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People don’t need guns! They’re more likely to shoot themselves or a member of their family. Leave it to the police, the professionals. They’re highly trained! This is a common claim, and interestingly enough, those who make it are often making it in good faith. Most people assume the police are well trained in the use of firearms. Most, raised on a steady diet of TV and movie law enforcement, think the good guys are capable or dropping bad guys with a single well-placed shot from any distance, and often, they shoot to wound, which reliably stops just about any bad guy . . .

Unfortunately, reality is often very different. Police officers, for the most part, are not expert shots; many citizens greatly surpass cops in firearm training and skill.

It is little known that most police officers are not gun guys and girls. Some police officers own not a single firearm, only their issued duty handgun, and rarely, if ever, carry it off duty. Others, recognizing the necessity of at least basic firearm competence, do take the responsibility seriously. Relatively rare is the officer that spends their own time and money to buy firearms, ammunition, and training to develop a high level of skill.

In some places, police officers are significantly hampered by the very bad political choices of their agencies. New York City is a prime example. As I noted in a September, 2013 article—New York City Police Shoot Up the Citizenry Again–where I wrote about one of several shootings where the police, in legitimately (mostly) trying to shoot bad guys, accidently shot citizens instead, in one case, shooting not only the bad guy, but nine innocent bystanders.

A primary reason for those fiascos is surely the fact that the NYPD requires 12-pound triggers on their officer’s issued handguns. By way of comparison, Glocks available to any purchaser come with standard 5.5 pound triggers. Twelve-pound triggers greatly complicate accurate shooting, particularly when repeat shots are required. The heavier and longer the trigger pull, the more difficult it is to obtain consistent shot to shot accuracy. Triggers in the 12-pound range predictably cause officers to miss, and to miss badly, as the incidents linked in that article chronicle. Combine this factor with the kind of mediocre training that is all too common in police work, and it’s a miracle the police are able to hit anything at which they shoot.

Why would any law enforcement organization (LEO) mandate triggers that all but ensure their officers will miss and shoot innocents? They are inherently anti-gun, and they do not trust their officers. In many cases, such LEOs are more worried about their officers having a negligent discharge (ND) than any other potential danger. If this is their primary concern, it’s easy to understand why they might mandate a very heavy trigger.

There are certainly LEOs that provide good training, continually upgraded, and that schedule regular and well-planned qualifications, but that is not the case for most. Full-agency qualifications are very expensive, not only in ammunition costs, but in manpower costs. Officers must be taken off the street, normally for an entire shift, which requires multiple trainings over multiple days. This requires assigning other officers, usually at overtime rates, to replace missing street officers, as well as the officers administering the training/qualification.

Most people undertake a police career with relatively little firearm experience, and that usually only with long arms such as shotguns or .22LR rifles. They are introduced to their duty handguns at some point during either their basic agency academy or basic state academy. Many states require a common basic academy for all certified officers, and virtually all agencies require their own in-house academy and a field-training program. In most cases, officers won’t be driving a car solo for nearly a year from their hire date.

Whether their first handgun experience takes place at their agency or at a state academy, it will normally consist of basic handgun safety, marksmanship and maintenance. They may be exposed to some sort of shoot/don’t shoot training, but it is uncommon for anyone to shoot more than 300 rounds in such training. Usually, they fire light-loaded training ammunition, which is much less expensive than duty ammo. This saves money, but is unrealistic as training ammo’s report, recoil and accuracy characteristics differ–sometimes dramatically–from duty ammo.

During their first year, an officer will usually have shot for score–qualified–at least twice, sometimes, three times. Such qualifications will normally consist of shooting only standard, stationary silhouette targets out to 25 yards on a range. If an indoor range, fifteen yards may be the outer limit. No more than 50 rounds will normally be fired, and passing scores are generous, as low as 70%. Some agencies require at least an 80% score, but all allow reshooting as many times as necessary to pass, and some officers will have to reshoot many times.

