Point shooting advocates often tout various miss rate claims among officers, typically showcasing New York Police Department studies as “proof” that training to learn any sort of two hand, eye level shooting technique is ineffective.

Point shooting techniques were understood and taught long before any two hand, eye level shooting technique was commonly taught. In fact, most point shooting advocates recommend trainers and techniques from decades ago as the better way.

Given that point shooting has been used as a primary approach in the past, what sort of success rates did point shooting-trained personnel enjoy? Would a point shooting-trained force fare any better than the NYPD?

One study offered is data published by Fairbairn and Sykes as described in their book Shooting To Live With The One Hand Gun on the results of encounters by their point shooting trained officers:

Police Killed: 42
Criminals Killed: 260
(Ratio 1:6.19)

Police Wounded: 100
Criminals Wounded: 103
(Ratio 1:1.03)

Point shooting advocate John Veit claims that this “does indicate that their method was both effective and practical.”

Of course, this doesn’t describe their hit/miss ratio, just the final results. In fact, just like Fairbairn and Sykes, this is exactly how the NYPD officially compiles results.

NYPD Annual Firearms Discharge Report 2011


On Page 24 (PDF 42)

Similarly, the Department does not calculate average hit percentages. Instead, the objective completion rate per incident is employed as it is both more accurate and more instructive.

Despite various miss rates being put out by third parties, neither the NYPD nor Fairbairn and Sykes officially kept this sort of tally. For an apples-to-apples comparison, what sort of final results do organizations like the NYPD have? The NYPD also compiles this same data on their officers in the New York City Police Department Annual Firearms Discharge Report.

NYPD Annual Firearms Discharge Report 2011

Starting on Page 63 (PDF p. 81)


Police Killed: 119
Criminals Killed: 1049
(Ratio 1:8.815, 42.4% improvement over Fairbairn and Sykes)

Police Injured: 661
Criminals Injured: 2399
(Ratio 1:3.629, 252% improvement over Fairbairn and Sykes)

How did New York police officers shoot their handguns?

NYPD Annual Firearms Discharge Report 2011
Page 24 (PDF 42)

Utilizing a two-handed grip, standing, and lining up a target using the firearm’s sights is the preferred method of discharging a firearm, but it is not always practical during an adversarial conflict. Of officers reporting their shooting techniques, 71 percent gripped the firearm with two hands. Sixty percent of officers who reported their stance state that they were standing, while 31 percent were moving or struggling. Finally, thirty-four officers reported whether or not they had used their sights, with 44 percent reporting in the affirmative.

Nearly three out of four NYPD officers involved in shootings used a two hand grip/stance and almost half used their sights.

If NYPD studies and Fairbairn and Sykes are to be believed (point shooting advocates think they are) then the NYPD, despite their claimed terrible miss rate, have results superior to a point shooting trained force.

Here’s a look at LAPD stats on this issue.