Nearly 1 in 8 Pittsburgh Police Officers Failed Firearms Recertification Test

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Nearly 1 in 8 Pittsburgh Police Officers Failed Firearms Recertification Test
Acting Pittsburgh Chief of Police Tom Stangrecki. (Photo: Target 11 News)

Nearly 1 in 8 Pittsburgh police officers failed to pass the state’s updated firearms recertification test, a recent report by Target 11 News reveals. 

At least 100 of the 830 officers on the force did not get the 94 needed to pass the timed exam that requires participants to shoot from a span of distances, ranging from 3 feet to 75 feet, and from various positions, including standing and kneeling. 

Each officer gets 25 rounds to hit 25 targets. Each target is worth five points, which means a perfect score is 125. 

SEE ALSO: Gun-Control Activists Pushing Credit Card Companies to Flag Firearm, Ammo Purchases

One officer scored below 40, sources told Target 11 News.  

“It is shameful that so many officers can’t pass the firearms test. That’s unsettling,” said Beth Pittinger of the Pittsburgh Citizens Police Review Board.

The city does not fire officers who fail the test.  They are allowed to keep taking the test until they pass it.

It’s not clear how many failed on the second or the third or even the fourth go-around.  But the department removes the officers who fail from field duty until they successfully re-certify. 

“Our academy is looking at providing more extensive training, including firearms,” said Acting Chief of Police Tom Stangrecki in a recent briefing.

As it stands, many police departments around the country, including Pittsburgh, only require their officers to recertify once a year.

Any LEOs out there? How often do you need to recertify?

Also, do the officers you work with train frequently? Thanks in advance for your feeback!

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  • Gene September 5, 2022, 3:48 pm

    730 officers did qualify.

  • Anthony September 5, 2022, 11:57 am

    So many experts

  • Abnormal September 5, 2022, 10:05 am

    If 1 in 8 LEOs failed on the range imagine what the results will be for all those shiney new IRS agents.

  • William Powell September 5, 2022, 8:52 am

    All you LE. Find a local pistol competition club in your area. People say “it’s not the same”. so what? Use your duty equipment. It’s fun, let’s you test your skills, and will certainly improve your shooting over time.

  • The SGM September 5, 2022, 7:33 am

    It is called quarterly, mandatory, scheduled training in order to maintain proficiency and it is conducted by local authorities. Training and retraining is the only answer in order to maintain firearms accuracy proficiency.

  • Gary D September 3, 2022, 10:21 am

    Jacksonville, Fl must have an excellent firearms training program. Those guys never have anybody survive a shootout with them and the news usually says “deputies fired 3 rounds”. Love our sheriffs department.

  • Pete Farris September 3, 2022, 4:55 am

    Practice! Few police or CCW holders do enough.

  • Harold Littell September 2, 2022, 10:48 pm

    I’m in a National Guard unit near Pittsburgh and my CO is Pittsburgh PD. I know he can shoot. I’ll have to ask him what’s up next drill.

  • Chuck September 2, 2022, 10:22 pm

    Not surprising, my father made a good living as a firearms instructor after retiring from the Navy. He trained DOD police as well as LEOs from the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey area. Most of these officers were unable to qualify/recertify which is why they came to him for training.

  • dan September 2, 2022, 5:37 pm

    the article Author ignores the obviously necessary information of target size and distance for each size. Without this info, any discussion or evaluation of performance is meaningless. I can always score 100% when the bullseye is 12 feet in diameter, and the distance is 6 feet, while I will get a lower score I suspect if the target is 1/4″ in diameter and the distance is 10,000 yards.

    Was the story not as entertaining if this info was included – wondering???

