An Analysis of NYPD police shootings and how they apply to you

Reprinted by permission from

In 1969, the Firearms and Tactics Section of the New York City Police Department instituted a procedure for the in-depth documentation and study of Police combat situations. It was designated Department Order SOP 9 (s. 69).

Data gathering began in January 1970, and over 6000 cases were studied during the 1970s. The study results and findings were released in 1981. The following sets out many of those that focus on shooting situations and shooting techniques.

Since the results became available, pistols have replaced revolvers in most agencies, and the results are dated. However, based what one reads in the literature, and sees in Police videos, the elements and conditions of shooting situations have changed little over time. As such, the results can be expected to prevail today. At a minimum, they form a solid and scientific basis for self-defense training and action until new study results and findings come along.

Also, it is likely that the results are applicable most anywhere, as New York City, in addition to tall buildings, has numerous suburban communities, beaches, large parks, remote areas, highways, rivers, ocean fronts, etc.

All of the results and findings applicable to Police combat situations, are not provided here. Hopefully, the snippets below, will serve as a spur to those in need of that information, to get, study, and act on it.


From Sept 1854 to Dec 1979, 254 Officers died from wounds received in an armed encounter. The shooting distance in 90% of those cases was less than 15 feet.

  • Contact to 3 feet … 34%
  • 3 feet to 6 feet …… 47%
  • 6 feet to 15 feet ….. 9%

The shooting distances where Officers survived, remained almost the same during the SOP years (1970-1979), and for a random sampling of cases going back as far as 1929. 4,000 cases were reviewed. The shooting distance in 75% of those cases was less than 20 feet.

  • Contact to 10 feet … 51%
  • 10 feet to 20 feet …. 24%


The majority of incidents occurred in poor lighting conditions. None occurred in what could be called total darkness. It was noted that flashlights were not used as a marksmanship aid. Also, dim light firing involves another element which is different from full light firing, muzzle flash.


Firearms accounted for only 60% of the attacks on Police. However, in the 254 cases of Officers killed in an armed encounter, firearms were used in 90% (230) of them, and knives in 5% (11).

The service revolver was used in 60% of the cases. The authorized smaller frame civilian clothes revolver was used in 35% of them.

In all cases reviewed, an unauthorized or gimmick holster (ankle, shoulder, skeleton, fast draw, clip-on etc.) was involved when the revolver was lost, accidentally discharged, or the Officer was disarmed.

Unintentional discharges averaged about 40 per year. This number is relatively small given: the size of the force (28,000), that all Officers are required to be armed at all times when they are in the city, and that 4,000 non-Police firearms are processed each year.


In 70% of the cases reviewed, sight alignment was not used. Officers reported that they used instinctive or point shooting.

As the distance between the Officer and his opponent increased, some type of aiming was reported in 20% of the cases. This aiming or sighting ran from using the barrel as an aiming reference to picking up the front sight and utilizing fine sight alignment.

The remaining 10% could not remember whether they had aimed or pointed and fired the weapon instinctively.


65% of the Officers who had knowledge of impending danger, had their revolvers drawn and ready.

This is proper tactically for several reasons, the first being that holsters which are designed with the proper element of security in mind, do not lend themselves to quick draw. The old bromide, “Don’t draw your gun and point it at anyone unless you intend to shoot” is a tactical blunder.

Situations in which rapid escalation occurred, were most often activities considered routine, such as car stops, guarding, transporting or fingerprinting prisoners or handling people with mental problems.

Family disputes did not prove to be high on the Police danger list. Sniper and ambush incidents represented less than 1% of the cases reported.

Reports on incidents involving Police death revealed that the Officer was alone more often than not and that he was confronted by at least two people.


The element reported as the single most important factor in the Officer’s survival during an armed confrontation was cover.

In a stress situation an Officer is likely to react as he was trained to react. There is almost always some type of cover available, but it may not be recognized as such without training.


In 84% of the cases reviewed, the Officer was in a standing or crouch position (supported and unsupported) when he fired.

(The training doctrine developed for use in an exposed condition involves use of the crouch/point shoulder stance. The feet are spread for balance and the arms locked at shoulder, elbow and wrist. The body becomes the gun platform, swiveling at the knees. Multiple targets can be fired on with speed and accuracy through an arc of 140 degrees without moving the feet.)


Officers, with an occasional exception, fired with the strong hand. That was the case even when it appeared advantageous to use the weak hand. The value of placing heavy emphasis on weak hand shooting during training and qualification is subject to question.