Thereafter, officers will usually shoot for score no more than twice a year, but many will shoot no more than once a year. Some agencies will combine some sort of training with qualification shooting. This training may involve practice at clearing a building, but that normally requires modified weapons and ammunition as few agencies can afford facilities of that kind where live ammunition can be safely used. Some trainings may involve moving targets, or perhaps shooting multiple targets or targets rigged to simulate someone hiding behind a hostage.

If they carry shotguns–many agencies still do–qualification will normally be done no more than once a year. The shotguns used will not be those carried by officers in their cars, but a few spare armory guns. Courses of fire usually consist of firing a few rounds of buckshot at a silhouette target. If most of the pattern is properly centered at 15 yards or so, and if an officer can put a few rounds of slugs on the paper at 25 yards, that’s normally considered sufficient. Of course, this means officers have no idea where the shotguns they may have to use will pattern.

The agencies that carry carbines–usually AR-15 pattern rifles–will also usually qualify no more than once a year. Courses of fire commonly use stationary silhouette targets at known distances, usually no greater than 100 yards and often no more than 50 yards, and usually require no more than 50 rounds, though often no more than 30. Rifle ammunition is expensive.

Some agencies provide cleaning equipment and require cleaning after qualification, but most do not. Some officers rarely, if ever, clean their weapons. A good number don’t own cleaning equipment and don’t know how to properly clean their handguns.

Apart from agency-mandated training/qualification, most officers will not fire their weapons. Relatively few will take the time and spend the money necessary to regularly practice. Fewer still will actually attend schools like Gunsite to improve their skills.

The agency where I last served may be illustrative. I was given my handgun, a S&W Model 686 in .357 magnum, at my basic state academy. Training consisted of a single day of handling and qualification. I was told my weapon was “sighted in,” but the sights were badly misaligned for me, and I qualified–barely–by employing the kind of Kentucky windage normally associated with artillery. The instructors wouldn’t allow me the time or tools necessary to properly align the sights. Apparently I wasn’t qualified. People unfamiliar with handguns would have had no idea why they couldn’t hit anything.

I didn’t see the gun again until I returned home and did a qualification shoot. There, I had the time and tools to sight in the weapon and managed a 100% score, but both of my experiences with the weapon to that point consisted only of light-loaded .38 special wadcutter ammunition. I noticed that I was one of only perhaps five people in a 100 person agency capable of that kind of shooting. At least 10-15 struggled to make a minimally passing score whenever they qualified. About 50 were average and the rest somewhat better or worse. By the time I drove my first solo shift, I had, merely by luck, qualified three times. Most officers do less.

Thereafter, we qualified twice a year. Once a year we fired the duty ammo we were given, and replaced it with fresh ammunition. When we used duty ammo, a much larger number of officers had trouble qualifying. The 100% shooters didn’t. I later learned they, like me, spent the time and money to regularly practice. One hundred percent shooters are 100% shooters for a reason.

Shotgun qualifications were more or less once a year and consisted of shooting a few skeet, a few rounds of buckshot and a few slugs. Other training occurred infrequently: a bit of low light shooting here, a bit of multiple target shooting there, and very occasionally, a shoot/don’t shoot experience with video and a laser system for recording hits/misses.

We eventually transitioned to Glocks. Officer’s qualification scores increased and fewer had to continually reshoot, but that problem never went away. I suspect that agency was above average in the training and number of qualifications required of officers.

What does this mean for citizens? The less familiar officers are with their handguns and ammunition, the less often they train, the less often they shoot, the more likely they are to be more dangerous to the public than to criminals. Consider these statistics from the NYPD.

In 1990, NYPD officer hit potential was only 19%. That means 81% of the rounds they fired at criminals missed. At less than three yards, they hit only 38% of the time. From 3-7 yards, 11.5% and from 7-15 yards, only 9.4%

These statistics comport well with my personal experience, but not necessarily with studies. Statistics from the Metro-Date Police Department from 1988-1994 published in a Police Policy Studies Council report indicate officers fired app. 1300 rounds at suspects, missing more than 1,100 times, hitting about 15.4% of their shots, most of these from near-touching distance. During that period, using revolvers, they missed 65% of the time, but 75% of the time with semiautomatic handguns.