  • Jim September 2, 2022, 3:37 pm

    I did 45 years as a LE firearms instructor, then a civilian firearms instructor after retirement. I taught in both basic academies and in-service instruction. In the 60’s and 70’s there was a lot of emphasis placed on marksmanship and firearms training. Many departments fronted pistol teams. The emphasis started to ebb after that. The standards started to loosen. The number of rounds required to be shot to qualify went down steadily. In the 70’s and 80’s many agencies still used revolvers and/or were starting to transition to auto pistols. It’s not the gun. It’s the department requirement to be good with the firearm that should be the standard. Into the 70’s and 80’s the agency I worked for qualified quarterly; 3 times for just a score, once a year to qualify. They tied some of the annual bonus money to that. If you didn’t qualify there was remedial training until you did. The course of fire was difficult, and that is as it should be. We’d shoot scenarios, at night in the dark, at night with only cruiser lights and the overheads running (that will disconcert you), we set up mock buildings on the range and did entries and shoot-don’t-shoot scenarios with hostage targets, mock foot pursuits of several hundred yards at the end of which the officer would be at the firing line to draw and engage targets, we had old mail boxes and fire hydrants the range to teach the use of cover on the street, everything that we could think of that the officers might encounter on the job. Then, qualification went doen to semi annually, and finally, it was annually. Over that time period the regular training with firearms also reduced. Even though we qualified the officers, the direction from administration was that it was their responsibility to maintain their skill. Firearms staff and a monthly allotment of ammunition was available, but the emphasis had changed. It was all about the bucks. This same dumbing-down was occurring in the academies. The search was for officer friendly. All of this was driven by cost and public pressure. Training is the most expensive part of the budget, following personnel costs. If the public gets whiny cuz there was an officer involved shooting somewhere, the chief will hear it. The people who rose to the top of the police administrations also changed in that time. They were the political animals, not good street cops, any longer. You can see across the country what that has given us. Sooo, until the public wants old-time cops back that go after the bad guys and the public is willing to pay for the training necessary to maintain the skills, it is what it is. Me, I don’t think about it much, any more, cuz it pisses me off.

  • Rob September 2, 2022, 2:56 pm

    Not sure how this is news. It’s like reporting rain is wet. Your average LEO is a notoriously bad shooter. Ask any cop at the training you attend. They’ll tell you. That’s why I’m glad to see LEO’s at training.

  • Mark September 2, 2022, 2:46 pm

    Anna is right!
    First, shooting at paper targets in competition nothing like the adrenaline dump of a L.E. shooting and that is based on personal experience, not theory.

    Second, most agencies do not train or cannot afford to train with firearms. It is expensive. Before I retired, we shot scenario based training monthly and qualified twice a year (which required shooting while moving and moving targets) and it was required. Failure could result in suspension without pay.

    I partly agree with the Yavapai training idea – I understand that they do an excellent job but shooting is a perishable skill. Without continual training, you start to lose performance, and most people cannot afford to go to Yavapai monthly. Any LE agency shooting once a year is NOT continually training.

    The cost of our training was about $1,000 to $1,500 per officer per year in ammunition and supplies. Add in salaries and the cost was double or triple. Most city managers or county supervisors don’t want to pay the cost of training. They have accountants give them the odds of a bad shoot payout and compare it to training costs… they put people’s lives into a calculator instead of doing the right thing and train their officers.

    Community based policing has its merits and treating citizens fairly is right… but there is evil in this world and hugs won’t cure it. Every cop should be “polite, professional, and prepared to kill if the need arises.” (paraphrased from Gen. James Mattis, retired)

  • Brad Goodwin September 2, 2022, 1:10 pm

    Firearms use is a highly perishable skill and most departments only have annual qualifications. Law Enforcement officers are also notoriously bad shoots, which is why more enlightened departments are starting more combat style controlled fire with their training and testing. The point that this department is still testing at 25 yards shows the are likely using old and outdated firearms training and testing.

  • Anna September 2, 2022, 12:42 pm

    There are two takeaways from this article. First yes the average police officer isn’t a great shot; but the question is why.

    Since the mid 90s PDs have pushed an agenda of “community policing”. It’s resultant effect has been to hire recruits who are easily made into Teddy Bears instead of Predatory hunters of criminals. They smile at everyone, give hugs, and hand out stuffed animals instead of cops that stare, grapple and hand out the “jewelry of justice” (handcuffs).

