U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Relative Firearms Performance of Male & Female Police Officers

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 37 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1989) Pages: 48-53
J Auten
Date Published
5 pages
Research conducted by the Illinois Police Training Institute from January 1986 to April 1988 compared the shooting accuracy of 702 male and 65 female police officers who participated in the Institute's basic firearms training program.
Most officers understood the concept of proper sight alignment and its importance to accurate shot placement. In addition, all officers possessed the visual acuity necessary to attain proper sight alignment and demonstrated the ability to maintain the level of concentration required for proper sight alignment. A comparison of male and female performance revealed that males had superior marksmanship skills in all accuracy measurements used. Trigger control appeared to be the primary difference between males and females. Deficient marksmanship skills of females were probably due to their inability to fully master the skills associated with maintaining trigger control, especially the requisite psychomotor skills. The Illinois Police Training Institute gives all police officers a grip strength test as part of their initial physical examination. Shooters with trigger control and/or sight alignment problems are identified so that the problems can be corrected. The Institute also attempts to insure that weapons are properly sized to officers' physical dimensions. The Institute believes that females can ultimately shoot as well as their male counterparts if their special training needs are recognized. 4 tables.