These figures are the opposite of my personal experience and from a variety of other studies I’ve seen that indicate that revolvers are much harder to shoot accurately under stress, and that officers equipped with semiautomatic handguns tend to substantially increase their hit rates.

More data from the same report for the NYPD during 1994-2000 when the NYPD was far more semiautomatic heavy, are interesting, if frightening. At 0-2 yards, the officer hit rate was 69%, but from 3-7 yards, only 19%. The hit rate dropped precipitously from there, with only 2% from 16-25 yards and 1% at 25 yards and greater distance.

Adding low light conditions only lowers hit probability.

Whether one relies on personal experience or various studies, there are a number of clear lessons:

1) Shooting accurately at any distance with a handgun takes regular, correct training and practice.

2) Police training/qualification often does not adequately improve officer’s hit potential.

3) Hit probabilities of most police officers, not just the NYPD with 12- pound triggers, are mediocre at best, even at inside-a-phone-booth ranges.

4) Officers are, generally, much more likely to miss than hit their targets.

5) Anyone near a police officer in a deadly force situation would be wise to seek solid cover rather than try to film the action.

6) The more officers involved in a shooting (“bunch shooting”) the more likely a greater number of rounds will be fired and the higher the probability of misses. The Dorner case, where eight LAPD officers–including a supervisor–unleashed 103 rounds at two innocent women delivering newspapers is a case in point. Fortunately, they only wounded both women, but managed to shoot seven nearby homes and nine parked cars.

7) The greater the distance, the lower the police hit probability. The lower the ambient lighting, the lower the hit probability.

8) Police officers cannot be relied upon to be accurate shots, particularly with handguns.

Ultimately, many citizens are more proficient than police officers. Even if they are not, their shootings tend to take place at very close range, where hit probability is highest, and they tend to have no question about who to shoot and why. Police officers are often forced to rush into ambiguous situations. As with most of life, we can’t rely on the police to protect us. We are, and always have been, on our own.  Those that would disarm the law abiding don’t care.

Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

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  1. In my personal experience as a Range Officer in Upstate NY.
    We did the quals for most of the local police depts.
    Most were 5 man stations with 1 full time Captain, 1 Sargent, maybe 2 officers and 4 or 5 part timers.
    The part timers would work on the average in 3 different towns or villages a week.
    Quals were from 15 yards, 30 rounds and 70% was a pass.
    They could however shot as many times as needed to reach the 70%.
    In reality it was a joke. I never saw any of these guys practice at the range at all ever.
    Myself Id fire at least 200 rounds a week of something.
    Most times a lot more.

    • Exactly, For the better part of his life Sheriff Jeff Cooper ( a master combat shooter) advocated more training and more required shooting from law enforcement officers. He rightly stated how unskilled most metro officers were, and how they were at risk in gunfights with criminals as many criminals could be skilled in firearm use. It is true that metro police are not required to be good in use of guns, with some exceptions like state police who in some states are required to shoot every 2 weeks. That unfortunately is not the norm.

  2. I’d love to see a study contrasting the hit rates between urban officers and rural sheriffs. Based upon my range experience with a couple of deputies from Nevada, I wouldn’t count on them missing.

    • I don’t know. The small town cops I worked with literally wouldn’t hit the barn at all. The State Troopers……they never missed. They were well trained and liked to shoot on their own time.

      • The difference between a small town cop and a state trooper is the employment application.

        • uhh, no. In my neck of the woods, the CHP are competent and professional. We are very rural, and a desirable place to be posted, low crime, mostly domestic stuff and the meth/pot dealers who are stupid.

          the County sheriff officers are OK, not fantastic, but they get the job done, some of the older guys just don’t give a shit. a few of the younger guys are “big in their boots” cause, they are the LAW!

          the City PD are just plain crooked. I have heard stories about how it was 30 years ago, and see how it is now, nothing has changed. These guys are often people who failed to get work with the other LEO communities, including the state prison. I would sooner let the volunteer FD handle issues, they are at least honest.

