4 Reasons Why Stormtroopers Have Such BAD Aim

There are many repetitive elements in Star Wars, from multiple Death Stars to characters returning from the grave. The theme we’ll be focusing on today, though, is the notion of Stormtroopers having bad aim.

Throughout Star Wars movies, shows and comics set in the era of the Empire and beyond, we often see Stormtroopers inexplicably missing their shots.

Considering they are meant to be the enforcers of the Empire, it seems a little odd that they are so bad at doing their jobs.

Today, we are going to be looking at some possible explanations for their bad aim.

Why do Stormtroopers have bad aim?

Here are four key reasons why Stormtroopers have bad aim:

  • Their armour is poorly designed
  • They might want to miss
  • They aren’t well trained
  • Plot armour
Source: Wookieepedia 

#1 Stormtrooper armour is poorly designed

The most concrete, in-universe explanation for Stormtroopers having bad aim is all to do with the design of their armour and, in particular, their helmets. While at a glance, their armour looks similar to that of Clone Troopers, who have very good aim, there are some subtle differences.

We know for a fact that Stormtrooper helmets cause vision issues thanks to A New Hope and an episode of Rebels

In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker comments that he ‘can’t see a thing’ when wearing Stormtrooper attire during the rescue mission to save Princess Leia. If it was difficult to see while wearing a Stormtrooper helmet, then what chance did they have?

While this could be explained away by Luke not being used to wearing any armour at all, what if we told you that a seasoned Clone veteran said something similar? Well, that’s exactly what happens in an episode of Rebels.

Captain Rex puts Stormtrooper armour on as a disguise and when fighting breaks out, he can’t hit a shot. This was one of the finest Clone troopers around during the Clone Wars and he simply couldn’t hit any of his targets. 

After commenting that he was struggling to see, he chucked the helmet off and subsequently began to hit every shot again. This was definitive proof that Stormtrooper armour was flawed.

#2 They might want to miss

One possible explanation for Stormtroopers having bad aim could be that some of them actually wanted to miss. Unlike Clone Troopers, Stormtroopers were humans who had been trained/groomed to fight for the Empire.

A lot of these troopers would have developed a conscience over the years, especially as the Empire’s intentions became evident. While we don’t see any concrete evidence of this during the reign of the Empire, we do see this with Stormtroopers belonging to the First Order, most notably Finn.

At the start of The Force Awakens, Finn refuses to shoot a group of innocent civilians because of his conscience. With that in mind, it is entirely plausible that countless other troopers had done the same over the different eras, or at the very least deliberately missed shots.

In fact, in The Rise of Skywalker, we see another group of ex-Stormtroopers who had left the First Order due to their conscience. Jannah and her crew were living on Kef Bir, the ocean Moon of Endor, and chose to help the Resistance in their fight against the First Order. Having humans as Stormtroopers was ultimately a mistake.  

Source: Spotern

#3 They were lacking in combat experience

Perhaps Stormtroopers didn’t have bad aim, they just appeared to because they weren’t as accurate as Clone Troopers? If this is the case, then it’s hardly surprising when you consider the vast difference in combat experience between the two groups of troopers.

While Clone Troopers were drafted in to fight in a full-scale, galaxy-wide civil war from the get-go, Stormtroopers had very little to do other than to act intimidating for a large period of time. When it was finally time for them to engage in combat with the Rebellion, they were caught off guard and weren’t well-trained enough to deal with it.

Additionally, Clone Troopers were manufactured in a lab to make them obedient, sharp-shooting soldiers. While they did develop personalities of their own, the sole purpose of their life was to be soldiers for the Republic. Stormtroopers, on the other hand, were human and therefore couldn’t possibly be as accurate or as deadly as Clones.

Maybe, our standards were just too high!

Source: Theforce.net

You can find out why the Empire decided to stop using clones here.

#4 Plot armour

The final reason for Stormtroopers being bad at aiming is actually an away-from-universe explanation. If we take a step back, we might just have to accept that Stormtroopers being bad shooters is simply plot armour.

If they were good at shooting, Han, Luke and Leia would never have made it off the Death Star in A New Hope and the entire saga would have ended right there and then! So, although they could have at least depicted them being slightly more accurate at times, it’s actually always been a necessity for them to be bad at shooting.

The only real time that Stormtroopers are shown to be ruthless, accurate shooters is in A New Hope when we are led to believe that they killed Owen and Beru Lars. 

However, their subsequent depiction as terrible shooters has led many to speculate that it wasn’t actually Stormtroopers who destroyed them and their home.


To conclude, there are both in-universe and away-from-universe explanations for why Stormtroopers have such terrible aim. While the best answer may simply just be plot armour, Star Wars producers and writers have gone out of their way to make it canon that Stormtrooper helmets aren’t ideal for vision and aim.

One of the more intriguing parts about a Stormtrooper’s armour is the 011 at the back, and you can find out more about that here.

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Andrew Delaney

Andy is an experienced writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Star Wars. Look out for explanations from both a canonical and legends point of view.

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