The double action technique was used in 90% of the situations and used almost without exceptions in close range, surprise, or immediate danger situations.


A warning shot may set off chain reaction firing.

Accurate fire from handheld weapons from a fast-moving vehicle is almost impossible, even by a highly trained Officer.

Firing while running changes the situation from one where skill has a bearing into one in which the outcome depends on pure chance. It endangers the Officer unnecessarily by depleting his ammunition supply, and increases the chance of shooting innocent persons who may be present.


The average number of shots fired by individual Officers in an armed confrontation was between two and three rounds. The two to three rounds per incident remained constant over the years covered by the report. It also substantiates an earlier study by the L.A.P.D. (1967) which found that 2.6 rounds per encounter were discharged.

The necessity for rapid reloading to prevent death or serious injury was not a factor in any of the cases examined.

In close range encounters, under 15 feet, it was never reported as necessary to continue the action.

In 6% of the total cases the Officer reported reloading. These involved cases of pursuit, barricaded persons, and other incidents where the action was prolonged and the distance exceeded the 25 foot death zone.


During the period 1970 through 1979, the Police inflicted 10 casualties for every one suffered at the hands of their assailants.

In all of the cases investigated, one factor stood out as a proper measure of bullet efficiency. It was not the size, shape, configuration, composition, caliber, or velocity of the bullet.

Bullet placement was the cause of death or an injury that was serious enough to end the confrontation.


The Police Officer’s potential for hitting his adversary during armed confrontation has increased over the years and stands at slightly over 25% of the rounds fired. An assailant’s skill was 11% in 1979.

In 1990 the overall Police hit potential was 19%. Where distances could be determined, the hit percentages at distances under 15 yards were:

  • Less than 3 yards ….. 38%
  • 3 yards to 7 yards .. 11.5%
  • 7 yards to 15 yards .. 9.4%

In 1992 the overall Police hit potential was 17%. Where distances could be determined, the hit percentages at distances under 15 yards were:

  • Less than 3 yards ….. 28%
  • 3 yards to 7 yards …. 11%
  • 7 yards to 15 yards . 4.2%


It has been assumed that if a man can hit a target at 50 yards he can certainly do the same at three feet. That assumption is not borne out by the reports.

An attempt was made to relate an Officer’s ability to strike a target in a combat situation to his range qualification scores. After making over 200 such comparisons, no firm conclusion was reached. To this writer’s mind, the study result establishes that there is indeed a disconnect between the two.

If there was a connection between range marksmanship and combat hitsmanship, one would expect the combat hit potential percentages, to be well above the dismal ones reported. That is because the shooting distance was less than 20 feet in 75 percent of the 4000 encounters studied.

The US Army recognizes that there is a disconnect. Its training manual, FM 23-35 Combat Training With Pistols & Revolvers (1988), calls for the use of Point Shooting for combat at less than 15 feet, and when firing at night. It does not call for using standard and traditional range marksmanship techniques.

“The weapon should be held in a two-hand grip and brought up close to the body until it reaches chin level. It is then thrust forward until both arms are straight. As the weapon is thrust forward, the trigger is smoothly squeezed to the rear. The arms and body form a triangle which can be aimed as a unit.” For shooting at 5 to 10 yards, a modified version of the technique is used.

Various Point Shooting techniques are available for use. They are simple, direct, easy and quick to learn, and effective. With appropriate emphasis and training time allotted to them, one can expect a better future than the past.

Target Focused shooting is taught to the CHP. It is similar to the shooting methods of Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate, in that the sights are not used in Close Quarters aiming.

There was an extensive write up of the system in the Oct, 2001 issue of Guns & Weapons For Law Enforcement. Louis Chiodo is the developer of the method. His site is Gunfighters Ltd., and the URL is:

Another innovative approach to Point Shooting is the C.A.R. or the Center Axis Relock Method of Gunfighting. C.A.R. is a strong, stable, and flexible platform that allows for quick target acquisition and rapid fire bursts of 4 shots to COM in under 1 second with standard pistols. It also can be used effectively in small spaces and vehicles. It provides maximum weapon retention, and also serves as a practical and effective base for contact fighting.

What do you think point shooting or aimed fire even at close range?

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. You would want to cross reference David Spaulding’s “What Happens in a Gun Fight” with this study:

    I quoted from it in a very early post (that truthfully is an editor’s nightmare):

    • The quote:

      David Spaulding in What Really Happens In A Gunfight? spoke to ~200 people and interviewed them on their experience in a gunfight: including military, lawmen, and legally armed civilians. Paraphrasing some of his findings:

      Often individuals were “surprise” by the situation, and were slow to react.

