A Serious Investigation Into Why Stormtroopers Are Terrible at Shooting

A Serious Investigation Into Why Stormtroopers Are Terrible at Shooting
Image: Star Wars

There are many unexplained mysteries in Star Wars. One of which is: why can’t stormtroopers shoot straight?

It’s a problem that upper Imperial management clearly needs to address — this negligence has allowed their rebel targets to escape unscathed more than once. So what’s the reason? Budget cuts? Poor uniform design? Lack of a killer instinct?

While the Empire may not, we at Gizmodo take this issue seriously and, in honour of May the 4th, will be launching a very legitimate investigation into the reason why stormtroopers are incapable of proper aim.

The evidence

Early on in A New Hope, Obi-Wan makes a comment about a destroyed Jawa transport: “These blast points are too accurate for Sandpeople.” He’s referring here to the Stormtroopers, the might of the Imperial army.

This builds up a picture of the Empire’s forces. That they’re tough, high in numbers and deadly. But as we’ve seen countless times in the Star Wars universe, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In A New Hope, Luke, Han and Leia manage to escape from countless stormtroopers who can never get a shot in. In The Mandalorian, the Mandalorian armourer takes down five armed stormtroopers single-handedly, they never even land a shot. In The Force Awakens, Poe and Finn escape an Imperial hanger in a TIE Fighter and the stormtroopers can’t even shoot that down while it’s docked.

No matter what the target is, stormtroopers can’t seem to hit it.

The terrible aim of stormtroopers has become so ingrained in Star Wars fandom that it’s actually become canon. In a Star Wars Rebels episode, Kanan Jarrus comments to Captain Rex, “Wow, you really do shoot like a stormtrooper,” despite Rex being a clone trooper.

It’s not just the audience who thinks stormtroopers are terrible shots.

Then we got Taika Waititi’s The Mandalorian episode, which was the biggest confirmation yet that stormtroopers inherently cannot aim.

So, why are they universally bad marksmen?

Stormtroopers aren’t Clone Troopers

Image: The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm

If everyone in Star Wars knows that stormtroopers can’t aim, why does Obi-Wan’s comment praise their accuracy?

A Reddit thread may have actually solved this one and comes down to the fact that they don’t make stormtroopers how they used to.

Obi-Wan’s main experience with the Empire’s forces is the Clone Troopers. These troopers, that he once served alongside, were clones of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, who was incredibly skilled. The Clone Troopers were literally designed to take after his fighting skills which made them pretty formidable in battle and actually capable of taking down Jedi warriors during Order 66.

Following the decimation of the Jedi and the expiration of the Clone Trooper’s lifespan, the stormtroopers that followed never needed to be trained to fight these kinds of threats. If there were any Jedi remaining the Empire had skilled Inquisitors it would send in to take them down.

A lack of good training is definitely to blame here.

The force

Image: Lucasfilm

Look, it has to be said, the force plays a part in all this. A key element of force powers is the ability to move and divert objects, including bullets. We’ve seen it countless times.

In Rogue One, Darth Vader arrives on the Rebel ship and suddenly none of the rebels can land a shot. Also in Rogue One, Chirrut Imwe manages to walk through an entire battlefield on his own without being shot, thanks to his connection to the force. Who can compete with that?

No one can blame the Jedi for using their force powers in battle, but then you can’t blame the stormtroopers for missing. The force works in mysterious ways.

Stormtrooper helmets

The design of a stormtrooper’s outfit is unique and has inspired hundreds of different designs and cosplay costumes. But is that duckbill helmet actually practical? Apparently not.

In Episode IV, Luke disguises himself as a stormtrooper to save Princess Leia. While he’s all dressed up he comments to Han, “I can’t see a thing in this helmet.”

In the same episode of Star Wars Rebels, after Kanan comments on Rex’s poor shooting, Rex shoots back that “It’s this helmet. I can’t see.” As a clone trooper, Rex possesses far better shooting skills than the average trooper, but it goes to show these helmets really do hinder the best.

They’d lose their uniformity, but if stormtroopers ditched their helmets maybe they’d have a shot. The Empire should consider some uniform changes.

Plot armour

Image: Star Wars, Lucasfilm

Similar to the force, there is some divine intervention going on when it comes to stormtroopers and their shooting abilities. After all, if they were all amazing shooters, our characters would never achieve their goals and Star Wars would be pretty boring.

So, a creative license has to be taken when it comes to stormtroopers. Our heroes have the ultimate weapon — plot armour — which means the stormtroopers draw the short straw and end up looking ridiculous for it.

Sure, they don’t need to be this bad at aiming, but it wouldn’t be much fun if these Jedi masters couldn’t even handle a stormtrooper.

After an in-depth investigation, it seems that a combination of force powers, plot armour and physical armour all contribute to the decline in stormtrooper accuracy. The Empire should also probably consider giving them some better training if they want better results. I’ll put it to Star Wars’ HR department.

This also isn’t to say stormtroopers never hit anything.  Here’s a video to prove it.

This May 4, let’s give a shout- out to the real heroes of Star Wars. The stormtroopers. Their inaccuracy is for our enjoyment.