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The elephant in the room

Police firearms instruction has come a long way over the last decade, mainly because one of the three elephants in the room that was ignored for 40 or so years has finally been acknowledged and addressed. That elephant is the reality of close-quarter lethal encounters, and the training necessary to win them. 

Today we have even major police agencies teaching their officers how to fight with a pistol based on the way that real gunfights occur.  These training methods incorporate close-distance target-focused shooting, one-hand shooting, and simulated fights — either force-on-force simulations or a House of Horrors type experience. And while police shooting data is sinfully difficult to get, the data we are getting and the powerful anecdotal evidence we are accumulating indicate that it is working.  (I chose the adjective "sinfully" deliberately, aiming my moral arrow at the administrators who refuse to divulge the data, the lawyers who put those administrators in a bind, and the lawmakers who created the whole situation to begin with.) 

So far, so good. But, there is yet a baby elephant and an adult elephant in the room that we are ignoring. These two issues go beyond the police agency and live also in the nature of the expectations of the society we serve and are part of.

The baby elephant: We are responsible for every round we fire.

Yes, we are indeed responsible for every round that leaves our guns — after all we deliberately fired those rounds. But this statement is often taken to mean that any misses are unacceptable, or that missed rounds are the mark of an unprofessional, irresponsible officer. This reflexive, unthinking implication stigmatizes officers who miss in a gunfight. 

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