Taylor P. Monaghan, Bert H. Jacobson, FACSM & John H. Sellers

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Law officers work long and erratic hours typically leading officers to drink coffee, more recently consume energy drinks/shots. It has been estimated that law officers consume the second most coffee of any profession. However, caffeine consumption has been associated to a decrease hand steadiness which could compromise the accuracy of a pistol shot. Aiming stability has been shown to have a significant correlation to shooting performance. PURPOSE: To determine the effect of a commercially available energy shot (ES) on the ability to hold a pistol steady in an aiming protocol. METHODS: 10 accredited police officers volunteered to participate in the study. Arm-hand steadiness was measured using a hole/stylus steadiness tester attached to a rubber training gun. A laser was fitted on the gun, as well as a bulls-eye on the metal plate for aiming purposes. Subjects were randomly, on a single-blind, counterbalanced protocol given either an energy shot or a placebo and a week later given the opposite beverage. Steadiness was measured pre and 30 minutes post consumption with 3 sets of 20-second intervals. RESULTS: A repeated measures ANOVA with Newman Keuls post hoc test revealed the treatment ( ES) significantly (p=0.009) impaired pistol steadiness while the placebo yielded no significant difference. Difference in steadiness for energy shot group and placebo was 7.07±1.94 and -0.30±2.38 respectively. Average daily caffeine intake of the subjects was 413±97.84 mg. CONCLUSION: Consumption of the commercial ES containing caffeine, and other stimulants had detrimental effects on pistol steadiness in police officers. The combination of these ingredients are backed with little research regarding a synergistic effect which could have intensified the detriment in steadiness. Further research investigating the decrease in pistol steadiness related to live shooting performance may be warranted.

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