Accuracy is one of the foundations of marksmanship. The term acceptable defensive accuracy has been used as an excuse for not improving or paying attention to accuracy. The most often used phrase with regards to this is “hits to center of mass”.
I first encountered this thinking even before I became active in pistol shooting. A work colleague was talking about a defensive pistol course he took. His two closely grouped shots on a target were considered too close because the bullets would go through the same wound channel. It was his understanding that he needed to intentionally space out his shots on the target. He stated that his shooting was too accurate.
Regardless of what the instructor meant the student believed that he was too accurate. This downplaying of accuracy has not been uncommon.
Thinking of “acceptable defensive accuracy” of say a 8 inch group at seven yards makes less sense if you consider more factors.
It is often taught that under stress accuracy will goes down so we can expect that 8 inch group will get bigger.
To support the need for better accuracy the percentage of hits by police is around 20%. What is overlooked for this statistic is the fact that we’re talking about a hit and not effectiveness. Skipping in a bullet off the ground into the target’s shin is still counted.
Where does this disconnect from accuracy come from?
I think it is a result of having to rely on a gun for your safety as a law enforcement officer and budget restrictions. You have to train a whole department of varying skill levels and do it with limited funds. So, having higher accuracy standards would require a larger budget. Just because someone qualified or re-qualified only means they met a standard.
Is the standard high enough?