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Jim Cirillo NYPD Stakeout Unit

Jim Cirillo was forced to kill at least 11 men in the course of more than 20 gunfights during about 250 stakout jobs conducted by his unit’s 40-cop special team.

Cirillo had a lot to say about the realities of a real attack and here are three of those things....

1 “Techniques” Go Out The Window

Cirillo was an expert marksman and a real “gun guru” before his sudden realization of gunfight realities.

One of his biggest realizations was that the “techniques” he had been so trained in: stance… gun presentation… sight picture… all fell to the wayside when you have a real person shooting back at you vs. a paper target that just took your shots without a fight.

2. Sight Picture Destroys Decision-Making

Cirillo once said, “In law enforcement, your problem isn’t at your front sight, it’s in the background.”

He continued, “As a police officer, you’re obligated to make sure that the person you’re shooting is the one you should be shooting. If you’re looking at your front sight you can’t see that some poor guy is pulling a black wallet out of his back pocket—you think he’s pulling out a gun.”

In today’s legal climate, you can’t let God sort ‘em out… a jury will be looking at your actions and it’s biologically impossible to focus on both your front sight AND the actions of the threat in front of you.

3. “Subconscious Shooting” Will Rule

In an adrenalized state, you won’t have access to the same logical, controlled response tactics that work so well at the range.

When the bullets are flying, your in-grained training will happen without thinking.

That’s a good thing for you because it means that all the training you do BEFORE an attack will automatically be there when you need it.

The bad news is that, if your training is the typical “marksmanship” style training done down at the range, your training ISN’T aligned with what happens in a real life-or-death attack.

Keep your head down and keep the faith,


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