    Typically the Teddy Bear types do not have a history with firearms and many shoot a gun for the first time in the academy. While the training may be good it doesn’t give experience or conditioning for dealing with the stress of facing a lethal encounter.

    Second what I find particularly tiresome is target shooters and worse game shooters who compare their best scores with cops actually being shot at, as opposed to the threat they face from cardboard targets. Really guys, you’re embarrassing yourselves maybe you could comment on surgical methods next.

    Should cops shoot at the expert level YES. Heck they should shoot at the Distinguished level; but let’s start with recruiting hunters instead of teddy bears

    • Dang Vorbei September 2, 2022, 1:25 pm

      You’ll notice that, without exception, the chieves of these departments are political climbers who actually want to be city managers. They alienate real cops by passing them over in favor of the teddy bears. The reality of what cops are has no bearing on the decision making process because it’s all for show.

  • Mike in a Truck September 2, 2022, 12:12 pm

    I’ll say it and keep saying it. Civilian law enforcement should have their semiautomatic pistols taken away and reissued revolvers. They cant hit anything anyway so at least minimizing spraying hollowpoints around will cause less citizen casualties.

    • Walleye September 2, 2022, 1:58 pm

      Ah yes, that makes perfect sense… Let’s use a broad paint brush and uniformly besmirch all LEOs.

      How about this? Why not offer LEOs remedial firearms training until they are competent, transfer them to non-gun carrying positions within the department, or ask them to resign before firing the them? See how easy that was?

    • Dang Vorbei September 2, 2022, 5:38 pm

      Spoken like a guy secure in the knowledge he’ll never, ever be asked to do anything dangerous himself. That’s for the stupid, inept civil servant class.

      • Anna September 3, 2022, 5:05 pm

        Well said. I so tire of civilian “experts” who don’t have a clue; but insist on voicing an opinion

    • Keith September 6, 2022, 3:43 pm

      I’m a revolver guy. It’s what we all carried in the 70s. When we transitioned I was reluctant but accepted the fact that the bad guys had us greatly outgunned. My six and 12 on my belt was no match for a crooks 20 in a magazine.
      Six shooters are outdated now for street use.

  • Paper Sniper September 2, 2022, 11:23 am

    If you knew that you couldn’t get fired, & had an OPPORTUNITY for a cushy desk job, away from the streets, where your likely to get your head bashed in, and put through the ringer for DEFENDING yourself!
    Why not!
    Until one of the 20 genders, with a spine gets elected & cleans house,the beating will continue until Moral improves! Lol

  • Fal Phil September 2, 2022, 11:09 am

    This is not news. A few years ago, we had a shootout between 2 DEA agents and a perp. The perp shot 12 times. The DEA agents shot a combined total of 140 times.

    Nobody was hit.

    But the DEA agents ventilated a lot of cars in the parking lot where the shootout occurred.

  • Thomas K Gaffey September 2, 2022, 10:25 am

    We have a training range here in Yavapai Co, AZ that discounts training for LEO’s. If you qualify with them for a CCW you can as a civilian take the training. Deputies here average 90% or better, I took the training and my accuracy more than tripled, and I’ve been shooting for about 60 yrs. There are three courses, accuracy, speed and instinct, and low light and reactive targets. Taken in that order they build on each other. Each course is 2 full days with alternating classroom and range time, I went thru about 1000 rounds in the 3 courses, I spaced them over 3 months because of other claims on my time.
    The training was designed by a former manager at Gunsite and is taught by ex-military and national competitors. The courses can be taken alone or all, at the end I could hit a head shot on a moving robot in low light at 30′. They told us that current statistics (2 yrs ago) are that national average for LEO’s is 60% accuracy, thats 6 misses for a 15rnd mag. That 22 yr old in the mall was WAAAY better than that.

  • Stickers September 2, 2022, 10:16 am

    In 30 years of USPSA competition I have yet to meet a cop that can outshoot me, or even come close.

