On a daily basis, police officers put their lives on the line for the communities that they serve. Over the past decade, government data shows that there were almost 60,000 annual assaults on officers. More than 33% of the officers died as a result of being shot. After motor vehicle crashes, gunshots are now the second leading cause of officer deaths. As recently as 2016, data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicates that 66 law enforcement officers were criminally killed, and 62 of these officers were assaulted with firearms.
For the past three decades, armor vests have saved the lives of over 3,000 officers. In some instances, however, the ammunition directed at officers was stronger than the body armor they were wearing. This is why 20% of the officers that sustained a gunshot wound to the torso died. When an officer doesn’t wear body armor, they are 3.4 times more likely to die as a result of being shot in the torso.
Police safety depends on having the highest quality protective gear. A survey of local police departments was conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The results showed that in 2013, 71% of these departments required their officers to always wear an armor vest.
In addition to wearing body armor, officers also need to engage in regular target practice to stay sharp and enhance their skills. This includes using reactive targets. Why are reactive targets useful? As their name implies, reactive targets will respond when a bullet impacts their surface. They may pivot or engage in a variety of other reactions. Some of these reactive targets will also reset themselves for the next volley of shots.
Shooting targets is a vital skill for law enforcement officers. When someone asks the question, “Why are reactive targets useful?” it’s possible that they may not have had the opportunity to use one of these types of target practice devices. Since reactive targets are composed of steel, they can withstand a considerable amount of force. Furthermore, using reactive targets can assist officers with reinforcing muscle memory each time they strike a target.
In order to protect law enforcement officers while they perform their jobs and serve their respective communities, they need the best possible body armor and tactical gear. It’s also important to ensure that officers receive the highest quality training. This includes, but is not limited to, engaging in shooting practice with reactive targets.