      • In my small town, the hit percentage in the two most recent cases I can recall (not too many police shootings around here) were over 50%. That may have something to do with the fact that the City has its own outdoor range on the edge of town and these guys like to practice. On the other hand, there was an incident where a rookie officer put three rounds through the rear window of the wrong car–fortunately not hitting the innocent inside. (THAT cost them!) But they did get the BG who made the mistake of shooting when he was finally trapped.

      • Honestly it has more to do with the agency.

        CHP, APD – Good training programs with Troopers/Officers encouraged to shoot regularly, to the point that they get yelled out for killing too many people.

        NYPD, FHP – Virtually no mandated firearms training beyond the qualification. Very low hit rates.

        Now it is easier for a small town department for them to maintain a high level of proficiency. But that requires them to do so, which isn’t always guaranteed.

    • Seconded! Having spent quite a few hours at my local range, I’ve seen officers hurting to practice before a qual day. It was mighty depressing. When they didn’t take offense to an offer of help I’ve been able to provide some pointers that significantly increased their accuracy.
      My theory on country officers is that they are either shooters from prior to service or they realize that help could be a long time coming.

  3. I wouldnt be caught dead next to a cop at the range.. At the end of the day, Id like to go home to my family.

  4. I agree this article is well written. Cops need more training to get even a percentage of the competence given them by the uninformed.

    How about a new statistic? Number of Good key kills bad guys with a subset of cops vs bad guys, and last cops kill good guys ( ya know bystanders and civilians etc).

  5. if heavier triggers are safer, why not ask them to use a 20 lb trigger? 50 lbs? 100 lbs? we as citizens should demand that the police use the safest guns and triggers possible!

    • Hey, here in California, civilians can only buy (new) guns off of the “safe hand guns roster,” but police, being the professionals that they are, can buy any handgun they want, even if it is for personal use. So, as many have claimed, the police here are running around with “unsafe” handguns, plus they get to have full capacity mags while we can only have ten rounders.

  6. I used to grab a 18 pack and head out to my old local every Tuesday (Monday was agency day, Tuesday was closed) to help rebuild the target frames that were invariably shot to shit. We had 12 stations on the 100, and we usually went thru 20+ frames a week.

  7. Funny, the chief in my town only issues restricted LTCs upon initial application (and, if lucky, approval). A friend of mine in town government is also a friend of the chief’s. She said that he doesn’t think that the state class requirement is sufficient for new permit holders.

    After reading Mike’s column (and others), I think that the chief is projecting his officers’ skills (or lack thereof) onto we non-LEOs. (I confess that I’ve never seen them qualify.)

    Just a thought.

  8. If you get rid of the “almighty cop” mindset, you’d solve a lot of problems. I’ve been coon hunting with a retired cop and I’ve met some royal pains of cops. But a lot of the young people who want to be cops tend to have a sense of wanting to be better than the normal person or sort of exempt from basic stuff like bothering to apply for a carry permit because “they’d be a cop.” If they think they’re better than everyone else, then that’s a problem.

  9. When i was president of my local rod & gun club in MA, I was allowed to be present on those occasions when the local police departments held their annual practice and qualification sessions. It might have been funny, were it not so frightening. Sort of like Mayberry, but with real bullets.

  10. I’m a LE firearms instructor in Australia, and I can confirm the key message of this article. Add to the fact that most cops don’t like guns much, and want as little as possible to do with them, the istuation in Australia is made worse by the fact that even if they wanted to hone their skills in thier own time, our handgun laws are so restrictive it makes it ‘all too hard’ for all but the most highly motivated individuals to even bother. And yet, every time there’s a ‘critical incident’ the public outcry is “why didn’t the cops shoot the guy/girl in the leg?”.

  11. In the a_ _-rape world that these people live in (ball-0-snakes on top of each other type cities and towns) you could understand why they’d say leave it to the cops.

    YOU could understand, you’d still be an anus-breather and just as wrong, but I believe there are people out there who actually believe this crap.

    Where I live the truth is more readily viewable/understandable and that is: cops are there for cleanup and paperwork, cause if you have to wait for a police officer to arrive on-scene to solve something, you might as well wait for the FBI because they’ll need a detective by then to determine what happened.

