“Everything an officer does takes time. It takes time to perceive that a threat level has changed and it takes time to decide to stop shooting and to mechanically activate that decision. When officers are engaged in continuous rapid fire, as their training requires for defending their lives, the stopping process is more complex and generally takes longer.” (Force Science Institute)
PoliceOne.com recently posted an article discussing why many officer-involved shootings end up with more shots fired than possibly required to stop the threat. The article talks about how it took about .7 to 1.5 seconds for the officers in the study to stop shooting after the prompt. This isn't just applicable to law enforcement, but our perception and response time applies in all defensive shootings. When we're on the range shooting at paper targets, we can decide when to start or stop shooting. In real-life instances, we’re required to process information prior to and during the act of applying complex motor skills. It’s the threat stimuli that prompted us to start shooting and we have to perceive when it’s the right time to stop shooting.
Our processing and response time comes into play at times as mentioned above but it also holds true in other aspects of defensive shooting. As much as we can, it's important to include the collecting and processing of information during training and practice.
Enjoy this video that demonstrates some of the above.