Lessons learned from a shooting

Discussion in 'Training' started by lklawson, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I was doing some research (when am I not?) and came across this Power Point presentation hosted at FrontSight recounting the details and aftermath of an LEO shooting. The focus of it was to debunk claims that .40S&W ammunition failed to perform adequately, but there are two lessons I picked up. Well, honestly, it's stuff we already know but sometimes a stark reminder is beneficial.

    First, Slide 18 reads:
    • At least 107 rounds (.40/.223) were fired by two officers.
    • First officer on scene seriously wounded in left forearm and seat-belted in cruiser was unable to return fire.
    • Assailant fired 26 rounds and reloaded magazine from box of loose ammunition.
    • Assailant was shot 17 times with 11 rounds exiting body.
    • Incident lasted approximately 3.5 minutes.

    Take away from this slide:
    1. 15% hit rate!!!! FIFTEEN PERCENT! At a minimum, at least 90 blasted rounds going off to God knows where!
    2. 65% Over Penetration rate! Two-thirds, 11 rounds penetrating completely through the assailant and speeding on to whatever else is next in a straight line!

    Eek! :eek:

    Statistically, this is pretty common for most "gun fights." Hit rates are abysmally low and over penetration is common, even when using expanding point ammunition such as the 180gr Speer Gold Dot .40S&W and the 55gr/75gr Hornady TAP .223 used in this particular incident.

    Finally, Slide 21 reads:
    Lessons Learned
    • Determined individuals can sustain many gunshot wounds in areas that produce great pain and continue to fight a long time, even without the aid of drugs or alcohol.
    • Shot placement is everything in a gunfight and always the key to stopping a threat effectively.

    More than just "shot placement is everything" as succinctly pointed out above, "only hits count." But "misses" count too, just differently. They're going to keep going to God knows where. Further, even hits can sometimes count as misses. By that I mean that, out of 107 rounds ("at least") fired by the Officers in self defense, 100 of them continued on to points unknown. Thus:

    1. You're legally responsible for every round you fire.
    2. Statistically, you're more likely to miss than to hit.
    3. Statistically, even your hits are going to count as "misses" when in light of item #1 here.

    ...just sort of a "reminder."

    Peace favor your sword,
  2. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    I'm going to guess that most of *(if not all)* of the 'over penetrated' shots were from the .223.

    When I used to hang out at the range with my step-dad in the late 60s, early 70s, (he was a small arms instructor for the USAF), those .223 rounds would go through just about everything, including 1/4" plate steel!

  3. Over penetration has not been a problem, there are few, very few cases of injuries from over penetration. Once a bullet passes through a mass it loses most of it's energy. I have found bullets directly behind manure sacks I have used for testing. Some directly, some just inches, and that is with non hollow points, and even FMJ. NOW injuries we have seen have been from missed shots at the threat.

    It seems they need to stop fussing about over penetration and really get the police to HIT what they are shooting at. It is a fact that civilians in self defense have a much higher accuracy rate than police. But LAC do not have qualified immunity either. Many current shooters practice spray and pray, it seems to have taken over police training. IMO it is not responsible and downright reckless.

    Take the incident in NYC where 9 bystanders were shot. From the surveillance footage it is clear which officer was responsible. Shooting one handed like a cowboy while he was running from the threat, leaving the other officer there to actually stop the threat. I will try to find the video again, you will see the problem with police shootings clearly.


    Watch the officer on the right, kudos to the officer on the left. Wish the footage was more clear, you may have to watch several times or slow it down.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    That has been generally true to this point. Part of it is, of course, a matter of training. Many time a CC holder will simply practice more and get more training. That is because not all LEO are particularly "gun enthusiasts." Those are the ones who are just interested in "helping people" and only view a firearm as a tool, and one which they probably don't really want to ever deal with if it can be avoided (kinda like Metric TORX wrenches).

    But another, little recognized but important, element is that non-LEO self defense firearms encounters are different than LEO firearms encounters. It's not just the well recognized "number of shots fired on average" but also things like average distance of engagement, which is usually more distant for LEO than for non-LEO self defense. Another important factor is the type of armed threat. Criminals which have non-LEO deploy concealed weapons on them are generally not expecting armed (or any) resistance. If they were, they'd select a softer target. Criminals who decide to engage in gunplay with LEO expect them to shoot back, expect them to be highly trained, expect them to be accurate, and expect them to call friends for support; thus making both ambush and preemptive firearms deployment more common in LEO firearms encounters.

    Finally, I question whether or not it is still true that non-LEO self defense shooting will have a higher hit rate. Yes, available evidence says that it used to be true. However, as has been noted, there has recently been a massive influx of new shooters and CC holders into the firearms community, many of which seem to be either poorly trained or have no training at all. While that alone doesn't really keep my up at night, the changing demographics of the "gun community" (in regards to training and skill) means, perforce, that there will also be a change in "hit rates." How much of one, only time will tell.

    But, yes, when I want to needle my LEO friends, I remind them that, statistically, non-LEO have a better "hit rate" than LEOs.