    FURTHER – a cop’s job (thankless as it is, and we all hope they make it home safely to their families) is one of service. Police (public servants/gov’t) should not lobby for positions of service, obtain them, claim instead that they are holding/anointed to positions of power and then exercise and demand more power over the people that they asked to serve. That’s why a badge is a shield small enough to CRAM up your a_ _, if ever you (as a police officer) get to feeling like it somehow raises you above the average citizen (which is unobtainable in America, and in truth, on the face of the earth).

    ““Stand feet shoulder-width in your largest foot gear and draw a chalk line around the soles of your shoes. The lines alone contain the hallowed ground upon which you are king, until, by you, I am made to move my feet”.” [TERMS. J.M. Thomas R., 2012, pg. 77]

    FURTHER STILL – we don’t need to continue to play this stupid game called “America” any longer if some numb-nut wants to self-appoint themselves as “dealer” you just don’t rate. F-all of you, If you think it’s important to disarm me for the rest of the world, “you give up your gun, and I will get you to give up everything else” [TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012, pg. 39], read your history, it’s been tried too many times since before mankind finished learning to walk upright, and there are too many contemporary examples of the failure of this thinking here and abroad evident this week, much less within the last 100 years. If we are going to try anything goes, we’re going to do my version, and I can guarantee that you won’t like it.

    • If we are going to try anything goes, we’re going to do my version, and I can guarantee that you won’t like it.

      I love it … I just might have to use that once in a while.

      • By all means. Quote me 3 times and call it yours.

        Use it once though, and you’ll have to admit that you begin to hear their argument that way.

  12. How often do LEOs train? Often rarely. Read this from

    During a poll taken during this class which represented about a half dozen Florida law enforcement agencies, I asked how many train more than twice a year. No hands went up. When asked how many train or qualify with their duty guns only once a year. Everyone raised their hands.

    • I consider myself stupidly out of practice, and I shoot 4x as often as they do…

      I put 70rds of .308 downrange of the RFB today. Standing. All 8 aluminum cans removed from berm in spectacular fashion. Then I had 62 rounds left…

  13. Just remember, M-1 Carbines were issued during WWII because most soldiers could not hit the broad side of a barn at ten paces with a Colt 1911. My Father In-Law and Dad chose Thompsons as self protection guns, rather than 1911s.
    I came to the realization in high school, that I was more effective with a Nylon 66, than the cops with their 357 revolvers.

      • Mother-in-law gave my boy a Mohawk 66 thinking it was a BB gun. Long story short, It is mine now. It is a great plinker.

  14. I have several great hookups for buying ammo that’s supposed to be “used” on the range……….god bless ‘mercia.

  15. I’ve been two lanes down from local LEOs when they qualify. I also saw some Cape Cod LEOs on a few occasions when they qualled at the Barnstable range (they shut the range down for “civilians” while the cops were shooting, but let me observe). If my students shot as poorly, I’d surrender my instructor’s certification from the MA State Police.

    OTOH, I’ve also shot at the range when some Feds were practicing. They wouldn’t tell me what branch they belonged to, but scuttlebutt said that they were Secret Service. Some of those boys could actually shoot.

  16. Seriously, how did they do in the 70s with the 38 special revolvers? I know Joe Cirillio with NYPD Stakeout Squad was one of the best. Any statistics from 70s on police shootings?

  17. Seems to me that the bureaucracy in New York is out of control. Mandating 12 lb trigger pulls instead of proper training is asinine. But it seems to go right along with many of their other idiotic laws.

