Police Firearms Training Not Effective, Study Suggests
A unique study conducted by the Force Science Institute suggests police recruit firearms training doesn’t make officers any more skilled in shooting than someone who has never shot a gun. While that may seem outlandish, take a look at the details.
The test subjects consisted of 195 male and 52 female recruits and students. Participants were at three different locations – two police academies and one college that offered a law enforcement preparation program. About 25% of the subjects had previously completed academy firearms training; the majority had not.
The participants were divided into three groups:
Subjects were instructed to choose a weapon – a 9mm Glock, .40-cal. S&W, or 9mm Beretta semiauto – and “quickly shoot three rounds each at a total of nine grey-silhouette targets.” The targets were staggered at different distances ranging from three to 75 feet.
Hits to the head vs. body
A major difference during the study was the number of headshots taken by the subjects.
Change the Training
The previously trained officers and students didn’t excel during the study compared to the novices, and experts say the results suggest there’s a need to change how we train our police officers.
Block education, or long stretches of extensive material in just a few days, is proven ineffective. The majority of academies across the nation teach firearms training in four to eight hours blocks for about four days. Participants will experience short-term learning, but later show drastic deterioration of knowledge, as shown in the study.
The academy can act as an introductory course to firearms and defense, but ongoing education is essential to keep officers alert in the field. Training that includes complex, unusual, and fresh conditions will call for the officer to avoid muscle memory learning and actually develop defensive skills. Courses like tactical pistol, tactical patrol rifle, and React to Ambush, put the officer in real-life scenarios, forcing them to use survival skills and develop different ways to eliminate a threat, depending on the situation.