The Real Risks During Deadly Police Shootouts: Accuracy of the Naïve Shooter

International Journal of Police Science and Management

International Journal of Police Science and Management

Authors: William J. Lewinski, Ron Avery, Jennifer L. Dysterheft, Nathan D. Dicks,  Jacob M. Bushey

This study aimed to examine the level of shooting accuracy demonstrated by law enforcement recruits upon completion of their law enforcement firearms training in comparison with novice shooters. One hundred and ninety-five male and 52 female law enforcement recruits volunteered. Participants were separated by firearms experience into the following groups: expert (completed law enforcement firearms course, n = 83), intermediate (recreational experience, n = 71) and novice (minimal/no experience, n = 93). All subjects were tested for accuracy at target locations from 3 to 75 ft. For all locations, no difference was found in accuracy between expert and intermediate groups (p > 0.30). Experts and intermediates had better results than novices on all locations (p < 0.05) except from 3 to 15 ft. Alarmingly, experts were only 10% more accurate than novices between 3 and IS ft. Finally, novices and intermediate shooters were more likely to hit head locations from 3 ft (57%), whereas experts mainly hit the body location (78%). The results of this study indicate that officers had no advantage over intermediate shooters and a small advantage over novices.

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