  18. Well I hope they miss if they ever (mistakenly?) shoot at me and mine. Yeah I’m real unimpressed with the cops I know…

  19. I’m fortunate to work for a department that places a high level of importance on firearms training. The department has an ammunition bunker built into the side of a hill that is stuffed to capacity.
    In the academy recruits fire 4-5k rounds in a two week initial training period, and go back to the range a few more times to practice and ensure their skills haven’t dropped off. The standard to qualify is 5 points higher than the state minimum which doesn’t sound like a lot but helps weed out those with poor skills. The quality of instruction is very good.
    If you don’t qualify twice within your allotted number of attempts, you’re terminated.
    Unfortunately after the initial training period we only go to the range twice a year and shoot about 250 rounds each time. The good news is I live in a gun friendly state and most of my co workers practice regularly on their own time. And our officers fare well in the shootings they do get into, hit percentage wise.
    Unfortunately this is definitely the exception rather than the norm. And having 12 pound triggers on a handgun is just asinine to me.

    • Oh. I forgot. That training should not entitle police to have anything armed citizens can’t. Last time I checked the second amendment doesn’t mention anything about training.

  20. My snub nose Ruger LCR .38 has a trigger pull weight of 8 lbs. Since it’s a self defense weapon I do run around 25 SD rounds though it monthly and clean it afterward.
    Maybe if police thought of thier own weapon as ‘self defense” they would pratice more, clean it more AND carry a personal gun as back up that has a decent SD trigger

  21. 8) Police officers cannot be relied upon to be accurate shots, particularly with handguns.

    Ultimately, many citizens are more proficient than police officers.

    This alone is an incredibly compelling reason to have armed parents and staff at schools ready to respond to spree killers. Not only can we NOT depend on the first officer on scene to incapacitate the spree killer … an armed parent or staff member would often be a more accurate shooter and more likely to incapacitate a spree killer. Add in the fact that the response time of an armed parent or staff member is much quicker than police and this becomes a no-brainer.

  22. Dollars to Dounghts, not one cop has ever stepped up to the challenge of going 1 v 1 with me at the range… I’m not even any good. I take my guns apart more than I shoot them. Some I’ve never fired. Some I don’t even have ammo for… I ended that sentence with a proposition.

  23. I am a retired Police Officer. My department required we qualify every month. In the academy we spent days on the range and you had to qualify to graduate. I started shooting before I was 10 using a .22 cal rifle. Then my military training with various weapons and on to the PD. I shot on the pistol and rifle team for years plus was a marksman on SWAT. Most if not all of our pistol matches were won with ” X ” count as the top shooters shot 100%. Most of our officers shot in the 90 percentile range and I only know a few who were required to shoot more than once a month to qualify. They were usually marginal officers who were just collecting a paycheck and waiting for retirement.

    I can not believe any officer who intends to stay alive and return home at EOW would not shoot at least once a month. I tried to hit the range at least each week and shoot twice. Now in my old age I still practice and average 96 percent or higher. It is lower than my old scores but I am also a lot older than the young cop of years ago. I was in numerous shootings, was never hit, only one bullet ever came close to me and that shooter paid the price. Want to live to go home? Practice, practice and practice some more. Practice does not make perfect but it comes close. Stay safe.

  24. Talk to some firefighters about the calls they have went on because of a negligent discharge by law enforcement officers. One fire fighter veteran told me that he had gone on seven rescue calls involving accidental discharges by officers resulting in injury.

  25. About ten or so years ago I took one of my kids to a shooting range around Katy Texas. An officer in uniform shows up with a double stack magazine pistol (unknown caliber) he takes four full magazines out and sets them on the bench. The targets were six inch steel plates and the distance was about twenty five feet. There were six targets, he shot three full magazines and still had two targets left ten rounds into the FOURTH magazine (FIFTY FIVE ROUNDS) he finally knocks down the sixth target. I stepped up to the adjacent bench fired six rounds, knocking all six targets down. He packed up and left when my daughter asked me why he missed so much. Just because there is a badge does NOT mean they are even competent, let alone accurate. This guy was probably a desk jockey. Most of the officers I have met train regularly and are at least competent. Police pistol marksmanship training is lacking across the country.