      People who went into the situation (generally lawmen or military men on a specific type of operation) were generally least likely to be surprised.

      Often people did not use the sights on their weapons. Two groups generally did sight their weapons before firing. Those who were not surprised and those with long arms, and those with revolvers. Revolvers often have a larger, easier to see sight than automatic pistols, rifles by training are fired from the shoulder and it is natural to look down the sight when firing.

      In a study he cites, in data base of lawmen who won their fight: the hit ratio was 62%, not the more frequently cited 18% of other studies.

  2. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Great post. I took several notes. I gotta get a Mossberg blackwater.

    Point shooting is intuitive when in close quarters. Aiming is for snipers.

  3. Aimed fire in all cases. Raise the gun from waist high , using both hands and fire instinctively as soon as the sight is on body mass. As far as knock down and kill power with a dbl tap, the large caliber slower moving rounds open a non-self sealing wound cavity that allows fast bleed out and neurological shock due to energy transfer to the bone and muscle structure which in most cases renders the target unconscious after one round or often unable to continue the fight due to mental confusion from the contusion. You need to dry fire practice and empty two rounds,from holster, on target within 3 seconds.
    Also practice at the range at 7 yrds, with only a couple of live rounds in the gun to overcome recoil anticipation. For a pistol use some blanks and live rounds mixed.
    >410ga. 3-000 buckshot out of my Judge gives a 6″ spread at 7 yards.
    That is 3- 34 cal rounds at 900 ft/sec. on target mass with one shot.
    Out of a .410 smooth bore shotgun about a 6″ spread at 30 yards.

  4. My friends and I used to do this drill, on a safe range place a man size target at around 7 yards. Shooter stands with holstered weapon and stares at target then closes both eyes and draw and fire. No hurry, the idea is to find out what we called natural point of aim. The results were surprising, lots of the time we hit with the first shot but most missed with follow up shots. I think the noise and recoil upset the image the mind was holding and so the mental reference was lost for the next shots. I think the same thing happens at night or low light when the muzzle flash takes the night vision away for the next shots.
    Then again I could be entirely off base, and I expect to be corrected;^)

    Up close I think point fire is the way, no time to refine a sight picture and not much need.

  5. riverrider says:

    md, point shooting all the way. no time to aim. this article bears out my experience. i train with handguns at 10 yards and less on a paper plates representing the vital area, for speed, and while moving toward cover. like the old adage..”there’s the quick, and the dead”. the moment will likely come while you’re face to face, trying to figure out if they are a friend or foe. i had a technique when i was a cop. i stayed close up on the subject. watched his hands, if i id’ed a threat i used my off hand to violently shove him back while pulling my gun and ready to shoot from my side just out of the holster. the shove disoriented the perp long enough for me to get the advantage, also prevented a tussle for my gun. saved my life one time. something i still to to this day is look for cover as i walk, kind of a mental exercise, and pick out the next cover ahead of me. too late to search for cover when something happens. for longer than 10 yards or so, i think cover is more important than returning fire. thanks for posting this, i hope it changes some fellow preppers training regimen.

    • riverrider – based on your experience, does the type of handgun make a difference? I feel comfortable point shooting with a revolver (S&W 625JM) but have never been able to pattern well point shooting using the Colt 1911a1 I normally carry. Could just be me of course, but I’d value your thoughts.

      • Jarhead 03 says:

        K Fields In my experience the gun does “to an extent” in the fact a firearm you are most comfortable with and presents a natural shooting position it does benefit you.

        On the other hand experience from training helps. I’m not a big fan of the Beretta M9 and it didn’t feel as good as the 1911 but with training I started shooting the M9 better than with the 1911 for qualification. I shoot even better with a Smith and Wesson 686 than both but not a fan of revolvers. For combat close quarters point/quick shooting I feel most comfortable with my 1911 or Ruger P90.

        Training is continues and practice! practice! practice!

        • RR – Your point of training and practice may actually be what is making the difference now that I think about it. Back when I started, point shooting was seen by many as a hold over from the old west, a technique to be used only with single action revolvers. Years (and years and years) of training and aimed fire practice with the 1911 may be what is making the difference as I don’t have the assurance with it today if I don’t see that front sight. The revolver, being ergonomically similar to a single action, may simply be giving me a more comfortable feel point shooting, I’m not disregarding all that training with it as I would be with the 1911. Interesting to contemplate. Thanks for helping to give me a new viewpoint.

