The following information on prone shooting of handguns comes from Section 47 of Shooting by J. Henry FitzGerald. Shooting is also available to purchase in print.
If an officer is fired upon by one or more persons, especially in open country or on the street where no shelter is available and the space is clear between him and his assailants, he should drop to the ground, head toward the enemy, resting both elbows on the ground much in the same manner as a rifleman except the body should be straight with the target, then use both hands to steady the revolver as in two hand shooting. The officer is one-sixth the size prone that he is standing and a very hard object to hit.
The prone manner of shooting is recommended for long range work. At night-time all objects will be brought above the sky line and the officer will appear to be wounded as he drops to the ground. In night shooting roll over after every shot.
At the New York State Police School at Troy, New York, a few years ago this subject of prone shooting was explained to the students and they were taught to shoot in this position on the range. About six weeks after the school closed, Captain Moore, director of the school, received a letter from one of his students stating that prone shooting saved his life. It seems that the officer was covering his beat late at night when he saw two men coming out of a jewelry store and one of them, seeing the officer, fired at him. The officer immediately fell to the ground getting his revolver as he fell. He heard one of the men say, “Got the damn bull the first time; come on, let’s finish him.” They started toward the officer and it is needless to say he had no difficulty in getting both men.
At the Pennsylvania State Police School some years ago Captain Mauck and his men were firing at a silhouette target at one hundred yards with a .30/30 Winchester Carbine. After the rifle practice was over I asked the same men to shoot at the same targets and distance with their revolvers and the scores averaged nearly as well as with the rifle. This not only showed the extreme accuracy of the revolver at one hundred yards, but also the accuracy which may be attained in the prone position.
Years of long-range shooting with a revolver has taught me the value of this position and years of police instruction has taught me the value of this position in the saving of an officer’s life and the accurate placing of bullets. As in other protective shooting, use double action at short range (up to ten yards) and single action at the longer ranges. At night when the flash will reveal your exact position get away from behind the flash after every shot. In this position the sights may be more readily seen at night due to raising objects above the sky line. It is by taking advantages of these short cuts to safety that the officer may prolong his life and the knowledge will add to his confidence in his own prowess.