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As my range date heads out to the new James Bond movie I’d bet dollars to donuts (and lots of ’em) that Daniel Craig got more firearms training time for Skyfall than your average NYPD officer receives in their entire career. The New York Times’ article Ready, Aim, Ready? dances around this dearth of trigger training like a Democratic politician discussing entitlement reform . . .

Alan Feuer’s story starts with a description of sim city: the NYPD’s Tactics House in the Bronx. Readers who leave the narrative early would be forgiven for thinking that Big Apple cops are prepared for ballistic ballet.

They so are not, as New Yorkers familiar with the Empire State Building shooting (strangely absent from the Feuer’s report) where New York’s Finest shot nine civilians will suspect. Or anyone good at stats . . .

Police shootings — especially those resulting in fatalities — are rare. Last year, according to the department’s Annual Firearms Discharge Report, an exhaustive analysis of each police bullet fired during the year, the 35,000 officers on the force encountered an estimated 23 million civilians, and on 92 occasions, a bullet was actually fired. Of those shootings, 19 led to injuries and a smaller number, 9, resulted in a death. According to those odds, you are much more likely to be killed in New York City in a car crash or by a heart attack than you are by the police.

So New York City cops cleared leather on 92 occasions. Just for fun, let’s assume all of the injuries and deaths were inflicted on people who posed a lethal threat, even though we know that cops tagged at least nine innocent bystanders.

So in 28 out of 92 incidents cops hit their target. That’s a hit rate of less than 50 percent. Only nine of those 28 shootings terminated the threat (with extreme prejudice). While we don’t want anyone to die ever, and modern medicine could sew-up Bonnie and Clyde faster than Build-a-Bear can stuff Snow Hugs Vanilla Cream Bunny, that’s a pretty pathetic kill ratio.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad non-criminal New Yorkers have more to fear from 28-ounce sodas—I mean a car crashes, than errant police bullets.

And I’m not surprised that the Times somehow forgot to mention the Empire State Building debacle, the total number of bullets fired (416) and the attendant sub-30 percent hit ratio. Not to mention 15 negligent discharges or the fact that 36 of those shots were aimed at animals.

But you’d kinda hope the Grey Lady would have cut to the chase—the troops’ lack of firearms training—a little earlier in the article. That said, Feuer gets there. Eventually. Kinda.

Full-fledged officers go to Rodman’s Neck two days out of the year to shoot 150 rounds on the range and practice more dynamic techniques, like firing rapidly, to simulate the adrenaline rush of gunfights. The officers get a third day of training at the department’s Tactical Village . . .

Commissioner Kelly was aghast at the suggestion that weapons training was purposefully curtailed because of budgetary concerns. At the same time, he pointed out that officers were regularly taken off patrol for sick days, court appearances, parade-protection details and other sorts of instruction, and that his chief responsibility was to protect the residents of New York.

“You can always train more,” he said. “We can train people 30 days a year, 40 days a year. But obviously we have an obligation to get people on the street. We’re down 6,000 police officers already. How much training do you do?” . . .

RAND’s analysis concluded that while the department’s twice-yearly target tests for officers met state standards (the state requires only one day on the range), they did not “demonstrate that the officer has mastered his or her firearm and is ready for a shooting confrontation on the street.” In one particularly pointed passage, the authors wrote: “Given the number of officers who must requalify each year, the objective seems to be to get the officers through as quickly as possible rather than to have them master the art of realistic shooting.”

Mr. Kelly has promised to increase the amount of scenario-based training for recruits when the department opens its new academy next year in College Point, Queens. However, his efforts to improve the firearms proficiency of officers already on the job may be hindered by logistics. Even RAND acknowledged that the Police Department “faces a difficult task” in keeping a force as large as the population of some small suburbs in peak fighting form.

Logistics are to blame for crappy cop shooting—leaving out hiring, promotion, the infamous 13-pound New York trigger and a total annual round count that’s marginally greater than a civilian shooter’s average range session. And that’s OK?

