Why police should participate in competitive shooting sports

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Wisdom from Dave Porter

Different competitive shooting disciplines teach different skills, but all use Cooper’s “Speed-Accuracy-Power” to some extent. Even slow fire NRA high power rifle requires 20 shots in 20 minutes at 600 yards. Does anyone think a Police Marksman would be called upon to make faster shots at that distance?

IPSC and 3-Gun, as the author notes in the article below, are very fast indeed, at ranges from very close to intermediate.

I think it extremely noteworthy that, following 9-11, when the Army realized that the average Soldier’s gunfighting skills were generally woefully inadequate, they tapped their competitive shooting teams to design and teach courses like Squad Designated Marksman and Close Quarters Marksmanship. (taught respectively by the Army Rifle Team and the Army Pistol Team)

In my own 26 years of service, the best instruction I experienced BY FAR was taught by competitive shooters. When it became my job to provide weapons instruction for troops going into harm’s way, I modeled my instruction after theirs, and I started competing myself.

If you want top level instruction in ANY field of human endeavor, you find the enthusiast. Teaching an enthusiast/expert how to instruct is far more effective than assigning a trained instructor a task which doesn’t really interest him.

Why police should participate in competitive shooting sports
by Ron Avery


Speed of Actual Engagements

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When required to do an El Presidente as one stage of an IDPA match I was running, three police officers who had come said, “But we had 30 seconds to do this in the Academy!”

My response was: “You can take 30 seconds here, too. You’ll just be last.”

The slow, low skill levels reinforced in many qualification courses could be called “an unrealistic speed that is not reflected in the speed of actual engagements.”

Police officer and competition shooter Ron Avery discusses this here:

Low speeds and skill levels are to be expected at the academy level. The problem and failure is never addressing this elementary school skill assessment and asking skills to improve during a career.

Jessie Duff Wins 2015 Single Stack Nationals

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Sorry, but she did not. Unless my math is off, Phil Strader won the 2015 USPSA Single Stack Nationals. Here are the full results:

Jessie Duff was 41st place overall and 25th place Master class.

Yes, Ms. Duff was 1st place female, finishing after the first place Master (Jacob Hetherington, 5th overall), first place Senior (Ron Avery, 10th overall), first place A class (Ryan Stinar, 25th overall), first place LEO (Craig Underdown, 28th overall), first place B class (Kenneth Chang, 34th overall), and the actual High Overall first place winner, Phil Strader.

I’m all for recognizing a variety of categories and classes at any match. Only one person is going to win high overall, so having additional skill classifications and categories is a great way to further competition among many different groups of competitors. It’s sort of like a mini match inside the match. For example, in the International Powerlifting Federation a female in the 47 KG class is never going to out total a male in the 120 KG class but they all can compete on the same platform.

High Lady is an important category, but it is one of several other categories. Phil Strader won the 2015 USPSA Single Stack Nationals. Jessie Duff did not “win” the 2015 USPSA Single Stack Nationals any more than Jacob Hetherington, Ron Avery, Ryan Stinar, Craig Underdown, or Kenneth Chang did.

Firearm Training Reality – The Naive Shooter from a Law Enforcement Perspective: Hit Probability


Force Science Institute published The Naive Shooter from a Law Enforcement Perspective: Hit Probability, a study that identifies the problem with shooters that remain at novice skill levels.

By actual test, an average police recruit completing academy firearms training is only marginally more skilled in shooting than a person who has never shot or even held a firearm. The study found that personnel completing military or police handgun instruction and passing qualification enjoyed a mere 13% improvement over complete novices. Between groups labeled “expert”, “intermediate”, and “novice” there was no effective difference in skill between the identified groups.

Force Science Institute executive director Dr. Bill Lewinski said, “[R]esults indicate an alarming need for improved firearms training for officers,” because despite being academy graduates and passing mandated firearm qualifications the new officers “were a mere 13%” more accurate than novices in shooting at distances where a high proportion of officer-involved shootings occur. What these statistics appear to imply is that officer firearms training is not extensive enough and occurs too sparsely for officers to gain, and maintain, the expert level of accuracy with their service weapons that is expected of them.”

Will competition get you killed?


Short answer: No. Being complacent, lazy and unwilling to test things out in a formal, peer-reviewed environment is much more detrimental than any alleged downside competition may offer.

I’ll let experienced law enforcement officers take it from here:

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