Factors Influencing Marksmanship in Police Officers: A Narrative Review

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Law enforcement officers routinely face unpredictable scenarios that may threaten the public, their colleagues, or themselves. In such situations, officers may be required to use firearms, with shooting accuracy becoming crucial. This literature review aimed to identify, synthesize, and report on research investigating factors that affect marksmanship in law enforcement personnel. A systematic search of seven databases was undertaken following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) approach. From an initial 5396 identified studies, 23 met the eligibility criteria. The key findings from these papers were: (1) physical exertion does not appear to decrease shooting performance, especially at close range (<10 m); (2) tactical load carriage does not appear to decrease shooting performance; in fact, it has been reported by officers as improving performance (likely due to training specificity); (3) the physical capability of officers may be of importance, notably grip strength, which the volume of evidence suggests is positively correlated with marksmanship; (4) anxiety imparted through high-stress scenarios negatively impacts shooting performance, but training under stress may counteract this factor, albeit for a short period. Together, these factors appear to have a trainability component where increased specific and realistic training can improve shooting accuracy, time, and precision, especially in high-stress situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14236
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022


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