The newspaper that never misses an opportunity to slam the idea that average New Yorkers should be able to carry a concealed firearm because they’re incapable of doing so responsibly should be ashamed of itself.

As should the New York City police for not seeing the Empire State Building shooting as a clear message that they need a comprehensive overhaul of their firearms training regime. STAT. [h/t Dan Baum]

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  1. How many civilians with concealed carry permits, or who keep a gun around for protection, have as much training as New York City police? If the level of training the New York City police receive isn’t adequate for high stress situations, one wonders how well the average civilian who goes to the range on an occasional basis to shoot at targets would do in an emergency.

    (I’m not talking about people who maintain adequate proficiency, I’m talking about the folks that think purchasing a gun is all they need to do.)

    • I think you’ve got that backwards. If the NYPD’s training is considered adequate for cops what business do they have complaining about civilian training standards or proficiency? Not that they have any business complaining.

      • Na, seems like he has it right on the money. Whatever training the PD has, good, poor or otherwise, is mandated and regulated, they must attend the class twice a year and their performance is recorded and (hopefully) evaluated. Civilians have no such regulations, which is the way it should be. So to say or insinuate that the police are somehow bumbling incompetents is silly and ignorant.

        Whereas most civis have no training of any kind. And def no oversight and review or standards.

        Also, no civi or LE can say for sure how well they will perform in an incident like that. Combat is combat, it doesn’t always go pretty like. But, hey, atleast you get to beat some more out of this incident (dead horse) to fulfill your biased agenda, ya?

        • So to say or insinuate that the police are somehow bumbling incompetents is silly and ignorant.

          No one said that they’re bumbling incompetents because of their lack of training. We’ve pointed out (many, many times) that because they’re incompetent and don’t know how to use a damn gun, they should have more training since they always claim to be “experts” on handling guns.

          But hey, why bother to think the police should be held to any sort of reasonable standard when we can just bash anyone who doesn’t cower in fear at the sight of the boys in blue?

        • Whereas most civis have no training of any kind. And def no oversight and review or standards.

          Civilians have criminal and civil liability, and can be send to jail, see George Zimmerman as a classic example of what happens even when you are shooting in self defense. LEOs have qualified immunity. They get a desk job or paid vacation instead of jail while the department investigates the shot. And even if it is a bad shot, often they will only lose their jobs, and their department/city will be the one paying for the lawsuit.

        • “Whereas most civis have no training of any kind. And def no oversight and review or standards. ”

          And yet, they are doing better than the police. Where are all the innocent bystanders shot by CCW and handgun permit holders for example? Hmmm???

        • Rydak:

          Sending rounds down range does at least one thing. It gives you confidence in your ability to use your weapon so in a real life situation you are more likely to fire with discrimination instead wildly emptying the magazine. Federal LEOs and Military Police practice all the time. Say what you want about them but they hit thir targets.

          Most of us understand that the range is not tactical training. It is a place where learn about your weapon and build confidence in your ability to use it.

        • Where’s the evidence that civilian firearms training is A) necessary and/or B) effective? Evidence as in facts, not supposition.

        • I know better than to feed the MikeB’s, but I’ll make this short and simple – the average gun owner puts in far more time practicing in a year than most cops do in a decade. I’m nothing compared to the guys who run this site and I still manage to shoot an average of 150 rounds per month. That’s more in one typical month than the NYPD (claims – NYPD officers have said it’s actually only 50 rounds every six months) in six months. I can outshoot every cop I know and I’ve yet to have any formal training….so please, don’t try to claim that us “peasants” are untrained just because your precious Gestapo is incompetent.

        • Much as I hate to say it, Mike’s probably right about the *average* gun owner, who barely gets out to the range once a year. It may even be true of the average CHP holder. On the other hand, I would guess the average CHP holder who carries every day probably does train more than the average LEO. When questioning training, judgment and “danger to the public,” this is the person we should examine because this is the person who is most likely to draw and fire in public. The “average gun owner” will have left his or her gun at home.

