In The Force Awakens, we see two instances of starfighters shooting at ground targets. On Jakku, two TIEs try and fail to shoot the fleeing Finn and Rey. On Takadona, Poe Dameron shoots the stormtroopers guarding Han, Chewie, and Finn as he flies by.

Why was Poe's shot so much more accurate than the TIE's?

Was it purely pilot skill? This shouldn't be a factor, because of the advanced targeting computer systems and the extensive amount of training both pilots have received.

Was it because the TIE pilots were trying to hit moving targets? This is closer to correct, but it seems like the TIE's targeting systems, being designed for high-velocity space combat, should be able to account for this as well.

So what was the difference between the two? Why were the TIEs not even able to get Finn and Rey within the blast radii of their shots, while Poe was able to shoot at least one stormtrooper directly in the breastplate while engaged in an aerial battle?

  • 9
    Because TIE pilots are a subset of stormtroopers, and stormtroopers can't hit anything.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 3:28
  • Possible duplicate of Are all Stormtroopers as poor soldiers as the ones in the movies? Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 4:09
  • 4
    Poe's shots are guided by the Force.... no wait the PLOT... it is even more powerful!
    – Skooba
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 5:20
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    It's mostly pilot skill. Notice that the other X wings not piloted by Poe but are presumably generally equivalent to the one flown by him don't have as good accuracy as Poe. I'd go as far as saying that the other X wings look like they have the same accuracy as TIE fighters.
    – slebetman
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 9:16
  • 2
    @slebetman: I’d go as far as saying that Poe is one hell of a pilot!!! Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


Poe Dameron does possess exceptional skill above and beyond most pilots, veteran or otherwise, who aren't Force sensitive:

"Captain Kun is an exceptional pilot, without question, as is Captain Arana, for that matter. But it's a rare pilot who engages one frigate and two Star Destroyers and lives to tell the tale." - Leia Organa (Before the Awakening)

To my own memory, the last time I've seen such a thing happen, that particular fighter was in the hands of a Skywalker.

Additionally, Star Wars Battlefront is considered canon, and if you refer to the technical specs of fighter craft in-game, targeting computers can only lock on to flying targets like other fighters & transport ships but not ground targets like walkers nor infantry. There's also a limited range, takes time to zero in, and can only be sustained for as long as the target remains within the crosshairs. Even against flying targets, the targeting computer cannot anticipate the target's future position at the point of impact, and fires only towards the target's position at the point of firing, so when shooting at a target moving sideways from the shooter's perspective, it is better not to lock on and just manually lead the shot on his own - and that's where skill and experience comes in.

Which makes sense - infantry are often too small for fighters, coming in rapidly from large distances, to paint as a target accurately enough, let alone discerning between friend and foe. Most likely, a fighter pilot shooting at ground targets truly has nothing but his own eyes, experience and skill to count on - that's why Poe is so much better at it. He wins on the skill check.

  • To my own memory, the last time I've seen such a thing happen, that particular fighter was in the hands of a Skywalker. If you expand to "freighter", you could modify that to "a Skywalker or a Solo" :)
    – Jane S
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 7:47
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    That's not how the Force works! Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 9:38
  • But Poe is not force sensitive either, as far as we know :)
    – Jane S
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 9:41
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    @JaneS I think that statement was intended to be "There are Force-Sensitives, then there's Poe, then there's everyone else."
    – deworde
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:21
  • That statement isn't anything any of you said. It's just a joke ffs lol Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:28

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