    All that aside, it really doesn't change the conclusions. Even if much of the energy of a round is dissipated by the goblin's body as it passes through him there can still be legal consequences for a over-pen hitting a bystander. If it so much as bruises, then he can claim injury. And what if it just barely breaks the skin like a BB from a springer or abrades the skin? Now there's the issue of communicable diseases which the goblin might have had and you'd just possibly passed on to a third party by not being polite enough to let the goblin murder you (how selfish!). And heaven help you if that 3rd party is an anti-gunner! :rolleyes:

    Much like the Great Caliber Wars in which many would opine how the 9mm, .32ACP, .22LR, or whatever were insufficient rounds yet would always decline the opportunity to be shot by one, I've yet to see anyone who holds that over-penetration isn't a potential risk offer to stand behind a cadaver (or whatever) while it is being shot (in your case, a manure pile ;))

    So, yes, actually, what happens to the over-penetrating round after it penetrates through-and-through really is a big deal and, statistically, could be as much as 2/3 of the hits.

    What you do with that knowledge is up to you.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  5. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    Please provide a link to your source for the substantiating facts of civilians in identical shooting scenarios having a better hit rate. I'd like to see an apples to apples study. LEO involved shootings typically are in response to an engagement initiated by an opponent. This results in an action vs. reaction scenario. As anyone knows... action is always faster and has the advantage which will allow them to be more accurate. Please provide 1 single and verifiable instance of ANY Law Enforcement Agency that is training LEO's to 'spray and pray'.

    Your assertion that the video by itself shows any sort of clear proof as to which shots fired by which Officer were responsible for striking citizens is ridiculous. Show me one visible bullet path that can be seen on the video. Shooting one handed is taught to all LEO's and is a requirement for ANY shooter, not just LEO's. What you seem to interpret as the Officer "running from the threat" is proper movement while engaging your opponent. This keeps your opponent from being able to establish a sight picture on you and buys you not only reaction time but also the ability to take the control of the engagement away from the shooter and put it on your terms. This is not an Old West high noon shootout in the movies where you stand in one place and shoot at each other.

    Both Officers deserve kudos. The Officer on the left who maintained his composure and position while the other Officer deliberately drew the shooters fire, and the Officer on the right who engaged with the shooter, performed proper measures of shooting while moving and drawing the subjects fire away from not only his partner but also from citizens, thereby allowing the other Officer to engage as well as moving the shooters field of fire from a open sidewalk to a building behind him that would stop the shooters rounds.

    As an experienced LEO, I see a well executed response by the Officers to an active shooter engagement that would be inline with both proper procedures and training.

  6. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    Flash just ignore him.
  7. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member

    In the NYC shooting the assailant was struggling to clear his weapon (shotgun) from his carry bag. Good thing he didn't just shoot from the bag.

    In the Miami shooting, one FBI Agent emptied his 9mm three times - Many of the 48 rounds were recovered from several vehicles, a couple of trees and many houses behind the assailants' vehicle. Several rounds were never recovered.

    Aiming could have helped that situation.

    State Troopers/Sheriff's Deputies usually shoot straighter than City Police/Constables ~ Something to do with backup being many minutes away for the former vice the latter?

  8. Rifles are more accurate than handguns, police have learned the hard way. Many police, even cruises are outfitted with a rifle now. The Miami shooting would have gone down better if the agents had been better armed.
  9. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member

    Something those Agents could have learned from the chief assailant as he used a semi-auto Mini-14 chambered in .223 caliber.

    The rifle armed assailant was determined to have suffered at least three fatal wounds - none of them immediately fatal - which allowed him to kill several of the FBI Agents before he died.

    Mini-14's or equivalents in every cruiser would be a good start for LEOs.

  10. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    I here we all have a shotgun usually a 870 and a AR15 or M16 or M4. Depents on where each department got them from. Plus carbines are becoming popular with officers.
  11. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    My unit had my shotgun in the headache rack and the AR in the trunk lid rack. Most Officers don't usually grab the shotgun on a traffic stop, which also happens to be one of the times the bad guys like to try to have target practice with LEO's. :)

    I wasn't a DPS Trooper, just a Deputy ( Corporal )... but my aim was, and still is, true and straight. ;) And any shooting I was ever in went down so fast that backup never had a chance to get there... except one where several of us responded to the call and it went down with all of us, even then the actual event took only 37 seconds from beginning to the end of the shooting.

  12. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member


    Thank you for serving our Texas Community!

  13. Branth

    Branth Member

    I hate that argument... I'm not volunteering to stand in front of a bucket of warm urine or a jar of angry bees, but that doesn't make either of them lethal (barring severe bee allergies, of course).
  14. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    Under mouse has taken both :) . It was so he could go to Disneyland.
  15. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I rather like the argument. If you say something is not dangerous then you need to be prepared to put your money where your mouth is and prove it. If I say that a glass of water is safe to drink then I better be prepared to drink up! Same as when I say that chokes, properly applied, are not dangerous. I'm not talking out of my hind end. I'm talking from experience. I've been there and done that.


    Peace favor your sword (mobile)
  16. colthrash

    colthrash Member

    but do you still have the t-shirt?
  17. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I do, in fact, have a judo t-shirt. :)

    Peace favor your sword (mobile)