By Dan Roberts
Manasquan, NJ --(Ammoland.com)- The recent shooting of an armed murderer outside the Empire State building in NYC has brought to the forefront the issue of training and marksmanship of Police Officers.
To be sure, this is not necessarily an indictment of the Officers involved in dropping the killer after he pointed his handgun at them on a crowded public street. They did what they had to do under the circumstances.
Unfortunately, 9 other innocent bystanders were all wounded by police gunfire, either outright misses or from fragments of missed shots that broke up when they struck pavement or other hard objects. Its also true that the Officers involved had no other option available to them but to open fire, regardless of their surroundings or terrible background.
Again, none of this is meant as a criticism of the Officers involved,they did the best they could, under difficult circumstances and to the level they had been trained to.
There is an old saying amongst professional firearms trainers. “When the SHTF, you won’t rise to the occasion, you’ll default to the level of your training”.
However this incident, one of many, many others over the years is a stark indictment of the idea, promulgated ad nauseam by Pro Gun Control/Anti Carry Rights advocates, politicians and often high ranking Police Captains and Chiefs; that Police Officers are so highly trained that they are the “Only Ones” that should be able to carry a gun for self defense.
This is yet another in the overflowing dustbin of lies sold to the American Public by those who actively seek to disarm Citizens and leave them defenseless against predators of every stripe, as sacrificial lambs, served up on a smorgasbord of potential victims.
A study conducted by Newsweek in the early 90’s, the last time Gun Control was as central an issue as it is today, found that Officers involved in shootings had an average “miss rate” of 11 percent, while lawfully armed Citizens defending themselves with a gun had an average “miss rate” of only 2 percent. To be sure, there are numerous factors as to why the numbers come out this way. A cop, arriving on the scene after something requiring his or her attention has occurred often has only seconds to analyze the situation, make a decision and take action, as happened in NYC.
Conversely, for a Citizen being attacked by a mugger or robber, a woman being dragged into an alley,car or having her door kicked in by a violent stalker or ex significant other or a child, home alone when a group of thugs decides to break in to rampage and pillage, to any of them there is no doubt what-so-ever as to who the aggressor is and what their intentions are.
There’s also the fact that bad guys know Police Officers have to follow the rules set for them as far as when they may be permitted to use deadly force, where-as, the armed Citizen is a complete unknown factor, equally as likely to be able to use force to defend themselves as they are to co-operate. The vast majority of bad guys want to live just as much as the next person, hence, the meek surrender of lunatic James Holmes after the Colorado Movie Massacre.
This is also illustrated by the fact that the UK has a “hot burglary” ( defined as when someone is home), what we in the States call a “home invasion” exponentially higher then we have in the US. Because the criminals know the odds are not in their favor that breaking into an occupied home will end with them walking away as opposed to being carted away in an Ambulance or Coroner’s Van.
But there is another factor, one of training. As I noted at the outset, various people and groups have caterwauled for decades that Police Officers are the “Only Ones” highly trained enough to be entrusted to carry a firearm in public to defend themselves. But the rest of us know that not only is that simply not true from the perspective of having the right to defend one’s life, its a ridiculous fallacy to make such an argument and shows both a stunning lack of knowledge about not only what training Police Officers actually receive, but what level of experience and training is also available to Citizens.
Gun Control Groups and their supporters exclaim the urgent need for a Federal or State Law mandating training, then turn around and vilify and demonize people that offer training and those that take such training classes, as Brady Bunch Board Member Joan Peterson did on her blog “CommonGunSense” on July 9th 2012.
” Further, who needs “tactical firearm training”? What country do we live in again? Are we at war?”
The fact is that a majority of gun owners, and an even larger majority of those who have carry permits practice and fire their weapons at a rate significantly greater then your average beat cop. I touched on this very briefly in an earlier article regarding 6,000 rounds of ammunition not really being all that much.
In the aftermath of the Empire State Building Shooting, even some Officers have come forward to state what the rest of us already know and have known for years.
From an NYPD Officer.
•Every officer hired since the introduction of pistols in the NYPD back in the early nineties is NOT allowed to use a revolver as their service weapon. They must choose between a Glock 19, S&W 5946, or a Sig p226. All of these guns are in DAO variant and have NO external safety.
