Norwich police fired 41 shots – suspect hit six times for a 15% hit rate

When Norwich, Conn. police officers responded to a man-with-a-gun call in late February, they unfortunately had to use lethal force to stop a disturbed man. 41 shots. Six hits. A 15% hit rate. When the Connecticut lawmakers suggest a 10-round magazine limit, that equates to having one or two opportunities to stop a threat. Then, you’re SOL.

I bring up this tragic event – the shooter did not have a real firearm and committed suicide-by-cop – as an example why a magazine capacity limit is not a good idea. I’ve written about law enforcement hit rates before, referencing statistics showing the norm seems to be less than 20 percent – two out of 10 rounds hit the target.

In stressful shooting situations, most studies show “hit rates” of less than 50 percent. A New York Times article from Dec. 2007 noted the hit rate for law enforcement in the city was 17.4 percent in 2005 and 28.3 percent in 2006. Los Angeles law enforcement shot placement was better than New York’s in 2006, with a 40 percent hit rate. Keep in mind these are law enforcement officers, who partake in regular training.

Civilians would be taking a more defensive posture, but the stress level is still there. In a situation where multiple attackers invade a home or attack someone on the street, it would be very reasonable to assume one defending himself or his family may run out of ammunition quickly if they were limited to a ten round magazine capacity. Certainly home invasions or attacks by multiple gun-toting criminals are rare, but mass shootings like Columbine and Tucson are even more rare.

Look, law enforcement does not have magazines with capacities of 12, 15 or 20 rounds in their handguns so they can shoot more bullets, they do so because they know their performance during a real-life shooting incident is unknown, and they do not want to manipulate their firearm (change magazines, rack slides, rack a shotgun…) any more than necessary.

It’s the same for those of us who choose to carry a firearm. We have no idea what our performance will be like during a shooting incident. Of course, we hope every round would be on target, but if law enforcement – in a situation similar to what happened in Norwich – can only preform at 15 percent, how can anyone else expect to do better in a terrifying situation where your life is threatened and you need to stop a threat?

Firing one round in a self-defense senario may stop a threat, but why the hell are we allowing a group of politicians – voting exclusively on emotion – limit our ability to defend ourselves and our families by implementing a 10-round magazine capacity limit? The answer to this question is peer pressure … if you’re not for additional gun control, you don’t care about the children who died in Newtown or their families. It’s better for most people – even many firearm owners – to keep their mouths shut because of the stigma … the peer pressure.

What happens – God forbid – when a shooter takes out more than 30 people using a handgun with multiple 10-round magazines? What will the lawmakers do? Do you think the 10-round limit would eliminate or even reduce the chance of this happening? If so, you’re wrong … it already did happen at Virginia Tech.

8 replies
  1. KrisTr
    KrisTr says:

    Speaks volumes about their training. Where they blind folded? Was the guy half a mile away? Why so many shots? Where did the bullets go?

    • Steve McGough
      Steve McGough says:

      @KrisTr – Remember, this post is about legislation to limit magazine capacity to law-abiding citizens. That said, hit rates for LEOs have historically been below 20%. I don’t blame the officers for the simple fact of the REAL pressure they are under. Unless you’ve been there yourself and have a better hit rate? Certainly, additional training would improve firearms performance, but the local LEO budgets for training are always small. Quite honestly, it’s very rare for a cop to actually fire his weapon while on duty, so the training is not a high priority item. Many LEOs train on their own time and their own dime.

    • PaulBartomioli
      PaulBartomioli says:

      According the FBI, in a training situation for this type of scenario, hit rates average 50%. ?Investigations after a shooting show hit rates below 20%. ?Apparently, there is also evidence that the first 2 or 3 rounds hit the ground in front of the officer. ?The fact that they get progressively farther away tells you what is happening. ?Police are trained to shoot center mass until the threat is neutralized. ?I question the police stats offered by the LALA Times.?
      BTW, training is in the eye of the beholder. ?CT State Police require 6 hours per year. Not sure if it split into different sessions. Now, add in this tidbit. ?In today’s society, a police officer using deadly force is guilty until proven innocent. ?That is the way it works. ?As a citizen, I do not have that stress. That being said, if I am not a “trained professional,” what tells you that limiting my magazine size is beneficial.

      • yeah
        yeah says:

        What are you smoking, Paul?? Paid administrative leave while the union smooths things over and you return with a wet noodle slapped on the wrist at best doesnt say guilty until proven innocent to me, it says The Blue Line shall not falter and The Union will keep everything ok for its members no matter how badly they screw up.
        I mean really, a cop has to crash his cruiser drunk at 90mph to get any sort of reprimand with teeth!

  2. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    I have a little 5 shot revolver as a carry gun but when I thought there was a greater threat to a drug addicted friend who was here often. I went out & got a real gun,a S&W 15 shot? mag pistol. I’d like to think that would keep us safe.

    • Steve McGough
      Steve McGough says:

      To be brutally honest, if I feel the need to have more firepower because of people who visit my house or for places I planned on going, I would choose to not have those people at my home, nor would I be going to those places. Please understand I don’t know the full situation you were/are dealing with so don’t consider this bashing your opinion.

  3. JBS
    JBS says:

    Those of us who are gun guys know that it is the left, the liberal Democrats, who are advancing this phony crisis to ban certain magazine capacities. Nowhere in the 2nd Amendment does it say that any magazine should be of one size or another. I believe the words are “…shall not be abridged.”
    Citizens should have exactly the same equipment issued to any LEO. There are too many variables that could possibly present in any active defense situation. I have been shooting for years and lose count of my number of rounds fired — and that’s at a range. In a crisis situation, how many of us can say for certain how many rounds have been fired or how many rounds are left in a magazine? Very few of us have been shot at. No one knows until it happens.
    Personally, more is better. Under the stress of being shot at, anyone falls to the lowest level of their training. Perhaps that is the case with the New London officers?
    So, why let some party-hack politician limit anyone’s options?

  4. SeeingRed
    SeeingRed says:

    My father was a cop and I had the chance to shoot with them and watch them practice on many occasions.? The average police officer is a BAD marksman, period.? There are some exceptions of course and training/practice makes perfect.?? The average Joe, self trained?by plinking 4 boxes of WWB is expected to take down a threat to thier life with 10 rounds hunh?
    Mag bans:? the best way to make law abiding citizens criminals that I know of.

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