    • Anna September 2, 2022, 12:48 pm

      Wow you shoot at cardboard targets with a pre-planned course of fire and a safety officer next to you….that must be stressful. Maybe you might be a tad different if there was lead moving two ways and the only safety thing was a few layers of Kevlar. The street is just a little bit different then gun games

      • Dang Vorbei September 2, 2022, 2:23 pm

        Don’t get me wrong- both IDPA and IPSC can be valuable trigger time for cops, but sometimes the personalities of the guys who play those games are better suited to a golf course. I refuse to wear stupid pants.

      • Fal Phil September 2, 2022, 5:00 pm

        Yeah, but on the other hand, there are a slew of beat officers that go their entire career without having to draw their weapon except for annual qualifications.

      • a11four1 September 2, 2022, 7:17 pm

        Paper targets; minimal stress in plinking, somewhat more in timed & position fire. NO one shooting back.

        OK, Ever participate in paintball, not painless dancing in reflective garb laser-tag?

        Hunting, potentially yet more; weather, terrain, concealment, unpredictable distances, position, type of game, proximity of dangerous game, buck fever. . . many parallels to sniping. Still, not quite subject to certain hazards and return fire.

        Live fire vs adversaries, more elements of conditions and hazard than can be listed, obviously.

        Fact remains, that shooters unable to qualify under controlled conditions; can’t shoot! Those conditions or similar, near universally establish initial levels of proficiency world-wide, military, law enforcement, IPSC, PPC, poker targets, Schuetzen events or the casual Saturday club lowly bullseye shooters.

      • Brian September 2, 2022, 11:53 pm

        While Stickers comment is rather arrogant, and it is true that an actual shoot-out with bullets coming at you send the stress levels through the roof and accuracy down the drain, these defenders of the public were shooting at the same cardboard targets as your “gun games” for their qualification, also with a “pre-planned course of fire & a safety officer”.
        Maybe YOU should stop embarrassing YOURSELF by not comparing what MIGHT (and in too many cases actually does) happen out on the streets with what takes place in a controlled & supervised environment.

      • a11four1 September 3, 2022, 2:07 am

        Paper targets; minimal stress like in plinking, somewhat more in timed & position fire. NO one shooting back.

        OK, Ever participate in paintball, not painless dancing in reflective garb laser-tag?

        Hunting, potentially yet more; weather, terrain, concealment, unpredictable distances, position, type of game, proximity of dangerous game, buck fever. . . many parallels to sniping. Still, not quite subject to certain hazards and return fire.

        Live fire vs adversaries, more elements of conditions and hazard than can be listed, obviously.

        Fact remains, that shooters unable to qualify under controlled conditions; can’t shoot!
        Those conditions or similar, near universally establish initial levels of proficiency world-wide, military, law enforcement, IPSC, PPC, poker targets, Schuetzen events or the casual Saturday club lowly bullseye shooters.

  • K G September 2, 2022, 9:58 am

    I have read some of the most uninformed and ridiculous statements in this thread. This yearly recertification is nationwide. I’ve been on the range and seen leo shoot. It’s bad. They have better access and more than civilians. There’s no excuse “affirmative action ” be dammed. You see these results on the streets as they constantly mag dump instead of quality shots. Some ate not “gun: people, but it’s part of the job. There’s been a few times I’ve had to explain the law to. Only SWAT trains daily. Their training overall needs to be better

  • Blasted Cap September 2, 2022, 9:48 am

    Willing to bet even more would fail a basic test on the Constitution too.

  • Ed September 2, 2022, 9:06 am

    And this is surprising because? Have not affirmative action quotas been the priority in hiring since the 1980s? Have not shooters been viewed as weird or mentally unstable since forever? Have not current generations grown weak and obese fiddling with electronic gadgets instead of performing physical acts? Is masculinity and grip strength considered toxic?

    Those Yankees deserve exactly what they’ve got.