    • I’ve been to a self-defense pistol course and I go to the range at least once a month. I probably fire 2-3k rounds a year. I do this so if lightning strikes me and I do need to defend me or my family I’ll be prepared. There is no sanity in this world if I can outshoot the majority of cops from a department that deals with the things NYPD is expected to handle.

      • Same here. I did quick math for myself and I came up with the same numbers of rounds I shoot on average in a year for just my 9mm G19. That doesn’t include my .40cal and my AR. My friends who all CC and go to the range with me don’t shoot as much as I do but still dwarfs the cops’ numbers.

    • I think that overall private citizens who have used their gun in a legit SD and those who cc have a better track record than the police for hitting their target and for hitting a legit target than the police.

    • There were at least two armed citizens at the Giffords shooting. Both exercised restraint because they didn’t have a clear shot or could not identify a target. Maybe they had oodles of training or may just had common sense. Whatever the reason they did better than any number NY’s finest in shooting situations.

      The reason that the NYPD performance sucks is lack of accountability. Federal agents who exercise the kind trigger discipline displayed at the Empire State Building become ex-agents in a hurry. Military police go to Leavenworth. Those are the kind of incentives that instill firearms discipline.

      As for my training, I shoot 7500-10000 rounds a year — 22 (mostly), 9mm, 45, 243, 308, 300 win mag and 12 gauge. I shoot a lot of 22 because it’s cheap and I can still work on technique. If cost is the issue for proper NYPD firearms training then perhaps they should by some
      22 pistols and let the officers shoot those as well.

    • OTOH, civilians and LEOs have different missions, yes? Civilians aren’t required to go looking for trouble, and having encountered trouble are not required to protect the general public.

      IOW, Civilians have the option of not taking the shot. It’s not so different, I suppose, from driving. I don’t have nearly the training at high speed pursuit driving that a LEO would get, yet my knowledge is adequate for the sort of driving I’m called upon to do.

  2. You know, Robert, you can always tell when you’ve done something right if it flies in the face of some major narrative. We have a TON more antis and trolls since I started reading this site back around February. Keep up the good work, sir.

  3. So they shoot as many rounds in a year as I do on a typical trip to the range. That’s really sad. I shoot at least 100 rounds of my 40 S&W and another 200 with my .22 1911 (unless it’s malfunctioning, which happens a bid with the GSG 1911). Now, if you count when I go shoot steel challenge, I think it requires 150 rounds without missing a target. I go through a little over 200 rounds of 40 S&W.

    • Lightweight, LOL. But seriously, that’s on the lower end of what I put downrange, and on top of that, I have a paintball pistol I use for scenario play on a non square range when I’m not shooting at the range. I’m sure the NYPD doesn’t even get simunition training, whereas I do about 8 hours of it every weekend I’m not shooting.

    • Numbers of rounds….ya. Cause that’s all that matters?, you have no idea under what context they train.

      You and Robert can go to the range and shoot a million rounds a week if you want, does not mean that it prepares you for a real life encounter in anyway, and even if your practice did, its likely not regulated, overseen and supervised by a third party who is correcting you, enhancing you and pointing out your weak spots for improvement. You rely on your own self training and critique…a standard that is weaker than the lamest LE training.

      Not personally attacking you, just the concept that rounds down range means anything. How do you know that your not practicing at getting worst or just getting better at bad habits?

      If Robert adheres to the same shooting/training standards as he does for writing his obsessively negative and biased articles about police, I am certain my 11 year old daughter could out shoot him.

      • If their training gets the observed results, I’ll take the civilians regiment vs those that hit unintended targets so often.

