Concealed Carry Superman Or So You Thought

William Barnes, over at Beretta Blog, posted about the misconceptions and trappings that many concealed carry people have or fall into.  He talks about a 1980’s movie “Hero at Large” where the protagonist portrays a hero in a film and while off set he bungles a robbery. He continues to solve crimes until the day he gets shot. He realizes he was never invulnerable and reality sinks in.

William draws parallels with people who conceal carry. Many of them mistakenly believe that the fact they have a gun and their range skills will save the day. William then brings up NYPD accuracy statistics. It is an abysmal number. I found this article which is similar. It is a Times article about the shooting of a disorderly man in NYC. The officers missed and hit bystanders. The article goes on to praise the NYPD,

The NYPD has some of the most comprehensive and sophisticated firearms training of any police force in the country, using a combination of live fire, non-lethal force and simulated scenarios. But on Saturday, that apparently wasn’t enough for the officers involved to land even a single bullet where they intended.


I have shot with a few NYPD officers and detectives when I lived in Rockland County, NY.  It was at my club’s USPSA matches. There was one detective that stands out amongst the rest. He could not hit a 8 inch steel plate from 25 yards. He also had difficulty hitting the USPSA paper targets. I asked him what he does and what type of training he has. That is how I learned he is a detective for Yonkers PD. He explained that the gun was new and he had been shooting for 10 years but only seriously for the past 5. He practices at the police range. A stagnant and non dynamic range. He never shoots in the dark nor with a flashlight. He never shoots at multiple targets or even moving targets. He doesn’t practice shooting at people shooting back at him such as force on force training either with simunition, paintball or airsoft training.

Now does this detective represent the whole of NYPD? No. But if he doesn’t take training seriously and it is his job, then what does that say about your training and practice?

That is what William was trying to get at, in his article. Look further into your own practice and training. I recommend to people and friends to try new skills. Look into new weapon manipulation, low light classes, weapon retention etc.

As William says “Knowledge is power – power to hopefully survive in a deadly force incident. Learn everything”
you can.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • Lance

    Thats a lie most BIG city cops are the worst shots every most get hired because they are anti-gun and politically allied with the city’s mayors. Meet BIG city cops they are poor shots most county Sheriffs are much better trained and more accurate.

    • Casey

      Thank you for the thoughtful contribution. In the real world, BIG city cops are hired because they are able to meet a list of standards. Do you really think the mayor of New York gives a hoot about the political affiliation of every recruit? But good post…seriously…

      • mark

        I don’t think they are hired considering anything Lance mentions. I can tell you though that of the police friends I have, if they mention civilian gun ownership, i.e. citizens not only calling police but being able to defend themselves the higher ups come down on them like the fist of an angry God.

      • DaveP.

        Well, since NYPD is unionized, then I think the Mayor of NYC can take the political affiliations of its members pretty much for granted. Bad things happen to union members who fail to toe the line politically, including making “voluntary” donations and “spontaneous” protests… seen it.

    • Kivaari

      True. The Thurston county sheriff, now retired, was in three shoot outs – he won them. At one time he even packed a Colt’s New Service in .38-40 (he had to buy his own ammo). He qualified to his own department standards.

  • Dracon1201

    Well, the NYPD officers are required to have a 12 lb pull for their triggers on their weapons. That detective you were talking about, he needs more practice on the square range. If he cannot hit those targets, he needs to improve his fundamentals before he competes.

    This whole thing assumes that people care less about their training than the officers who are crap and don’t practice. The reality is that most CCWers fire more rounds per year than most of the big city cops, anyways.

    • DaveP.

      Shooters- in uniform and out of it- were getting perfectly acceptable scores (and real-world results) with 12-pound triggers when police carried revolvers. It’s not the tools that are at fault, it’s the craftsmen…

      • Ju Con

        A longsmooth 12 lb revolver trigger, has a very different ability to be properly operated; then a shortgritty 12 lb SFA trigger, that does not provide the opportunity to smooth things out on the fly before ‘break.’