    • Paper Sniper September 2, 2022, 11:22 am

      If you knew that you couldn’t get fired, & had an OPPORTUNITY for a cushy desk job, away from the streets, where your likely to get your head bashed in, and put through the ringer for DEFENDING yourself!
      Why not!
      Until one of the 20 genders, with a spine gets elected & cleans house,the beating will continue until Moral improves! Lol

  • J. Smith September 2, 2022, 9:04 am

    I guess thats the same 1:8 ratio on the force now of white males to black/black female/female/other.

    Affirmative action hiring the unqualified due to race over knowledge, skill and ability doesnt have anything to do with it either, I’m sure.. Ive trained 1,000s of law enforcement. I also struggled finding a leo job in the 90’s despite being degreed, military and the top 1% of every class academically and physically, top of the list in PA on civil servants exam, plus veterans points at 108 So, prattle on about what a jerk I am, bottomline if you didnt know someone or come with a special hiring class in the 90’s, white, military college degree’d need not apply, Im sure it hasnt changed, just like fed gov hiring quotas, using special hiring categories. Pick a situation where its is falling apart, a town, a city, a municipal water supply company, a police department, and just see who is running it. Mayor Adams and mayor lizardfoot top the list. But, there are many organizations within the DOD, and other agencies like USPS that if people saw first hand how poorly they are being managed and led, would finally say, hmmn, maybe he is on to something. Haha too little, too late, just another falling brick in the FUSA wall of shame.

  • Tommy Barrios September 2, 2022, 9:01 am

    When you’re hiring requirements are that you’re either Ghetto Trash, a Homosexual or Both, what kind of performance do you think your gonna get when you’re hiring… mental defectives and other human paraquat POS that’s what! 🤬

    • Big Al 45 September 2, 2022, 10:14 am

      You’re such a jerk. What a completely moronic post.

      • Fal Phil September 2, 2022, 5:02 pm

        Welcome to the woke nation.

  • DEFENDER September 2, 2022, 8:12 am

    I understand – Statistically

    Follow the FBI “Rule of 3’s)

    So “Avg – Gun Fight” :

    – 3 shots fired
    – Happens within 3 yds – say 10ft
    – Last for 3 seconds

    Anyone know different ? or Confirm ?

    Also – My experience training Police is 98% Do NOT practice other than shoot Yrly or Semi-Yrly to Qualify
    So maybe 100rds/yr.

    • Dennie Melton September 2, 2022, 11:44 am

      Yes, agree with Pittsburg PD Chief however many Departments do not require 75 Yards check latest both Civilian LEO recent shoot outs 3 to 15 Yards vary few like recent Mail shooting good certain 40-Yard shot. Yes,100% Head shot better then seems like many of these Pittsburg Officer’s. As retired CA/LEO many area’s as DOJ Student Range training, Reserve Officer To LEO then finally full time 14.5 Years injured on the job- early years all on Range shooting plus a 720 Hour Academy classes. All required average 80 to 95%+ Test score or you kicked out of Academy no more then 3 attempts. Recertification Reserves where same as full time Peace Officer’s. So, Yes those that Lowered Standards for many Political reason both Civilian and DOD now. Sorry as old addage.
      Get what you pay for even those with Higher so called B.A./B/S. Degrees plus Military pass does not make good Streeet Officer’s. (If not over Educated Delects not street Smart or promoted to Higher leval of incompentantcy Sgt. Lt. Yes,Captain or Ast./Cheif ,Cheif then run for Political Office. Yes this really Helps Line Officer’s or the Community they serve.Then Budget’s Cut less Shooting, Less Good Officer in the Field. Yes, shownb many time real CCW, or Concdern 2 Amendment people shoot more then so called Full time LEO why. Budgets Cut, Ammo purchases cut, Weapons for Duty not effective in real action Preventive now Reaction if at all. Less,Back Up Officer’s to scared to do their job today. If performed as Trained in Academy-Most required P.O.S.T.-CA- was 3,Yrds, 10,15 25, Yards 1970-1997- Right,Left Barracade Support Yes ,Kneeling or Stomach. Then Legal Up Dates Annually or Simi-Annually-at all if not every Month-50-Rnds: This not like special Units SWAT-100 to 1000 Rnds over 3-Days Training: Then now around the (Nations) Officer wish to Retire or just walkaway Totally after 5 year’s, maybe 10-Years. There is very few 20-25-even 35 years due to State Rules, Union PO Unions rules or State Retirements. So, then go to work other Profession Prevet Consultant’s, Traffic or M/C Training Instructors, Prevet Investigators, Insurance Investigators, Computer Hi-Tec Prevet Investigations. Then many Real Estate Agents or even some Digitaries Protections VIP As some make it as Attorney Worker’s Comp or Defense Attorney’s to Accident Attorney’s. Still leave all training other then Fire Arms few even Trainer’s in Citiizen’s CCW Instructor’s or write Books or go work NRA, other support agency’s.(Nampa,Idaho rt/LEO.) 09/02/2022 God Bless Be Gun Safe remeber the 4 Rules In Gun safety alway’s: Currently Enhanced Licensed CCW- Idaho shot 95 Qualification two seperate Classes USCCA Classes: God Country, Guns Believe in USA 2nd Amendment. Vote in Nov. 2022 Mid Term all Gun owners:

  • John Bostek September 2, 2022, 7:06 am

    The officers need to train more often . Provide them more practice ammunition and incentive to practice more often . But first get rid of the hand guns with terrible double action triggers . A bad trigger promotes poor marksmanship. Thank you for your service !

  • Larry C September 2, 2022, 7:06 am

    I know several private shooter who can make 25 hits at 35 yds. in less than 35 seconds. I have timed them shooting two16 rnd mags and hitting all in the 9 ring or better in less than 40 seconds.
    Yes that was at the standard 25 yards.

  • casper lerch September 2, 2022, 7:04 am

    About the officer from Pittsburgh,pa how many where over weight cause that will interfere with your shooting and movement.

  • Lt. Dean Falzarano September 2, 2022, 6:24 am

    NJ requires quals 2X/year (at least 3 months apart) with a passing score of 80% for pistols and some longarms (rifles require a third range visit for “familiarization” each year. The pistol course consists of either 50 rounds (each round worth 2 points) or 60 rounds (each worth 1.66 points each…we tend to go with 50 as the agency uses less ammo and scoring is easier for we instructors) for “Daytime”, and 40 rounds for “reduced light” (where officers shoot at night or with reduced light and most use either handheld or weapon mounted lights). Daytime quals are shot from 1 yard (weapon retention) out to 25 yards (cover/concealment). Reduced Light is fired from 1 yard (weapon retention) to 15 yards (moving “off the dot” with light discipline). All stages are timed for both day and night and targets are simple “Q”s. Carbine, rifle and subgun courses are different, but somewhat similar with ranges out to 100 yards for rifles and built in transitions for longarm failure within 25 yards of the target. Courses can be found on the NJ AG’s website.

  • Chuck Savage September 2, 2022, 6:15 am

    Can we see the course ? I wonder how hard it really is.

  • Kb31416 September 2, 2022, 5:53 am

    I have (fortunately) never fired a shot in anger, so I can’t fault the PD too much, but it seems like when ever I see a video of an officer involved shooting, all of the officers discharge their weapons as fast as possible until they end up at slide lock. That’s 15 rounds per officer assuming a typical G19.
    And most of the time, the perp doesn’t have 15 holes per officer. Lots of stray rounds down range.

  • survivor50 August 31, 2022, 10:33 pm

    25 rounds… to hit 25 targets, at 25 yards… HOLY CARP !!!

    And they FAILED THAT ???

    Hold on … let me hold my head in SHAME for THEM !!!

    • srsquidizen September 2, 2022, 7:34 am

      Sounds like they can miss entirely 6 times and pass, with most shots LESS than 25 yd. coming from a full-size duty pistol I assume. Either they need an optometrist handing out business cards at the qualifying range, or some low-bid contract supplier is dumping practice ammo on them that’s total junk.

  • survivor50 August 31, 2022, 10:30 pm

    SOOO… can’t shoot for SCHIFF !!!

    Dimocraps … what can yo do ???

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