      • I’ve spoken to NYPD cops regarding their training (this was after the bullshit at the Empire State building where they unloaded on a crowd of unarmed people) – they fire 50 rounds every six months (give or take on the time frame) and they only have to have 40% of their shots on paper. They do not do “real life situations”, they stand on a firing line and fire at a target 10 yards away and getting 40% of their shots to even hit the damn target means that they’re “qualified”. Even lax CCW training still requires a better on paper percentage than that. Frankly, anyone who’s fired a gun more than once should have no problem getting 100% of shots on paper from a measly 10 yards.

        • Damn that’s lame.. I managed 300/300 on my CHL shooting course, and I’m a complete knucklehead..

    • I am running an experiment with my SIG branded 1911-22. I swab the barrel, clean the chamber and make sure I take a cleaning tool to the firing pin. I am up to 850 rounds with only a few FTFs and light strikes. I want to see if I can get to 2000 rounds without breaking it down for cleaning. I would never do this with a carry piece.

  4. Daniel Craig has publicly spoken of his opposition to private citizens owning guns and of his support for feminism. I’m not going to his films.

    • Because he’s British. What else do you expect? They remove their balls at birth and then spend every day of their life telling them that if they don’t eat all of their vegetables, the evil gun will sneak in their room at night and murder them. Seriously, in a country with a culture so totally screwed up that it makes our anti-gun media look like NRA members, you can’t hold an anti-gun bias against someone. It’s like blaming someone who grew up Amish for being against technology….their entire life has been surrounded by the echo chamber of one view and only one view.

    • You do know that the ultimate gun safety tool is between your ears, right? Sorry, I hate safety zealots who think everyone must be a total moron, especially when they’re working with a prop and not a real gun.

  5. Why does anyone even bother going to the range? Why does the military train their snipers? Why do snipers constantly practice? According to Rydak you can shoot a million rounds and it doesn’t matter one bit. I guess practicing and getting results by hitting the target makes no sense and doesn’t matter anyway. Can I run around and say I am a professional marksman? If people ask for proof I will just tell them there is no need to practice, it doesn’t prepare you for the real world scenario when it really counts. Rydak on the internet said so.

    I wonder, is he an anti gunner or is he butt hurt because he is offended that someone would actually talk bad about pigs oops I mean cops? Rydak, are you a cross eyed cop that can’t hit your target if your life depended on it and no amount of practice helps?

    • Thats a cute story.

      I believe that contextual training is whats important, and the evidence of people putting many many rounds down range and still sucking badly abounds.

      I am neither cross eyed or butt hurt. What I am is disappointed that an otherwise fine blog is being damaged in credibility by the man who created it and his obsession with insulting the police at every turn, and only for the point of insulting. Not for bettering anything or anyone. The titles and spirit of his writings remove any doubt as to his bias or credibility in that department.

      This blog post is a fine example. It could have been something along thr lines of “Lessons learned from NYPD shooting” and examined what was done wrong, what could have been done better, ideas for improving…etc..etc

      But no, just reading the title and any other title that Robert writes about police tells all that anyone needs to know. If that aint enough, this is not the first time that a follower of this blog (Hell not even the 50th time) has mentioned how many anti police/govt nutjobs are starting to call this place home and how many regular readers are turned off by it and not coming back.

      Incidents like the NYPD shooting could be a learning point for police and civilians alike. But , na…. Robert would rather continue his bias and blind hatred.

      Got to wonder, why does none of the other authors adopt this obsessive hatred of anything police? Hrrmm…

      • this is not the first time that a follower of this blog (Hell not even the 50th time) has mentioned how many anti police/govt nutjobs are starting to call this place home and how many regular readers are turned off by it and not coming back.

        Actually, very few people are anti-cop here. Certainly not the editors. What they are is anti-STUPID cop or anti-“the cops can do no wrong” (you fall in the latter category).