      • Dracon1201

        Yes, when properly trained, you can get a good score with a good 12lb trigger. However, the NYPD shows that they don’t train much at all. They probably couldn’t put shots on a target with a good trigger, let alone a terrible 12lb trigger.

        • BryanS

          It does not help that those NYC police have not grown up in a culture that allows them prior experience to firearms.

        • Ju Con

          The NYPD Glock trigger is not what most would call a “good” 12 lb trigger. Quite the opposite.

          Even relative experts in handgun usage find it Sisyphustic.

          • Kivaari

            Until not that long ago NYPD issued cheap Winchester USA 115 gr. ball ammo. Not only did it not stop suspects well, it over penetrated and hit bystanders. NYC aldermen thought JHP ammo was too mean. Like when King County wanted the shotguns to have wood stocks as black synthetic stocks were simply too mean looking. I bet most small town cops have more training than NYPD officers NOT assigned to ESU. Pathetic.

    • Kivaari

      My agency fitted our Glock M17 pistols with the 3.5# trigger from the M34 pistols. I eventually was issued a M34. We never had negligent discharges with TRAINED officers. One new reserve, that had been a regular officer 25 years earlier (revolver era) and he just couldn’t learn to keep his finger off the trigger. NYPD from what I see doesn’t train its people very well. Not only do they shoot citizens bystanders, they shoot each other. I fear NYPD officers regardless of them having 12 pound triggers.
      They are not super cops by any stretch.

      • Anon. E Maus

        Sounds like standard fare for New York Police Department firearms training.

      • Ju Con

        I checked their website, and can’t find M17s or M34’s there – perhaps you meant to use the G-prefix?

        • Kivaari

          They are the same thing. Glock likes to use “G”, while most of us use “M” or “model”. The G17 is just your standard, longest in production Glock pistol. The M34 or if you like G34, is the “Practical-Tactical” having a longer barrel, extended slide release and extended magazine release. I usually replaced the mag button with a standard size.

          • Ju Con

            They aren’t the same thing; the letters aren’t interchangeable. One could say, “Glock’s model 19,” sure; but “Gxx” is the appropriate nomenclature when abbreviated.

            Unless, of course, it’s adopted by an organization that has an in-house system of nomenclature (a la AR-15 vs. M16, minor specifics aside).

          • Kivaari

            Except for the 30 years the Glocks have been around, we in the business have used M or model as opposed to the G. I don’t know anyone outside of Glock that cares whether or not we use an M or G. A G17 is a Model 17. Colt owns the AR15 name. It is why every other maker has a different model number. Original AR15 rifles as adopted by the Air Force were given AF model numbers.
            If you think using a G is correct, use it. Everyone knows what ever G-model you have is the same as their M-model. Now we use G to denote if it is a Generation 1, 2, 3 or 4.

          • Ju Con

            “Except for the last many years that they’ve been around, we in the business have used ‘clips’ or ‘clip’ as opposed to ‘magazines.’ I don’t know anyone who cares whether we use ‘clip’ or ‘mag.'”

            If you feel you speak expansively and representing the entirety of the professional firearms using constituency, then rock out with you bad self. 🙂

    • Dave

      It takes very little effort to train more than most cops.

  • ES ing

    Yonkers PD is a different agency from NYPD. Two entirely different agencies with different training, jurisdictions, and geographic jurisdictions.

    • Argus

      Minor details…… It’s where the devil lives…..

      • ES ing

        Not really. He states that this officers competition shooting is a direct reflection of his NYPD training, and then goes on to talk about how a very specific and complex training regimen failed him. Well, the shooter never went through that training. That shooter is a detective in a suburbs. A rich suburbs.

        • Argus

          And that’s why sarcasm doesn’t work online…. It was sarcastic, the author’s inability to disginuish Yonkers from NYC.

  • Casey

    Now everyone gets to weigh in about lack of police competency. I’ll be sitting here rolling my eyes while people imagine that their experience in shooting at paper or steel will predict how they will do in a two way shootout. annnnd…go!

    • Dracon1201

      No, we’re talking about how the police can’t punch paper. Most of us haven’t even gotten to real world experience yet.