  26. I have drafted policies for several departments for monthly shoots & quarterly qualifications. The officers and most command had no problem with the time. When it got to the politicians & bean counters in addition to union reps, NO VALUE & COSTS TO MUCH. I had one lawyer tell me it was cheaper to pay off a wrongful death claim than spend training money. In addition even though several courts have ruled shoot what you carry I still know several agencies that use WWB for qualification & carry gold dots. When I do my annual qualification I bring my own ammo, & every caliber I can carry for my 8 hours a month mandatory ride-along. It still amazes me the weapons that are crud covered, no back-ups carried and even now cops that have never held a revolver. I handed a 5 year veteran my .357 ankle gun to fire I thought he was going to crap with 125gr load. I try to educate as many as possible but between the crap military & academy training + no help from the departments training officers or funding for ammo it’s hard.

    Go to council meetings especially near budget time and demand your elected officials require better, more and proper training & continuing training with both firearms and less lethal weapons. Most police would like more range time, but having to support a family and buy your own ammo to practice with is hard. Also I have met 8 cops from 5 different states in the last month that had no idea how to disassemble the glock to clean it. 5 had actually been told that old top rack dishwasher story to clean them. This is tax dollars at work as each dept. had been given at least 1 MRAP and other assorted fed giveaways. I know of a 3 officer department that has more MRAP’s, ATV’s & assorted Hummers than the
    agency could use in 100 years

  27. The article is informative because the average person thinks that cops are highly trained in the use of their weapons when clearly many (most) of them are not.

    Similarly many people hold any former veterans in very high regard and assume that they are “weapons experts” even if their MOS had to do with stamping stacks of paper.

    I respect vets and LEO but the public needs to know this stuff because it might change their view on who should have weapons and who is really cut out to protect their families in a crisis situation.

  28. I’ve taken a bunch of Sig Academy classes and the worse shots are usually LEO. The first person to break a safety rule: LEO. I think departments need to spend more resources in training their officers which I know can be impossible sometimes with budget cuts

  29. I think one major factor may be the responsibility citizens bear as opposed to police. If we are forced into a defensive situation, you better be sure you’re legally in the right. You better be sure you hit the target and nothing else. You better be sure a bystander doesn’t get hit. Even if everything goes perfectly, legal ramifications are still possible. Imagine if something goes wrong.

    As a cop, generally, not only have you been convinced by society and your brothers in blue that you’re more important than normal citizens and thus your life is worth more, but you have the blue wall to protect you if you shoot 10 bystanders by mistake while you unload on an attacker.

    Maybe citizens are better shots because we have a whole lot to lose if we’re not.

    • This is an excellent point.

      Qualified Immunity has a host of secondary problems.

      It’s very sad, though, that just the responsibility of knowing you missed and killed an innocent is not enough of a driver to hone skills.

  30. Easy solution, phase out handguns for cops, give them all hi point carbines or ruger pc-9 carbines. For armored criminals, give the cops m1 carbines. If they still cant shoot straight with PCCs ,they dont belong in the police.

  31. I was recently working at the Naval Base in Bahrain and was pleasantly surprised to see how many MAA personnel there were. When I was in the Navy back in the 80’s & 90’s the Navy was the unarmed service. I talked with several of the MAA’s and asked about their range practice. The answer was they shot 1 box of 9mm twice per year, that’s it. And because Bahrain is completely gun free, they can’t have their own guns. I was flabbergasted. Now I see that the police are equally unqualified? My family shoots every weekend and we put about 300 rounds downrange. My quarterly budget for ammo is about $600. Though we aren’t training tactically at the range, we are honing accuracy skills.

  32. Police in Northern Colorado have a very good record, no “collateral damage” no injured police/deputies and the perps take lead more than 50% of the shots fired.

    One guy in Greeley got shot for having a “nail gun” and some locals fussed, but a nail gun can still kill, so IMO it was legit.

  33. When the NTPD transitioned to Glocks they did a terrible job of properly training the officers from revolvers to striker fired automatics. If I remember correctly there were a lot of NG’s especially when the cops drew ther Glocks because they immediately put their fingers on the trigger and began to put pressure on it just as they would with their old .38’s. Next thing you know BANG!

