Difficulty of Baton Rouge SWAT Shot that Killed Gunman?

I read this article:

Helluva Shot [CNN]

and was mildly surprised to see this:

Obviously I don’t know the details of the shot. However, 100 yards doesn’t seem like a long distance for a SWAT “rifleman.” A handgun shot would be impressive, but a modern longarm?

Revolutionary War (smoothbore) muskets are generally credited with accuracy out to 50 yards:

But some discussion on topical interest sites indicates 100 yards was not exceptional for those weapons:

Admittedly there could be some exaggeration by aficionados in the passage above; it’s just something I Googled.

But by the US Civil War, rifles were muchg longer-ranged:

Meaning no disrespect, but, given the above, why the excitement over a 100-yard shot in 2016 by a “militarized,” trained officer?

Maybe it’s the “without a clear line of sight” part? And obviously it’s much more difficult to hit a live, evading target that doesn’t want to get hit than it is a stationary target.

The hit rate of smoothbores was quite low in actual combat conditions even against lines of men, even at ‘effective’ range. Firepower: Weapons Effectiveness on the Battlefield 1630-1750 by B.P Hughes is a good book on this.

But the big difference between that period and the rifle era was that the limitations of the weapons themselves was so much more constraining. IOW hitting somebody with a smoothbore at 100 yds on a given shot is extremely difficult no matter how good a shot you are and how composed and relaxed. The curve ball effect of the bullet spinning around an axis perpendicular to the barrel, from rolling along one side of the barrel, which exact side you can’t predict, will throw off the best aim at a man size target at more than 10’s of yards. Hitting somebody with a US Civil War era muzzle loading percussion rifle at that range, bullet spinning around an axis parallel to the barrel, depends mainly on skill and composure. The gun can do it fairly reliably if aimed properly. And likewise for guns since then, except even more repeatable results and less bullet drop at 100 yards.

But actually pulling off that correct aim in combat conditions isn’t easy. Analyses and opinions from WWII/Korean War combat even differed on whether the effective range of infantry fire was much greater than 100 yards, some sources and analyses believed up to 300 yards, but that might include light machine guns. For well positioned and aimed heavy machine guns it could be much more (though similar in inherent accuracy to rifles), likewise of course for exceptionally skilled rifle marksmen.

In this case seems to me it really depends on the exact circumstances and shot. How long did the SWAT person have to frame and prepare the shot, prone, standing? etc.

I don’t remember numbers very well, but seem to recall reading about 1000 yard sniper shots in Vietnam. Anyway I googled it and found this…


Ol’ Billy Dixon still hanging in at #11, 142 years later.

“Without a clear line of sight.”

Hitting something at 100 yards, while standing, in a combat situation is not an easy shot. Doing it from a prone or bunker position at a rifle range is easy.

It’s not the distance, it’s the fact it was not a clear shot.

A 100-yard shot with a clear view of what you’re shooting at is very easy. Heck, a 200-yard shot is very easy.

At a moving target taking cover it can be a hard shot at 50 feet.

I read a book about seal team six once. The author said in training situations, they could reliably make shots out to 300-400 meters in almost any situation. Beyond that distance and problems started occurring.

Seal team six is not the same as a Louisiana swat team, but still.

Shooting on a two way range is much more difficult.

The thing about “not a clear shot” is that there can’t have been too much stuff obscuring the shooter’s line of sight. I hope there was sufficient line of sight to allow them to be reasonably sure this was the bad guy.

I notice no one’s questioned the justification of “need for militarized police forces.” Did the gun porn distract y’all?


Well, yeah, the “we’ve been questioned” line (with its implied “and this incident validates our choice to militarize” subtext) does seem a little self-justifying.

Does every question about the physics of firearms have to include a certain amount of hand-wringing over militarized police forces?

No. Ones in which the police administration say, “Gee, it sure’ta’fuck was good we were heavily militarized to take out one walking perp, wannit?” are open to a little observation on the point, though.

I think ‘militarized police’ mainly wasn’t commented on mainly because it wasn’t the question. And independently of the actual question (how difficult is such shot?) it would just be the same generalized political talking points about ‘militarized police’.

Unfortunately though you can’t really say how difficult it is to shoot somebody 100 yds away without more details. It’s probably fair to say though that a non ‘militarized’ officer isn’t going to train intensively with a rifle, and somebody who doesn’t is not that likely to make such a shot reliably. The probability would be very low with a completely non ‘militarized’ outfit of just a hand gun.

Anyway saying that trained police marksmen are sometimes useful is not saying every department needs every aspect of gear and training on the scale every department’s leadership might think they need, or that the federal govt should fund/subsidize it. So it’s really a different topic.

The anti ‘militarized police’ drive though I think is going to bog down with even two independent incidents, in a short period, of semi-automatic rifle armed shooters deliberately targeting and killing police. That hasn’t been seen in a long time if ever.

Wow so you’re complaining that nobody tried to hijack the thread?

Sorry, all. Take it back to Gunz R Reel Kewl.

Not to put too fine a point on this kewl hijack, but a shot of 100 yards doesn’t necessitate “military” hardware - a good ol’ non-black-gun bolt action single shot hunting rifle will git r done. Not saying that’s what they used on the target in question, just that it can be accomplished without “militarization”.