    • Geodkyt

      Considering that lawfully armed citizens have a higher hit rate and a nearly non-existant “blue on blue” or “hit an innocent” rate, compared to cops, says something.

      Of course, part of what it says is likely that the armed citizen has an EASIER TACTICAL PROBLEM — he already knows who the aggressor is, because he’s not the FIRST responder, he’s the “Zeroeth” responder.

      But a large part of it is certainly that most police officers these days consider their sidearm just another heavy POS tool they have to hang on their belt and will likely never use for real — far less important in “real” police work than their code book (so they can fill out summons correctly), radio, and less lethals.

      Report writing and testifying are far more emphasized police skills. Because they use them a LOT more often than their pistols. (In other words, for vets who are not cops — to your average officer, his pistol is like your pro mask and MOPP suit. Another piece of crap to carry around that you show minimal competency with once a year.)

  • AGreenSmudge

    Dont be afraid to look for “training” wherever you can find it as well. I occasionally (I.E. When I can afford to.) shoot IDPA, I disagree with a lot of the rules as I feel they would be poor decisions in an actual shoot out. So I choose not to do them and pay the time penalty, because I’m not there to be fast. I’m there to have fun and also get some practice moving and changing targets. Along the same lines I’ll be attending a local “zombie shoot” on Halloween for the same reasons. Headshots, whatever. I’m really doing it for fun and the oppotunity to get experience movign and shooting at night.

    Now the whole shooting from a helicopter. Dunno what that was training for, but it was FUN!!

  • greensoup

    There was an article a while back where they shot something like 6-7 bystanders and only hit the suspect twice. That’s a little worse than what you’d normally expect from trained shooters I would expect.

    • clinton notestine

      a lot of those hits were ricochets

      • Kivaari

        Had they hit the suspect, fewer bullets would have been bouncing around the neighborhood.

  • clinton notestine

    ive seen stats and accounts from the FBI and NJ state troopers about how little actual range training there is…. an hour…. a year.

    • John

      That is why it bothers me that the when people say to leave the shooting to police officers, that they’re ‘trained to use firearms’ as if there’s a magic on-switch that the academy flips to make them wonderously better than the average shooter.

    • Kivaari

      You can’t even teach a class how to clean their pistols in an hour. It’s why New York region cops shoot so many rounds when they shouldn’t and they shoot other cops all too often. NYPD is a threat to everyone within pistol range. I’d trust most CCW carriers more than a cop from NY or NJ.

    • Cosmo

      I live in the second-to-last country on the number of guns per capita in the world after Japan and even i go about two-three times a year to shoot a whole day of pistol and rifle ammo.

  • kevinp2

    An NYPD officer describes police firearms training, or lack thereof

    Notable quotes from this officer:

    Missed 12 out of fifty @ 7 yards? GOOD ENOUGH!

    Any average CCW citizen who practices more then twice a year pretty much has most of the department beat in terms of training.

    The last four academy classes were allowed to shoot 5 rounds each from an M4, and now they are all ‘rifle qualified’.

    • Kivaari

      FIVE rounds? When we did SMG training (HK MP5A2) and rifle (M4) we had to fire 850 rounds through each gun as a MINIMUM. Most of us shot in excess of 1200 rounds. The only trouble we had was one female officer that couldn’t remember that the magazine gets taken out before you try to clear the gun. At least she didn’t hit the patrol car or anything of value. She scared me.

  • mark

    The NYPD requires their officers qualify their weapons twice a year. Once a month range time is offered to officers to partake in their free time. An officer practicing on the range is NOT a requirement. They are only required to pass the following test twice a year.

    You shoot 50 rounds each round counts as 2 points. 5 at 25 yards, 15 at 15 yards, 30 at 7 yards. You need to shoot a 75%. target used is standard shadow type you use to qualify your ccw in most states.

