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Test-retest reliability of two different laser-based protocols to assess handgun shooting accuracy in military personnel
  1. Jan Malecek,
  2. D Omcirk,
  3. Z Didek,
  4. V Michalicka,
  5. K Sykora,
  6. M Vagner,
  7. L Privetivy,
  8. V Trebicky,
  9. T Vetrovsky and
  10. JJ Tufano
  1. Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
  1. Correspondence to Jan Malecek, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; malecekhonza{at}

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Tactical operations and armed conflicts involve symmetrical and asymmetrical conflicts, often occurring in urban and constantly changing environments. This requires tactical personnel to be prepared for unpredictable threats in dynamic scenarios.1 In close-quarter situations, short weapons such as handguns are becoming increasingly prevalent over assault rifles, as they are more manageable for manoeuvring and battling. Therefore, accurate handgun shooting is essential for tactical personnel who may encounter close-quarter situations requiring precise shooting. Although regular handgun training is necessary to improve static and dynamic shooting accuracy, implementing basic shooting training is challenging as it includes budget constraints, ammunition costs and limited access to live-fire ranges, necessitating the development and use of new technologies to meet current shooting training standards.

Laser-based shooting simulators have emerged as an alternative to traditional live-fire shooting, offering several benefits such as reduced ammunition and target costs, safety, decreased waste and more frequent and time-efficient training exercises (e.g., no need to replace targets, assemble and clean guns, transports to shooting ranges).2 Previous researchers have used laser-based systems to evaluate shooting performance under different conditions, such as supplementation, sleep deprivation and psychological or physiological fatigue. However, most studies lacked information on reliability and shooter familiarisation with the protocol. Consequently, the results of those investigations should be interpreted cautiously as the shooting protocols themselves may not have been reliable, possibly affecting the observed effects. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the reliability of two standard-issued shooting protocols using a laser-based handgun system.

Twenty soldiers (22.0±1.9 years) participated in two static and dynamic shooting protocols trials on three separate days to determine the between-day and same-day test-retest shooting accuracy reliability (figure 1). The accuracy (total points scored) for each trial was recorded and analysed for (1) the reliability of each shooting protocol with two-way mixed effects intraclass correlation (ICC) with a coefficient of variation (CV) and the SE of measurement (SEM) and (2) differences in shooting accuracy points scored between days and trials by two-way repeated measures analysis of variance. Associated literature review, ethical approval, methods, analyses and supplements are available at the Open Science Framework (

Figure 1

Timeline of the data collection.

The results indicated good between-day test-retest reliability of the average of two trials of both the static (ICC=0.837 (95% CI 0.659 to 0.930), CV=3.78%, SEM=3.37) and dynamic (ICC=0.806 (95% CI 0.597 to 0.917), CV=4.73%, SEM=3.73) protocols. Additionally, there was moderate between-day test-retest reliability of a single trial for static (ICC=0.703 (95% CI 0.383 to 0.872), CV=3.47%, SEM=3.11) and dynamic (ICC=0.585 (95% CI 0.219 to 0.810), CV=4.17%, SEM=3.30) protocols, and moderate same-day test-retest reliability for static (ICC=0.510 (95% CI 0.248 to 0.741), CV=2.57%, SEM=2.31) and dynamic (ICC=0.510 (95% CI 0.243 to 0.742), CV=4.30%, SEM=3.39) protocols across the last two trials (figure 2).

Figure 2

Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of test-retest reliability for static and dynamic protocols. Black dots represent mean ICC, error bars their 95% CI. The dotted bands represent areas of poor (<0.50), moderate (0.50–0.75), good (0.75–0.90) and excellent (>0.90) agreement.

Our study demonstrates that soldiers’ shooting performance, based on accuracy in static and dynamic protocols, has moderate to good reliability and no statistically significant effect on the difference in shooting accuracy between days and trials. Therefore, the protocols used in this study and the reliability observed may serve as a foundation for future research to establish a more rigorous approach using validated shooting protocols. By following these guidelines, researchers may contribute to the advancement of shooting-related research, ultimately leading to more accurate shooting assessments and training.

Ethics statements

Patient consent for publication

Ethics approval

The Charles University Ethics committee approved the study (224/2020). Participants gave informed consent to participate in the study before taking part.


The authors would like to thank the participants who participated in this study.



  • Contributors Conceptualisation: JM, JJT, TV, DO. Data curation: JM, DO, ZD, KS. Formal analysis: TV, VT, JM. Funding acquisition: JM, JJT, MV. Investigation: JM, DO, VM, KS, MV, LP, VT, TV, JJT. Methodology: JM, JJT, TV, DO. Project administration: JM, DO. Resources: JM, LP. Supervision: JM, ZD, DO, JJT. Validation: JM, JJT, VT, TV. Visualisation: JM, JJT, VT, TV. Writing—original draft: JM. Writing—review and editing: JM, DO, VM, KS, MV, LP, VT, TV, JJT.

  • Funding This study was supported by the Charles University Grant Agency (GAUK 986120), SVV research programme (SVV 2020-2022-260599) and the Cooperation Programme (SPOB research area).

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Czech Army, the Department of Defence or the Czech Government.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.