warzone and won’t even let him zero his weapon. When his unit won’t give him the time to work out, because the “mission” he jeopardizes by being a slow runner, “comes first.”

    Is it any wonder that so many cops whose job consists mostly of ticketing speeders and arresting suspects that are mostly compliant when they see a uniform (and if they aren’t, that’s what the Tazer is for) might not care for spending time that could be spent with families or doing something they enjoy rather than shooting, which, even in today’s climate, still carries something of a social stigma?

    Frankly, you should be happy that these cops were at the range at all. Did they have bad habits? Did they train ineffectively? Perhaps. But they were training. On their own time and dime. That already puts them above “the cut.” You’ll find no argument from me that the general cop mentality is flawed and they should all be better shooters than they generally are. But those men you met at the range? They aren’t the problem. With time, they can get better. It may be time they don’t have because they might have to shoot in real life tomorrow, but they are at least investing some of their own time for it. The ones that are the problems are the ones you’ll never see at the range.

    Hell, they might’ve written off your “skills” as the by-product of being a gun nut, while they, the Professional Enough, shot adequately. At least, “adequately” as they saw it. To go back to the fitness example, have you ever worked out with friends at a gym? If so, I’m positive that you heard them point out other people there, telling you that they were doing something wrong. They had the wrong stance when they were lifting. They grunted loudly or even screamed. They’d roll their eyes and make a disparaging remark about how they were doing it wrong. Or perhaps you went to a gym by yourself and had someone come correct you? Did you take their advice at face value, or did you become defensive because you’re not a big musclehead like that loser who doesn’t care for your lifting technique?

    Don’t hate on these guys. They’re putting in more than the effort expected of them. You might not think it, but they’re the ones actually trying.

    (Also, as long as we’re going off of anecdotes for the sake of making an editorial point… many SEALs can’t shoot worth a damn. With them, it’s more akin to John Wayne’s line: “…most men aren’t willing, they bat an eye, or draw a breath before they shoot. I won’t.” It isn’t marksmanship, or at least marksmanship alone, that makes them so efficient and deadly.)

  23. avatar tdiinva says:

    Reading this post and many of the comments made me think about Bobby Jones and his attitude torward practice. He would go out and hit balls for 15 minutes and get bored. Then he would go out and win the US Open.

    Just because someone doesn’t look good at the range doesn’t mean he is not effective when it counts. Some people just don’t focus very well unless something is on the line. I don’t know if these two troopers were good and bad on the job but you cannot tell from a range session. Combat accuracy is nothing more than what is required to make your opponent do what you want him to do.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Bobby Jones hit hundreds of thousands of golf balls to get to the point where he could hit a few.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Not really. He didn’t practice or play all that much, often less than 20 competitive rounds a year. From the end of the 1929 season until he won the 1930 US Open he played a grand total of 6 rounds, all with his father. He played one practice round prior to the start of competition. He was the ultimate weekend golpher.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          Uh, no. Think of all the balls he hit before he entered a single competition.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Ben Hogan invented practice. Before Hogan you hit a few balls with a pro to align your swing and then he went out with you and taught you while you played. Even guys like Walter Hagan would look lazy to a modern golf pro. Pros just played a lot back in the day. The idea of a Vijay Singh-like work ethic is entirely a modern concept.

          Do you play golf?

        3. avatar Robert Farago says:

          Yes. And I was friendly with Sandy Lyle for a time. And a few of his friends. Suffice it to say, ALL of them went through a period of intense practice and playing BEFORE they went pro. You know: childhood stuff. Still counts.

  24. avatar Will says:

    Back in the late 90’s at a gathering of shooters, a few of them were explaining that they had to lie about being recreational shooters so they could get hired on at the LE depts of their choice. Seems it became PC to black-ball anyone applying that indicated they were part of the gun culture (owner/shooter). They indicated this was fairly widespread. (this was in Las Vegas, and people came from around the country)

    Used to be the gun guys ended up in SWAT type units. What do you get, if no gunny types are hired?

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