I have no statistical figures on hand, and I don’t know if any have been compiled or not, but something has long bothered me that I’d like to discuss.
For a while back in the 80’s I was a juvenile investigator at the DA’s Office. It was a great experience and I got to assist on some pretty interesting (violent) cases
Here’s my issue----there have been many homicides where a juvenile with likely no training was able to commit a homicide with a handgun under difficult conditions (from a moving car, shooting into a moving car, shooting from one moving car into another moving car, shooting during night time, etc…) It happens. We know it happens and I’ve been in the position to review the evidence of it happening. The guns used were all over the charts, but none that I recall were customized combat guns—not that it would be something a juvenile could have gotten a hold of anyway.
On the other hand, there have been officer involved shootings where many dozens of rounds were exchanged at close range (this was the heyday of Wunder nines, remember) where no one was hit (thankfully not even some bystanders!)
Now before you say cops aren’t gun guys, the departments I worked with had excellent training programs with mandatory qualifications were shot every month.
What I’m describing here an anomaly, of course, but back then juvenile committed homicides weren’t all that common, unlike today.
So I’m wondering exactly what the relevance of training or the lack of it is in criminal encounters.
Before someone has a cow, I agree that good training makes for a safer citizenry and vastly improves accuracy, but how does it relate to the bad guys we may be unfortunate enough to cross paths with?
Do criminals train? And if so who trains them? Or are street punks just natural born pistoleros?
I haven’t fact checked this, but numerous, or too many for my liking, actually join the military in an effort to pass along properly learned skills. Do criminals train, absolutely! Not in the traditional sense, more like the Al-Queda sense or more like our own militia!
Can’t discount the video game aspect! Trigger control, shoot don’t shoot scenarios…and then of course there’s always a little luck. Like the drive by shooter, may not always hit the intended target but it’s a target just the same!
*"Thirty-six of the 50 officers in the study had ‘experienced hazardous situations where they had the legal authority’ to use deadly force ‘but chose not to shoot.’ They averaged 4 such prior incidents before the encounters that the researchers investigated. ‘It appeared clear that none of these officers were willing to use deadly force against an offender if other options were available,’ the researchers concluded.
The offenders were of a different mind-set entirely. In fact, [one of the researchers] said the study team ‘did not realize how cold blooded the younger generation of offender is. They have been exposed to killing after killing, they fully expect to get killed and they don’t hesitate to shoot anybody, including a police officer. They can go from riding down the street saying what a beautiful day it is to killing in the next instant.’
‘Offenders typically displayed no moral or ethical restraints in using firearms,’ the report states. ‘In fact, the street combat veterans survived by developing a shoot-first mentality…"*
On average, how many of those homicides were with less than a dozen rounds, and how many guns were firing? How many out of all those types of shootings in a given period, say a year, resulted in a homicide? How many were experiencing return fire? How many were ambushed and a homicide by them was the result? Same questions for officer involved shootings. The gist of the question is criminals can get lucky, and with more crime, the odds of a “successful” shoot increase. I’m not saying all criminals can or can’t shoot, just as I’m not saying all Leo’s can or can’t shoot. Accuracy by volume is a thing, and while not as reliable as accurate shooting, it only takes one round to do damage. I’m not trying to say your thought process is wrong, but I would look at a given period, say a year, and compile results of similar scenarios and compare those. Cops don’t normally, that I know of, pull up next to cars and make it rain lead, do drive-by’s, or similar. They get ambushed by some douche while walking up to/standing by a car, trying to talk to/arrest a criminal, etc.
To answer some of the questions, any training you can do to give yourself a possible advantage or make you more efficient in your actions (i.e. draw, malfunction clearing, etc.) is beneficial to you if you ever need to utilize it. Similar to showing up to pitch a baseball game without any coaching or practice. I do think criminals practice grip, and technique, even if they don’t realize it or do it correctly. Something done wrong can still be adequate/efficient given the right circumstances and enough practice. Lastly, I’m sure there are natural shooters on that side of the law, just as there are on our side.
There’s also this. I can’t imagine that some criminals don’t really care who they shoot, while officers do. I would guess that the number of officers willing to shoot a kid without thinking twice are awfully low, while the number of underage criminals willing to pull the trigger on an officer, to get away with a crime such as homicide, are higher.
I was chatting with a former Special Operations veteran. He made a comment about one of my AR-15 platforms and he was talking about how he was glad he had never had to face the Taliban armed with such a heavily modded rifle. I kind of thought it was funny. Since on this particular AR-15 all I had done was add a red dot with a 4x magnification and a flashlight. Maybe $1000 all told.
Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then
A broken clock is accurate twice a day
I was with a group of veterans (we knew each other back in the days of RAWR ). It was a point about fatalism vs Free Will as it pertained to religion. Specifically a worldview sometimes attributed to radical Muslims fatalism and Judeo Christians free will.
In the fatalism worldview “In sh’allah” is basically, as God wills it. So they don’t train to control variables. Basically, if God wants you to be shot by my actions, God will put my rounds in you.
In free will you have control of your actions. You train to control outcomes.
During my service in the military, I saw this as adversarial combatants would run forward firing full auto from the hip. The old “Spray and Pray”.
In February 2022 a number of “pro 2A” organizations, that I am involved with, had their yearly conference. One of the “pro” 2A groups was an organization for a specific racial demographic, and only that specific racial demographic, were wanting to attend that Conference.
The Board for the host 2A group of that annual conference asked me to check them out before they invited them. Long story short, the goal of that race specific group was to get as much Institutional Knowledge, Training, and Resources as they could. So they would be prepared for a conflict between different racial demographics and/or ethnicities. They were not invited.
