The NYPD gauges officers success in firearm discharge incidents (combat shooting), by the simple measure of whether he or she ultimately hits and stops the subject, and regardless of the number of shots fired at the subject, or whether or not the sights were used.


In 2011, there were 36 incidents of intentional police discharge during adversarial conflict with a subject. Officers hit at least one subject per incident 28 times, for a success rate of 78%.

When officers were being fired upon, the success rate dropped to 66.6% (six out of nine of those incidents).


The hit rate, which has been the measure of combat shooting effectiveness for years and years, has been replaced by the new gauge. The recognized rate over the years has been around 20%, and that's still the case.

In 2011, officers fired 311 shots in the 36 incidents, for a hit rate of 12% (36/311). It means that 9 out of every ten shots fired, missed and went somewhere else.

In two of the 2011 incidents, a high volume of shots were fired. Eliminating those high volume cases, results in a hit rate of 19% (36/193). That's better than 12%, but it also means that 8 out of ten shots fired, missed and went somewhere else.

In 2011, 1 bystander was killed.

The hit rate validates the reality that Sight Shooting can not be used or, is not used in most CQB situations. That fact is supported by the officers themselves. Thirty-four officers reported whether or not they had used their sights, with 44% reporting in the affirmative.

Per the NYPD: "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."

Realistically, meeting that bar in Close Quarters Combat situations, is a bridge to far.

The use of the new gauge for measuring combat shooting success, also supports the thought that advocacy for and teaching the use of the sights for aiming in real life threat close quarters defensive situations, has been and continues to be a game played on those who bought a gun for self defense with the thought in mind that they would be able to use it effectively in their defense.

And the same is true in regard to teaching shooting at beyond close quarters distance, and the inclusion of combat reloading in drills and training courses. Per the report: "No officer reloaded in any incident" and "the majority of adversarial conflict discharges occur when the officer is closer than fifteen feet to the subject."

There are alternative methods of shooting at close quarters distances that are not sight reliant, and that are simple, effective, and easier and quicker to learn than is Sight Shooting. They do not rely on meeting the must-be-met marksmanship requirements which include: a proper grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, and breath control. And they are not a bar to the use of Sight Shooting, if there is time for its use and environmental conditions allow for its use.

The new definition of combat shooting success and its resultant percentage number of 78% for 2011 is a big improvement public relations wise, over using the hit rate figure of less than 20% in discussions of shooting situations. The LAPD also uses the new definition of success as well, and its success rates from 2007 thru 2011 ranged between 65% and 75%.

Its downside is that it does not call out for modifying existing firearm training and employing alternative shooting methods to improve shooting effectiveness, as does the terrible traditional hit rate of around 20%. Over the years, institutionalized dogma, established training programs, Sight Shooting zealots, and competition advocates, have squelched and suppressed such thoughts and measures. And it now seems apparent that "they" have won the day to the detriment of those who put their lives on the line for us day in and day out.

The new gauge gives a false impression of the effectiveness of firearms training, and that runs counter to the stated purpose of the report, which "is to insure that the NYPD's training is the best it can be." This thinking is supported in a report on a recent study on FOF in Belgium. In the report, shooting accuracy was described as an "essential performance characteristic".

This is a link to this article in PDF form. You are welcome to download it and use/share it as you like. I am 80+, so this site may be gone at any time.

Use your go back button to return to the prior page, or click here for the index.