The impact of load carriage on the marksmanship of the tactical police officer: A pilot study

Patrick D Carbone, Simon D Carlton, Michael Stierli, Rob Marc Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Tactical police officers are typically required to carry loads as part of their occupation. While carrying this load,these specialist police officers may be required to rapidly and accurately engage a target with lethal or stopping force. The primary objective of this research was to investigate the impact of load carriage on the marksmanship of specialist police officers. Marksmanship performance of six tactical operations police officers were investigated in both static standing and following a mobile task. Officers engaged a discoid target at a range of 6m with a 9mm Glock pistol in one of two randomised load conditions, unloaded or tactically loaded (m=22.8 kg). While mean marksmanship scores showed general improvement when officers were tactically loaded, significance was only attained in the horizontal (X axis) shot dispersion (p=0.047) measure following the static trial. Tactical loads carried by specialist police officers do not reduce, but may improve, pistol marksmanship at close range. A potential stabilising effect of body armour combined with specific methods of training may provide potential reasons for this result.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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