RAND Study on NYPD Firearms Training

Chris in Alaska has a link to a RAND study on the NYPD which confirms much of what was said here. From Chris’s conclusion regarding the RAND study:

As for the competency of civilians vs. police…  It looks like best case a NYPD police recruit gets around two to four days at the range plus maybe up to 33 hours of classroom academics that could relate in some manner to weapons.  Every six months they get one day at the range and 95 rounds of ammo for practice on a scripted known-distance target practice style range.

Alaska Tactical’s Defensive Handgun I course is 24 hours of instruction over three range days.  It also has pre-requisites, so applicants probably have some previous experience bringing them up to match or exceed the 33 hours at NYPD.  Finally, the class size is small with a good coach to student ratio.  Front Sight’s basic defensive pistol course is 4 days with 32 hours of instruction.  That is clearly at least on par with if not exceeding the NYPD police academy requirements.

Furthermore, any civilian who attends IDPA or USPSA matches once every six months or more is getting more refresher training than NYPD.  Heck, the civilian who goes to the range once every few months and puts a box or two of ammo through their pistol, along with maybe a little dry fire at home, is doing WAY more than NYPD.

This is not to pooh pooh the profession, but to dispel the myth that a badge imparts magical gun handling competence. I think the officers in the NYPD case were correct to use lethal force, and everyone knows that firing under stress makes your groups go to shit. But a great way to inoculate against that effect is competition. Anyone know of any IPSC or IDPA matches run in New York City? I’d bet there’s not a one.

6 thoughts on “RAND Study on NYPD Firearms Training”

  1. That quote makes me wonder how clear it was to the author of the study that 95 rounds is not a “day on the range.” They get one range session per six months, but it sounds like each officer only runs a few courses of fire.

  2. I’ve participated in institutional training myself. 95 rounds can indeed be a day’s activity. Remember, the day starts out with a powerpoint lecture. Then there’s probably some dry fire practice (which may or may not be conducted safely). Then you go out and shoot a very specific, controlled course of fire: “load three rounds in your two magazines… fire three rounds, reload, fire three more — you have 25 seconds, go!” Repeat. Because proper malfunction clearances are not taught, likely anyone with a malf has to have a line coach help them clear it and then shoots the string by themselves as an alibi. Folks are working with a minimum of magazines and may not be skilled at loading them rapidly. Someone miscounts the number of rounds in the mag which causes confusion. Then folks who fail the shooting test probably immediately retake it with a little help. This can easily take 6 hours or more.

    I’m not saying NYPD does it exactly like that — I’m just saying that institutional training often looks like that.

  3. My buddy who was in the NYPD mostly had to drive all the way to Pennsylvania for matches.

  4. Training classes are good, but no amount of training makes up for years behind the trigger and hundreds of thousands of rounds sent downrange. At least in Los Angeles, we have an thriving yet underground gun culture with numerous LAPD and LASD shooters present in the competition community, particularly the instructors.

Comments are closed.