A recent study conducted by Andrew Brown, Simon Baldwin, Brittany Blaskovits, and Craig Bennell delves into an intriguing aspect of law enforcement training. Their study, titled “Examining the impact of grip strength and officer gender on shooting performance,” aimed to shed light on the relationship between grip strength, officer gender, and shooting proficiency.
The Research Objective
The primary objective of their study was to replicate prior findings that had demonstrated a positive correlation between grip strength and shooting performance. In addition, they sought to determine the minimum grip strength required to achieve proficient scores on a standard police pistol qualification (PPQ), specifically when a heavy trigger weight (ranging from 8lbs to 12lbs) was employed. Furthermore, the researchers aimed to explore whether officer gender played a mediating role in the relationship between grip strength and PPQ scores.
Unraveling the Study
To achieve these objectives, the researchers meticulously collected data from 86 male officers and 32 female officers. They began by recording the dominant hand grip strength of each participant, measured in pounds. Subsequently, the officers participated in their respective agency-mandated annual PPQ assessments.
Revealing the Insights
The results of the study were both illuminating and significant. They demonstrated that grip strength significantly impacted an officer’s ability to pass the PPQ. Notably, female officers exhibited lower grip strength, on average, when compared to their male counterparts. This difference in grip strength was found to correspond with lower scores on the PPQ among female officers. Intriguingly, the study established that achieving high scores on the PPQ required grip strengths within the range of 80lbs to 125lbs. This exceeded the average grip strength recorded for female officers in the study, which stood at 77.5lbs.
Furthermore, the research hinted at the mediating role of grip strength in the relationship between officer gender and shooting performance, although it was suggested that further studies with greater statistical power would be necessary to conclusively confirm this aspect.
In summary, this study by Brown, Baldwin, Blaskovits, and Bennell emphasizes the crucial role of grip strength in shooting proficiency among law enforcement officers. The findings not only underscore the significance of this factor but also encourage law enforcement agencies to consider the integration of grip strength training in their officer conditioning programs. Additionally, they may need to explore the adoption of pistols with lighter trigger pull weights to enhance shooting performance. These measures have the potential to elevate the standards of shooting proficiency and bolster the safety of both the public and police officers themselves.
Brown, A., Baldwin, S., Blaskovits, B., & Bennell, C. (2021). Examining the impact of grip strength and officer gender on shooting performance. Applied Ergonomics, 97, 103536. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2021.103536