      • riverrider says:

        k, i carry a double action only ruger lcr because there are no safeties to bother with and its safe to carry “locked and loaded”. i LOVE my 1911’s but in normal everyday, the threat will likely appear in a flash leaving no time to cock n lock or even flip a safety. i cut my baby teeth on a 1911 slide, but i still feel uncomfortable carrying cocked n locked in public. also i train shooting with the gun tucked into my strongside for closequarters, and once the slide caught in my shirt on the return, jamming the weapon. i have another lcr, and do a new york reload if i need more than 5 shots, though that hasn’t happened yet. for shtf combat its m1911 all the way. just my 2 cents.

        • riverrider says:

          k, and jarhead is completely right. shoot whats comfortable for you, train until its like instinct. and i echo his experience w/ the m9. i HATED it until i put every round in the ten ring in qualifying. so i went out and bought one the next day:) hits matter more that bullet weight, or style:)

    • templar knight says:

      riverrider, now that’s the kind of advice I like. There is nothing better than the first hand experience of a LEO, and I really like the technique you used when handling a perp up close.

      And perhaps the best advice you gave, although you didn’t call it that, is situational awareness. My wife is constantly asking me what I’m looking at, etc. Well, I don’t talk on a cell phone in a restaurant, or driving, or when I’m walking. I am constantly on the lookout for something that seems out of place, a stranger I’ve seen more than once, unusual movement, someone altering their path to intercept mine, and so on. My wife thinks I’m crazy, but I never want to be surprised by anything.

      • riverrider says:

        tk, thanks. never sit in a restaurant with my back to the door either:) don’t know when it happened, around 16 yo or so, but i picked up the ability to size a person up when they come in the door, as far as whether they are up to no good or not. i had a couple of surprises early in short my leo career. they woke me up REAL fast. my head is on a swivel now.

        • As a current LEO, I completely agree with everything you said RR. Training is ever changing. The state still requires aimed fire on a target for points, however, more and more, we qualify, then move on to the better training, shooting from the hip at extreme close ranges (three yards or less), and point shooting on the move. The FBI stance is great for unsighted fire as you naturally point the weapon in the direction your body is facing, and since we like to square up our armor to the threat, that works out really well. General consensus these days (at least in so cal) is inside of fifteen yards you should be able to point shoot, with the exception of the head. Get a few center mass then pick up your sights for the head shot if you can. beyond the 15, sights become more necessary as point shooting becomes less effective. There is no substitute for proper practice and trigger time, make the investment as one of your preps. training may be the most valuable thing you do to prep. I love my .45 at work because of proven performance through auto glass with less deflection. Otherwise I would prefer the .9mm for accuracy and speed of follow up shots. But as has been previously stated by others, get what your comfortable with and can hit with. Rounds on target are the rounds that count. Also, remember that you cant miss fast enough to win…..

  6. I concur with the point shooting. Actually, this is good news for some of us older guys that no longer have the eyes for range shooting. However, it doubles the necessity of practice. I think I better hit the range again this week.

  7. Dusty Bottems says:

    I’ve been reading Bill Jordan’s ‘No Second Place Winners’ c1965, through 30 years of experience he too thought quickly delivered and well placed shots were most important.

    Nice to know uncle and dad were both right, practice beats anything you can buy.

  8. So does training really pay off? It doesn’t look like it, but then I suppose that the dismal scores could’ve been much more dismal without it. This is why it was the shotgun that really won the West and not a six shooter or a Winchester. But you still have to aim the best you can.

    • riverrider says:

      charlie, REALISTIC training pays off, stand- and- shoot- fifty- yard training usually doesn’t. one study of LAPD cops KIA revealed that several had died reaching out from cover to collect their brass, just like they were trained on the range. very sad. another factor now is with the auto pistols issued now, the mind knows there are 15 more rounds so keep blasting til you hit something. i was issued a 38 six shooter. i was very mindful not to waste a round. and you are right, never go into a fight on even terms, the shotty wins…. jm2c.

    • I must note once again that I am the person who over the last year or more has used the name Charlie on this list and I did NOT write the comments above identified by the name Charlie.

      Sir would you please choose another name, add an initial before or after your name or at least have the decency to tell me that you don’t intend to so that I can make the changes I need to make. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with your comments. I just don’t want to be confused for someone else and I think you don’t either.



      • M.D. Since you have the advantage of being able to see our e-mail addresses, will you please address this issue.

