The Queensland police officers who fired at an alleged thief at Rochedale on Tuesday were acting in line with their training, a union says.

The idea officers can aim to shoot a hand or leg when their lives are at risk is the stuff of Hollywood, the union representing Queensland police says.

The use of guns by police is back in the spotlight after two officers repeatedly shot an alleged thief at a Rochedale property on Tuesday.

The man was shot in the head and arm after he and an associate allegedly drove at the officers, who were investigating the theft of a trailer and ride-on lawn mower.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers, who spent 15 years as a firearms trainer, has defended the officers against suggestions they could have used less dramatic action.

Mr Leavers says officers are bound by strict rules and guns are always a last resort.

Officers are not allowed to fire warning shots, nor are they instructed to shoot to wound or disable.

“If you draw a firearm and you shoot, you are shooting to stop the threat,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday. “You fire until the threat is stopped.”

Mr Leavers said the idea an officer whose life is under threat can calmly take aim and hit a hand or other non-vital body part is unrealistic.

“That happens in the movies. That doesn’t happen in real life.”

However, he says there should be more firearms training for police.

“Being a former firearms trainer I know at times they restricted the training because of the cost of the rounds. That’s how ludicrous it is,” he said.

“There are some things where we can’t be penny pinching and police training is one of those.”

The man who was shot is in a critical condition in hospital.