    I think it’s fair to say that these standards allow for some very unsafe officers(firearm skills wise) to roam the streets.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Most civilians don’t realize that their local/state PD’s are NOT the Secret Service or FBI when it comes to firearms training and weapons skill set. You have a lot of young, fresh-out-of-Community College kids on these departments who view what they do as a job instead of an identity. They want to put in their 8 and go play in their golf or kickball leagues after work. These kinds of people won’t seek out supplemental firearms training, especially if they’re not getting paid to do so (i.e. on the clock). If you want the local talent to be better with their weapons, increased mandatory live-fire training and quarterly qualifications is a start. As stated in the article, force-on-force training and target practice in low- or no-light conditions would also be of help.

    • Kivaari

      In the old days, my era of the 60-80s, if you were not already a gun lover and shooter chances are you wouldn’t even get hired. One old sheriff would do one-on-one interviews with potential deputies. First thing he did was hand you a Lifesaver peppermint, then a revolver. If you didn’t check the gun for ammo, keep it pointed in a safe direction, you were scrubbed from the list.

  • Joshua

    Hate to say it, but the fact is the majority of police only shoot enough to qualify when needed. I would recon most who get a CC shoot far far more than any police.

    • dan citizen

      I have trained many an officer.

      – Countless I encountered had never even held a gun before “needing to for work”
      – Many were hazardous to themselves and others but were passed anyway by superiors
      – Many had only their training as far as consideration of tactics and ethics and much of that involved superiors telling them, “you’re going to miss a lot, keep pulling the trigger until it’s empty”

      • Kivaari

        Sad, isn’t it?

  • Zach

    Probably one of the most enlightening and unsettling looks at how unprepared the NYPD is:

    • avconsumer2

      Terrific thread. Thx for linky.

  • McThag

    There’s a world of difference between going to the range because you have to and it being your hobby for recreation.

  • Fruitbat44

    Clicking on the link highlighted “Beretta Blog” seems to bring you straight back to this page. Is that intentional?

    • Fruitbat44

      The link now works, for me anyway, thank you to who ever fixed it. Interesting article

  • raz-0

    OK, while I agree with the premise that when stuff gets real, it doesn’t work like you think it works if you think it is going to be easy peasy hero time. But seriously?

    “Now does this detective represent the whole of NYPD? No. But if he doesn’t take training seriously and it is his job, then what does that say about your training and practice?”

    That’s just a totally bad argument and makes no sense. NYPD puts very little emphasis on officers getting live fire training, and that means nobody else can?

    Also, he represents more of NYPD than anyone would like to admit. He doesn’t take training seriously because he does it as a job, and his employer doesn’t take it seriously. People who shoot because they like it put a hell of a lot more time into the gun handling and marksmanship. NYPD is probably one of the worst offenders in terms of how they transition form rookie hire to productive officer, and once you are a productive officer, priority #1 is paperwork. They do however take more time with tactics, team tactics and situational judgment than most people will reasonably have access to. The end sum though is they try to spend as little as possible on minting a new cop, and the area that gets some of the least dollars thrown at it is live fire training.

  • Fred

    Let’s face it 99% of police work does not involve shooting. A faction of 1% does, thankfully. The NYPD like most departments trains for what they do most of us. Patrol or Investigation. Of course they should train with firearms more. They could also benefit from advanced hand to hand techniques. Come to think of it we all could. Train accordingly.

    • Kivaari

      Except when a gun is needed it’s too late to learn. NYPD is notorious for shooting too many rounds resulting in innocents being hit. Statewide there is too much blue-on-blue shootings. Since every bullet has a lawsuit attached to it, it just makes sense to train better.

  • guest

    I hope active shooters adapt this, and bother everyone with it who does not train enough or as little as these cops: Bro, do you even range?

  • Patrick Mingle

    A former Police Chief in my town was a NYPD detective earlier in his career and told a story about how a NYPD officer was in a convenience store when it was being robbed. The officer claimed that the suspect must have been wearing body armor because he hit him 5 times and he just ran out of the store. The detective proceeded to look up and see 5 bullet holes in the ceiling of the store.