        Thanks (the original Charlie)

        • I had the same problem, someone started using Mike S after I hade been using it for over a year. I had to change it to this name. A no duplicate username thing would be great.

  9. Controlled, reasoned, rapid response. Aim Fire. The attacker is even more scared than you, both of you are about to wet yourself, and may afterwards. Most attackers have not trained at all, hence the 11% hit percentage. It is best for us to train and mull over situations in our minds of how we respond, and do lots of dry fire exercises in our homes , in and around our cars. You must be mentally prepared to fire at first instance of body mass in sight. Learn cover locations in the home and around your car. The best deterrent is a fearless and purposeful attitude and walk. Most criminal folks will not attack a person whom looks confident or seems aware and prepared for conflict . Seconds count, train to draw and fire two rounds within 3-4 seconds on target, with pistol, revolver, and shotgun. A fun exercise is to run hard for 20-30 seconds , then draw and fire. Nice stress test for you.

    • riverrider says:

      prep now, respectfully, in 3-4 seconds you will have been dead for 2 already.

      • Agreed, if you train properly, you should be able to put rounds on target at close range as fast as you can physically pull the trigger. 4 seconds is too long. A crook can draw and fire in less than a second and shit goes sideways faster than you can blink. if you are uner duress or just fought and you are close, shoot from the hip, it will be a stable platform for your arm, good bone support not very affected by breathing. yo wont pick up your sights that way but with practice you will score center mass hits 99 percent of the time. and you can draw and fire two rounds from this position in under 1 second. By the way the best way to stay out of trouble is avoidance, not a fearless attitude and walk, in fact, where I work and live, that walk could get you mistaken for a cop a gangster or a parolee, any of which will put you on someones radar and make you a target. I can tell a parolee 99 percent of the time by their walk, I have had people pick me out as a cop the same way. I am not saying you should look weak, but I wouldnt walk around oozing bravado either. There is always someone looking for a fight and the overconfident walk may e just the thing that attracts them to you….

        • Jarhead 03 says:

          I agree with you on the stance, walk and appearance can conduct or draw the wrong attention. I get that all the time from the wrong people. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I’m a cop.

          As for training, training as realist is the best training but no one knows how they will respond until it happens. I’ve seen hard core Marines and Soldiers attached to us freeze up on their first fire fights and I’ve seen police and deputies got to blows when I feel they should of had the pistol out.

          • True.

            • Jarhead 03 says:

              A technique we started using after Somalia was to get our Marine to perform strenuous heart pumping activities and exercises in full gear to simulate the adrenaline affect.

              I’ve seen many expert shooters military, LE and security shoot like crap because heart rate, breathing and tightened muscles affect their shooting. I suggest if anyone hasn’t tied it, do it. It will give you a small example of what its like.

              We also would do the same techniques with close combat LINE/MCMAP training by having one fresh and the other gone through “the house of pain” worn out going into the fight. As real world as you can get without the actual thing in our eyes.

    • Never been in a firefight have ya??? It don’t happen that way (your description).

      It takes 0.6-0.75 seconds for the brain to register a threat and another 0.6-0.75 seconds to respond (as documented by Dr Bill Lewinski at Force Science Research and, separately by the Texas Department of Public Safety (using state troopers who KNEW what was going to happen)).

      Your stress test only tests an increased heart rate due to oxygen deprivation. It is NOT an adrenal response. Have a German Shepherd ATTACK you, then try to shoot your course.

      • Thats right, action is far faster than reaction. Force science Research puts out some great info. That is exactly the reason we all said the 4 second thing is too long. It is also agreat reason to already have your gun on the threat whenever possible (obviously not possible if you are surprised by the attack). I also agree that adrenal response is far different from oxygen dep training. Both can influence shooting but usually the adrenal response is far more damaging to shooting capability in my opinion because it can simulate the rapid breathing of oxygen dep, but also can cause the hands to shake. Huge difference in the after affects too. Example: run a short distance and you will likely breath hard for a short time and experience some mild fatigue. Drive a hundred miles and hour after a suspect, then go hands on at the end and the body will be exhausted 30 minutes later after the adrenaline dump. I am sure any of my fellow military and law enforcement brethren will back me on that. Ever wonder why cops love coffee and the military keeps a constant supply of rip its on hand (an energy drink given to troops). When I first started as a cop if I got into anything big on a shift I would immediately go chug a monster energy drink before the adrenaline wore off so that I wouldnt be worthless the rest of the shift. In my experience, you can condition your body for this, the effects have become less over the years (my hands dont shake anymore) but unfortunately there is no substitute for experience. Unfortunately I have not come across any type of training (even simunitions) that compares to the adrenaline rush of an actual life and death situation…….