•Everyone who is allowed to carry a gun in the department (not everyone is) has to re-qualify once every six months (give or take, it has been as short as five and as long as nine sometimes).
•MOST NYPD officers fire their FIRST gun, ever in their entire lives, at the police academy, some as young as 21 to as old as 35 shooting for their very first time, and on a DAO pistol.
•The qualifications are HORRIBLE mad get dumbed down every year.
•The NYPD offers once a month training for members to use, on their own time. However, all that is done during these sessions are the same basic dumbed down qualification exercises. You will only receive real help if you outright fail. Missed 12 out of fifty @ 7 yards? GOOD ENOUGH!
•Our tactical training is a joke and maybe ten people in a department of 34K have had Active Shooter training (I am not exaggerating).
There is a lot broken, basically.
Some of our members NEVER take their service weapons out of their gun belts, and never carry ANYTHING off duty. I have seen people with 3 years on have brown rusted rear sights. Some never clean their weapons unless forced to by the firearms unit.
The NYPD has been tight fisted with ammo for the longest time. Take your one box and be happy.
Then there is this study performed by The Rand Corporation, that validates not only the anonymous NYPD Officers comments, but equally applies to nearly every other Police Dept in the Country. In some smaller dept’s, the training is likely even less !
Here are some choice excerpts from the study.
In police academy, recruits get 4.5 hours on “weapons.” It is unclear if that is actual training with their duty issued weapons or if that is about weapons charges. They get 9 hours on “patrol procedures.” There are also 10.5 hours on “street encounters” and 9 hours on “use of force.” They must pass a firearms and tactics course:
Firearms and tactics: Passing means successfully completing all components of basic firearm course and tactical components. It includes handgun qualification with a minimum of 78 percent hits on a number of stationary targets from fixed firing positions.
Refresher Firearm Training and Re-qualification
The semiannual firearm re-qualification consists of three parts:
- Lecture: A two-part lecture to remind officers of current safety and tactical issues. The first lecture consists of 38 overhead slides that review drawing the firearm, fundamentals of shooting, accidental discharges, firearm maintenance, and the basics of using OC spray. The second lecture covers department-wide firearm discharge reports, use of force, reflexive shooting, patrol tactics, dogs, and firearm safety.
- Practice: An opportunity to fire 45 rounds of ammunition at stationary targets at 7-, 15-, and 25-yard distances. Practice is unscored on a tactical pistol course.
Re-qualification: This included firing 50 rounds at stationary targets at 7-, 15-, and 25-yard distances. A minimum of 39 hits is required to qualify.
The current firearm-requalification program is less about making sure officers can effectively use their pistols in real-life situations than it is about meeting legal requirements and professional standards.
Pay particular attention to the bolded part above. Current Police Academy Training standards are less about being able to hit your target and more about meeting an arbitrary legal standard.
Read the rest of the Rand Study for some more eye opening facts.
The NJ Police Training Commission mandates less then 1,000 rounds fired and roughly 35 hours of total instruction time, at least 50 percent of which is classroom time dedicated to policy, procedure and law,to graduate the Academy and significantly less then those amounts to re-qualify every year.
There are any number of private companies and competitive organizations such as Thunder Ranch, Gun Site, Valhalla, NJ based Gun for Hire, the IDPA, IPSC and others that are open to Citizens and virtually ensure those that take the courses or compete on a regular basis will easily achieve and more often then not exceed by wide margins the level of rounds fired, skill, training and accuracy then your average patrol cop anywhere in the Nation.
And this of course is the overarching point. Simply wearing a uniform or carrying a badge does not in any way confer some mystical level of Jedi like proficiency on a person and its a fool’s errand to believe otherwise.
But that wont stop Gun Control Advocates and their supporters from claiming otherwise, denial, misinformation and lies are the currency of their profession.
About Dan RobertsDan Roberts is a grassroots supporter of gun rights that has choosen AmmoLand Shooting Sports News as the perfect outlet for his frank, ‘Jersey Attitude’ filled articles on Guns and Gun Owner Rights. As a resident of the oppressive state of New Jersey he is well placed to be able to discuss the abuses of government against our inalienable rights to keep and bear arms as he writes from deep behind NJ’s Anti-Gun iron curtain. Read more from Dan Roberts or email him at DRoberts@ammoland.com