Star Wars: Stormtrooper combat rating


In the eyes of many fans, stormtroopers have a bad rap. Are they specially trained warfare specialists or are they inept soldiers with terrible aim?!

”And these blast points, too accurate… for Sand People. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.”

The quote above was spoken in A New Hope by none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi in a conversation with Luke Skywalker as he gave the young farm boy his first impression of the grave threat that Imperial stormtroopers could certainly pose. By that point of the film, the only visual action that we had seen from the stormtroopers was at the very beginning of the movie, just prior to Darth Vader‘s memorable introduction, where they gained the upper hand during a shootout with Rebel forces despite losing several of their own personnel.

Obi-Wan’s words may have hinted to Luke at the imminent threat that they would face from the soldiers clad in the white armor but the stormtroopers’ actions in battle told a totally different story.

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The only significant shot I can recall a stormtrooper making with their weapon was when Princess Leia was shot, stunned, and captured during Episode IV‘s early stages. Other than that, those guys virtually missed everything!

The stormtroopers also whiffed on stopping Luke, Obi-Wan, C-3PO, and R2-D2 from escaping Mos Eisley in the Millennium Falcon despite them having the element of surprise on their side. As Chewbacca readied the iconic ship for takeoff, Han Solo was the sole person firing back at their adversaries as he single-handedly rendered them incapable of achieving their task.

Later aboard the Death Star, the Imperial stormtroopers continuously let the protagonists slip through their fingers, rescue the princess, and escape back to the Rebel base on Yavin 4 all without so much as grazing anyone with a blaster bolt as they took heavy losses.

Obi-Wan’s previous words about them being so precise seem to have been mistaken. Perhaps during his decades of exile on Tatooine, his memories of how the clone troopers were accurate, precise, and highly skilled/trained as combatants influenced how he saw Imperial stormtroopers and he assumed the newer generation of troopers were as devastating as their predecessors.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Indeed, time and time again the clones showed themselves to be more adept at combat than the later Empire-era stormtroopers but that mostly had to do with the fact that that’s exactly what they were bred to do. The clones’ sole purpose was warfare and as they took their genetic cues from the famed bounty hunter, Jango Fett, the clones were not designed to endure combat failure in the way that Imperial stormtroopers did. They were bred to be victors.

This isn’t to say that all stormtroopers were inept. There were different units comprised of different tiers of Imperial stormtroopers such as the Death troopers from Rogue One and Snow and Scout troopers from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi ,respectively. Those unique sub-units contained soldiers who were efficient and effective in their specialized areas of service.

As the transition from clone soldiers to regular human-born soldiers was made, there was a noticeable drop off in military prowess that was difficult for the Empire to overcome. Their sheer numbers were impressive but that quantity did not always match in quality.

The First Order

Credit: Lucasfilm

Under the command of Captain Phasma, the First Order era stormtroopers had an air of ruthlessness to them. Indoctrinated into the First Order’s way of life from an early age, all they knew were the orders given to them by their superiors.

With the sole exception of Finn, the First Order stormtroopers had no issues in carrying out even the most repulsive of orders in a terrifyingly cold-blooded and remorseless manner.


Bottom line up front, stormtrooper success could be hit or miss depending on how they were commanded. If they received elite leadership, then their execution would be excellent and if they were significantly lacking in guidance, then their performance would leave more to be desired.

They may not all have been sharpshooters but they all did not suffer from terrible aim either. More than anything else, in my eyes, stormtroopers were a direct reflection of their leadership and their successes or failures all hinged upon training and leadership.

Next. Boba Fett movie canceled in favor of The Mandalorian. dark

At the very least, if the Imperial stormtroopers had all received the same levels of basic and advanced marksmanship training, they could have found themselves winning more battles than they lost!