        By the way my draw and fire twice in under a second statement above did not take into account the time it takes for the brain to register the threat.

        • Michael – agree with everything you said. One difficulty I’m learning here is to address my replies since you may be typing a bit faster than me so my reply can appear to be directed at you. My apologies for this. It was directed at Prep Now.

          I promise to be more cognizant of this in the future.

          • No worries, your brought up some additional points that very valid and well spoken. Thanks for your input, you add to the conversation.

            • Michael,

              Some more information on the adrenal response to stress…….

              >> The brain releases endorphins to relieve pain

              >> Heart rate increases and heart increases its strength of contraction to pump more blood

              >> Blood pressure rises

              >> Digestion slows

              >> Salivation and mucous secretion decreases – the result is a “cotton mouth” feeling

              >> Pupils dilate, increasing visual acuity (sharpness) but at the expense of field-of-vision (resulting in “tunnel vision”)

              >> Increase in sensory (though some may experience decreased), i.e. sight, hearing, smell, and taste

              >> Sweating increases to flush waste and to cool down the body

              >> Blood clotting increases to prevent bleeding to death during physical threat

              >> Sugars and fats are released into the blood stream to supply fuel

              >> Adrenaline and other hormones are released into the bloodstream to provide energy

              >> Muscle tension increases to prepare for action in the shortest time

              >> Bronchi dilate, allowing more air into the lungs

              >> Breathing gets shallow and faster to supply more oxygen to the muscles and body tissue

              This reaction is pure stress and is a result of a cascade of hormones that starts as soon as your brain realizes that a demand is being made on your body.

          • Jarhead 03 says:

            wheelsee, the post you made on adrenal response was excellent. It gives a good incite to the scientific breakdown of SHTF!

            • The only thing I can think of that was left off the list is a decrease in fine motor skills. Great post.

            • Michael – yes, I did not list those (more specific, so here goes)

              Heart rate (HR) > 115 – fine motor skills (i.e. signing your name) starts to degrade.

              HR > 145 – complex motor skills (riding a bicycle) starts to degrade

              HR > 175 – gross motor skills (think BIG muscle groups and corresponding actions – running, fighting, lifting heavy objects) ENHANCE. The difficult part is that the lizard brain is essentially running the show….

              Again, this is ALL based on adrenal response (hormone) NOT oxygen debt heart rates.

              According to Artwohl & Christensen’s “Deadly Force Encounters”
              – Sounds –
              85% diminished
              16% intensified

              – Vision –
              80% tunnel
              72% heightened visual clarity

              -Time –
              65% slow motion
              16% fast motion
              7% temporary paralysis

              – Memory –
              51% loss for parts of the event
              47% loss for some of your actions

              And, while most people believe the highest fear factor is public speaking, LTC Grossman found that it is “Interpersonal Human Aggression” affecting ~ 98% of people. Get prepared to deal with the after-effects, i.e. PTSD (though not required. However, >95% of rape victims and torture victims WILL experience some form of PTSD).

  10. Art-e-Mouse (NorCal) says:

    I never could understand why my Grandfather (a former Sherriffs Deputy) would never extend the range beyond 5-7 yds. when he was teaching me to shoot his “belly-gun” (a 2″ bbl. Smith .38 revolver). He wanted me to “fire from the hip” and always fire at least 2 rnds. per draw. I wanted to develop long range shooting skills, but he said that was meant for rifles. Pistols were meant for close-up ( within 5-7 yds.) and without notice contacts. I see his wisdom now based on the findings from this post / study. Thanks for an excellent post… valuable info. IMO.

    • Jarhead 03 says:

      Your right, when I teach/coach I always get the guys wanting to hit targets at 200 to 500 and I would remind them they are most likely to engage within 21 feet. The condition of training them on long range was that they could consistently hit targets at close range. I think one too many sniper movies and not wanting to get blood on them. or stare into their eyes is a big reason why people don’t want to train on close targets.

  11. muddy fork says:

    While I have never used one, this makes me think more about the usefulness of a laser sight for a cc gun. It should improve your accuracy in a combat situation when aiming is not practical or safe. But then I’m just thinking out loud again.
    I have been on the range at numerous police departments over the years and it always amazes me how poorly they shoot when trying to qualify. I’m normally disappointed with my 3-5 flyers here and there but the range masters always say I shoot better than the majority of the officers. Something about that just is not very assuring.