I think, as others have pointed at, it is likely that those amazing shot cases stick out because they are the ones that come to everyone’s attention. All the instances where people are missed altogether either don’t get reported or don’t make it onto many peoples radar.
Not saying that there aren’t skilled stone cold killers out there that occasionally make precise shots. Just think there are likely more that by virtue of surprise attacks don’t have to make the dynamic stressful shots that LEOs and self defenders have to make. And likely even more that miss a lot but occasionally get an amazingly lucky shot in. And more still that rarely if ever hit anything they are aiming at.
Just to chime in, IMHO, the bad guys that commit these shootings don’t have a conscience and believe if they pray and spray they can hit their target. A LEO has to think twice before firing even in a fire fight because he did not plan for it to happen. The criminal has weeks or months to plan their bad deed. The criminal is not concerned with accuracy and who else he will kill if the situation arises. I believe that officers that get kill in the line of duty is due to hesitation, worrying about other bystanders in the area and the ramifications if they were to miss and hit an innocent bystander. The criminal just aims in the direction of the target without thinking about anything else and they don’t use tactics. Just my take on this.
I can see this kind of regularity during newbies classes.
New shooter, who starts, gets an amazing accuracy and looses it after applying shooting fundamentals. Once he / she understands everything properly the accuracy comes back.
The reason for this? At the beginning they don’t care about hitting dead center… and somehow hit it. Then when you know you have to hit it… you cannot. So I’m guessing it’s a mental thing.
The mindset is definitely a factor. If you are intent to shoot someone, and don’t care what the consequences are to you, including possibly dieing, then you will be very focused. If you are concerned about the well-being of other, yourself, and the aftermath, then you are by definition distracted.
I see this with the kids I coach. The ladies are focused on doing what they are instructed to do. The fellas are focused on impressing the ladies, and beating the others. It’s much harder to get them to focus.
If little Johnny-Gang banger is trying to kill Shifty, he will get it done, or die trying. Regardless of who else takes a bullet.
I think it is correct that much of it is mindset. The good guy is trained to survey the situational field and to see the not so obvious, perhaps an innocent close to the Field of fire. The bad guys probably more tunnel vision and really cares less about collateral damage.
Two things I’ve learned about the SF types (and please understand that I love them guys!):
1 - After they retire many of them (not all) get stuck in whatever period of time they were at their prime and that means tactics, equipment and kit. And in some cases it is almost impossible to show them any new way or new kit. in many cases I can tell when they were operating just by the way they handle themselves and their weapons. Big differences between the 70s, 80s, 90s 2000s and today.
2- They are severely distrusting of any “new technology” unless it’s “tested”. If he survived without it in combat they will offhandedly dismiss it as not needed or give you reasons why it won’t work, and some of those reasons will make you scratch your head a bit.
I know guys that fought using red dots for YEARS and labeled them as unreliable even though they had NEVER experienced a failure themselves AND there is ample Dead Dot training available. One even gave me a “batteries die” line that was all I could do to not laugh. They normally carry spares of everything and the kitchen sink on them. Same for lights, lasers and slings, don’t even get me started on slings…
My favorite is the use of the word crutch to describe ANY advantage you can get out of a tool like a sight or laser. I’ve met a few that are outright allergic to lasers even though they have been proven time and time again to be a great tool for civilians and folks that don’t have the benefit of firing 1,000 rounds (paid for by Uncle Sam) in every training session.
So in summary, while I admire their service and skills and will listen to ANYTHING they say and look for the wisdom behind it, I will tell you that a lot of them are so hard headed in their opinions that the Kevlar Helmet is almost redundant
Not an anomaly and it is actually simple to explain. The basic skills necessary to shoot a gun accurately are already ALL ingrained into your average human. If you can shake someone’s hand you have a gun grip. If you can point at a picture across the room with your index finger you can aim a gun. If you can gently scratch your nose with your index finger without making yourself bleed you have trigger control. And if you’ve ever watched ANY movies that involve firearms you have the rudimentary knowledge of how to operate a firearm. Hell most humans got their best handgun training playing with a cap gun running around in the backyard.
I’ve tried this with many new shooters and just given them a gun and told them, "Don’t think about it, just point it at that target center and press the trigger and in most cases I get a perfect shot. That is an amazing moment!!! The problem is that then their minds latch on to it and it takes HOURS of training to get them back to that first shot experience consistently.
You see, shooting a gun also involves setting off an explosion rated at thousands of pounds per square inch with a massive blast and recoil IN YOUR HAND and there is NOTHING natural about that, and then you add all the subconscious cultural and psychological issues and you now have a mental mess! Because of this, most “trained” and absolutely ALL UNTRAINED people will progressively develop problems and bad habits that they will never correct, or their trainers don’t know how to correct, so they shoot like crap for the rest of their lives and accept it.
As I tell everyone I train, shooting a gun is a super low energy endeavor, both physically and mentally. If you apply too much energy to either you WILL screw it up… But it takes a TON of training to get to that place consistently.
All good responses that make sense but one thing no one has mentioned is the range during these instances. I’m guessing, and from the videos I’ve seen, the street thugs and gangbangers, drive bys, etc. seem to be at a close range while police seem to take a longer range, putting distance between themselves and the shooter except of course, the traffic stop senario etc. the shorter range could account for the accuracy.
I think the adrenal dump in a combat situation creates stress that hinders cops accuracy. Thugs shooting an unsuspecting target or the callous attitude toward society on the part of street jerks doesn’t effect adrenal glands. They experience pleasure symptoms.