    I don’t even…

    • Kivaari

      In San Diego, many years ago now, the officer and bad guy were shooting at each other over the hood of the patrol car. Arms almost toughing each other. Neither the suspect nor the officer were hit. The officer was firing the issue S&W M&P .38 6″ and had a M1911 as back up. He forgot he had a back up.
      One thing I found in the real world is I was always calm and cool, until I was able to sit down. Then my knees shook for way too long. Adrenaline is amazing stuff.

  • 101nomad

    You can train an ape to pull a trigger. The state of mind to decide to pull the trigger, or not, is more complicated.

  • dan citizen

    To say that because officers can’t shoot well under stress means that neither can civilians has been proven wrong statistically by a distinctively wide margin.

    This is not an anti-cop statement, it is fact.

    • Kivaari

      True. I first saw the comparison in the 1970’s. Scary stuff.

  • Kivaari

    Maybe that’s why Bloomberg wanted to disarm his cops when they are off duty.

  • Tom Currie

    Excuse me but when did Yonkers become part of the NYPD???

    • Kivaari

      Just think metro NY state. NYPD is a “leader”, just like LAPD, except neither agency has a good record.

  • Jesse Voluntaryist Mathewson

    I have shot with hundreds of “trained” officers, soldiers and more. I trust the average hunter who regularly provides food far more than the standard cop. In my opinion based in experience across the country as a contractor less then 5% of “trained” government paid uniformed men are actually good at what they do. In fact, general insider understanding among cops and soldiers is that guns are tools but not essential enough to invest in training.

    As a contractor i spent thousands of hours from 2006-2010 volunteering instruction. Even with no cost most departments sent less then 15% of their officers. And the military after trying the program, again free with myself and others providing ammunition they stopped it after 6 months. During this time two of their firearms specialists shot themselves removing firearms from vehicles before they even reached the range.

    Sorry to disappoint, but,regardless location cops are not trained well any more. Neither are troops.

    • gunslinger

      i run into situations like that with my job. offer free training (industrial automation) but customers won’t send their people. it’s free! problem is that even though they aren’t paying for the training, they are paying the salary, plus the person misses a day of work. so trying to get someone to come out was a challenge.

  • WPZ

    We instruct at a large dealer alongside another instructor group that is almost all cops.
    They teach concealed carry, “tactical pistol”, and stuff like that. They’re good guys and I like them, and they, unlike the great majority of their colleagues (as they will vouch), take guns seriously.
    We instruct fundamentals and actual shooting, intro to advanced competition. My partner/spouse is one of the top women USPSA shooters in the country.
    Not one of our badged friends will set foot on the range with her when there’s ammunition present no matter what the occasion. With me, either, and I’m only “B” class.
    I offer comped fees to the USPSA matches I run. No takers.
    The old copper/instructor who started me instructing won’t come to shoot with us either, but freely admits that a third of the officers in the 60-badge department he instructed at shouldn’t handle loaded firearms.
    Not saying it’s all, but way too many. As the profession evolves, the firearm is less and less of a tool.

    Meanwhile, I’ve instructed quite a few CCL applicants myself and I can testify that not one single one of them views him or herself as any kind of a hero. They’re all deeply respectful of the very serious problems and possibilities for disaster, and none of them want to ever fire their gun in self-defense. So I’ll reject the initial premise about inflated self image.

  • Willshortly

    As a retired LEO firearms instructor, who trained LEOs for twenty five + years let me assure you not all LEOs can shoot well.
    We certified three times per year. Each certification was during an eight hour range day.
    We conducted force on force training, shoot houses, rifle, pistol and shotgun training.
    Except for bells and whistles our training program was comparable to any I’ve ever seen.
    We had a program that allowed LEOs to come to the range, on or off duty, for four hours and shoot. The range time, ammunition and instructors were free. Guess who showed up? LEOs who wanted to shoot because of the free time/ammo.
    Those who were there just to try to pilfer ammo. Yep there were a few of them. And the really good, serious shooters.
    ONCE in three years did a LEO who needed help show up. She was a delight to help and train. She took it seriously and understood the implications of carrying a firearm every day.
    I can HONESTLY say that of all the LEOs I trained there are not six of them with whom I would go into a dark building and fee safe. Actually about only three.