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Training Inexperienced Marksmen to Shoot at Night: The Effectiveness of a Basic Law Enforcement Night-Shooting Class

NCJ Number
189276
Journal
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 3 Issue: 3 Dated: Spring 2001 Pages: 255-259
Author(s)
Michael T. Charles; Anne G. Copay
Date Published
2001
Annotation
This study evaluates the effectiveness of a night-shooting lecture and night sights in improving nighttime shooting accuracy.
Abstract
Crime statistics indicate that approximately 90 percent of the shootings involving law enforcement officers occur in low-light conditions. Therefore, any improvement in police officers’ firearms proficiency in low-light conditions could be potentially lifesaving. One way to help police officers with night shooting is to install night sights on their duty weapon. Night sights are rods of tritium that are fitted in both the rear and front gun sights. Night sights emit a constant glow and allow the alignment of gun sights regardless of the lighting conditions. The shooting scores of police recruits with and without night sights were compared before and after a night-shooting lecture in three low-light shooting conditions. The first was shooting at a back-lighted target, the second was shooting at a front-lighted target, and the third was shooting with the assistance of a flashlight. Results showed that the shooting scores did not improve after the lecture for shooting at a back-lighted target and for shooting with a flashlight. This indicated that the recruits had not yet mastered the specific shooting techniques taught for these specific low-light conditions. The shooting scores did improve for shooting at a front-lighted target, even though no specific shooting technique, other than what the recruits had previously learned in their firearms training, was required in this lighting condition. Night sights significantly improved the scores when shooting at a back-lighted target. 1 table and 3 references.