        I won’t lie, I’m firmly in the anti-cop position. Why? Because I’ve known enough cops and seen what type of people usually become cops. I’ve known good cops, average cops, and dirty cops. The dirty cops are in the majority and the average and otherwise “good” cops blindly support them because they’re “brothers in blue”. A person can only watch the police commit so many crimes and see people like you try to make excuses for it before they become solidly anti-cop. I was on the fence about police until I sat in a courtroom and watched an innocent person (I was with them with the supposed “crime” happened, so I know for a fact that they were innocent) that was arrested for a crime that there is no evidence that they committed, no witnesses, no evidence of anything at all had the cop get on the stand and lie their ass off and then they were found guilty. That was the day that made me want to put a bullet in every cop I meet, because even the “good” cops work to support that corrupt system and enforce unconstitutional laws.

        As for Rob’s titles / posts? Sure, they’re mocking the police – but when we have to spend every day hearing people like you claim that the police are so superior to the peasants despite all facts to the contrary, a little mocking when their inferiority is blatantly pointed out is more than justified.

        • Totenglocke,

          Not even close. Rydak is not the only one who has written about anti police sentiment on TTAG. Heck, Farago has mentioned it in a separate article, which has garnered quite a few comments. Yes, the NYPD is a shining example of insufficient training and poor equipment. Yes, civilians do well in DGUs, and they obviously shoot under different conditions. Civilians and LEOs make mistakes, and Rydak makes good points on anti-LEO statements. It’s perfectly normal for a member of a profession to be offended when they constantly get bashed.

          Perhaps Rydak is merely stating the disparity between actual ability and percieved ability. Sure, TTAG commenters rack up enormous round counts. I’m sure that they also drive lots of miles. I’m consistently underwhelmed by the driving I see. Want stats? I’ve documented 968 crashes over 12 years at this point from fender benders to fatals. People don’t drive as well as they think they do. I’m sure there are shooters that over-estimate their abilities (shocking, I know).

          I’m not impressed by the NYPD, but they are not the sum total of law enforcement training. There are good LEOs out there, who can drive, shoot, and handle emergencies. LEOs who’ve seen more actual critical incidents than flocks of armchair commandos who fire thousands of rounds of 22 LR. I’m not going to resort to Facebook challenges, ridiculous accidents, or flames comments. I’ll just get back to working the road.

        • @Accur81

          If cops don’t want people to say negative things about them, maybe they shouldn’t go out of their way to ensure every encounter non-criminals have with them is negative? Just a “crazy” idea, you know. When you go around bragging about your “superior” skills and then blatantly show that you don’t in fact have those skills, people have every justification to mock you and expose your lies for what they are – it doesn’t matter if you’re a cop or some punk in middle school.

          You may claim that you DO make sure every encounter is positive (I can’t verify that), but what doesn’t help is when you blindly defend cops that are assholes who took the job just to bully people because of “solidarity” – then that makes you just as guilty of their crimes as they are. When the “good” cops make it a point to publicly criticize bad cops and demand that those bad cops be held accountable for their actions and punished in the same (or stronger) way that a normal citizen would, then you’ll gain the respect of the people. We’ve spent too many decades with cops telling us that they can do whatever they want, that they have no duty to help us in any way shape or form, blatantly abusing their power, and then demanding that people respect and worship them.

          Respect is earned, not given. The police spent decades teaching the people that they are not to be trusted or respected. If you want that to change, it’s up to the police to prove to the people that they are the good guys and worthy of being trusted and respected.

      • What is wrong with being anti-police? RF works in the private sector, rather than suckling from the tax payers tit. RF pays for his own guns and ammo, rather than requiring the tax payer to do so. Cops are some of the greatest welfare queens out there.

        And say what you will about Bloomberg, Regan, Clinton and the rest of “gun grabbers”. At the end of the day the politicians never grab a single gun, it is always the police who do so. So I would like to ask you, how many guns have you grabbed from American citizens? If Obama manages to get his AWB, would you start grabbing our scary evil black rifles too?