  34. We are on our own. I’ve known this since age 8 when I had to grab my uncle’s .22 rifle to stop an ex-con from smashing my mother’s face with a steam iron. I also learned: if you don’t have confidence you can use a gun effectively, you won’t save any lives including your own.

    re:” Those that would disarm the law abiding don’t care.” – very much so. Right now in Ann Arbor, Michigan a collection of such people are preparing to decide on a ban on carrying defensive handguns in schools.
    Actually, “they just want” open carry banned but concealed carry in schools is already prohibited by law. They “just want to close that last remaining gap.”

    Thanks Mr.McDaniel for all the information on police pistol qualifications. I wondered because I’ve seen officers miss live targets from as little as 8 feet away. I’ve also seen on duty officers attempt to fire their guns when their revolvers were loaded with duds! (snap-snap-snap-BANG)

    A question about the 1973 movie, “Magnum Force” where SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan is in competition on a rather elaborate “shoot / don’t shoot” course. The question: did SFPD ever actually have such a shooting range? If so, when was it first put in use?

    • They can’t “decide on a ban.” Michigan has preemption. The law would have to change.

      • Yes, that’s correct. But the school board president said in an article today that the board “will send a petition to the legislature” asking for this ban (on all carrying of guns in schools).
        Lately, Ann Arbor has become very active with bans. They have instituted smoking bans at bus stops and in the city’s 140 parks and some city agencies responsible for public housing have passed a ban on smoking IN apartments (which are paid for at the avg. percent of income as is known everywhere). There’s one city councilman behind all the smoking bans: Steve Kunselman, a true “American Genius.”

        Moms Demand Action (all six members) have been conducting “demonstrations” outside Kroger grocery stores demand Kroger “ban” customers from open carry. (they have no idea how many people carry concealed in those stores and don’t care) -it’s “see a gun and have a convulsion” – very similar to the reaction when they see someone smoking outside 100 yards away.

        Like with cops who don’t like guns: it’s a situation where those most unfamiliar with the activity are determined to have the final say. Oh and the gun ban people absolutely swear that “only cops should be allowed to keep and bear arms.” Just forget trying to tell them anything the Democratic Party has convinced them is “right.”

        • Yes. At the AAPS meeting the other night people did publicly state that guns should be banned in America and only cops should be able to have guns. The board suggested they could ask a judge “to issue a declaratory judgment allowing us to uphold a local no gun zone at their schools on the basis of the best interest of students.” They can ask, but no judge is going to issue a judgement violating state law. I doubt the AAPS attorneys would try, but who knows?

      • Hello Mr. Griffin
        (I see I have to reply to your first post though I’m really responding to your second)
        I am glad to hear from someone else who’s familiar with this “controversy” in Ann Arbor.

        By way of introduction, I’m a member of Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, the NRA, the Gun Owners of America and the United States Concealed Carry Association. I’m not a member of Michigan Open Carry but have met members at MCRGO functions.

        I think it’s important that we publicize what’s going on in Ann Arbor because we can’t count on the news media to do it without siding with the Gun Banners. I’m glad we ran across each other on Mr. McDaniel’s bog forum.

  35. I learned something new today reading this article – that the NYPD mandates 12 lb triggers. Sorta like shooting a Ruskie model 1895 Nagant. Even if they traned a lot, they would atill be all over the place.

  36. The NYPD 12 pound trigger weight started out as the department transitioned from a DAO revolver pull to the semiauto. The weight was increased instead of training the members of service to build new habit with the different style of trigger pull. After the transitioning was over, the fallacy of the heavier trigger weight being a deterrent to “accidental (negligent) discharges” is what kept things artificially as the status quo. Someone got a kudo from the higher ups who had no clue and even experienced shooters in the NYPD have to work around an unrealistic and unnecessary idea. Take most people and put a factory weight trigger in their hand and they are shooting x rings all day with proper application of the fundamentals. Fundamentals shift so much toward maintaining the sights and grip while the trigger travels that fatigue sets in after 100 rounds on average thus discouraging ALOT of new shooters with these triggers. Can they shoot fast and accurate these guns- sure, but that’s with thousands of rounds and a lot of range time which isn’t going happen in reality unless that’s your full time gig.

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