To Establish the Effects of a Role-Specific 12-Week Balance and Stability Conditioning Programme on the Shooting Accuracy in the Standing (Unsupported) Position, with a Handgun, of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) Within Police Scotland
The primary weapon used by police firearms officers is the carbine, (a short-barrelled rifle) such as the Heckler and Koch G36. Officers are also trained in the use of handguns such as the Glock 17, which is issued to provide not only an additional tactical option, but to act as a 'back-up' weapon should the primary weapon develop a fault. Officers are trained to use both weapons in a variety of positions. (ie, Standing, kneeling, prone - supported and unsupported). Whilst proficient use of either weapon requires a considerable amount of training, many officers find it difficult to achieve and sustain the required standard of accuracy with the handgun, especially in the standing unsupported position. Officers who are unable to achieve or sustain the required shooting standard are withdrawn from firearms duties. Aside from the significant training costs and negative effect on individual officers, the loss of personnel trained in this very specialist police role impairs the ability of a force to meet the demands of providing an armed response to incidents. Initial discussions with Senior Officers and Firearms Training Staff from Police Scotland indicates that this is an ongoing issue throughout the force, and has been for some time.
Importance of Postural Balance and Stability in Shooting Accuracy
Research material in this subject area generally is extremely scant, and more so when specifically considering police use of firearms. However, some analogous research has taken place into sporting, recreational and military shooting skills. Several studies have emphasised the importance of postural balance and stability when shooting from the standing position, with some of these studies also concluding that balance / stability training may improve shooting accuracy. Studies have also established a connection between postural sway, aim point fluctuation and shooting accuracy.
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