        Are you a Republican who believes in small government? If so, you ought to start helping the government become smaller by finding work in the private sector. If not you might want to start voting democrat, since after all it was Clinton and his COPS program who put an additional 69k – 84k cops on the beat thanks to federal grants.

        The titles and spirit of his writings remove any doubt as to his bias or credibility
        I’m sure your if I were to read your arrest reports, I could come to the same conclusions about you. The only difference is people will lose their freedom due to your bias, whereas RF’s will only cause crocodile tears from a select few.

      • Rydak, I can see how you might perceive hatred or a vendetta in this issue but consider this. Default respect is more than a slippery slope and if accountability is lax you wind up with abuse such as demonstrated by the Catholic church, the Boy Scouts, and countless other examples. Law enforcement must have full accountability in every aspect if it is to be a profession. Otherwise, it’s a racket and it is not in our interest.

  6. Yep, kill all the cops. What a bunch of goofballs. I’m done reading this site. I’ve “grabbed” one gun in ten years of law enforcement. The guy was waving it around at civilians in a large city and I convinced him to put the gun down. Turns out he had robbed multiple businesses in the area with that gun and a shotgun. I’ll assume that t-glock is a criminal and Matt belongs to a militia that promotes incest. Let the assumptions fly!

  7. I’ve never been to NY, state or city, but a thought struck me as I read through the comments here. Don’t take this to mean that poor performance should be excused- I train regularly as many of the people posting here do, and I’m always looking to improve myself.

    What do you expect, from a large government bureaucracy, in the most anti-gun city in one of the most anti-gun states in the Union? Do you expect them to hire gun enthusiasts to enforce the anti-gun laws? Do you expect them to encourage off duty training, by which I mean encourage men and women to take initiative and make themselves better able to handle themselves without the protective umbrella of the department mission statement and philosophy telling them how to feel about it?

    Do you expect them to rewrite the department budget after realizing their officers are putting in some damn poor performances every now and then when faced with situations that they weren’t adequately trained for? What has to give, what has to be de-funded to make room for the costs of extra ammo, range time, EPA certified cleanup of the extra lead that will be expended at the range? Sensitivity training? Purchase of hybrid cars so the command staff can appear more green? Investigation and enforcement of soda container size?

    Or, do you expect them to keep everything exactly the way it is while making public statements about how dangerous guns are if even trained professionals have such difficulty handling them safely? Complain all you want, but the voters in NY pretty much ensure that nothing will change. They may not be happy with the status quo, but if they want the nanny state, then nothing will make it go away.

  8. “Bias Agenda”…………Don’t agree with me or you? Gee, one of us just has to be bias. I quit reading every time I see that phrase. Sorry, just a pet peeve.

  9. Join ladies shooting league at gun range twice a month, every month. We put at least 150 rounds down range each session. Also at least once a month practice dynamic shooting on the move, and from behind barriers.

    I shudder when I read anti-2nd amendment talk about “only law enforcement officers and military” should be the only ones to be allowed to carry a firearm.

    Really? Bet the women I shoot with are better shots than the average LEO

  10. Haha you forgot to include this gem…”though officers are taught to shoot their guns to stop, not to kill.” The author seems to be unaware that the shots that stop an attacker, to Center of Mass, will most often end in their untimely demise as well.

  11. I don’t see this article being anti-LEO in any way. What I do see is a reminder that the people who would restrict gun ownership to LEOs only are sadly mistaken. I recently read an article saying that the NYPD discourages their officers from practicing more than required so they don’t start shooting as a first course of action. Which, if true, made it the most ignorant thing I’ve read this year.

    As has been demonstrated time and again, LEOs do not hit their targets a LOT. That means something else gets hit. Sometimes that “something else” is “other people (aka innocent bystanders)” and anyone who is OK with that as the status quo should seek help.

    I’m friends with a lot of guys in LE, and only a couple of them actually shoot recreationally. Those guys are decent shots too. The rest only shoot when required by policy (qualification).


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