    • Muddy Fork,

      The laser does the same thing as the front sight….your eye/brain is trying to focus on it versus the “threat.”

      While you are busy trying to “put the dot on the bad guy”, he’s already shot you several times.

      The other thing that happens is tunnel-vision. You’re ability to know/see what happening around you diminishes greatly.


    • Jarhead 03 says:

      I agree with wheslee, the laser was designed as a secondary means of target acquisition. Unless you have the advantage of already drawn your weapon and aiming before they do it doesn’t work as well and unless its low light lasers aren’t effective in broad daylight.

      Marksmanship skills are your primary skills, point shooting with training (some more training than others) becomes instinctive and using only your front sight (get used to looking just over your rear sight) can be effective. I’ve only done this real world with a rifle but taught it extensively in the Marines with pistol. Rifle, shotgun and MP5.

      Tunnel vision is a mother f#+cker that wires the brain to focus on your primary/immediate threat. Its why you hear about 3 or 4 officers shooting 8 to 16 rounds. Each officer is focusing on the threat and not their partners so when the threat pulls a weapon all officers fire 3 to 4 rounds not waiting to see if his partner does his job which sometimes flows over into contagious fire and I’ve experienced that many times.

      • Jarhead 03,
        I agree on the training and marksmanship skills, and that no gadget can replace them, only augment them. On lasers however, there are some newer ones available that are brilliant even in bright sunlight. The one I have that can be easily seen at 75 to 100 feet is green. There are probably others, just FYI.

      • muddy fork says:

        As normal when I think out loud I’m corrected and pointed in another direction. I certainly understand how the dot can be focused on verses the threat.
        I have had to pull my cc one time while at ATM in a car and it was without a doubt a tunnel vision situation. I’m just glad he ran before I pulled the trigger any further. I had taken all the slack out and it should have gone off, still don’t know why it didn’t. Perhaps that was his wake up call from up above. Because of close quarters and the suddenness of the event I had to point the gun across my body and from under my left arm. I never had a chance to face him. From the look on his face he saw what was facing him and he bolted in the other direction. Point shooting in this situation was my only option and I’m glad I had practiced similar close quarter situations. If I had shot I think the muzzle flash would have warmed me up some. The more I think about that situation the more I believe if I had a laser then I would have been focused on it more than his face and hands. I can see where that could have caused me to fire when I did not have to.

        Great discussion guys, keep it up.

  12. Not being a LEO nor ever having been in a gunfight- though I train for them- I’m going to throw in two cents from training experience.
    In considering the reason for shooting: being surprised, and therefore ‘behind the curve’ in the contest, a smooth draw and aimed fire is going to be much slower than a smooth draw and point shooting at any distance. If the target is within five feet, raising the weapon to aim it is going to get you killed, all things considered. If someone’s shooting, or about to shoot, at you, you’re wasting precious seconds elevating your weapon to eye level- seconds you don’t have unles you’re faster than a speeding bullet. Not to mention, that at five feet, you’re within arm’s reach of the opponent.
    If you must use the sights, you should be moving off the X before you draw, hopefully resetting the OODA in your favor. And learn to shoot on the move- it’s done accurately every day by those who practice.
    A word about the poor shooting performance by officers, also noted from training experience.
    There are a few- not a lot- of officers who shoot IDPA and steel with our club. For sure, the number is growing since word of the fun factor is getting out. But those who do come are not better than the majority of us regular shooters. Some are downright terrible shots in any stance. They are improving, though- can’t be helped when you do it regularly.
    The point being, police aren’t better shots because they are trained, but because they practice. Most do not shoot more than they have to.
    About ‘untrained perps’… IMO, those perps in places like LA, Chicago, NY, nearly any large city with ghetto populations, will have more experience shooting people than most LEO will ever experience. At least until TSHTF. And most of them won’t be the least frightened by a honky or a bro with a gun. Too, many gangs are sending members into the military for training and using them as gang instructors upon DEROS. So don’t be too certain the perp attacking you is either untrained or unfamiliar with what he’s doing.
    Of course, you could always stop the fight and ask him for his resume.
    “Somewhere, someone is training very hard to kill you. How hard are you training to not let him?”

    • riverrider says:

      jsw, i love that quote! can i borrow it?

      • LOL. I work as a cop in LA and I can tell you you are right on at least one count. I point my gun at people every single day, usually several times a day. 99 percent of the thugs out here are not frightened by it. Break out the gauge and the story changes, but with a rifle or a pistol they dont care because they know the rules we have to follow to shoot them. Maybe if things broke down and the gloves came off the story might change, but these fools get shot at all the time. We have been running across more and more gang members who train as well. I have seen them at the public ranges and we have been seeing more and more guns recovered from suspects that also have weapon mounted lasers to try to increase hit percentages. They do train, and often because their lives depend on it. Same reason we train as police. If you dont train, start. If you do train, train more.

      • Go’fer it, RR- it’s a paraphrase of another quote, better suited for this discussion than the original.

    • JSW,
      “Somewhere, someone is training very hard to kill you. How hard are you training to not let him?” AMEN.

      Someone rushing you from 7 yards (21 feet) with any weapon, club, knife, etc. can close the distance in 1.5 seconds or less (look for Tueller Drill), so if you’re drawing from a holster, then you’d better be able to draw and fire instinctively from the rotation which is going to take lots of practice. At five feet there’s even less time. Also keep in mind that unlike Hollywood’s depiction, people don’t fly backward into the air, so at close quarters you may score direct hits and still receive damage from the attacker. Your best bet is not only to score hits, but to be moving as you do so, giving the attacker a moving target. This too can be done, and all it requires is more practice. There’s an old phrase I was taught many years ago (I don’t know who said it) that one should Train Hard and Fight Easy. There’s a lot of truth in that concept, and a lot more practice.

  13. SurvivorDan says:

    Humble opinion….both point shooting and aimed fire, depending on the circumstances. And muddyfork, shoot a hand gun with a laser sight and you, like myself, may elect not to mount it on a cc weapon. Little dot bouncing around on the bad guy’s chest may be a deterrent but you may inadvertently take time steadying it when you haven’t got any time. And if you suspect you are heading for a gun fight then mount your laser on a long gun. Yeah, and most LEs can’t shoot very well, excepting the SWAT guys and the dedicated gunnies. It is embarrassing. But most departments give them high capacity magazines and several of them…..yikes. S.D.

  14. Sgt. Psycho says:

    I just completed 4 days of Point Shooting Progressions and Advanced Point Shooting Progressions with Roger Phillips from Suarez International. This training does not teach you any “newly invented” techniques. The training does re-acquaint you with your natural body mechanics, and helps you refine and improve the things you will instinctively do anyway when fighting at close range with a pistol. Everything taught in these courses is based on what you will do naturally, and you are never taught that there is a “best” or an “only” way to get good hits on your adversary. Having carried a pistol both openly and concealed most of my adult life, and having trained others in use of a pistol both in law enforcement and civilian capacities, I have yet to see any training that will better prepare you for a close range gunfight.

    For those who adamantly aver that aiming and clearly seeing the front sight is the only option for using a pistol in a gunfight, get yourself into an SI force-on-force class and find out how that works for you.

  15. Cops are stupid and usually can never hit anything, does it matter?

    • LOL, Wilson. I will admit that some cops are stupid… but there’s always the exception and he may be the one you find yourself up against. Again, take time to ask for his resume… LOL. Even if he can’t hit anything in practice, you may just catch him on his lucky day and he can’t miss no matter how small the target.
      Gads, that was funny. But, yes, it does matter. 😀

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Oh really? And I suppose you represent the best & brightest in this world. Heaven help us.

    • Wilson,
      Are you willing to bet your life on your statement? I shoot with a lot of LEOs and I find in general they are simply a mix of the general populace. Some percentage carry radios and guns because they’re the tools of the job, and are competent enough to use them as required. Some of them are ham radio folks to whom the radio is a tool that they are very familiar with, and still others are shooters, and are skilled well beyond the normal street officer. If you for some stupid reason decide to challenge an officer, you will at a minimum be facing someone with more training than the average member of the population (probably including you) and at maximum a skilled and well practiced shooter. In any case those are pretty much losing odds.

  16. At close range, point shooting with a shotgun is my first choice, while point shooting with a rifle is my second. My third choice is a handgun.

  17. Cops hit twice as often as bad guys so that matters, but then your comment is the most stupid on the site to date.

  18. Mind set. Most important and very difficult for a civilian to aquire.
    By the way. I have my fathers (WW2 vet) pre war training manual.
    Handgun shooting was taught one hand bent wrist a-la the Fredrick Remington street shoot out painting. Old police films show similar holds. No wonder they thought the 45acp was a wrist buster. I learned to shoot handguns self tought using a Weaver two hand stance and always found the 45 1911 pleasant.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!